Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Drinking Water Leave Military Families Reeling – By Julie Turkewitz – The New York Times

By Julie Turkewitz
Feb. 22, 2019

“FOUNTAIN, Colo. — When Army Staff Sergeant Samuel Fortune returned from Iraq, his body battered by war, he assumed he’d be safe.

Then the people around him began to get sick. Neighbors complained of tumors, thyroid problems and debilitating fatigue. Soon, the Colorado health department announced an unusually high number of kidney cancers in the region. Then Mr. Fortune’s wife fell ill.

The military, it turned out, had been leaching toxic chemicals into the water for decades.

Mr. Fortune felt “stabbed in the back,” he said. “We give our lives and our bodies for our country, and our government does not live up to their end of the deal.”

That was 2016. Since then, the Defense Department has admitted that it allowed a firefighting foam to slip into at least 55 drinking water systems at military bases around the globe, sometimes for generations. This exposed tens of thousands of Americans, possibly many more, to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a group of man-made chemicals known as PFAS that have been linked to cancers, immune suppression and other serious health problems.”

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The Vanishing Flights of the Monarch Butterfly – By Sue Halpern| The New Yorker

By Sue Halpern5:00 A.M.

“Monarch butterflies east of the Rockies typically start the journey in Canada and the upper Midwest, aiming for the Oyamel-fir forests in Mexico’s Transverse Neovolcanic Mountains.Photograph by Sylvain Cordier / Getty
Walking around my family’s property in upstate New York last summer, I noticed something I hadn’t seen in years: scores of monarch butterflies flying around the milkweed that rings the perimeter of the yard. Six months later, at the end of January, biologists attending the Trinational Monarch Science Meeting, in Mexico City, confirmed what I and many others had been seeing throughout the summer and fall: the eastern monarch population was a hundred and forty-four per cent larger than it had been a year earlier. The announcement offered a modicum of hope amid dire warnings of mass extinctions and ecological catastrophe. Just two weeks earlier, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation had issued a finding that the monarch population west of the Rockies dropped by around ninety per cent in the past year and is on the verge of collapse.

Monarch butterflies migrate. Though they weigh less than a gram, they travel thousands of miles each fall to overwintering sites that provide the right microclimate to enable them to survive for months with little food or water. To track these migration patterns, citizen scientists have been gluing small tags on monarchs’ wings since the nineteen-fifties. The data from recovered tags is continually overlaid on maps that show where the butterflies are going and where they are coming from. That’s how we now know that monarchs east of the Rockies typically start the journey in Canada and the upper Midwest, aiming for the Oyamel-fir forests in Mexico’s Transverse Neovolcanic Mountains. In the spring, the butterflies lay eggs in Texas before dying; successive generations move northward in a kind of relay race that follows the proliferation of milkweed, their host plant. Monarchs that begin their journey west of the Rockies do something similar: after wintering on the coast of California, shielded by stands of eucalyptus or Monterey pine, they move inland to the Central Valley, but also north to Washington State and southern British Columbia, and to Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and possibly Montana.

One day in July, walking around our pond as my dog hunted for frogs, I watched two monarchs mate overhead, and, when they separated, I followed the female as she laid an egg on the underside of a nearby milkweed leaf. Milkweed is the monarch’s host plant because it contains a toxin that is poisonous to the butterfly’s predators. Monarch caterpillars chew the leaves and ingest the poison, which will protect the butterflies that they eventually become. I took the leaf with the egg and brought it inside.”

Source: The Vanishing Flights of the Monarch Butterfly | The New Yorker

Opinion | The Green New Deal Is What Realistic Environmental Policy Looks Like – By Jedediah Britton-Purdy – The New York Times

By Jedediah Britton-Purdy
Mr. Britton-Purdy is the author, most recently, of “After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene.”

Feb. 14, 2019

Image
Supporters of a Green New Deal gathered late last year in Washington.CreditCreditJim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency, via Shutterstock

“Everyone is lining up to endorse the Green New Deal — or to mock it. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have all endorsed the resolution sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

Conservative critics predictably call it “a shocking document” and “a call for enviro-socialism in America,” but liberal condescension has cut deeper. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, essentially dismissed it as branding, saying, “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” Others have criticized it for leaving out any mention of a carbon tax, a cornerstone of mainstream climate-policy proposals, while embracing a left-populist agenda that includes universal health care, stronger labor rights and a jobs guarantee.

What do these goals have to do with stabilizing atmospheric carbon levels before climate change makes large parts of the world uninhabitable? What has taken liberal critics aback is that the Green New Deal strays so far from the traditional environmental emphasis on controlling pollution, which the carbon tax aims to do, and tries to solve the problems of economic inequality, poverty and even corporate concentration (there’s an antimonopoly clause).

But this everything-and-the-carbon-sink strategy is actually a feature of the approach, not a bug, and not only for reasons of ideological branding. In the 21st century, environmental policy is economic policy. Keeping the two separate isn’t a feat of intellectual discipline. It’s an anachronism.

Our carbon emissions are not mainly about the price of gasoline or electricity. They’re about infrastructure. For every human being, there are over 1,000 tons of built environment: roads, office buildings, power plants, cars and trains and long-haul trucks. It is a technological exoskeleton for the species. Everything most of us do, we do through it: calling our parents, getting to work, moving for a job, taking the family on vacation, finding food for the evening or staying warm in a polar vortex. Just being human in this artificial world implies a definite carbon footprint — and for that matter, a trail of footprints in water use, soil compaction, habitat degradation and pesticide use. You cannot change the climate impact of Americans without changing the built American landscape.”

Opinion | How the Left Embraced Elitism – By David Brooks – The New York Times

David Lindsay.

My friend Don Cardwell wrote to me, ” I marvel at (David Brooks) intellectual origami, and unfettered legerdemain. He SOUNDS so reasonable, so calm. I went to the kitchen window and basked in the morning sun, after days of rain. I think Brooks would shutter the blinds good and hard and run screaming to the basement to escape the light.”

So I found this piece and read it, and liked it. It was the comments section, one of the best set of top comments I’ve ever seen in the NYT comments, that helped me see Don was right, this is one of the worst columns Brooks has ever writen.

I wrote to Don: “At first quick read, I thought you were off your rocker. But I read deeply into the comments, and kept agreeing with all the criticisms of the column. By the end, I felt you were spot on, though I feel bad for David Brooks. He doesn’t have any urgency about climate change, which is odd. I’m afraid he doesn’t get it, or he thinks the threats that the scientists lie awake worrying about, are just abstractions. He does, accurately point out, that conservatives want a monumental carbon tax, so that Big Government can use it as a pointer, and all the States and Corporations can pull in the same direction. Mr. Brooks does not appear to realize that if we don’t jump on this wild horse, in 10 to 12 years it might be too late.”

 

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introducing the Green New Deal on Thursday.CreditCreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

 

“Over the past generation, global capitalism has produced the greatest reduction in human poverty in history. Over the past 10 years, American capitalism has produced 20 million new jobs. The productive dynamism of capitalism is truly a wonder to behold.

But economic growth alone is not enough. Growth alone does not translate into economic security for the middle class and the less skilled. Growth alone does nothing to reverse the social decay afflicting communities across America.

This reality is transforming the political debate — and shifting everything leftward. Among conservatives there are now a bevy of thinkers who are trying to find ways to use government to reduce inequality, promote work and restore community.

For example, in the lead essay of the conservative journal National Affairs, Abby M. McCloskey notes that the family you are born into and the neighborhood you live in have a much stronger influence on your socioeconomic outcome than any other factors. Her essay is an outstanding compendium of proposals designed to strengthen family and neighborhood.

Pell grants could be used to pay for vocational and apprenticeship training and not just for college. The federal government could support a voluntary national service program by paying people, once in their lifetime, to work for a year at a local nonprofit. The tax code could be tweaked so that people with no income tax liability could receive a cash credit for making charitable donations.

These proposals are activist but humble. It’s not the federal government centrally deciding how to remake your community. It’s giving communities and people the resources to take responsibility and assume power for themselves.

As many conservatives have shifted leftward, so have progressives. From Bill Clinton through Barack Obama, Democrats respected market forces but tried to use tax credits and regulations to steer them in more humane ways. Obamacare was an effort to expand and reform private health insurance markets.

That Democratic Party is ending. Today, Democrats are much more likely to want government to take direct control. This is the true importance of the Green New Deal, which is becoming the litmus test of progressive seriousness. I don’t know if it is socialism or not socialism — that’s a semantic game — but it would definitely represent the greatest centralization of power in the hands of the Washington elite in our history.”

David Lindsay:

Here is a sample of the great comments at the NYT:

Down62
Iowa City, Iowa

Sometimes David tries too hard to sound like an intellectual. Like here: “The great paradox of progressive populism is that it leads to elitism in its purist form.” Huh? The real deal here is to find a dialectical balance between extreme market capitalism and extreme federal centralization. For now, I for one, am grateful that ‘the next generation’ of whom Mr. Brooks writes, are trying to correct 40 years of excessive, deregulated corporate capitalism.

rv commented February 11

rv
riverhead

Mr. Brooks would have a lot more credibility if he decried with equal passion the greatest concentration of wealth in the hands of the 0.1% – and the continuing transfer of wealth to them via the tax code. Phrases like “Washington elite” are used as cudgels by the Mr. Brooks and his friends to hammer modest proposals to redress the rampant and growing inequality in this country

Alan J. Shaw commented February 12

Alan J. Shaw
Bayside, New York
Times Pick

Brooks is playing with words. The “elite ” to which the right wing refers is a negative stereotype of college graduates supposedly residing mainly on the east and west coasts and who are therefore out of touch with the populace as a whole. The New Deal marshaled the resources of the federal government during the FDR administration to benefit the middle class and the disadvantaged. Philosophically and in action, it was completely opposed to the corrosive and corrupting concentration of wealth and power that characterizes the so-called “populist” Trump administration.

Michael commented February 11

Michael
Evanston, IL

It’s not the Democrats who are authors of “fantasy”; it’s David Brooks. Only one word can describe today’s column: irresponsible. Once again, Brooks is channeling his conservative patron saint Edmund Burke – but there’s just one problem: we don’t live in the 19th century England Burke was writing about. Climate change is breathing down our necks – estimated to have dire consequences within 20 years or less. Inequality is pulling the country apart. Yet, Brooks pines for “humble” solutions that will strengthen families and neighborhoods. Yessiree bob! Let’s set up a lemonade stand! The Green New Deal is a nonbinding resolution to fight inequity and tackle climate change. It’s a bold response to acute and threatening problems that require immediate attention – not tomorrow, not next year. Climate change will melt Burke’s “prudence” and Brooks localism. Yet, Brooks wants to turn something like climate change over to “communities and people” and let them “take responsibility and assume power for themselves.” I wish them luck when the ocean is up to their roof line, or it’s so hot and dry that forest fires burn year round coast to coast. “I don’t know if it is socialism or not socialism.” Here’s what it is – it’s democracy. It’s people recognizing that serious, potentially calamitous challenges require equally serious responses, and then working toward real solutions. What it is NOT is cautious 19th century paradigms for urgent and complex 21st century predicaments.

Sherry commented February 12

Sherry
Washington
Times Pick

Thankfully David Brooks acknowledges that global warming is a problem; most Republicans don’t. And because most Republicans don’t they are doubling down on killing regulations, and subsidizing pollution from coal mines and power plants and natural gas well, and calling pipelines “utilities” so that they can take private land to build pipeline projects even though all the profits from those pipelines will go to private companies. Even more, Republicans insist on subsidize tarsands processing plants on the Gulf Coast so that industrialists like David and Charles Koch can mine tarsands in Alberta and profit even more off of exporting oil and polluting the air. Decades of time and billions of dollars have been wasted deferring to Republican reckless and irresponsible free market free-for all. Their “freedom” means to socialize the costs and privatize the gains from fossil fuel industry and to hemorrhage our tax on disaster relief from hurricanes and fires burning out of control, while every summer hotter than the last. Harnessing America’s energy and talent to drive clean energy revolution through a Green New Deal is about a thousand times more prudent and responsible than any Republican idea has ever been.

Diana commented February 12

Diana
Centennial
Times Pick

In Nordic countries socialism and capitalism peacefully co-exist and all citizens benefit by being socially secure. There are those who are wealthy, but they pay their fair share of taxes. The wealthy in this country do not. They have a thirst for wealth that cannot be quenched no matter the tax loopholes nor the tax cuts, more is always demanded. What the left wants is social fairness. We do not have that now. You object to big government programs. I can think of two large government administered programs that work very well in this country: Social Security and Medicare. Ask some of Trump’s base how they feel about these leftist, socialistic programs. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was opposed by conservatives, just as the Green New Deal is being opposed by conservatives for the same reasons now as then. How many people in this country were lifted out of poverty because of the New Deal? We need idealistic young people in this country to dream big and offer fresh ideas to be considered and debated without dismissing their ideas out of hand. Universal health care is absolutely doable. Climate change is real, and needs to be addressed. I would welcome a shift toward the Nordic Model. Conservatives are frightened that is where we are headed. The wealthy should be the ones who have to work in voluntary community programs for tax credits. Some might have even have their consciousness raised.

David Lindsay:  There are at least two more great comments that point out that it is the externalities of our economy that cause all the pollution and harm, and the capitalisst market does not take care of externalities. It is up to government to take care of them.

Single Stream Recycling Services, Recycling Companies, Waste Recycling, Recycling Pickup Services, Curbside Recycling | Windsor Sanitation – Windsor, Connecticut

Single Stream Recycling Services
Windsor Sanitation stands out amongst other recycling companies by now offering single stream recycling services as well as hand sorted pickup. Single stream recycling allows customers to place all recyclables, unsorted, into one cart, which is picked up in the same fashion as our automated trash carts. Place BLUE recycling carts at the curbside by 7 a.m. on scheduled collection day.

Click here to view our residential recycling services calendar.

Please consult the recycling guidelines below to comply with State Recycling Regulations. For the most up-to-date recycling guidelines followed by the public and recycling companies, please visit http://www.crra.org/pages/recycle.htm

What CAN Be Recycled Through the New Single Stream Recycling System
Paper – including:
Newspaper
Inserts
Advertisement flyers
Magazines
Envelopes
Junk mail
Cardboard – including:
Corrugated
Fiberboard
Cereal boxes
Food & Beverage Containers – including:
Glass bottles
Plastic bottles (PETE & HDPE only)
Tin cans (not aerosol cans)
Aluminum cans
Aluminum food trays
How to start using SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING SERVICES
Place all acceptable recycling material in the new BLUE cart as you generate it. The new system allows material to be mixed together
All material must be inside the cart – no bundles or bags on the ground
Cut large pieces to fit into the Single Stream Cart
Rinse dirty material of contaminants
Labels and neck rings DON’T have to be removed
DON’T break bottles
Plastic bottles CAN be clear or colored and include detergent bottles, bleach bottles, shampoo bottles and other similar items
NOTE: Bottles must be completely empty
What CANNOT Be Recycled in the New Single Stream Recycling System

Dirty or contaminated newspaper
Dirty or contaminated (food waste, etc.) papers, paper towels, paper plates, etc.
Dirty or contaminated cardboard (pizza boxes, etc.)
Wax or plastic coated cardboard
Automotive fluid (oil, antifreeze, etc.)
Aerosol (spray) cans
Food & Beverage containers not made of glass, tin, aluminum or plastic that is not PETE & HDPE varieties
Other glass items (light bulbs, window glass, dishes, etc.)
Other plastic items (toys, etc.)
Other metal items (pots, pans, coat hangers, toasters, etc.)
Ceramic items (bottles, dishes, flower pots, etc.)

Source: Single Stream Recycling Services, Recycling Companies, Waste Recycling, Recycling Pickup Services, Curbside Recycling | Windsor Sanitation – Windsor, Connecticut

Opinion | An Energy Wish List for Congress – By Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey – The New York Times

By Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey
Mr. Gillis and Mr. Harvey are writing a book on how to speed up the clean-energy transition.

Feb. 5, 2019

“Amid the disarray in Washington, here is a ray of hope: It seems possible that Congress could pass energy legislation this year with the support of both parties. It would not be the sweeping measure to tackle climate change that is really needed, but there is at least a chance of getting a bill that does more good than harm for the climate and the country.

The point person on this effort will be Lisa Murkowski, the maverick Republican from Alaska who heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She has a history of working with Democrats on energy legislation, and got 85 Senate votes for passage of a major energy bill in 2016, only to see it bog down in negotiations with a House then also led by Republicans.

Newly installed as leader of the Democrats on her committee is Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. Both senators are beholden to fossil-fuel interests, and it is inevitable that any bill they draft will seek to include provisions sought by that powerful lobby. But Ms. Murkowski has seen the effects of climate change firsthand in Alaska, and takes the problem seriously. Mr. Manchin declared the other day, “We want clean water; we want clean air; we want to have an economy that works in balance with the environment, we really do.”

In the House, newly empowered Democrats are eager to tackle climate change, but as long as Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, controls the Senate calendar, getting a sweeping climate bill through that body will be impossible. So, even as Democrats work to take control of the Senate in the 2020 election, they ought to engage with Ms. Murkowski to try to get a reasonable measure out of Congress — and to keep it focused on clean energy.”

Why a Border Wall Could Mean Trouble for Wildlife – By John Schwartz – The New York Times

John Schwartz
By John Schwartz
Jan. 24, 2019

“As the fight continues over President Trump’s demand to extend the border wall between the United States and Mexico, one thing is clear: Whatever the wall’s effect on immigration might be, it would have an impact on the environment of the borderlands.

About 650 miles of border wall already exist along the 2,000-mile boundary between the two countries. Most of it has been built on federal land where the terrain provides no natural barrier. Mr. Trump has called for a 1,000-mile wall, which would extend farther across land that includes important habitats for wildlife.

A Customs and Border Protection policy says the agency “will integrate environmental stewardship and sustainability practices into operations and activities.” But Congress has given the agency the power to waive environmental protections like the Endangered Species Act. Such laws could require the government to produce an in-depth environmental impact analysis of a new project, develop less-damaging alternatives and perform environmental monitoring after construction.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection was unavailable because of the partial government shutdown, a result of the political standoff over funding for the wall.

An article published last year in the journal Bioscience, which has been signed by more than 2,900 scientists, said the administration’s plan would “threaten some of the continent’s most biologically diverse regions” by blocking free movement of many species and contributing to flooding. More than 1,500 native animal and plant species would be affected by the wall, the paper said, including 62 listed as endangered or vulnerable.

Here are some of the possible effects that an extended border wall could have on wildlife.

Animals would be cut off
An extended border wall would impede the movement of many species and would put creatures already under pressure in peril.”

Biden’s Paid Speech Buoyed the G.O.P. in Midwest Battleground – By Alexander Burns – The New York Times

.By Alexander Burns
Jan. 23, 2019, 214

“Joseph R. Biden Jr. swept into Benton Harbor, Mich., three weeks before the November elections, in the midst of his quest to reclaim the Midwest for Democrats. He took the stage at Lake Michigan College as Representative Fred Upton, a long-serving Republican from the area, faced the toughest race of his career.

But Mr. Biden was not there to denounce Mr. Upton. Instead, he was collecting $200,000 from the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan to address a Republican-leaning audience, according to a speaking contract obtained by The New York Times and interviews with organizers. The group, a business-minded civic organization, is supported in part by an Upton family foundation.

Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience. Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer — and “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.”

Mr. Biden’s remarks, coming amid a wide-ranging discourse on American politics, quickly appeared in Republican advertising. The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Before weighing in, I asked google, what is Fred Upton’s positon on Climate Change. It turns out he is a Koch brothers hand.
From ThinkgProgress.org, “A prominent critic of the Climate Solutions Caucus was not impressed with Upton’s decision to join the panel. “Upton, a well-oiled favorite of the Koch brothers, has a long record of abusing his leadership positions on the House Energy Committee to deny the existence of climate change, promote Arctic drilling, and to vote against light bulb efficiency regulations that he originally supported,” said R.L. Miller, co-founder of Climate Hawks Vote, a grassroots-funded group that supports candidates and elected officials whom it identifies as making climate change a top priority.

Miller noted that her group endorsed Upton’s Democratic challenger, Paul Clements, in Upton’s reelection bid in 2014. “The only thing we want to do with Fred Upton is this: vote him out,” Miller said.”
Joe Biden was my very first choice for President in 2020, but this news in unacceptable. Global Warming and overpopulation are repulsive problems that must be addressed before it is too late. My old friend Joe justs doesn’t get it. He smiles at Al Gore, but doesn’t understand a word that great leader has said. Thank you for your serviced Joe, and have a good retirement.

The Four Zeros – Zero Energy Project – zeroenergyproject.org

This summer, with fires, floods, and heat waves around the globe, climate disruption is on top of many people’s minds. Widespread adoption of zero energy homes and buildings will make a huge contribution towards reducing our carbon footprint, but to realize their full benefit, they need to be part of a much broader, integrated approach – something Hal Harvey of Energy Innovation calls “The Four Zeros.” According to Harvey, The Four Zeros include:

A zero-carbon grid. With alternative energy and storage systems, we have started on the path toward reducing carbon emissions from the electric grid. This combination of renewable generation and energy storage is on the way to becoming the least-cost energy resource. Going all of the way to a zero emission grid will require that we greatly increase zero emission power sources and storage systems as well as utilizing a range of innovative technologies that enhance flexibility. Utility-scale installations are necessary along with decentralized, consumer-driven projects that are integrated with the grid. With a flexible zero-carbon grid, we would eventually be able to electrify everything – carbon free.
Zero-emission transportation. We have the technology for electric vehicles (EVs), and more major automobile manufacturers are coming out with new EV models with longer ranges. Currently, most EVs charge at the owners’ homes. For daily commutes, this is the ultimate in convenience, but it means most EVs are currently “second cars” not suitable for long trips. We need to build out the public charging facilities with fast chargers in order to increase demand for electric vehicles. By combining electric vehicles and electric public transportation with a zero-carbon grid or zero-positive buildings, we will have a zero-carbon transportation system.
Zero-carbon/zero-energy buildings. All the technologies for zero energy buildings are off the shelf and readily available. Measured by the total cost of ownership, zero carbon buildings are cost competitive and usually cost less to own. Additionally, health and comfort benefits may be even more significant, but are difficult to quantify or express in monetary terms. California and Oregon have now mandated that all new construction get on the path to zero after 2020.
Zero-waste manufacturing. Waste squanders energy and increases carbon emissions. New manufacturing techniques, such as 3-D printing, advanced engineering, and advanced chemistry, can significantly reduce waste. The product design stage is essential to success here. Manufacturers can design and build products that use less raw materials and that are easily disassembled and recycled. For example, some innovative grocery stores are now only selling packaging-free products in their stores.

Source: The Four Zeros – Zero Energy Project