Hope2012


UNDER-REPORTED: ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS ROUND-UP

ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH

Nanotech Exposed in Grocery Store Aisles (Global Research 3/13/08)
EXCERPT: “Untested nanotechnology is being used in more than 100 food products, food packaging and contact materials currently on the shelf, without warning or new FDA testing, according to a report released today by Friends of the Earth. The report, Out of the Laboratory and onto Our Plates: Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture, found nanomaterials in popular products and packaging including Miller Light beer, Cadbury Chocolate packaging and ToddlerHealth, a nutritional drink powder for infants sold extensively at health food stores including WholeFoods.”
Navajos wary of uranium mining (Washington Post 3/27/08)

Mobile phones more dangerous than smoking (Independent UK 3/31/08)
Plan to spray toxic biological chemicals over San Francisco announced (Natural News 3/11/08)
EXCERPT: “People of the world, the US Government is planning to poison more than two million people, in California, using an untested biological “pesticide” this summer. The chemical to be sprayed is classified by the EPA as a “pesticide” and the plan is to douse cities with this chemical designed to stick on everything for 90 days or longer. This application is not a one time event, but will continue every 1-3 months for as long as five years. The pesticide to be sprayed is not designed to harm the light brown apple moth’s who it is designed for, but merely to confuse its mating habits. While harmless to moths, the pesticide has been documented to harm humans.”Side effects range from vomiting and flu like systems, to male and female reproductive cycle disruption. One child nearly died from the exposure, and some people have developed asthma from being exposed to this chemical concoction. It is cause for alarm that a chemical being labeled as harmless and “safe” even in minute doses, causes severe health effects in some people. The government is racing to cover up and hide the dangerous health effects so that they can continue their aerial spray plans this summer. Your attention and action on this subject is needed in the most important way.”
The Hawaiian Battle Over Aspartame Continues (Text of Bill from Hawaiian Government)
New hazard map shows most at-risk US communities (National Geographic 2/12/08)
“Scientists created the index to identify by county which populations may be less able to respond to and cope with natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, or hurricanes.”
Mapping North American Environmental Issues (Treehugger 2/21/08)
Is a new dangerous biohazard site coming to your state soon? (Alternet 3/29/08)
Toxic Government Report Suppressed (AP/Yahoo 2/8/08)
EXCERPTS: “A much-delayed U.S. government report has been obtained by journalists, raising allegations that officials may be suppressing politically inconvenient data that, if released, could help protect the health of millions living in the Great Lakes region of the country…The study, “Public Health Implications of Hazardous Substances in the Twenty-Six U.S. Great Lakes Areas of Concern,” was developed by the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at the request of the International Joint Commission, an independent U.S-Canadian organization that monitors and advises both governments on the use and quality of boundary waters. It brings together two sets of data: environmental data on known “areas of concern” — including superfund sites and hazardous waste dumps — and separate health data collected by county or, in some cases, smaller geographical regions. The findings pointed to elevated rates of lung, colon, and breast cancer; low birth weight; and infant mortality in several of the geographical areas of concern…
“As many as 9 million people — including residents of Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee — may be at risk from exposure to pollutants including pesticides, dioxin, PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls), and mercury, according to Sheila Kaplan, an investigative journalist who covered the story for the Center for Public Integrity.”
FDA cites risk of toxic head lice drug (USA Today 1/30/08)
“The sole U.S. maker of an insecticide-based treatment for head lice has stopped promoting the product after a sharply worded warning from the Food and Drug Administration that its marketing misled consumers by downplaying the rare, but serious, risks of the treatments…… In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency banned lindane as an agricultural insecticide, citing its toxicity. About 50 other countries already ban or restrict the agricultural use of lindane.”
The last paragraph of the article finally says it’s banned in other countries – and we allow them to sell it to put on kids’ heads?!
Baby shampoos, lotions and powders may expose infants to chemicals that have been linked with possible reproductive problems (Houston Chronicle 2/3/08)
San Francisco Sewage Spill Estimated at 2.7 Million Tons (USA Today 2/2/08)
Western diet boosts colon cancer risks by 300% (NaturalNews 1/24/08)

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS / FRANKENFOOD

Genetically modified seeds can last up to ten years in soil (BBC 4/2/08)
GM pollen can kill butterflies (BBC 5/20/99)

“COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER”

Death of the Bees: GMO Crops and the decline of bee colonies in North America (Global Research 3/25/08)
Colony Collapse Disorder Worsening (Palm Beach Post 3/24/08)
EXCERPT: “Last week, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., led a bipartisan group of senators in calling on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee to set aside $20 million for research into the problem of the disappearing bees. Boxer’s letter was designed to speed the funding process, spokesman Nathan Britton said. The bill, which has been passed by the Senate but has stalled in the House, contains $100 million for a five-year study of the disorder.”
“In addition, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is leading a push to get the USDA to increase its efforts to identify the cause and remedy for the disorder and to put more dollars into research. Signatures are still being collected for a letter that will be sent to the USDA, Baucus spokeswoman Sara Kuban said. Although the USDA issued a Colony Collapse Disorder research action plan in July, Baucus’ letter expresses concern about how the program is being implemented.”
Blah blah blah .. so in five years, we MAY do something about it? We may not have any bees left, but we’ll certainly have enough starvation to go around.

WATER: NECCESITY FOR LIFE

How do we meet the global demand for clean water? (Alternet 3/31/08)
36 States to face water shortages over next five years (NaturalNews 3/31/08)
It’s Time for the UN to Make Water a Human Right (Alternet 2/21/08)
EXCERPT: “All over the world, groups who are fighting for local water rights are championing an international instrument on the right to water. Due to over-development and climate change, fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce. In addition, in many communities across the globe, people cannot get access to whatever clean water does exist without paying private corporations. The global water crisis is evident. We need a global solution in form of a United Nation Covenant on water.”
We Face Worldwide Drought With No Contingency Plan (Alternet 11/25/07)
Oil in my Water? (Polaris Institute 1/22/08)
EXCERPT: “Most people know of Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, ConocoPhillips and British Petroleum as some of the world’s biggest oil companies. These corporations are synonymous with gasoline, motor oil and environmental degradation. Regardless of their ubiquity in our everyday lives, many people are not conscious of how these names are intimately linked to the bottled water industry through the production of PET plastic bottles.”
“Given that 80% of the PET produced in the United States ends up in a Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Nestlé beverage container, we thought that it would be useful to highlight the direct links these bottled water producers have with the largest oil, chemical and plastic corporations on the planet. This analysis will help complete a picture of who is profiting from supplying oil based plastic to the bottled water industry and that the players in this supply chain are some of the worst environmental polluters of our time.”
Fish from Northern Gulf may be contaminated (Houston Chronicle 2/5/08)
EXCERPT: “Several outbreaks of ciguatera fish poisoning have been confirmed in consumers who ate fish harvested in the northern Gulf of Mexico, the Food and Drug Administration said today. The FDA said that fish such as grouper, snapper, amberjack and barracuda represent the most significant threat to consumers. They feed on fish that have eaten toxic marine algae. The toxin is stable in the tissue of living fish and does them no harm. But larger carnivores have higher concentrations of the toxin in their tissues. As a result, the greatest risk of poisoning for humans comes from the largest fish.”
Video: Huge Intentional Fish Kill in Sacramento (CBS 11/22/07)
From sewage, added water for drinking (NYTimes 11/27/07)
Dow contamination site could be worst ever in US (Manufacturing.net 11/26/07)
“A dioxin find at the bottom of Michigan’s Saginaw River could be the highest level of such contamination ever discovered in a U.S. river or lake, according to a federal scientist involved in cleanup efforts downstream from a Dow Chemical Co. plant. A crew testing the Saginaw and Tittabawassee rivers discovered the sample, which measured 1.6 million parts of dioxin per trillion of water, The Saginaw News and The Detroit News reported last week. That level is about 20 times higher than any other find recorded in the archives of the U.S. environmental agency.”
The world’s rubbish dump: a garbage tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan (Independent UK 2/5/08)
EXCERPT: “The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan. Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex”, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: “The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.”

CLIMATE CHANGE

Western US heating up twice as fast as rest of world (Treehugger 3/30/08)
Global Warming: Nine Things That Will Put Us Over the Edge (Independent UK via Alternet 2/8/08)

BIOFUELS

Nation’s ecological scientists weigh in on biofuels (ScienceBlogs 1/11/08)
Indian minister attacks biofuels (BBC 3/26/08)
Biogasoline idea refined by Dutch Shell and Virent Energy Systems (Houston Chronicle 3/26/08)
Biogasoline: Greener Alternative to Ethanol? (Treehugger 3/28/08)

OTHER

25 Environmental Threats of the Future (ABC 3/30/08)
War Gardens: Over the Top Victory (Grit 6/12/07)
First they came for the Geiger Counters (Treehugger 1/30/08)
“New York City Council, at the suggestion of the Department of Homeland Security, is looking at legislation that requires anyone who has or uses a detector that measures chemical, biological or radioactive agents to get a license from the Police Department.”
US will not distribute radiation poisoning pills (USA Today 1/28/08)
“The federal government will not give anti-radiation pills to millions of people who live 10 to 20 miles from a nuclear plant because there are more effective ways to protect people in case of an accident or terrorist attack, the White House said Monday… In 2002, Congress ordered the Bush administration to stockpile the over-the-counter pills, but it left a legal loophole allowing the White House to scrap the distribution requirement if officials determined there was a better way to prevent cancer.”
And that ‘more effective way’?
“After a six-month study, Marburger invoked that loophole Monday. He said evacuation and distribution of uncontaminated food would be more effective and warned that pill distribution could distract people during a crisis.”
Earth is Us (NYTimes 1/28/08)
EXCERPT: “Some earth scientists are pushing to enshrine officially a decades-old idea — that Earth is now in a biogeochemical era of our own making that should be distinguished from the Holocene, the epoch that began with the end of the last ice age. They say the new period should be called the Anthropocene epoch — a name proposed in 2000 by Paul J. Crutzen, the atmospheric chemist (now at the University of California, San Diego) who shared a Nobel Prize for work on human-caused damage to the ozone layer, and Eugene F. Stoermer of the University of Michigan.”
What an awful title for an article. Humans cannot survive without the Earth – the Earth can certainly survive without us. There’s little argument that humans have rapidly changed the Earth’s environment, so hey, why not name an epoch after us? If there are any future anthropologists to know about it…
China to block major polluters from stock exchange listings (EconomicsBriefing 11/21/07)
Saving Yasuni National Park, Ecuador (ZMag 12/2/07)
EXCERPT: “The Yasuní national park, found in Ecuador at the intersection of the High Amazons and the Andean mountain range, is one of the places with a high index of bio-diversity on the planet: more species of trees are found in each hectare than in all of the United States and Canada. Most importantly, its two million hectares are inhabited by the Huaorani, Tagaeri and the Taramenane, descendants of the original people of America and owners of a millennial culture of life in tropical ecosystems.”
“Yasuní is probably one of the last and most important battlefields in overcoming the pillage of the extractive industries remaining in the humid tropical forests of the High Amazons. Perhaps it is also the crossroads for our civilisation. But Yasuní also has petroleum and one of the most important fields is Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) with proven reserves of 920 million barrels of petroleum.”
The Threat of Population Growth Pales Compared to the Excesses of the Rich (Alternet 1/31/08)
Tar Sands: The Most Destructive Project on Earth (Treehugger 2/19/08)
EXCERPT: “Environmental Defence just released a new report on the Alberta Oil Sands, calling it the most destructive project on Earth. DeSmogblog gleaned some facts from it:
-Oil sands mining is licensed to use twice the amount of fresh water that the entire city of Calgary uses in a year.
-At least 90% of the fresh water used in the oil sands ends up in ends up in tailing ponds so toxic that propane cannons are used to keep ducks from landing.
-Processing the oil sands uses enough natural gas in a day to heat 3 million homes.
-The toxic tailing ponds are considered one of the largest human-made structures in the world. -The ponds span 50 square kilometers and can be seen from space.
-Producing a barrel of oil from the oil sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil.
I think Three Gorges Dam is a solid competitor for this title.
How does solar energy work? (Treehugger 3/27/08)
The Human Cost of Chocolate (CNN 2/15/08)
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