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.

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

Make May Meaningful

Working together, if everyone does a small part it can add up to a big whole.

May is an exciting month. The days are getting longer, and after a cold spring the changes in nature will be enormous and fast. I hope you can get outside every day and enjoy the beauty of the plants, birds, and butterflies of our planet.

Early blooming native plants. Enjoy!

If you breathe, you should care about clean air. The wild fires have begun, and people are driving their cars, using lawn mowers, blowers and spreading chemicals. All these things contribute to dirty air.

How can we make May meaningful? You can choose to do some of these things to help create clean air for all of us.

-Never idle your car engine. Turn off your car when waiting or using your phone. Idle Threat: Turn Off Your Engine If You’re Waiting 10+ Seconds – Emagazine.com

-Participate in No Mow May No Mow May: 8 Reasons to Let Your Lawn Grow This Month – Bob VIla

-Plant natives and don’t use chemicals on your lawn. The Power of Trees – Health4earth

-Reduce your plastic footprint. The production of plastic pollutes our air, and plastic sheds chemical into our bodies and air. The burning of plastic in garbage burners creates more pollution! What is Microfibers Pollution and Why is It Bad? – Ocean Clean Wash 

-May Ukraine find peace. Take three breaths for peace in Ukraine.

-Find meaningful activities at the Actions for Happiness calendar:

Peace for Ukraine

Three Simple Things

What Can I Do?

If you breathe air or drink water, you should care about the health of our Earth.

We all know the Earth is suffering. What we fail to recognize is that a sick planet leads to unhealthy sick people and for long-term consequences for our children. 

We must hold business accountable for the plastic they produce, and they must be held accountable if they pollute our air and water. Our elected officials need to be held accountable to hold oil companies and plastic producers to rigorous standards. Most important, we also have to hold ourselves accountable for how we pollute our air and water. Holding ourselves personally responsible is what we can control!

Even little things can make a huge difference if we work together. On Earth Day recalibrate your life to do three simple things a week to lighten our Earth’s load:

Choose one day to eat meatless, choose one day to not drive, and choose one day to be plastic-free. On plastic-free day don’t purchase or use anything plastic, and don’t or eat or drink food from plastic containers.

Don’t eat or drink from plastic

Every Day do something kind, and please take three breaths for peace in Ukraine.

Peace For Ukraine!

This reading list is too long, but I hope you can read at least one of these excellent articles:

On Earth Day ‘the world is not on track’ | Opinion – Minnesota Reformer 

Opinion | Enough About Climate Change. Air Pollution Is Killing Us Now. – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

3 eye-opening, science-based New Year’s resolutions that could help everyone | PBS NewsHour 

U.S. Has Highest Percentage of People Who Aren’t Worried About Climate Change in Survey of 31 Countries – EcoWatch 

Report lists Mississippi as one of ‘most endangered’ U.S. rivers | MPR News

‘Breakthrough’ Study Finds Microplastics in Human Blood – EcoWatch   

And from my city: Kick single use plastics. In Minneapolis, less than half of plastics are recycled. Most plastics are made from oil and gas. About 4% to 8% of the world’s oil product is for plastics, and most plastics are thrown away after a single use. Plastics collect in our lakes and rivers and break down into micro and nanoplastics. One way to help is to bring your own bag to grocery and convenience stores.

Coca-Cola produces 200,000 new plastic bottles a minute and sells 112 billion plastic beverage bottles worldwide every year for a total of roughly 3 million metric tons of plastic packaging. The majority of Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles are not recycled and only 11.5% are made from recycled material. Many of Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles end up littered in the world’s rivers and ocean.

A Simple Solution

Do you love clean air? Are you curious? Do you live in a city? What does your city need to do to improve it’s quality of life? This is simplistic, but it is something I believe in, and I loved this solution for the problems of urban living. City living can become safer and healthier if we would all walk more.

Urban living is safer and healthier when we walk more!

When is the last time you walked to the store, a coffee shop, or a park near you? How about walking to a meeting the library, or to a friend’s house?  Do you need more exercise and more time outside?

walk walk walk

This ancient solution, walking, has solved the problems of cities for thousands of years. Urban life can become much better if people get out and walk more. I think communities would be safer and healthier! A recent study from Wisconsin shows walking more can be the critical difference leading to mental, physical and community health.  One Centuries-Old Trick Can Solve Your City’s Problems | streets.mn  

As a person who walks to almost everything I do, I am passionate about safe walking, and hope you will become a walker too. Start by walking to your nearest park as often as you can. Next, choose something close by, and make a habit to walk instead of driving. Leave your phone and music at home or in your pocket, pay attention, and discover something that you hadn’t seen before. What do you see? You will like it and feel better too.

Urban planners need to do better to make cities walkable. Sidewalks need to be free of holes and bumps. Some streets need to be designated for walkers, and an extra effort needs to be made so street crossing  is safe. Law enforcement needs to enforce the laws to keep all pedestrians safe, and all drivers need to be alert and stop for stop signs.  One urban planner I talked to wanted to take out stop signs, another is obsessed with putting bikes on the sidewalk. We must do better! 

Pay attention to pedestrians

One Centuries-Old Trick Can Solve Your City’s Problems | streets.mn  

Twin Cities get serious about crosswalk etiquette – StarTribune.com  

Paris, Barcelona and Vienna are implementing policies to discourage car traffic and favor pedestrians and cyclists. The French capital aims to ensure residents have all necessary services within 15 minutes by foot, bike or public transit. Barcelona is restricting traffic to major roads, while Austria this year is rolling out nationwide access to public transport for a flat annual fee of 3 euros ($3.60) a day.  Read more: A 15-Minute City Without Cars or Commutes Emerges as New Utopia

“Today, we are able to breathe again”

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother

“More than four in ten Americans breathe unhealthy air, with a disportionate impact on people of color” Paul Douglas

Last year on Earth Day I wrote how happy I was that because so many were staying home during the pandemic our air was cleaner. I loved it! This year we have moved to backward mode. Again exhaust fills our air. Many have breathing issues and dirty air makes their health difficult. What can we do different as we recover from the Covid pandemic and the murder of George Floyd? Let’s work so we all experience healthy breaths of air.

I am a firm believer that awareness helps people to take responsibility to do better. That is what this blog is about. So what bugs me, and what can we all do better? We need to have a better awareness of how we pollute the air what black and brown people experience just a few blocks away.

Many idle their cars in on my street in South Minneapolis as they read and talk on their cell phones. They sit in parking lots with their engines running, polluting everyone’s air. I don’t get it? Turn off your engine, save gas, and make the air cleaner for all!

Another rage is yard pit fires, Yuck, they pollute our air!

Million of tons of plastic end up in our landfills and oceans. Have you thought of how the production of plastic harms our air? Chemical plants making plastic are enormous contributors to air pollution, and often they spew chemicals polluting poorer communities. Also, some cities have garbage burners burning plastic polluting neighborhoods of people without power and without a voice. Plastic pollution is a social justice issue. Maybe if we think of plastic pollution/air pollution when we purchase plastic items we can say, “No plastic!”

See the story of plastic: The Story of Plastic (animated short) – Story of Stuff

This year for Earth Day, think of ways you might be causing air pollution: Turn off your car engine, drive less, limit yard fires, and say “No!” to single-use plastic.

We can create sustainable communities where we can breathe and live healthy lives. Let’s come together, become more aware, and work for cleaner air for all!

Reading and watching list

Pandemic pollution: Disposable masks, gloves are saving lives but ruining the environment | PBS NewsHour

Watch Story of the Bottle! – Greenpeace

Causes and Effects of Air Pollution | Go Green Academy

Air Pollution | CDC

Celebrate Trees

Trees clean our water and our air!

The power of trees is enormous. They add beauty and quiet to our lives. Trees work to keep our air and water clean, and they keep us healthy and happy.  Be mindful of the trees in your life! Trees create that sense of belonging and community, see the video below.

“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Planting trees helps fight climate change.” Arborday.org

 

Aug 1, Overshoot Day

August !, is Overshoot Day #movethedate

What is Overshoot Day? It is the day the people on earth start using more resources than the Earth can renew. In other words the last five months of the year we are living on borrowed time using more resources than the Earth can regenerate. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. To stay even we would need 1.7 earths to live on.  All countries are not equal in the amount of the earth’s resources they use. The United States is not great, using the most resources. The USA  would need 5 Earths to supply their needs, Australia would need 4 Earths to meet their needs, China would need 3 Earths, and India and many other countries helps balance it out and only would need 7/10th of an Earth to meet their resource needs.  Read more here.

We use the resources of 1.7 Earths.
We use more resources and services than nature can regenerate.

What about the future? I wish it were easier to solve this problem.  We consume too much and waste even more.  Everyday we need to think how important clean water and clean air are to our survival. Start by cutting  food waste, use fewer chemicals, strive for zero waste and quality when we make purchases, and of course, drive less. If everyone does a small amount, it can add up to a lot!

The Global Footprint Network has listed the four following solution areas to address ecological overshoot:

  • Cities: If we reduce driving by 50 percent around the world and replace one-third of car miles with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking, we can #MoveTheDate of Overshoot Day back 12 days.
  • Energy: Reducing the carbon component of humanity’s Ecological Footprint by 50 percent would #MoveTheDate 93 days.
  • Food: If everyone in the world cut food waste in half, reduced the Footprint intensity of their diets, and consumed world-average calories, we would #MoveTheDate 38 days.
  • Population: If every other family in the world had one less child, we would move Overshoot Day 30 days by 2050.

What are you doing to reduce your global footprint? Today as I was grocery shopping, refilling my containers, striving for zero waste, and being plastic-free.  What good ideas do you have?

 

What Unites Us?

“I see it as a hopeful sign that this eclipse captured the nation’s attention. For all that divides us, we are passengers on a global journey – together.” Dan Rather

As I attend reunions and talk with people who I see every few years, I think about what we have in common? What do we have to talk about in this politically charged climate? This morning I was struck by a moderate journalist, a meteorologist, talking about what we can all agree on? His thought was that clean energy, less pollution, cleaner water, and good paying jobs were things we could unite behind.  These are some of the top issues on this blog and things I am passionate about.  It would be a dream come true if we could agree on solutions for water and air pollution.

Front CoverDan Rather has written a new book on the same topic, “What Unites Us?”  He focuses more on our patriotism. Read about it here.

What do you think? What are issues we can rally around and find some common ground solutions?  Are clean water and clean air something for which we can find sustainable solutions?  What do you think can unite us?

Voters for Dirty Air And Water?

Do we want lakes that look like this?
Do we want lakes that look like this?

Did voters on November 8, vote for dirty water and dirty air?  I know one Trump voter who is totally against the Dakota Access Pipeline. I can’t believe that November’s vote was to trash our water and air! Please call your senators.

No matter where you live, call your senator and tell them to oppose Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA Administrator: (202) 224-3121
You can use this tool to quickly find your senator and click to call them: http://on.nrdc.org/2kkFfOL

Below is from the NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is the worst, most extreme nominee ever tapped to lead the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. We must stop him! As Oklahoma Attorney General, he has sued the EPA 18 times to fight clean air and water rules. Seventeen of these 18 he joined with fossil fuel companies in suing the EPA. Pruitt has gone to court to fight rules that would save up to 45,000 lives, and avoid hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and heart attacks every year.. More than 1 in 10 children in Oklahoma have asthma, which is one of highest rates of asthma in United States.

He routinely allies with big polluters to promote prioritize their profits over the health and safety of ordinary people. How could he possibly be qualified to protect our air and water?

Bottom line: he is unfit to serve as the nation’s top environmental steward. We only need 3 senators to swing their votes the right way to stop him! CALL RIGHT NOW.

No matter where you live, call your senator and tell them to oppose Scott Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA Administrator: (202) 224-3121
You can use this tool to quickly find your senator and click to call them: http://on.nrdc.org/2kkFfOL

And if you live in one of the following states, it is particularly important to call these senators:
Sen. Joe Donnelly (Indiana) 202-224-4814                             wp-image-1471591845jpeg.jpeg
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) 202-224-2043
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) 202-224-2523
Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada) 202- 224-6244
Sen. Jeff Flake (Arizona) (202) 224-4521
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) (202) 224-3353
Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) (202) 224-4944
Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) (202) 224-3954