Surprise from the EPA

Surprise from the EPA

In recent memory, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been more disappointing than gratifying in the eyes of environmental advocates. Oil and gas extraction has been a thorn in the side of the EPA. The organization has had to balance environmental concerns with economic woes. The Obama administration has not made it easier on the EPA since it has been equally unwilling to take a real stand supporting or opposing the dangerous methods of extraction. Yes, the Obama administration has maintained and prolonged the status quo of oil and gas extraction, development, and use; and yes, the EPA is subject… read more

Still Reliant on Nature

Travelling for traditional medicine

Traditional medicine is still used in many African communities in the present day. The blending of numerous herbs is usually a science not recorded in text books, but passed on from one traditional healer to another through either apprenticeships or informal training. Although western medicine is available in most communities, there are still people who prefer to use traditional medicine for many reasons including religious beliefs and economic circumstances. As mentioned above, traditional healers generally do not have any form of formal training. However the process of blending the medicine they use is quite complex in that it involves a… read more

Short Term Thinking?Part 2

The oil and mining industry

In the feverish drive for domestic energy, all energy sources are on the table. With renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, surging, and oil and gas continuing to be not only the primary source of energy, but also the prominent “evil-doer” in the energy industry, other sources have been able to slide under the radar of the public—for better or worse. After the disaster in Fukushima, nuclear energy has been on the ropes, but it is not down for the count. Despite the limitations placed on the nuclear energy industry regarding building new power plants, uranium is still… read more

Short Term Thinking?Part 1

shutterstock_114337345

The availability of jobs in states where oil is booming is luring many high school graduates into the industry instead of pursuing a 4-year degree at a college or university, or even a 2-year degree at a technical school. It is understandable why high school graduates are taking the jobs while they can: nationwide unemployment among young adults is at more than 12 percent, college tuition is soaring (due to a multitude of reasons), and jobs in the oil and gas drilling industry can start at $50,000 a year. Instead of spending an extraordinary amount pursuing higher education and a… read more

The Child in Nature

Childhood memories

As a child, I spent much of my time outdoors and discovered an early fascination with the nonhuman world. It became the site for rich imaginings and great adventures. And it was home to the animals who became my friends, my confidants, the creatures whose comings and goings showed me many truths about life and death. Growing up in New Zealand, I lived with my grandparents on a 12 acre farm in the Waikato, central North Island. I was surrounded by farm animals – sheep and cattle, pigs, chooks, rabbits, cats and dogs. It was a simultaneously beautiful and brutal… read more

Rising Sea Temperature

Via Brian Burke on Flickr

Global warming caused by human activities that emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide has raised the average global temperature by about 1°F (0.6°C) over the past century. In the oceans, this change has only been about 0.18°F (0.1°C). This warming has occurred from the surface to a depth of about 2,300 feet (700 meters), where most marine life thrives. Coral and other organisms are affected by temperature change. Krill, ate by whales, may be an extremely important link at the base of the food chain. Krill produce in small numbers when the ocean temperatures rise.  The cascading effect can be a problem… read more

Urban Efficiency

City skyline

In our search to be closer to nature, we may actually be killing it. When we think of green living, we may think of solar paneled houses with compost bins nestled in vast, pastoral landscapes where one lives isolated from their neighbors, but this image is flawed. While such areas may allow you to live closer to nature, their distance from urban necessities – along with the creation of expressways to accommodate such distance – makes rural areas more damaging to the environment. On the contrary, urban areas that provoke images of pollution, crime, and over-population are actually more environmentally friendly. This is no accident, many factors that define… read more

Green Resolutions

2013 Green Resolutions

Many people vow to begin a new year with reformed behaviors. Months, or maybe even weeks into a different year however, well intended resolutions may get put on the backburner. Adding more sustainable behaviors is good resolve no matter when, but the start of a purported clean slate in time often lends to increased motivation. Integrating simple solutions throughout the year is essentially best when it comes to sticking to a plan. According to Bill Petro the history of making resolutions on New Year’s day began in Babylonian times. They had New Year’s festivities in March, but the Romans changed the custom… read more

Tarring and Caring

Tar sands extraction

On October 24th, the Utah Water Quality Board (UWQB) approved the first ever tar sands mine on U.S. soil, giving a permit to U.S. Oil Sands, a company which specializes in tar sand mining, and despite its name, has its headquarters based in Alberta, Canada. Incidentally, Alberta has been a hotspot for tar sand development and extraction, so it comes as no surprise a company from Alberta is involved in the U.S. tar sands industry and activities. The tar sands industry has made quite the name for itself in Alberta, wreaking havoc on the environment and people in surrounding areas…. read more

Is Our Water Safe?

Keystone - Cutting Corners

The Keystone XL pipeline has been moving forward without hindrance, although President Obama did place a delay on the proposal. However, it appears as though it will be approved, and will be installed, pumping oil across the country. One area the pipeline would traverse is the Ogallala/High Plains aquifer, which is one of the nation’s most important sources of drinking and irrigation water. It would make sense to ensure that if there were to be an unfortunate and disastrous leak or spill, an incredibly important water source would not be damaged or destroyed. However, sense did not prevail in the… read more