Monday, April 20, 2015

Adidas wants to make shoes and clothing from plastic garbage from the ocean.

In an effort to bolster its commitment to sustainability, Adidas announced that it would begin developing materials out of plastic ocean waste to ultimately use in its products.

They are teaming up with the Parley for the Oceans, a group of artists, scientists, musicians, and designers dedicated to cleaning up the world’s oceans. Together, they plan on developing fibers made from plastic ocean waste that can be used in the manufacturing of clothing and potentially in shoes.

In the short term, Adidas also pledged to phase out plastic bags at its 2,900 stores worldwide.

Between 5 and 13 million metric tons of plastic waste ended up in oceans just 2010 alone, an amount that’s expected to increase in the coming decades if waste disposal techniques aren’t improved. Another study estimated that the ocean has about 600 pieces of plastic in it per every person living on earth.

Each ocean has its own massive whirlpool of plastic debris, but those patches only account for 1 percent of the plastic thought to be in oceans. No one really knows what happens to the other 99 percent — it might wash back to shore, it might breakdown into very small bits, or it might be eaten by fish and enter into the food chain.


Exercise—an Important Component of Cancer Treatment and Dementia Prevention

When you think of reducing your risk of devastating diseases such as dementia and cancer, is exercise at the top of your list? If it isn’t, you may want to reconsider.

Compelling evidence suggests exercise can not only help slash your risk of cancer, it also helps cancer patients recuperate faster, and diminishes your risk of cancer recurrence.

There’s also plenty of research demonstrating that exercise benefits your brain as much as it does your body, and with rates of dementia rising precipitously, this is another significant reason to make sure you stay more active, regardless of your age.

Exercise also improves circulation, driving more oxygen into your tissues, and circulating immune cells in your blood.

Earlier research has also found that exercise—in this case weight training—cut men’s risk of dying from cancer by 40 percent. Similar findings have been reported in other studies.


Non-Participation is an Option

I was watching a movie trailer the other day titled, "Divide in Concord," a feature-length documentary about an 84-year-old woman who leads an effort to ban the sale of bottled water in Concord, MA.

I was about ready to join the movement, if not in person, at least in spirit.
Way to Go Concord! Where do I sign up!

I logged onto their webpage for more information and found they had a section for people to express their PRO or CON opinion. I couldn't imagine anyone NOT being against it. But there were. And quite a few. But not for the reasons I expected. There was one response that stuck out more than the rest. It read:

"I hate plastic water bottles and don\'t use them,
BUT I'm not for bans -- education is better."

Hmmmm. I had my usual WTF you can't have it both ways reaction! But then I thought about it for awhile. A ban usually means government intervention and actually creating a law. And we all know where that road leads. We don't need any more laws.

It's true, if we took the time to do a little research and make common sense choices collectively, changes down the road are certain to follow. And all of sudden being part of the 99% has it's advantages.

Bottled water is not a health drink. Most of it comes directly from a tap out-back near the bottling warehouse. A few years ago a blind test was conducted comparing the top bottled brands with regular tap water from several California cities. Long story short -- L.A's tap water came out on top.  

Yes, they are convenient, they create jobs and in the case of a disasters where water supplies are threatened, they are necessary. But if people knew the environmental disaster these plastic bottles are creating, they would never buy another one again, or at least join a crusade to recycle each and every one of them. Only 20% are recycled now which means only 100 billion are floating around somewhere. The solution is so simple. Purchase a non-disposable bottle, preferably stainless steel, fill it from your tap at home.

How about the plastic shopping bags? Billions of these light weight plastic bags are making their way to the ocean, and are broken down into small pieces, along with billions of other plastic bits, where marine life mistaken it for food which is then passed along the food chain.  Simple solution: Purchase a reusable cloth bag and keep a supply in your car!

GMO labeling? It's been a hot topic lately as many cities
across the country are trying to pass laws requiring food companies to put warning labels on food products containing genetically modified organisms. And companies like Monsanto, Coca-Cola and Nestle (just to name a few) are spending millions to prevent that from happening. Why don't they want us to know what's in their food? What are they hiding? Of course it's all about money. 

I'm opposed to GMO's but also against mandatory labeling laws. Put the burden of making the decision on US, the consumer. If it's not labeled GMO FREE don't buy it. Companies manufacturing or growing non-GMO products should let the consumer know in big bold lettering -- on their own. Not mandated. If they lie or misrepresent their products, that's another issue and should be dealt with legally.

If we do our home work, read the labels, examine the PRO'S and CON'S like they did in Concord, and we still buy stuff with rat poison in it, that's our choice. 

Just remember, non-participation is an option.

Dennis Ketterman
What's Your Opinion? 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

. . . the way California goes, so goes the rest of the country

It's been said that, the way California goes, so goes the rest of the country, and if it were a country it would be the 8th largest economy in the world. It supplies 75% of all the fruits, vegetable, nuts, dairy and many other food products for the entire country. The drought has been going on for four years and if it continues, and current weather trends indicate that it will, how will effect the rest of the country? 

It has caused some real chatter especially in L.A.'s Mayor's office. Maybe they just realized they are living in a desert and without water things could get a little dicey.

L.A.'s Mayor, Eric Garcetti, released a broad-ranging plan that outlines his vision for environmental goals and programs in Los Angeles over the coming decades to combat L.A.’s image as a smog-choked, car-worshipping, insane freeway-entangled sprawlsville.

The 105-page booklet — simply titled, in a play on words, “the pLAn." The report sets objectives such as the increased use of electric vehicles, more reliance on solar power in the public and private sectors and better monitoring of air quality. Additionally it calls for a 25% reduction by 2035 in greenhouse gas emissions. It also envisions the installation of 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations in two years.

Other elements are already are in place. For example, a reduce per-capita water use by 22.5% by 2025 and cut by 50% the city's importation of water from outside sources — phasing out the city’s use of electricity from coal-fired power plants and lowering the city's temperature by 3 degrees over the next two decades, by planting more street trees and increasing use of “cool roofs” that absorb less heat.

The Mayor is a big backer of bike culture. At a mayoral forum last year, Garcetti pledged his commitment to CicLAvia, a recurring event that closes miles of L.A. streets to cars. He said he hopes to make it a permanent monthly tradition -- thanking cyclists for introducing bike culture, urban farmers for introducing community gardens and business owners for re-purposing dead alleys.

That's quite a plan. If it works, L.A may actually become liveable.

It seems like real change only starts to happen when we become threatened and the lack of water, or no water, is at the top of the serious threat list. 

Maybe the California drought is a good thing? The proposed L.A. plan is something that should have been implemented years ago. Now it's at a critical stage. It has to be done. 

So, will the rest of country follow the pLAn?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County

Unlined waste-water pits produced from fracking and other oil drilling operations 
by Julie Cart environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times

Water officials in Kern County discovered that oil producers have been dumping chemical-laden waste-water into hundreds of unlined pits that are operating without proper permits.

The pits raise new water quality concerns in a region where agricultural fields sit side by side with oil fields and where California’s ongoing drought has made protecting groundwater supplies paramount.

The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has admitted that for years it allowed companies to inject fracking wastewater into protected groundwater aquifers, a problem they attributed to a history of chaotic record-keeping.

“The state doesn’t seem to be willing to put the protection of groundwater and water quality ahead of the oil industry being able to do business as usual,” said Andrew Grinberg of the group Clean Water Action.

The pits — long, shallow troughs gouged out of dirt — hold water that is produced from fracking and other oil drilling operations. The water forced out of the ground during oil operations is heavily saline and often contains benzene and other naturally occurring but toxic compounds. 


Thursday, April 02, 2015

California orders first-ever mandatory water reductions

Houseboats float in California’s drought-lowered Oroville Lake. Credit Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
Water is the most wasted resource on the planet. However, our leaders have been so focused on oil, pipelines and punching more holes in the earth (where the real money is) that very little attention has been given to water, the drought, hoping that it will rain someday soon and the problem will just go away. But what if it doesn't? What if we actually had to make sacrifices? Looks like we may find out.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered mandatory water use reductions for the first time in California’s history, saying the state’s four-year drought had reached near-crisis proportions after a paltry mountain snowpack. The lowest since 1950 -- means low levels at state reservoirs, which supply 30% of California's May-through-November water to homeowners, farms, wineries and utilities.

The State Water Resources Control Board is considering to impose a 25 percent reduction on the state’s 400 local water supply agencies, which serve 90 percent of California residents, over the coming year. The agencies will be responsible for coming up with restrictions to cut back on water use and for monitoring compliance.

State officials said the order would impose varying degrees of cutbacks on water use across the board — most of these cutbacks are aimed at the usual suspects -- residents: watering gardens, lawns, car and driveway washing, laundry, toilets . . . . .

BUT NOT ONE MENTION about big oil and gas companies cutting back.

California is the fourth largest oil producer in the country and over half the wells are fracked. Fracking poses a serious threat to California’s water supply and quality. It is an extremely water intensive practice, using hundreds of thousands to millions of gallons of fresh water to frack a single well -- flushed with toxic chemical -- never to be returned as safe water. 

Maybe a 25% mandated reduction on gas consumption in California would make more sense? It might also end some of this insanity (below). Endless traffic jams not only waste gas, energy, time, lives but also billions of gallons of water.

Another day at the office. California style.


The Basics of Life

  By Willard “Woody” Michels Guest Blogger A couple years ago a man named Gabriel Sherman wrote a book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” Th...