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Today is Tuesday, July 17, 2018

PAINT, THE PROTECTOR

Not Applicable

The effectiveness of paint, properly applied in protecting mighty man made machines of commerce that earn their keep by plying the salty oceans of earth, exposed to the ravages of nature and the elements in plain for all to see.  It progressed as most things have done, from a somewhat empirical suck it and see approach, to one of sciences. This allowed mans’ knowledge, and through it, his understanding of the causes of the problems he was up against, to develop better methods of doing so.

Paint technology truly has come a long way from the ilks and days of tar. These were followed by the ones of sacrificial, but replaceable throw away wooden, lead and copper sheathing techniques. Such were the attempts to ameliorate  and fend off attacks of the infamous shipworm (actually a saltwater clam), organic marine growths and corrosion of underwater iron parts. Improvements resulted but success was limited. Among other factors, the effects of electrolysis between different metals, particularly in salt water had yet to be appreciated. Things went full circle with the application of painted coatings assisted by anodes. This is where we are today, albeit with paints very different nature to those used even in the relatively recent the past. Until quite recently no thoughts were given to the environmental effects of the base materials used. Arguably perhaps, in the days of a significantly smaller world population combined with its shorter human life span, requiring less space and resources from nature, it really was not so important. As populations became more settled, grew into today’s mega metropolises with voracious appetites for just about everything to match, things changed somewhat. Under such vastly increased pressures, mother nature became overwhelmed and was only rarely permitted the opportunity and grace of time to heal herself.

Those days are gone. They are where they are, behind us, where they rightly belong. We now have to live with the results of past problems created in the process of getting to where we are.  The hard and all too slow lessons of history are receiving recognition, although still painfully slowly by some. Mankind is waking up to the light of a new dawn. A growing awareness towards protecting  and preserving our total environment has at last risen to a level, where, proactive as well as remedial action is being undertaken both voluntarily and through legislation often at huge monetary cost.

 We have now embarked on the path of a long journey to make amends and to set thing right by restoring fine balances that make the difference between survival or extinction. It is one which we simply cannot afford to deviate or U turn from. Let there be no doubt that the age of the throw-away, rape, and pillage society has been arrested. We are  turning our minds to preservation and a more harmonious co-existence with each other, the wonders of nature and all that our Earth provides us with. “Developed man” is now taking some serious time to smell the flowers once again and also to think. We are relearning, at least in part of what we have lost, not least, from our co-existing so called “primitive” aboriginal societies, that we stemmed from, but who chose different sustainable and thus arguably wiser paths to tread.

Whatever the pigmentation used, paint of all hues has greened enormously from its early days and is progressively continuing to do so providing a valuable contribution to pollution reduction not only in water we take for granted but also to the air we breathe in the world we have helped to create.

Jim Nicoll

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