Posts Tagged ‘environment’

West Virginia: Life in the Spill Zone

March 13, 2014

West Virginia: Life in the Spill Zone

“Life in West Virginia wasn’t all that easy to begin with. It is the third poorest state in the country; almost 18 percent of its population lives below the poverty line. Many people in the spill zone are now spending a chunk of their paychecks simply to have access to clean water — a necessity so fundamental it’s one that people in a developed country should expect.”

— “Don’t Drink the Water: West Virginia After the Chemical Spill,” Heather Rogers, Rolling Stone

Related:

“Chemical Valley,” Evan Osmos, The New Yorker

“What’s that smell in West Virginia water?” ScienceBlog

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Axolotl

February 22, 2014

Axolotl

Mexico’s amphibious Axolotl, the strange looking “water monster,” may be almost extinct in the wild, warns Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México biologist Armando Tovar Garza. Ambystoma mexicanum, the “walking fish,’ of Lakes Chalco and Xochimilco, is unmistakable with its slimy tail, stubby legs, plume-like gills and goofy smile. The odd critter is under habitat pressure from urban sprawl, competition from recently introduced fish species like carp and tilapia, and capture for aquariums, laboratories, and pet owners.

Frankly. we believe the decline of the strange species began in 1961 when Frank Jacobs and Wally Wood published the recipe for Axolotl Pudding in Mad Magazine.

Related:

Axolotl Poem from MAD magazine #43, 1958

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Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

January 16, 2014

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia
The business-friendly, health-challenged state of West Virginia has still not recovered from the spill of 7,500 gallons of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) from Charleston’s Freedom Industries chemical plant into the Elk River, drinking water source for 300,000 people in nine counties. Some recent updates:

“Why So Many West Virginians Relied on Water from the Elk River: Industry Already Polluted the Others,” Nora Caplan-Bricker, The New Republic

“Safety violations found at another Freedom chemical facility,” Lindsay Abrams, Salon

“West Virginia chemical spill shines spotlight on loose regulation,” Alexandra Field. Meridith Edwards and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

“West Virginians Tolerate Chemical Spills Out of Fear of Losing Jobs,” Robert Reich, Moyers & Company

“I’m From West Virginia and I’ve Got Something to Say About the Chemical Spill,” Eric Waggoner, Huffington Post

“Thirsty in West Virginia,” Emma Fisher, Salon

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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West Virginia Ministry of Truth Press Conference

January 11, 2014

West Virginia Ministry of Truth Press Conference
In Charleston, the capital of West Virginia, a 48,000 gallon tank at the Freedom Industries plant dumped a chemical called 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM) into the Elk River, a water source for 300,000 people in nine counties. Residents have been warned not to drink or wash with their tap water. Officials from the West Virginia American Water Company and Freedom Industries immediately held a press conference to address this public health crisis.

Press conference speakers had been well-trained by Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, and adhered to its principles:

West Virginia American Water President Jeffrey McIntyre: “I can’t tell you that the water is unsafe … but I also can’t tell you it’s safe.”

Freedom Industries president Gary Southern: “Our intent is to be absolutely transparent and we’ll tell you what we know, as much as we know. … We have no information on that.”

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Found in the Trash: Music & Children

October 20, 2013

The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, Paraguay.

More:

LandFillharmonicMovie.com

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Nuts! The Threat to Our Nation’s Infrastructure

September 23, 2013

Nuts! The Threat to Our Nation's Infrastructure

For years now we’ve told you, and told you, and told you yet again about a persistent threat to America’s infrastructure. Now that the New York Times has caught up, maybe now you’ll listen.

This year there have been stealth attacks on the electric power grid in Virginia, Illinois, Delaware, Virginia, Oregon, Ohio, Maryland, and dozens of places across the country, and they continue. These attacks on electrical substations are predictable and avoidable, yet nothing is done to avert them. Perhaps if we claim they are caused by Iranian hackers we can get relief.

More:

“Squirrel Power!” Jon Mooallem, New York Times

“Squirrels and electricity: A shocking problem,” Bruce Kennedy, MSN Money

“How squirrels are screwing with America’s power grid,” Katie Drummond, The Verge

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China’s Farms: ‘The Good Earth’ No More

August 22, 2013

China's Farms: 'The Good Earth' No More

A fifth of China’s farmland is polluted by industrial effluent, sewage, excessive farm chemicals, or mining runoff. There’s carcinogenic cadmium in the rice. Heavy nitrogen fertilizer use is turning the soil acidic and less productive.

Tom Philpott summarizes recent reports:

“6 Mind-Boggling Facts About Farms in China, Tom Philpott, Mother Jones

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Attention young people: The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl Buck.

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Giant Machine Tunnels Under Nation’s Capital

April 11, 2013

Lady Bird, a 400-foot-long, $30 million, 1,300-ton German-made tunnel boring machine, will soon be carving miles of 22-foot-wide tunnel 100 feet below the Potomac riverbed. It’s part of DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, the second-largest civil engineering project in DC history (only Metrorail is bigger). When completed in 2025, the $2.6 billion EPA-funded dig will keep raw sewage from flowing into the Potomac and Anacostia when it rains hard. That’s what happens now (it’s called CSO, “Combined Sewer Overflow”).

Lady Bird will be underground and out of sight, but you can follow her on her own Twitter account.

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Rock Creek Park: 20 Deer Down, 130 to Go.

April 2, 2013

Rock Creek Park: 20 Deer Down, 130 to Go.

Despite protests by concerned DC citizens, sharpshooters have bagged 20 deer in Rock Creek Park, which runs though the middle of the Nation’s Capital. The National Park Service is reducing whitetail over-population in the urban outdoors, and hopes to harvest a total of 150 critters by the end of a 3-year deer-reduction period. Resulting venison is donated to local food banks and shelters.

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Image (“Rock Creek Deer Hunt, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Bye-Bye Bambi: The Hunt Is On In Rock Creek Park.

March 27, 2013

Bye-Bye Bambi: The Hunt Is On In Rock Creek Park.

In the dead of night, while half the city is out of town for Easter Week, the National Park Service is implementing its ruthless slaughter of helpless, cute, fuzzy deer whitetail reduction plan in Rock Creek Park.

More:

“‘Deer Reduction Operations’ to Begin Tonight in Rock Creek Park,” Martin Austermuhle, DCist

“Sharpshooters to begin killing deer in Rock Creek Park for National Park Service,” AP via Washington Post

“Rock Creek Park Deer Slaughter Starts Tonight,” Will Sommer, Washington City Paper blog.

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Image (“Bye-Bye Bambi, after Atelier de Walt Disney”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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