The Top 10 Endangered Places – SELC’s List

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge (Photo credit: Ethan.K)

Just a quick post on the recently released list from SELC – Southern Environmental Law Center, which of course targets the South; however, three out of 10 relate to Virginia,

  • the VA and Tennessee mountains (coal mining)
  • Charlottesville, VA (proposed Route 29 Bypass)
  • Southside, VA (mining)

Here is the article’s link where you can find pictures as well as detailed information on each one of the 10 issues (click each picture).

Top 10 endangered places 2013

Update on Uranium Mining Proposal in Virginia

Those of you who have followed this blog for some time have read some posts about the proposed uranium mining in Virginia, where I will be moving soon to start a farmette.  Well I have been very concerned about this for many reasons – health, Virginia unsuitable climate for mining, a possible scenario for great contamination, and other issues, including our proximity to the proposed site, at only a few miles.

Well, today I am sharing the good news and that is – THE PROPOSAL WAS DEFEATED!  At least for now, but this is great news.  Here is where you can read about it – Uranium Mining Proposal Suffers Major Defeat/Keep the Ban.  I am extremely happy about this, and I am thanking again all of you who voted to keep the ban in uranium mining in Virginia.  I will keep you informed on the latest developments.  If you want to read more on this important issue that affects other states such as North Carolina, since its supply of water comes from Virginia, in part, you can visit the Keep the Ban website.

Beam Me Up, Scotty

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I was reminiscing about my childhood and how simple life was in those days.  When you got a cut, all you needed was a band-aid, a bit of iodine and mercury, and you were back running and playing in the green pastures.  Then, I started thinking about mercury and all the controversy surrounding this element.  To give you a bit of an introduction to the element, I will cut and paste some information from Wikipedia:

  • Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver and its scientific name is hydrargyrum ( < Greek “hydr-” water and “argyros” silver).

Mercury has been used by ancient cultures in medicinal and religious applications, as well as in alchemy.  Mercury is used in many instruments and devices and in scientific research applications.  It was used or still is used in dentistry as amalgam for dental restoration.  It is used in electrical, electronic, and manufacturing applications and according to Wikipedia,

It is used in lighting: electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light which then causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce, making visible light” “Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal.  As compared to other metals,  it is a poor conductor of heat, but a fair conductor of electricity.

Mercury does not react with most acids.  It is an extremely rare element in the earth’s crust and it does not blend geochemically with elements found there.  According to Wikipedia,

“is a part of popular secondary reference electrode (called the calomel electrode) in electrochemistry as an alternative to the standard hydrogen electrode. The calomel electrode is used to work out the electrode potential of half cells.[50] Last, but not least, the triple point of mercury, −38.8344 °C, is a fixed point used as a temperature standard for the International Temperature Scale.” 

In everyday applications it is used in cosmetics, fluorescent lamps, mercury vapor lamps, neon signs and of course, in human vaccines.  There is controversy about effects in children, autism, and although it has been a bit reduced, it is still found in significant amounts in the influenza vaccine, which pretty much everyone gets yearly.  And of course, we all know of high content of mercury found in fish, especially in tuna – the poor man’s food (most of the population).

“The European Union directive calling for compact fluorescent bulbs to be made mandatory by 2012 has encouraged China to re-open deadly cinnabar mines to obtain the mercury required for CFL bulb manufacture” (Wikipedia).

Mercury is also used for ion engines in electric propulsion, and “Owing to its acoustic properties, mercury was used as the propagation medium in delay line memory devices used in early digital computers of the mid-20th century.”  In addition, “liquid mercury was used as a coolant for some nuclear reactors.” (Wikipedia)

So, it looks like in its various applications and compounds, through history, Mercury is a wonderful and toxic element and by now (if you are still reading),  you may be asking where am I going with all this.  Well, I can tell you this – by now, with all the mercury in my body, from amalgam, bandaids, fish, vaccines … and the rest, I must be a walking vase of mercury (and so do many of you, especially children).  In a planet that is looking for alternative ways of energy, is concerned about the electromagnetic field, and temperature/climate warming, where part of the population believes in an “ascension”  in different religions (no disrespect meant here), we might as well be the solution to all those problems, that is, as walking breathing living vases full of mercury.   We will conduct electricity, cool the planet, help maintain the electromagnetic field in case there is a problem with the earth’s crust or core, and of course, facilitate the ascension as a propagation medium, owing to its acoustic properties.  Best of all, is that since mercury is a poor conductor of heat, we will not overheat.  All that is left to say is,

“BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY.”   

The Kids and the Seagulls

Seagulls in Grand Marais

Seagulls in Grand Marais (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have followed this blog, by now you know that I am an observer of life.  Sometimes, this is not so good as I tend to ponder if there is redemption for the human species.  Some behavior I don’t understand at times.  Over the weekend, my husband and I drove to a spot at the shore where we like to sit and watch the water, seagulls … and sometimes, we drink our coffee there too.  That day, they were just a few people walking along the shoreline – a woman collecting driftwood, a couple walking, and just a few people conversing sitting on a bench nearby.  The boats were sliding beautifully throughout the waters, and tons of seagulls were resting on the sand close to the water.  It was peaceful.  It was a beautiful sight.

Suddenly, I hear the cheerful noise of three kids heading towards the beach.  They were about 9-11 years old, at the most, possibly younger.  They appeared innocently cute, and I was enjoying the sight of their young energy and friendship.  They walked to the beach, and stood a couple of feet away from the seagulls, watching.  It would have made for the composition of a beautiful painting.  Out of the sudden, their behavior changed, and they started running towards the seagulls, startling them, and one of them even throwing rocks or shells at the birds.  And this is the part when I become puzzled, and my heart, that wants to believe that we deserve to be part of this planet, aches because once more, I see that we are a selfish and undeserving species, one that cannot appreciate beauty, and finds entertainment and contentment in destruction.

The kids ran at a distance and headed to climb some rocks, until they disappeared from my horizon.  There were no seagulls, they flew away, scattered, some into the ocean, others landed at a safe distance.  The beauty of the moment was ruined by the future of humanity, and I was left with an aching heart.

 

Sad Message in a Bottle

This morning I became irate when I heard a comment from one of the PIX 11 news cast members about a message in a bottle that was found.  The reporter encouraged people to go to the beach and deposit their own messages.  Although she said it  in a casual tone and probably she did not think twice before saying that, I was angry because I expect more from a person who is well-educated and many times, has done a segment on eco-friendly products.  Imagine what would happen if 100 idiots, followed by another 100 morons, decide to do just that?  100 message bottles a day = 36,500 bottles dumped into the ocean yearly.  What would you think of 100 people dumping 100 message bottles in your front door or lawn?  Well, the ocean is home to many species and just because you belong to the human species does not give you the right to trash another species home.

The point of this post is not to ridicule anyone (hence the name of the reporter is not mentioned) but to make you think about how every little step that we take impacts this planet – for better or worse.  A more appropriate comment would have been – “Oh, let’s try not to throw more bottles into the water, send a virtual bottle instead, or next time you are at the beach, why not pick up one bottle and dump it in the trash can.”  Imagine the impact of 100 people doing just that.  However, what is in our hearts, comes out through our mouths, eventually.

We are not perfect, we are human, but we have been given a little gray matter to use it from time to time.  I know that the idea of a message in a bottle has been romanticized, and we humans fall for romance.  I am learning to live more eco conscientious and have much to learn; however it saddens me when I see people who should know better encourage dumb and irresponsible behavior.  Don’t complain when the planet’s resources start lacking or when Mother Nature’s fury unleashes near you – we have created this environment and as we give we get back.

Next time you think is cute to send a message to the other side of the world, think of the possibility that a marine animal may get injured with that same message – not so romantic.

I know that I sound as a preacher, but when I see educated people making these silly and irresponsible statements, which may encourage others to do stupid things , I have to wear my preaching gown.

Uranium Mining and Milling in Virginia is a Dangerous Idea

If the moratorium that has kept a ban from mining Uranium in the Coles Hill area of Chatham – Pittsylvania County, VA – is lifted, may God bless VA weather and the residents who live there (including me when I finally get to move there after restoring the old farmhouse – just five miles away from the proposed site).

Instead of writing  a list about why it is a bad idea, let me leave the reader with a few YouTube videos that I found, which will give you an idea of how dangerous lifting this ban is, and mostly it is all about VA type of weather and hydrology.

The first video will give the reader a bit of history on how this all started.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6rVUkyq_Wc

About what residents living there will loose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL1Ich2dWRw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_epFdrAIxbY

Huge flood in Coles Hill area – 1996

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7mcUYAi_O4

North Carolina joins to support the ban and this is why this affects NC.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_mtFZMf1_w

The last speaker on this video makes a good point

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nnQ4AmWiL8

The people from Pittsylvania County and beyond do not want the ban to be lifted.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30giLNF9NpQ

And I leave you with this last video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4TKOqLPvmE

If this ban is lifted, living in this small town would be hell.  Just think of the pollutants, the noisy equipment, constant movement of mine vehicles … and just picture the worst case scenario …  May God bless Pittsylvania County, its residents, and all the people beyond this area who will be affected.

Please sign the petition to keep the ban.

http://keeptheban.org/

How Uranium Mining in VA Affects You Too – Please Sign this Petition

Today’s post is dedicated to the issue of the possibility of uranium mining in Virginia which has the potential to harm the environment statewide and North Carolina.  The problem is that Uranium mining is usually done in dry and arid areas and VA is the opposite.  Not only do they want to open a mine but to have a mill in place as well which doubles the possibility for disaster.  The area of Coles Hill is flood prone which only means that the contamination of the water systems will spread.  Heavy rains, heavy storms are common, and tornadoes are not unheard off, so you have a perfect scenario for the potential of an environmental disaster of huge proportion.  There is potential for contamination of the soil, air, and water, spreading to North Carolina, and once it gets into the food supply (farm goods) it can spread further.  There has been a ban for the last 30 years to prevent the mining of Uranium and it is due to expire now in 2012, soon.

By signing this petition, you will help keep this ban on mining and keep the residents of VA, North Carolina safe.  You will also prevent the possibility of an ecological disaster that will spread further.  Please, sign this petition, follow this link.  Thank you.

http://keeptheban.org/?page_id=38

Please watch this video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOGPIfPngSY&feature=player_embedded

An Eco Disaster Waiting to Happen

I can’t say enough today as why my blood is boiling, simply put, “we humans will never learn and if we can, we will sell our souls to the devil for some economic growth, and the heck with the environment!”   Yes, we take gorgeous landscapes, lush flora, and amazing fauna, and turn it into contaminated crap, and I can think of better words to describe it but it wouldn’t be proper for this blog – so I will bite my tongue and swallow my venom.

Suddenly moving to a peaceful, green, and idyllic country town has lost some appeal.  Why?  Short answer – Uranium Mining.  There is a possibility that this could happen in Coles Hill, VA  practically in the backyard of Chatham, VA in Pittsylvania County – the picturesque and historic little town known as the “The Prettiest Little Town in Southern Virginia”  and that description says it all, and this is where I am heading.

Here is a map of the location – the area of Coles Hill in purple

http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Coles+Hill&state=VA#!

Here is a link to the independent report done by RTI International, study was funded by the Danville Regional Foundation.

http://www.drfonline.org/news/2011/documents/RTI-Non-tech-summary.pdf

Here is a comparison of Uranium Studies done.

http://www.drfonline.org/news/2012/documents/Uranium-Study-Board-17.pdf

And a more detail view of the study and reports

http://www.drfonline.org/news/2011/20111215-RTI-Uranium-Study.php

I hope that this never comes to be, and I am aware of the need for more jobs in the area, however, if Uranium mining happens,we all know how the story ends, thinking of an alternate ending is naive – and that is all I have to say.

This video says it all

http://www.southernenvironment.org/multimedia/videos/uranium_mining_a_threat_to_virginias_roanoke_river/%22style=%22font-weight:

The Three Forgotten Rules for Living

CHILDREN PLAY ON GARBAGE DUMP - NARA - 544794

Image via Wikipedia

The other day, I was pondering on this adage (yes, I ponder a lot – even as a toddler, according to my Mom) – “Use it up, Make do, Do without.”  I don’t know if you are familiar with it, but it has been thrown around from time to time.  I realized that these words have been forgotten in today’s society.  Although, some people are turning their lives around and embracing these words (many times they are called “greenies”) most people live the opposite to this, at least that is what I’ve observed.  I was there once.

Use it Up – Most people throw away things before they even finish their contents, many times, unused items that they never got to open, spoiled food, and so on.

Make Do – That has become an insult in today’s society.  To some, Make Do is synonym to being a loser, or being poor.  I’ve known people with lots of money that live by the Make Do rule; it doesn’t have to do with how much money you have.  Some people choose this way of living, but this is the minority.

Do Without – This is unheard these days, especially since the invention of credit cards.  It is the source of many tantrums at stores or at home, and I am not talking about kids.  People become miserable if they cannot have stuff NOW!  Do Without? – But that is impossible!

The New Rules of the Game

1.  Use it Halfway, if ever.

2.  Get the newest and latest.

3.  Get it Now before it becomes old.

Disclaimer:  Some people will hate me for this post.  After the Zombies invade, nothing will matter, so old goods will become new again, and the old rules will become survival techniques.