We read about it in the print and other media; the global nature of the problem, the haunting images of rusting barrels and canisters with leaking liquids of foreign and unidentifiable hues of chemical mixtures; of stories involving deformed babies and cognitive delay, with early onset of dementia causally related to the drinking water, air pollution and osmosis of agents otherwise harmful. Science Fiction writers employ the genre of antiseptic cities of artificial constructs, with men and women who venture out into the tainted world in white suits of sealed purity, breathing through tubes and oxygenated rasps barely audible through the thick materials of protective immunity.
China, we are told, basks in the careless disregard of deliberate destruction, with India lagging not too far behind, and then the “developing” countries; that the airstream, jet stream and water streams are all connected, like tentacles which relate back to the organic essence of human existence, and unless little old “me” and “I” and the pointed finger of accusatory mumblings does “his part” or “your part” in reducing all that mess that the proverbial “we” have created, that doom is just around the corner accompanied by “gloom” preceding its cousin; and so we laboriously cart our plastic bottles and milk cartons into larger and larger bins that have logos we proudly think represents the advancement and modernity of our thoughtfulness, and watch as the powerful jet set in private planes and get transported in SUVs that spew out untold tons of unseen pollutants in order to congregate and discuss the fate of the universe, the represented country, the state, the community and lil ol’ me.
Environmental toxicity, of course, is a real problem; it is the lip service paid by those who preach without actionable lives of verified sincerity which presents a problem for most. And for the rest of us, the “little people” who matter not and impact insignificantly upon the global scale of policy interventions, there are multiple dimensions of the term itself — as in the quality of the workplace, the manner in which the employer treats employees, and in the Federal sector and the U.S. Postal Service, the application of relevance for the conceptual compound of the two words often implies more than the physical universe of occupied space; it involves the harassment, emotional abuse and hostility of purpose.
For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition compels the Federal or Postal employee to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of environmental toxicity is just that — not the wasteful plastics otherwise disregarded and discarded into the trash bin, but the real impact of a caustic atmosphere empowering little minds within fiefdoms of medieval power centers.
How the Federal agency treats “lil ol’ me”, and what the U.S. Postal Service does to its employees by requiring and forcing abusive repetition of physical labor, goes well beyond what the ordinary person cares about in China, India, et al.; instead, they want you to look beyond the window of your own house, even as the smoke fills and the fires blaze in the very neighborhood you live in.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire