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:

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-proposes-designating-certain-pfas-chemicals-hazardous-substances-under-superfund

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.

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/

An Amazing Ecosystem

Native plants and trees create their own living ecosystem. The plants, wildlife, birds and 🦋 butterflies all work together to support a thriving environment.

The fall and winter seasons are no different . Birds eat the seeds off my native plants all fall and winter. Leaf litter contains habit and hiding for moths, butterflies and other wildlife. So what do we do with all this leaf litter?

These are my leaf litter suggestions:

— keep your sidewalks, driveways, and streets free from leaves. Lakes and rivers are polluted by too many leaves flowing into storm drains which drain into Lakes and streams.

–Leave you plants standing until spring, they also add food and habitat.

–Never use a leaf blower, they are too hard on everything your ecosystem is creating.

–Gently rake leaves into your gardens. This is wonderful mulch and plant protection. Leaves nurture the soil.

–Winter and spring garden surprises will create joy. Watch for birds, wildlife, and early insects.

–Cut plants off in the spring and work the leaves into your soil.

Sweep Up Pick UP

Clean a storm drain week!

The official Adopt-a-Drain Fall Leaf Cleanup Week kicks off  Monday, October 11th, and runs through Sunday, October 17th.

Leaves in the street plug storm drains and pollute our waterways.



Storm drains feed directly into our local lakes and rivers, unfiltered, so it’s important to keep them clear for cleaner and healthier waterways. Fall is an especially important time to keep the leaves 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. 

poster for clean water

Keep our waterways clean!

Learn more at: https://adopt-a-drain.org/

World Cleanup Day

World Cleanup Day addresses the issue of waste and litter across the globe. On September 18, the international day of service gets communities involved to keep their own neighborhoods clean and sustainable.

We are all in this together. Let’s keep her clean!

So much of litter is plastic waste that easily flows into our rivers and streams, and then all the way to the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.

Plastic litter is harmful to wildlife!

This is an productive day to get out and pick up trash. Wear gloves, bring a bag and get outside to pick up the trash in your neighborhood or choose an area you know needs to be picked up.

Good luck, be safe, watch for traffic, and enjoy your outside time! Thank You!

poster for clean water

World Cleanup Day 2021  

World Water Day

Climate change will affect the availability, quality and quantity of water needed for basic human needs, thus undermining enjoyment of the basic rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for billions of people, warns the latest UN World Water Development Report.” United Nations

Today as we are all advised to wash our hands because of our world crisis, please take a moment to pause and think about our water. On World Water Day become mindful of your relationship to water on our planet. How do you use water? How many times during the day do you turn on the water faucet? Who keeps the water we drink and use safe? How does the water get to our houses? What can we do to conserve and keep our fresh water clean and safe?

The water we have on Earth is the only water we will ever have. It is used and reused as part of the water cycle. Please be mindful how you use it.

The largest fresh water lake
Lake Superior

March Madness

I voted sticker
Vote for science and truth!

As we enter March the world is gripped with a great uncertainty. The Coronavirus is creeping up on us, and in the United States we have a government that is more interested in their image than actually dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. This administration is good at one thing, blaming everyone else for their problems. We can’t trust what they say because they lie constantly, don’t believe in, or understand science, nor the experts. Gut feelings will not solve a health pandemic.
More uncertainity is brought about by the primary elections being held. The public is uncertain as to who has the energy and ability to take on and lead the United States with integrity.  Please vote for science and honesty in your primary election.

Then there is our warming climate. Yes, I love warmer winters, but enormous challenges face us in the future.

And more evidence the Trump administration is not honest with us.

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan

This March search out truth, share ideas that only have reliable sources, wash your hands, find beauty everyday, and practice mindfulness! The Actions for Happiness mindfulness calendar below:

Plastic bags are choking our Earth

Target Petition Urges Retailer To Ban Plastic Bags

Dear Target. Please ban plastic bags, or charge 25 cents per bag. Putting a cost on bags would make individuals value them, and hopefully reuse them, not just let them fly onto the streets and landscapes.

I get so tired of seeing plastic bags blowing on the street and fields, hanging from trees, left in bus shelters, and stuck in street gutters. These bags can last for hundreds of years, and then might only break into tiny pieces of plastic. They are made to last! It is time corporate America, Target and others, to step up and take leadership on our plastic problem. Also, each of us needs to take responsibility and always bring reusable bags shopping.

Retailers think they are doing enough by offering recycling of plastic bags. In fact only 5% of plastic bags are recycled, but according to my local recycler there isn’t much of a market for the recycling of plastic bags.

The best thing you can do is bring your own reusable bags!

health4earth
Bring your own reusable bags.

 

Some states and cities have banned single-use plastic. Read more here

 

2019 World Water Day

We love lakes! Keep them clean.

We love lakes, we love rivers and streams, and we love our oceans.  March 22, is World Water Day.  Clean water is a human right and should be available to every human being.  Unfortunately, some of us have too much water, but many don’t have enough water, and the water they have is polluted.  I am lucky to live in a place with lots of water, but it is a struggle to keep it clean. Many live with polluted wells and water from farm pollution. Why they have allowed farm run-off to pollute their wells is beyond me??? The farming industry has gotten away with polluting our water, and for some reason they now think they have that right. Where I live, farm run-off is the number one cause for the pollution of our water ways and ground water. Lack of regulation on agriculture can harm water resources when raising pork, beef and other livestock, along with sugar beets, corn and soy beans.

There are industrial cities like Houston, Texas, that allow industry to pollute air and water.  Stronger regulation is needed to stop water and air pollution, but that is not happening in the United States anytime soon.

Agriculture and industry are major water pollutants, but so is plastic. As the spring flooding overflows the banks of creeks and rivers the winter trash is getting washed off the land, into our waterways, then into our oceans. With some personal responsibility we all can make a difference with our behavior to water.

The Mississippi River water shed is flooding carrying plastic and farm pollution to the gulf of Mexico. Graphic by Jon Platek

What can we do to keep our water clean?

On this World Water Day weekend I challenge you to go meatless, I challenge you to go plastic-free, and I challenge you to get outside and pick up trash.

Yes, it is Cold, But….

Yikes, it’s cold where I live! The high today is -15 F, and with the wind it feels colder. Please don’t feel sorry for us. It is just another extreme, and we are all living in a time of extremes. We have extreme droughts, extreme rains and storms, and extreme heat. Minnesota might be back to 40 degrees  in just a few days, a 70 degree high temperature change in a few days! Yes, extreme!

Most of us would rather be here in the cold than in the extreme heat and drought Australia is experiencing.  While our cold weather is a short blip, they are experiencing a long-term extreme. Read about it here.

The sun shines, and frost on the window.

There are some advantages to a short cold snap like this. We can hope that some of the invasive bugs that are unchecked because of our warmer winters will be stopped or slowed down. The cold will completely freeze over the lakes which make them safer for winter activities, and can also lessen summer algae. My favorite thing about the cold is that the sun often shines making for beautiful bright days.

Polar Bear weather in the mid-north of the United States

Is this part of climate change? Why does this Arctic air escape the Arctic? The Arctic has warmed faster than the 1.8 degrees the Earth has recently warmed. This warming has weakened the jet stream winds that would normally stay north, but this climate warming has caused these winds to seep south. Our warming planet has confused the jet stream causing them to rush where they normally don’t blow, bringing the Arctic winter cold with them.  The extreme heat in Australia is a more serious problem that isn’t a passing scenario like our short-lived northern cold.  Yes, our changing climate is real and we are experiencing it every day.