Mother Earth News Blogs >

Nature and Environment
News about the health and beauty of the natural world that sustains us.

The Sports World’s Top Sustainability Experts Launch ‘Sport and Sustainability International’

 

A global initiative to leverage the influence of sport to protect the environment and all the species that depend on it is off to the races with the formation of “Sport and Sustainability International” (SandSI), an international association of sports industry sustainability leaders focused on addressing climate change and a diversity of other sustainability issues.

The formal establishment of SandSI is the result of a November 16, 2016, meeting of the world’s top sports industry sustainability experts in Lausanne, Switzerland. In all, 48 representatives of European and international sports organisations and businesses participated in the SandSI Foundational meeting.

As agreed upon at the Lausanne meeting, SandSI aims to leverage the cultural and market influence of sports to promote sustainable development and healthy communities broadly, beyond the individual sports venue.

SandSI members will derive enormous value by being able to draw from the unique diversity, professional experiences and technical expertise of the sustainability experts that it is bringing together from throughout the world.

SandSI intends to carry out its mission by inspiring and collaborating with sports federations, leagues, teams, events, venues, governments, sponsors and other sports industry business partners, fans, and athletes. The goals of these collaborations are designed to:

1. Reduce reliance on fossil fuels and promote the use of renewable energy, healthy food, green spaces, water efficiency, wildlife conservation, smart mobility, carbon mitigation, safer chemicals, waste management that advances a circular economy, and other environmentally preferable practices and initiatives.

2. Promote fair trade principles in the sports industry’s supply chain, as well as environmentally intelligent procurement, investments, practices and initiatives.

3. Foster healthy communities by encouraging diversity and inclusion, cultural exchange, equal opportunities, physical activity and other socially beneficial practices and initiatives.

 

SandSI will advance its sustainability objectives by focusing on three pillars of work: (1) enhancing sport events, venue design, and operations, (2) influencing the sports industry’s supply chain, and (3) mobilising fans and athletes in support of sustainable, healthy and just communities. These three core areas of focus align with the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.

SandSI will be headquartered in Switzerland, with operational and fundraising affiliates throughout the world as needed. The development of SandSI is being coordinated by an Organising Committee comprised of experts representing the different stakeholders in the global sports industry.

Next steps for SandSI include the expansion of its Organising Committee, the development of workgroups including technical and scientific policies and institutional development, and the hiring of a Secretary General. SandSI’s next institutional meeting will take place in Munich (Germany) at the end of February 2017

“Sports hold a unique and powerful place in communities around the world. Sports bring people together for a common cause and shared experience regardless of age, race, class, or creed. Just like life, sports bring us great joy and sometimes breaks our hearts. But sports have the power to not only set an example of sustainable operations for businesses and events across the globe, but to inspire and motivate billions of people to take action on behalf of our planet and all humanity. Sport and Sustainability International is poised to harness the teeming energy of the sports industry toward the good of all.”- David Muller, Former Membership Director, Green Sports Alliance.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

How to Travel the World on a Shoestring Budget

Two Young People By The Ocean 

Prepare a Nest Egg

Move home or move in with friends. Pack lunch. Make your own coffee. Buy clothes at thrift stores. Sell some of your possessions. Ask for AirBnB or Visa gift cards as birthday and holiday presents. Little things add up.

Depending on how thrifty and creative you travel, your operating fund can be as little as $200 a month. We were able to travel to five countries in six months on this travel budget.

List Curiosities and Pinpoint Travel Passions

You don't want to go off gallivanting the world without a cause or reason, or you might just end up more “lost” than when you started. Choose what you love or what you are interested in learning and travel for it: be it bicycling, organic farming, horses, photography, food, permaculture, aquaponics, or painting.

You can’t imagine what a world is out there waiting for you to jump right in. Before we embarked on our journey, we made a list of the activities we wanted to participate in from foraging for wild mushrooms to picking organic olives for oil to harvesting cabbage and making kimchi. When we took a step back and looked at our list, everything had to do with learning how to farm and how to make traditional foods. From then on, this became our dream list which helped us navigate our journey.

Volunteer for Room and Board

Set up a Workaway.info, WWOOF, or Worldpackers account to cover your accommodations and help you enrichen your cultural experiences.

What is workaway? Workaway is an international online database of people around the world who need help with various projects from painting a mural on an elementary school wall to helping build a greenhouse on a family farm.

How it works: You register for a yearly membership ($29), create a profile, and search for a host. In exchange for room and board you agree to help out with projects for about 25 hours a week. You can search by activity, country, continent, language, and more to find the perfect opportunity.

WWOOF is a similar concept to workaway except that it is limited to organic farming and there is a separate website/registration fee for each country. Worldpackers is the up-and-coming combo of WWOOF and Workaway with an intuitive modern search and a focus on reliable volunteers, hosts, and opportunities based on your skill sets. Through these three resources, we were able to hand pick the experiences we wanted to have based upon our interests. Most importantly, these resources allow you to experience the lives of locals, apprentice professionals in their specialties, practice new languages, and save a ton of money by living and eating with families.

Be Your Own Travel Agent

Use online travel resources to help you find the cheapest way to travel. We use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights. Did you know that by using Skyscanner, you can search by month to find when the cheapest travel dates are? Want to be more spontaneous? Through choosing “everywhere” as a destination on Skyscanner or DoHop, you can receive a list of the cheapest destinations from your departure city.

Want to know all your travel options to go from point A to Z? Use Rome2Rio, which compares the times and costs of all modes of transportation from local buses, to ferries, to booking a seat in someone else’s car using BlaBlaCar.

Practice the Local Language

Write down key phrases. Download free language-learning applications, such as Duolingo or Memrise. Using these applications, practice for an hour a day, so that when you arrive to the country you will know the basics and be able to communicate with locals for essentials.

In our experience, speaking the local language has helped us deepen our connection and trust with locals.

Scope Out a City or Region

Combine travel resources to make your own list. Rough Guides is a great online resource of local information mixed with some fun reads like “20 places to travel if you like a challenge.”

Triposo is an awesome application that provides a “hand-held travel guides.” It includes information like the top sites to see, the top restaurants, key phrases, and maps. Triposo is organized by city, region, and country, so you can download the most applicable version. Once downloaded, you don’t have to worry about crazy data charges or spotty service, because you can access the information offline, including their maps. Triposo works by gathering all of its information from open sources like Wikipedia, Facebook and OpenStreetMaps.

Pack Light

We cannot express this enough. No blow dryer, no makeup, no dress shoes. Pack essentials. Pack durable, quick-dry, and multi-purpose clothing. For example, Leila wears her lululemon pants to yoga, to work in the garden, to dinner, and as long underwear when it’s cold outside.

Underwear! We recommend quick-dry comfortable underwear like Exofficio! If it ends up getting uber cold or hot, you can always find a flea market or affordable clothing store abroad.

Shoes! Make sure your shoes are comfortable and versatile. We always bring one pair of hiking boots and one pair of lightweight sneakers.

Time to Yourself

Perhaps you want a few days in your own space, to check out a new city, or to indulge a little bit. No need to break the bank when searching for places to stay. Pay to stay at a local person’s home through AirBnB or Wimdu. You can either have the place to yourself or you can share the apartment with a local family or other guests.

If you’d rather do a more traditional hotel, we recommend Booking.com, a search engine that typically has the best prices for hotels or the app Hotel Tonight, which provides you with a list of highly discounted prices for last minute hotel accommodations (*this is an app you must download).

Tap into Your Personal Network

Reach out to extended family, friends of friends, and alumni for support and love when traveling.

Leila and Anthony are The Recipe Hunters. They travel the world in search for age-old, traditional recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. On their travels, they volunteer on organic farms, small homesteads, and family farms, where they learn about sustainable agriculture. In May 2015, Leila and Anthony cofounded Culinary Heritage Corporation, a nonprofit with the mission to promote culture through food. Follow The Recipe Hunters of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Vitamin P: Tapping the Power of Place to Keep Us All Healthy

 

Union Square Market in New York City, NY.  Photo by Project for Public Spaces

One number stands above all others as the best indicator of good health. It’s not your blood pressure, cholesterol level, average daily calories or even the age at which your grandparents die.  It’s your zip code.

This fact has sent shockwaves across the county. The chief aspiration of American democracy is that everyone deserves an equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet medical evidence shows that people living in disadvantaged neighborhoods face greater health and mortality risks.

“That should not be…. All communities should have a right to a safe, sustainable, healthy, just, walkable community,” says Robert Bullard, the father of the environmental justice movement and a professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University.

“Health disparities don’t just happen by accident,” he declared at the 2nd National Walking Summit, accentuating his point with a series of maps showing that high levels of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity correlate strongly with low-income neighborhoods and those with a history of racial segregation.

Dr. Anthony Iton, former health commissioner in Alameda County, California, (which includes inner city Oakland and wealthy suburbs) notes: “we have areas where people live shorter lives, substantially shorter — 20 years shorter than in other areas.”

The Case for Healthy Places[link] report just released by Project for Public Spaces (with support from Kaiser Permanente and Anne T. and Robert M. Bass) chronicles this stark contrast in health outcomes across the nation.

“Numerous studies have explored how differences in the design and function of low and high-income neighborhoods contribute to health disparities,” the report states. “Research shows that low-income groups and racial and ethnic minorities have more limited access to well-maintained parks or safe recreational facilities …These areas are also significantly more likely to lack access to supermarkets and places to obtain healthy, fresh food.”

Placemaking and the Importance of Public Spaces

The good news here is that we can do something about this problem.

“If you have parks, playgrounds, community gardens, and wide sidewalks, you have good health outcomes,” explains Ron Simms, a neighborhood activist in Seattle’s African-American community and former Deputy Secretary of  HUD, who commissioned some of the first research identifying zip codes as a critical determinant of good health as chief executive of King County, Washington.

This is the central message of The Case for Healthy Places, which maps out a common sense solution known as placemaking. It’s collaborative blueprint for improving health in all communities by strengthening and reimagining the public realm —those gathering spots, local institutions and other places where we come together as neighbors, friends and citizens.

“Placemaking is one of the most powerful things we can do to address physical and mental health as well as revitalize democracy and add more conviviality to our lives,” explains Tyler Norris, Vice President of Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente. “It supplies us with a sense of belonging, which creates resilience and well-being, according to scientific evidence.”

“Heightened bliss is what happens in a public space,” adds Fred Kent, president of Project for Public Spaces. “We seek them out —even if it’s just an interesting street corner — because we know it’s good for us. It calms and relaxes you, like meditation. You can feel your blood pressure go down.”

Just 10 to 20 percent of a person’s health condition is attributable to the access and quality of health care services. More than 40 percent is due to social and economic factors in our lives and community, 30 percent to individual behaviors shaped in part by the neighborhoods we inhabit, and 10 percent to the physical environment around us, according to a 2016 study by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

What Makes a Healthy Community?

The Case for Healthy Communities details the accumulating medical knowledge about the importance of place on our health and offers well-proven strategies, practical steps and real-world success stories in these five target areas:

1. Social Support and Interaction

Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam popularized the concept of social capital in his book Bowling Alone, which documented how the social and economic health of a community depends on people working together in organizations, volunteer projects and other personal networks (symbolized by bowling leagues). High levels of social capital also correlate with lower mortality rates, according to research by the Harvard School of Public Health. A Harvard study shows that socially disconnected people are two to five times more likely to die from a variety of causes than those with strong ties to family, friends and neighbors.

In light of this evidence, it’s disturbing that only 20 percent of Americans regularly spend time with their neighbors and that the number of Americans who report having no one to turn to in times of crisis tripled between 1985 and 2004.

The value of public spaces to boost physical and mental health as well as reduce stress has been well-documented. A study in Miami’s East Little Havana neighborhood found that architectural features such as front porches that stimulate social interaction reduces levels of psychological distress while features that inhibit interaction, such as parking on the ground floor, instill feelings of isolation and unease in subjects.

Public space restoration projects in three lower- or middle-income Portland neighborhoods resulted in statistically significant improvements in social capital and lower incidences of depression.

2. Play and Active Recreation

Parks, playgrounds and ballfields are literal common ground — places where people of all socio-economic backgrounds and personal beliefs can meet, interact, and get to know each other better. It is hard to fear, hate, dismiss or ignore people you’ve scrimmaged in basketball, crossed paths with on a bike trail or watched your kids swoosh down a slide together.

They are also essential for our health.  The Centers for Disease Control and the Surgeon General’s office both prescribe 22 to 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week — and double that for kids.  And the easiest way to do that for most of us is at a nearby park or playground — it’s close, free and open to all.

A 2008 Canadian study found that kids living less than 2/3 of a mile from a park with a playground were more than five times as likely to be a healthy weight than ones who didn’t. An American study found that children living in disadvantaged communities were twice as likely to not enjoy convenient access to a park.

But the benefits of active recreation extend to all age groups. You enjoy reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease through regular physical activity.

In Phoenix, the city’s FitPHX project has partnered with Phoenix Children’s Hospital to encourage families to become more active by marking walking routes in parks, which have been outfitted for geo-caching games (a high-tech treasure hunt) for both English and Spanish speakers.

When Oklahoma City was named as the “#2 Fattest City” in America by Men’s Health magazine, Republican mayor Mick Cornett rallied the city to do something about it. An $18-million sidewalk improvement fund was approved by voters as part of a tax increase that also included money for parks, bike trails and senior wellness centers around town.

Oklahoma City has now added hundreds of miles of new sidewalks, built eight miles of bike lanes on the streets (there were none before), added 100 more miles to the recreational trail network, built new gyms at many public schools and created a public rowing center on the Oklahoma River. Low-income neighborhoods, where health and obesity issues are most severe, are the biggest focus of the city’s programs for active living and healthy eating.

3. Green and Natural Environments

We’ve always known going outdoors into nature is a boost for our creativity, peace of mind and overall happiness. Now we know it’s critical for our physical and mental health too. Mounds of recent medical studies chart the health benefits of parks, gardens and wild areas on ailments ranging from asthma, PTSD and diabetes to ADHD, depression and dementia. Even people not suffering from any particular condition notice improvements in memory, mental well-being and overall health indicators.

Research in Philadelphia found that neighborhoods where vacant lots were turned into gardens saw a drop in violent crime, according to an article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

St. Paul’s newest park — 13 acres of in the poorest and most ethnically diverse corner of the city — exists because neighborhood activists worked tirelessly to ensure that the site of a 19th century home for wayward girls was not walled off by private developers. Residents went door-to-door asking everyone what they wanted to see in a new park. With the support of the Trust for Public Land, they are now carrying out a vision for a unique public space featuring an amphitheater, playground, farm plots, greenhouse and arts programs.

4. Healthy Food

The power of place can make a significant impact on people’s eating habits.

Studies in Seattle, California, and New York City found that neighborhoods with numerous stores and restaurants offering wholesome food enjoyed lower obesity rates than neighborhood that did not — even accounting for factors such as income and education levels.

While it’s often difficult to attract grocery chains or nutritious restaurants to lower-income food deserts, research shows that small-scale farmers’ markets and community gardens can positively influence eating habits.

When two farmers’ markets opened in low-income Los Angeles neighborhoods, 97 percent of patrons at one market were eating more vegetables and fruit, and 98 percent at the other, according to a study published in the Journal of Community Health.

In Denver, a study showed that 56 percent of community gardeners ate recommended five servings of vegetables and fruit a day compared to 37 percent of home gardeners and 25 percent of non-gardeners, according to USDA research.

Little-town-on the-prairie Albert Lea, Minnesota (pop. 18,000) is determined to prove that healthy lifestyles are not just a big-city thing. They’ve adopted a community-wide wellness campaign called Blue Zones, based on the work of National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner.

About 40 percent of all adults in town have joined exercise and healthy eating programs, along with nearly all schoolkids in grades K-12. One-third of locally owned restaurants, all school concession stands, and one large supermarket now offer new nutritious meal options. Blue zones participants have collectively shed more than six tons of weight.

5. Walking and Biking

Walking is such a great way to stay healthy that US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued a special Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities last fall.

“Walking is a simple, effective and affordable way to build physical activity into our lives,” Murthy said. “That is why we need to step it up as a country ensuring that everyone can choose to walk in their own communities. Physical activity should not be the privilege of the few. It should be the right of everyone.”

The landmark report is based on definitive medical evidence that moderate physical exercise cuts your chances of diabetes, dementia, depression, colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, anxiety and high blood pressure by 40 percent or more.

A major study released this year shows that lack of exercise is twice as deadly as obesity, according to Cambridge University researchers who studied more than 300,000 people over 12 years. Another new groundbreaking study conducted over 50 years shows low levels of physical activity are more lethal than high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other closely-watched medical conditions.

Biking offers nearly the same health, economic and social benefits, although far fewer people bike today than walk — a situation that is being remedied by the widespread introduction of safer,  more comfortable bike facilities such as protected bicycle lanes, special bike boulevards, better-connected networks of bikeways across communities and safer accommodation of bike riders at busy intersections.

9 Placemaking Features of Healthy Communities

Communities that encourage biking and walking are more healthy, vital places where people naturally want to live, work, shop and play. The American Planning Association recommends nine placemaking features to create these kind of strong, lively communities:

1. Sidewalks

2. Bicycle improvements, such as designated lanes and bike racks

3. Traffic calming improvements, such as traffic circles and median islands in streets

4. Crosswalks and walk and bike signals

5. Aesthetic improvements, such as public art and fountains

6. Public spaces, such as plazas and parks

7. Street trees

8. Green infrastructure, such as greenways and rain gardens

9. Street furniture, such as benches, bus shelters and good signage

Health professionals, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, medical schools, health care companies, public health agencies, non-profit organizations and research institutes in the field  have important roles to play in promoting healthy placemaking projects. “By utilizing their facilities, land, funding capacity, employees, political power and other resources, the healthcare sector and its civic partners have a special opportunity to promote health and well-being in their communities,” say authors of The Case for Health Communities.

Jay Walljasper writes, consults and speaks widely about how to make communities more healthy, equitable, sustainable and enjoyable. The former editor of Utne Reader, he is author of The Great Neighborhood Book. His website is JayWalljasper.com. Read all of Jay’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Eskimo Words for Snow

Sastrugi Snow National Snow And Ice

Sastrugi, or snow dunes, like these have endless variety of shapes. Photo by National Snow and Ice Data Center

A friend called from Chicago to say he was heading to Michigan to cross-country ski and he wanted to know what the snow was like up here. I had to break the news that we were in the middle of a thaw, with the temperature in the 40s, and the trails were a mess.

"How would you describe the snow?” he asked.

“Kind of cruddy,” I said.

Which brings to mind the many Eskimo words for snow. That the Inuit can recite a seemingly endless list has been passed around as fact for more than a century, and I have to admit (because it’s documented, alas) that I once passed it around as casually as anyone. It makes a good story — the fur-clad people of the arctic reciting their hundreds of designations while eager ethnologists took notes. The trouble is, it’s not true.

The story of how the myth originated is as winding as a coyote’s trail. It apparently began when anthropologist Franz Boas mentioned in print in 1911 that Eskimos had four separate word roots referring to snow. Soon after, in a widely reprinted article, the linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf exaggerated the count to seven. And then the story went viral. Countless magazine articles, scientific papers, op-ed pieces, newspaper columns, textbooks, and popular books conflated the figure to dozens, then scores, and ultimately to as many as 400.

I played it a little safer than some in my book, It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes: Four Seasons of Natural Phenomena and Oddities of the Sky. I wrote, “Dozens of variations—as many as 200, by some accounts—make it possible for Inuits and Eskimos to speak more precisely about snow than anyone on earth.”

Well, I stand corrected. (And so does the new edition of the book.)

It turns out that linguists have argued for years that our count was way off. In 1986, anthropologist Laura Martin traced the myth’s pathway in an article in the journal American Anthropologist. Geoffrey Pullum shortly afterward wielded his own debunking axe in his book The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax and Other Irreverent Essays on the Study of Language, taking the trouble, as few have, to consult C.W. Schultz-Lorentzen’s Dictionary of the West Greenland Eskimo Language (published in 1927), in which are listed only two root words for snow: qanik, for “snowflake” or “snow in the air,” and aput, for “snow on the ground.” Variations of those roots add up to about twelve separate words for types of snow.

The crazy thing is, we use more than that in English. A quick search through the literature of downhill skiing and snowboarding reveals a list that includes powder, chowder, crud, crust, slush, pack, hard pack, packed powder, ballroom, boilerplate, neve, and buffed.

There’s also fluff, cold smoke, corduroy, corn, mashed potatoes, and the borrowed Russian sastrugi (for windblown drifts shaped like waves in water).

And don’t forget windslab, glop, blue ice, and sugar. And of course Sierra cement, kitty litter, and death cookies.

Leave it up to people who play every day in the snow to invent the best words for it. Their linguistic inventiveness helps us to understand why the Eskimo vocabulary hoax was so believable in the first place. Whether in play or work, the more involved we become in something, the more complex is the language we invent for it.

Jerry Dennis lives up to his waist in snow in northern Michigan. His many books include A Walk in the Animal Kingdom: Essays on Animals Wild and Tame, The Living Great Lakes, It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes, and The Bird in the Waterfall. Visit him at www.JerryDennis.net. Read all of Jerry's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Standing-Rock Sioux Defend Right to Clean Water, Part 2

spring

For background on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and the Sioux Water Defenders, read Part 1 of this series.

Why the Protest?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 1.3 million gallons of petroleum leaked into the ground or waterways each year. There are roughly 2.4 million miles of pipeline that transport crude oil in the U.S. In addition, crude oil is transported by ships and tanker trucks. The U.S. has been using pipelines for 70 years to transport petroleum and gas. Ships and trucks, when involved in crude oil spills, have a limited quantity or capacity but when a pipeline leaks, it has the potential to be catastrophic before being shut down.

In the 70 years of pipeline use, there have been several leaks and spills, but according to government statistics, it is still the safest way to transport crude oil. It is for this reason that the Standing Rock Sioux are protesting the placement of the Dakota Access Pipeline. While the pipeline is not technically on Sioux land, it is positioned where it could pose a future threat to their drinking water if the pipeline leaks or malfunctions in the future.

Although the company building the pipeline is fully legal and has obtained all necessary permits, the concern by the Sioux is equally legitimate in wanting to protect their water and land for future generations. As the pipeline ages, it will be more prone to structural failure and any leak could contaminate water and land. Since the 30-foot Dakota Access Pipeline will transport roughly 470,000+ barrels a day, it could present a significant threat to future generations should there be an unfortunate leak.

While the Dakota pipeline is considered the safest and best-designed pipeline, one day it, too, will be obsolete and a potential risk. A leak from a pipeline of this significance could damage much of the Sioux land and drinking water.

Sioux Concern for Tribal Land

Native Americans have had this land ceded to them in perpetuity and they are concerned that if any accident with the pipeline occurs, their land and water could be adversely impacted. This installation of a pipeline near their land is of considerable concern because past treaties or promises have been either broken or ignored.

The Sioux believe the presence of this pipeline is an infringement on their right to peaceful living on the land ceded to them. The oil company has gone through all the government requirements and has obtained the right of way legally, and hence believes it, too, has every right to proceed with its pipeline. Herein lays the conundrum where two rights should not equal one wrong.

Who the Protesters Are

The past broken treaties with Native Americans has created a long-standing condition of distrust that now leads to a pipeline. To deny past government transgressions and its influence on the present would be a further injustice to the Native American community. Thanks in large part to social media, the protest has drawn national attention and the Sioux are now aided by environmental groups and veterans groups of all ethnic persuasions including those that may seek a cause in which to demonstrate or protest.

Our culture today seems to cause two sides of any issue to quickly polarize views and, hence, any compromise is elusive, with each each side entrenched in their perceived rightness.

Police Tactics

The police who have been called in to assist the oil company have exceeded reasonable methods in trying to quell the protest and have further escalated the polarization, in my opinion. The tactics, and sometimes forcefulness, of the police in full riot gear has not improved the situation. Meeting a peaceful protest with a large armed force in full riot gear does not facilitate the groundwork for negotiations or peace.

Two Sides Polarized

Human abuses are filtering out of these clashes between the two factions, and this keeps fueling the protest on to new heights. Those who have subsequently joined the initial protest may have their own agendas and may be hindering, rather than helping, the situation. I call this the “washing-machine effect," because when you lift the lid, there is an agitator inside and that is the last thing the Sioux need in their protest.

Whether it is the media or those who hope to profit in some way from the protest, no good will come from an outsiders meddling with an otherwise peaceful demonstration. I am not sure this is presently happening within the protesters, but the protest keeps growing and escalating instead of moving toward resolution, so something has to be driving the protest. History will reveal who is right or wrong, but now as polarized as both sides seem to be, there appears to be no backing down by either party.

Where is the Federal Government?

Past broken promises and conduct by our government seem to have come full circle and are now directly focused upon an oil pipeline, where the oil company is legal and trying to proceed with construction but is finding itself in the middle of major controversy. In the meantime, the federal government appears to remain aloof and silent when it should, in my opinion, be taking a more active role in resolving this domestic dispute. While the government may not be held in high esteem by either party, they may be the entity best positioned with the power or authority to resolve this matter.

Show of Force vs Peaceful Protests

If our government can negotiate resolutions with other countries which despise us, then we should expect them to favorably resolve issues on our own soil of this magnitude. It seems to me that being legal may not always be right and to protest in order to obstruct outright also can be questioned. Meeting a peaceful protest with armored vehicles and fully equipped riot police does not appear, to me, to be conducive to resolving tensions or addressing the challenges faced by the Native community.

Heading Toward Serious Confrontation

What started as a peaceful protest has evolved into a growing protest that appears out of control and which could have serious consequences. This need not become a modern-day Sand Creek or Wounded Knee to further blemish our history with Native Americans. As of this writing, the protest seems to be escalating in the wrong direction with the protesters being now given a deadline to vacate the area or to be removed.

Hopefully, reasonable people will intervene and bring this to a favorable and peaceful resolution.

Resources

Dakota Access Pipeline facts

Broken treaties

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and their mountain lifestyle living at 9,800 feet elevation with their four German Shepherd dogs in a small cabin go to www.BruceCarolCabin.Blogspot.com. Bruce is not an expert on Native American affairs nor pipelines but has followed this issue from the start and attempted to sort through the non-truths to report on this topic. Read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Why is the Calcium Carbonate Market Expected to Exceed $28.5 Billion by 2021?

 

Calcium carbonate, or CaCO3, is a common mineral that’s found in locations throughout the world.

In the wild, it appears as chalk and limestone, and is easily one of the most useful minerals that we’ve yet found. In addition to the applications you’re probably familiar with, like blackboard chalk in the classroom, calcium carbonate is used in a variety of industrial applications.

Projections for the Future of CaCO3

The CaCO3 industry is continuing to grow and thrive as new applications for the material are being discovered. According to a recent report, the CaCO3 market is expected to reach or exceed $28.5 billion by 2021. Industry professionals are expecting a 7% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2017 and 2021.

This growth is expected to be attributed to higher demand from the plastic and paper industries, as well as a growing demand for building and industrial applications.

So why is this versatile mineral added to products like paper, plastic and even iron?

Applications for CaCO3

Calcium carbonate shows up in more places than you might think. If you look around your household, you might see it in the antacid tablets in your medicine cabinet, in the tube of toothpaste in your bathroom or the box of baking soda in your refrigerator.

CaCO3 is also used in places you might not expect, including as a filler agent for items like paper, plastics and sealants. It can also be used a filler agent for both prescription and over-the-counter medications.

This useful mineral also has industrial applications. It’s often used in the iron industry because it can be used to purify iron during processing. Additionally, it’s useful in the oil industry as part of their drilling fluids. Acidic soil or water could potentially contaminate the oil being drilled for, so calcium carbonate is added to the drilling fluid to neutralize any acidic compounds in the area.

For a common mineral that makes up around 4% of the planet’s crust, it’s easily one of the most versatile materials on the planet.

Concerns about CaCO3

While it’s a very easy mineral to acquire, the mining of CaCO3 does present some concerns. Of course, there are pros and cons to every situation. Mining CaCO3, in the form of chalk, marble or limestone, is a great way to create jobs and bolster local economies.

On the other hand, these quarries do produce pollution and leave open holes in the landscape where the CaCO3 has been extracted, which can damage the environment. This damage is often easy to reverse, though, and steps have been taken to reclaim these quarry sites after their resources have been depleted, changing them into everything from water parks to hotels, meaning we can continue to enjoy these sites long after the mining operations have ended.

Proper Uses for Calcium Carbonate

When a mineral like this is used in so many different products, there will always be someone who is concerned about the material itself — including how it’s being used and how it could affect the products or people it’s being applied to.

Calcium carbonate in and of itself is a very safe material to work with, for both humans and inanimate products. When working with CaCO3, it’s important to consider a number of variables, including product consistency and particle size.

Maintaining a consistent level of purity and particle size are two hallmarks of proper CaCO3 use. By utilizing these high levels of product quality, industries can continue to utilize CaCO3 as a filler and purifying agent.

Overall, it’s easy to see why the CaCO3 industry is growing so swiftly, in spite of its potential environmental impact. Calcium carbonate is easily one of the most versatile minerals on the planet, and much of the damage caused by the extraction of this mineral can be reversed with a little time and effort. It’s a fast-growing industry with amazing application potential, and it shows in the projections for future sales.

Kayla Matthews writes and blogs about healthy living and has an especially strong passion for helping others increase their mental health and happiness by improving their daily productivity and positivity. To learn more about Kayla, you can follow her on Google+Facebook and Twitter and check out her most recent posts on Productivity Theory. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here. 


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Standing Rock Sioux Defend Right to Clean Water, Part 1

Earth’s Water

Seventy percent of the earth is covered in water but only 2.5 percent of that water is potable or usable for human survival. Of that 2.5 percent only 1 percent is accessible. In addition, there are five basic survival needs for human beings. Those needs are 1. Oxygen 2. Water 3. Food 4. Shelter 5. Sleep. All five are required for survival. Remove any one of the basic five needs, and we cease to survive.

Limited media coverage has been afforded to the protest of Standing Rock Sioux, but many who use social media have at least heard the term used. This protest, in essence, is to protect the drinking water of millions of people from potential future contamination by the Dakota Access Pipeline that is crossing the Missouri River in North Dakota.

Water as a Human Right

The pipeline, if it starts leaking or discharging raw crude, will directly impact the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and all those who rely on that water below the pipeline crossing. The Sioux, and protesters from all walks of life as well as members of other tribes, have joined together to protest this pipeline. In 2010, the United Nations, through resolution 64/292, explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation, and acknowledged that clean water and sanitation are essential rights for all human beings.

This post is part of a three-part series regarding the protest at Standing Rock over that right. I am going to collaborate with my long-time and close friend Sakoieta Widrick of the Mohawk tribe because, although this can be understood in many cultures, it is only from the Native American perspective that it can be realistically told. Sakoieta teaches at Brock University in Canada, and I have come to value his wisdom and insight over the years that we have been friends. I can think of no one better to collaborate with that would be objective and still informative on such a controversial topic. Following are the comments from Sakoieta in italics.

Native American Perspective

It is taught to us from childhood as Indigenous people that each day we rise we give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength and cleansing. Water is life. We know its power in many forms‐beautiful waterfalls and precious rain, mists and bubbling streams, flowing rivers and huge powerful oceans. With one mind, we join our thoughts with the people of the world and we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water. Now our minds are one.

Our Creator made those rivers and lakes and he said whenever you're dry and thirsty, go there, any river, any stream, and it will quench your thirst, for that is the way I make the world." However, the responsibilities of the Waters are much more than this. We say that the Waters are the bloodlines of our Mother Earth. As such, they have important responsibilities to carry sustenance to the rest of Creation. We know how important water is to our gardens, to the plant life that needs a constant source of water to grow. The Thanksgiving Address reminds us that it is our responsibility to take care of all life, including the waters.

We recognize that all life is interrelated. If the Waters are to fulfill their responsibilities, then we must ensure that they have the opportunity to do so. This is what is meant by us keeping them clean so that a “heart attack” does not one day come to our Mother Earth. If our blood becomes contaminated, it will spread throughout our bodies and reach our heart, killing us.

We must view the Waters of the world the same way and ensure the health of our Mother Earth. It has always been our sacred duty to stand for the protection of the Earth, Plants, waters, wildlife, winds to insure they will continue to be clean and continue to take care of us as we take care of them, not only for us at this time on the earth but always in our thoughts, the future generations not yet born of all people, all races, all colors.

To approach our water sources with anything but reverence is foolish. It is that 1 percent that is keeping us all alive. Without it, we die. This may not be a good analogy but consider for a moment that some company decided to put a drop forge right next to your home. The pounding and noise would keep you awake and it wouldn’t take long to become sleep-deprived and ultimately, you would weaken and die. Those who work in shifts at the drop forge can go to their homes for quiet and rest, but you would hear it 24/7, banging away. It is the same with putting our water source at risk. Sooner or later, the pipeline will leak and contaminate the water. Then, it is too late to use the water for its life-giving purpose and the 1 percent is further diminished.

Resource Contamination Affects Us All

The Sioux are facing the same situation and they are enduring abuse while peacefully protesting its location in proximity to their valuable water source. We should all be protesting putting any crude-oil pipeline where it can contaminate a water source. The Sioux protesters are taking their responsibility seriously and so should all of us. We all suffer from depletion of one of our survival needs.

As my friend Sakoieta frequently says, “The best chief is not the one who persuades people to his point of view. It is instead the one in whose presence most people find it easiest to arrive at the truth."

While we all will benefit from the protest against the pipeline by the Sioux, it seems to me that it would benefit us all to stand in solidarity with them in support of our universal right to clean water. It is through their presence and peaceful protest that we will find and recognize the truth.

Part 2 will cover pipeline leaks more generally and the hazards they potentially can pose to water sources.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and their lives in the Sangre de Christo mountains of southern Colorado, go to their blog site: www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com. They live in a small cabin with their four German Shepherd Dogs at 9,800 feet elevation. Read all of Bruce's remote-living blog posts for MOTHER EARTH NEWS here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.