U. S. Households Can’t Afford Water

Reposted from Poor People’s Campaign.

PPC_Logo

Ecological Devastation

Did you know 13.8 million U.S. households cannot afford water?

Federal assistance to local water systems is currently 74 percent below its peak in 1977. This has contributed to the inability of public water utilities to address failing and aging infrastructure. It has also prompted utilities to privatize their water systems, even though private water utilities charge 59 percent more per unit of water than publicly owned water systems.

As a result, nearly 12 percent of U.S. households face unaffordable water bills. Tens of thousands of households have had their water shut off due to non-payment, precipitating homelessness, child removal and a host of medical problems. It also means that at least 4 million families with children are being exposed to high levels of lead from drinking water and other sources. Poor rural communities face the additional problem of lacking access to piped water and sewage systems in the first place.

While there is failing infrastructure in poor cities and rural counties across the country, there has been a boom in infrastructure to support fossil fuel production and transportation. Fracking has driven U.S. domestic oil and gas production since 2007, making the U.S. the world’s largest producer of both oil and gas. It has also demanded an expanded pipeline infrastructure criss-crossing the country.

However, since 1998, there have been 5,712 significant oil and gas leaks or ruptures on U.S. pipelines. And since 1964, there were more than 2,400 spills from offshore drilling in U.S. waters. The largest of these was the Deepwater Horizon “BP” oil spill in 2010, which accounted for 95 percent of oil spilled in the past 50 years.

There are also 1,100 coal ash sites throughout the country. Toxins from these sites gradually leach into water bodies and groundwater, or get released in catastrophic spills.

Scientists have known for decades that human activities, particularly the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas, are warming the planet. In spite of knowing the risks, political leadership has dragged its feet on implementing solutions. U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions peaked in 2007. This reveals how little priority our political leadership attaches to an existential threat that, for now, mostly impacts poor people. It also shows the political influence of the fossil fuel industry, which has effectively captured the U.S. political system and prevented the kind of drastic action the country should have taken long ago.

The truth is that our policies have not fundamentally valued human life or the ecological systems in which we live. Instead, it has prioritized private, corporate and financial interests over our precious natural resources.  

We have a fundamental right to clean water, air and a healthy environment and public resources to monitor, penalize and reverse the polluting impacts of fossil fuel industries. 

  • We demand 100 percent clean, renewable energy and a public jobs program to transition to a green economy.
  • We demand a fully funded public water and sanitation infrastructure that keeps these utilities and services under public control and that prioritize poor, rural and Native communities that have been harmed by polluting industries.
  • We demand a ban on fracking, mountaintop removal coal mining, coal ash ponds, and offshore drilling. We demand a ban on all new pipelines, refineries, and coal, oil, and gas export terminals.
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Justice, water

End Plastic Pollution: Million Acts of Blue

plastic_beach

From GREENPEACE Canada, Million Acts of Blue, Plastic-free Future Toolkit.


Key facts and information

 

What’s the current state of the plastic pollution crisis?

  • About 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s – the weight of roughly a billion elephants or 47 million blue whales. [1]
  • Only about 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment.[2]
  • In Canada, about 3 million tonnes of waste plastic is generated each year and only 10-12% is recycled.[3]
  • Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year.[4]
  • The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute.[5]
  • There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans[6] – enough to circle the Earth over 400 times.[7]
  • Countries like Canada, the US and the UK export plastic waste to various countries in Asia and Africa8-10, offloading their trash problem to other communities.
  • Almost 10,000 tonnes of plastic enters the Great Lakes each year.[11]

 

Who is most impacted by plastic pollution?

 

Who’s to blame for this problem?

  • Annual plastic production has skyrocketed since the early 1950s, reaching 322 million tonnes in 2015. This does not include synthetic fibers used in clothing, rope and other products which accounted for 61 million tonnes in 2016. It is expected that plastic production will continue to increase, likely doubling by 2025..[19]
  • Drink companies alone produce over 500 billion single-use plastic bottles annually.[22]
  • Well known coffee company Starbucks produces 4 billion coffee cups each year.[23]
  • Tim Hortons sells 2 billion cups of coffee a year and most are sold in throwaway cups.[24]
  • Tens of billions of bags of chips are sold each year by companies like Pepsi Co.[25]
  • 500 million straws are produced each day in the United States alone, that’s over a straw a day for each American![26]

 

What are real solutions?

  • Government bans and restrictions for unnecessary and damaging plastic products or activities. Legislative reuse targets.
  • Mandated Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations and strategies to make producers and companies responsible for the damage plastic causes to our environment, make them accountable for the entire life cycle and true costs of their products.
  • Government and corporate investment in reuse models and new ways to deliver products using less or no packaging.
  • Corporate phase out of production and use of single-use plastic products and throwaway product models.
  • A shift in dominant public mindsets away from our throwaway culture focused on convenience being equal to disposal, toward a vision of healthy, sustainable and more connected communities.

What are false solutions?

  • Bioplastics – not as green as they seem, approach with caution. Though companies often market them under the same umbrella, a product is not necessarily biodegradable and may require very specific conditions to break down. They also do not solve the litter or throwaway culture problem.[27]
  • Incineration – creates other pollution and does not address the overproduction problem.[28]
  • Focusing on end of life like recycling or disposal – we can’t recycle our way out of this crisis.[29]
  • Clean up – while clean up efforts help reduce litter problems, they do not address the source of the problem and ignore the unseen plastic pollution – microplastics.[30]
  • Throwaway alternatives – replacing one single-use item with another does not necessarily solve the problem or help to address our throwaway culture.

 

Who is championing solutions?

  • Around the world, various cities, countries and regions are banning or proposing bans on different single-use plastics like Morocco’s bag ban[31], Seattle, U.S.’s straw ban[32], and the City of Vancouver, Canada’s proposed coffee cup and styrofoam container ban.[33]
  • More than 30 countries have either regional or country-wide bans on plastic bags, and dozens more have levied fees or taxes on disposable bags.[34]
  • UK retailer Iceland committed to go plastic free for all of its own brand products.[35]
  • Zero waste supermarkets are popping up in various cities in countries including the UK, Germany, Canada, the United States, Mexico, South Africa and more.

 

REFERENCES

[1] http://www.fao.org/3/a-­‐i7677e.pdf

[2] http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782.full

[3]http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/subjects/environment/pollution_and_waste?subject_levels=3425%2C1762&pubyear=2017&HPA=1

[4] http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768

[5] http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_New_Plastics_Economy.pdf

[6]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/10/full-scale-plastic-worlds-oceans-revealed-first-time-pollution

[7] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111913

[8] Statistics Canada, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database. Accessed September 2017.

[9]https://www.recyclinginternational.com/recycling-news/8574/plastic-and-rubber/united-states/us-plastic-scrap-exports-jump-higher-2014

[10]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/02/rubbish-already-building-up-at-uk-recycling-plants-due-to-china-import-ban

[11]Rochester Institute of Technology. (2016, December 19). Researchers estimate 10,000 metric tons of plastic enter Great Lakes every year: Study inventories movement of plastic and microplastic debris throughout lake system. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 9, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161219151752.htm

[12]Gall and Thompson, 2015; Kühn et al., 2015

[13] http://www.pnas.org/content/112/38/11899.full.pdf

[14] http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/03/17/turtles-marine-plastic_n_9455496.html

[15]S. Baulch, C. Perry / Marine Pollution Bulletin 80 (2014) 210–221

[16]http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/seabirds-in-high-arctic-ingesting-more-plastic-researcher-says-1.2661580

[17] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-016-0051

[18]https://www.iswa.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Calendar_2011_03_AMERICANA/Science-2015-Jambeck-768-71__2_.pdf

[19]http://www.fao.org/3/a-i7677e.pdf

[20]https://www.livescience.com/59110-remote-henderson-island-most-polluted.html

[21]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/26/180bn-investment-in-plastic-factories-feeds-global-packaging-binge

[22] http://pmmi.files.cms-plus.com/AnnualMeeting/2015/Margulies.pdf

[23] https://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/9265e80751db48398b88bdf09821cc56.pdf

[24]https://globalnews.ca/news/2506654/11-things-you-didnt-know-about-tim-hortons/

[25]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato_chip

[26] https://www.nps.gov/commercialservices/greenline_straw_free.htm

[27]https://environmentalcritique.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/52463-5gyresbanlist2018.pdf

[28]http://www.no-burn.org/burning-plastic-incineration-causes-air-pollution-dioxin-emissions-cost-overruns/

[29]http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782

[30]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/411978/Assessing_the_impact_of_exposure_to_microplastics_in_fish_summary.pdf

[31]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/green-morocco-bans-plastic-bags-160701141919913.html

[32]https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/the-last-straw-seattle-will-say-goodbye-to-plastic-straws-utensils-with-upcoming-ban/

[33]http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-considering-ban-on-disposable-coffee-cups-plastic-bags-1.3436086

[34]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_lightweight_plastic_bags#Morocco

[35]http://about.iceland.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Iceland-aims-to-be-plastic-free-across-own-label-range-by-2023-16.1.18.pdf

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, commons, Environment

Earth Week at DePaul

Leave a comment

by | April 19, 2018 · 13:29

DePaul, April 17th: Earth Week Renewable Energy Panel

Note: Room Number 108

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago, Clean Energy, economicss

Heneghan Book Launch Event and Reception: Wednesday May 2nd

RSVP for reception so we can order enough food.  However, everyone is welcome to attend the event, whether or not they RSVP.

1 Comment

by | April 2, 2018 · 15:34

The City is More Than Human

Reposted from NEW BOOKS Network

FREDERICK L. BROWN
The City is More Than Human
An Animal History of Seattle

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PRESS 2016
March 30, 2018

Review by Stephen Hausmann

Not all city dwellers are bipedal, according to Frederick L. Brown author of The City is More Than Human: An Animal History of Seattle (University of Washington Press, 2016). The history of Seattle, and all cities, is as much about its non-human inhabitants as its human ones, argues Brown, an independent scholar working on a contractual basis with the National Park Service. Salish-speaking people, the earliest inhabitants of the Puget Sound, had myriad relationships with animals. They thought of them as important symbols and as spiritual guides, and used them as a critical resource base.

Read more and listen to Podcast here.

Thanks DMF at Synthetic Zero for recommending this post.

Image and book here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On the Rhetoric of Painting

by Joshua Mason, Fieldwork Studios

JoshuaMason_EruptionAgainsttheSun

Eruption Against the Sun, Joshua Mason

As an emergent feature of the Sun’s energy economy, organic life is subject to entropic necessity. Life as a manifestation of necrogenic vitality is inherently entwined with death. Painting, as an intensification of life, is an artifact of the humic indwelling. It is earthbound, composed of the nigredo of Earth. As an artifact of time’s arrow, painting is founded on a millennia of extinctions.

Painting is a confrontation with death because it is an intensification of life. What I mean by that is perhaps that the painter is one who evokes images out of the chaos of the world, and this process is an intensification of being as it confronts directly the materiality of the world. This confrontation with materials is a confrontation with catastrophe, even Becoming itself. Death is a vector of exteriorization or that loosening into the abyss. The life/death is in every mark, every instant impact of the material, as there persists the cyclical trajectory: life, death, rebirth, life, death, rebirth…

…And so it is with everything else: energies are never created or destroyed, only transformed from one to another.

The symbolic dimension of life/death ungrounds us: life, as an emergent feature of the solar economy, does not exist on a solid foundation. Everything is in a process of transformation. This process-oriented reality is unsettling for our identity. Reified and static wholes collapse in the realization that all matter is in a state of constant change.

This constant change is indicative of sheer potency, as nature-naturing or nature doing what nature does. Nature-naturing never ceases enumerations, contrasts, combinations spatially, linearly or chromatically. This ought to inform the materiality of practice.

The Moderns preached constraints of a particular medium, and later, the redefinition in terms of specific productions of meaning. This has to do with the construction of general cultural categories and typologies of art, which are both necessary and important, but little to do with the conditions – natural, instinctual, preexistent. There is the energy of nature-naturing, as sheer potency. From this position, which is a vanishing point because it is preordinal, the entire horizon of material embodiment and the enunciative field are encompassed. Although it is not possible to represent this vanishing point, it is possible to observe its self-possessed effects. There is no relevance to constraint for the sake of constraint in the medium, as if the demand for objective purposes could also encase a transcendental truth. Conditions can never be constrained, consolidated, determined as if they were stable.

What shifts through this orientation is the concern of art’s position. The particulars of art and exhibition, as materiality and enunciative field, are constituted and dispersed out of processes of ‘nature doing what nature does.’ No works of art are birthed out of a void, but are in keeping with the law of Conservation of Energy. Potency is a constant force that permeates the field; it generates all of the varying contingencies (objects, actions, ideas, texts, strategies, interpretations, etc.) The associated categories of life, art, text, commitment, are reconsidered under the potent condition that emanates their organization.

And while the Earth has often been a subject to painting, painting is subject to the Earth.

Deposition is a particular emphasis on the geologic qualities of painting. It is an encounter with the factuality of painting. But it is also a matter for aesthetic reflection. Painting’s factuality thus exists in correspondence with the imagination in its ability to evoke images. Forces engender forms and cross over into compositions and compositions cross over into forces outside of painterly agency, as a constant tension. The identity is always on the verge of sinking under the sediment.

The mere fact of the paint is never the entire aim, however, just as technique is never really the only concern, because content persists: painting is an involved process. The geologic process is unique in regards to other, more refined possibilities, because it consists of the potential towards self-differentiation. Involvement with this kind of painting tends to dissipate the abstract will (identity) into mineralization, asserting a corporeality and a kind of embodiment that appears immanent. The aim of aesthetic reflection is to therefore see oneself within this self-differentiation, as being encompassed by it, and ultimately, as a consequence of its condition.

In regards to painting’s self-referentiality, it is essentially a confrontation with its own death, or more specifically, with that chasm between painting’s ontology and the vanishing point.

Can I come to see myself as constituted by the world of contingency, as in a state of constant change? In what hidden or unrepresentable ways does this process of nature express the site where factuality meets the logos? This geology, as condition of possibility for the humic indwelling, determines the incarnation of ‘the flesh’ The flesh is the texture of worlds. The matter at hand is therefore what matters, or the mattering of matter: an alchemical process turning dross into gold, as an inflection by the ghost of beauty incarnate in the flesh.

…density, duration, animation, dissipation – ‘the creation of the world of art is the creation of the world,’ said Kandinsky.

Reposted with minor edits from Not So Solid Earth: Mineralizing the Imagination

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under aesthetics, Art, Uncategorized