Most of us in the north county enjoy a beautiful snowfall, but hate ice. Even with a mild winter, there is thawing, refreezing and ice! As I walk through neighborhoods I see salt residue sitting on sidewalks and streets. Please sweep this up. The salt runs into our lakes and streams and is very harmful to fish and plant life. Highway departments, businesses and homeowners all need to be conscious of the salt they use. My local hardware store has a corn-based product they claim works well that is lake-friendly.
It takes only one teaspoon of road salt to permanently pollute 5 gallons of water. Once salt is in the water, there is no way to remove it. Salt harms fish, plant life and the over all quality of the lake or stream.
Suggestions to protect our lakes and waterways:
Always shovel sidewalks and driveways.
Remove ice on days when melting is occurring.
Redirect your drain-spouts so they don’t drain on to the sidewalk. Capture water run-off in a rain-garden.
Be safe, and try to avoid the ice in the first place which I know can be impossible. A tiny amount of salt can go a long way.
This week 5 activist judges on the U.S. Supreme Court delayed implementation of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. A delay that could throw clean air into years of litigation. This also gives China, India and other countries an excuse to delay their own clean-air plans to reduce dangerous carbon emissions.
This past December 195 nations came together in Paris for an incredible historic agreement. They agreed to work together to reduce carbon emissions. A corner-stone of this agreement in the United States was to require states to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. To accomplish this states need to switch from dirty coal and oil to the renewables of solar and wind, or however the state chooses to get to a 30% reduction. Twenty-seven states are protesting these new rules, and the Supreme Court says these lawsuits need to finalized before the Clean Power Plan is implemented. My rural electric cooperative does not support clean air initiatives because they don’t want to pay for it. This is a lack of vision for the future. I think that switching to renewables will be cheaper for consumers in years to come!
What these climate deniers don’t understand is the cost of doing nothing about air pollution is much more expensive. The oceans will continue to warm and rise, storms intensify, and the clean up and health issues will continue to cost billions of dollars a year. Many lives will be lost because of this lack of vision for the future.
A recent study by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation has found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This is a terrible man-made crisis, and not enough is being done to stop the cascade of plastic. Everyone of us needs to take personal responsibility to reduce our plastic consumption. The plastic industry is unchecked, and never should such a nuisance product been put into society without a plan to clean up or reuse. We are stuck with plastic, but we can all reduce the amount of plastic we use today and every day from now on. Especially think carefully before you purchase a plastic tubes that cannot be recycled. There is too much information in this post, but I hope you can find one thing below to help you to reduce your plastic consumption!
The MPCA study says recycling pumps billions of dollars into the Minnesota economy. The 60,000 jobs and the new products created from recycling are worth billions to Minnesotans. Products created from recycled materials are the most exciting! When you purchase products from recycled materials, you are closing the recycling loop.
What happens when you close the recycling loop? The first arrow
represents the first step of recycling, Collection of materials for recycling. Arrow two represents the manufacture of new products from the recyclables. Arrow three is the purchase of the products made from recycled items. This is “Closing the loop” or a circular economy. A win- win!
Why do we recycle? It saves valuable resources, keeps material from the landfills, reduces polluted landfills and as this report (below) shows produces economic opportunity and jobs!
This election is already too long, too silly, and too expensive, but please don’t sit it out! Choosing the next president of the United States is a long cumbersome process, and such a small number of people actually participate in this beginning process, but it is the most important! Those that show up have the power!
How do we get more people to participate? You are important to this process, and everyone needs to feel that their vote and their opinion count, but you can’t do that if you don’t show up. If you don’t vote, you pass your power as a citizen to those that do participate. With all the money in politics, participation in the voting process is our one voice. This voice is needed to try to keep big money and corporations from making all the rules. Good elected leaders are important to health of our planet and the health of our people. We need to elect serious leaders that are capable of getting the big picture and choose leaders that are not beholden to those that make big financial contributions. A democracy is only as strong as those who work to make it strong by participating.
In Minnesota like Iowa we have caucuses. Caucuses take a high level of commitment. Political parties organize and run the caucus meetings. Because the political parties run the caucus meetings, many think they aren’t welcome. Everyone is welcome, and your voice is not heard if you don’t attend. Even though I don’t like the process, I attend. I believe in the voice of all citizens. You need to attend because your voice as to who is elected is just as important as the party hacks and leaders. In Minnesota you don’t need to be registered to participate according to what I read, and I have never seen anyone register. Caucuses in Minnesota are not set up to register people. Find you caucus location through your state Secretary of State website.(This is Minnesota as an example)
If your state has a primary you are lucky, go and cast your vote on the correct date, at the correct polling location, but make sure you are registered. Call or google your city hall or Secretary of State to find out how to register and where to vote. Every state has different rules for registering and voting. Don’t waste your one vote! See the link below for your state’s primary election or caucus date.
The job of all citizens is enormous, and your help is needed! Caucuses can be fun. Go and make a night of it. You will learn something, and you will meet new people! If your state has a primary election, get registered and vote. Our country will be stronger the more people who participate. Many around the world would love to have this opportunity!
See when your state presidential event takes place in the link below:
“There is a privacy about winter that no other season gives you. Only in winter can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” Ruth Stout
January has been a month of peace, quiet and intense beauty on Lake Superior. Snow frosted balsams radiate a charm that goes unnoticed during other seasons.
The face of the lake can change hourly as the lake refreshes itself, and the wind shifts. The lake dramatically changes from ice-covered to a few floating chunks of ice, and then back to ice-covered. Sporting new looks adds to the mystique of this enormous fresh water lake.
Food waste composes about 30% of our landfill waste. If left to rot in landfills it can create green house gases, and if it is burned, it pollutes the air. We can change food waste into a new healthy material for our gardens and plants. The end result of food waste is compost. No fertilizer or chemicals needed with compost!
I am thrilled my city, Minneapolis, is beginning to collect food waste for composting. You need to sign up for a cart by February 1, 2016.
Below is a great video about commercial composting:
If you have participated in commercial composting in your city, give us some tips to help us learn about it.