Category: Environment

White America Hatred Exposed

I’m sure it’s been said dozens of times before, but it’s predominantly male, white America that voted Donald Trump into the White House. Their anger over eight years of social-justice motivated policies and legislation under a humane and just Barack Obama were too much. They could no longer maintain their simmering kettle of anger and feelings of their white disempowerment. Their frustration and bitterness that a brilliant, gifted African-American male was accomplishing so much and had such consistently high approval ratings here at home and around the world angered them. All of President Obama’s accomplishments were hard fought despite extreme opposition at every turn from the GOP. Don’t forget about all the images of Obama that were burned in effigy, all the racial epithets and stereotypes, the double entendres the Tea Party and whites used during his eight years in office. What could possibly explain that hatred if that wasn’t White America pushing back?

White, heterosexual America has now found its champion in Trump and the brains behind the operation, Steve Bannon – both trying to keep White America protected against the supposed Islamic Jihad, as Bannon keeps reiterating, described here “Steve Bannon Aligns With Vatican Hard-Liners Who Oppose Pope Francis” on NPR and their reporting from “Stephen Bannon in 2014: We Are at War With Radical Islam”the New York Times

“…something we have to face, and it’s a very unpleasant topic, but we are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing far quicker than governments can handle it.”

and some great analysis here “Steve Bannon, the Church Militant and the Global War Against Islam”. How much of this crisis is mostly a product of our ceaseless waring in the Middle East? The product of the GW Bush Presidency is of course never mentioned – that’s a fiasco the ultra-conservative GOP would rather we forget.

Trump is the the biggest champion of his oil industry buddies, outside of the infamously oil-sodden Koch Brothers: Both Trump and Koch want the North Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL pipeline finalized so they can reap ultimate profits while ignoring environmental concerns like community water sources and public waterways destroyed with little impunity, completely ignoring the sacred American Indian tribal lands that are torn up for the pipeline. All the while, there’s Flint Michigan and their on-going water crisis that no one is paying attention to, sending relief, providing a solution. Again, the poor don’t matter in the ultra-rich’s world view. But I digress – let’s get back to point at hand: White Anger

The poison that Trump, Bannon/Breitbart are spreading with their message of White Nationalism isn’t just for U.S. citizens to receive and get worked up about. Canadians have their own groups with their White anger stirring their shit-soup up. Case in point, this rally that was put together to intentionally spread misinformation about recent proposed legislation (here Member Motion M-131) by Iqra Khalid, a member of the Canadian Parliament in response to the recent Muslim temple burning by a White Nationalist racist whack-job. This incredibly brave young, hijab-wearing Muslim woman, Sarah Hagi (@geekylonglegs on Twitter decided to go a recent rally of really ill-informed and confused white people with a few of her friends. Here’s her description of the rally of racist, group of miscreants and their messy Islamophobic mutterings – all that was missing were their Sunday best Klan sheets and burning crosses!

We progressive Americans, focused on social justice and an egalitarian society, can’t stay focused on the anger and hatred of White Nationalism and xenophobia, we must look forward to a just society that cares for all of its citizens. Trump and company’s view of poor and less fortunate is they are losers and if they aren’t capable of making a better life for themselves without resorting to assistance, the government should cut them loose and let them fend for themselves!

  • No more assistance for healthcare
  • No more public education
  • No more family planning and female reproductive health support
  • No more “protection” for GLBT individuals
  • No more protecting them against harmful chemicals and polluted air
  • No more safeguarding their right to clean, wholesome water.

We progressives must RESIST! and rally around our liberal, left-leaning progressive incumbent public servants and candidates for offices at all levels of government – rally around with monetary support, being present for their rallies and public meetings, volunteering to help with re-election efforts. We must have a strong show of support and show our faith in the possibility of the America that we saw for eight years under President Obama. We must keep the cherished view of an America that welcomes everyone, cares for its citizens, moves forward with compassion, keeps our role as a leader in the world. We did this in January, we’ll do it again on April 29th for The People’s Climate March, we will do over and over again this year for upcoming elections and referendums. Yes – RESIST!

Further Monsanto Incursion

I can’t think of anything positive for the environment, health and safety, and economic security of the somewhat rural area that can come out of this connection with Monsanto in Avra Valley. Monsanto currently has cotton farmers using Monsanto seed stock for crops grown in Pima County.

Monsanto, according to the presentation included in County documents released on the above site, wants to build a gigantic greenhouse to test out new hybrid corn development. End result to sell the hybrid, GMO corn to farmers and use their typical ploy of locking farmers into their seed – suing them if they use another type of seed. The movie, “The World According to Monsanto”, describes these practices.

Here’s a statement from the overview of project:

“Approximately 51 citizens voiced comment to the Board of Supervisors during the meeting and many others provided written comment – most of which was in opposition to the Monsanto facility. Community concerns ranged from opposition to the use of genetically modified seed in farming, the health effects of genetically modified food, the use of a proprietary herbicide, the impact on local farmers, past incidents of contamination elsewhere and questions about Monsanto’s corporate ethics.”

Let the county Supervisors know how you feel about this development! There are schedule community feedback meetings scheduled over the next few days in mid-January in different locations throughout the county. Here’s the county press release, with info about upcoming meetings/locations for the public to provide feedback about the project. You can also use the “Feedback” link to provide comments via the web site.

The Effects of Corporate Greed

Skull-n-CrossbonesThank god those folks at Texaco (now owned by Chevron) aren’t drilling for oil or doing their exploration in your neighborhood–I don’t think you and your family would survive the experience. Why is this? Just ask the local people in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle region about Texaco and oil exploration.

The Tucson Weekly published a fantastic article here about the oil exploration and drilling that Texaco started back in the 1920s in the Ecuadorian region. Texaco, now owned by Chevron, decided that the poor indigenous jungle people wouldn’t know any better about modern petroleum drilling methods, so they used the cheapest, most expedient and damaging practices possible with no concern for those native peoples. There has been quite a bit of coverage about this situation, including Amnesty International throwing their legal and activist/community support into the mix.

Here’s the routine: you follow worst case business practices in an area where the locals don’t have a clue as to what you’re up to, completely devastate the local environment, don’t bother cleaning up after yourself, and then deny you ever did any harm in the first place: blame everything on the locals (who would never do anything to their community because it’s where they live.) Doesn’t this sound like a petulant, spoiled American child? What do parents typically do to the child after repeated warnings and parental instructions about poor behavior? They spank the kid’s ass and send the child to a “time out” zone, take away privileges, show their displeasure and sorrow about the child’s actions. So, taking this rather spotty metaphor to the matter at hand, how do we treat corporate misbehavior? We shame them, we spank them with lawsuits, we shun them by boycotting their products and services, we hopefully cause the corporate brats to own up to their misdeeds and compensate the native peoples.

Tucson Weekly (archives) article
Chevron could face huge damages
In-depth reporting about this disaster: AmazonWatch – ChevronToxico

Bhopal and Union Carbide 1984 Accident

Toxic landscapeHere’s the New York Times headline about the disaster and a chronology article NYTimes story about the Union Carbide Corporation’s Bhopal India chemical plant disaster from the day after the accident on 12/3/1984. Accident? Here is a very instructive bit of history on how we do out-sourcing and some of the consequences.

Union Carbide states, from their own private investigation, that the Bhopal accident was the work of sabotage: some unknown person put water in the toxic gas storage tank and that caused the massive chemical reaction that caused valves to rupture ejecting chemicals into the environment.

And a chronological view of the accident and how Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) weaseled its way out of providing substantial help in the short term for Bhopal victims. Contrast the UCC web site’s view of the disaster with the events listed on the Wikipedia page.

Here’s another site with graphics depicting the layout of the plant, holding tanks, and map of the surrounding area indicating the dispersing of the toxic gas.

Here’s a perfect example of how U.S. corporate weasles do business: You sell off or change the corporate name/identity of the nasty parts that have such an unattractive public image.

As a result of the sale of its shares in Union Carbide India (in 1994), Limited (UCIL), Union Carbide retained no interest in — or liability for — the Bhopal site
Union Carbide was purchased by another planet corporate citizen, Dow Chemical, in 2001 after the messy brouhaha in India.

Union Carbide Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. “Dow”, as used throughout, often refers generically to The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries.

This type of corporate behavior is quite common and the American public seems to simply accept as normal, “business as usual”. Gotta watch out for the bottom line and keep those stock shares performing at an optimal level.

More fantastic news coverage and commentary about the Bhopal disaster:
NYTimes – Bhopal Deadly Legacy opinion
NYTimes – Where does the blame lie?

Dow Chemical Our Ethical Friend

Toxic landscape

[Here’s an older story that is relevant today with all the oil pipeline spills, the Standing Rock Sioux nation’s grievance and protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and the lead poisoning of large portions of Michigan’s water supply.]

Heartbreaking story on NY Times article on the continuing problems with the Union Carbide accident in Bhopal, India and how Dow Chemical is still doing its best to do nothing about the after-effects and weaseling out of helping with remediation of the site/community. Groundwater and soil are rarely tested and continued birth defects plague the area. Toxic waste is still being stored in sheds and a toxic sludge “pond” is used daily by children and dogs.

Dow can’t risk impacting its stockholders’ dividends with negative publicity and impact with probable cash outlay: Dow, based in Michigan, says it bears no responsibility to clean up a mess it did not make.

“As there was never any ownership, there is no responsibility and no liability — for the Bhopal tragedy or its aftermath,”

Scot Wheeler, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail message.

The Dow weasel is talking about how Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide and all its holdings, so Dow is, of course, not responsible for anything that Union Carbide perpetrated on the Bhopal community.

The article states that a jumpstart sum of $25M from Dow could solve many of the problems and help testing in the area. India’s government is afraid to push for the money because, in doing so, future investments by Dow might be put in jeopardy. (Why would you want to have Dow take part in anything in the country knowing their track record of environmental destruction and denial of wrongdoing?!?)

Dow Chemical has quite the awful past. They supplied the defoliant, napalm, that was used during the Vietnam conflict as well as manufactured Agent Orange that caused so much devastation and birth defects in Viet Nam. Dow is no stranger to environmental disasters. Wikipedia has noted the Environmental Record of Dow including

Being #11 in the “measure of toxicity of airborne pollutants emitted in the United States”
Dow has some responsibility for 96 of the United States’ worst Superfund toxic waste dumps, in tenth place by number of sites
Areas along Michigan’s Tittabawassee River, which runs within yards of Dow’s main plant in Midland, were found to contain elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemical dioxin in November 2006. The dioxin was located in sediments two to ten feet below the surface of the river.

The corporate marketing and legal staff at Dow are really working their spin on what a good corporate/world citizen the company is with their Corporate Ethics overview. Is this the type of ethical behavior we’ve come to expect from our leading corporate citizens? If that doesn’t make you feel nauseous and fear for your humanity, then look at Dow’s information about its commitment to clean drinking water. They talk about sustainability and clean water technologies they are helping to implement all over the world. Hey Dow! How about helping the folks in Bhopal with the problems your corporate ancestors created?

How do the corporate spin doctors and legal weasels at Dow sleep at night? How do they assuage their guilty consciences about the lies and deceptions they take an active role in promoting? Do large paychecks and great stock options help to ease their guilt? I’m feeling sickened…

Environment and You

Our day-to-day lives… What do we do that affects our local community’s environment?120px-biohazard

  • Our car exhausts smelly, noxious fumes because we haven’t taken the time/don’t have the money to tune up our cars.
  • We put plastics that are marked as recyclable materials into our regular garbage can.
  • We leave water running in our yard (the desert, you know!)
  • We have a tricked out sports ride with loud glass pack exhaust system.
  • Our car has a messy oil or coolant leak — there’s always a little puddle under our car.

You know what I’m talking about: the things you know are the right thing to do, but might take a little more effort on your part. Preachy? Well, maybe. But damnit, we all live in the same place, breath the same air, listen to the same noises (or lack of noises!), drink the same water – on and on…

We have so much in this country and there is also so much waste, so much taken for granted. What can you do to care for your planet?

The Great Auto Alliance

[An older story, but still quite relevant considering how little we’ve progressed in fuel efficiency.]

“Look at what we’re doing!”, says GM, Daimler/Benz, and BMW

The big boys are making nice-nice and pooling their smarts and monies together to develop foundation systems for future vehicles. But, about these vehicles: GM and Chrysler/Daimler-Benz just don’t get the point about conservation, fuel efficiency, being responsible corporate citizens helping to reduce greenhouse gases and the effects of global warming.

“We believe that our two-mode hybrid is the best of the hybrid systems,” Truckenbrodt said. “I think all three of us can say it’s truly amazing what you can get out of if you bring wild, dedicated engineers together.”

They’re so wild and thinking outside the box, huh? Wow, hybrid SUVs getting high 20/low 30s MPG – what innovation! Howz ’bout giving people an alternative to the huge death machines rolling down the road?

DaimlerChrysler plans to use the new hybrid system in its 2008 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle.

Ah-hemm… Durango?!? Really? This is our answer to the U.S. scaling back and becoming more fuel efficient?

GM will use the hybrid in versions of the Tahoe and Yukon SUVs it plans to make available at the end of 2007.

Again, these are huge beasts! Have you ever seen one of these muthas roll on top of a compact car?

BMW has not committed to a timetable for using the new engine system, but has said that it will make vehicles available with the upcoming hybrid engine system over the next three to five years.

BMW will kick both of GM and Chrysler/Daimler-Benz’ ass with a high performance and efficient vehicle.

TEP Methane From Landfill

Here’s a link to a story published in the Arizona Daily Star on 11/27/2005. The story really surprised me because the idea seems so simple, so novel, so forward-thinking, thinking outside the box. Who thought this idea up? Will TEP be a good citizen and use more of its resources to help make Tucson a better place to live?

Methane-gas use lets TEP cut back on coal

By Eric Swedlund
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.27.2005

In the six years since TEP began producing electricity from methane produced at the city’s Los Reales Landfill, the program has saved 100,000 tons of coal, the utility says.

The program launched in August 1999 when Tucson Electric Power reached an agreement to purchase the methane gas from the city. The methane, a natural emission created by decomposition in the landfill, is captured and piped about three miles to TEP’s H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station on East Irvington Road, said Joe Salkowski, a utility spokesman.

The program is mutually beneficial, with TEP cutting its coal use by burning methane and the landfill operators not having to deal with the hazardous byproduct.

TEP generates 5.5 megawatts of energy from burning the methane gas, enough power to serve 5,500 homes.

The boiler that TEP uses to burn both gas and coal generates 120 megawatts of power, so the methane program cuts coal consumption by 4.6 percent.

By burning less coal, TEP can reduce its emissions. The methane program has reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 870 tons and avoided the production of more than 145,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

And unlike other renewable energy sources, methane isn’t any more expensive than coal, Salkowski said. The city by law has to control landfill gas and assisting in providing clean energy is a benefit, said Nancy Petersen, deputy director for environmental services.

An Inconvenient Truth

[Here’s another older post from the time “An Inconvenient Truth” came out in the theaters. There does seem to be more and more acceptance for the theories Gore presented in the movie, fewer nut-jobs still refuting the solid evidence.]

nuke_cattenom-france_ccI originally viewed Vice-President Al Gore’s feature movie version of his PowerPoint-like presentation and book on global warming. I was stunned and was in awe at the information presented in “An Inconvenient Truth” and applaud our elected non-President Gore for his courage and fortitude in making all of the information covered in “Truth” available to us all and in an entertaining, yet thought-provoking manner.

The data presented in “Truth” was terrifying – melting glaciers all over the world, rising ocean levels, the intensity of storms. I was simply browsing through the RSS feeds of the Librarian Internet Index tonight and came across this article in the Global Warming section on the New Scientist web site about the Siberian tundra bogs turning into big slushy areas and open water lakes in an area the combined size of France and Germany.

The one point Gore made that spoke volumes was how of all the scientific reports about global warming not one refuted the data and scientific facts about the seriousness of global warming. Not one!

I was at a friends house the other night and a guest out-n-out stated that global warming is a myth, there’s no real proof — just a bunch of paranoids and whiners. No, the guest wasn’t George W.

The movie is available via different streaming services – highly recommend viewing it if you haven’t already seen it.