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.
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.
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.
“Huge news out of the UK today that major supermarket chains and companies are committing to a five-year plan to eliminate plastic pollution, especially in packaging. The video in this article also contains some great tips for personally moving beyond plastics.” Earth911
The Minnesota Legislature is debating preemption laws to keep cities from banning plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. Other legislatures throughout the country are prohibiting cities from banning plastic. In the United States we can’t depend on lawmakers to do what is best for our earth, so we must responsibly choose to do the right thing ourselves. See poster below. I would add to this Bristle poster, Never purchase products in Styrofoam.
The weather becomes weirder with everyday, right before our eyes. The extremes are becoming the normal. In the past 10 years we have experienced historic floods/rain, historic droughts, historic snowand historic warming. Denying climate change is not an option, nor is the affect humans are having on our earth. The weather is a combination of many things. The winds, location of the sun, the warming oceans, the chemicals we spew into the air/land, too much dark green in the Arctic and many other factors. How much do humans on earth have to do with all of this?
Somehow we need to put things into balance. When we make purchases, put gas in our tanks, eat beef, waste food, and use chemicals, we should ask ourselves, “Is there a better way to do this?”
This is a message to Minnesota Governor Dayton asking him to veto the legislation that takes away Minneapolis’s plastic bag ban.
Below is my letter to the Minneapolis http://www.startribune.com/ It was published a few months ago. It is ridiculous the Minnesota legislature is trying to take away Minneapolis’ right to ban plastic bags. Why should the plastic industry have the right to say which rules the city of Minneapolis should enact???
To the editor,
Today as I drove north out of Minneapolis on 35W, I was sad to see waste plastic bags hanging from fences and decorating plants and trees. I thought of the op-ed by the manufacturer of plastic bags telling us how wonderful his bags were. (Facts Don’t Support Columns Call for Ban on Plastic Retail Bags)
We all observe many bags with purchases leaving our stores, but only .06 percent are recycled. Plastic poses a serious threat to our wildlife that eat and become tangled in this trash. Plastic takes many years to decompose and releases toxins into our soil and water during this long process.
The Minnesota Legislature is trying to ban Minneapolis’s hope to reduce plastic bag use which goes into effect later this year. Governor Dayton should veto this silly legislation, and all Minnesotans should take personal responsibility to recycle clean plastic bags at grocery stores, and reduce their use of this harmful litter.
Call #Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (651-201-3400) and tell him cities should have the right to ban plastic bags. VETO SF 1456!
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!
Where are the companies that manufacture and make a profit on this plastic and Styrofoam when it comes to clean-up?
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.
Every pedestrian who loses to a driver is tragic. (http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-pedestrian-death-spike-illustrates-grim-us-trend/409805035/) Last year, I was knocked down by a car as I crossed 50th Street with the walk light in Minneapolis. By contrast, when I’m crossing busy Tower Avenue in Superior, Wis., cars and trucks from every direction stop and wait for me. Why would drivers in Superior have a different standard? Many of us want and expect walkable communities. Law enforcement and everyone must do better.
This is my letter to the editor published in the Startribune.com on January 9, 2016.
My not so funny joke for Water Wednesday. A conversation I had this past week!
Friend: I hear Donald Trump has invested lots of money in bottle water.
Me: Why would he do that?
Friend: He wants to get rid of all regulation to protect our drinking water.
In contrast, Minnesota Governor Dayton has called for a Year of Water Action. He encourages all Minnesotans to take a role in protecting our state’s most precious resource for future generations. Read more about it here.
What are you doing to protect our water resources? Reduce chemicals, sweep sidewalks and streets, install rain gardens, plant deep-rooted plants, stop building campfires, recycle and compost, clean off boats and equipment, What else?
“Today, Minnesota set the strongest rules in the nation to protect pollinators from pesticides,” said Lex Horan of Pesticide Action Network. “The plan will help ensure that bee-harming pesticides won’t be used unnecessarily, and it lays the groundwork for reducing the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. This decision is rooted in the resounding scientific evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to pollinators. It’s past time for state and federal decisionmakers to take action to restrict the use of bee-harming pesticides, and today Minnesota did just that.” Read the whole story here. Another story from Minnesota Public Radio.
Magnificent Lake Superior has over 300 rivers and streams that drain into it. Last week it was a brown lake because of mega rainfall in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan where many rivers dumped sediment from the storms. I am on a road trip from Duluth, Minnesota along the south shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste Marie and the St. Mary’s River. Canada is on the other side of the lake and across the St. Mary’s River.
An ore boat leaves Lake Superior on the St Mary’s. River headed toward Lake Huron
Even though 300 streams drain into the big lake only one, the St. Mary’s River, carries boats and water away from Lake Superior. The St. Mary’s River carries about 42 billion gallons of water from Lake Superior daily.
Lake Superior, looks browner than this picture below appears. I think the sun makes it look bluer than it is.
Minnesota, the land of “Sky Blue Waters” is adding more than 300 lakes, rivers and streams to its list of lakes and streams that are impaired. The story from MPR is here.
About two-thirds of Minnesota watersheds have been tested and 40 percent of Minnesota rivers and lakes have been found to be impaired by farm runoff, bacteria, mercury or other pollutants.
The below ideas for protecting our lakes is from the Superiorforum.org , Sigurd Olson Institute, Northland college, and the EPA, and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:
1 .Be conservative with your water use.
2. Recycle as much as you can with the 4 Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle and repair. And….NEVER burn trash.
3. Curb Yard Pollution. Put your lawn on a chemical-free diet!!
4. Stop aquatic invasives by cleaning plants and animals off your boat.
5. Plant native plants, and reduce turf grass.
6. Plant native trees According to Audubon, oak trees are the best for attracting insects and birds.
7. Install a rain barrel
8. Create an energy-efficient home.
9. Bring hazardous waste to waste collection sites.
10. Love our lakes!
I would add several more:
1. Rain gardens are excellent for capturing harmful water runoff.
2. Keep leaves and trash out of streets and storm drains-Adopt a storm drain!
Love our lakes, rivers and streams. Take care of them!
3. Never use cleaning products or hand sanitizer with triclosan.
4. Reduce all plastic use–If you must use plastic bags and bottles, be sure you recycle them. 5. Pick up all liter.