How to prevent further pollution
and to clean up, our polluted rivers, lakes, oceans and groundwater.
Worldwide, 14 billion pounds of garbage are dumped into the oceans each year. This outweighs the pounds of fish harvested by 3 to 1. The amount of garbage in our oceans has resulted in a) harvesting being restricted or banned on shell-fishing grounds, b) tons of garbage washing up on beaches, and c) the poisoning of fish and other salt water creatures.
The number of beach closures in the U.S. doubled between 1999 and 2000.
Ninety percent of the nation's pollution-filtering wetlands have been destroyed and 60 percent of the world's coral reefs are threatened by pollution, sedimentation and over-harvesting.
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches. In their 2002 State of the Beach report, Surfrider indicates that "California beaches were closed or had warnings almost 6,000 times during 2000, nearly twice as many times as in 1999.
Aniston, Alabama PCBs Monsanto. healthy fish die in minutes when submerged, chickens they raise had PCBs.
MTBE is a chemical used in gasoline. It is deadly in small
amounts. MTBE has leaked into our groundwater drinking supplies in many
places throughout the U.S. as a result of old gasoline storage tanks.
Some communities such as Santa Monica, California have had to shut down
their own water supplies and import water via truck because of high levels of
MTBE in their ground water!
Scientists estimate that each year up to seven million Americans become sick from contaminated tap water, which can also be lethal.
How to maintain adequate supplies of drinking water.
We are beginning to see shortages of water needed for drinking, for industry and for agriculture. These shortages are being driven by the increase in population and the fact that more and more of our sources of drinking water become polluted and with the natural changes in weather patterns.
Even in the Great Lakes region that contains 90% of the fresh water in the United States, officials and environmentalists are concerned the increasing demand on waters that feed the Great Lakes could result in dangerously low water levels and harm fishing and other animal habitats.
MTBE is a chemical used in gasoline. It is deadly in small amounts. MTBE has leaked into our groundwater drinking supplies in many places throughout the U.S. as a result of old gasoline storage tanks. Some communities such as Santa Monica, California have had to shut down their own water supplies and import water via truck because of high levels of MTBE in their ground water!
What is a proper balance between growth versus the quality
of life and the preservation of
other life and our natural resources?
In November 1992, the Union of Concerned Scientists met in Washington DC where 1,600 of the senior scientists, including a majority of the living Nobel Laureates endorsed a statement entitled, "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity." It stated: "A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated."
Here are a few resources dealing with this issue:
The Vermont-based Sustainability Institute is a think-tank dedicated to sustainable resource use, sustainable economics and sustainable community. They provide information, analysis, and practical demonstrations that can foster transitions to sustainable systems at all levels of society, from local to global.
The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans change the way they consume to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and promote social justice.
The Nature Conservancy works with communities, businesses and individual citizens to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
The problem with noise is not only that it is unwanted, but also that it negatively affects human health and well-being. Problems related to noise include hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, distraction and lost productivity, and a general reduction in the quality of life and opportunities for tranquility."
- from the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse website
A book, Noise & Health, edited by Thomas H. Fay and published by The New York Academy of Medicine (1991) presents a critical and comprehensive review of available world literature on the effects of noise on all of the body's systems. It defines noise and its sources, documents the specific health hazards of noise on the body and indicates needs for further research.
Light Pollution happens because of poorly designed and improperly aimed light fixtures called luminaries. Luminaries that do not offer adequate shielding usually spill wasted light into the sky and across property lines where it does not benefit anyone. When light spills into the sky, it reflects off of tiny airborne dust and moisture particles and creates what is known as skyglow.
Skyglow not only affects the scientific research of astronomers but It also affects everyone else who simply enjoys a dark night sky abundant with stars. The starry night sky has all but disappeared in many areas and has been effected to varying degrees for nearly 90% of Americans! With dark-adapted eyes, we should be able to see at least 2,600 stars under mildly polluted residential skies on any clear moonless evening. In remote rural areas that have not suffered urban sprawl and over development, it is possible to see four times that many stars on a clear night. Today, in most urban areas, and now in even many suburban and rural areas fewer than 100 stars are visible in the night sky. Most children born today will never know the splendor of a star filled night sky and that alone is tragic.
Light Pollution also robs some of their desire and need for
a sound night's sleep when artificial illumination coming from poorly
aimed and unshielded light fixtures shines glare into our windows at
night. It has become difficult to achieve a dark bedroom at night
even with blinds, shades and room darkening drapes.
There is also some research to suggest that too much artificially generated light at night can have very adverse affects on our health by disrupting natural hormone (i.e. melatonin) production that our bodies require!
How to reduce air pollution.
Air pollution is a particularly important and difficult issue. It's particularly important because all living things require air to live and because dirty air causes lung disease and cancer in humans; it poisons rivers and lakes; damages trees; and kills wildlife. Polluted air is a particularly difficult issue because 1) it's not something we can easily get away from, 2) it's not always easy to see, 3) it affects so many living things, 4 the winds carry it into areas not responsible for polluting it, and 5) there are many ways nature and man pollute the air - both indoors and outside.
Natural air pollution results from forest and grass fires, wind-driven dust storms, and volcanic activity. Man made pollutions comes in forms such as acid rain, smog, and flyash (the ash particles that result from the coal-based generation of electricity). Air pollution is aggravated because of four developments: increasing traffic, growing cities, rapid economic development and industrialization.
With an increased emphasis on energy-efficient housing, modern homes have less ventilation and an increasing problem with indoor pollutants from volatile organic compounds like solvents and chemicals found in products like perfumes, air fresheners, furniture polish, moth repellents; tobacco smoke; pesticides; biological pollutants such as allergens; formaldehyde; asbestos; and radon.
More that 100 US cities still violate federal clean-air standards, mainly
because of the increase in the number of automobiles and the trend toward
How to deal with the garbage we create.
The average Americans generates about 4 pounds of solid trash per day. This adds up to big trouble for the environment. Americans are generating waste products faster than nature can break them down and using up resources faster than they can be replaced.
Most states are facing a crisis as garbage overburdens landfills. This situation creates groundwater and soil contamination issues.