Quote from Rachel Carson, an Earthling who specialised in marine biology and conservationism. In the early 60s, she brought environmental issues into the public eye with her book “Silent Spring”, and she has been credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

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The Wohnwagen is an environmentally friendly and self-contained housing unit, designed and created out of Austria. Each trailer provides 269 square feet of living space and their own off-grid electricity, water and waste systems. A green roof provides additional insulation, but features marsh plants that naturally filter greywater run-off from the sink and shower. The greywater is pumped up to the roof and is purified naturally over the course of about 24 hours, after which it is reused for showers or washing. The Wohnwagon also has a bio-toilet that separates liquid and solid waste before turning each into fertilizer.

awarenessact.com
Navajo Water Supply is More Horrific than Flint, But No One Cares Because they’re Native American

The news out of Flint, Michigan brought the issue of contaminated drinking water into sharp focus, as it was revealed that officials at every level—local, state and federal—knew about lead-poisoned water for months but did nothing to address the problem.

Under state-run systems like utilities and roads, poorer communities are the last to receive attention from government plagued by inefficiencies and corrupt politicians. Perhaps no group knows this better than Native Americans, who have been victimized by government for centuries.

In the western U.S., water contamination has been a way of life for many tribes. The advocacy group Clean Up The Mines! describes the situation in Navajo country, which is far worse than in Flint, Michigan.

Since the 1950s, their water has been poisoned by uranium mining to fuel the nuclear industry and the making of atomic bombs for the U.S. military. Coal mining and coal-fired power plants have added to the mix. The latest assault on Navajo water was carried out by the massive toxic spills into the Animas and San Juan rivers when the EPA recklessly attempted to address the abandoned Gold King mine.

“In 2015 the Gold King Mine spill was a wake-up call to address dangers of abandoned mines, but there are currently more than 15,000 toxic uranium mines that remain abandoned throughout the US,” said Charmaine White Face from the South Dakota based organization Defenders of the Black Hills. “For more than 50 years, many of these hazardous sites have been contaminating the land, air, water, and national monuments such as Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Each one of these thousands of abandoned uranium mines is a potential Gold King mine disaster with the greater added threat of radioactive pollution. For the sake of our health, air, land, and water, we can’t let that happen.”

There is no comprehensive law requiring cleanup of abandoned uranium mines, meaning corporations and government can walk away from them after exploiting their resources. 75 percent of abandoned uranium mines are on federal and Tribal lands.

Leona Morgan of Diné No Nukes points out one example: “The United Nuclear Corporation mill tailings spill of 1979, north of Churchrock, New Mexico left an immense amount of radioactive contamination that down-streamers, today, are currently receiving in their drinking water. A mostly-Navajo community in Sanders, Arizona has been exposed to twice the legal limit allowable for uranium through their tap.”

Last week, Diné No Nukes participated in protests in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of past and ongoing contamination of water supplies in the west, which disproportionately affects Indian country.

“These uranium mines cause radioactive contamination, and as a result all the residents in their vicinity are becoming nuclear radiation victims,” said Petuuche Gilbert of the Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment and Indigenous World Association. “New Mexico and the federal government have provided little funding for widespread clean up and only occasionally are old mines remediated.  The governments of New Mexico and the United States have a duty to clean up these radioactive mines and mills and, furthermore, to perform health studies to determine the effects of radioactive poisoning. The MASE and LACSE organizations oppose new uranium mining and demand legacy uranium mines to be cleaned up,” said Mr. Gilbert.

Politicians continue to take advantage of Native Americans, making deals with mining companies that would continue polluting their water supplies. Senator John McCain sneaked a resolution into the last defense bill which gave land to Resolution Copper. Their planned copper mining would poison waters that Apaches rely on and would desecrate the ceremonial grounds at Oak Flat.

While EPA and local officials have been forced to address the poisoned water in Flint, the contamination of Indian country water supplies continues. A bill called the Uranium Exploration and Mining Accountability Act, introduced by Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva, has languished in Congress for two years.

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Artist Alison Moritsugu creates spectacularly painted logs to show us nature is in trouble. She paints these nature landscapes on tree trunks that mimic the art styles of 18th and 19th century to juxtapose the idyllic images of nature with tangible results of her destruction. Moritsugu’s art is supposed to remind people that nature isn’t just there; it has to be protected.

bbc.com
Life in the Native American oil protest camps - BBC News

An Indian reservation in North Dakota is the site of the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years. Indigenous people from across the US are living in camps on the Standing Rock reservation as they protest the construction of a new oil pipeline. As a result, a new community has emerged. The BBC’s Charlie Northcott went to North Dakota to meet the protesters and discover what goes on in camp.

Peter Francis, of the Sioux people, has spent a week hauling iron pots between a holding tank and an open fire to maintain a continuous flow of boiling water for tea and cooking. He is staying in the Red Warrior Camp, one of two enormous gatherings of Native American people near the Cannonball River, in the US state of North Dakota. He stands, united, in protest against an oil pipeline. “This is about water,” he said, referring to the protest. “Water is the life of our people. Without it, we cannot exist.”

The Red Warrior Camp is situated in a remote corner of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers. The multi-billion dollar oil pipeline the campers are opposing is slated to pass beneath the Missouri, just north of Standing Rock. The protesters say the pipeline will despoil a number of sacred sites in the area, including the flooded forest pictured here, which used to be a burial ground. The bleached trees are said to be the skeletons of Lakota Dakota spirits.

Life in the camps is often quiet. Whole families have based themselves there, having driven from as far afield as Maine and Arizona - hundreds of miles across America. Hours are spent around camp fires, sharing stories and food. Traditional Native American staples are on the menu, including sweet corn, peppers, beans and fry bread, which is eaten sweet and savoury.

A cohort of young men patrol the Red Warrior Camp calling themselves “spirit riders.” They spend most of their time running errands and delivering messages. They are excellent riders, often going bareback, sometimes without reins, occasionally galloping in the nearby floodplain. The Sioux people have a long history of horsemanship, defeating the US army repeatedly in pitched horse battles in the 1800s - most famously at the Battle of Little Bighorn, where the invading General Custer was killed.

Hawste Wakiyan Wicasa believes the Native American standoff with Dakota Access is the last Great Indian War. “This is the first time the seven bands of the Sioux have come together since Little Bighorn,” he said. “Now, we have no weapons, only prayers.” Mr Wicasa says he prays every morning and every night in the sweat lodge pictured behind him. “We are here for what our ancestors fought and died for. We have endured 250 years of betrayal by the white man.”

The company behind the oil pipeline, Dakota Access LLC, says it will create thousands of jobs and generate over $40m (£30.5m) in tax revenue for the state of North Dakota. Seven counties will be traversed in total, in addition to the states of Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. The pipeline will follow the line of the power cables visible in the backdrop of this picture, as seen from the outer edge of the Red Warrior Camp.

Amihan, 19, pictured here with a friend she made in the Sacred Stone Camp, drove from Ohio to participate in the protest. Many protesters have been living in the camps for weeks, but some are just passing through. Standing Rock has seen hundreds of young indigenous people and activists visit, eager to take part in the historic gathering. Over 80 different tribes have a presence in the area.

On most days, demonstrations take place along the road leading to the Dakota Access pipeline construction site. Participants wave flags representing different tribal nations. In some cases, they obstruct trucks and diggers approaching the pipeline. Over 20 Native American protesters have been arrested in the month of August, including the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, David Archambault II.

Pancho, pictured here, is from the Standing Rock Reservation. He has been protesting against the pipeline since April, and worries the camps are becoming overcrowded and that local supplies are overstretched. “We know this place can’t handle many more people,” he said, standing in the Sacred Stone Camp. “Resources are stretched. Our community does not have a lot of money.”

Clyde Bellecourt is one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, a significant civil rights group in the 1960s and 70s. In all his days fighting for Native American rights, he says he has never seen anything like the camps. “I am 80 years old,” he said. “I’ve been jailed, I’ve been shot. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. This is what I fought for.”

At the centre of the Red Warrior Camp is a microphone, and at night, a blazing fire. Anyone can stand up and speak or sing. Here, Dallas Goldtooth, an organiser for the Indigenous Environmental Network, delivers a speech about camp logistics. “The porta potties [toilets] are the most expensive things here,” he said, to a chorus of laughter. “Please do your stuff neatly.”

For children, the protest camps are a playground of excitement. Dogs run wild, horses are available to be ridden. The two camps are close to the river, which offers relief in the humidity of summer.

Govinda Dalton is one of an older generation of environmental activists living in the camp. He runs Spirit Resistance Radio 87.9 out of his white van. Social media use by young Native Americans has been the driving force behind the growth of the protest, led by hashtags like #waterislife, #NoDakotaAccess and #nodapl. Instagram and Facebook have been the most popular mediums, but Twitter is also being used. “This is what it’s about man,” said Mr Dalton.

Sacred ceremonies, many of them private and closed to outsiders, are part of the everyday life of the camp. Each tribe brings its own set of customs, but many find common ground with songs, chanting and pipe-smoking rituals. Here Chloe Piepho says a prayer to Mni Wiconi, the sacred waters of life, in the Lakota Sioux language.

Johnelle, pictured front, is always in a rush. She is the emergency response coordinator for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. She runs a logistics team, with finance, medical and media officers. Looking out for the lives of thousands of visitors has been a challenge, but she relishes it. “If we find out there is something people need,” she said, “whether it be food, soap or medical supplies, we will find it for them.”

The human rights organisation Amnesty International, pictured here interviewing Ladonna Brave Bull, is investigating whether Native American liberties have been infringed. Local law enforcement have blocked a major road to and from the Red Warrior Camp, citing the interest of public safety. Residents of the camp say the blockage prevents them from picking up basic supplies from their nearest city, Bismark.

Security, cleaning and cooking are all handled by volunteers in the two protest camps. Some of have been told to keep track of the media, who are scantly trusted. “We don’t bother them,” said Xavier Long Feather, a 17-year-old volunteer on the security team. “But it’s good to keep watch, to see who is here.”

On 9 September, a major decision will be made regarding the Red Warrior Camp and its protesters. A judicial court will decide whether the Dakota Access pipeline should proceed, or be halted for further environmental and archaeological assessments. “This is the biggest gathering of its kind in history,” said Keith Swift Bird, on the camps. “We will stand our ground if we have to." 

Stand with the Standing Rock Sioux and the many other Native and non Native allies who are blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Blockadia is the front lines of the climate justice movement. (Note the image is based on an original photograph by Montgomery Brown)

via: justseeds.org

The Closest Living Relative to the Dodo Bird Captivates with Its Beautiful Rainbow Colored Iridescent Feathers

During our school years, along with dinosaurs, and the mammoth, we immediately learn that the dodo bird is in the list of extinct animals. What few of us know is that the dodo bird has several living relatives today, including the Nicobar pigeon. This dazzling and rare creature is the closest relative to the flightless bird.

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Brazilian river Rio Doce, most important river in the state of Minas Gerais, declared officially dead due to the dams burst in the city of Mariana.

The disaster that happened in the city of Mariana, in the state of Minas Gerais, was unprecedented, with at least 9 people dead and 18 people disappeared counted so far. Furthermore, it is noticed that the environmental disaster caused by the dams burst is already putting an end to Rio Doce, the most important river of Minas Gerais. Specialists already declare it officialy dead. Laboratory analysis, ordered after the disaster, found particles of heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, iron, barium, copper, boron and mercury in the river’s water. Luciano Magalhães, director of SAAE (Autonomous Service Of Water And Sewer), organ responsible for the analysis, claimed that “it seems they’ve thrown the entire periodic table” into the river. According to him, the water has no more use at all and it’s improper for irrigation and animal and human consumption.

In addition to those heavy metals, the mud’s mere force has already devastated the river’s biodiversity forever. Environmentalists don’t discard the possibility that entire endemic species have been extinct by the mud. The ammount of mud is so huge that the river had its natural course blocked, which made it lose force and form little lakes that are also not going to last long, given that, in addition to the minerals, sewers, pesticides and agrochemicals are also being carried by the waters.

Fishermen of the region created the Noah’s Ark Operation to act in areas of Rio Doce’s hydrographic basins that haven’t been hit by the flood yet, using boxes, buckets, and plastic sheets to transfer fish to lakes with clean water. When visiting the places affected by the burst, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff declared that the preliminary fine Samarco (mining company responsible for the dams) must pay for the environmental damage is going to be around R$250 million (US$65.01 million).

A document emitted by Minas Gerais’s Public Ministry, issued in October 2013 during the process of renewal of the concession license for Samarco, reveals that there were risks of disruption of the city’s dams. According to the text, the situation of the structure was not recommended because of possible erosion (such as cracks or openings) that could destabilize the dam of waste coming from the mining process.

“The waste dump [ground layer] requires low humidity and good drainage”, conditions that, according to the justice promoter Carlos Eduardo Ferreira Pinto, who analysed the report, are not found in dams like those that broke in Mariana, since they require high humidity to function as a water reservoir.

In this type of structures, there are infiltrations - that must be properly drained. The problem is when the drainage system of the infiltrated water fails and causes internal erosion in the dam.

The prosecutor has stated that a dam burst of this magnitude doesn’t happen by accident, even if there is a natural cause event. “What happened was negligence in the company’s operation, and that is what we are investigating”, Pinto said.

However, Hernani Mota de Lima, mine engineering professor at the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), has claimed that the climatic conditions of the region contradict the hypothesis of the Prosecutor.

“Today we are in a period of drought. Thus, the structure has no contact with moisture, which contradicts the 2013 report”, he describes. "But we must wait for the expert opinion”.

So far, there is no technical analysis stating the causes of the disaster.

Sources (in portuguese): x, x

Artic sea ice is disappearing, and we’re running out of time.

According to the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, a dangerous feedback loop has begun in the arctic.

As warming melts arctic sea ice methane pockets are released. This methane causes further warming, which in turn melts the ice faster, releasing more methane… you see the problem here. This chain reaction would without a doubt be disastrous to the biosphere. This sudden and total loss of arctic sea ice would throw a wrench in the ocean’s food chain, and have disastrous effects for every creature on Earth, including human beings. This isn’t fear mongering, this is reality, this is the consensus of experienced scientists who know exactly what they’re talking about.

According to AMEG the loss of this ice could become unstoppable by human efforts as early as September 2015. We’ve run out of time for inaction, for procrastination. It doesn’t matter who you are – this is a matter of the human species. Liberals and conservatives, socialists, communists, radicals, and nationalists, blacks, whites, people of all backgrounds, all walks of life, this is about you.

“But what can I, an ordinary person with no power in government, do?” you ask. Well for starters, sign this white house petition to bring the issue to the President’s attention. With enough signatures, the administration will hear our voices and act, and we need them to do so ASAP. Remember, we’re down to a matter of months. Please, sign it, let our leaders know we won’t stand by and watch our planet die any longer. And when you’re done with that, if you have the energy, write a letter to your congressman. Send an e-mail. Don’t know how? Check here. But please, don’t do nothing. We need all of us if we’re going to force action on this.


Don’t scroll past this. Your voice matters, and you could be a part of the push that saves the world. Please, for your sake, for your children’s sake, for all of us.

Nationally, people of color are nearly twice as likely as white people to live within one mile of facilities that use and store chemicals so dangerous that facility operators must submit risk management plants to the government. Children of color make up nearly two-thirds of the 5.7 million children living near these high-risk facilities, and poor people of color are significantly more likely to live near massive stockpiles of dangerous chemicals than white people living above the poverty line.

In the event of a toxic release, spill or explosion, communities of color would face the brunt of the impact, according to a recent report by the Center for Effective Government. 

Environmentalists and community activists have observed similar patterns near other sources of pollution over the years, including landfills and… power plants… Researchers at the University of Michigan published twin studies in January showing that low-income people and people of color don’t end up living near hazardous waste sites and other polluters because housing is cheap. Instead, their communities are disproportionately targeted by industries that follow “the path of least resistance” when deciding where to build facilities.
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April 22nd 1970: First Earth Day

On this day in 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated, marking what many consider the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The environmental movement capitalised on increased activist fervour which gripped the United States during the Vietnam War. Attention had increasingly been turned to the problems plaguing the natural landscape, especially after Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962. The idea for Earth Day came from Senator Gaylord Nelson (D - WI) after an oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. Nelson teamed with activist Denis Hayes, who led the national promotion of the day. Earth Day proved a popular idea, garnering support from Republicans and Democrats and people from all walks of life; it also encouraged the Nixon administration to create the Environmental Protection Agency and led Congress to pass several environmental measures. In 1990, Earth Day was again commemorated, and this time on an international scale, reaching 141 countries and involving 200 million people. The celebration only grew from there, and continues as an annual event around the world. However, Earth Day now faces a formidable challenge from climate change deniers and powerful lobbying groups.