Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 15, 2019 by Noreen Wise
It was an emotional day on Capitol Hill with defamed ex-Ambassador for Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, testifying in the second impeachment hearing for Donald J. Trump. The details outlined by Ms. Yovanovitch were critical and seem to have sealed Trump’s fate. I speculate he’ll be impeached by New Years Eve 2019.
Meanwhile, a few hundred yards away, in the warming sunlight, Jane Fonda rallied Americans with her sixth Friday Fire Drill. Her mission is to draw awareness to the Green New Deal and the important role fossil fuels have played on our climate’s demise.
Fonda was not arrested today, but she prides herself on the positive impact her protesting and subsequent arrests have had on the climate emergency cause. Today’s climate focus was on our oceans and rising sea levels as well as the urgent need to break free from plastic.
Although Fonda wasn’t arrested, two of her tag-along friends were: Marg Helgenberger and Robert Kennedy Jr. It seems these wonderful climate activists consider their arrests their red badge of courage.
The holiday shopping season has arrived. It’s imperative that we keep our resolve to act now on lowering atmospheric carbon levels by the choices we make during the holiday season. Every tiny decision will save a life. For example, it’s advised that no red meat for any festivities. Avoid plastic packaging. Buy grocery products in glass bottles. Let’s promise to keep our eyes wide open as we claw through the packed aisles, and make the right selections when we reach toward a store shelf.
Another positive choice is to buy local. It’s mind boggling how dramatic this simple decision can make. Again, it’s all about being aware, and making a commitment in advance to save our oceans and brighten our children’s futures. We can do this!
Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 18, 2021 by Sarah J. Kings
You love your precious pug like a family member. But as you tiptoe towards greener choices, you may be wondering what effect dog ownership has on the planet. According to researchers at the University of California, an estimated 80 million dogs live in US homes today. On an annual basis, these animal companions consume as much meat and grain as nearly 40 million Americans. This alone packs a pretty big punch to the planet.
Add in the fact that most dog waste is removed using single used plastic bags, and many chewed up dog toys end up in landfills, and things start to look pretty bleak. What can be done? It’s not as if you are going to part with your sweet Schnauzer.
Heart of the matter and what you can do about it. There are three easy and accessible changes you can make to dramatically lower your beloved pet’s carbon pawprint. The biggest impact you can make in reducing your dog’s contribution to CO2 production is eliminating meat from their diet. But can Fido really live without chicken and beef? The answer is yes, and quite happily! In switching to V-Dog vegan dog food brand, you will save a significant amount of land, energy, and water. For example, it takes approximately three acres of land to feed each meat-eating dog per year. In contrast, it only takes ⅙ of an acre to feed a V-Dog for the year!
Additionally, ditching single-use plastic waste bags will also a big impact. Try Moonygreen bags. They are 100% biodegradable, and being that they are made from plants, they are even compostable! As a plus, they are extremely affordable; you can purchase 120 bags for about $15. Lastly, making DIY dog toys out of reused and repurposed materials like old clothes or rags will also cut down on your pup’s contribution to landfill waste.
80 million plus dogs live in US homes today
Traditional dog food is producing the same amount of CO2 emissions as food for 40 million people. Reduce your dog’s contribution to CO2 production by switching to V-Dog Brand dog food
It takes three acres of land to feed each meat-eating dog per year. It only takes ⅙ of an acre to feed a V-Dog for the year
Moonygreen bags waste bags are 100% biodegradable and compostable
Use an old tee shirt to create an eco-friendly dog toy and cut down on plastic piling up in landfills!
Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 18, 2021 by Sarah J. Kings
Now more than ever,keeping a clean home is rising to the top of the priority list. As a parent, you are diligent in wiping down surfaces, disinfecting door-knobs, and beating back dust bunnies. But as you recycle container after container of Clorox Wipes and Febreze, you may be starting to wonder what impact this is having on the planet. You might even be thinking about making some eco-friendly swaps to your cleaning routine.
Heart of the matter. You are not wrong to worry. The cleaning products that you are used to picking up at your local grocery store are incredibly harmful to the environment. Most wet wipes contain tiny plastic particles that never biodegrade and many aerosol cans used for freshening up contain toxic chemicals and neurotoxins— filling homes with formaldehyde and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Though the Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in old aerosol cans associated with causing the development of a hole in our Ozone are banned, that doesn’t mean they are good for the environment. According to scientists at NASA, aerosol cans contribute to changes in rain patterns, lower air quality, and a higher carbon footprint.
These products are piling up in landfills, contaminating oceans, and wreaking havoc on our environment. But do the green alternatives really leave your house clean? The answer is yes!
What you can do about it. For a truly green clean, try Young Living’s Thieves essential oils and cleaning products. Their formulas are 100% plant-based and will rid your home of germs and viruses. Not to mention their bottles are recyclable and promote sustainability. One 64 oz bottle of Thieves Household Cleaner combined with a reusable amber spray bottle and warm water can replace almost all of your household cleaning products for a whole year. Similarly, adding a few drops of their vibrant and health-promoting essential oils to your cleaning solution will virtually eliminate your need for harsh aerosol sprays.
Thieves received a B rating on theEnvironmental Working Group’s Guideto Healthy Cleaning— being beaten out by only one cleaner, AspenClean. Meanwhile, the most popular brands like Clorox, Fabuloso, and even Green Works earned F- ratings.
Next Step: Consider changing up your routine for a healthier planet and a greener cleaner home!
Concerns about COVID-19 have led to high cleaning supply sales
Most wet wipes contain non-biodegradable plastic fibers and some aerosol sprays may be causing changes to rain patterns across the world.
Clorox, Fabuloso, and even Green Works earned F- ratings on the EPA’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning
Switching to a more eco-friendly sustainable brand like Thieves or AspenClean will positively impact the climate crisis
Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 8, 2021 by Attorney Michael Wells, Podcast– Legal Fact and Fiction
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” China poses military, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire world. Yet, with the myriad threats it poses, one threat it has awakened, Bitcoin, threatens to shake — and possibly destroy — the environment. Although Bitcoin requires the most advanced computers performing dizzying calculations, it needs unfathomable amounts of energy, and that energy comes primarily from fossil fuels in China, namely coal.
Heart of the matter. For years Bitcoin appeared to be a passing fad and something many people were only vaguely aware of, but it is here to stay as is other cryptocurrency. And most of it is constructed or “mined” in China, which requires tons of hardware that needs energy. In China, that energy is supplied by coal based power, according to a February 5, 2021 CNBC article. Bitcoin is the 9th most valuable asset in the world, and it requires more energy than New Zealand. In fact, if Bitcoin were a country, it would rank 31st in the world for energy consumption, according to a March 19, 2021 Independent article. Although Bitcoin has been around since 2009, its energy use came to the forefront in 2017, but, since that time, its energy use has quadrupled since then.
Proponents of Bitcoin, as cited in the Independent article, argue Bitcoin is “moving” towards “renewable energy,” and it will one day be a leader in renewable energy. Little evidence exists of these assertions. What is apparent, however, is the cryptocurrency market, led by Bitcoin is growing. As a currency it is attractive because its so-called block chain technology makes it unique, tough to steal, scarce, and easy to spend. The downside of that is the creation of cryptocurrency or “mining” requires computing power and vast energy sources. That computing power mainly comes from China, which relies heavily on coal however advanced their society may be. And that is a huge problem for the environment no matter how proponents want to spin it.
How this impacts you personally. If you are worried about food shortages, pandemics, cities under water, droughts, or most any other calamity flowing from climate change, then the growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies should worry you because they rely so heavily on fossil fuels, namely coal. Until Bitcoin derives its energy from renewable energy sources, it will continue to be an environmental threat, a threat that grows larger as the demand for Bitcoin increases.
What you can do. The best way to lessen the Bitcoin environmental threat is not to buy stock in the company. Another way is not to use the currency or be involved in “mining” it. In addition, tell people it is a threat because many people are probably unaware Bitcoin poses such a threat.
Learn as much as possible about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies;
Do not purchase Bitcoin stock shares or fractions of shares;
Learn more about renewable energy; and
Contact your local, state, and federal officials and let them know how you feel about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Washington(GGM) Analysis | April 3, 2021 by author & journalistNoreen Wise
Earth Month is finally here… again. Hurray! Let’s get our ducks in a row so that we can maximize the enthusiasm and excitement that comes from so many of us in our communities focused on making progress with the aggressive habitat restoration goals we’ve set for ourselves and our towns.
Earth Day began in 1970 when Nixon was President and our atmospheric carbon level was only 325.68 PPM. Imagine. It’s absolutely mind-bending that carbon levels could explode so significantly in 51 short years. Today the atmospheric carbon level is a staggering 416 PPM. An unfathomable level, especially when compared to the pre-Industrial Revolution carbon level of 280 which dates back to 1760. The accelerated pace of the rising carbon levels is what has so many scientists concerned. One hundred and ninety years to climb approximately 46 points from 280 to 325.68. But only 50 years to skyrocket 91 points. If that’s not a huge wake-up call, then we have to get much more creative with public messaging so we can overcome the towering obstacle of willful ignorance.
The heart of the matter. The accelerated rise in atmospheric carbon levels cannot go unchecked. The impact of global warming on low lying areas acround the globe, that are now submerged, as well as agricultural regions that can no longer produce the necessary crop yields when plagued by the staggering heat and extended droughts, is life-disrupting. Migration to safe ground has already begun. We see this at our own southern border as families from Central America send their children to the United States border crossings in the hopes they will be allowed in and given hope for a brighter future.
Every single one of us has to do our individual part in reducing our carbon footprints so that we can get the atmospheric carbon level back down under 400 PPM — hopefully down to 375 — as quickly as we saw it rise. Blind indifference to the suffering we’re causing others is the reason why foreign countries have begun taking action against the US.
There are two sides of the coin to lowering our carbon footprints. Cutting carbon emissions on one side (solar energy, EV cars, circular economy), and storing more carbon in our yards and our communities, by boosting soil health and restoring our habitat, on the other.
What’s the solution? Healthy soil is Gallant Gold Media’s primary focus during Earth Month. Soil health will enable soil to be a massive carbon reservoir that can eliminate a significant amount of atmospheric carbon. But this level of carbon storage is only achievable if we each do our little bit.
Healthy soil is filled with life, with microbes, and is easy to spot due to its very dark, rich chocolate brown color. The healthier the soil, the more carbon it can store. Healthy soil has a high-water infiltration rate, and thus holds more water for a longer period of time, which is a great benefit during the long, hot, dry warm weather months. Healthy soil also maintains a cooler temperature which is equally as beneficial during our long, hot dry summer months. Our food supply is threatened unless we can offset the negative impact of heat on our crops.
Compost and red wiggler composting worms are both vital in maintaining healthy soil in our communities. All homeowners and land owners should take advantage of these vital tools to improve the soil on our properties.
Next Steps during Earth Month:
Home composting is an absolute MUST. Your neighbors are composting, are you? Compost added to the soil in our yards and communities quickly boosts soil health.
Red wiggler worms are soil engineers. Their castings enrich soil health very efficiently, boosting soil microbes at a rapid pace, resulting in a positive impact above and below the surface. The can be easily purchased and sent to you at home. Red wigglers make awesome pets.
Keep the soil covered to lock in the moisture and carbon. If possible, plant a mix of diverse cover crops for the yard.
Never plow/till your yard. All the stored carbon will be released.
Plant diversity is critical. Not only does it contribute to soil health, but it blocks pests, which dramatically reduces the need for pesticides. (Pesticides kill microbes and diminishes soil health.)
Good luck. Have fun. And be sure to check back for more carbon sequestration tips.
Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 27, 2021 by Attorney Michael Wells, Podcast– Legal Fact and Fiction
The average person not well versed on the policy and science surrounding the Keystone Pipeline likely knows it is over 1,000 miles long running from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska, and it frequently spills. It takes no more knowledge than these two facts to realize the Keystone Pipeline has always been a problem, and its closure benefits the world.
Heart of the matter. The Keystone Pipeline pumped 800,000 barrels per day of carbon intensive “tar sands” oil from Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska. The unrefined oil was then sent to Texas to be refined. According to a Vox article from March 18, 2021, Indigenous peoples from Alberta use the river, Athabasca River, that is used to mine the oil, which creates toxic waste that hurts the wildlife and pollutes the groundwater; the problem is not only environmental, though, as transient workers are linked to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, a crisis worth of much more discussion than is the purview of this article.
The same Vox article also notes the environmental problem certainly is not limited to Canada as, most notably, in 2017, in South Dakota, 210,000 gallons of oil leaked. The problem is so bad that the Supreme Court blocked the building of the pipeline over water until a full evaluation of bodies of water could be done. Since it appears the demand for that kind of oil is dropping and in light of the environmental and safety issues caused by the pipeline, it makes clear closing the pipeline was the correct choice.
How this impacts you personally. Perhaps the greatest threat posed by the Keystone Pipeline centers around the risk to the water supply. Specifically, in Nebraska near the Keystone Pipeline sits the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the largest freshwater aquifer in the United States. If an oil spill occurred near this aquifer and the water supply contaminated, it may affect the entire country with catastrophic results. In other words, it could potentially affect the entire United States water supply were the Keystone Pipeline still in existence.
What you can do. As with any fossil fuel, the less people use them, the better off the environment will be. This is why it is so important to develop alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and electric power. People can do small things to lessen dependence on oil such as turn off lights when not in use. Consider carpooling, walking, or taking the bus when you go places. There are many small things, but the more people do these things the better off everyone will be.
Lessen your “carbon footprint” by taking small steps such as drinking from reusable bottles, cutting off lights, carpooling;
Learn about the Keystone Pipeline and other oil pipelines;
Consider purchasing an electric car; and
Contact your local, state, and federal representatives to let them know you support green laws and regulations.
The Keystone Pipeline is shut down (for now), but that does not mean a new president will keep it shut down. Ultimately the dependence on fossil fuels is up to us, and, if we modify our behavior, it can go a long way to ending our dependence upon these fuels and greatly benefiting the environment in the process.
Washington(GGM) Analysis | March 25, 2021 by author & journalistNoreen Wise
For all of us climate warriors who are giving our 120 percent to educate the public on how to reduce our carbon footprints in our homes as well as our communities, which will result in lowering our atmospheric carbon level and curbing global warming, it seems as though we might know the ideal strategy that will help overcome the chronic border crossing challenge. After all, we’ve been posting and protesting about this for years.
Why is the media blaming Joe anyway? Has any president in the history of our country, (including George Washington and Abe Lincoln, who both had to transform our disunion of states following two divisive and destructive wars fought on our home soil), done more, in such a short period of time, all while in the midst of a global pandemic? Blaming Joe only makes the media look blind and disconnected.
The heart of the matter. Two-thirds of the unaccompanied children who’ve been streaming across the border since President Biden was inaugurated, are from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. These three countries clumped together just below the Mexican border, have extensive shorelines on both sides of the land bridge that connects North America to South America. Viewing the area on a map, it becomes crystal clear that the beautiful Caribbean Sea along the eastern Central American coast and the Pacific Ocean hugging the western coastline, are susceptible to rising ocean waters, particularly problematic in light of the flat coastal regions with all the farmland, are low-lying, making the area much more vulnerable to climate events, as well as flooding from heavy rains, which results in extensive soil erosion.
Seventy-eight percent of the land used for agriculture in Honduras though, is in the hills, with steep angles and eroded soil. Soil degradation, and high temperatures with little rain, makes the land useless for sustaining the country’s food supply. Soil instability has a cascading impact on jobs, food supply, and homes, potentially causing devastating mudslides when the skies eventually do open. Additionally, this fragile strip is affected much more extensively by the negative force of 28 trillion tons of ice melting into the sea in total since the 1990’s, 1.2 trillion tons per year, (this is a 60 percent increase since the 1990’s which saw an annual ice melt of only 760 billion tons per year). Rising sea levels, which have eroded millions of acres of farmland in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, have resulted in extensive job loss, with no way to replace the disappearing employment opportunities anytime soon. Additionally, thousands of homes have been destroyed by the rising water levels.
Thus, the border crisis is essentially a degraded soil crisis which is rooted in the climate crisis. Please note, that any time the soil becomes so degraded it can’t be used to farm, it takes years to regenerate.
What’s the solution? Most of the unaccompanied climate refugees are crossing the US border into Texas. Texas is where America’s largest carbon emitters are headquartered. It’s clear that the most effective and fair solutions are twofold. One, the corporate aggresors must step up and fund additional housing at the border for the climate refugees. And two, most importantly, the oil industry must fund soil regeneration back in the home countries. Soil health experts, Rattan Lal and Gabe Brown, have done extensive research and testing on how to regenerate denigrated soil like that found in Central America, brought about by the destructive heat and extended droughts caused by climate change. We simply must apply their techniques to the soil in the home countries. Vice President Kamala Harris is on her way to Central America to help stem the mass exodus, hopefully she can pull this off.
The border crisis is ultimately a financial crisis though, for both the US (in managing the massive influx of minors pouring in from those Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) as well as the refugees who have lost their financial stability, homes, and occupations due to irresponsible corporate greed that has driven atmospheric carbon levels to staggering highs, hitting third world nations the hardest.
Please note, ExxonMobil had a net profit of $14.34 billion in 2019 and $20.84 billion in 2018. Let that sink in
There are approximately 9,000 independent oil and gas companies located in the United States. Their profit across the decades is staggering. They have the funds necessary to cover the costs required to expand the facilities at the border, while simultaneously covering the expense of regenerating the denigrated soil that’s causing the mass exodus back home. Corporate indifference and callous decision making by fossil fuel giants, dates back several decades. It’s time to require them to take stock and pay up. If anyone can convince these corporate offenders to do the right, and equitable, thing, it’s surely our new Vice President Kamala Harris. Good Luck, Kamala!
Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 20, 2021 by Attorney Michael Wells, Podcast– Legal Fact and Fiction
All this time people believed Florida’s snakes and alligators might kill them, when, in reality, the toxic algae blooms are the real threat. For two decades, Florida has struggled to control blue green algae that periodically covers the bottom of Lake Okeechobee, which threatens the state’s tourist industry as well as the once pristine coastline and waters. The blooms are fueled by phosphorus, a key ingredient in fertilizers used on nearby farms and ranches in Orlando and Kissimmee. The algae has killed millions of fish, hundreds of manatees, and it causes ALS and Alzheimers and even death in people. The algae is only getting worse, in particular since 2016, and climate change exacerbates the problem.
The heart of the matter. The problem mostly comes from 50,000 metric tons of phosphorus carpeting the bottom of Lake Okeechobee. Phosphorus flows out of the lake through rivers and streams and into the Atlantic Ocean all along the coast killing wildlife and putting a damper on tourism with its guacamole like sludge.
While the problem did not originate in Lake Okeechobee, as it likely came from farms and ranches along the Kissimmee River, the lake is the eye of the storm that threatens everything living in Florida. Considering algae thrives in heat, Florida’s problem (ultimately everyone’s problem) will only grow worse if drastic steps are not taken soon.
How this impacts you personally? Cynics may see this as akin to “save the rainforest,” which we certainly should do, but they cannot deny that this affects them personally. It does if they are concerned about dying, or, should they be lucky enough to survive, getting Alzheimer’s or ALS. The problem has gotten so bad that the State of Florida has twice declared states of emergency in 2016 and 2018. Even Governor Ron DeSantis (no big friend to the environment or mask wearing) is concerned, enough so that he made cleaning up the toxic algae a focal point of his campaign, and he created the South Florida Water Management District, which is charged with protecting the water in 16 South Florida counties.
Of course, none of this will matter if something is not done to fix the pipes and sewer systems, which are rotting, and, from 2009-2019, released 1.6 million gallons of waste into the state’s estuaries. This waste also helped fuel the algae blooms, lest the state’s farmers and cattle ranchers think they are being unfairly picked on about this crisis.
Maybe you do not care about Florida, and you think the state only matters as a backdrop for Carl Hiaason novels. Yes, it is a great setting, but it is a HUGE state. And Florida’s problems usually become everyone’s problems.
What can you do about this? While you may not live in Florida, this still affects you. Perhaps you should consider not eating beef as much of it comes from Florida, and, as the algae shows, it is terrible for the environment. You may also want to consider donating money to organizations devoted to the clean up of the algae, or, you can Google “Florida’s toxic algae blooms” and see what else you can figure out.
Stop eating beef (or do not eat so much of it);
Consider your own carbon footprint and how this adds to climate change, which affects Florida and wherever anyone lives;
Donate to groups that help clean up the algae and the damage caused by it;
Contact your local, state, and federal representatives and urge them to pass environmental legislation and create regulations that actually protect and clean up the environment.
All of these problems seem so ominous because they are, but they are only going to get worse if people refuse to do anything.
Washington(GGM) Analysis | March 19, 2021 byNoreen Wise
With thecircular economynow in full swing outside the United States, it becomes that much more clear just how many everyday items cannot be recycled. The reality is alarming. We’ll never reach zero waste unless we find innovative solutions to meet this imperative.
Further, even the plastics that can be recycled, often aren’t. Many items become litter or are tossed in a landfill. It takes 450 years for plastic bottles to decompose and 50 years for tin cans. Plastics breakdown into microplastics, which, unbelievably, land in our food supply as a result of their microscopic size slipping through water filters. On average, we humans eat 100 bits of microplastic with every meal. Microplastics cause toxicity that negatively impacts our life history.
Recycling existing plastic is highly beneficial. But, the following is a list of common plastic packaging/ additional items that cannot be recycled:
plastic single use shopping bags
plastic film wrap
frozen food bags (nearly all vegetables are sold in non-recyclable bags)
cereal box liner
granola bar, candy bar and nearly all snack items wrappers
any plastic containers that can’t be cleaned, ie toothpaste tubes
The heart of the matter. After a year of Covid and staying home, who’s pumped to go out and live? Surely, the vast majority of us are. So, let’s factor the health impact of plastic into our decision making, for surely it will have health consequences. We must be more cognizant of all the plastic we consume.
Loop, Returnity and Share Pack – companies that enable consumers to conveniently return packaging either by dropping off at targeted locations, or sending back in company provided totes
Plant based packaging – plastics made from plants
Edible packaging – typically this is seaweed, hopefully they’ll soon find additional alternatives
Plantable packaging – contains seeds so the packaging can be planted after use
Compostable plastic alternatives
Minimal packaging design
Upcycled or recycled packaging
What you can do about this. Consumers have the power to change the world by how we shop. Sustainable packaging solutions are here. All we need to do is grow the demand by purchasing the products and posting about it through social media. We must be motivated to seek out the brands packaged in recyclable material such as paper and thin cardboard, and use our wallets to influence corporations like Heinz and Coke to invest in overhauling their plastic packaging or lose their customers. If we all refuseto buy particular brands because of the packaging, corporations will make the change.
Laundry detergent sheets wrapped in paper instead of the big plastic jugs
Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 13, 2021 by Attorney Michael Wells, Podcast– Legal Fact and Fiction
Do you ever think about the vastness of space? Or do you ponder if the universe never ends and is expanding for eternity? On a more personal level, perhaps Earth will be destroyed by an exploding star one day. Maybe you worry about such things, but here on Earth there are known threats, namely the Hanford Superfund Site that will be a problem for possibly 24,100 years, which is the half-life of Plutonium contained on the site, the source of Plutonium used to make the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki that ended World War II. And the Hanford site is filled with Plutonium, which is buried in 177 storage tanks within sight of the Columbia River.
Heart of the Matter. Climate change has been exacerbated by the oil and coal industries. Nuclear energy appears to some a more viable alternative. Hardly. The Hanford Site shows this to be a faulty premise, especially when you consider what happens when the radioactive waste leaks into the ground and into the water. Because it happened in May 2017 when the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility, which holds rail cars full of solid waste, collapsed releasing tons of radioactive waste into the water and soil. Then in December 2018 radioactive dust was released from the site into the air. These are but a few of the problems, and it does not take a complex understanding of climate change and nuclear waste to imagine the scale of the problem.
How this impacts you personally? The chemical names are long, and the science is hard to follow. But the main reason people should care about the Hanford Site is a shot-glass of liquid out of one of the underground tanks is enough to instantly kill everyone within 100 yards. Of course the tanks have a history of leaking. In fact, whether or not this waste contained in 177 tanks leaks further may depend upon if the concrete that makes the tanks and the caulking that glues the tanks together can hold up long term.
As stated in the first article on this topic, there are 56 million gallons of high-level nuclear waste, made up of 1,800 chemicals. Right now 700,000 gallons of waste are classified as high-level, and that may leak into the Columbia River. And these chemicals will be around for thousands of years. If the tanks crack or otherwise fall apart, there is enough waste to wipe out civilization, a process that will surely be hastened by climate change if something is not done.
To bring this down to a more personal level, this waste causes and has caused bone cancer in many of the people, who live near the site. Imagine if this waste were spread on a wider scale, which could easily happen if it seeps into the groundwater, burns due to a forest fire, or some other calamity such as a flood occurs, all of which could be caused by climate change.
What can you do about this? Of course this problem is almost metaphysical because it will last for so long it is beyond comprehension, and it is on a physical scale that is difficult to grasp. But Congress controls the budget for the cleanup and containment efforts, so it really matters who is in Congress. It cannot be people against regulation, who care nothing for the environment. That will not work at all because it will only increase the risk for everyone. If you do nothing else, think about this when you vote next time.
Washington(GGM) Analysis | March 5, 2021 by Pamela Scaiff (Canadian)
When was the last time you reached for a paper towel to clean up a mess? Has COVID got you using more? How much do you pay for paper towels each week? Each month? Each year? Or in a lifetime? Do the personal finance math and then the ecological math and you may find yourself questioning whether paper towels really add quality to your life! Did you know that Americans use more paper towels per capita daily than either of their neighbours?!
My daughters, 29 and 26 years old, never had their gorgeous baby faces wiped with paper towels, their spilled milk mopped up with paper towels, or their bedroom windows cleaned with paper towels. In 2021, they never think to buy paper towels for their own homes. Oh, the power of motherhood to plant sustainable living habits into future generations! Muahahahahahaaa!!!
I think I am a bit weird, but I find the commercials for paper towels as morbidly fascinating as zombie shows. Just as I wonder how zombies can keep walking when they have no blood circulating to keep the muscles working, I wonder how come people reach for paper towels when they can use a kitchen cloth to wipe up a mess?
The heart of the matter. In order to wipe dirty faces, mop up messes, and sop up bacon grease, Americans use 8.5 million trees per year plus 144.5 million gallons of water per year, to manufacture the paper towels they consume, according to The University of Minnesota, the EPA, and Statista. Add this loss of natural resources to the consumption of fossil fuels used to make paper towels, wrap them in plastic, and transport them to the local store might give some folks pause for thought. Is this use of resources worth it when there are easy, cheaper alternatives?
Back in the 1980’s, paper was already an environmental issue, so my husband and I decided to kick some paper habits out of our lives. The easiest was paper towels. Heck, we could save money and the environment! A win-win, as far as we were concerned!
We had a stack of rags and made more from old towels and shirts.
Peter, the fastidious window cleaner, felt that paper towels were still the best for not leaving streaks on windows and mirrors. That was then. I used to clean the windows with rags and then polish them with newspapers as the ink really made the glass shine! Ok, so who am I kidding… I probably only did this once as Peter was passionate about clean windows so this chore rarely fell to me. Now, microfiber cloths work as well as paper towels. And now that Peter and I are friends, not husband and wife, I have to clean my own darned windows!
Sometimes, I wistfully dream of paper towels when cooking bacon, but less so now that my daughter’s boyfriend introduced me to baking bacon and letting the fat drip away! I have a special cotton tea towel that I have been using as my bacon degreaser for years, but washing it was annoying… so baked bacon it is! (And yes, not cooking bacon at all would be the better decision… one transition I have yet to make.)
Window cleaning and bacon degreasing used to be the only two tasks when paper towels seemed better than rags; today, microfibre cloths and baking are better than paper towels.
You might wonder what to do with the paper towel alternatives. Under my bathroom sink, I have a bowl for dirty rags, hankies, and dinner napkins which makes about a quarter laundry load each week. They get washed, usually with towels on a hot wash. By washing rags, I have one less kitchen bag of trash going to the curb each week.
My rags take up less space than a two-roll pack of paper towels. My garbage bins are lighter. My purse is heavier. My house is just as clean!
Buy only paper towels made from recycled paper as at least you will save trees.
Bamboo paper towels are reusable and cost effective but they are transformed into rayon through a toxic process and are not compostable once they become rayon. So although they are an alternative, be aware of this eco-trap.
Reduce the number of paper towels you buy.
Notice when you use paper towels. What else is nearby that you can grab to wipe up that mess? Becoming aware of our habits is the most important step in any transition.
Start stockpiling rags made from old clothes.
Purchase some good quality microfibre cloths and learn to take care of them.
Feel good about reducing your paper towel consumption and share that feeling with your friends and neighbours! It is in the discussions that seeds of change are planted.
The environmental effects of paper production include deforestation, the use of enormous amounts of energy and water as well as air pollution and waste problems. Paper accounts for around 26% of total waste at landfills.