Monday, December 20, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Some of us question why anyone would have considered such a plan as feasible. Residents of St. Louis County and City registered their opposition to such a threat to drinking water provided by the Missouri River all along the course of the River. A local physician, Dr. Friedman, testified to the existence of heavy metals in coal ash, and strongly advised that if contamination occurred it could cause multiple disorders in adults and developmental disorders in children or fetuses.
Presiding County Commissioner John E. Griesheimer seemed to believe that the whole matter is a simple one that concerns only the County itself, although all testimony was courteously received. The weight of the testimonials suggested that residents of the two counties agreed that the concerns about the coal ash itself outweighed any common zoning matter.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Despite all the knowledge we have accumulated we continue to exceed ourselves in numbers while simultaneously waging long wars, disrupting the balance of nature by recklessly using resources. The wars are aimed at obtaining access to resources. To say they are defensive is a universally understood lie. Corporate raids on other continents are seen by local peoples as outright robbery, with environmental consequences in Nigeria, Mexico, South and Central America, plus elsewhere, that serve our consumerist culture.
Sometimes I have to just laugh outright about political ideas that are so naive and sometimes backwards, being voiced by leadership inside D.C.
Plant bioengineering, which is extremely expensive, is being seen as quite successful by some people in political positions. Meanwhile, in reality, the use of genetically modified (GM) seeds has been resisted in Europe while it "seems" extremely popular among growers in the USA. As to all the ins and outs of why this is so, let's just boil it down to money versus common sense. Monsanto, an International Corporation based in St. Louis, has been The major producer of GM seeds. How many citizens here even know this story?? Among the most vilified of corporations on earth by environmental and justice activists, Monsanto is rich enough to fight any opposition to the use of their seeds in court, including in Canada.
Just from a purely personal perspective I have found that eating corn based foods that are produced, processed and packaged in the USA is hazardous to my digestive processes. Some sort of corn is widely distributed in all sorts of prepared and packaged foods. Blue corn I do tolerate, but not yellow. This is only my own minor evidence that it doesn't suit me well, of course. But scientists do recognized that bio-engineered plants are not being investigated adequately for adverse affects to human consumers. No, I never watched the movie KING CORN, but I think I get the picture.
We have a stunning lot of money available to research certain areas of human life, including food production, commercial and manufacturing products like computers, machinery, electronic gadgets, and the sciences. How much time and success, on the other hand, do we devote to social investigation, conflict resolution, conflict intervention and diplomacy that have proven positive outcomes? Are we simply a genetically impaired species that cannot make any sense out of ourselves and how we relate? Why exactly does a world leader not envision his or her own country boundaries as friendly territory with a neighbor rather than as a challenge to be overwhelmed by dominance?
Isn't it obvious, when you are watching old episodes of Star Trek, that the science of a live future is human communication?
Maybe I am just naive, even in old age.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Well of course, you take measures to restore the environment to how it was some 10,000 years ago.
Sergei Zimov is the environmentalist who was also featured in my previous post.
Fortunately for Missouri students and hobby level environmentalists like me we have some judicious journalists who are interested in this subject and willing to post AP news stories about the likes of Sergei Zimov.
Thank heavens for small favors and the irrepressible spirit of science to search for hope.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Putting things into perspective, we live on a finite planet. Russia is close enough to Sarah Palin that she says she can see it across the Bering Strait from her back yard. With this map you can examine the fact that the methane leak reported in the above article is not all that far away from us. The atmosphere is in danger according to scientific discovery. That is where the methane will end up.
View Larger Map
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Meanwhile, our friends in Labadie, MO are still working hard to convince the EPA that a coal ash dump site out there should not be allowed. It sits right on the Missouri River. Coal use has become a dastardly act in my mind, and Ameren UE is providing us electricity from its use. Well, what can we do?
Couldn't we simply install residence by residence solar that can be plugged into the grid? How long might this concept take to get into successful replacement of fossil fuel? How many panels per residence, etc.?
In a small town in Portugal a solar plant was established within range of the community. How was this worked out, I wonder-- as a countryside version of space use, or integrated into the town itself? These articles don't go into specifics to such a degree.
Couldn't some of those buildings be advantaged into usefulness for the good of the community in a broader sense? A lot of us are still angry about this slow economy, & some will be suffering until it is really back in business. Perhaps some of us could come together in our own residential areas to stun up some responsibility out of especially the larger chain stores which do want to attract us to shop at their businesses. Couldn't they invest in solar panel gardens on their roofs and unused parking expanses? It would be a simple way for us to demand that they look at their bottom lines as dependent on their shoppers, remembering their good fortune, indicating that they can accept cultural responsibility for the greater good of all. Local ordinances might help. Utility companies could be regulated into cooperating with the right push from responsible legislators.
This is a proposal that I am just thinking up by myself, but if you would like to consider working towards a similar goal for a more sustainable urban environment I hope my good karma will carry me toward you in the coming months, while I am also tending to the home fires of my health and, hopefully, some new residential address that works better for me.
More to come.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
This Tuesday is the major election of 2010, when the citizens of the whole country express their opinions at the polls and the resultant outcome can either baffle us or stun us into a celebratory evening. This year the stakes are higher than average, it seems, because of the changes in the election process that have been effected by a recent Supreme Court decision which resulted in virtually unlimited corporate funding for some political positions and offices.
Very few people are like me in my recent determination to leave television behind, preferring other use of my time and other sources for my education or entertainment. When the local broadcast stations limited TV reception to HDTV I just left the whole thing behind, using internet for my most likely source of information. Therefore I haven't actually been one of the many subjected to multiple negative ads during this election season. Lots of people undoubtedly just mute them. But others may be absorbing the competition as making some weird sense. Will this become part of the total dissemination of punditry after the fact? We will soon know the outcomes and wonder once again how well our democracy is in fact functioning.
My own greatest concern during the past year has emerged as a regard for the environment as we more and more hear reports about the use of carbon based fossil fuels that are likely contributing to the changing temperatures recorded across the globe. The startling fact in this state and in the country as a whole is that political personalities and organizations we identify as to the right are apparently dazzled by contributions from corporate sources which have an interest in denying climate change. In fact they apparently want to flat out block environmental safe guards from being legislated into place.
Congressman Roy Blunt, now running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Christopher "Kit" Bond is one of the recipient of these funds, as reported in the NEW YORK TIMES. In fact, a graph referenced from that page under "multimedia" shows by color contrast that far more of those funds have been distributed to Republican candidates than to Democrats.
Here are some further references to the current news in environment that affects Missourians. I wish that I could report that the super high speed train route between Chicago and St. Louis is in the works, but it is postponed for now in favor of other upgrades in the midwest.
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Coal is doing rather well nowadays, and is still pressing the issue with the phrase "clean coal" in google ads, etc.
Chart & info on coal industries show it very active in lobbying nation wide, e.g., to members of Congress.
I am posting this on my blog page (which is all but expired, lol) just for an easy link to the info in one page. Please use it in whatever work you are doing to support moving forward to sustainable green energy sources. Aren't we there yet?
We need to be there yesterday.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Medicaid qualifications by income are a little higher and people who are on the other end, with higher incomes than most of us, will have higher taxes. Insurance plans will not be able to charge extra for pre-existing conditions. People will not be left without coverage after an illness or job loss. This is pretty much all good news.
Of course this bill will change our medical system for the good, and many people will imagine that it will not need another visit for years to come. Yet it is still very much a capitalist system that is based on privately run institutions, physicians' offices, drug providers, and medical equipment companies. We have had a significant increase in the use of technology in medicine in the past couple of decades that include surgical interventions, life prolonging devices and monitoring procedures, not to mention records. On top of that an explosion of new drugs have been patented by the pharmacological industry. Health care costs overall will probably increase regardless of how this bill is written until we change the driving force behind the whole system from a capitalist to a preventative, holistic model. Many health care professionals would agree I believe.
Meanwhile our Governor Jay Nixon is examining a variety of ways for the State to reign in its budget under the current economy. http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/politics/story/898E0D28BF8B5359862576F00006EFD2?OpenDocument
And the rumors about the cost of the bill to the states are not as true as originally milled about -- much less than some reports, in fact. The increases will be gradual over time, and the federal government will pay the major initial costs.
Whether Lt. Governor Peter Kinder can actually join the suit that has already been initiated by other states is questionable. It seems like a waste of state time and money to me. Calling Kinder's office, the Governor's or the Attorney General's to object to a pursuit of this action may be helpful. One would expect to hear more opinions out of Jeff City in the next few days. Senator Kit Bond wants to repeal the health care law just signed by the President. This is likely purely for political reasons, in my opinion, since the Republicans are facing a challenge in the near future.
The Missouri Senate wants to get in on the act as well.
My recollection of Nixon's term as Attorney General is that he was well known as someone who was effective at running a tight, efficient office. In other words, he has a track record as a good administrator. He is well equipped to address the economic challenges of the State of Missouri in health care and most other matters. We really do not need an opposition to what the people of this country have worked very hard at getting passed federally, a significant improvement in health care coverage for us all.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
This past week I heard on the list that extension of unemployment and Cobra was passed by a huge majority. I congratulated Bond on supporting out of work Missourians. Senator McCaskill was not present for this vote.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
When Jay Nixon, during his candidacy for Governor, supported Koster (over Margaret Donelly) for Attorney General I had suspicions about this recent party switcher being described as an excellent prosecutor and a friend. Koster is, btw, from Harrisonville, MO., the small Cass Co seat, population around 8,000. His connection with farming is not specifically known to most of us, is it? But he is probably voting with the farmers. Here is another approach to the problem that might help legislators and other power people to rethink the issue, from a farming publication. http://nationalhogfarmer.com/environmental-stewardship/01-environmental-steward-nominations-open/ Maybe the farmers are beginning to recognize, from articles like the one in the RFT and the one linked in that story to the Wall Street Journal, that public relations are as important as other particulars in running a business.
Another group, Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, which is working currently on a puppy mill issue, might be interested in exploring how to figure out what to do about the messy business of corporate farms. Corporate animal farming is disturbing as an issue of humane animal treatment as well as being environmentally nauseating.
Meanwhile, considering the puppy mill petition and how previous petitions have fared in our state, MO needs an amendment to its Constitution which rules out legislation that overturns public petition issues which are voted in by the citizenry. Our conservative legislative branch has in the recent past reversed both gun control laws and campaign finance reform that were voted into place on state wide ballot. Isn't that counter intuitive to the representatives and senators working for us?
The Sierra Club also has looked at the issue of CAFOs. http://www.sierraclub.org/faces/thomas_brown.asp
Perhaps re-establishing democracy-- by voting sanity in-- will be a state by state process, like women's suffrage once was. Reducing the corporations back to their previous status under anti-trust laws may take longer than most of us can imagine, yet we older folks know it has to be done.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
As a friend of Missouri's natural environment, I am writing on behalf of LEO [http://www.leomo.info/] which is seeking to prevent the building of a huge landfill for coal ash in the nearby Missouri River floodplain.
Ameren UE ought to be required to reverse this decision. As to what to do with such a collection of hazardous waste, citizens of every state ought to have a ready procedure for submitting objections, especially when the risk is to a major population's drinking water. St. Louis metro area is downriver from this site.
I note that at this web page [http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/fossil/surveys/] fifty percent of the returned information from utility companies showed coal ash storage facilities that are less than 26 feet in height. Does the fact that Ameren UE's proposal is for a 100 foot high container (with 400 acres of area) suggest their own fear of environmental catastrophe, considering the site? Or is it a reflection of the total amount of coal ash they have or will have to discard? In any event, please rule this facility out by agreeing with local citizenry that it is too great a risk for such a susceptible environment, and the disposal problem ought to be submitted to the environmental science community for a far less objectionable solution.
This note will be copied by me to Missouri State officials and local friends.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
The link will take you to a closer view which shows the presence of
roads and settlements.
Is there anywhere in the USA comparable to this? It is quite a remarkably
Friday, January 1, 2010
New York Times, picture of Hedy Epstein & peace activists
NYT via Reuters
Gaza Freedom March
Global Research (4)
Montreal, KPFA Radio, "Guns & Butter" with Michael Chossudovsky
Reuters, re: Netanyahu
The Jewish Daily Forward, calls for objectivity
Common Dreams, via Russia Today
Palestine Chronicle (2)
Palestine Monitor, via Jon Stewart
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.