Saturday, December 29, 2012

The corporate poisoning of Columbia, Mississippi

"Jesus People Against Pollution (JPAP) Global Ministries"
PO Box 464, Colombia, MS 39429
[www.JPAP.org] [KeysJPAP@aol.com], (601) 736-7099, (601) 818-0137
Evangelist Charlotte L. Keys, Founder and Executive Director,
with the "New Jerusalem Apostolic Pentecostal Church" & "Divine Destiny Apostolic Church".
Jesus People Against Pollution (JPAP) is a grassroots environmental justice organization located in Columbia, Mississippi. The organization was created in response to an explosion at a local chemical plant that resulted in severe exposure of the community to toxic substances. JPAP has set out to educate and inform the impacted communities about the availability of toxicology and environmental health information so that the community can better understand the relationship between environmental exposure and disease.
Dr. Charlotte Keys lost her county job and her life was threatened when, as a county clerk, she discovered and publicly discussed lawsuits filed by several workers against Reichold Chemical. After she learned about the severe health problems plaguing the old and young in her community, traced to 1977 explosion at Reichold’s plant, Keys created Jesus People Against Pollution to mobilize her community to demand health and environmental justice.
Please read "Bringing Climate Justice to Rural Mississippi", by Pastor Dr. Charlotte L. Keys (2013-07-11) [https://web.archive.org/web/20140508014228/http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/07/11/bringing-climate-justice-rural-mississippi].


"The corporate poisoning of Columbia, Mississippi"
Posted 2012-12-29 by "BlackTalkRadio" [www.youtube.com/user/BlackTalkMedia], at [www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JmFiexWhRA]:
The story of the poisoning of the community of Columbia, Mississippi, (Marion County).
According to EPA filings, "In January 1975, Reichhold Chemicals, Inc., (Reichlfold) purchased the property. Reichhold's operation included mixing pentachlorophenol (PCP) with diesel oil. The PCP and diesel oil were mixed and heated using Dowtherm as a heat transfer medium. In other operations, boron trifluoride was mixed with phenol and di-isobutylene to form octal phenol resin. Xylenes were also used in a number of processed. Reichhold continued operations at the property until March 1977, when an explosion and fire in one of the boiler units destroyed most of the processing facility. No operations were conducted at the Site from 1977 to 1980. During this time the Site was secured behind a locked gate."
The contamination of the community was brought to the attention of Al Gore and in 1993 he promised to visit the site but did not keep his word. He was invited by Jesus People against Pollution executive director Dr. Charlotte Keys.


Excerpt from “Mississippi–Human Rights Struggle Continues”, 2013-01-09 posted at [link]:
[ ... ]  In fact, the sloth of the government to force a cleanup of an environmental holocaust in Columbia, Mississippi points to the truth of H. Rap Brown’s statement in the 1960s that “When government becomes the lawbreaker then people must become the law enforcers.”
Charlotte Keys of Jesus People Against Pollution (JPAP) and my friend and colleague Benetta Johnson of the Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition (I serve on the board of ACJC) who alerted me to her struggle, has led a knock down, drag out struggle for justice for all the people of Columbia, black and white, young and old, for years.  Charlotte and Benetta are among the many contemporary activists keeping the struggle for human rights alive.
This video contains the incredible but true story of the trials and tribulations Charlotte and JPAP have gone through trying to get justice in the wake of one of the worst cases of toxic chemical dumping in history in Colubmia (my thanks to my friends and colleagues Michael Jones of Digital Evidence and Scotty Reid of Black Talk Radio Network for assisting with the conversion of the DVD and You Tube Posting).


Excerpt from "Environmental Justice Group exposes polluted chemical sites at Capitol hearing", 2011-01-28 from the "Jackson Advocate" newspaper [web.archive.org/web/20140508001830/http://www.jacksonadvocateonline.com/environmental-justice-group-exposes-polluted-chemical-sites-at-capitol-hearing/]:
[ ... ] Evangelist Charlotte Keys of Columbia has worked for more than two decades to obtain “environmental justice” in her community that was declared free of chemical pollution 20 years before after a purported Superfund cleanup.
Keys, the executive director of Jesus People Against Pollution, was one of the local fighters whose efforts reached all the way to the White House during the Bill Clinton Presidency. It was Clinton who took note of the disparity between white, black and Hispanic communities affected by chemical pollution. Clinton issued his executive order that called for  “Environmental Justice” in all communities plagued by deadly chemicals in the air, the soil and water.
Keys said that once she got into the routine of challenging both the EPA and the polluting companies, she began receiving death threats and her late nights were frequently plagued with harassing phone calls.
“I had an OSHA report that said that if a cloud of Phosphene had blown over Columbia High School, the children would have drowned in their own body fluids.”
The report also pointed out the many cancer-causing agents that lay exposed in the community, she said.
“We have many people who died in Columbia, Mississippi without a real, full health study. And we do not have justice because people needed access to environmental primary health care services and housing. People lived right up on the polluted soil with only a cyclone fence separating their homes from the Superfund cleanup site.”
Keys challenged the Superfund site located in Columbia to give fair treatment to poor African Americans and poor whites whose properties had been skirted by EPA agents, after many residents were not even considered for compensation for their medical and health problems caused by the pollution.
“What has happened over a long period of time is that many new communities have been awakened to the fact of environmental injustice in their own communities,” Keys said.
The Columbia Superfund site has been de-listed, Keys said, which in theory gives the area a clean bill of health, although she contends that the area is as chemically polluted as it was 20 years ago.
[ ... ]


"Cleaning Reichhold Chemical Plant Pollution Through Vision-To-Action Plan"
2010-07 from "River Network" [http://www.rivernetwork.org/columbia-ms-cleaning-reichhold-chemical-plant-pollution-through-vision-action-plan]:
COLUMBIA, MS -

In Mississippi, our early work focused on the Reichhold Chemical plant in Columbia, which had illegally buried thousands of drums of chemical waste and discharged wastewater containing numerous toxic chemicals into a nearby creek, a tributary to the Pearl River, without a permit. Columbia is a low-income community with a sizable African-American population. The creek experienced fish kills, and more than 200 cattle that used the creek became sick and died.
Then, in 1977, the plant, located in the heart of Columbia, caught fire and literally blew up. The more than 4,500 drums on site began to leak into the soil. Subsequent floods spread the toxins into surrounding farmlands, rivers and residential neighborhoods.
EPA testing of sediments revealed the presence of numerous toxic contaminants, including xylene, PCB, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cyanide, and, mercury. Area residents began to get sick. Residents reported high numbers of cancers, respiratory problems, immune deficiency disorders, miscarriages, and skin disorders of various kinds. Residents also complained that clean-up efforts have been woefully inadequate, and in some cases may have resulted in simply distributing the problem to other parts of the city.
River Network assisted the local community group, Jesus People Against Pollution plan and conducted a health survey of area residents. The health survey examined various exposure routes and adverse health outcomes. Trained volunteers surveyed residences surrounding the Superfund site and the residents of a comparison community selected by the Mississippi State University Social Science Research Center, based on similar demographic features. River Network and JPAP hosted a number of gatherings of area residents who identified their health concerns. College students were paired with local residents and together they conducted more than 200, ½-hour interviews.
While conducting the health survey, River Network also helped JPAP on a collaborative problem solving effort to reach out to key area stakeholders and to create a blueprint for change. At the time the site was declared a Superfund site, the community was divided over the issue and many stakeholders did not see eye-to-eye. There was considerable animosity on the part of the White business community towards some in the African-American neighborhoods surrounding the plant. Many felt that declaring the site a Superfund site and threatening lawsuits was just a case of poor people trying to take money that did not belong to them.
River Network worked with JPAP and some helpful city leaders to establish a list of all of the key stakeholders. Together we went door-to-door to speak with business owners, bankers, construction firms, city officials, religious leaders, hospital executives and others. Through numerous one-to-one meetings and intervening group gatherings of stakeholders, some quite contentious, the community began to pull together. We helped the community an dkey stakeholders come together a sign a united Vision-to-Action plan calling for a complete site clean-up and relocation of residents.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nuclear Power is anti-life, examples of world-threatening negligence



2012-12-07 "Company owner pleads guilty to false statements regarding Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station repair work; Peach Bottom never installed the equipment that was meant for another plant"
by SEAN ADKINS from "Daily Record" newspaper [http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_22140853/company-owner-pleads-guilty-false-statements-regarding-peach]:
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Peach Bottom Township. (FILE)

York, PA -
 The owner of a company that repairs and provides equipment for nuclear power plants has pleaded guilty to federal charges of making false statements after the company shipped a steam leak detection monitor to Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station.
 The monitor Pentas Controls shipped to Peach Bottom belonged to another power plant, according to court documents.
 In 2010, Kevin A. Doyle, owner of Pentas Controls in Arizona, directed one of his employees to switch a broken display on a Peach Bottom monitor with a working unit from the Brunswick Nuclear plant in North Carolina, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
 Before the monitor left Arizona for Peach Bottom, a Pentas Controls employee filed down the serial number on the substitute display to conceal its identity -- an NRC violation, according to a commission investigation and U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo in Arizona.
 Efforts to reach Doyle on Thursday were unsuccessful.
 On March 15, 2011, Doyle made false statements to federal officials by repeatedly denying that the un-repairable Peach Bottom display had been substituted with a working unit from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, Leonardo's office said in news release.
 Sheehan said it was a matter of timing that led to Doyle's decision to swap the monitors.
 Pentas was required to return the monitor that it received for Peach Bottom back to the plant in a specific period of time, Sheehan said.
 The repair company determined that the monitor had been damaged beyond repair by a lightning strike. At that point, Pentas sought to make its deadline with Peach Bottom and shipped the Brunswick monitor to Peach Bottom, Sheehan said.
 Peach Bottom officials never installed the Brunswick monitor, a safety-related piece of equipment, Sheehan said.
 They earmarked the monitor as a spare and stored the unit in a warehouse, said Lacey Dean, a spokeswoman for the power station.
 "While this isolated issue did not present a safety risk to our plant or our workers at any time, Exelon worked closely with federal investigators and performed a comprehensive equipment review to confirm that no additional concerns related to equipment serviced by Pentas Controls exist at any of Exelon's ten nuclear stations," she said.
 The NRC's investigation found that Doyle's conduct created a culture which encouraged other workers to provide inaccurate and incomplete information to federal officials, according to court documents.
 In addition, the commission's investigation said a worker believed he had been fired for raising concerns about the replacement of the Peach Bottom monitor, according to court documents.
 After the NRC completed its investigation, it informed the U.S. Department of Justice of the results.
 Doyle will be sentenced on Feb. 11, 2013. A conviction for false statements carries a maximum penalty of 5 years, a $250,000 fine or both, Leonardo's office said in news release.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It is possible: Saving the San Francisco bay


"SAVING SAN FRANCISCO BAY", an Historical Essay by Chris Carlsson
[http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=SAVING_SAN_FRANCISCO_BAY]
1960s map identifying potential landfill areas. Image: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

In 1962, the city of Berkeley announced plans to double the physical size of the town by beginning to fill the 4,000 acres of Bay owned by Berkeley. Three university wives--Mrs. Clark Kerr, Mrs. Donald McLaughlin, and Mrs. Charles Gurlick--held a meeting in the Berkeley hills with local environmentalists where they founded the Save San Francisco Bay Association.
Political organizing in Berkeley derailed the landfill plans and even caused Santa Fe railroad to withdraw its plans to fill their shoreline holdings in the East Bay. But all around the San Francisco Bay in the mid-1960s plans were moving ahead to drastically alter the shoreline and make land--thousands of acres were slated to be filled. The San Francisco and Oakland airports were expanding, the city of Richmond planned to fill in thousands of tidal acres for further expansion of its industrial base, developers in Sausalito sought permission to extend the city several hundred yards into the Bay, eliminating the existing shoreline and obscuring the views with multiple-story apartments and offices. Perhaps the most dramatic threat to the Bay was along the Peninsula in San Mateo County. California highway engineers planned a second freeway paralleling today's Highway 101, and proposed to build it two miles out in the water of the Bay, skirting the eastern edge of the SF Airport. Once built, the area between the two freeways would become prime development acreage, needing only to be reclaimed from mud and tides. Where was the vast quantity of dirt to come from? San Bruno Mountain! Planners projected that 1 billion cubic yards of rock and soil could be chopped off the top of the mountain and deposited in the Bay, unleashing an unprecedented development/real estate boom, extending San Mateo County's size and creating billions in taxpaying property full of businesses and new residential neighborhoods.
Filling the Bay became a hot political issue all around San Francisco Bay. The Save San Francisco Bay Association, well-financed and politically connected, drew the attention of legislators representing the region in the California State Legislature. San Francisco's state senator Eugene McAteer worked with Assemblyman Nicholas Petris of the East Bay to usher a bill through the state legislature. In June 1965, the McAteer-Petris Act passed, establishing the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission in September 1965. Its purpose initially was to make "a detailed study of all the characteristics of the Bay, including the quality, quantity, and movement of Bay waters, . . . the ecological balance of the Bay, and the economic interests in the Bay, including the needs of the Bay Area population for industry and for employment. . . The study should examine all present and proposed uses of the Bay and its shoreline and . . . should lead to the preparation of a comprehensive and enforceable plan for the conservation of the water of the Bay and the development of its shoreline."
Various projects that were in the pipeline prior to the passage of the McAteer-Petris Act were grandfathered in and allowed to proceed. Bay Farm Island between Alameda and the Oakland Airport is a product of this political deal, without which it would still be a substantial wetland and haven for birds and bay wildlife. In general, however, and much to the chagrin of proponents of unrestrained growth, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission has stopped most efforts to fill the Bay, including the insane plans of San Mateo County and the city of Richmond. The state of the Bay today is much better thanks to the early environmental legislation that halted 120 years of piecemeal and unchecked filling of the Bay.

The Bay Today -
Saving the Bay from ill-advised reclamation projects has been important, but the health of the Bay is still seriously compromised. Hydraulic gold mining in the 1860-1880 period washed billions of cubic yards of Sierra mountains down through the Central Valley and into the Bay. In that sediment are extraordinarily high levels of mercury, used widely in the 19th century to separate gold from its surrounding minerals. Other toxic heavy metals still persist in bay mud, resulting from decades of industrial pollution. Anti-pollution laws have reduced the flow of poison into the Bay, but it will be a hundred years before the existing toxics work their way out of the Bay.
An addition problem results from the Bay's function as the sewer for the agricultural runoff of the Central Valley. Selenium occurs naturally in Central Valley soils, but it gets concentrated in irrigation runoff, which is fed into the Bay's water at various locations in the Sacramento River delta. The selenium concentration is magnified when combined with the influx of exotic species that have rapidly occupied the Bay in the past decade.
Perhaps the most voracious invading species, and one that has done the most to alter the ecological balance of the Bay in recent years, is the Potamocorbula clam, better known as the Asian clam. They are rather tiny, only a half inch across the shell, but they are rapid reproducers. Apparently they have found their way into the Bay through the discharge of untreated ballast water from tankers calling on Bay ports. They were discovered in 1986 in the bottom of Suisun Bay in the northern part of SF Bay. In just one year they were the most common clam in the North Bay, and by 1991 they were the most common clam in all parts of the Bay. In some portions of the North Bay they have established beds that support between 20,000 to 30,000 claims per square meter, levels far above that reached by native species. According to Michael Lozeau of San Francisco BayKeeper, there are now so many in the North Bay that its estimated they circulate 1.5 times the volume of water (flowing through the North Bay) each day. They feed by sucking water through their siphons and extracting plankton and other sources of nutrition in the water. They have now wiped out blooms of phytoplankton, the tiny plants that are the foundation for all aquatic food webs. This denies food to native mollusks, crustaceans, and small fish, and ultimately will lead to a crash in species diversity in the San Francisco Bay, a process well underway.
Like many instances of exotic invasive species, they find a role in their new ecological niche. In the Bay, the Asian clams have become a favorite food source for white and green sturgeon, as well as diving ducks. But because they concentrate selenium in their tissue, selenium levels have risen by three times in these predator species, a worrisome development in light of the mid-1980s disaster at the Kesterson Wildlife Refuge in the Central Valley, where selenium-related deformities and defects caused a collapse in several bird species.

Map showing the Reber Plan, a post-World War II proposal.
 
Thanks to Eric Fischer for making this image, and many more, all in high resolution, available at his flickr account [http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/sets/72157622139053795/].
John Reber proposed in the post-WWII era that earthen dams be built across the bay in the north and south in order to create fresh water lakes. His idea was rejected in part because there were no mechanisms for regional planning at the time of his proposal, and the balkanized Bay Area communities could not come together on such a sweeping plan. Fresh water supplies were in any case secured from the rivers rushing out of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the extreme ecological havoc that would have been caused by the Reber Plan never had a chance to get off the ground. The blackened areas on his map indicate areas of massive fill and industrial development. The ecological consequences of such a drastic alteration of the Bay's natural state are incalculable. Today we can only scratch our heads and be thankful that it never came to fruition.

Northeast San Pablo Bay (Solano & Contra Costa Counties)

Jepson Prairie
[sanpablobayepa.blogspot.com/2013/06/jepson-prairie.html]


Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

Searching for rare plants in the Delta [link]

2011-01-08 "Vallejo native in charge of Delta agency" by Mike Taugher from "Contra Costa Times":Critics of a troubled plan to address increasingly serious problems in the Delta said this week they hoped a change in direction was imminent after a staunch supporter of environmental causes was appointed the state's top official overseeing natural resources.  Environmental groups and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta representatives warmly greeted the selection of Vallejo native John Laird, a former Santa Cruz legislator with East Bay connections. 
Leaders of water agencies that depend on pumping from the Delta more circumspectly promised to work with the new administration of the state Natural Resources Agency.  Laird was named this week to head the Resources Agency, which oversees coastal issues, water and forestry.  Although budget issues loom at the top of any to-do list in state government, one of Laird's top policy issues will be resolving the conflict in the Delta between water demands and the grave decline of the West Coast's largest estuary.  He will probably also be involved in energy issues, including ensuring that solar energy projects are permitted, and plans for marine reserves, where fishing is severely restricted, are completed, said Ann Notthoff, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's advocacy in California.  State parks, which have been hit hard in recent budgets, are also under his charge. 
As a legislator, Laird in 2008 proposed increasing vehicle license fees by $10 to fund state parks. The proposal, which was defeated, Advertisement D & D Plumbing would have granted California motorists free entry to the parks.  "We have a lot of confidence in John Laird's ability to think creatively," said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation. "We are hopeful, not that state parks will avoid cuts, but that there will be some deep thinking to minimize cuts ... in this budget cycle."  No issue is likely to be as complex or contentious as the one looming in the Delta.  Asked how much of his time would be devoted to water and the Delta, Laird said, "I'm not sure yet, but I am sure it will be significant."  Laird, 60, said it was too soon to discuss policy specifics. But he has a history of interest in state water issues. 
His undergraduate thesis at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was on California water development, and in 1972 he went on to work for two years in the East Bay offices of the late Rep. Jerry Waldie, who opposed plans to send water around the Delta instead of through it. 
Laird arrives at his new post with Delta planning at a precarious point. Consultants are busily trying to complete a key study that could determine the Bay Delta Conservation Plan's fate. A couple of major water agencies have threatened to walk if they can't get more water.  Laird's predecessor, Lester Snow, was heavily involved in pushing the plan, first as the director of the Department of Water Resources and then as resources secretary.  Snow's direction often frustrated environmentalists and Delta-area residents, but it is not clear whether the new boss will change direction, and, if so, how dramatically.  "My sense would be the Brown administration is not going to walk away from BDCP, and it's also not going to pretend there are not problems with it," said Gary Bobker, program director at the Bay Institute, a Novato-based environmental advocacy group, and a member of the BDCP's steering committee.  The plan lacks firm goals for fish populations, has not adequately incorporated information about the ecosystem's need for more water and has not developed plans for other water sources or water conservation, Bobker said. 
Representatives of water agencies that rely on the Delta said they would find ways to work with the new administration. 
"Laird is from a different political persuasion than most of our growers," said Sarah Woolf, spokeswoman for the Westlands Water District, which recently said it would no longer fund the Bay-Delta study because, it said, Obama administration officials were insisting on better environmental protection.  "To date, our concerns have been on the federal level, not the state level," Woolf said. 
Another San Joaquin Valley farm group, Families Protecting the Valley, was more skeptical.  "What little hope we had for solving water problems in California just went down a couple of notches with this appointment," the group said in a statement.  Environmentalists and Delta residents said Laird's selection was a hopeful sign.  "I think he's a superb choice and will bring both environmental and fiscal fairness and expertise to the job," said Warner Chabot, CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters, which gave Laird a 100 percent rating for votes cast during his six years in the Assembly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Breast Cancer in the San Pablo bay area, causes and concerns

17 chemicals commonly found in daily life now linked to breast cancer, 2014 study [link]

"Bay Area breast cancer clusters seen; Marin not only spot in area with higher rate of disease" 
2012-11-27 by Victoria Colliver from "San Francisco Chronicle" [http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Bay-Area-breast-cancer-clusters-seen-4068698.php]:
California Breast Cancer Mapping Project
To read the report, go here: [www.californiabreastcancermapping.org]

Breast cancer clusters in California may not be limited to Marin County.
New research released Tuesday identified four areas of the state that have rates of the disease 10 to 20 percent higher than the state average.
Relying on U.S. census tracts rather than county-level data, researchers for the Public Health Institute's California Breast Cancer Mapping Project in Oakland were able to identify northern and southern Bay Area counties as "areas of concern." The two other areas were located in Southern California.
In the North Bay, higher rates of breast cancer were detected in Marin County, which is already well known for its disproportionately high rates of the disease, as well as contiguous portions of Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Contra Costa counties. The South Bay sections included parts of San Mateo County, northern Santa Clara County and southern Alameda County.

An important tool -
The project didn't attempt to identify reasons for the high rates in those areas, but the study is an important tool for further research, said Janice Barlow, executive director of Zero Breast Cancer, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Marin County. She served on the project's advisory group.
"This opens up whole new areas to look at and explore," Barlow said. "It's an opportunity to advance our understanding of why there are such geographic variations in breast cancer incidence."
About 26,300 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women in California each year, leading to about 4,175 deaths annually.
Marin County has long been studied for its high rates of breast cancer, but many questions remain unanswered. Risk factors for the disease include having a family history of breast cancer, being white, hormone use after menopause, being an older mother or never having children, alcohol consumption, and having higher socioeconomic status. Still, many health experts say those factors don't explain the rate disparities along geographic lines.
"We can say definitively that breast cancer is caused by a combination of genetics, behavioral risk factors and the environment," said Dr. Eric Roberts, a research scientist at Public Health Institute and principal investigator of the California Breast Cancer Mapping Project. "The state of the science is that we really don't know what the mix is."
While the new study doesn't delve into the reasons behind the clusters, it offers a more specific geographic picture of the problem. Its authors suggest the results may be used by lawmakers and local health officials to redirect education, outreach and screening efforts.

U.S. census tracts -
The project relied on data from the California Cancer Registry involving all invasive breast cancer diagnoses from 2000 to 2008. It used U.S. census tracts, which meant the research differed from past efforts in that areas of study were smaller and often overlapped into adjacent counties.
In many cases, areas where higher breast cancer rates were noted shared some demographic similarities - for example, having a higher percentage of white women - than the state average, Roberts said. He dismissed the notion that greater access to health care leading to more diagnoses played a role, because the data included cancers detected after death.
In each of the four areas of concern, the rates of breast cancer varied from year to year, but remained well above the state average throughout the eight study years. For example, in 2008, the most recent year studied, the age-adjusted rate for women in the North Bay region was 17 percent higher than the state average. In the South Bay region, that figure exceeded 29 percent.
Roberts noted that the research is limited to where the women lived at the time of their diagnosis and did not include where they grew up and may have been exposed to elements earlier in life that contributed to their disease.

Breast cancer patient -
Marika Holmgren, 43, of Half Moon Bay was raised in an area outside Boston known to have relatively high rates of breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2007 with breast cancer at the age of 37, Holmgren learned from the study she lives in one of the newly identified regions with rates higher than the state average.
She said the mapping project offers important information.
"Looking into the causes is a really important factor in the cancer equation," Holmgren said. "A lot of time is spent on awareness and on cures, but not enough time is being spent on prevention and the reasons behind it all."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012-10-09 "Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space approved"

by Meda Freeman from "Sonoma County Gazette"
[http://www.sonomacountygazette.com/cms/pages/sonoma-county-news-article-747.html]:
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, acting concurrently as directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, on Tuesday approved a comprehensive master plan for creating a regional park and open space preserve on the Taylor Mountain properties in southeast Santa Rosa. Over two years in the making, this blueprint for the Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve details how to provide hiking, camping and other recreation opportunities and protect the environmental and agricultural value of the 1,100-acre site.
Completion of the master plan is a significant step toward the opening of the park and preserve. With the plan approved, the Open Space District is expected to transfer title of the land to Regional Parks this winter. Meanwhile, Regional Parks is exploring options for allowing public use of Taylor Mountain’s existing trails without the special permits currently required and is preparing to begin work on the park and preserve’s first phase along Petaluma Hill Road.
“The master plan is a major accomplishment and represents an extensive, collaborative effort to bring the community into the planning process,” said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, whose 3rd District includes Taylor Mountain. “Taylor Mountain is an amazing resource in the middle of Santa Rosa and the park and preserve will give so many new park users a place to nourish their bodies and minds.”
The Taylor Mountain preserve consists of five contiguous properties acquired by the Open Space District from 1995 to 2011 with funding from a voter-approved sales tax. The District and Regional Parks in 2010 began developing a park master plan that sought to balance recreation with preservation. The goal was to make appropriate areas of the park as accessible as possible but also to protect its natural beauty and diversity. Community input was a key part of the process, with about 500 people attending a series of public meetings and giving planners feedback on park amenities and conservation priorities.
The result is the 246-page Taylor Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve Master Plan approved Tuesday. The plan calls for 17 miles of mostly multi-use trails for hikers, cyclists and equestrians. Trailheads will be located off of Petaluma Hill and Kawana Springs roads, with limited access from Linwood Avenue and Panorama Drive. Campsites, picnic areas and a visitor center will be built on the edges of the property closer to urban areas. Cattle grazing will continue in some sections of the preserve. 
Regional Parks earlier this year was awarded a $750,000 state grant to design and construct the first phase of the park. This work will be concentrated off of Petaluma Hill Road and will include a driveway, parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, play area, and trail connections. Work is expected to be finished by summer of 2014. Additional trails and park features will be developed over time as funding becomes available.
“Taylor Mountain is unique because it is so close to an urban area, yet is home to so many amazing natural habitats that support wildlife such as mountain lion, deer, fox, and even the federally-protected California red-legged frog,” said Bill Keene, general manager of the Open Space District. “This project preserves a scenic natural area as open space forever and creates recreational opportunities for people from all walks of life.”
The Taylor Mountain properties include grasslands, oak woodlands, meadows, wetlands and ridges. The land primarily has been used for ranching, although one section is the location of the historical Kawana Springs Resort.  The preserve’s highest point is approximately 1,300 feet and offers sweeping views of the Santa Rosa Plain, Bennett Valley and the Coast Ranges.
“We look forward to coming back to the Board to finalize the transfer of Taylor Mountain and opening a new county park,” said Caryl Hart, director of Regional Parks. “Taylor Mountain is the backdrop to Santa Rosa and a spectacular landscape, a place that generations to come will enjoy and appreciate.”
The master plan can be viewed at [sonomaopenspace.org]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stop Junk Mail Now

[www.greendimes.com] 2006-2011 greendimes.com All Rights Reserved.

What is Green Dimes?
Green Dimes is a website dedicated on educating and informing the public about the serious threat that is Junk Mail, Junkmail, admail (however you want to call it) is to the Environment. Every day, millions of people receive mail that they didn't want, didn't ask for and, mostly aren't interested in. Thousands of companies, large and small, rely on this unpopular method of advertisement to get to the general masses, regardless of the huge negative impact it has.
But don't believe us, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that "44% of junk mail is discarded without beign opened or read, equaling 4 million tons of waste of paper per year, with just 32% recovered for recycling." Also the Ohio Office of Compliance has stated that "250,000 homes could be heated for a single day's junkmail."
The CO2 emissions from 41 pounds of advertising mail received annually by the average US consumer is about 47.6 kilograms (105 Pounds). The loss of natural habitat potential from the 41 pounds of admail is estimated to be 36.6 square meters.
Is estimated that 100 million trees are cut down each year to create the 4.5 million tons of junkmail in the US alone, and an estimated 28 billion gallons of water is also used on the production, annually. Some companies have started to use water-based or vegetable-based ink and laminates, and have increased the use of recycled paper, however, they are a minority in the industry. And regardless their newfound eco-friendly stance, they forget that Junk Mail... is... very... annoying.
There are many organizations dedicated to eradicate the use of junkmail altogether. Also, there have been several successful initiatives, such as the red dot campaign in Canada, that has achieved tremendous amount of success in its attempts to stop admail. We here at Green Dimes, will tell you about effective ways you can help stop junk mail and will try to raise awareness on how serious issue such a trivial, everyday simple detail is in the big picture.

How it works? how to stop Junk Mail -
We here at Green Dimes have done the research of several options there are available online for you to help stopping Junk Mail from cluttering your mailbox.
Upon a first look online there are several organizations dedicated to help the environment, some offer interesting options that are worth a look. First off, it's ForestEthics. This environmental website has as an entire purpose to fight for our natural resources. Among its many initiatives it also has some interesting facts and suggestions for a real change in the marketing industry. Also they have a taken a page from Canada's Red dot Campaign and provide useful information for the average person to take into consideration, also they seek for companies to effectively take consideration on this serious issue.
In their websites and awareness making ventures they have the option for you to send a letter (email), to the leading offenders demanding that they stop sending junk mail.
Unfortunately in the US there isn't a campaign like Red dot in Canada, but there is growing concern and every day more americans are becoming aware of the problem. The newdream.org foundation provides some interesting alternatives.
Another organization dedicated is 41pounds.org, they are a website that per a one time fee of $41, promises to stop at least 80-95% of unwanted admail. Plus they also donate to your favorite charity upon registry. Similar to this organization is catalogchoice.org, on which with a $20 donation they will provide their assitance on helping you stop the influx of junkmail.
Visit our Section "Green Dimes: how do I stop Junk Mail" for our ideas and suggestions.

History of Junk Mail, as told by Green Dimes -
Sears published the first ever catalog in the 1880's, thus earning the title of "founder of junk mail". It also helped shape the paper industry. To this date it is still one of the largest catalog producers in the world, yet it would not use recycled paper or any form of environmental friendly publishing, and their catalogs use paper sourced from vital ecosystems and endangered forests, including the Canadian Boreal.
However, the first ever telegram sent to multiple recipients with advertisement purposes was sent on 1864 in London by Messrs Gabriel, a local dentists advising his near-by community of his business hours. The telegram was delivered by the post office at late hours, not surprisingly causing the many recipients to become furious to be disturbed by the telegram. "I have never had any dealings with Messrs Gabriel," thundered one of them, "and beg to know by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is simply the medium of advertisement?"
The junkmail industry or, as they would have themselves called, "direct marketing" was created by Aaron Montgomery who was the first producer of a mail sent catalog. In 1967 Lester Wunderman, fathered the idea of several loyalty marketing programs and wide spreading unrequested advertisement to the general public.
Credit card solicitation was a concept first applied by Capital One in the early 1970's, currently they turn to deaf ears to the MANY requests and petitions from environmental advocates that urge them to reconsider their practice. Similar case happens with American Express. On a daily basis they fill america's mailboxes with tons of junk mail soliciting customers for their service. They do not follow any form of paper policy and has not yet shown any interest in adopting a recycle mentality.
One of the worlds largest publisher of junk mail and catalogs was Victoria's Secret, sourced by Limited brands, inc. They were sourcing their material from endangered forests. After mediation from different activist groups and negotiations, Limited Brands is now one of the leading example companies that is a real model for corporate environmental advocacy.
With the current tendency and the growing conscious to become eco-friendly by most americans, from organizations such as Green Dimes, many corporations are avoiding the use of this outdated and unpopular marketing tool, that is Junk mail.

Did you Know?
* 5.6 million tons of catalogs and other type of mail similar to this are thrown away every year in the U.S.
* Must People believe that SPAM stands for Short, Pointless, and Annoying Messages
* Spam was really based on a sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
* The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year
* 44% of junk mail are thrown without unopening them

Impact of Junk Mail on the Enviroment -
We here at Green Dimes agree with you, Junk Mail is annoying, is invasion to your privacy and is a concept that completely fails its purpose. For whatever reason you might have to be against it, we can all agree that it is a silly idea, that is no longer practical nor productive. Even the first recorded piece of mail sent to multiple recipients with advertisement purposes caused a negative reaction than a positive one, and that was in 1864! Clearly this is not a reasonable practice for the 21st Century.
But beyond trivial facts as that, the real number can be very alarming. Every year, in the US alone 100,000,000,000 pieces of mail are accounted for as Junk Mail, around 30% of all the mail delivered in the world. American households receive a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junkmail or 848 of junkmail per household, requiring 6.5 million tons of paper. It take MORE that 100,000,000 trees to produce the total volume of admail that arrive each year. To put it in perspective, that's like saying of clear cutting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. That is why the importance that many organizations similar to ours have given to tree planting as well as seeking to stop admail.
The Manufacture of junk mail releases more greenhouse gas emissions er year than the emissions released by 9,372,000 MILLION average passenger cars.
The Canadian Boreal forms part of the greater Boreal Forest, which stores more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem on earth, is being logged at a rate of 2 acres a minute, 24 hours a day to produce junk mail and other paper products. Deforestation of Indonesia's tropical forests is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions. This destructions is largely driven by demand for pulp and paper for end use, like junkmail.
And, if that wasn't enough, the vast majority of admail sent is discarded, sometimes without even opening the envelope. And in many ways only a small percentage of that paper gets recycled. This is way Green Dimes seeks to raise critical awareness on the huge threat to the environment that Junk Mail is.

How do I stop junk mail?
If you are interested in stopping or, at the very least, reducing the amount of Junk Mail you receive, Green Dimes tells you some useful tips.
One easy way to save trees and energy is by getting off mailing lists and preventing unsolicited mail from coming to you. Here's a step-by-step guide for reducing junk mail:
First, Cut the Credit Card Offers. The main consumer credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, maintain mailing lists that are often used by credit card and insurance companies to send out junk mail. The good news is that you can call a single number to get your name and address removed from the mailing lists circulated by all three agencies (as well as that of a fourth company, Innovis).
Simply call: 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)
The number works 24 hours a day. You will be prompted to give your full name, address, telephone number, and social security number. (People often ask about the necessity of giving their social security number. Your name will be removed from their junk mail lists for a period of two years.
Second, Any time you order a product by mail, enter a contest, subscribe to a magazine, send in a warranty card, or otherwise give your name and address to a company or organization, you may be placed on a mailing list. The company or organization may then rent, sell, or trade the list with your name on it. To limit your exposure, write 'Please do not rent or sell my name' or 'No mailing lists' next to your name. (Also consider not sending in the warranty card for a new product--it's usually not required.)
If you receive unwanted catalogs or other mail from specific sources, call the (often toll-free) customer service number of the organization or business. Request that your name be removed from their mailing list. Other options are to make your request via e-mail from the company's website, or via letter or postcard. Since the mailing label will help the company identify how you are listed in its files, have the label handy when you call, or tape it to the postcard if you make a written request. Sign and date your request.
Finally, you can register online with the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service to remove your name from national mailing lists.
You will see that if you follow any of those instructions that the arrival of Junk Mail will reduce considerably.

Green Dimes: How to Stop Junk Mail in Canada -
In Canada they have an interesting and effective way to stop Junk Mail, Green Dimes will tell you how.
Statistically speaking admail, is a waste of resources, precious resources like trees, electricity, water and fossil fuels. And from all the junkmail sent annually there's only an estimated minuscule 2% response rate. That mean that a staggering 98% is wastefully produced. That percentage means millions of tons of admail. In Canada specifically, the amount of junk mail sent constantly to the population represented a large amount of the bulk of the postal transit.That is until the Red Dot Campaign.
The Red Dot Campaign is a privately funded initiative dedicated on stopping junkmail altogether and forcing the advertisement and marketing industry take a more conscious stance and reconsider their strategies and completely stop junkmail. If you live in Canada, we here at Green Dimes recommend this method strongly.
It mainly consists on marking you mail box with a "no admail" or a "no junk mail" sign. The Consumer Choice database is decremented for each person opting out, and advertisers reduce their print quantities accordingly. The Canada Post has a phone line you can call in case your sign is ignored 1-866-607-6301. It is also recommended that the people urge community newspapers, flyer distributors and phone book companies to announce their opt-out protocol, reduce their subscriber base accordingly and be more mindful of waste and overages in their distribution process.
Another helpful way to avoid the income of junkmail is by signing up with the Canadian Marketing Association's Do Not Contact Registry. This will reduce the number of marketing offers received by mail, telephone and fax. And yet another way, also another option that we here at Green Dimes salute, is by signing up with the Canada Post e-post and you will help save even more paper by getting your bills online. This will effectively help stopping Junk Mail.

Petition To Stop Junk Mail for large Corporations -
Join the Green Dimes crusade to stop Junk mail and the many harms it makes to Mother Earth. If you are sick and tired of having your mail cluttered and crammed with useless and annoying admail, tell the heads of the companies responsible your thoughts and let them know that you, like millions of Americans will not take this any more. Just copy paste the following letter, copy paste it to an email, sign it and send it to any or all of the list of people you will find at the bottom of this page.
---
Subject: Stop Postal Junk Mail Once And For All, Cease and Desist Sending Your Admail.
To whom it may concern,
I would like to communicate, via this email, my serious concern and irritation caused by your company's constant harassment with the constant arrival of advertisement via the mail. Information that I have in no way requested, and, in no way interested in.
Let me assure you that even though, I consider it to be a violation of my privacy, the most worrying and infuriating fact about it is the serious harm the Junk Mail industry causes on the environment. Like most Americans, I support initiatives that allow consumers to opt-out of receiving solicitations and other offers from companies like yours. More than 100,000 people, such as myself, through organizations like Green Dimes (www.greendimes.com), are demanding the creation of a clear and quick solution to our growing concern about privacy violations and environmental damage caused by unwanted mail.
I urge you to work with any of the Environmental Organizations to assess risk, develop new paper and mailing policies, and strengthen your brand. Many of your competitors are adopting this new responsibility, I encourage and challenge you to do the same by:
* reducing overall paper use, including the amount of paper waste coming into my home,
* guaranteeing my individual choice and control over my personal identity and sensitive information,
* maximizing use of environmentally-responsible paper, including high percentages of post-consumer recycled content (i.e. a measly 10% recycled doesn't cut it),
* avoiding greenwash by discontinuing any use of phony eco-labels like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
I hope that you give my request a serious consideration as I am completely sure that I am not the only one.
Sincerely,
XXXXXXXXXXX
---
You can copy paste this letter and send it to any of the CEOs of Sears, Dell, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Geico, Discover, and Chase. Join Green Dimes in our fight against the serious harm that Junk Mail presents to our precious natural resources.

Guide to the Private Paid Organizations that can help Stop Junk Mail and Admail.
Another recommendation that we here at Green Dimes can tell you about. If you are considering on stopping Junk Mail in a faster, easier way there are a couple of ways that can be of your interest. There are certain organizations that, for a fee, promise to reduce the incoming of junk mail.
41pounds.org, is a nonprofit environmental organization based in Ferndale, Michigan established in 2006 to help reduce the amount of unsolicited junkmail delivered to homes throughout the United States and, with it, reductions in the use of natural resources. The name of the organization is taken from the estimated weight of admail each U.S. Citizen receives every year. For a fee of $41 (for five years) they'll contact the direct mail companies and get you get off their lists. They'll also send some pre-addressed postcards for you to send to the companies that require a signature to stop their service. They will also donate $15 to the charity of your choice.
Another another corporation that works similar, catalogchoice.org, another nonprofit environmental organization, that promises to remove your personal information from third party marketing lists and personal search services. For an annual donation of $20 or more, they'll communicate and monitor your opt-outs to a list of key marketing companies. If you value targeted offers from direct marketers we recommend using their free title-specific opt-out service instead of this Unlisting Service.
We at Green Dimes, recommend these services to avoid junk mail, however we encourage you to explore your options.

Propositions for Corporation Solutions to reduce Junk Mail and Admail -
Green Dimes, invite, encourage and challenge corporations to consider these easy, conscious and responsible solutions to stop junk mail. These simple solutions not only they are economical, they are simple and they can really create a positive environmental impact.
* reducing overall paper use, including the amount of paper waste used in unwanted admail, catalogs and any form of paper sent out,
* guaranteeing the individual choice and control over the personal identity and sensitive information of the general public. Most american DO NOT WANT JUNKMAIL.
* maximizing use of environmentally-responsible paper, including high percentages of post-consumer recycled content (i.e. a measly 10% recycled doesn't cut it), consider seriously making the switch to recycled paper
* avoiding greenwash by discontinuing any use of phony eco-labels like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
Green Dimes, in its efforts, applaud and salute all the corporations that are adopting more eco-friendly actions on their doing. Not only that we consider that companies that take a serious consideration to the impact in the enviroment they might be making b their actions. We consider that companies who take actions in such a small detail like Junk Mail, are commited in a grand scale to the preserving the planet.

More information about Green Dimes -
Even though we here at Green Dimes are a very focused on one front and specified to help conservationism by fighting and raising awareness against Junk Mail, we also support several initiatives that also help save the Planet. In this particular matter, there isn't any competition and we maintain an open stance to support any initiative that seeks to save Planet Earth.
If you find the information we provide on this website useful to help you reduce junk mail, and somehow would like to take further steps on helping the environment, and want to learn more ways to make your surroundings and your life more eco-friendly, we encourage you to visit other pages related to the subject and get more information about on how to become "green".
There are many organizations that deal with issues that might not get the proper exposure and need your help. No one person can do everything, but if everybody does ONE thing to help the environment we will be able to preserve it for our children's children.
We here at Green Dimes, know that this very small task that anybody can do, to stop junk mail, in the big picture can cause positive impacts on Mother Earth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Preserving the Human Ecology

The economic system of our region is dominated by products produced with chemcials toxic to living beings, but are placed into the market without concern for long-term effects on the ecology. Each of following archives document what the chemicals do, and who profits from their sale.
* We are targets of marketplace chemical experimentation [link]
* Endocrine Disruptors are used as ingredients for consumer items [link]
* Anti-depressants are causing a variety of birth defects [link]
* Pesticides are harmful to the health and intelligence of children [link]




2012-10-01 "Humpback whales frolic in San Francisco Bay"

from "KTVU.com" television news [http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/humpback-whales-frolic-san-francisco-bay/nSQtF/]:
SAN FRANCISCO — With temperatures soaring in the Bay Area Monday, a pod of three migrating humpback whales were among the many who sought relief in the San Francisco Bay.
The whales were seen inside the Bay around 10:30 a.m. and swam around for about 30 minutes before going under the Golden Gate Bridge and continuing their journey in the Pacific.

This time of year, the humpbacks – known as the acrobats of the seas – generally are traveling south to Mexico or to the Hawaii Islands.
Both male and female humpback whales vocalize underwater, but only males produce the songs for which the species is famous.
The Bay Area was home to one of the most famous humpback whale sightings in history.
Humphrey swam into the Bay and up the Sacramento River to Rio Vista where it became trapped in 1985. Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center rescued and tagged it but the wayward whale returned five years later and became stuck on a mudflat near Candlestick Point.
Using a large cargo net, he was pulled free and again guided back to the ocean. Humphrey was last seen near the Farallon Islands in 1991.

"Home and Garden Projects that Protect San Francisco Bay"

by Deb Self of the "Bay Keepers"
From the October 2012 edition of Bay Crossings
[http://baykeeper.org/news/column/home-and-garden-projects-protect-san-francisco-bay]:
Every drop of rain in the Bay Area eventually flows to San Francisco Bay. Throughout history, that hasn’t been a problem. Most rain soaked into the ground and made its way gradually into creeks that emptied into the Bay.
But with so many roads, driveways, sidewalks and roofs in our urban area, rain rushes across hard surfaces, picking up trash, oil, pesticides and other pollutants. In most Bay Area communities, the contaminated rainwater zooms down a storm drain into a concrete culvert that dumps it—unfiltered and untreated—into creeks or the Bay itself.
Storm water pollution is one of the largest sources of contamination in the Bay. Moreover, it is difficult to control, because it comes from many places and picks up many different pollutants.
That’s why we built a permeable backyard patio at our house. Our patio soaks up rain that falls on our roof and flows across our small lot, keeping the rainwater from running off into the street. Our roof drainpipe connects underground to a large hole beneath the patio. The hole contains coarse gravel with plenty of air space to hold rainwater, which filters slowly into the surrounding soil. The patio’s fine granite gravel surface also absorbs rain.
A rain-absorbing patio is one way to keep rainwater from leaving your property and picking up pollution on its way to the Bay. Here are more:

Rain gardens work similarly to my patio. Areas landscaped with wildflowers and other native vegetation soak up rain that flows off a roof, driveway or other impermeable surface. In a storm, the rain garden fills with a few inches of water that slowly filters into the ground. Rain gardens absorb 30 percent more water than the same area of lawn.

Sidewalks and driveways can be paved with surfaces that keep rain from running off into the gutter. A special kind of concrete called pervious concrete allows rain to pass through into the soil below. Another option is interlocking concrete pavers separated by joints filled with small stones.

Rain barrels are easy, low-cost ways to collect and use rain water to irrigate a garden. Rain runs from roof gutters to a pipe that empties into a barrel. A screen keeps leaves, debris, and mosquitoes out of the barrel. A hose is attached near the bottom for irrigation. Indeed, roofs are an amazing source of water. In an average rainfall year, a 1,000 square-foot roof in San Rafael can collect up to 20,000 gallons of rain. Rain barrels typically hold 50 to 100 gallons; you can install more than one. Larger storage tanks, called cisterns, can be installed above or below ground.

Graywater systems are a way to go beyond capturing rainwater and irrigate a garden with used water from washing machines, showers and sinks (but not toilets). Graywater systems vary, but most have a valve that can be switched to direct the graywater into a garden or back to the sewage system. Using biodegradable soaps—without bleach, boron, dye or salts—keeps graywater safe and fertilizes plants. Graywater can be used to water fruit trees and other edible plants, as long as it doesn’t come into contact with the edible parts.

Harvesting graywater keeps relatively clean water out of sewage treatment plants, so less treated water is released into the Bay. A home with a graywater system also needs less piped water. "Using graywater is a small and powerful change we can make that can have a big effect. One household can save tens of thousands of gallons of water a year," said Laura Allen, co-founder of the Bay Area nonprofit Greywater Action.

Capturing water from one roof or re-using water from one washing machine are small steps—but with seven million people living in the Bay Area, small steps add up. Bay-friendly home and garden projects are easy, low-cost ways to help conserve water, prevent flooding, and reduce pollution in San Francisco Bay.
Resources

Greywater Action, www.greywateraction.org
Information on systems for using water from washing machines, showers, and sinks to irrigate plants. Classes for do-it-yourselfers and listings of professional installers.

Berkeley EcoHouse, www.ecologycenter.org/ecohouse
A demonstration home and garden with a graywater system, rainwater cistern, plus many more ecological features. Classes and tours.

Urban Farmer Store, www.urbanfarmerstore.com
Rainwater harvesting equipment and training workshops at stores in San Francisco, Richmond, and Mill Valley. Richmond store has discounted rain barrels for Oakland residents.

Sonoma County Master Gardeners, www.ucanr.org/sites/scmg
Information on building rain gardens.

Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute, www.icpi.org
Information on local contractors who install paving that absorbs rain.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Genetically-Modified Food is anti-life

California is having an election to decide on regulating Genetically Modified Food like any other product for human consumption. More information about it is here: [carighttoknow.org]

A one-hour documentary about scientists whose research raised concerns about genetically engineered food and, as a result, they were fired, denied tenure, and/or silenced.
One of the scientists featured, Dr. Ignacio Chapela, a UC Berkeley microbiologist, will answer questions following the film.
Hosted by: Napa Valley College Campus Greens
Date/Time: Tuesday October 9th from 7:00-9:00 PM
Location: Napa Valley College Community Room next to the McCarthy Library (Parking will be waived)
Cost: Free (Donations to support the “Yes” on Proposition 37 campaign to label genetically engineered food will be accepted)
Co-sponsored by: Napa County Green Party, Preserving the Integrity of Napa’s Agriculture, Carolyn Parr Nature Center, Slow Food Napa Valley, Napa-Sonoma Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and the Napa County Democratic Party
Any questions? Please email preservenapasag@sbcglobal.net

2012-09-19 "Study Finds Tumors in Rats Fed Monsanto GM Corn; Controversial data prompt's EU agricultural vice-chairman Bove to call for Euro wide suspension of GMOs" from Common Dreams"
[http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/09/19-4]
A new study released Wednesday by a team of scientists in France claims to have discovered a noticeable increase in tumors and kidney disease in lab rats that have been fed GMO foods produced by big ag corporation Monsanto [http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/gmcrops-safety-idUSL5E8KJC1220120919].
The controversial study, which quickly came under fire from several GMO experts around the world, prompted France's Jose Bove, vice-chairman of the European Parliament's commission for agriculture and GMO opponent, to claim [http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/gmcrops-safety-idUSL5E8KJC1220120919] "the study finally shows we are right and that it is urgent to quickly review all GMO evaluation processes."
The study, published by the peer-reviewed journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and conducted by scientists at the University of Caen, said rats fed on a diet containing NK603, a seed variety made tolerant to Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, or given water with Roundup at levels permitted in the United States, died earlier than those on a standard diet.
According to the data, rats on the GM diet developed mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage.
A scientific community has come out fighting against the study in defense of GMO products, saying the data is not trustworthy, and the scientists who conducted the study went on a "statistical fishing trip," to prove their case.
However, those already skeptical of the safety of genetically modified products, took the data as one more reason to be weary of GMO's.
California Right to Know, the group fighting for California’s Prop. 37 to require labeling of GMO foods, immediately released a statement [http://www.carighttoknow.org/new_study]:
[begin excerpt]
The results of this study are worrying. They underscore the importance of giving California families the right to know whether our food is genetically engineered, and to decide for ourselves whether we want to gamble with our health by eating GMO foods that have not been adequately studied and have not been proven safe.
[end excerpt]
Genetically modified food production, a process which has been around for 15 years, has not been extensively tested for long term effects on consumer health, as well as for effects on top soil and overall effects on the environment.
On Sunday, France's Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault had announced that France will continue its ban on Monsanto's corn, the only GMO currently allowed in Europe [https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/09/16].
Following the release of the study on Wednesday, France's agricultural vice-chairman Bove called for an immediate suspension of all EU cultivation and import authorizations of GM crops. "National and European food security agencies must carry out new studies financed by public funding to guarantee healthy food for European consumers," he said in his statement.


2012-09-19 "Long Term study links GMOs to Tumors" press release from "GMO Free Marin":BREAKING NEWS: Massive Tumors in Rats Fed GMO Corn in First Ever Long-Term Study - Genetically engineered corn was linked mammary tumors, kidney and liver damage and other serious illnesses in the first ever peer-reviewed, long-term animal study of these foods. The findings were published today in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.  Press statement: [http://www.carighttoknow.org/new_study]
Biotech companies have controlled and suppressed research (because of patent
restrictions on GMOs): [http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=do-seed-companies-control-gm-crop-research]
Numerous peer-reviewed short-term animal studies (90 days) have found adverse impacts in animals including allergies, liver and kidney problems and other health problems.
[https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/prop37/pages/67/attachments/original/1348032282/Peer_reviewed_studies_on_GM_food_health_risks.pdf?1348032282]
Visit "LabelGMOs" at: [http://labelgmos.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network]


Just Label It GMO ! - Pt. 2 - Pamm Larry [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_Lm21C1Yeg]:
Pamm Larry, Founder and Director of "LabelGMOs.org", talks about California's ground-breaking Prop. 37 Initiative on the CA. NOV. 6 BALLOT at Marin County's Label GMO Symposium, July 25, 2012. Sponsors included Good Earth Natural Foods, GMO Free Marin, Community Media Center of Marin.
Posted by "Ecological Options Network" [http://www.youtube.com/user/eon3]




Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are a disaster of ecological pollution.
Many people dread the idea of artificial evolution directed by the profit motive of the Plutocracy, with life itself subject to copyright infringement.
The information companies of the Plutocrats creates propaganda which neither mentions GMOs or the risks to Natural Law, Civil Law & the Common Law of the People, as shown in the following article produced by a information company co-owned by companies producing GMO lifeforms...

2012-06-28 "Tomato breakthrough at UC Davis could aid industry" by Stacy Finz from "Hearst Communications Inc."
[http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Gene-discovery-could-lead-to-better-tomatoes-3671094.php]
A new finding by scientists could make more tomatoes taste like heirlooms, varieties that have been passed down through multiple generations because their flavor and texture is seen by many consumers as unequaled.
The discovery, made by an international research team headed by UC Davis, could have broad benefits to California's tomato industry - a $1.3 billion business. California is the leading producer of all tomatoes in the nation, accounting for 96 percent of the processing tomato output and one-third of the fresh market, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Ann Powell, a biochemist at UC Davis' department of plant sciences and one of the lead authors of the study, said they made the find by accident. The scientists started studying the ripening process and how tomatoes get their color 10 years ago. After working on it for three or four years they quit because they didn't have any money to continue the research.
But with some funding from the UC's Discovery program, the USDA, the National Science Foundation and a few other groups, the team started up again about 18 months ago. This time the university partnered with researchers from Cornell University who were mapping regions of the tomato genome in Spain.
That's when it happened.
By looking at a collection of mutant and wild tomatoes at UC Davis collected in the 1950s by the late Professor Charles Rick, the researchers learned that dark green wild and traditional varieties that naturally held the gene GLK2 produced fruit with higher levels of sugars, otherwise known as soluble solids.
"Sugars and lycopenes contribute to tomatoes tasting better," Powell said, but warned, "This is not the full picture."
There are a lot of factors that contribute to making a tomato taste good, she said.
"This won't solve the problems of why supermarket tomatoes taste the way they do," Powell said, adding that growing fruit on a large scale can contribute to bland flavor. "And taste is also subjective."
But this discovery may go a long way to giving consumers more choices at the cash register, she said.
"Now that we know that some of the qualities that people value in heirloom tomatoes can be made available in other types of tomatoes, farmers can have access to more varieties of tomatoes that produce well and also have desirable color and flavor traits."
Michael Jarvis, an Agricultural Market Service spokesman for the USDA, said the discovery is certainly a boon to shoppers.
"There has been a big resurgence in all heirloom fruits and vegetables over the years," he said. "Now you can find them in conventional stores as well as farmers' markets. Consumers are clamoring for variety. The U.S. produces a slew of different fruits and vegetables and consumers keep demanding more."
But it may be even more advantageous to farmers, especially those who grow tomatoes to be processed into such products as tomato paste and canned tomatoes.
"The higher the solids (sugar levels) the more tomato paste," said Don Cameron, who on his Terranova Ranch in Helm (Fresno County) grows 1,700 acres of both organic and conventional processing tomatoes.
"Some canneries even provide contracts that will pay growers more for tomatoes with higher sugar levels."
But Cameron, who will begin harvesting in about two weeks, said the discovery is not something that will change the industry overnight.
"It will probably take years to get that gene into a commercial variety," he said. "It's a slow process. There are other things that go into the breeding of processing tomatoes besides solids, including disease and pest resistance."
But there's no question, he said, that the discovery could prove to be extremely important to growers throughout the country.
"Any time we can improve quality it's not only beneficial to the grower but to the processor and consumer," he said.
But for some, including Peggy Kass of Kassenhoff Growers, a plant nursery in Oakland, the scientists' finding seems anticlimactic.
"I don't think it's really necessary," she said. "We grow about 90 varieties. There are so many different, good flavors we grow, I'm worried that by making all the tomatoes sweet, you're going to lose a lot of the subtlety in the flavors that already exist."



Knowledge of Cross-Over Diseases from Plants, Soils and Insects by Agraquest, Universities, Federal and State Agencies is found below.
On 12/11/2009, ten years after David Bell had to have the first of his four major sinus surgeries because of infections from his exposure to fungi and bacteria at Agraquest; and over 2 years after his workers' compensation ‘trial', what had been discovered was the website for the University of California - Riverside's November 2006 workshop titled, "Microbial Biopesticides and Transgenic Insecticides - Enhancing Regulatory Communication". This workshop was held in Washington DC, at the University of California Center on Regulatory Communication and was sponsored by the University of California-Riverside, the USDA and the EPA.
Federal Agencies and their representatives, as well as universities from around the country, moderated the three day workshop and/or gave presentations over a period of three days. [ALL VIDEO PRESENTATIONS]
Who Attended the November 2006 workshop titled, "Microbial Biopesticides and Transgenic Insecticides - Enhancing Regulatory Communication" workshop?

There was only one ‘private biotech company' who gave a presentation at this workshop; Pam Marrone of Marrone Organic Innovations - Davis, CA. Pam Marrone is the founder of Agraquest, her 2nd research and development biotech company, which she also started in Davis, CA. The first location of Agraquest, where David Bell became so ill, was located at 1105 Kennedy Place, Suite B, in an Office Park.
No Excuse for Government (State and Federal) Agencies, Universities and Agraquest to not know there are some plant diseases which can also infect humans & some of these are being used for biological control on crops and used for insect control.
During this workshop, it was made clear to everyone the fact there are some plant diseases which can also infect humans, when Doctor Anne K. Vidaver gave her presentation on "Cross-infective microbes: from plants to humans". Therefore, IF Pam Marrone and the federal and state agencies who were also at the workshop, didn't know of this prior to that time, they had no excuse not to have learned if then.


After watching Doctor Vidaver's presentation on the internet, "Cross-infective microbes: from plants to humans" [http://biopesticide.ucr.edu/video/assets/MOV00F_Vidaver.wmv] and viewing her credentials, Doctor Vidaver was contacted via email on December 12, 2009 at 09:25 p.m-PST.  Doctor Vidaver replied; by email on December 15, 2009 [BELOW]

 

Shortly thereafter; what was received (via US mail) was a complimentary copy, "With Dr. Vadaver's Compliments" the "more detailed book chapter" (which Professor Vidaver spoke of in her e-mail); BIOLOGICAL SAFETY - Principles and Practices; LABORATORY, GROWTH CHAMBER AND GREENHOUSE MICROBIAL SAFETY: PLANT PATHOGENS AND PLANT-ASSOCIATED MICROORGANISMS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMAN HEALTH by ANNE K VIDAVER, SUE A. TOLIN, AND PATRICIA LAMBRECHT - 4th ed. editors D. O. Fleming and D. L. Hunt, eds.) ASM Press, Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data).
[http://biotechawareness.com/images/VIDAVER.pdf]

Received from Doctor Vidaver on December 23, 2009 was an email suggestioning the reading of Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity: how do Pathogenic microorganisms develop cross-kingdom host jumps? FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 32:239-277. [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-6976.2007.00065.x/full]
Doctor Vidaver additionally wrote, "as a reference (heavy reading) for your doctors.  This is not a journal they would ordinarily read, but it is a very reputable one.  Table 1 is reasonably accessible." and  "These goes beyond my chapter."

In watching and transcribing Doctor Vidaver's 2006 presentation of Cross-Infective Microorganisms during the Microbial Biopesticides and Transgenic Insecticides - Enhancing Regulatory Communication workshop [http://biotechawareness.com/images/VIDAVER.2006presentationPARTIAL.pdf]; as well as reading the her third chapter in the 2006 Biological Safety - Principals and Practices, LABORATORY, GROWTH CHAMBER AND GREENHOUSE MICROBIAL SAFETY: PLANT PATHOGENS AND PLANT-ASSOCIATED MICROORGANISMS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMAN HEALTH; coupled with reading "Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity: how do Pathogenic microorganisms develop cross-kingdom host jumps?" [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1574-6976.2007.00065.x/full] it is very clear indeed to understand the exposure David Bell had to the many bacteria and fungus in a research and development biotechnology company, Agraquest Inc.; not only because these microorganisms were no doubt in their culture collection, but the microorganisms were used in the many experiments which would have had to be conducted at the company to 'test' their product candidates before submission/s to the EPA.
The fungi, bacteria, insect's etc. that cause human health problems; as is found in Doctor Vidaver's 2006 presentation; the 2006 Biological Safety - Principals and Practices, LABORATORY, GROWTH CHAMBER AND GREENHOUSE MICROBIAL SAFETY: PLANT PATHOGENS AND PLANT-ASSOCIATED MICROORGANISMS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMAN HEALTH; and Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity: how do Pathogenic microorganisms develop cross-kingdom host jumps? are (but not limited to) species of the following microbials,
MANY of these microorganisms are the "active ingredient" in bio-control products; These are indicated by a √ and listed below.
BIO-CONTROL aka MICROBIAL PRODUCTS INCLUDING - BUT NOT LIMITED TO
Pesticides, Fungicides, Insecticides, Insecticides, Nematicides, Miticides
ADDITIONAL USES
Formulations, Manufacturing, Biological Fertilizers, Treatment of soils, Plant Growth Regulators, Fumigant

READ PLANT / INSECT / SOIL PATHOGENS CROSSING OVER TO HUMANS [http://biotechawareness.com/index~option~com_content~view~article~id~227~Itemid~1.php]
[Showing the diseases and illnesses caused by the above pathogenic microoganisms, the host for these microorganisms with links to biocontrol products. [this is being updated regularly] Additionally shown is the links to David Bell and his medical conditions as a result of working for Agraquest, Inc. in Davis, California


2012-08-23 "PLANT / INSECT / SOIL PATHOGENS CROSS-OVER TO HUMANS; MANY USED IN BIO-CONTROL PRODUCTS" [http://biotechawareness.com/index~option~com_content~view~article~id~231~Itemid~1.php]:
The administrator of this website is currently compiling the needed information to complete this article. Microorganisms, which are NATURALLY found, in plant disease, insect diseases and soils CROSS-OVER to humans.  Many are being (or have been) used in bio-control products on agricultural crops, ornamentals and used for insect control.  Some are also being as plant growth stimulators and seed treatments.
Dr. Anne K. Vidaver gave a presentation; "Cross-infective microbes: from plants to humans" during the 2006 "Microbial Biopesticides and Transgenic Insecticides - Enhancing Regulatory Communication" workshop in Washington DC at the University of California Center on Regulatory Communication in 2006, before representatives from numerous Federal and State agencies and Universities.  It is more than evident she was desperately trying to get everyone to pay attention to the human health hazards of exposure to plant pathogens but also that many of these plant pathogens are being used as biocontrol products.  Her talk  SEEMS TO HAVE FALLEN ON DEAF EARS.  Some of what she had to say is listed below:
* "So, you might want to know why do we have this topic for this workshop. Well, because there are some organisms that are used as microbial pesticides or prospective microbial pesticides, and in my experience, plant pathologist don't know about some of these microbes and the medical community conversely does not. And it's unfortunate that with all the people ... regulatory agencies, we're missing a few internationally; hopefully learn from what I plan to say, mainly the Food and Drug Administration nationally needs help."
* "I'm going to talk about some illustrations of plants; plant/human cross infections and use those as examples, and then I'll talk about what this actually could mean, both to the scientific community and to the regulated community and challenges for regulators as well ... so."
* "More and more bacteria by the way are being reported to be the cause of some chronic diseases."
* "The prospective virtue of fungi; which I'll talk more about later, is that in some ways they are more desirable as microbial control agents; but I'll say more about why that is."
* "Now, the majority of the diseases that I'm going to talk about in humans are rare; but, there will be a few that are not so rare; and I'll try to point those out when we come to those. And obviously, for anybody in the regulatory arena, this causes at least a plausible thought, but I'll indicate what some of the challenges are with this."
* "OK, so first of all, what am I talking about? The terms are not yet agreed upon what this means. You can talk about organisms that are cross infected; mainly go to from plants to humans. You can also call them cross-over pathogens and you can also call them Cross, or inter-kingdom pathogens, and Dr. Tauxe from the CDC invented the term as far as I know. Phytoses to force on with zoo-onoces, that is organisms that go from animals to people. What they are not; is they're not overlapped pathogens in the select agent list with the FDA and AMA."
* "One of the important questions for people in ... the more we know in the way; the less we know is actually do we classify organisms? I mean this is a human endeavor but we have to do this in order to communicate."
* "One place I think that there's something missing, and it is not perhaps straight forward to talk about, is that we could have an interdisciplinary program across agencies, there's certainly interagency programs already in many areas, but we do not have any, as far as I know, that incorporate USDA and NIH [inaudible], certainly in this area of cross-infective microorganisms."
* " I dare say the medical community has no idea that some of these are really a problem in plants and the plant community has no idea that these are problems in medicine."
* " Actually, the question really for the medical community and even for the plant community is, are we talking about the same organism? In many cases, that's still very much the question."
* "And so, then how we do this is still a very fluid field, and this is good; but it's a very challenging area then for anyone who is in the regulatory arena. "
* " This is also then true in terms of nanoclature. What are you going to name an organism? How are you going to identify it, and then how are you going to characterize any group of individuals [inaudible] by rank?"
* " And then for species; at least for the present time, for bacteria you have a species being defined with at least 70% related misbind DNA."
"Homology: Well, some microbial geneticists believe that this is, in again, inappropriate maybe with what we know, but no one has yet come up with something that is actually being received well as an alternative, so this is still a challenge."
* "What is the species? And I'm not sure even for the fungi that there is agreement on what is the species; and I don't know about some of the other organisms as well."
* "And then for defining a strain that you would actually use and that you would worry about stability, we're talking about the descendants of a single isolation, your culture."
* "Then there's the question of what do you do about the host responses. How do you measure the population; even of plants or people or animals as the case may be, because we are not in a scattered population in any of those categories."
* " We need to know a lot more about induced and innate immunity; simply to be able to combat all these challenging organisms that are multiplying and changing at a faster rate than we are. "
* "A DNA shuffling is going on often ; that is the rearrangement of genomes and how will this be actually seen by regulatory agencies is not clear. It could be [inaudible] that may come out in this workshop."
* "Our model system analysis appropriate; it can all be complex depending on what you're looking at it and many people that are on both sides of the fence, but in any case this is a challenge; both for the regulated community and the regulatory system."

Although NUMEROUS biocontrol agents are on the market presently (or were on the market and have since been cancelled) there remains the question as to how many agricultural workers and those employed in biotechnology research and development laboratories around the world have no idea just what they have been exposed to that have made them ill and/or sustained terrible diseases because of occupational exposure/s to the bacteria and fungi on the following list?  This does not take into account the question as well as to how many family members have medical problems because their loved one carried home microscopic bacteria and fungi on their clothes, their shoes and anything that was brought home from the workplace environment?

NOTE: Following you will find a list of the bacteria and/or fungi that Dr. Anne K. Vidaver was speaking of when she was giving her above mentioned presentation in 2006 - as well as bacteria and fungi that is listed in the scientific publication, "Molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity: "How do Pathogenic microorganisms develop cross-kingdom host jumps?" which was suggested by Dr. Vidaver that the administrator of this website read. 
Additionally found below are the bacteria and fungi that are listed in Dr. Anne K. Vidaver's chapter in the 4th edition of  BIOLOGICAL SAFETY - Principles and Practices titled, "LABORATORY, GROWTH CHAMBER AND GREENHOUSE MICROBIAL SAFETY: PLANT PATHOGENS AND PLANT-ASSOCIATED MICROORGANISMS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMAN HEALTH" which was sent via United States mail to the administrator of this website.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012-09-12 "Coyote Creek tops list of dirty waterways"


Forget the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We have our own version right here in the Bay Area.
San Jose's Coyote Creek is so clogged with candy wrappers, diapers, beer bottles, cigarette butts and other debris that, in some spots, one can practically walk across the waterway without getting wet.
The creek, one of the two largest waterways in the South Bay, is likely the dirtiest waterway in the Bay Area and has earned the dubious distinction of making Save the Bay's annual list of "trash hot spots," which the group is to release Wednesday.
"I'm not surprised. There's garbage everywhere in Coyote Creek. Not just garbage, but human waste," said Kate Slama, volunteer coordinator for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which oversees portions of the creek. "It's incredibly frustrating."
Coyote Creek, along with four other local waterways, was singled out in Save the Bay's sixth annual study of garbage, pollution and San Francisco Bay. The Oakland nonprofit looked at trash data cities are required to report to the state as well as information collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and personal visits to the suspected sites.
The other four trashiest waterways are Damon Slough in Oakland, a perennial contender because of its proximity to Oakland's O.co Coliseum; Baxter Creek in Richmond; San Tomas Aquino Creek in Santa Clara; and the Hayward Shoreline.
Notably absent, for the first time in years, was any creek in San Francisco. That's partially because San Francisco, with its merged storm drain and wastewater systems, is not required to report its trash figures, but also because the city has started cracking down on plastic bags, said Save the Bay staff.
Bans on Styrofoam and plastic bags, which several cities and counties around the region have recently enacted, have had a huge impact on the amount of garbage that filters down local creeks into the bay and beyond, said Save the Bay director David Lewis.
But so far, it isn't enough. Litter remains the top source of bay pollution, even more damaging than runoff from refineries and factories, he said.
Trash isn't just an eyesore, it has wide-reaching environmental impacts, he said. Plastic includes tiny pellets that birds and fish mistake for food, eventually killing them. In addition, chemicals in plastic leach into the water and mud, causing problems for plants, insects and other life forms.
The trash should ebb over the next few years, however, as tough new state and federal standards go into effect.
"It's tough to solve some of these problems, but there are small things everyone can do to make it happen," said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA.
"Small things" means supporting plastic bag bans, bringing reusable bags to the store and, of course, not littering.
But that doesn't explain Coyote Creek. San Jose has some of the strictest plastic bag regulations in the country, with seemingly no effect on its creeks.
The reason is the explosion of homeless encampments along the creek banks, officials said. Since the economy collapsed, the South Bay has seen homelessness soar because of cuts to social services and unemployment.

Coastal Cleanup Day -
On Saturday, Sept. 15, thousands of volunteers are expected to scour beaches, creeks, lakes and wetlands throughout the state, collecting trash. For information, go to www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/ccd.html