PFAS “forever chemicals”

Clean water and air are important to our survival!

“Air, water and plastic pollution is a chronic challenge. Microplastics have been found worldwide, and the risk to human health is an open question.

New research as Stockholm University suggests that rainwater isn’t safe to drink anywhere on Earth, due to the presence of PFAS or forever chemicals found in food packaging, electronics, cosmetics and cookware.”  Paul Douglas, Meteorologist

Read about PFAS in our water here Most Rainwater on Earth Contains PFAS Exceeding Safe Levels, Study Finds – EcoWatch

When we don’t regulate what corporations and business can dump into our water and soil this is what we end up with.

More reading about PFAS:

Forever Chemicals, Plastic Waste – The World As Industry’s Toilet – CleanTechnica

PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ are everywhere. Here’s what you should know about them | MPR News

Massachusetts Sues 15 Companies Over PFAS Contamination – EcoWatch

3,240 Potentially Harmful Chemicals Found in Food Packaging – EcoWatch

20 Million Acres of U.S. Cropland May Be Contaminated by PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ – EcoWatch

What Can You Do About It? from Earth 911

While the EPA, state/local agencies, and the environmental industry at-large work to eliminate PFAS exposure risk, there are a few simple steps anyone can take to reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals.

  1. Start with awareness. Become aware of PFAS, the potential risk of chemical exposure, and spread the news. Reading this article is a good place to start.
  2. Research your local water utility to learn if the water supply has been sampled for PFAS. If they are detected, ask what is being done about it. Most water utilities provide periodic reports on water quality and can be found through the tap water database tool published by the Environmental Working Group.
  3. Look for PFAS-free alternatives in your consumer purchases. Inquire about everyday consumer products that may contain PFAS, including food wrappers, cosmetics, dental floss, and weather-resistant clothing. Look for safer alternatives. Although you will likely not be at significant risk by continuing to wear your PFAS-treated shoes and boots, the continued manufacturing usage of PFAS leads to the contamination of groundwater and drinking water, and the risk of health effects.
  4. I would add: Reduce the plastic you use for food storage, and the plastic you purchase. Also, don’t use non-stick pans.

August Actions

If you are not doing something positive (for the environment) you are part of the problem” Don Shelby, former news anchor

If everyone does a positive Earth action everyday it will make a big difference

peace on earth

Lift up our planet!

We all know the Earth is suffering, it is burning up. Floods, wildfires, record temperatures, and storms are harming many people. A sick planet leads to unhealthy sick people and for long-term consequences for our children. 

Every day in August plan a positive action of kindness for our planet. It doesn’t have to be difficult: Pick up a piece of trash. Bring your reusable bags and your reusable cup/bottles to work and shopping. Maybe decide to drive less by running one less errand or not idling your car. How about a plastic- free day? Maybe use up all your leftovers and waste less food. Maybe plan out a deep-rooted pollinator garden for your yard or clean a storm drain. Maybe have a meatless day? Good Luck and thank you!

More ideas here:

100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet | Sierra Club 

17 Ridiculously Easy Things You Can Do To Help Save The Earth Every Day | HuffPost Impact

Historic Senate Climate Deal Would Reduce Emissions 40% By 2030 –

EcoWatch  10 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth | HowStuffWorks

The Actions for Happiness group have ideas for kindness. Be kind and include our planet too!

Be kind to our Earth too!

What did you do to help our planet today?

A Special Bird Month

The sun sets on July

I am sorry to see the month of July come to an end. Lake Superior keeps the hot temperatures to the south, and the temperature has been comfortable, but the lake has been unusually cold.

It has been an incredible summer for birds.  The singing has now somewhat subsided, but in early summer we were thrilled to hear many birds singing we hadn’t heard for a few years. Mornings were so pleasant with purple finch, red starts, song sparrows, chestnut sided warblers, Northern parulas, and red-eyed vireos belting out their beautiful songs. Even though the singing has now subsided, we have an active crowd of baby birds trying to fill their hungry stomachs. Red starts and song sparrows were underfoot as I worked in my garden.

Many birds nest here because we have so many insects and caterpillars to feed their babies. This week we had many birds trying to eat the ripe elderberry berries. Today we had flickers, downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and cedar wax wings trying to hover and snatch one of these delicious berries. I’m sure they wish they could hover and fly like the hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds think they are king of the mountain. Life is a game to them as they wiz around. Even though they are the smallest they are the most aggressive and most visible. Their assertive behavior is entertaining as they are protect “their food.” I am sure the baby hummingbirds are learning from mom how to behave and survive.

milkweed

Monarch butterflies visit daily

The number of butterflies has also subsided since early July, but a monarch makes a daily pilgrimage to our yard visiting the milkweed. Unfortunately, butterfly caterpillars don’t survive long because there are many baby birds to be fed. I hope that some survive as butterflies,

An American Lady caterpillar on pearly everlasting, it probably became bird food!

Holding Hope Alive

We need a dose of good news!

A deal, for now
This is from David Leonhardt of the New York Times
The U.S. has a uniquely important role in fighting climate change. It has produced far more greenhouse gases over the course of history than any other nation and remains a leading emitter today.
Many parts of federal policy shift back and forth over time. Taxes rise and fall, as do spending on anti-poverty programs and the military. If a package of policies doesn’t pass one year, it might pass in a future year, and the long-term trajectory of the United States probably won’t be affected much.
Climate policy is different.
The world has already warmed to dangerous levels. Heat waves, wildfires, droughts and severe storms have become more common. The Arctic is melting, and seas are rising. If countries do not act quickly to slow their emissions of greenhouse gases — and, by extension, slow global warming — the damage could be catastrophic, scientists have warned.
The U.S. has a uniquely important role in fighting climate change. It has produced far more greenhouse gases over the course of history than any other nation and remains a leading emitter today. In recent years, the U.S. has done considerably less to reduce emissions than Europe. The U.S. also remains the world’s most powerful country, with the ability to influence climate policy in China, India and elsewhere.
Until yesterday, the Democratic Party seemed as if it were on the verge of squandering a major opportunity to combat climate change. Democrats control both Congress and the presidency, and yet they had been unable to agree on a package of climate policies to accelerate the use of clean energy and reduce emissions. Senator Joe Manchin had been blocking any deal, and the Senate is so closely divided that the Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote.
Yesterday, however, Manchin appeared to change his mind. He announced that he had agreed to include hundreds of billions of dollars for climate and energy programs in a bill that would also reduce prescription drug prices, raise taxes on the affluent and shrink the federal deficit.
If Manchin and other Democrats remain united, it would be a very big deal. “This has the opportunity to be an enormous breakthrough for climate progress,” Sam Ricketts, co-founder of Evergreen Action, an environmental group, told The Times.
It’s especially significant because congressional Republicans have almost uniformly opposed policies to slow climate change (a contrast with conservatives in many other countries). And it remains unclear whether Democrats will again control both Congress and the White House anytime soon. If Congress fails to pass a climate bill this summer, it may not do so for years — while the ravages of climate change worsen.
After all the recent bickering among Democrats, I know that many people remain skeptical that they actually have a deal until Congress has passed a bill. That skepticism makes sense. Last night’s announced deal between Manchin and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, is different from a complete bill that can pass in both the Senate and the House.
But I would say this: If this tentative agreement leads to legislation, it will probably have more lasting importance than anything else President Biden signs in his first two years in office.
David Leonhardt

How about a dose of chemicals?

The accumulation of plastic in our bodies can be dangerous, especially for our children.

Plastic is everywhere and new and current research is showing it is not a healthy product for us to be using. Not only are our bodies contaminated by plastic microfibers, but also toxic chemicals such as forever chemicals (PFAS) and Phthalates. These chemicals accumulate and builds up in our bodies over time, which causes me to worry about the future of our children. See my ideas for reducing plastic at the bottom of this post.

“Every type of plastic contains unknown chemicals, and many of those chemicals may well be unsafe,” says Jane Muncke, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist Plastic Products Contain Toxic Chemicals – Consumer Reports

There are of chemicals in plastic that are harmful for our body, and also bad for earth effect. To be wise, it’s better to at least reduce the use of plastic in our daily life. 15 List of Chemicals in Plastic – Properties – Dangers – AZ Chemistry

The first list of chemicals in plastic is Phthalate, the esters of phthalic acid. The main use of phthalate is as plasticizers, to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. Factories made phthalate by reacting phthalic anhydride with alcohols. What Is Plastic Made Of? (reference.com)

Reading list:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/09/toxic-forever-chemicals-plastic-food-containers

Toxic Chemicals used in Plastic Manufacturing and Their Safer Alternatives (thomasnet.com)

Plastic Products Contain Toxic Chemicals – Consumer Reports

What can you do? Start the change to a plastic-free life now, but it takes years. Please don’t go buy all new things, just start replacing items as they are needed.

– Don’t eat on plastic or Styrofoam plates or use plastic utensils, and don’t drink out of plastic bottles.

-Always purchase bulk fresh fruits and vegetables and never in plastic containers or plastic bags.

-Choose glass over plastic, and transition to storing food in glass or metal containers.

-Never purchase # 7 plastic products. They are a mixture of different plastics.

-It is possible to live a good life without Baggies!

-Transition your clothes to natural fibers like cotton and wool.

Plastic Free July

Welcome to Plastic Free July

Be healthier and avoid the chemicals contained in plastic!

Plastic Free July is about creating awareness about our plastic problem and to encourage individuals to move to a plastic-free lifestyle. Working together we can make a difference to reduce our plastic use and create a world free of plastic pollution.

Other than being light weight, plastic is not a good product. It is made of fossil fuels, and the production of plastic creates air pollution. It pollutes our waterways and land. Plastic also contains toxic chemicals which can poison our food and health. https://azchemistry.com/list-of-chemicals-in-plastic

Plastic particles have been found in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Plastic has been found in our blood, lungs, and the clothes we wear and food we eat. A study says we eat a credit card of plastic a week. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/study-finds-we-eat-a-credit-card-worth-of-plastic-every-week/ Doesn’t this make you want to reduce your plastic?

Plastic reduction is not easy, start small with one thing to eliminate. I have 4 ideas for your #plasticfreeJuly: Start your #plasticfree month by deciding to bring your own bags and decide “no plastic bags” or use a reusable water bottle and choose not to purchase bottled water or soda. Or decide every bit of plastic you purchase must be recyclable (a lot is not), and then make sure it is recycled. Maybe, bare purchase your produce or meat without plastic. You know what plastic you use. Look at the plastic waste you create, what can you eliminate? Good Luck!

I challenge you to a July without plastic bags or plastic bottles.

States and Countries are changing the discussion on plastic:

Maine shifts the cost of recycling and trash to the manufacturers. Shifting the Costs of Recycling to Manufacturers, Not Consumers | Sierra Club

Landmark legislation in California will reduce single-use plastic by 25% over the next ten years. The ambitious law requires at least 30% of plastic items sold or bought in California are recyclable by 2028 and economic responsibility falls to producers. It’s the first state in the US to approve such sweeping restrictions. Guardian

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-59357222  Ban on single-use moves forward in England

London theatre to ban visitors from bringing single-use plastic bottles | Royal Court theatre | The Guardian

Recycling Myth of the Month: Those numbered symbols on single-use plastics do not mean ‘you can recycle me’ – Oceana   

2022-tips-to-use-less-plastic | Choose to Reuse (hennepin.us) 

July Choice

July should be one of the best times of the year. Make a choice to have outdoor time, listen to the birds and look for butterflies. Turn off phones and your TV and make a choice to enjoy your environment.

swallow tail butterfly

Enjoy the beauty of July!

Make a choice to be kind and work to be resilient. Make a choice for clean air by buying and driving less, and you will be doing something good for the earth. Make a choice to use less plastic and eat healthier. Wise choices will help you be happier. The Actions for Happiness group have lots of good choices for a happier July. Good luck!

Chin up, chin up
Put a little laughter in your eyes
Brave it, save it
Even though you’re feeling otherwise
Rise up, wise up
Make a little smile begin
You’ll be happy hearted
Once you get it started
Up with your chinny chin chin!

~ E.B. White

Misplaced Power

Dave Whamond

There is nothing pro-life about allowing more people to carry guns and there is nothing pro-life about making women carry a birth to full term if they are sick, raped, or incapable of taking care of a child.

The Supreme Court violated states’ rights in taking away a New York gun restriction and allowing more people to carry concealed weapons. More individuals will lose their lives. In the abortion decision they gave states the right to regulate and ban abortion. This is taking away women’s right to manage their own lives and bodies and is unjust for many poor, black and brown women. These decisions are freedom for men, restriction of freedom for women! Have you noticed that women have just become too powerful for some men?

“The state controlling a woman would mean denying her full autonomy and full equality.”

RBG

Both these decisions are unfortunately “White Male” without any understanding or caring about the consequences, it is only about imposing their ideology and power on all the American people.

These decisions have nothing to do with the constitution, they are about ideology– White male Christain ideology. These decisions are not about healthy communities, they are about using unrestricted power to dominate others.

Women must always vote. It is the only way we can change political power.

Clean a Storm Drain

June is Clean a Storm Drain month. It is also World Oceans Month. Keeping storm drains clean keeps trash and pollutants from entering our oceans and waterways that drain into the oceans.

If everyone does a little it adds up to a lot! Collective action matters.

Storm drains feed directly into our local lakes and rivers, unfiltered, so it’s important to keep them clear for cleaner and healthier waterways. June is an important time to keep the seeds, grass and sticks that are collecting on our streets and sidewalks out of our storm drains. While they might be “natural” debris they become pollution when large quantities hit the water, break down, and become food for algae. 

Sweep Up and Clean Up. Be part of a community effort for clean water! Thank you.

poster for clean water

Adopt a storm drain at https://adopt-a-drain.org/

June Justice

Do something kind!

We live in an unjust world. Children are shot for being at school, shoppers are shot buying groceries, and whole countries are under siege because leaders are full of lies and visions of power. Poor countries are suffering from climate change created by wealthy countries. We live in an unjust world

Justice and Truth!

We must work for justice and truth. As a civilization we will not survive if we don’t work harder for justice and electing leaders who speak the truth and do not spew hate.

We must do more to keep our children safe, and gun violence should be an issue Americans vote on, only then things will change!

Gun violence in America kills more children than any other cause. This is not a civilized society! All countries have mental health issues, but the United States needs the gun restrictions that other countries have managed to pass. See information from John’s Hopkins below.

Be kind

Make an effort to spread kindness every day! Kindness creates a ripple for more kindness!

From John’s Hopkins University:

“Ten people shopping for groceries in Buffalo were killed in a racist act of gun violence. The next day, worshippers at a California church were shot in another racist incident. Last week, tragedy struck again, but this time in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people, including 19 students and 2 teachers were killed in a mass shooting.

All are tragic reminders of why we need lawmakers to implement gun violence prevention policies that can prevent this needless loss of life.

As the new Center for Gun Violence Solutions – formed from the recent merger of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy – we are continuing to fight for evidence-based policies to reduce mass shootings including firearm purchaser licensing, firearm removal laws such as extreme risk protection orders, and bans on large capacity magazines.” John’s Hopkins University

https://www.everytown.org/

This is an excellent speech: https://www.nbcnews.com/now/video/watch-president-biden-s-full-speech-addressing-gun-control-after-recent-mass-shootings-141353029701

Good suggestions for working for community health and a kinder world: