Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Drink The Water
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2014
Thirty years ago, Jaws scared a generation from stepping foot into the ocean. Children took solace in the knowledge that a massive shark could only attack them in the water. A modern sequel of Jaws would need to up the ante with a new creature capable of causing harm both in the ocean and on land; enter the terrifying algae.
Occurrences of algae blooms continue to grow around the world’s water supplies including Australia, China, and in the United States. Last August residents in Toledo, Ohio were warned to not drink the water even after boiling. Dangers from blooms extend further than ingesting polluted waters. Damage to ecosystems can disrupt natural functions and pollute creatures, such as fish, with neurotoxins that may be passed to humans when eaten.
Like all good horror movies, we can even link the villain to society’s own failing.Numerous research papers link these blooms to an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus in our waterways, which wash out into fresh and saltwater ecosystems. By tracing chemicals back, we find the true mastermind; farmers using excess of fertilizers and wastewater that washes into public water supplies.
Policy makers seem to freeze with fear when confronted with terrifying algae. Regulatory and voluntary programs still haven’t produced a comprehensive and effective effort to stem nutrient pollution and combat the blooms. Left unchecked, water overloaded with nutrients willl cause more blooms in the future.
Unlike horror movies, algae blooms are a real threat. The monster won’t go away by shutting our eyes; we must demand changes in the way we farm if we want a happy ending.
Another Reason To Label Genetically Engineered Food: 2,4-D
This means that genetically engineered corn and soybeans – the two most widely grown crops in America – could soon be blanketed not only in glyphosate (the infamous ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) but also in 2,4-D, a toxic herbicide linked to Parkinson’s, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and thyroid and reproductive problems.
And since grocery manufacturers aren’t required to label genetically engineered (GE) foods, a shopper scanning the supermarket aisle would be hard pressed to know whether a box of cereal on the shelf contains ingredients that were grown with a coating of harmful defoliants – putting human health and the environment at greater risk.
One of the reasons that more than 90 percent of Americans support labeling genetically engineered food is that people want to know more – not less – about how the food they eat and feed their families was produced.
Citizens across the country are demanding the right to know. So far this year, 35 bills have been introduced in 20 state legislatures to require GE labeling. And this November, people in Oregon and Colorado will be voting on GE labeling ballot initiatives.
Now that government agencies have given the green light to Dow AgroSciences to sell 2,4-D-tolerant, genetically engineered corn and soybeans and OK’d dousing them in Enlist Duo weed killer, there’s yet another reason to stand up for consumers’ right to know and to fight for GE labeling.
Whole Foods Launches Revolutionary Program To Rate Health And Environmental Impact Of Produce
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Enviro commends Whole Foods Market for launching a new program that will raise the bar for retailing responsibly grown produce and improve the health, safety and environmental impact of the fruits and vegetables the company sells.
Once again, Whole Foods is setting the standard – and the pace – among major American food retailers for environmentally responsible food production. This is very good news for produce lovers – especially moms and dads concerned about pesticides on fruit and vegetables.
We are still poring over the details of the program, but it is already clear that Whole Foods is literally redefining what constitutes responsibly grown produce for a major retailer.
Of special significance are the new standards for pesticides. The long-standing line among most American produce retailers amounts to “our produce meets government pesticide standards.”
Instead, Whole Foods is saying, in essence, “government pesticide standards are not good enough for our customers – not good enough for their health and not good enough for the environment that they want to protect through responsible shopping.”
Enviro applauds Whole Foods for its strong leadership and for creating its “Responsibly Grown” rating system to give shoppers safer produce. We will be eager to see if other major produce retailers step up their game to match.
Eco-balance of a Solar Electricity Transmission from North Africa to Europe
Monday, August 3,2014
The present energy supply is mainly based of fossil energy sources. Because of decreasing resources, a worldwide increasing energy demand and the resulting growth of the environmental pollution, it’s necessary to tap other sources in the long term. In this context it is pointed to the large potential of solar energy in North Africa, which theoretically meets the world’s energy demand many times. On-site solar electricity can be produced by solar thermal power plants and then be transmitted via high voltage direct current transmission (HVDC) over long distances to Europe. In this thesis the environmental impacts are described which result from the installation of the infrastructure. Furthermore a GIS-Analysis is carried out to set power lines under ecological aspects. Within the scope of an eco-balance the resulting lines together with solar thermal power plants are investigated regarding possible impacts on the environment and material and energetic expenditures respectively. It can be shown that the power lines slightly contribute to all impacts compared with the plants. If the results of the impact assessment are normalized to one kilowatt-hour and set against a reference contemporary electricity mix, the impacts are distinctly lower than in the reference in all areas. Only a larger quantity of material expenditures is necessary to built up the infrastructure.
Oklahoma City offers disaster response training
Communities in Oklahoma City will have 30 more emergency responders before tornado season begins.
Two classes of 15 people each for Community Emergency Response Team training have filled up, Oklahoma City Emergency Manager Frank Barnes said. Each participant will complete 16 hours of instruction over three days. One class begins next week and the second in March.
The response team training is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Those taking the courses will learn how to help others during disasters before the arrival of paramedics, firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel. The courses will cover disaster preparedness, fire safety, search and rescue, disaster psychology and more.
“It helps show someone how they can prepare themselves, people in their homes and their neighbors in an emergency situation,” said Gregory Adams with the city emergency management office, who is helping to organize the courses.
Barnes said it's possible more classes will be offered later in the spring,.
“We've been doing these courses for many years now and have trained over a thousand people in the Oklahoma City area,” he said. “We believe in individual responsibility, that people have to take responsibility for being prepared and knowing what to do in the event of a disaster. The more that people can take care of themselves, the more they can be self-reliant, the less demand it puts on the limited public safety resources.”