Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We need Recycling Centers!

Now my home town does not have a recycling center, so what are people going to do with all of their recycling materials?!  I’m sure that they’re not a lot of people that used the center (I hope I’m wrong). The city needs to step up and do something about the problem.  All small towns need to do something about recycling.  I know I have talked about this before, and it still needs repeating.  The city or county need to be in control over recycling centers, so the people know that the process is completed correctly.  We hope that it would be.  Privately owned companies always have something to lose or to gain and in most cases it’s money.  I want every house, apartment, business or street side to have separate garbage bins.
I know all of this is a long shot.  It will take re-educating people for a proper recycling service to work.  Just think of all of the JOBS it would bring to small towns.  I know people love seeing that word, so I did it bold.  If you want change and things to get better, than get up off your ass and help fight.  Nothing is ever going to happen overnight, but if you can get a small number of people together in your own community and just complain to the power at bay.  Let your voices be heard, and be a voice for those who physically can’t leave their home.  I want to see small town cleaner and pollution free.  We can do it.  We just have to stick together.
Below is an article from what just happened in my home town.
UNION CITY, Tenn. - A massive and destructive fire that started Thursday morning at the Greenway Recover and Recycle Facility in Union City, Tennessee is still burning, and the facility is destroyed.
According to the Union City Fire Department, the fire started when a cardboard bailer caught fire.
Fire officials tell our Elizabeth Fields that employees tried to battle the initial fire and thought they had extinguished it, but the Union City fire chief says by the time there crews arrived on scene, the fire had spread under surrounding material.
Fire crews fought the blaze inside until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, but it eventually got away from them and overtook the building.  The roof of the facility collapsed at 8:00 p.m.
At some point overnight the flames spread from the building to the material in the yard outside of the building.
Firefighters have one truck on each side of the building to help combat the intense flames.  At this point they are still trying to keep the fire from spreading.  Fire officials tell us it could still be a couple of days before the fire is fully extinguished.
Firefighters are guessing that it could take days before the flames are completely burned out, and will continue to rotate shifts until the fire is out.
Greenway Recover & Recycle officials tell us their plan is, once the fire is out, to clean-up and try to get back to work as soon as possible.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Small town grocery shopping

Okay, so I am moved.  I have moved to an area that is smaller, and where it is more difficult to find common grocery items, as in all natural and organic. Too much of my surprise, Wal-Mart Supercenters are stocking more all-natural and organic products.  Even the smaller stores, but don’t get your hopes up too much, the sections are small, but it is a start in the right direction.  Something is better than nothing.  They still do not have organic produce in the smaller stores, so everyone that is still searching for better and healthier produce you have to tell them that you want it.  Go to the store manager and let them know that you want better produce in the store.  They are not going to do it themselves unless the corporate office tells them to stock it.
If we want change in the stores that we shop, than get up and let the stores know.  We do not all live in a large area where there is a selection of stores to pick from.  Most people live in small towns where the selection of products and stores are all the same, Wal-Mart and the local grocery store. 
Now, I am not the biggest fan of Wal-Mart.  I never have been, but if that is all you have then you have to deal with it.  You have no choice.  I was just glad to see that even in this small store, they had sections at the end of the aisles for all-natural and organic products.  If you have the time, you can also look down each aisle to see if there are more products.  I bet you will find some.
For every dollar you spent, you are placing a vote to what is in your store.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yes on Prop 37!

Alright Californians, this needs to be passed. Set an example for the rest of the states to follow.  We do not need GMO's on our shelves and homes, if we do not want it.  These companies need to be honest about how they create their products.
In November, Californians will be the first to vote on a landmark proposition (Proposition 37) to decide if food using ingredients that have been genetically modified should be labeled as such. Here is the precise wording:
Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling Initiative Statute
           Requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.
           Prohibits labeling or advertising such food, or other processed food, as “natural.”
           Exempts foods that are: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages.
As expected, the big food companies are not interested in such disclosures, while the smaller companies using non-GMO ingredients are in favor. The former have spent over $25 million in their efforts to kill proposition 37.
Here are 37 reasons why Proposition 37 MUST pass
1. GMO crops’ environmental benefits are questionable; GMO crops require pesticides too.
2. Genetic modification is NOT the same as selective breeding. Side effects are unknown.
3. There have been NO long term studies on GMO safety.
4. We don’t need more super weeds.
5. Anything brought to you by the makers of Agent Orange does not inspire trust.
6. GMO labeling will not make food more expensive. If labeling GMOs was cost prohibitive, European manufacturers would go bankrupt (they DO label GMO’s).
7. In an animal study, GMOs caused sterility within 3 generations. Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise for your great grandkids?
8. The long term environmental impact of GMO crops is unclear.
9. GMO crops are sterile, keeping farmers at the mercy of biotech firms each growing season. (ie price hikes…)
10. GMO corn is used as livestock feed. Harms the animal, and then harms the human?
11. Honest labeling does not mean the US will become a “nanny state”.
12. 90% of Americans support GMO labeling.
13. GMO crops have NOT SHOWN any increase in crop yields on average.
14. GMO crops have huge R&D costs. Manufacturers must sell, sell, sell to recoup costs, safe or not.
15. If Prop 37 passes; it will increase sales of smaller food manufacturers and add diversity, helping rebuild local communities.
16. You can wash off pesticides, but GMO, whose genes serves as inborn pesticides, can never be washed off.
17. GMO crops poison insects, which then die from infections from bacteria like E.Coli.
18. Superbugs are evolving to circumvent GMO protection.
19. Cross pollination contaminates non-GMO crops, without the consent of their growers.  There is no turning back after that.
20. GMO ruins generations of farming traditions, most notably saving and reuse of seeds.
21. GMOs are forever – the BT toxin from GMO corn has been found in the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses.
22. Food allergies have skyrocketed since GMO introduction into the food system. Coincidence?
23. The studies that claim GMO foods are safe have been funded by GMO manufacturers.
24. Big food corporations oppose GMO labeling, why are they afraid to let consumers know what’s in their food?
25.  Scientists can’t agree on whether GMOs are safe or not. Shouldn’t we have the right to sit on the sidelines, at least for now?
26. Nutrition surprise!  GMO and conventional crops aren’t the same, but you could never know since they’re not labeled.  One study showed that compared to conventional soy, GMO soy has less protein, less phenylalanine, less choline and less of the B-complex vitamins.  It has more trypsin inhibitor and its lecithin levels were double regular soy.
27. Whether we want to eat GMO products or not should be a consumer choice – when items are not labeled consumers no longer have that choice.
28. Studies on GMO with negative results can and are being blocked from publication by the seed and biotech companies.
29. GMO puts Biodiversity at risk.  One study showed BT crops were lethal to protected insect species in Europe.
30. Allergy transfer.  When the Brazil Nut was genetically engineered into a soybean, the GMO soybean caused an allergic reaction in those allergic to nuts.  While this specific GMO was not approved, the fact that allergens can be transferred is quite concerning. People with allergies deserve to know.
31. Passage of proposition 37 will stimulate a wave of new product reformulations that will ultimately benefit consumers.
32. Many big food companies claim that eating healthfully is a matter of personal choice. How can one exercise personal responsibility when huge economic conglomerates are fighting to keep us ignorant?
33. If proposition 37 passes in a large state like California, it will have a ripple effect to the rest of the country.
34. Proposition 37 is not a Democrat / Republican issue. We should all demand the freedom to know what we feed our families.
35. Because this is the opponents’ lame excuse for not doing it – “It’s a deceptive, deeply flawed food labeling scheme that would add more government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs, create new frivolous lawsuits, and increase food costs by billions–without providing any health or safety benefits.”
36. Revolving doors between the FDA / USDA /other government offices and biotech companies such as Monsanto have delayed GMO labeling since the early 90′s when the first crops were introduced. In Europe, GMO labeling from day one made sure that a GMO market would not develop at all. Mandatory labeling going forward will make sure no new GMO crops are added to the market before their safety has fully been assured.
37. Transparency airs out all corruption.
Vote YES on Prop 37!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Appalachian strip mining

Let's go to the mountains!......while we still have them?



What is Mountaintop Removal?
In traditional underground coal mining (also called deep-mining), miners descend into the mountain and mine the coal from within, altering the mountain's internal geology, but leaving the surface intact. As its name suggests, mountaintop removal is a method of coal extraction in which the mountain is removed from the coal, rather than the coal from the mountain. It is a highly mechanized form of strip mining, relying on a combination of ammonium nitrate explosives and massive machinery to dismantle the mountain and extract the coal.
The process begins by clear-cutting the bio diverse hardwood forest that blankets Appalachia, preparing the mountain for blasting. With the forest gone, the topsoil and rock that sit above the mountain's coal seams, termed overburden by the industry, are blasted and scraped away to reveal the coal seams that run in horizontal layers through the mountains. Twenty-story tall dragline excavators and house-sized haul trucks push the trees and mountain's pieces into the valleys and hollows below, burying the headwaters of major American river systems. These rubble-filled valleys are known as valley fills.
 The massive machinery is then used to scrape away the coal and haul it off of the mine site to processing plants, where mountaintop removal coal is combined with deep-mined coal and washed with water and chemicals. The resultant toxic waste is mixed with more water to make slurry, which is then pumped into abandoned mines or man-made lakes held in mountain hollows behind earthen dams. Coal leaves the processing plant in trains, trucks, or barges, bound for coal-fired power plants across the nation. When mining is done, the rough contours left by the blasting and digging are leveled, and the ground is seeded with grasses, plants, and trees hardy enough to survive on the rocky surface left behind.
In addition to the permanent disfigurement of the land, each phase of mountaintop removal creates environmental hazards, all of which are acutely felt in the Coal River Valley and ripple through our broader society.
The Mountaintop Removal Process

1) CLEARING   

The hardwood forests that blanket the mountain are clear-cut to prepare the mountain for blasting. Sometimes the timber is harvested, but often the trees are burned or pushed down the mountainside. Topsoil is often pushed into the valley below.
2)  BLASTING

To dislodge the earth and rock above the coal seams, termed as overburden by the coal industry, ammonium nitrate explosives are detonated in holes drilled into the mountain. In addition to the soil and rocks loosened by blasting, white silica and chemical-laden dust become airborne, settling on the surrounding communities.  Prolonged silica inhalation leads to silicosis. 


 3) DIGGING

The rubble left in the wake of the blasts is removed by 20-story tall dragline excavators and house-sized haul trucks, exposing the mountain's coal seams. Blasting and digging can remove as much as 1,400 feet of elevation from a mountain. 

 4) VALLEY FILLS

Haul trucks dump the rubble into the valleys below the mountain to create valley fills, which have buried over 1,900 miles of headwater streams. The denuded mountain and rubble-filled valleys increase flooding due to increased runoff during rainfall.   

5) PROCESSING and    RECLAMATION    

After the coal has been mined, reclamation begins. Barren land is covered with plants and grass hardy enough to survive in the rocky ground left behind. In some cases, hardwood trees can take hold again, but in all instances it will take the long process of succession for native ecosystems to return.



Where is it happening?
The Appalachian mountain range is the oldest range on Earth. It stretches from Newfoundland in the north to Alabama in the south and supports immense biological and cultural diversity throughout its range. In Central Appalachia, underground coal mining has been a way of life for thousands of people and their communities for over one hundred years. As a region, Central Appalachia's coalfields are the second largest U.S. producer of coal after the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana.  Increasingly, where there is coal to be found in Appalachia, there is mountaintop removal.  More than 470 mountains, across eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, throughout West Virginia and creeping into western Virginia, have been permanently altered by mountaintop removal.  Today, in the Coal River Valley, coal extraction through mountaintop removal has become a fact of life. Of all the mountains that form the valley, only one remains intact - Coal River Mountain.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What is the Coal River Wind Project?

I found this article from 2008 about greener cleaner wind power, but what is this project all about and what was it.  Some of the information is below.
If Senator Barack Obama ever needs a living symbol of change we can believe in, and a hopeful way to transcend the dirty politics of our failed energy policies, he should go and see the future of renewable energy in the Coal River Valley in West Virginia.
Yes, renewable energy in Appalachia.
Something historic is taking place in West Virginia this summer. Faced with an impending proposal to strip mine over 6,600 acres -- nearly 10 square miles -- in the Coal River Valley, including one of the last great mountains in that range, an extraordinary movement of local residents and coal mining families have come up with a counter proposal for an even more effective wind farm.
Mother Jones, the miners' angel, once declared: "Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living."
Having witnessed the destruction of over 470 mountains and their adjacent communities in Appalachia, the Coal River Valley citizens are doing just that. On the frontlines of one of the most tragic environmental and human rights scandals in modern American history, the community-wide Coal River wind advocates have devised a blueprint to get beyond the divisive regional politics and break the stranglehold of King Coal on the central Appalachian economies.
The Coal River Wind Project is the first bottom-up community-based full scale assessment to directly counter the nightmare of mountaintop removal with a renewable energy and economy alternative prior to the actual mining.
We have a choice. It is not simply coal or no coal, jobs or no jobs. The issue is how do we create jobs and clean energy forever, and begin the transition in Appalachia and America away from dirty coal.
And Barack Obama, and all Americans, has a chance to be part of Coal River Valley's landmark decision for our nation's dependence on renewable or nonrenewable energy sources. Either we continue to hand out permits for mountaintop removal (two permits in this area have already been granted), unleashing millions of tons of explosives, blasting local communities to Kingdom Come, provide less than 200 jobs for 14 years of coal mining, contributing the dirty coal firepower for continued carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, or, we can stake out a third way in renewable energy and economic development.
Consider this: The Coal River Mountain Wind Project would:
-Create 200 local employment opportunities during construction, and 50 permanent jobs during the life of the wind farm. It takes only 35 years for a wind farm to provide a greater number of one-year jobs than the proposed four surface mines combined.
-Provide 440MW or enough energy for 150,000 homes -- indefinitely, as well as a sustained tax income that could be used for the construction of new schools for the county.
-Allow for concurrent uses of the mountain, including harvesting of wild ginseng and valuable forest plants, sustainable forestry, and mountain tourism, as Coal River Mountain is one of West Virginia's finest mountains.
-Preserve the historic Coal River Mountain heritage, and protect the land and communities from blasting, dusting, poisonous drinking water, increased flooding, damaged homes and personal property, and devastated wildlife habitat.
In 1892, in Barack Obama's adopted city, the Chicago Tribune wrote in an editorial: "How long can the earth sustain life," if we depend on the "wonderful power of coal?" The Tribune editors lambasted Americans for our lack of vision and our lack of energy conservation, and our need to "invent appliances to exhaust with over greater rapidity the hoard of coal." They declared:
Doubtless the end of the coal, at least as an article of a mighty commerce, will arrive within a period brief in comparison with the ages of human existence. In the history of humanity, from first to last, the few centuries through which we are now passing will stand out prominently as the coal-burning period.
The Tribune editors in 1892 assumed Americans would move beyond coal and onto renewable energy sources.
We may be a hundred years late, but the realities of global warming and climate change, and the brutal process of extracting coal, should remind us that it is not too late for Barack Obama and the rest of the nation to be a part of this exciting new energy future for Appalachia, and the entire country.