Archive for the ‘The Environment’ Category

Get Monsanto out of the White House

In 2009, President Obama appointed the infamous Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lawyer-lobbyist, as Food Safety Czar in the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), and Tom Vilsack, Iowa’s former Biotech Governor of the Year (an award from the industry organization representing Monsanto and the other genetic engineering companies), as Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture.

Sign Food Democracy Now’s Petition to Stop “Pink Slime”

What are some of the consequences of having Monsanto’s foxes guarding our food safety hen house? The following alerts are a couple of examples of Taylor & Vilsack’s worst crimes, followed by an action link to put pressure on President Obama to drop these guys before the 2012 election.

Pink Slime is the process of keeping these leftover trimmings, spinning them around to break up the meat from the fat, and then dousing the lean meat with ammonia to kill the E. Coli. This process also thins the beef, creating about 15% more meat. It has been estimated that almost 70% of the beef in America includes this ammonia treated filler. Read more: McDonald's No Longer Selling "Pink Slime" Beef Treated With Ammonia | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

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Monsanto – bringing agent orange back from the dead

Next week, the USDA will decide whether to allow Monsanto and Dow to introduce one half of the chemical mixture Agent Orange into our food supply. Widescale use of Roundup has led to a new generation of resistant weeds, and the next step in the pesticide arms race is 2,4-D — a chemical linked to cancer, Parkinson’s and reproductive problems.

Stop Agent Orange and Monsanto

Monsanto - bringing agent orange back from the dead.

Farmers that sign up to use genetically-engineered 2,4-D-resistant corn will be required to spray down their fields with both 2,4-D and Roundup, double-dosing our food, our soil and our waterways with the toxins. Some experts estimate this will increase the use of 2,4-D 50-fold, even though the EPA says the chemical is already our seventh-largest source of dioxins — nasty, highly toxic chemicals that bioaccumulate as they move up the food chain and cause cancer, developmental damage, and birth defects.

We can stop this. The use of 2,4-D is banned entirely in parts of Canada and Europe, and right now the US Department of Agriculture is accepting public comments on 2,4-D to decide whether or not to approve the widespread industrial use of the toxin.

Add your name to our letter to the USDA urging them to deny approval for Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant GMO corn.

This is part of a growing problem, an escalating herbicide war going on across America’s heartland. From 1996 to 2008, herbicide usage increased by 383 million pounds. Nearly half of this took place between 2007 and 2008 after the introduction of another strain of herbicide-resistant plant pushed by Dow. Like Roundup before it, 2,4-D is only a temporary solution that will require more and more tons of toxins and more and more potent chemicals leaching into our food supply.

2,4-D is nasty stuff and has been linked to a number of health problems, such as tripling the rates of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Nebraska farmworkers exposed to it and causing reproductive problems — birth defects and high rates of miscarriage — in both mice and men exposed to it in the lab and field.

Tell the USDA – we don’t want Monsanto’s toxic pesticide.

-Kaytee, Claiborne Taren and the rest of the team


Big Oil, Corrupt Congress, Governments Hands Tied – You can help

Stop the Keystone Pipeline.

It seems Big Oil will stop at nothing to get its way.

Just weeks after President Obama derailed the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the oil giants’ Congressional allies are now planning to hold spending legislation hostage unless this destructive project is approved.
No Keystone Oil Pipeline
In the House, Republican leaders are trying to force approval of the Keystone XL by attaching it to a bill extending unemployment benefits and the payroll-tax cut — a bill they know President Obama urgently wants to sign.

And they’re not stopping there. They’re looking to load up this fast-moving economic bill with other pro-polluter provisions that would otherwise stand little chance of passing both houses on their own.

Tell your members of Congress to reject these cynical attempts to fast track the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and other anti-environmental measures by attaching them to last-minute spending legislation.

In response to the public outcry you and I helped galvanize, the Obama Administration has already started a new review of the Keystone XL’s true environmental costs.

Any thorough review will unmask the Keystone XL as a boon to Big Oil and a disaster-in-the-making for the rest of us. The pipeline would drive more destruction of the Boreal forest, turbo-charge global warming, threaten water supplies in the heartland, raise gas prices and lock America into the dirtiest oil on the planet for decades to come.

And that’s exactly why the oil giants want this project railroaded through Congress before that review is completed. Please help stop them!

Tell your members of Congress to reject any attempt to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and ram through other pro-polluter riders that would sacrifice our health and environment.

Thank for you taking action at this critical moment.


Top Ten Endangered Places 2011

George Washington National Forest, Chesapeake Bay, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Fear Basin, Snowbird Mountains, Cumberland Plateau, Oconee River, Santee River Basin, Georgia Cypress Forests…


Another Coal Ash Spill – in Lake Michigan. Stop Toxic Coal Ash.

How many more coal ash spills need to happen before Americans are properly protected from this toxic waste?

Just yesterday a retaining bluff collapsed at the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant in Wisconsin, sending toxic coal ash spewing into Lake Michigan. Coal ash, the waste product of coal-fired power plants, contains elevated levels of arsenic, mercury and lead — and now it’s spilled into the Great Lakes ecosystem! LOOK CLOSELY AT THE TOXIC COAL GOING INTO LAKE MICHIGAN!

Horrific Pics of a Massive Lake Michigan Coal Ash Spill

Horrific Pics of a Massive Lake Michigan Coal Ash Spill

This is especially infuriating because it’s happened before. When the coal ash disaster happened in 2008 in Tennesse, we saw that, without strong national protections, the job of protecting people from coal ash is left to state regulators who often lack the will and ability to do so — to devastating result.

Our communities need stronger protections from toxic coal ash. This disastrous lesson is being ignored by extreme members of Congress who look to put coal company profits above the health of our communities. Just two weeks ago, the coal industry successfully lobbied the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bill stripping the EPA of the authority to protect Americans from coal ash. The Senate must take this opportunity to do better.


Bank of America Biggest Funder of Mountaintop Removal! Change Banks!!!


Mat McDermott/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Though the majority of Occupy Wall Street‘s demonstrators marched up from Liberty Plaza to Times Square yesterday, a smaller group of perhaps 40 environmentalists began at the New York Public Library on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Why? Because they’d be making a quick stop on first, just one block away, at the New York City headquarters of Bank of America — one of the biggest funders in the nation of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Mat McDermott/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

As you get a glimpse of it in the photos, each protestor carried a small sign or death certificate, representing the myriad negative health and environmental effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Mat McDermott/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Once at the Bank of America building, blocked off by police barricades and maybe a dozen police officers (who previously blocked traffic so marchers could make it across busy Sixth Avenue, it should be said), the protestors began coughing, wheezing, and, well, doing their best to imitate dying from the various ailments that both using and mining coal causes.

Mat McDermott/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

The group had previously decided that no one wanted to get arrested at this particular demonstration. So after a few minutes playing dead on the sidewalk — during which Bank of America’s support for MTR was read out to the small crowd which had assembled and the passersby — when a police supervisor asked everyone to stop blocking the sidewalk, the protestors complied and proceeded onward towards Times Square.

For those not up to speed on what the big deal is with mountaintop removal coal mining, and why it’s so bad for human health and the environment, TreeHugger has covered it extensively.

Check out some of these links:
Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Significantly Increases Birth Defects
See 25 Years of Mountaintop Removal Mining Destruction in 10 Seconds
Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Stream Damage Could Take 1,000 Years To Fix
EPA Data Shows Streams Near Mountaintop Removal Coal Mines Toxic
Climatologist James Hansen Urges Obama to Ban Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining


Keystone XL Oil Pipline – Disaster in the making…

The Keystone XL pipeline would pass over the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for millions of Americans and supplies 30% of our nation’s agricultural water.

Stop Tarsands Pipeline

Additionally, an oil spill along the pipeline – which would cut through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas – would be potentially disastrous to our environment and our economy, especially since the Keystone XL pipeline would pass over a number of environmentally-sensitive areas. Read the rest of this entry »


18 Billion Dollars just to Plant Grass Over What Used to Be a Forest— Stop Tar Sands.

Large numbers of protesters were recently arrested in Washington, D.C., in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, earning them the record for the largest act of non-violent civil disobedience since the Vietnam War.

The more than 1,700-mile pipeline would cut through the Ogallala aquifer, the nation’s largest, and through Texas’ Corrizo-Willcox aquifer among other waterways between Canada and the Texas Gulf Coast. As any engineer could tell you, no pipe is 100-percent leak-proof. The existing pipeline has had 13 leaks since June 2010, and the “extra-large” pipeline extension poses extreme risks to our freshwater resources and croplands. Additionally, tar sands — the crude product being transported — involves tearing down many acres of pristine forestland so it can be tediously strip-mined, leaving a wrecked ecosystem and vast amounts of toxic waste that goes into tailings lakes that can be seen from space. Read the rest of this entry »


Over 100 arrested as tar sands civil disobedience spreads to Canada


If we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.”

After two weeks of sustained protesting at the US White House against the Keystone XL pipeline, with 1,252 people arrested, civil disobedience has now spread to Canada, home of the tar sands. Yesterday, around 500 people protested in Ottawa against Canada’s controversial tar sands; 117 were arrested as they purposefully crossed a barrier separating them from the House of Commons in an act of civil disobedience.

Stop construction of a massive tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Texas.

The tar sands, dubbed by the industry as ‘oilsands’, is vociferously supported by Canada’s conservative government under Stephen Harper, who has been pushing the US to accept the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline would bring tar sands oil through six US States to refineries in Texas, crossing one of the US’s most important freshwater sources, the Ogallala Aquifer.

Last month US activists staged a two week-long protest at the White House against the Keystone XL Pipeline and are planning another action in early November.

The tar sands has become a target for activists because it has a significantly higher carbon output than normal sources of oil. The Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) estimated the greenhouse gas emissions of the tar sands was 5-15 percent higher than conventional sources, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that emissions were 20 percent higher.

Renowned climatologist, James Hansen, raised awareness of the issue when he wrote that if the tar sands are exploited along with coal reserves “it is essentially game over” for the climate.

Extracting oil is not just carbon-intensive but water-intensive as well: the oil—which exists in the form of bitumen and is mixed with clay, water, and sand—must be extracted from the ground with hot water and upgraded by using a high energy process. To make a single barrel of oil requires two tons of tar sands and three barrels of water. The tar sands have been blamed for despoiling fresh water sources, cutting vast tracts of boreal forest, poisoning wildlife, and spreading cancer in indigenous communities.

“The tar sands represent a path of broken treaties, eroded human rights, catastrophic climate change, poisoned air and water and the complete stripping of Canada’s morality in the international community,” Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network said in a press release. First Nation communities have been fighting the industrial juggernaut for years.

In many ways the tar sands has become a focal point for climate activists in North America after years of frustration with governments they view as doing next-to-nothing to mitigate climate change. In response, the tar sands industry has rolled out a massive PR blitz in the US. Supporters of the pipeline in the US argue it will provide jobs and make the US less reliant on the Middle East for oil.

The civil disobedience in Ottawa occurred without drama by all accounts. A step stool was placed before the barrier and protestors were even said to be joking with cops as they were arrested. One protestor in a wheelchair was lifted over the barricade by others. Those arrested were charged around $65 and banned from the House of Commons for a year.


‘Dirty oil’ pipeline to cut into US heartland: 20870 gallons leaked and counting…


In Washington, at least 275 protesters have been arrested oppossing a pipeline which they say will damage ecosystems, increase oil dependency and worsen global warming

AUGUST 2011 | Hundreds converge in Washington for civil disobedience against a massive oil pipeline.

Some 275 environmentalists have been arrested since protests began August 20 against TransCanada’s proposed 2,700 km Keystone XL pipeline. Currently, TransCanada operates the Keystone line which can carry 591,000 barrels of tar sands oil to Oklahoma and Illinois.

The $7bn project aims to expand daily capacity to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil travelling from Alberta, Canada, through America’s heartland, to refineries on the Gulf coast.

“For me, from day one, it has always been about safety issues,” Daniel said, as he drove to Washington to rally opposition. “They are disrespecting the safety of our water supplies. They lied to me about permitting, payments and damage systems,” Daniel told Al Jazeera in reference to TransCanada. “I don’t want my family to be a lab rat for a foreign oil company.”

Leaky lines

Although only operational for a year, the Keystone pipeline has already had 11 leaks in the US – including one that sent a geyser of oil shooting 20 meters into the air in South Dakota, spilling 79,000 liters. Barack Obama, the US president, must decide if the pipeline can proceed by November 1, a ruling that may pit jobs against the environment.

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