Selling U.S. Land to Build Dams
The Reagan Administration is claiming that the sale of public lands will help reduce the national debt, but — by law — 76 percent of the revenue from such sales must be put toward the Bureau of Reclamation's water projects. The National Wildlife Federation warns that this could mean hundreds of millions of dollars more being funneled into ecologically risky dam-building projects.
Cancer-Causing Substances in Baby-Bottle NipplesCornell University scientists have detected carcinogens in rubber nursing nipples, but believe the amount is too small to produce immediate health hazards. The scientists have further stated that the technology exists to reduce any possible risks, but that manufacturers are not bothering to use it.
Hazardous Waste Piles UpA new Environmental Protection Agency study that admits that the U.S. is generating almost four times more hazardous waste than was predicted claims that most of it is being properly disposed of. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, however, recently warned that injection wells (perhaps the means most commonly used for disposing of the waste) can eventually leak their contents into the environment.
Yellowstone National Dump?The Hazardous Waste News has reported that, in a search for more places to bury all of this harmful refuse, the Cabinet Council on National Resources (of which James Watt is a member) has begun to investigate using federal lands to process and store industrial waste.
A Bartering CommunityIn Grants Pass, Oregon, swaps such as a roof repair for a bicycle are commonplace, thanks to Jo Co Skills Exchange. The nonprofit organization's motto, "Trade what you have, what you know, or what you do for what you need", has involved the entire town, from low-income residents to doctors and lawyers . . . and even the police department. For more information on how the program works, send 50 cents to Skills Exchange Booklet, Dept. TMEN, P.O. Box 1673, Grants Pass, Oregon 97526.
Foraging Livestock's Milk Could Cause Birth DefectsA pregnant California woman, who drank the milk of a goat allowed to forage in an area where lupines grew, gave birth to a son with a defect very similar to crooked-calf disease . . . which strikes the offspring of cows that graze on that plant. While the doctor involved in the case has noted that evidence linking the milk and the birth defect is circumstantial, dairy animals should always be kept in restricted grazing areas.
A small company in northern New Jersey (Automotive Import Recycling, Inc.) actually remanufactures BMW's and Volvos. Its 30 employees take the old vehicles completely apart . . . replace any worn parts with new ones . . . and then (at the rate of 20 automobiles per month) turn out shiny, new vehicles!
Battaling Gypsy Moths
A free booklet about battling gypsy moths is available from the American Forestry Association. Although the publication does mention the aerial spraying of pesticides (a practice MOTHER EARTH NEWS does not generally condone), it also presents a good bit of constructive information covering the life cycle of the moths, preventive tree care, and environmentally sound ways of combating this pest. Write to American Forestry Association, Dept. P-TMEN, P.O. Box 2000, Washington, D.C. 20013.
Farmers Getting ShortedAmericans spent nearly $300 billion on food last year, but the growers of that bounty shared only $83.5 billion of the total. According to the New York Times article revealing these figures, the remaining $214 billion went to the processing, handling, advertising, and packaging industries.
Sitting Out Smog PollutionWhile regular exercise is essential to keeping fit, research conducted at the University of California suggests that — on heavily polluted days — staying still might be healthier. Scientists at the school found that rats that exercised in air with excessive pollution suffered significantly more lung damage than those that remained inactive.
Urban Fish FarmA community garden that covers a once rubbish-strewn lot in Philadelphia rewards its keepers with bonus nutrition: Tucked amongst the beans and cabbage is a fish farm. This past summer, 125 tilapias were raised in the small pool, and the success of the venture has many of the city's residents now aqua culturing in their own backyards.
International commerce in weapons now tops worldwide trade in food staples. . . . It's been estimated that an area of tropical forest the size of all six New England states is deforested every year. Experts believe that somewhere between 30 and 100 acres of the forest are being cut or burned every minute! . . . An economist has predicted that the average American family will spend 23 percent of its total income to raise one son to age 22 (that's assuming that the boy doesn't go to a private college. Raising a girl will cost about $900 a year more!) .... The National Wildlife Federation is offering a booklet to help you lure the more evasive bird species to your feeder. To obtain a copy of the guide, send $1.00 to Wild Bird Feeding Preferences, Dept.157-TMEN, National Wildlife Federation, 1412 16th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036.