Category Archives: Ecology

Proud of Arnold

I’m so proud of Arnold Schwarzenegger, our Governator. I am a registered Democrat (at heart an independent, but I had to choose one of the two to have any voice at all in American politics, and I usually detest Republican policies anyway), but I love Arnold. He is a free-thinking, brain-using, common sense, ecologically concerned Republican and I only wish he could run for President (see my older post Naturalized Presidents).

Arnold let President Bush know in no uncertain terms that he disagrees with lifting a decades old ban on offshore oil drilling in California coastal waters. Arnold said:

“We are in this situation because of our dependence on traditional petroleum-based oil; the direction our nation needs to go in, and where California is already headed, is toward greater innovation in new technologies and new fuel choices for consumers. That is the way we will ultimately reduce fuel costs and also protect our environment.”

Thank you Arnold. I think you are one of our best governors ever. I’m so glad I voted for you.

photos from AtPictures.com

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Filed under Ecology, Life, Politics

Red Tape

Yesterday I took the time to write emails to both California senators and my local representatives, as well as the Metropolitan Water District regarding my concerns about water fluoridation. This was what I wrote:

Is the flouridation of our drinking water a permanent situation? I protest the addition of fluoride to our water supply (beginning October 2007) here in South Orange County on the basis of health issues. A new report by Reuters explains some of the health risks associated with water flouridation.

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS108377+02-Jan-2008+PRN20080102

I would like to know if these programs are scheduled to be terminated in the near future to make our drinking water safe again.

I plan to write to my elected officials on this matter as well. Thank you.

___________________________________________________________

Here is the only response I received so far, this from the Metropolitan Water District. Not a peep from the elected officials yet. I must say this was a very speedy and informative response, although it underscores the amount of bureaucracy involved in bringing about change:

I appreciate both your concern and interest in Metropolitan’s Drinking Water Fluoridation Program. Metropolitan’s decision to fluoridate it’s drinking water supplies was made by an official action of its Board of Directors; Metropolitan’s Board governs Staff activities (including fluoridation) and adopts all policy on its treatment and operations.
Any decision to stop or reverse Metropolitan’s Fluoridation Program must be initiated at this level. You therefore have two options to stop Metropolitan’s current fluoridation treatment option: 1.) convince its Board to reverse their 2004 decision or 2.) have the current law mandating drinking water fluoridation changed.

Sincerely,
Edgar G. Dymally
Water Quality Section
Metropolitan Water District
of Southern California

I love the way that’s worded – “convince the board” or “change the current law”. It’s as simple as that!!

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Filed under Ecology, Health, Life, Politics

Read this before your next sip of tap water…

Scientific American Has Second Thoughts About Fluoride

fluoride, water fluoridation“Editors for Scientific American believe recent studies suggest that fluoride raises the risks of disorders affecting teeth, bones, the brain and the thyroid gland, and in general “scientific attitudes” about fluoridation may be shifting.

“Fluoride, the most consumed drug in the USA, is deliberately added to 2/3 of public water supplies theoretically to reduce tooth decay, but with no scientifically-valid evidence proving safety or effectiveness,” says lawyer Paul Beeber, president of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation.

Meanwhile, according to environmental reporter and director of New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program Dan Fagin, “There is no universally accepted optimal level for daily intake of fluoride.”

After analyzing hundreds of fluoride studies, researchers found that fluoride:

  • Alters endocrine function, especially in the thyroid
  • Causes dental fluorosis in young children
  • May lower IQ
  • May increase the risk of bone fractures

Because scientific evidence suggests that water fluoridation is ineffective and dangerous to health, over 1,200 professional are now urging Congress to stop water fluoridation.”

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Hey! Don’t throw that away!

This is not my own original work or research. I thought it so important however, that I present it from the website coopamerica.org . I hope this will help spread the word about recycling objects you may not have thought could be recycled. Cut and paste any links you are interested in into your browser.

21 Things You Didn’t
Know You Can Recycle

CAQ73 Garbage. Americans produce more and more of it every year, when we need to be producing less. Even the most waste-conscious among us can feel overwhelmed by the amount of household waste that goes beyond what municipal recyclers and compost bins can handle. That’s why our editors spent the summer of 2007 investigating the state of waste management in our country, putting this list togther for you, explaining how we can get serious about the three R’s – reducing, reusing, and recycling — and divert more waste away from landfills. (To download the entire recycling issue of the Quarterly, visit our archives page.)1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances, www.goodwill.org, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them. 800/YES-1-CAN, www.recycle-steel.org.

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110, www.batteryrecycling.com.

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they Boxcan use them. Or, offer up used cardboard boxes at your local Freecycle.org listserv or on Craigslist.org for others who may need them for moving or storage. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, UsedCardboardBoxes.com accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223, www.auraltech.com.

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. ShirtsDonate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, www.dressforsuccess.org. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, and save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling: www.ikea.com.

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won’t be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them to at www.findacomposter.com.

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers, local and national, at www.ban.org/pledge/Locations.html.

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at www.videofitness.com.

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses Glassesare reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam packing: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340, www.epspackaging.org/info.html

12. Ink/toner cartridges: Recycleplace.com pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org listserv, or try giving them away at Throwplace.com or giving or selling them at iReuse.com. iReuse.com will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000, www.recycleoil.org.

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell Cellphoneit to someone in a developing country: 770/856-9021, www.collectivegood.com. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: www.donateaphone.com. Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927, www.reclamere.com.

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249, www.playitagainsports.com.

17. “Technotrash”: Project KOPEG offers an e-waste recycling program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Use Project KOPEG to recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more. Also, easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK, www.greendisk.com.

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. www.nikereuseashoe.com. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti. www.oneworldrunning.com.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from ToothbrushRecycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms’ yogurt cups. 888/354-7296, www.recycline.com.

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.

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Filed under Ecology

Most Wanted Poster

Remember in the “olden” days when post offices displayed the “Most Wanted Posters” of criminals at large? I suppose the State of California would have posted this guy if posting was still a custom…

I got this in the mail yesterday.

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Filed under Ecology, Life, News

More Alternative Homes

When I was a kid, I liked nothing better than to climb up a big tree, find a comfy perch, and sit and listen to the birds. I lived in a fairly wooded area in New York and my next door neighbors actually had a small forest in their backyard. There was something about being safely up above everyone else, sharing space with creatures of the air and listening to the leaves rustle – seeing the patterns sunlight made as it shone on and through the leaves. My best friend and I (see my earlier post “Old Friends”) built and played in many a treehouse. I still dream about having one today, although the trees and palm trees in my California backyard are not amenable to a treehouse!

So when I saw these photos on a website, I was so excited, I had to share them with you. Can you imagine living in a home like this high above the ground? I think about how I would decorate such a home inside…then I think perhaps no decoration is needed, the sheer atmosphere of such a home would be enough. The only dilemma would be how to rig up a toilet system. I guess since gravity is on your side, you could just hook up some kind of pipe system that goes to a septic tank underground.

The treehomes below were designed by Dustin Felder; he calls them “O2 Sustainability Treehouses”. These designs do not harm the tree. All the materials are entirely recycled. They are made of translucent 1/16″ triangulated polypropylene panels, some of which open up to provide air circulation.

inhabitat.com

This last treehouse reminds me of a toy one of my birds has. It’s a small coconut with a hole in it and a small perch so he can get inside. I can’t remember where I found this photo so whoever the architect and photographer are, kudos to you. This one looks like it might be warmer than the treehouse above, but I suppose those with claustrophobia need not apply!


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Filed under Architecture, Ecology, Life

The Ultimate Recycle

I was watching one of my favorite programs on the Sundance Channel the other day called “Big Ideas for a Small Planet”. It deals with new and old ideas for conserving and producing energy and resources. This most recent program dealt with a fantastic recycling idea in the architectural field.

Francie Rehwald, a 60-year-old retiree and Mercedes Benz dealership heiress, decided she wanted to build a home in Victorville, California. She requested that the home be curvy (with feminine lines), and it had to be environmentally friendly. She enlisted the help of architect David Hertz of Santa Monica. He came up with the idea of using a scrapped Boeing 747-200 jet; according to Hertz a scrapped jet could be purchased for merely the value of the aluminum used in the plane’s construction – which is approximately $30,000. In his plan, the wings would be used as a roof and the ailerons would control the shade on the deck. The nose would be reborn as a meditation temple. Some of the remaining scrap would be turned into shelters for barn animals. The cost of the project would be approximately $2 million (hey – she’s an heiress – no problem).

Since the completed project would look from the air like scattered pieces of a plane (which in essence is what it is!), the FAA has asked that “special numbers” be painted on the wings to let pilots flying overhead know that the site is not a crash site.

Below is the architect’s rendering of the finished project.

photo: BBC News

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Ecology, Life