Scientists who monitor pollutants in rain and snow in the U.S. are offering their monitoring network to be used in the event of a wide scale bioterrorist attack. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein has more:
Scientists who monitor pollutants in rain and snow in the U.S. and Great Lakes are offering their monitoring network to be used in the event of a wide scale bioterrorist attack. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein has more.
The National Atmospheric Deposition Program is best known for its early detection of acid rain in the 1970s. It has a network of over 200 sites that measure chemicals like sulfur dioxides and mercury in precipitation. But coordinator Van Bowersox says the network could also be used in the case of an environmental emergency to trace things like anthrax spore.
“To help track perhaps the source of the material or perhaps just how wide dispersed the material may be. So this would be, for example, for a widespread release of a bioterrorism agent over a broad area.”
Bowersox says the samples of such agents would be sent to a special laboratory for analysis.
The idea wouldn’t be an unprecedented use for the network. The NADP surveyed the nation’s atmosphere for nucleotides following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It also measured the amount of particles in the air after the eruption of Mount St. Helens.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m David Sommerstein.
Congress has passed a measure banning drilling for oil or natural gas in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham has the details:
Congress has passed a measure banning drilling for oil or natural gas in the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports.
The legislation includes a two-year moratorium on new oil and gas drilling in or under the Great Lakes. US Senators Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan and Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican from Illinois came up with the plan. They say the measure was needed in order to protect the waters of the Great Lakes from environmental damage. In Michigan, Governor John Engler denounced the measure. Engler is a long-standing supporter of drilling under the lakes for new energy sources. Susan Shafer is the governor’s press secretary.
“We’re concerned about the federal government coming in and telling us that Michigan and other Great Lakes states: ‘This is what you will do; you don’t have a choice on this.’ And, in the past there have been no federal statutes that have governed control over oil or natural gas in the bottomlands of the Great Lakes. And, so, that’s always been governed by state statute.”
Michigan was preparing to issue new drilling permits. Because of term limits, Engler leaves office at the end of next year. The candidates running for governor in Michigan all oppose new drilling permits. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
It’s not uncommon to hear reports of stock prices, inflation, and GNP numbers with most news broadcasts these days. As Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Terry Link argues, maybe it’s time for the media to give similar regular reports of environmental indicators to increase our mindfulness of our environmental health:
It is not an infrequent occurrence to hear reports of stock prices, inflation, and GNP numbers with most news broadcasts these days. As Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Terry Link argues, maybe it’s time for the media to give similar regular reports of environmental indicators to increase our mindfulness of our environmental health.
There’s an old adage that you are what you measure. So by that standard, how do we appear? Look at what the media tell us…
“The Dow Jones tumbled 170 points on heavy trading of more than 1 billion shares.” “Consumer confidence is lagging, dropping 0.2 percent from last month’s figure.”
“Wholesale prices rose 2.3 percent for the month, hinting that demand for products may once again signal a rebound in the economy.”
You get the picture.”
Given the standard then that you are what you measure, it should be no surprise that we have become simply homo economus.
By constantly trying to measure wealth by GNP and stock prices, we idolize consumption while we devalue much of what gives life its true meaning; namely our connections to each other and with the marvelous and mysterious spinning sphere that provides us with life.
So I believe it’s way past time to give us equivalent daily reports on the health of our biosphere.
Why not report on the spread or decline of disease in humans, animals and plants? Or give regular updates on receding glaciers, severity of storms. Or increased rider ship on mass transit and its affect on reducing pollution? A daily report might sound like this:
“Energy consumption was up briskly in June. But on a bright note the percentage of power generated from renewable resources climbed 25% faster than the overall increase. This has resulted in an overall drop in greenhouse gas emissions despite the rise in overall consumption”
How about we start reporting not only agricultural production but also the inputs –Michigan saw its consumption of lettuce produced locally climb by 19% from last year, as local growers were more effective in marketing locally grown food. This boost in the state economy is welcomed. The diminished transportation need of locally produced food has other advantages for state residents. The reduction of air pollution, traffic congestion, and noise with a simultaneous increase in the freshness of produce is even a bigger benefit for consumers
We must understand that the condition of our air, land and water is more important than fluctuations in our stock portfolios. Making environmental information more prominent and regularly available as we do with stock prices and business reports is a step toward crucial mindfulness.
We might even copy a Wall Street/business reporting model and highlight a socially and environmentally responsible firm or organization that is developing products, services, or processes that help build more sustainable communities.
We need all the hope we can find. We need to nourish the entrepreneurial spirit towards community solutions. And we need the mass media to give more of its news hole to report daily on the indicators of total community health, not simply the financial numbers. We ignore our environment at the peril of our children and grandchildren. By offering regular daily doses of the health of our planet, the media will be a more responsible partner in its recovery. By making visible more measures of what we value we just may nurture a transformation to a more sustainable society.
Some environmentalists are concerned that the terrorist attacks on September 11th will hurt the environmental movement. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports:
Some environmentalists are concerned that the terrorist attacks on September
11th will hurt the environmental movement. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Jonathan Ahl reports.
Tom Lowe is a professor of environmental management at Ball State University in
Munice, Indiana. He says the reaction to the attacks could lead to bad decisions that would devastate the environment down the road.
“If we continue to spoil the environment, the tragedy of 9-11 is going to be amplified many times by what is going to happen with the environmental impact of global warming and other kinds of problems.”
Lowe says one example is drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. He says national security interests may push for that now, even though it will be damaging in the long run. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Jonathan Ahl.