Tags >> toxic
Jul 02
2010

Bat Lady Remembered

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , trees , toxic , nonprofit orgs , farms , environment , chemicals , California , animals , agriculture

Bruce Robinson

More than 50 years ago, Patricia Winters got her first bat, and promptly fell in love with it. As an advocate for the small nocturnal flying mammals, she was known throughout the North Bay and beyond as the Bat Lady. She died of cancer at age 70 recently, but shared her enthusiasm and knowledge in an early North Bay Report from January 2006. This is a repeat of that report.

How does someone become “the Bat Lady”?  In her case, recalls Patricia Winters, it started almost half a century ago.

Bats are moderately common in North America, but far more prevalent in the tropics, where they play an essential role in propagating fruits and other crops.

 

This is a Mexican free-tailed bat in flight, one of the more common species in northern California. Because of their echolocation sounds, bats actually make a lot of noise as they fly at night, but those sounds are at pitches to high for human hearing.You can listen to the echo-location sounds of a Mexican free-tailed bat, transposed into the rage of human hearing, in this audio clip.

For contrast's sake, here is the sound of what Patricia Winters calls a microwave popcorn echo. This bat send out its sounds between a gap in ins front teeth, so that the echo will no reverberate inside its mouth.

 

The Statewide Integrated Pest Management program at UC Davis offers this online resource to guide homeowners in dealing with bats generally and  on their property.

 

Pallid bat with fresh-caught grasshopper.


There are places where thousands of bats live together in caves or underground, and emerge in great clouds as the day turns dark. Here's a video of such an emergence.

 

May 06
2010

Hospital Safety

Posted by Bruce Robinson in toxic , speaker , public safety , Petaluma , nonprofit orgs , medicine , healthcare , Health , families , drugs , corporate responsibiliyt , children , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Even in the controlled environment of a hospital, human error is always a danger, too often a fatal one. That’s what Sorrel King is fighting to reduce.

As the mother of four young children, Sorell King was involved in every step of her daugther’s care when 18-month old  Josie was badly burned by a faulty water heater. Even that wasn’t enough to prevent the breakdown in communications that resulted in a fatal dose of methadone, the tragic mistake that abruptly turned King into a determined advocate for increased patient safety and better hospital procedures. It’s that painful personal experience, she says, that makes the medical personnel hear what she has to say.

King has documented her own first-hand experience with this wrenching issue in her book, the autobiographical Josie’s Story, which in turn led to the creation of the Josie King Foundation, through which she pursues her advocacy work. It’s a role she hopes to be able to pull back from sometime, but that day doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon.

Sorrel King believes that the number of near misses, when potentially fatal mistakes are caught just in time, or corrected before they have tragic consequences, is far higher than the actual number of deaths that occur. So she pushing hospitals to adopt procedures to report and track those near misses, too.

The seventh annual Gene and Evelyn Benedetti Leadership Award celebrationn honors Nancy Corda (right)  at  6 p.m. on Friday May 7 at the Sheraton Petaluma. Proceeds will be used to purchase a mobile ultrasound machine for Petaluma Valley Hospital. Information: 778-2796.

 

Apr 05
2010

Hair Dye Hazard

Posted by Bruce Robinson in toxic , public safety , Marin , lifestyle , Health , education , chemicals , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

As more and more people color their hair, often starting at younger ages, their exposure to the chemicals in those dyes is increasing, and their risk of a cumulative allergic reaction is going up, too.

Since her own allergic response to PPD, nearly three years ago, Marcia Beauchamp has been alert to any other news about the compound. And she says, there has been quite a lot.

PPD (para-phenylenediamine) is also found in many Henna dyes, whether used for hair coloring or temporary tattoos. Both uses can lead to reactions, but Marcia explains that the scalp is especially vulnerable.

Online searches about PPD and allergic reactions to it now result in myriad links, enough to be more than a little confusing. Beauchamp's response to that—and her own experience—has been the creation of a website of her own, one intended to be a one-stop resource for information on the issue.

Marcia Beauchamp

 

 

 

 



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.

 

 


 

 

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