environmental dangers

I appreciate that climate change gets a lot of attention (possibly because it has the potential to have the highest economic costs if left unchecked) but it is my duty to remind everyone that the biggest threat to wildlife and ecosystems today is habitat loss. Not climate change. Not trophy hunting. Not even pollution–though a habitat can become so degraded from pollution that it becomes unusable.

The very best way to curb global destruction of habitat is to implement large-scale changes to our development patterns, energy production, and agricultural system. So be sure to support those efforts politically. You can also support sustainable, multi-use development in your communities(many municipalities talk about community-wide projects at city counsel meetings!). Live densely. Eat less meat. Call out self driving cars for the sprawl-supporting pact with satan that they are. Support public transportation! Don’t support sprawl and McMansions! Recognize that suburbia in general and lawns in particular are a facsimile of greenness that destroy actual usable habitat and replace it with sterile monocultures that require gallons of water, pesticides, and fertilizer to maintain. Stop using products with neonicotinoids altogether. Make your yard wildlife-friendly. Consider a brush pile. Keep your damn cats indoors. Plant native plants. Remove invasive plants. Maybe don’t freak out and call animal control every time you see a bat or snake or coyote in your neighborhood since they were literally there first and we’ve left them no place else to go. Watch out for herps crossing the roads in the breeding season, especially our salamanders. Plant a NATIVE tree. Support your local parks, forests, and waterways, big and small. 

anonymous asked:

RE elves and cold: I'm a bit of a noob in regards to the real in depth Tolkien stuff but I always assumed it was they weren't as prone to the elements as humans

I usually assume that. There’s also that supernatural aspect which is always present - which is the only way I can explain how they’re able to walk on top of snow without sinking into it. There’s a lot of suggestion that the natural world itself just likes elves better, or that humans are constantly “at war” with it by intrinsic nature, so that it’s not so much that elves are more resistant to exposure as it is that they’re not exactly as exposed to begin with. That’s difficult to really make sense of though.

However, the difference in how humans and elves complain about cold, combined with the fact that some humans can apparently brave the cold of a certain region for extended periods while elves find it “impassable”, suggested to me that everything else aside, elves may not feel the cold as much, and may therefore be more prone to pushing themselves too hard in cold climates without realizing the danger.

It might help explain this:

And in those days the strength of Men was added to the power of the Noldor, and their hope was high; and Morgoth was straitly enclosed, for the people of Hador, being hardy to endure cold and long wandering, feared not at times to go far into the north and there keep watch upon the movements of the Enemy.

 And why Voronwë kept pushing forward and claiming not to be affected despite his fear of dying in the snow, while Tuor was not-so-subtly suggesting that maybe they should find cover and rest:

“I counted myself the hardiest of Men,” said Tuor, “and I have endured many winters’ woe in the mountains; but I had a cave at my back and fire then, and I doubt now my strength to go much further thus hungry through the fell weather. But let us go on as far as we may before hope fails.”

To me the implication here is that Tuor, and humans in general, may be more aware of their own limits than elves like Voronwë, and more sensitive to environmental danger. I mean, of course Voronwë can tell that there’s danger - there’s snow on the ground! - but his response is to push himself even harder. To him the only option is to get to their destination as quickly as possible, and push through even more dangerous territory without stopping to rest and warm up and recover first. All of which makes perfect sense if he can’t feel cold well enough to determine when he’s in critical danger of freezing to death; he just wants out of there as quickly as possible because to him death by cold is something which happens suddenly and without much warning.

How to make incense cones

Ok so recently I saw a bunch of stuff on how to make incense cones and they all mention makko and/or other really expensive ingredients. You don’t need all that; I have never used any of that stuff and my incense has come out just fine, so here’s a method for incense making that basically everyonecan use.

Wax paper
Coffee grinder/ mortar and pestle
Baking sheet
Large mixing bowl
Whisk or other stirring device
Plastic bag
(Optional oven)

A resin, such as frankincense or dragons blood (a little goes a long way)
A wood of some kind (sandalwood, etc.,)
And Saltpeter/vesta!
(The saltpeter, resin, and water are going to be our makko alternative)

Resin can be acquired about anywhere, because it’s just tree sap! However, For a more polished and convenient source, you can buy it at metaphysical stores, and in times of need even some maple syrup will do (but it won’t smell nice).

Saltpeter can also be found in metaphysical stores, labeled as Vesta powder, or in hardware stores and chemistry supply stores as Potassium Nitrate. I got my current jar at a local shop for $3 and it’s lasted me for more than 2 years, so money isn’t an issue with this one lol


1. Ok, so first off, you’re going to want to put your resin in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer to let it cool. (Just until you’re done grinding the herbs if you use a food processor or coffee grinder, but you may want to let it chill for a few hours if you’re using a mortar and pestle)

2. Grind your herbs and wood until they are a powdery texture, and make sure to keep them dry! Usually I can tell when they’re ready when powder starts to accumulate under the blades of my coffee grinder. Put your herbs in a large mixing bowl that you don’t care about ruining, because the resin will be near impossible to get entirely cleaned off. Don’t put in the saltpeter yet, though, because you need to save that for later!

3. Take your resin out of the freezer, and put them in the coffee grinder/ mortar. You’re going to want to pulse this one/ grind it in short bursts, because if you go too fast the resin will start to melt and stick to your grinder/mortar, effectively ruining it forever. Grind it until it’s as fine a powder as you can get, and then break it out with the handle of a spoon. It will have collected and hardened slightly in the bottom of the grinder/ mortar, so you will need to crack it and scoop it out. Put your resin powder into the mixing bowl with your herbs and wood.

4. Now, mix all the dry ingredients together (except the saltpeter!) and make sure they’re evenly distributed.

5. Finally, add in the saltpeter! Only use a quarter teaspoon for a batch of 50 1.5 inch tall cones, because it produces thick smelly smoke in amounts higher than that. You want just enough to keep the cone burning, not enough to make it explode (it can if you use too much) Mix all the ingredients together now and when it’s all evenly distributed, spray it with water. It should be wet enough to hold it’s shape, but not so wet that all the resin bleeds away and fluid drips from the bottom of the cones.

6. Form your cones over a wax paper covered baking sheet (one you don’t care about, just in case some of the resin soaks through the wax paper. It probably won’t, but you can never be too safe) and place them out to air dry in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. If you need to have them ready the next day or are just impatient like me, you can put them in the oven for 3-5 hours or until dry at 145-160°F and then pry them off the wax paper (keep the oven door open for 10 mins after every 30 mins of having it closed, so it doesn’t burnt the incense. If you can smell the incense, it’s burning and you need to turn the temperature down unless you want a smell-free incense.)

Enjoy your new, cheap, (relatively easy) incense cones!


On its own this stuff is pretty safe, but it IS a powerful catalyst– it’s what makes things with flaming chemical reactions explode rather than burn quietly. This stuff goes into gunpowder and fireworks, because it helps things burn more EXPLOSIVELY. So please, please be extremely careful with your pre-made blends and your measuring. You can get seriously hurt (or set your workspace on fire) if you don’t save that for last, or don’t store it right, or put too much in. Also, if you end up needing to discard it for any reason, please make sure you treat it like the hazardous chemical compound it is. It can be a VERY dangerous environmental hazard if it gets in to waterways, so please don’t wash this stuff down the drain. And you’re also going to want to wear gloves and preferably goggles working with this stuff. Distributors recommend particle protection masks, too– inhaling it CAN cause serious respiratory trouble, ESPECIALLY if you have asthma or allergies, or any other condition exacerbated by inhaling fine dust particles. Also, NEVER, EVER EVER use this stuff around birds, fish, or reptiles! (Potassium nitrate especially, but this goes for burning any incense as well. All of these animals have very basic dust and toxin filtering systems, with no protection against breathing in dust, so it can become LETHAL very quickly. Have you ever tried CPR on a bird? Nearly impossible unless you know EXACTLY what you’re doing. So please protect your pets as well as yourself!)

It’s the pure powder from the jar that’s dangerous to humans, so it should be fine once it’s blended up in the incense.

This Painting makes a bold comment on the dangers of environmental damage and global warming. It depicts a juxtaposition of a penguin, in a dry dessert,   because its natural cold habitat has been destroyed. It is now satirically forced to live in a freezer attached to a tree. This painting forces its audience to think about the consequences of global warming on the penguin’s habitat and survival,  since their habitats will be destroyed.

anonymous asked:

What are your opinions of Justin Tradeau. He seemed like a great guy, but seems to be missing the mark on his priorities for the keystone Pipeline...I understand it would boon Canada's economy, but there are less environmentally dangerous ways to do that

I might be double posting because I swear I already responded to this but the tldr is that he seems like a decent guy and while I don’t completely object to the xl pipeline, I think that developers should take environmental concerns more seriously and possibly analyze if the pipeline is even needed, or if that money might be better spent building an alternative energy system.


The last resting place of the Widow Maker K 19 which was portrayed by a Juliet class Soviet submarine. She presently rests just outside Providence harbor in Rhode Island at Sim’s scrapyard. the entire top of the submarine has been removed and the internals of the vessel have been completely gutted. Pumps, piping and vent openings can still be seen on the port and starboard sides. The interior separation between the inner Hull and the outer hall (or pressure Hull ) can be seen from above.
In a few of the photos taken on her port side you can see the rubber matting anti sonar coating falling off in large sheets.
When looking forward from aft to the bow you can see the remainder of the four torpedo tubes that was her primary armament.
The first image shows her circa 1999 underway. Once primary filming of the movie was completed the submarine was towed to Newport Rhode Island with hopes of making the vessel a museum. There was no funding available and the plans fell through the submarine laid up in Newport for several years before ending up in the scrap yard in Providence Rhode Island.
When crossing over the bridge from East Providence to Providence the vessel can vaguely be seen off the left side of your vehicle at low tide.
The vessel sits in a collection of abandoned industrial equipment deck barges and fishing vessels all being sent to the scrap yard. Presently in and around the shoreline is being monitored by the Rhode Island Department of environmental protection for dangerous levels of PCB’s.

Listening to Trump

Talk about how foreign countries have “stolen our jobs” is uncomfortable, to say the least. I am writing this to help you see what is actually happening here.

A wealthy man is using rhetoric designed to engender xenophobia. He knows what to say, because he has received complaints from his workers and companies for years. Other countries did not steal American jobs (but saying this does engender a sense of hatred, a sense of betrayal, and a feeling of personal affront). What happened is much more insidious.

Our government, through years of slow and meticulous labor, has sided with corporate interests because of the sheer amount of money at stake. It has slowly loosened tax constraints, such that now most of the tax burden rests with the common folk. It has given companies escape roots from environmental strictures, such that environmental toxicology is dangerously underfunded and hackneyed at best. The government has granted more and more allowances to leave America, nay, DEMANDED IT, of companies. Did you know that if there is an opportunity to make products more cheaply, and cost the shareholders less money, CEO’s are legally obligated to take that course of action if it is agreed to by said shareholders? And in the process the government representatives have received dubious grants of support and funding. In an effort to appear less morally bankrupt, they have changed the laws regarding financing, so that nothing intrinsically illegal has been done.

China did not steal American jobs. Companies utilize their cheap and overworked labor forces to make products so inexpensively that the retail cost is an exorbitant percentage…which they then use to line their pockets. India didn’t steal the American call center. American companies employed Indian contractors for work that would otherwise be done at night (and therefore paid on a different scale to American workers) during their daytime hours. Mexico didn’t invade our country and take all the farming and housekeeping jobs from tax- paying citizens of another color. No. in fact, laws demand that American workers be paid in accordance with their labor, and so undocumented Mexican labor is cheaper, because a farmer can pay whatever he wants or have the person deported. Africans don’t live in squalor because they are “developing”. They’re still developing because the first world holds crippling debt over their heads as a means to cheap labor and as collateral on the resources we see there. This debt and strife breeds discontent, ensures there will be political unrest to further destabilize these sovereign nations. Most of the 9/11 high jackets were Saudi. Tell me why it is that we went into Iraq? Saudi’s control the oil, and as some of the wealthiest people on earth, they also made friends in high places. And so we went into a sovereign nation and stole everything, ravaged the country, “rescued” from a regime no less despotic than Putin, no less militant than North Korea, and we executed its leader. Why? How many billions in corporate defense contracts? How many millions and millions a day toward the war effort?

What has actually happened? Average American income grew after the war. The middle class was born. Companies saw an opportunity to make even more money. Congress selfishly cut a path for their own investment portfolios and career goals. Average Americans were lied to- told their company had to go overseas to cut the high costs of American labor (vilifying the Unions in the process) and more expensive restrictions by “nosy” government agencies designed to protect consumers, when in fact, the company took the jobs overseas because it saw a way it could make even more money. Companies donated some of their newfound wealth to the causes that ensure they are given consideration in law and favorable treatment by their candidates of choice.

The “victim” victimized the rest of the world, and then blamed it for its misfortunes and misconduct. America is a wife-beating psychopath of a businessman. And we blame the people we exploit. That is what really happened to all our “American jobs”. They went to underpaid labor, kept desperate, denied competition by force, held at gun point, and then labeled by the laundry list of disgusting, bigoted epithets of stupid sheep and their bright orange leader with exceptionally tiny hands.

THAT is what happened to American jobs. If you want your jobs back, you must remove the temptation to behave with impropriety. If you want your jobs back, elect men with transparency, no corporate ties. If you want your jobs back, demand campaign finance reform and transparency. If you want your jobs back, then turn all the foreigners doing them into Americans via citizenship, and reap the benefits. If you want your jobs back..stop blaming other people simply trying to live in the climate our government worked very hard to craft. If the situation was reversed, you’d do the same damn thing.


“They are awaiting you, Miss Ferrars,” Delalieu murmurs from behind me. I startle and turn to face him, my hand falling away from the windowpane I stood in front of. His expression tightens when he realizes he’s made me jump, but quickly he relaxes I don’t scold him for it.
“Thank you,” I say instead.
We fall into step toward the door, and he positions himself slightly behind me.
The hall is vacant and noiseless, but as I walk further down the hall nearer to where the meeting is, I can hear the faint mumble of voices through the wall.
Delalieu hastily moves around me to retrieve the door once we arrive, and I murmur another thanks before stepping inside. Delalieu does not follow.
The inside of Warner’s office looks exactly like it always has. The bookshelves on the far wall are immaculate, dustless, and full of volumes that I couldn’t get past ten pages into. His desk is paperless and gleams in the light streaming through the windows. Nothing has changed about the boardroom table positioned in the center of the room, except for the fact that fifteen men sit around it with briefcases in front of them.
The conversation wilts as soon as the door shuts behind me, and a second later, the men rise from their chairs in respect. Faces nod at me, and a few even grin. Except for a face standing by a chair near the middle, whose lips twitch smugly. I ignore Warner and dismiss the men to sit again, finding that the only chair they left available for me is at the very end. It is silent as I make my way there, but then there is commotion as more than one of the men attempt to stand and pull my chair out for me.
“No need,” I say, waving my hand as I perform the task myself and perch on the edge of the plush leather. I have brought nothing, so I feel underprepared with every face geared toward me, even though I know what I need to say.
“Thank you, gentlemen, for coming,” I say, taking mind to look at each of the men’s faces as I speak. “In light of the new … arrangements, I thought it would be convenient for spokesmen of sectors to convene and discuss plans for future dismemberment of the sector system as a whole, and to restore residence on current unregulated ground.”
Several heads nod, though a few tentatively, and I look at Warner four seats away to make sure I’ve included everything we discussed, but he is studiously looking at the table in front of him.
I continue anyway. “Each of you have been asked to contribute a report on the possibility of such changes. Risks, benefits. Please share.”
The person to my left speaks first, as if he had been predesignated to doing so. He launches into a lengthy speech about potential environmental dangers of allowing citizens to occupy polluted areas and the amount of money it would take to eliminate that pollution. I spend most of the time he speaks trying to make eye contact with Warner, but he refuses to look my way.
After that man finishes, I thank him and the next to his left immediately starts on a similar speech.
The following reports inevitably center around the same issue; the lack of liability allowing the citizens more freedom and property. The idea of keeping restrictions against citizens sickens me, and I have to look down at my hands folded onto the table to refrain from speaking out.
It’s as I’m running my fingertips over the glossy wood that the images come back. Being pressed against the same, smooth surface. My fingers grasping the edge as clothes started coming off. My bare thighs sticking to the tabletop.
It’s then that I realize why Warner can’t bear to glance at me.
The last time I was seated at this end of the table, it wasn’t in a chair during a meeting.
It feels like it takes ten hours for the conversation to circle the table until it is Warner’s turn to speak. And even after he clears his throat, his eyes remain on the typed page in front of him rather than on me.
“Sector forty-five and its surrounding departments,” he begins evenly, “is a community which has been ready to allow for growth and diffusion of its residents, given that the order of the people is maintained. I see no threat in allowing the rebuilding of new homes in previously restricted areas…” His voice continues in the formal and bark-like tone he utilizes only when he’s talking to people he doesn’t care about disappointing. He continues talking for several minutes, shedding facts and statistics from memory effortlessly. In all the time he speaks, I find myself unable to look at him just as much as he is unable to look at me. Not once do we briefly meet one another’s gaze, not even a flicker of coincidental eye contact. Something like anticipation flutters in my stomach and I have to remind myself minutely not to tap my foot or curl my hair around my fingers like a schoolgirl. The last three men conclude their statements shortly after, and then it’s silent for several seconds while all heads turn to me, waiting for orders. I am wait for one last pair of eyes to meet mine before I speak.
It takes him a few seconds to realize I’m waiting for him. When he finally snaps his chin up, I can tell he’s biting his cheek.
“Thank you for the information represented here today,” I begin, but I’m only looking at one person. “Strategies will be calculated and we will meet again before permanent plans are established or executed.”
Someone glances at Warner, noticing that I’ve been keeping a monopoly on his gaze. I hastily look away, flustered.
“Meeting dismissed.”
Fourteen chairs scrape against the floor wordlessly and papers are scraped back into bags and folders. I’m only half way to standing before a hand is offered to me with a tiding of wellbeing for my presidency. The man sat several seats away from me, and I can’t remember which sectors he is here representing, but I take his hand graciously and grin anyway.
Once the men realize I am accepting handshakes, a discombobulated line begins to form, and I accept each compliment and good luck with what I hope is a genuine smile.
I can’t quite seem to digest the butterflies in my stomach.
Each man eventually begins to file back out into the hall toward the elevator, and then the door slams closed and only us two remain. After ten seconds of silence and motionlessness, Delalieu doesn’t enter. Which means he’s purposefully left me with Warner.
Who sits comfortably in his chair, elbows resting on the armrests, staring straight forward. I look back and forth between him in the chair and the table in fromt of us several times. The knives in my stomach won’t calm.
Finally I can’t stand the silence, the electric air between us.
“What are you-”
But then he stands. His chair nearly falls backward, and he spins toward me almost theatrically. I assume the gesture as anger, but his face, though intense, reveals everything.
“Bedroom. Now.”
By my chair, i’m only a few steps away from the door leading into Warner’s room. In the time it takes me to make those steps, he is already there in twice the time. I nearly fall backwards as he reaches out for me, stooping to kiss my exposed neck. The tension knotting in my chest for the past hour releases, and I barely manage to not trip over my own feet as he steers me toward his bed.
“That was torture,” he groans against my throat, at the same time the back of my knees his the mattress. He parts from me, quickly shedding his suit jacket while I peel back the tightly made sheets and kick off my shoes.
“I could hardly keep a straight face,” I admit, sitting down on the bed moments before he kneels over me, plucking the buttons open on my blouse and finding my throat with his lips again.
“I thought I would be able to handle it,” he breathes against my skin raspily, cursing when a button on my shirt pops off underneath his hasty fingers. I shove his hands away and rip the rest of
the buttons open myself, then throw the shirt off the side of his bed. He grasps my ribcage and presses a sloppy kiss against my collarbone.
“I didn’t understand why you were ignoring me at first,” I say breathily, arching into his touch. My head knocks against the headboard as his lips press down over mine greedily a second later. He pulls away to sit up and begin untucking his own shirt.
“I felt you remember. I could hardly stand it,” he says, then laughs. I have my pants to my knees by the time he leans over me shirtless, hovering his body between my legs.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it once I realized what you were thinking,” I admit between kisses that I press to wherever I can reach. My legs tighten around his sides as I pull him even closer to me. Every time our lips touch is chaos. I can’t tell who is doing what, but we’re both at full sleep.
My hands thread through his hair, pulling apart the strands stiff from styling products. He doesn’t try to stop me, even when the locks flop down over his forehead.
“We’re going to have to burn down the goddamn thing,” he says with a smile that I can feel against my chin.
Those are the last words we say for a while.

Eco-Bot: Nature’s Caretaker

“Solar-powered robots that protect nature from harm would be my ideal invention to make this world a better place. With all the pollution affecting our world, robots would serve as caretakers and defenders of the earth, protecting our planet from environmental dangers.”

Kristyn D. Ardrey, Home School, Florida

This Google Doodle is in the 10-12 grade group.

Txch This Week: Shape-Shifting Liquid Metal Alloys And Camo Squid Skin Technology

by Jared Kershner

This week on Txchnologist, we watched the world’s first 3-D printed car hit the road after being made in a mere 44 hours. The vehicle, called Strati, was sent on a test drive last Saturday after being quickly printed and assembled by a Local Motors team days before. The company plans to offer 3-D printed vehicles for sale in the coming months, paving the way for innovation in automotive design and opening new doors for modern manufacturing.

The creators of an MIT project called Local Warming are pioneering a heating system that uses motion sensing to direct infrared energy beams at occupants of a space, heating them directly while the remaining space stays cold. With current space heating accounting for 37 percent of the total power consumed by U.S. buildings in 2010, funding programs that rethink how to keep people comfortable could spark a radical shift in greater building energy efficiency nationwide.

Smog-producing low-level ozone concentrations are rising globally and bringing with them heightened public health and ecological threats. Scientists studying the environmental dangers of ozone offer a simple solution—plant more trees. Their models have shown that the reforestation of regions directly abutting urban areas provides an effective tool for abating ground-level ozone pollution, and could complement technology-based controls.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

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Tapping A Volcano, One Caribbean Island Prepares To Make Power For Many

by Lina Zeldovich

Sitting on top of a volcano may be just what Nevis, a small sombrero-shaped Caribbean Island, needs to become one of the greenest nations on Earth. Frequented by many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas and Beyoncé, this former British colony is about to tap into the geothermal power that lies beneath its pristine surface.

“Nevis is on the cusp of something truly revolutionary,” says Hon. Mark Brantley, Nevis’s deputy premier. “We in Nevis care deeply about the environment—and weaning ourselves off fossil fuels for our energy needs reduces our carbon footprint.”

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Celestite (Celestine) and Pyrite


Primary Chakra: Throat, Third Eye, Crown, Higher Crown
Astrological signs: Gemini, Libra
Vibration: Number 2 & 8

Celestite, also known as Celestine, is revered for its high frequency and Divine energies, and is known as a powerful healing crystal, bringing mental calm and clarity in the midst of any chaotic circumstance. Celestite can allow one to easily flow through a traumatic period and still come out on top.

Celestite can relieve stress, anxiety and obsessive behaviors. It is a perfect piece to carry for those who are singers, actors or speakers, as the energy will alleviate any type of stage fright or nervousness. Celestite gives courage to those who suffer from agoraphobia (fear of crowds) or public speaking. It can be beneficial for shy or timid children to try new experiences. Celestite brings harmony and balance, and will assist the holder in finding and maintaining inner peace. Its ability to heighten divine intuition makes Celestite especially useful for Reiki practice.

Physically, Celestite sends energy to the organs of the higher chakras, aiding the healing of disorders such as brain imbalances, cellular disorders, and ailments of eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Celestite can also act as a detoxifier and pain reliever.


Primary Chakra: All
Astrological sign: Leo
Vibration: Number 3

Pyrite is a very protective stone, shielding the user from negative energy of all kinds. Carry it in your pocket to protect you from both environmental pollution and physical danger.

Traditionally, it is known as a stone of luck, helping to attract abundance, wealth and prosperity to the user, via its creative energies of manifestation, and its encouragement of following one’s dreams. This quality makes Pyrite excellent for grid work and rituals. Pyrite not only deflects negative energies, but also helps to release negative and inhibiting patterns of behavior. Pyrite can enhance one’s will during challenging times and supports the action necessary for personal growth and success. Meditation with Pyrite can encourage greater frequency in moments of inspiration, and its grounding action allows these higher frequencies to be grounded into the physical world.

Pyrite also promotes good physical health and emotional well-being. It is helpful for any type of infection and can purify the systems of the body. Pyrite can be used to bring a feeling of increased vitality during times of hard work or stress.

Urban Forests Eat Ozone Pollution Economically

by Michael Keller

It depends how high off the ground ozone floats to determine whether it is your friend or your enemy.

When it is adrift high up in the stratosphere above the weather systems, the molecule that is composed of three bonded oxygen atoms (O3) absorbs ultraviolet light. This colorless gas umbrella shields life below it from fatal doses of the radiation that would otherwise leave the planet’s surface barren. Ozone is a highly active substance, and compounds like human-made chlorofluorocarbons readily break it down. These have helped to thin large areas of the ozone layer. But in a rare bit of good environmental news, decades of efforts to let the thinning repair itself seem to be succeeding. 

Ozone also exists near the ground, the result of sunlight hitting airborne emissions from vehicles, power plants and industrial activity. This low-level ozone is the main component of smog and can harm animal and plant tissues. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of ozone near the ground, the bad stuff, decreased by 25 percent across the U.S. between 1980 and 2012. Looking at the most recent period, the improving trend decreased to a more modest 9 percent reduction in ozone concentration nationally between 2000 and 2012. Much of this reduction can be attributed to better technologies and controls that have scrubbed ozone precursors from emissions.

National averages, though, can gloss over deleterious ozone spikes in places like Houston and L.A., two of America’s most well known smoggy cities, as well as in rural locales. In fact, NASA researchers say ozone concentrations are rising globally with increasing industrial output, heavier land use and wealthier societies in countries like China, India and Brazil. Elevated ozone levels are estimated to increase global mortality by 152,000 people per year.

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