The Arctic and Whales Collecting Our Plastic

Do we want waterways that look like this?

This shouldn’t surprise me, but I am upset to read about the plastic trash in the Arctic Ocean.   Plastic trash is now so ubiquitous that researchers have found hundreds of tons of it floating in the Arctic Ocean.  Read the whole story here.

Why shouldn’t I be surprised by this?  The “local control” advocates, in the Minnesota legislature are trying to derail Minneapolis’ plastic bag ban from happening later this year. I have just returned from a road trip to Washington, D.C. and I found only a few places to recycle along the way, most on college campuses. I could go on and on about what I see throughout the world in regards to plastic trash. A sad story about a whale collecting all this plastic . Our earth has a massive problem!

Plastic breaks into tiny pieces and wildlife eats it!

Where are the companies that manufacture and make a profit on this plastic and Styrofoam when it comes to clean-up?

Styrofoam I pulled from Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. It is breaking into small pieces and could last forever!

The oceans belong to all of us.  No one has the right to pollute and trash the ocean or the rivers or lakes.

What can you do? Have plastic-free shopping trips by bringing your own containers, and never purchase products on Styrofoam trays.  2. Encourage your community to put up and maintain recycling containers.  3. Pick up trash on your walks. 4. Recycle everything you can. 5. Always bring your reusable bags shopping.

Last, a remote Pacific island has become a reservoir for the waste of the world as it piles onto this pristine island.

Bring you own bag

 

 

 

 

Storm Lake Wins a Pulitzer

Our polluted lakes and rivers!

We love an underdog, and when a small town Iowa newspaper takes on the industry that dominates its state you pay attention! The Storm Lake Times has just won a Pulitzer Prize for editorials on Iowa’s water problems caused by agriculture. To me this is a story about justice and fairness.  Why should an industry be allowed to pollute, and harm the health of surrounding communities? Why has it become such an expensive struggle in farm country for communities to provide clean water for their residents? Because I live in Minnesota where agriculture has poisoned many of our lakes that are near Iowa, I have followed this story of Des Moines Water Works suing the surrounding Iowa counties.  The Storm Lake Times and Art Cullen receive all my praise and congratulations for their year of editorials on this challenging issue.

Below is one of Art Cullen’s editorials:

“The public would appear to have made up its mind about the Des Moines Water Works lawsuit against Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac counties over nitrate pollution of the Raccoon River. The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll reported Sunday that 60% of those surveyed believe the water works was right to sue drainage districts in the three counties for discharging polluted water into the river.

It is virtually the same result the poll found a year ago.

Urban residents, small towners and even rural dwellers all show majority support for the water works position. This after a barrage of advertising in the Des Moines TV market sponsored by Farm Bureau, and a host of radio ads aiming to fire up rural residents against encroaching government.

Anyone can see how filthy Storm Lake is, how the Des Moines River near Humboldt is a mud flow, how shallow lakes in Northwest Iowa have eroded into duck marshes.

Anyone with eyes and a nose knows in his gut that Iowa has the dirtiest surface water in America. It is choking the waterworks and the Gulf of Mexico. It is causing oxygen deprivation in Northwest Iowa glacial lakes. It has caused us to spend millions upon millions trying to clean up Storm Lake, the victim of more than a century of explosive soil erosion.

Everyone knows it’s not the city sewer plant causing the problem. And most of us recognize that this is not just nature at work busily releasing nitrates into the water. Ninety-two percent of surface water pollution comes from row crop production — an incontroverted fact from the court case.” The entire editorial

And an excerpt from another Art Cullen editorial: “Which goes to show that nobody really knows what to do. The initial reaction to the lawsuit was to condemn the water works for interrupting our way of doing business. The second intuitive reaction was to throw a ton of money at the issue. The agri-industrial community has tried to convince us it will take $6 billion or $10 billion or $15 billion to protect Iowa’s surface water from nitrate pollution. It scares the bejeebers out of taxpayers, especially in defendant counties.” The entire essay

Read more about this story here.

The farming community should never have been exempt from the Clean Water Act. Agri-business has become too powerful and now there is no controlling them.  The reasons why regulations are so important for the health of us all!

Our Urban Rivers

We all live on lakeshore. If you have a storm drain on your street it probably drains to a lake or river. The crap we are inadvertently putting in our rivers is cause for concern, and we must become more aware of the harm we are doing to our waterways and drinking water.  A new study just done by the University of Minnesota looking at water quality finds the state of our urban rivers grim. Read about it here.

The water we have on earth is the only water we will ever have.  We aren’t getting any more water, and must take care of what we have.  In this above study, homeowners that use chemicals and owned dogs were the worst offenders for polluting our water run-off. This run-off goes directly down the storm drain into lakes or streams. Once we know the source of

Growing yards without chemicals!

the pollution we get at the beginning stage to solve the problem: Don’t use chemicals on your yards, always pick up after your pets and keep your sidewalks driveways and street clean! It is more complicated, but this gives you a based-line to work from!

Urban pollution is not anywhere on the magnitude of agricultural run-off polluting the Mississippi River, but urban dwellers should take it seriously.

 

Celebrate World Water Day!

Happy World Water Day!

Lake Superior in winter

International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.  http://www.worldwaterday.org/

The water on our planet is the only water we will ever have.  There is no getting

The Mississippi Watershed by Jon Platek

more of it!  We need to appreciate our waterways and take are of them.

On this World Water Day what sustainable practices protect our waterways?

My simple suggestions are: 1. Appreciate our water 2. Go chemical-free 3. Re-use the water that runs off your

Rain gardens and rain barrels collect run-off

house/garage/property /

Buffer strips along lakes and streams  protects water quality.

4. If you have water property, plant a buffer-strip of plants/trees to collect run-off from your yard/agricultural land.

And a video of migrating sand hill cranes on the Platte River

 

Stories to give you Positive Energy

To make the world a better and safer place we must generate positive energy. This is another round of amazing news stories that tell us in what direction the future is moving. I congratulate these countries and communities for their sustainable goals and effort. This is my occasional series on great news stories.  Renewable energy, managing trash and gender equality are some of the positive energy stories of the past week!

1. In September Kenya is going to ban plastic bags. Read about Kenya here.  

2. Georgetown, Texas, a conservative town in oil country is fueled by wind. Wind power saves them money over oil energy.  Read about it at Georgetown

3 Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality, the Nordic nation’s government said on International Women’s Day. Read about it at Iceland

4. The United States installed a record-smashing 14,762 Megawatts (MW) of solar power in 2016 — a 97 percent jump over 2015, according to data just released. For the first time ever, solar was the number one source of new generating capacity, beating out wind and gas. Read about it at solar power.

5. A water wheel is cleaning up Baltimore’s harbor picking up plastic and other trash. Read at Baltimore

6. Sweden is on target to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2040. An amazing goal for this dark northern country. Read about at Sweden.

What sustainable exciting things are happening in your community?

 

Water Is Life

We can't take clean water for granted!
We can’t take clean water for granted!

No one should be allowed to pollute our water ways, no one! The water we have on earth is the only water we will ever have and we must take care of it. Mr. Trump has proposed to roll back regulation for our waterways, but says he is for clean water??? The water on earth belongs to all of us, not to just big business or farmers, but to everyone. We depend on clean water for drinking and recreation, and wildlife needs clean water for survival.  We cannot choose profits over the health of people. It will take time and much litigation to eliminate these rules, but we all need to speak out for clean water. Read about rolling back clean water protection here.  Pay attention to actions not to worthless talk!

Donate to the following organizations that litigate for clean water:

NRDC, (Natural Resources Defense Council)

Earth Justice

 

Good Ideas to Reduce Plastic

turtle-plastic by ecomena.org
turtle-plastic by ecomena.org

This is an excellent blog on reducing plastic from http://www.ecomena.org. It is so simple!
Ecomena’s top ways to reduce plastic are:
1. Bring your own shopping bags
2. Buy bulk and refill your own containers
3. Don’t purchase bottled water
4. Say “No” to straws

Read the entire blog here

And, Health4earth on Refuse Plastic 

Bring your own water bottle
Bring your own water bottle

 

 

Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles
Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles

Surprising Microfibers in Fish and Food.

Jon Platek
by Jon Platek

Living in a cold winter climate, I love my fleece shirts, and have been struggling with this information for a few months trying to ignore the facts.
Studies have shown the Mississippi River is full of these microfibers. These are even smaller than microbeads.   Microbeads in soaps, make-up, and toothpaste created much worry and Congress has banned them. However, new studies are showing that microfibers are worse for us and wildlife than microbeads. Yikes, very confusing.  Read the entire article on the Mississippi River study

Information from NPR:

The innovation of synthetic fleece has allowed many outdoor enthusiasts to hike with warmth and comfort. But what many of these fleece-wearing nature lovers don’t know is that each wash of their jackets and pullovers releases thousands of microscopic plastic fibers, or microfibers, into the environment — from their favorite national park to agricultural lands to waters with fish that make it back onto our plates.
This has scientists wondering: Are we eating our sweaters’ synthetic microfibers?
Probably, says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Toronto, St. George. “Microfibers seem to be one of the most common plastic debris items in animals and environmental samples,” Rochman says.
In fact, peer-reviewed studies have shown that these synthetic microfibers — a type of plastic smaller than a millimeter in length and made up of various synthetic polymers — have popped up in table salt in China, in arctic waters and in fish caught off the coast of California. These tiny fibers make up 85 percent of human debris on shorelines across the globe, according to a 2011 study. They’re basically inescapable. So it’s not unlikely they’re finding their way into the human diet, especially in seafood.” NPR

Fleece keeps us warm!
Fleece keeps us warm!

I hope that municipalities will come up with filters that will take these fibers out of our water during sewage treatment, or filters will become available to put on our washing machines, but until then we can wash our fleece less and try to consider some alternative natural clothing like wool and cotton.

  1. Wash fleece less often.
  2. Stay informed on microfibers
  3. Wear cotton and wool

https://health4earth.com/2014/07/16/what-products-contain-microbeads/

Ways to Complain

Donate today 

NO one has called, but the White House comment line is closed!
No one has made calls to Donald Trump complaining about his renewal of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines??? The White House comment line has been closed for a few weeks!  This is what he said this week, “As you know I approved two pipelines that were stuck in limbo forever. I don’t even think it was controversial. I approved them. I haven’t even had one call from anybody saying that was a terrible thing you did. I haven’t had one call … Then as you know I did the Dakota Pipeline and no one called up to complain.” Donald Trump
The telephone comment line to might be closed , but you can send a tweet @realDonaldTrump or send a post card. I hope you will do both. You can also call one of his businesses: https://whitehouseinc.org/  or contact him through this link: http://p2a.co/xdL9jbf

Some background:

  1. This is an excellent analysis from NRDC.
  2. More information from Ecowatch
  3. An idea for a postcard from NRDC “I am outraged that you have issued executive memoranda clearing the way for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines with no input from the American public. I urge you to reverse course on these dangerous and dirty fossil fuel projects.
    These pipelines are not in our national interest and I, along with millions of others, will fight you every step of the way if your administration moves forward with them.” Idea from NRDC for postcard20170124_153543