SUDDENLY WAKING UP TO OUR ENVIRONMENT - BEYOND THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA

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Back in the Day - It was one of those big school trips to Boston that our 5th Grade class had looked forward to. I wanted to take some pictures of “pollution” for a science assignment. I remember taking pictures with my instamatic camera out the school bus window. I captured a few smoke stacks as we made our way to Boston from the small Connecticut town of North Stonington. Every school kid in those days was aware of the importance of our environment. We had learned about the decimation of DDT, of air and water way pollution through newspaper and magazine articles featured in our current event class. I remember getting the pictures developed (remember those days), being disappointed with the results and concluding pollution was hard to see. Even today, pollution remains difficult to see unless you make the effort to raise your awareness about it.

Greenland08As a student, I continued to be interested in our environment. There was significant progress within the US in the 1970’s.  As I became of age, I voted for those candidates that would work for a clean environment and were not afraid of doing the right thing when it came to environment legislation.  Then I stepped away, not keeping up with what was happening, or more importantly, what was not happening.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t alone and the world is now paying the price.

 

The evidence has been mounting.  Just ask the unemployed fisherman in New England, California, Washington and Oregon.  Mothers-to-be should avoid Tuna Fish.  People that live within 1 mile of an interstate have significant higher instance of respiratory disease.  There are few fish in the streams and lakes in the Northeast, victim of years of acid rain.  The bat population in New York and Vermont has been devastated by an unknown virus.  You have to limit or just cannot eat fish out of our Great Lakes.  The list goes on and on.

Raising Awareness – Bioneer Conference

I had the privilege of attending an environmental conference called Bioneers in San Rafael, CA. The three day conference featured some incredible human beings dedicated to our future as Human Beings. Not just you and I, but our kids, our grandkids and the unborn generations to come.  I wanted to share with you 10 things I learned:

  1. Wild salmon throughout the world is under siege. Higher water temperature have allowed a parasite to devastate the populations in Europe and has started to impact the Pacific Northwest.
  2. David Orr, opened my eyes to the Presidential Climate Action Project. This 100 day plan is for the next US president to implement. The plan will help the next president to form an environmental plan to reduce our carbon footprint. He spoke of one measurement, our CO2 content now over 380 parts per million, more than 50 parts per million have been added since my trip to Boston as an eighth grader. The US contributes 25% of the total carbon emissions to the world atmosphere.
  3. China has much higher mileage requirements for their automobiles than the US.
  4. Sandra Steingraber, author, ecologist and biologist spoke of how she learned she had cancer 30 years ago. Doctors spent considerable time detailing her family history where Cancer ran rampant. It sounds like it is genetic except Sandra is adopted. Research on adoptees with cancer indicates the environment may be the most important factor not genetics. There are 700 chemicals in use today with only 3 having been banned by the EPA.
  5. The Mushroom Man (my term), Paul Stamets, our planet’s leading mycoentrepenuer, researcher and inventor showed how a certain type of fungi can eat oil-soaked soil while making nutrient-rich soil and how fungai can destroy the most difficult bacteria. Bacteria that even our most powerful antibiotics are ineffective.
  6. David Orr, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College and renowned environmental author had a vision of the environmental equivalent of Ben Bernique stormed the White House demanding 700 billion dollars to save our environment and preserve our national security through truly clean energies solar and wind (no more oil) and reduction of all pollutants because our environment is on the brink of collapse.
  7. Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface Inc (Billion dollars in sales) leading manufacturer of carpets, has taken on transforming this company to reduce their carbon foot print by 50% and is on track to meet an even better goal of a zero footprint by 2015. By the way, the company is more profitable as a result of this effort.
  8. Reductionism is a very narrow approach that often fails to solve problem or the solution creates more problems than it solves.
  9. Lucas Benitez, a champion of labor rights explained how the tomato picker of Florida (picking a crop that represents 80% of all winter tomatoes for the US) up until recently made $.30 per 35 pounds of tomatoes picked. This is the same wage they received in 1978. Through a creative approach they were able to get an increase of 2 cents per 35 pounds.  This was done not through the farm owner, but by pressuring the supply chain buyers for Taco Bell, McDonald and Burger King.  Management would not speak with any worker representative. One of the comments from management was we do not negotiate with “Tractors”. Inferring pickers were machines.
  10. RE-AMP is a seven state network including Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota are leading the way to reduce electricity sector global warming emissions 80% by 2030.  All seven state governors signed an accord committing their states to the emissions cutting goal. This region of the country relies heavily on coal burning power plants.  This unusual network consisting of environmental groups, ratepayer groups, labor, rural economic development groups, and others—all working for sound policy solutions to stop global warming.

These 10 items are just the beginning.  I would urge people to learn more about these “Bioneers” and what is being done to improve our planet.  Check out Bioneers.