We should all be aware by now that many of the chemicals we use are poisonous. Bottle labels from pesticides to paint thinners carry skull-and-crossbones and “dispose of properly” warnings. Repair facilities and manufacturing businesses work with many dangerous chemicals that, obviously, need to be discarded after use.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s job is protecting the environment in which we all live, work, and play. This charge includes regulating the manufacture, handling, and disposal of useful but dangerous chemicals. President Clinton’s executive order in 1994 made environmental justice part of the EPA mission. The EPA Web site explains:
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
The EPA is holding two webinars this month on reducing the risks of the use of chemicals that are recognized as having a high impact on environmental justice communities.
You must register to attend EPA webinars. Registrants have the option of just listening in but can also ask a question, share information or make a statement.
Environmental Justice Public Consultation on trichloroethylene (TCE) Webinar
Date: 27 May 2015
Time: 1-2pm EDT Register
Environmental Justice Public Consultation on paint removers NMP and methylene chloride Webinar
Date: 27 May 2015
Time: 1-2pm EDT Register
Green Drinks are not a type of drink – that’s just our name! Green Drinks meets monthly in three north Jersey cities – we hold informal gatherings bringing people together to chat over food about green and sustainable issues relevant to our lives and communities. Green Drinks meetings are open! Everyone is welcome and there is no admission fee. Pay for the food and drinks you order at the restaurants where we meet – each location serves good food at moderate prices.
Discussion themes this month
Replacing New Jersey’s climate change denying congressman – Scott Garrett
Collecting toys, clothing, coats and money for holiday gifts
Alternative fuel vehicles for personal and municipal use
Growing the Green Drinks community in 2014!
Green Drinks Newark 1st Mondays | 7-9pm
December: 02 Dec 2013
Agave Mexican Restaurant
118 Pacific St, Newark, NJ | 973-732-4168 Street parking
Green Drinks Hackensack 2nd Mondays | 7-9pm
December: 09 Dec 2013
Villa de Colombia
12 Mercer Street, Hackensack, NJ Parking if restaurant lot is full:
Weekdays after 7 across street in jewelry business parking lot
Weekends in Salvation Army lot on the corner of Mercer & State Streets
Green Drinks Clifton-Paterson (this location has no fixed date or spot for now)
December: Tues, 17 Dec 2013 | 7-9pm
429 Crooks Avenue, Clifton NJ (on the Paterson border) Safe street parking
To avoid carbon monoxide hazard/poisoning when using a portable generator:
• Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
• NEVER use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
• Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
• Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions.
• Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
To Avoid Electrical Hazards:
• Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy- like structure.
• Dry your hands before touching the generator.
• Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
• NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
• If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch.
To Avoid Fire Hazards:
• Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
• Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers.
• Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.
This Monday at Green Drinks, a few of us from the Fair Lawn Green Team will be discussing safe bike routes in north Jersey, especially how to create a direct connection from the county bike path to Bergen Community College. We welcome input and would love to know what your biking concerns are.
GREEN DRINKS HACKENSACK – FEBRUARY
Monday 13 February 2011 | 7:00pm
Victor’s Maywood Inn
122 W. Pleasant Avenue, Maywood, NJ
Admission: Always free
Food: Pay only for food and drinks you order
Parking: free on site
GREEN DRINKS 3 SCHEDULE
Green Drinks Hackensack Monday 2/13 @ 7:00pm
Green Drinks Paterson/Clifton TUESDAY 2/21 @ 7:00pm
Green Drinks Newark Monday 3/5 @ 7:00pm
Espanõl-parlantes muy bienvenidos en todas las reuniones Green Drinks! Visite http://greendrinks3.org para información sobre nuestra organización en español.
ABOUT GREEN DRINKS HACKENSACK
We have a nice and growing group in Hackensack hosted by Ivan Gomez Wei, Sally Gellert, Yulieth Peña and Kim Wei. I hope you’ll come by and share a drink and some chicken wings with us. If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t worry – many Greendrinkers don’t. We are in Hackensack every 2nd Monday.
WHAT IS GREEN DRINKS?
A Green Drinks get-together is: Lively, casual conversation with other people interested in green or sustainable life, business and community practices, green jobs, the green economy and urban farming/gardening. Feel free to drop by for however long you like – as the general monthly meetings have no set format and people come and go during the evening.
We always meet in places where the food is good and prices are easy on the pocket. And by the way, Green Drinks gatherings ARE NOT about drinking or green colored drinks. They’re about the environment!
GREEN DRINKS IS OPEN
Open to the public, discussions are where you want to take them, and admission is always free. Green professionals, area residents and all others are welcome! Help us build a friendly new green community one person at a time, by joining us one evening.
Last night I argued with a friend who claimed that environmental damage is now under control in the United States, and offered the BP oil spill as evidence of how well environmental disasters are being handled, and their impact minimized. This is so not true, but it’s not enough to say so – it must be proven, so here are a few facts:
“Nearly 2,000 responders are actively working in the gulf to aid in the ongoing recovery efforts. We continue to hold BP and other responsible parties fully accountable for the damage they’ve done and the painful losses that they’ve caused. We’re monitoring seafood to ensure its continued safety and implementing aggressive new reforms for offshore oil production in the gulf so that we can safely and responsibly expand development of our own energy resources. And E.P.A. Administrator Lisa Jackson is leading a task force to coordinate the long-term restoration effort based on input from local scientists, experts, and citizens.”
Marine Biologists have issued a grim forecast for Gulf shrimpers and fishermen in the wake of the BP oil spill: the 2011 “Dead Zone” in the Gulf, they predict, will likely be the largest on record, choking some species of sea life and hindering others from properly migrating and developing. The implications of a super-size dead zone, estimated to grow as large as the size of Delaware and Maryland combined, could be huge . . .
While the BP oil spill isn’t directly responsible for the Mississippi River dead zone, the 200-million-plus gallons of oil and the millions of gallons of toxic chemical dispersants that BP dumped into the Gulf have caused a dead zone of their own. Scientists have found several square miles of Gulf sea bed blanketed by oil untouched by hungry microbes.
Pictures taken during submarine excursions to some of the oil-choked areas showed crabs, starfish, coral, tube worms, and other creatures smothered to death under thick blankets of oil. Highly toxic gases released from the well and noxious soot from the burning of oil on the surface have deepened the devastation. The effects of Corexit, the chemical dispersant used by BP to break the sludge into smaller particles, are still largely unknown and widely feared in the scientific community.
We now know BOPs (blowout preventers) don’t always work, even when they’re used correctly. We know the oil companies still don’t have full response capabilities, even if they’ve given their top hat a new coat of paint. And we know that the recommendations of the bipartisan spill commission haven’t been put in place.
Yet Republicans in Congress and the oil companies are still pushing for more drilling with less safety. This is the sort of willful ignorance and speed-over-safety mentality that led to the BP spill in the first place.
I’d like to leave readers with hope for a better future: please keep in mind that current sweeping changes in ecology and climate are not natural occurrences – they are entirely due to man’s intervention. And, we are consuming much more of planetary resources than are available. The good news here is that as we are creating the problems, we can change our behaviour and begin to fix the world. As Jaime Cloud reminded my family recently, there’s “just enough time.”