Tags >> environment
Mar 12
2010

Rachel Carson

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , toxic , speaker , public safety , policy , media , journalism , food , events , environment , education , chemicals , author

Bruce Robinson

Rachel Carson may have been America’s first environmental whistle-blower. That’s inspired for a west county poet to create her own biographical one-woman show about the author of Silent Spring.

Lilith Rogers describes herself as a lifelong gardener and poet—she’s even written a book of her own about horticulture in western Sonoma County—but she got the spark of an idea about doing something new when she saw a one-woman show about Alberta King, the mother of Martin Luther King, at Santa Rosa Junior College. So Rogers began casting about for a subject that she might take on for a similar presentation.

One reason that Silent Spring had such an immediate and widespread impact when it was published, explains Lilith Rogers, was that the book offered a clear and well-documented explanation that linked a number of troubling events that were readily observable in the American environment.

Rachel Carson and Silent Spring were a media sensation, too, by the standards of 1962. Rogers says the flavor of that fascination, and the some of the now-discredited attitudes that were prevalent then, could be seen in an exchange that was broadcast on national television on the prominent CBS Reports program.

Doing the one-woman show  offers a way for Carsons’ voice to be heard again today, as in this excerpt from Rachel Carson Returns in which Rogers reads from the final chapter of Silent Spring.

 

 


 

 

Mar 04
2010

PCBs in Fish Oil

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , water , toxic , Science , research , nonprofit orgs , medicine , Health , fish , environment , chemicals , animals

Bruce Robinson

Fish oil capsules have long been suspected of including small amounts of toxic PCBs, but a new lawsuit contends some manufacturers of the supplements contain far more of the banned chemicals than others.

 Oakland attorney David Roe, who filed the suit on behalf of the Eureka-based Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation (known for their actions seeking enforcement of California's Proposition 65) and two other plaintiffs, says it included actions against General Nutrition Center and CVS  Pharmacy stores because it is important that the consumer warnings also be prominently placed in locations where consumers purchase these products.

 Roe says the tests his clients have conducted, and the lawsuit those tests prompted, are also intended to encourage the industry that produces fish oil supplements to do more rigorous testing themselves.

 A new website set up to publicize the lawsuit has details on the  legal action as well as  an online petition calling for stronger labeling requirements. There is also a list of the products tested and  their  test results. A summary graph is shown below.

 

 

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Mar 02
2010

Ailing Pelicans

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , weather , water , Science , rescue , ocean , nonprofit orgs , fish , environment , California , birds , animals

Bruce Robinson

The formerly endangered California Brown Pelican appears to be facing some new challenges this winter, as hundreds of the birds have been taken to bird rescue facilities from here to Long Beach.

Paul Kelway, a spokesman for the International Bird Rescue Research Center, says that after several days of feeding and cleaning, many of the bedraggled birds have been successful released into the wild again.

The IBRRC website maintains updated counts of the pelicans that have successfully been treated and released.

Despite their name, California Brown Pelicans can also be gray, white or combinations of all three colors. Nor is their natural range confined to the Golden State. In fact, as Paul Kelway explains, they migrate up and down much of the Pacific coast, which is part of the reason they’ve had problems recently.

These birds, the smallest of all pelican species, were placed on the Endangered Species list because exposure to DDT resulted in thinner shells for their eggs, which led to fewer birds hatching, and reduced birth rates. Since the pesticide was banned, the pelican population has been gradually rebounding. The group seen at right are regaining their strength at the IBRRC facility in Cordelia, near Fairfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 26
2010

Apple Moths in New Zealand

Posted by Bruce Robinson in vineyards , trees , research , international , farms , environment , coast , chemicals , California , business , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

While California’s policy is to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth, a local researcher reports that New Zealand has adopted other tactics to control the bugs, which have been present in that country for more than a century.

One problem with California’s attempt to eradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth is that the state got a late start in that effort. U.C. Cooperative Extension biologist Lucia Varela says the number and dispersal of the moths suggests they were here for some time before they were discovered.

Right now, California’s official policy toward the apple moths is “zero tolerance,” so that any areas where they are found are place under quarantine. But Varlea and many other experts doubt that the bugs can successfully be eradicated. Instead, she says, a more realistic policy would be to control the apple moth populations, so they cause minimal damage to apples and other crops.

Lucia Varela also reported recently  on the arrival of the European Grapevine Moth in the North Bay. You can hear the North Bay Report coverage of that development here.