Tag Archives: impact

Obama calls on NEPA to create awareness of environmental costs

enviro impact assessment
Source: NEXCO East
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law New Year’s Day of 1970 by President Nixon. And, it’s what Obama committed to use before Christmas 2014 for bringing commonsense guidance to every sort of government construction project. Wildlife Defenders writer Noah Matson points out: “NEPA is one of the most important environmental laws that most people have never heard of.”

Obama isn’t calling for government agencies to pick the most eco-friendly approach to development. But he wants NEPA protocol to be followed: it calls for an analysis of the environmental impact of every project being planned, giving government staff the chance to weigh the financial costs of building against the environmental ones. This brilliant approach will forever change the development game, as truth is an irresistibly compelling force and when people are forced to look upon it, they can’t avoid being transformed. Until now, environmental costs of construction have been disregarded through the simple expedient of ignoring that they exist.

Matson says:

One of the key ways that NEPA advances this policy is by instituting a sound, transparent planning approach to large-scale government decisions. Before taking an action that could have a significant effect on the environment, NEPA requires those involved to develop alternative ways to achieve the same goal, and to evaluate the environmental impacts (good and bad) that each different approach would have. For instance, if the goal is to enable commuters to travel between two cities, the alternatives might be a highway that cuts straight through a wetland, a longer highway going around it, or a new rail line. NEPA requires the agency to lay out and weigh the pros and cons of each approach.

We can expect GOP politicians to stand on their heads and bawl like babies to protest meaningful ecological analysis of any development project. They’re only about profit at this point; are owned by major corporate interests and have put concerns for nature, clean air and water on the shelf. But NEPA is a good thing, and pulling it more effectively into play is a characteristically impressive Obama policy move.

Other Resources:
View NEPA compliance documentation
More on NEPA by Environmental Law Institute

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Ban on (styrofoam) polystyrene containers spreads to NYC

polystyrene defined by Wikipedia

On Jan 1, New York City’s polystyrene foam ban went into effect, joining the city to the ranks of Rahway, Secaucus and the Verona public school district in New Jersey and dozens of other cities across the country. NYC is the country’s largest city and last year collected 28,500 TONS of the stuff, a material which the city has determined is practically impossible to recycle. Because styrofoam lasts for 500 years, the ban will start reducing environmental impact in the year 2515.

The 7th grader responsible for pushing the ban in Verona schools is Lucas Konrad-Parisi.
“Styrofoam never degrades, it has dangerous chemicals in it, they can leach out – and it seemed they were throwing so many of these out each day,” Lucas explained to a reporter at the time. “They have a recycling bin in the cafeteria, but you can’t recycle Styrofoam.”

The Northern Illinois University Department of Biological Sciences published a paper cautioning students about the dangers of foam containers:

What happens when we add hot food or drinks to Polystyrene?

Polystyrene contains the toxic substances Styrene and Benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to humans. Hot foods and liquids actually start a partial breakdown of the Styrofoam, causing some toxins to be absorbed into our bloodstream and tissue.

Polystyrene food containers leach the toxin Styrene when they come into contact with warm food or drink, alcohol, oils and acidic foods causing human contamination and pose a health risk to people. Avoid drinking tea with lemon, coffee with dairy cream, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and wine from Styrofoam cups. Red wine will instantly dissolve the Styrene monomer. Do not eat oily foods from Styrofoam containers.

Do not microwave food in Polystyrene containers

Over 100 US and Canadian, as well as some European and Asian cities, have banned polystyrene food packaging as a result of the negative impacts to humans and the environment.

And offers this suggestions on what to do if polystyrene is still being used where you live or work:

What can we do?

1. Be aware of the harmful effects of using polystyrene products and tell others.
2. Use reusable cups instead of foam cups.
3. When shopping for groceries, select items that are unwrapped, or wrapped in non-
polystyrene materials: (e.g. vegetables, eggs, meat)
4. Ask local takeaway restaurants and food suppliers to use a more environmentally
friendly form of food packaging other than Styrofoam. Many alternatives are now available made from materials such as post-consumer recycled paper and corn- plastics.

Ask (for a ban on) polystyrene in food packaging. There are many alternatives that will have less impact on the environment.

If you want to know more about how bad styrofoam is, take a gander at the Sierra Club’s testimony to the Massachusetts legislature on its harmful effects and Harvard’s Polystyrene Fact Sheets.

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What are these birds dying of? Stomachs full of your garbage.

bird memorial

Midway filmWe do this, friends. Drink bottled goo and throw the packaging away into the environment for it to end up in fish and birds’ stomachs. And then, these gorgeous creatures die agonizing deaths for which we are responsible.

Well, do you know that we have the power to stop this too? We can go back to water, to pure fruit juices. Make our own iced tea and drink it from reusable bottles. Give up on plastics. Embrace recycling when that’s impractical. Be a good world steward …

Your children, your great, great grandchildren … and mine … they will all thank you.

Watch the film trailer

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Bottled water is soooo bad – for health, environment, budgets & waste streams

Ban the BottlePeople have no idea how bad bottled water is – for the health of the world, their communities and their bodies. Bottled water is also a social justice issue.

Let’s start with the health issues: single use bottles contain BPA which leeches into water, especially when stored in hot temperatures. Plus, bottled water contains more bacteria than tap water. Stop Corporate Abuse explains,

Bottled water is often sold with images of snowy peaks and pristine rivers with slogans boasting the “pure fresh taste.” Through marketing that presents bottled water as somehow cleaner or safer than tap water, the bottled water industry has effectively cast doubt on the quality of America’s tap water. In 2003, a Gallup poll found that one in five people was drinking only bottled water, largely because of such doubts.

However, the “alternative” sold by these corporations is often a matter of perceived quality rather than an actual substantive difference. In reality, close to half of all bottled water is basically bottled tap water – sold back to consumers for thousands of times the price.

What’s more, bottled water is subject to far less independent regulation and oversight than our public water systems. The Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction over public water systems, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for overseeing bottled water quality. Both agencies use a similar set of quality standards. While these standards are similar on paper, the FDA lacks adequate capacity to effectively monitor the industry, and largely relies on bottlers to police themselves.

Next, consider the environmental impact to manufacture plastic bottles; spend the energy to put it into bottles and ship it to distributors, then transport it to stores and refrigerate it until a customer spends up to $2 to buy a bottle. Pablo Pastër of Triple Pundit calculated the natural resource cost to be close to 7 times the amount of water actually contained in the bottle, plus a bunch of fossil fuel.

Taxpayer cost: even small towns spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to buy bottled water, instead of investing in tap water infrastructure, and the management and treatment of stormwater. Is this how you want your taxpayer dollars being spent?

We’re not done yet. Empty bottles still need to be thrown out! Stop Corporate Abuse tells us that according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO),

… about three-quarters of the water bottles produced in the United States in 2006 were discarded and not recycled. Each year more than four billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter … Waste generation has a huge monetary impact on municipalities… Assuming the average national tipping fee of $35 per ton, these four billion pounds of plastic waste cost US cities at least $70 million annually, not including the costs of collection, trucking and litter removal.

Finally, people have begun to fight back against bottled water abuse.

Concord, Massachusetts has become one of the first communities in the U.S. to ban the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles … Octogenarian Jean Hill lead the charge, telling The New York Times in a 2010 interview, “The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us.” She declared, “I’m going to work until I drop on this.”

And you can fight back too. Try a campaign in your own town or school. Here are some resources to get you started:
Ban the Bottle
The Water Project

Nestlé in line for Hall of Shame Award over bottled water

Take back the tapNestlé hoards our world’s fresh water, marks it up 53 Million percent and spends enough on advertising to make you like paying for it. The company is highly effective in helping kill babies by means of watered-down infant formula; sucking up indigenous people’s water supplies in developing countries to bottle and sell in America for astronomical sums; and they’ve got cruel child labor practices in place that Executive VP Jose Lopez says have been company norm, “For as long as we’ve been using cocoa.”

Nestlé shamelessly carries out these acts in order to make $35 Billion profit, putting bottled water in the category of a serious social and environmental justice concern. And according to Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, that’s why Nestlé has been nominated for a 2013 Corporate Accountability International Hall of Shame Award. See for yourself: in this YouTube video, Nestle’s CEO remarks on the increasing scarcity of water.

The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs [NGOs = Non-Government Organizations], who bang on about declaring water being a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.

Not bad enough yet? How about throwing a GMO connection into the ring: Nestlé has one of those too. Luther reports:

Monsanto and Nestle are firmly on the same team – Nestle donated over $1 million to the campaign against GMO labeling in California and their CEO has claimed that in 15 years of consumption, no one was every harmed by eating GMOs.

While the world’s attention has been on Monsanto’s corruption of the food supply, Nestle has been quietly draining water sources around the globe and marking it up a mind-blowing 53,908,255%, while the rest of us must deal with droughts, regulations on wells and rainwater, and rising prices.

Just remember, Nestlé’s propaganda statements are so not true. They are just empty marketing words.

The Nestle website touts the slogan: Good Food, Good Life is the promise we commit to, everyday, everywhere – to enhance lives, throughout life, with good food and beverages.

Be a smart world citizen and forget bottled water, like these plumbing shop owners have. The benefits are only a bunch of big fat lies. Drink free tap water instead and help improve our world by doing just a little bit every day to improve our environment and our water quality.

Obama Moves to Protect Americans From Toxic Air Pollution

Obama takes a big step to protect the health of American families and our environment: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the first-ever national standards to reduce mercury and other toxic air emissions – like arsenic, acid gas, and cyanide – from power plants, which are the largest sources of this pollution in the United States.