Pacific nuclear site contaminating clams and groundwater, despite U.S. denial

June 4, 2019 by  
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Giant clams and groundwater near a U.S. nuclear waste site in the Marshall Islands have been found to have high levels of radiation. Despite claims that the waste is contained and the ocean contamination is old, local scientists and environmental justice advocates believe the site was not adequately protected and is currently leaking. The Marshall Island’s site was used as a testing location from 1946 to 1958. There, the U.S. military conducted 67 known nuclear weapons tests on coral reefs, a critical ecosystem now known to host up to 25 percent of all marine life. The nuclear tests included the detonation of the “Bravo” hydrogen bomb, which is thought to have been 1,000 times bigger than the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. According to a testimony by the Marshall Islands’ health minister, the bomb covered the islands in white ash, which children played with and even ate, thinking it was snow. Related: Ocean explorer finds plastic waste during world’s deepest dive In 1977, the U.S. military piled contaminated ash and soil into an atoll– a ring shaped reef– and topped it with 18 inches of concrete. Perhaps it was meant to be a temporary fix, as the bottom of the containment was never insulated, but the structure has remained for 42 years. Visible cracks in the concrete leads many researchers to believe that there is likely leakage at the bottom as well. “The bottom of the dome is just what was left behind by the nuclear weapons explosion. It’s permeable soil. There was no effort to line it. And therefore, the seawater is inside the dome,” said Michael Gerrard of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. U.S. Department of Energy scientists claim it is safe to eat small amounts of the giant clams, which are a delicacy in the islands as well as an export to China. However, international scientists widely distrust their claim that since there is no direct proof of leakage, the contamination to the shellfish and lagoon is just from the old testing and not from ongoing spillage. “What they’re saying is, here is the dome. And here, in the lagoon area, there is radiation … But as far as leaking from the dome, we don’t think that’s the case? The doesn’t make any sense,” said Mayor James Matayoshi of Rongelap Atoll. Via Eco Watch Image via UNESCO

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Pacific nuclear site contaminating clams and groundwater, despite U.S. denial

This incredible tiny house resort in the Catskills is the place to be this summer

June 4, 2019 by  
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If you’re feeling the need for a little R&R this summer, look no further than this fabulous tiny home resort in upper-state New York. Tucked into the dense woodlands of the Catskills, A Tiny House Resort features nine gorgeous tiny homes , including a renovated Airstream. Not only are the accommodations incredibly charming, but guests can enjoy a heated swimming pool, wellness center, arts and crafts workshops, and even goat yoga. Tucked in the woodlands, with a 1/2 mile of creek frontage and an onsite waterfall. A Tiny House Resort is truly an incredible space. Each of the adorable tiny homes , which range from 100 to 400 square feet, have different layouts, but all include kitchens, full bathrooms and comfortable beds. They also come with open-air decks with barbecue grills to enjoy al fresco dining and socializing. Additionally, there are a few onsite fire pits so that guests can truly immerse themselves in the outdoors, day and night. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills In addition to the tiny home accommodations , guests can enjoy any number of activities. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby, and adventurers can also enjoy free kayaks and rafts to enjoy exploring the adjacent river. For those looking for a little culinary cleanse, the resort even has its own veggie garden and hen house for collecting fresh eggs. For a little luxury, stressed-out city dwellers can relax with an invigorating massage in the open-air wellness center and spa, or a leisurely bath in the hot soaking tub. Budding artists and DIYers will love the arts and crafts center which is located in a renovated Airstream . Finally, for those who’d like to get bendy in nature, there’s also outdoor yoga— including the ever-popular goat yoga. + A Tiny House Resort Via Tiny House Blog Images via A Tiny House Resort

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This incredible tiny house resort in the Catskills is the place to be this summer

The public health impact of Hurricane Harvey is worse than we’ve been told

March 22, 2018 by  
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More than six months since  Hurricane Harvey decimated much of Central America and the American Gulf Coast, the public still doesn’t have the answers it needs regarding the full public health impact of the powerful storm. This is of particular concern for Texas, in which the nation’s most substantial energy corridor is based. 500 chemical plants, 10 refineries and more than 6,670 miles of oil, gas and chemical pipelines are located in the impact area of Hurricane Harvey. And investigations by the Associated Press and the Houston Chronicle have found that the toxic impact of the storm is far worse than authorities reported. The investigators documented more than 100 specific instances of toxic chemical release into the water, the air, or land as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Nearly half a billion gallons of industrial wastewater flooded out of one chemical plant outside of Houston alone, mixing with storm water and surging across the sprawling urban environment. Hazardous chemicals such as benzene, vinyl chloride, butadiene and other carcinogens were released into the flood waters during the storm. In the case of two major contamination events, officials publicized the potential toxic impact as less extensive than it actually was. Related: Houston Bike Share offers free bicycles to people who lost cars to Harvey While Texas regulators claim to have investigated at least 89 instances, they have not said whether they will take any enforcement action. Alarmingly, state and federal regulators only tested water and soil for contaminants in areas near Superfund toxic waste sites, ignoring the potential runoff of toxic chemicals during the unprecedented flooding of Houston and surrounding areas. During and after the storm, authorities only notified the public of dangers posed by two events: the explosions and burning at the Arkema chemical plant and an uncapped Superfund site by the San Jacinto River. “The public will probably never know the extent of what happened to the environment after Harvey,” Harris County supervising attorney Rock Owens told the Associated Press, “but the individual companies of course know.” Via NBC San Diego Images via Texas National Guard and  Depositphotos

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The public health impact of Hurricane Harvey is worse than we’ve been told

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

March 22, 2018 by  
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Scientists recently found that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – now three times the size of France – is showing signs of exponential growth. In a new study published in the journal Nature , researchers provide a detailed analysis of the garbage patch after a monumental effort that required two planes and 18 boats to complete. “We wanted to have a clear, precise picture of what the patch looked like,” Laurent Lebreton, study lead author and lead oceanographer for the Ocean Cleanup Foundation , told the Washington Post . The study estimates that the mass of the garbage patch is four to sixteen times bigger than previously thought, highlighting the urgency of confronting global plastic pollution. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation worked in collaboration with scientists from New Zealand , the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Denmark . The study provides an in-depth account of the mass concentration within the Garbage Patch. Although the mass of the Garbage Patch appears to be growing, the study concludes that the area of the patch has remained relatively stable. This means that the Garbage Patch is simply becoming more dense. Related: The Ocean Cleanup launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid The study also found that 46% of the Pacific Garbage Patch’s mass is composed of disposed fishing nets. “This suggests we might be underestimating how much fishing debris is floating in the oceans,” Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who studies marine plastic but was not associated with the study, told the Washington Post . “Entanglement and smothering from nets is one of the most detrimental observed effects we see in nature.” For all of the garbage floating in the Patch, scientists expect that much of the world’s plastic pollution is sinking, with much of that damage happening out of sight. + Nature Via the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos (1) and the Ocean Cleanup Foundation

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

March 22, 2018 by  
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Could salt help soothe our climate woes? Senior scientist Robert Nelson of the Planetary Science Institute seems to think so. At a recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, Nelson suggested that sprinkling salt above clouds could hold off sunlight and cool our planet, according to Science Magazine . But as with many geoengineering ideas, this one isn’t without controversy. Finely powdered salt injected into the upper troposphere might help humanity stave off some of the impacts of climate change, according to Nelson. His suggestion isn’t too far off those of other scientists who want to introduce microscopic particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunshine into space , imitating the impact of volcanic eruptions that have served to temporarily cool Earth. But his might be more benign than others, Science Magazine said. The senior scientist tossed out alumina or sulfur dioxide: the first could lead to chronic disease, embedding in our lungs if we inhaled it; the second could lead to acid rain or erode the ozone layer. Related: Trump administration could open door to geoengineering Instead, he turned to salt: it’s more reflective than alumina, according to Science Magazine, and harmless for people. Nelson also thinks if salt were crushed into tiny particles in the correct shape and diffused randomly, the mineral wouldn’t block infrared heat the Earth releases. Volcanologist Matthew Watson of the University of Bristol is one scientist who has called out potential problems with Nelson’s approach. He led an ultimately canceled geoengineering experiment, in which his team considered injecting salt in the stratosphere. But the substance contains a lot of chlorine , which he said could help destroy ozone. With limited amounts of water in the stratosphere, and salt so attracted to it, even a small amount could impact the formation of wispy clouds; we have know idea what consequences this would trigger. Nelson might be able to address issues by injecting salt into the upper troposphere instead of the stratosphere — at least, that’s what he hopes. But he said we should still work to curb carbon emissions , saying, “This would be a palliative, not a [long-term] solution.” Via Science Magazine Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

March 22, 2018 by  
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Congress has reached a deal on the $1.3 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018, an agreement that does not include the cuts to clean energy demanded by the Trump Administration. President Trump’s budget proposal would have cut funding from carbon capture and storage technology while increasing funding for new coal technologies. In this instance, Congress pushed back. For example, the omnibus spending bill increases funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $2.3 billion rather than agreeing to the 66 percent funding cut for the office proposed by the Trump Administration. In what may be the last major legislation passed this year, Congress must pass the budget deal by midnight on Friday to avoid a third government shutdown in 2018. If the budget deal is enacted, the United States would likely achieve the 2015 goal set by President Obama of doubling research and development for clean energy within a decade. The bill also protects the EPA from Trump ‘s proposed 23 percent cut, maintaining funding for the agency at $8.1 billion. While funding for renewable energy is protected, Trump did manage to achieve a significant policy victory through the bill’s increased funding for DOE’s fossil energy arm to $727 million. This money will fund the development of low-carbon coal technologies. Related: USDA withdraws Obama-era animal welfare standards for organic meat, eggs and dairy The omnibus spending bill also includes a $868 million increase for DOE’s Office of Science , ignoring the Trump Administration’s proposed 15 percent cut. While those who support renewable energy and environmental protection have reason to celebrate, the current government is nonetheless limiting the potential of the clean energy industry. A large increase in funding for clean energy research and development is unlikely in the near future. However, Congress has found an agreeable equilibrium that ensures the quiet work of transforming the energy economy of the United States can continue, even though Donald Trump sits in the White House. Via Axios and the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Congress rejects Trump’s renewable energy budget cuts

Dangerous super bacteria found in Rio waters before Summer Olympics

July 2, 2016 by  
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Two new academic studies shared with Reuters news show that scientists have found drug-resistant “super bacteria” off Rio de Janeiro beaches – some of which will be hosting Olympic events in August. These deadly microbes, normally only found in hospital settings, have been turning up in the waters near some of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. Though city officials are blaming illegal dumping for the contamination, it more likely has something to do with the fact that Rio pumps literal tons of raw sewage into the ocean with only minimal treatment for safety.

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Dangerous super bacteria found in Rio waters before Summer Olympics

Polish farmers and families blockaded Chevron frackers for 400 days

January 15, 2015 by  
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In July, Chevron abandoned its plans to drill for gas in Zurawlow, Poland, after farmers and families from Zurawlow (and four nearby villages) blockaded a proposed shale drilling site with tractors and other pastoral machinery for 400 days. Now, that victory is inspiring other Poles to fight back against the fracked gas industry. Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of Polish farmers and families blockaded Chevron frackers for 400 days Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agro-tourism , ban fracking , Biodiversity , Chevron , Climate Change , contamination , drilling , earth , ECO:nomics , economy , Environment , environmental assessment , Europe , families , farmers , farming , farms , forests , frack , fracked , fracking , gas , government , grassroots , Health , health issues , law , local , natural , natural resources , oil , Poland , political , politics , protected forests , Radunia River , regulations , resistance , rivers , shale boom , shale drilling , shale gas , silica sand , streams , tourism , u.s. , UNESCO , united states , Zurawlow

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Polish farmers and families blockaded Chevron frackers for 400 days

Radioactive Strontium-90 Found in Fukushima Groundwater

June 19, 2013 by  
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It has been over two years since the catastrophic meltdown at the Fukusima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and the bad news keeps on rolling in. On the heels of an announcement by Tepco that the water at the facility is contaminated with low levels of cesium, the company reported that the groundwater is also polluted with strontium-90 . The highly toxic substance is a by-product of the fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors. The discovery will no doubt complicate Tepco’s ongoing struggle to contain leaks inundating the basements of reactor buildings. Read the rest of Radioactive Strontium-90 Found in Fukushima Groundwater Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cesium , cleanup , contamination , fukushima daiichi , groundwater , leak , Pollution , Solar Power , strontium-90 , TEPCO , tritium        

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Radioactive Strontium-90 Found in Fukushima Groundwater

Tepco Admits that Water at Fukushima is Contaminated by Radioactive Particles

June 6, 2013 by  
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The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco , have reversed its earlier statements that the water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is not contaminated. The utility company has detected low levels of radioactive particles in the groundwater flowing into the plant, an occurrence that they had previously dismissed. The admittance stands as one of a growing list of errors that have taken place during the cleanup effort, and has drawn criticism of the government for choosing to place the recovery of the plant into the hands of the company whose failings during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami allowed the disaster to reach catastrophic levels. Read the rest of Tepco Admits that Water at Fukushima is Contaminated by Radioactive Particles Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cesium , contamination , fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant , groundwater , Japan , radioactive , reactor , TEPCO , tokyo electric power company , united states        

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Tepco Admits that Water at Fukushima is Contaminated by Radioactive Particles

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