Sunday, September 27, 2009

Has the Clean Water Act Failed?

Pace University senior fellow, environmentalist John Cronin, calls for new law and global water assistance from Hillary Clinton.

John Cronin, the noted environmentalist who is senior fellow at Pace University?s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies says the ?The Clean Water Act has failed. It is time for a new law.?

Cronin?s remarks have appeared on his water-oriented blog, www.johncronin.net.

His controversial stand comes after a 35-year career mostly spent enforcing the water law, first at the Clearwater organization in the 1970s, and later as Hudson Riverkeeper from 1983 to 2000. In addition to being senior fellow at the Pace Academy, he is director of the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries.

He says ?the list of the Clean Water Act?s failed policies reads like an indictment of the law itself.?

The Act, passed in 1972, called for eliminating the discharge of pollutants by 1985, and restoration of waters to allow for recreation and propagation of fish and wildlife by July 1983, among other objectives.

Yet ?on the Hudson River, thousands of tons of municipal and industrial wastes are dumped annually. Sewage overflows are commonplace, and people routinely swim near industrial and municipal outfalls. At least seven major fish species are in decline and health advisories about toxins in fish have been in place for 34 years,? Cronin writes. ?At least one city has a drinking water intake within two miles of its sewage plant discharge, and another has an intake 35 miles downriver of a PCB Superfund site.?

?As with most places in the nation, there is no regular monitoring or investigation of illnesses likely to have been induced by water contamination.?

Cronin cites a lack of innovation as a chief culprit in the law?s failures. The Clean Water Act calls for large-scale, permanent federal funding of research and development to eliminate pollution, which Cronin claims has failed to emerge.

Another section of the law specifically calls on the President and Secretary of State to assist other nations with ?the achievement of goals regarding the elimination of discharge of pollutants and the improvement of water quality to at least the same extent as the United States does under its laws.? Cronin quotes United Nations statistics showing that 1.2 billion people live without safe drinking water and 1.2 million children per year die from diseases related to water pollution.

He calls on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ?make global water assistance a priority of her portfolio.?

?Failure to meet the timeline set by Congress has set the Clean Water Act adrift,? according to Cronin. ?We are left with this absurdity: the priority objective of the Clean Water Act today is to eliminate pollution 24 years ago.?

Looking to the future, he says: ?Water is fast eclipsing climate change as a universal environmental priority.?

?Had the United States the political will to carry out the purposes of the original Clean Water Act it would today be a global leader on water issues, just when the world most needs it.?

Website text from www.johncronin.net:

Imagine No Pollution

The Future & the Failed Clean Water Act

By John Cronin

The Clean Water Act has failed. It is time for a new law.

There is a mistaken, popular belief that the central purpose of the 1972 Clean Water Act is to bring to justice the bad guys who are polluting the nation?s waters.

The Clean Water Act was written to create a global market place based on American innovation that would end pollution in our lifetime, and ?restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation?s waters.?

But a list of the Clean Water Act's failed policies reads like an indictment of the law itself.

The first policy goal on the first page of the Clean Water Act is the elimination of the discharge of pollutants by 1985.

The law also sets a goal of making the nation?s waters fit for sports and recreation, and for fish and wildlife by July 1983.

It calls for management plans to end pollution from runoff, protect watersheds, and enhance water resources, in keeping with the 1983 and 1985 goals.

It requires the cessation of toxic discharges in toxic amounts.

It establishes a sweeping domestic and foreign policy on water designed to protect life and health here and abroad.

Indeed, the enormity of the Clean Water Act?s failure can be measured in lives. The law directs the Secretary of State to assist other nations in eradicating their water problems to ?at least the same extent as the United States does under its laws.? But since the Clean Water Act was enacted, as many as 100 million people, mostly children in the developing world, have died from diseases related to water pollution. The Pacific Institute estimates that between 36 million and 70 million will die by 2020.
Here, on the Hudson River, thousands of tons of municipal and industrial wastes are dumped annually. Sewage overflows are commonplace and people routinely swim near industrial and municipal outfalls. At least 7 major fish species are in decline and health advisories about toxins in fish have been in place for 34 years. At least one city has a drinking water intake within two miles of its sewage plant discharge, and another has an intake 35 miles downriver of a PCB Superfund site. As with most places in the nation, there is no regular monitoring or investigation of illnesses likely to have been induced by water contamination.

How was the Clean Water Act supposed to prevent such things?

It promised massive, continuing funding of research and development to transform the science and technology of pollution abatement and treatment worldwide.

It promised permanent capital funding of publicly owned municipal treatment facilities.

And it created a permit system to halt pollution. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System was supposed to accomplish precisely what its name says: systematically eliminate the discharge of pollutants.

It would be an exaggeration to say that these programs, and others in the law, have come to naught. But it is accurate to say that there is no date by which their goals can be accomplished -- and, obviously, no longer a date by which those goals must be reached.

We are left with this absurdity: the priority objective of the Clean Water Act today is to eliminate pollution 24 years ago.

Failure to meet the timeline set by Congress has set the Clean Water Act adrift. . It is not possible for EPA or the states to create a sense of purpose about clean water when the milestones of the nation's most ambitious environmental law came and went two and a half decades ago. A law that has been substantially unchanged for more than a generation cannot intelligently address ?best available technology.?

The United States needs a new Clean Water Act with new goals and milestones to take the place of the old, failed ones. The law must embrace, encourage and reward 21st century innovation. There should be generous incentives to exceed the requirements of law. It should create a brain trust of the most innovative minds, from research universities and private corporations in particular, charged with creating a pollution elimination marketplace that will equitably serve the entire planet. It should foster methods and technologies that are more effective, more robust, and cheaper to operate and maintain; expensive, antiquated technologies are enticements to violate the law. Unlike its predecessor, a new Act should make a priority of ecological and human health.

But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does not need a new law to take substantive action on international water crises, and fulfill her obligation under the current law. According to the United Nations, more than 1.2 billion people live without potable water, and 1.8 million children die each year from water pollution -- a statistic that should be unthinkable in 2009. Secretary Clinton can and should make global water assistance a priority of her portfolio.

We need a vibrant, 21st century Clean Water Act that that will create a new sense of national and global purpose about water. Water is fast eclipsing climate change as a universal, environmental priority. Had the United States the political will to carry out the purposes of the original Clean Water Act it would today be a global leader on water issues, just when the world most needs it.

Can we imagine no pollution, as the courageous drafters of the 1972 Clean Water Act did? First we must swallow hard and admit that their original effort failed. Only then will the Congress and the president muster the courage to imagine that mission once again with a new, and better, Clean Water Act.

Some interesting events in the New York area:
Eat local food throughout the year?
Just Food and the Weston A. Price Foundation NYC are pleased to announce:

Community food education workshops with the creators of the Local Foods Wheel New York Metro Area - Jessica Prentice, Maggie Gosselin and Sarah Klein.

These two special community food education events with local foods experts Jessica Prentice (author of Full Moon Feast), Maggie Gosselin, and Sarah Klein will demonstrate how eating local food is as easy as turning the dial. As the creators of the recently released "Local Foods Wheel New York Metro Area," they will lead two workshops on easy and time-saving cooking and preserving techniques that can help you eat local and healthfully throughout the entire year.

Slow Food for the Urban Kitchen: Nourishing Local Food from the Slow Cooker, a demonstration class with food samples - Friday, October 2, 2009, 6:00 - 8:00pm, Judson Memorial Church, 239 Thompson Street.

Eating nourishing local food during the late fall and winter doesn't need to be time consuming. Stocks, soups, and stews from sustainably-raised meat along with breakfast porridges are incredibly warming and nourishing foods that can be made in a time-saving and inexpensive slow cooker or crockpot (oven and stove top methods of preparing these foods will also be shared). Jessica, Maggie and Sarah will demonstrate how to create quick, easy and local meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Preserving the Local Harvest with Lacto-fermentation a demonstration class with food samples - Saturday, October 3, 2009, 2:00-4:30 pm, Judson Memorial Church, 239 Thompson Street.

Preserving the fall harvest can provide you with local food throughout the year that is delicious and highly nutritious. Jessica, Maggie and Sarah will show you why fermentation is an easy and inexpensive way to preserve the bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables and herbs grown locally. You will learn about the health benefits of lacto-fermented vegetables and beverages and how to turn the fall harvest into sauerkraut, kimchee, chutneys, salsa, and sauerruben. Kombuchas, ginger bug, and whey-based sodas will also be discussed.

For more information about these events, and the presenters, go to http://www.justfood.org/events/eat-local-throughout-year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

American Farmland Trust: Action Center - Keep It Local Pledge

American Farmland Trust: Action Center - Keep It Local Pledge

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Natural Flu Prevention

I have already been hit this season with bronchitis so I am taking every precaution to protect myself and my family against the flu. What follows is from an e-mail from Bonnie Franz who offers a wealth of information on natural preventive care. I plan to print this information and take it to the health food store to stock up for the season!

"As you are well aware, when it comes to the flu, pandemic or not, the advice given is to get the flu shot, or since 2003, the nasal mist vaccine—“FluMist"- influenza virus vaccine, Live, Intranasal. (You might want to be careful in the pharmacies, or places such as Wal-Mart, when they do this for the droplets spread and might spread the flu to you).

However, below are some articles regarding natural and alternative choices you might want to use that you are not hearing about in the mainstream media.

Dr. James Balch’s October, 2000 newsletter “Prescriptions for Healthy Living: Alternative Choices for Health & Longevity” had an article “Boost Immune Power NOW to Prevent Winter Colds and the Flu.”

In it he stated “Why I Don’t Recommend Flu Shots”--”Believe it or not, the chemicals in flu vaccines--as a matter of fact, all vaccines--actually depress your immune system. And if your immune system is weakened by age, poor nutrition, or chronic illness, injecting a live virus into your body via a flu shot may backfire--even healthy folks report coming down with the flu after receiving the shot! If you suffer from a chronic illness, check with your doctor before deciding to forego the shot. But remember that the best and safest defense against the flu is a hale and hearty immune system.”

Dr. Balch’s suggestions were:

Vitamin C--”You can take up to 2,000 mg of vitamin C every 1-2 hours. The only side effect you may have at high doses like this is loose stools. If this happens, just decrease the dose and symptoms will quickly disappear. The minimum dose is 1,000 mg. 3-6 times a day.”

Vitamin A, Zinc and Herbal Immune-Boosters, such as garlic, Echinacea, licorice, astragalus, goldenseal, elderberry, ginger, and yarrow.

The Nassau Guardian in the Bahamas of December 31, 2001 had a feature called “Nutritionist’s Corner” written by Betty Adderley. “Anti-flu battle plan” was her topic and she recommended garlic & thyme (“Research shows that these two commodities work best when blended together”), A-beta-care…”a powerful antioxidant formula high in selenium, E and betacarotene,” absorbent C, bee propolis …”It is ideal for the flu, asthma and sinus conditions. Unlike regular prescribed antibiotics that can only be taken for limited periods, propolis can be taken daily without any side effects”…”Forever Kids” vitamins for kids and adults; and aloe liquid soap.

Of course, we are concerned with what to give our children and in “Naturally Healthy,” a newsletter from Osteomed II (www.osteomed.com), Winter, 2002, Dr. Cheryl Leuthaeuser has “…Favorites for Immune Support: Sambucol for Kids (black Elderberry Juice…Can be used for 6-8 weeks at a time in children as young as 12 months…Try mixing a little Aloe Vera Juice in your child’s breakfast drink. This product works well as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Echinacea is an herb that is used in acute infections…Try these kids favorites: Rhino Chewy C with Echinacea or their ice pops or lolly pops.

“Your Child Has the Flu: What’s a Mother to Do?” was the January/February, 2005 article in MOTHERING magazine by Lauren Feder, MD. This was a very comprehensive article that listed homeopathic remedies (such as Dolivaxil(Influenzinum 2004-2005) …that has been used in Europe for years during the flu season. Each year, the World Health Organization predicts which flu viruses are most likely to infect humans and cause flu symptoms. Based on this information, the homeopathic solution is reformulated each year…” The author goes on to list other homeopathic remedies, dietary guidelines, nutritional supplements, herbal treatments, Bach flower remedies from Smart Medicine for A Healthier Child, by Janet Zand, ND, et al and gemmotherapy (herbal remedies).

“Fighting avian flu: Homeopathy and alternative remedies” by Bill Strubbe in the October, 2006 issue of Alive magazine, Canada. This article starts out with a research statement that “…the breeding place for major flu viruses is in the intestines of wild ducks.” “If the breeding place for avian flu is found in the guts of wild ducks, it makes sense that the homeopathic remedies are found there too…In anticipation of a possible avian flu pandemic, in November 2005 about 150 homeopaths gathered in Paris to collaborate on strategies. Among the concrete actions to emerge from the conference were the creation of an Internet site for homeopaths to exchange breaking information about homeopathic treatments of the avian flu and the formation of a scientific committee with representatives from the various international homeopathic organizations to implement proposed studies and trials…’We also have a website for public information (see ontariohomeopath.com) stated Andrea Groff from the Ontario Homeopathic Association.”

“In addition to homeopathy, other preventive measures can be taken…echinacea and osha root…as a preventive dose, one dropper twice a day for several days; if sick, one dropper every half hour for the first 3-4 hours to saturate the system, then ease back to 4-6 droppers daily…An extract of elderberries is another supplement scientifically proven to thwart the flu.. Don’t forget the old immune-boosting standby, vitamin C. Experts such as Linus Pauling suggest that the first sign of flu, you should begin taking vitamin C orally, between 1,000 and 4,000 mg. per hour until the bowels become loose. Once “bowel tolerance” is reached, maintain or slightly decrease the dose until the bowels normalize…It has been shown that when the proper pH is maintained (slightly alkaline), the body is less susceptible to communicable diseases.”

“’To ward off illness it’s crucial to eliminate acidic foods such as sugars, coffee, greasy foods, hydrogenated fats, dairy, and carbonated drinks,’” says Nathalie Babazadeh, licensed acupuncturist. “’Boost the immune system by exercising, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and eating properly, which means lots of greens, whole grains, and enough easily- digested protein to help build antibodies.’” Because antiviral vaccines may not be effective against resistant strains of the avian flu virus, your best medicine is, as always, preventive medicine.”

“Treating Seasonal or Pandemic Flu at Home” the Individual and Family Handbook published in 2007 by Channing Bete Company (www.channing-bete.com and ask for item number PS91517) is a very helpful compilation of basics, infection control and patient care steps to take for yourself and your family.

“Blood could be key to defeating bird flu: Useful antibodies isolated in survivors” is the article of USA Today, May 30, 2007 by Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press.

“Scientists have long suspected that culling immune-system molecules from survivors could provide a new therapy for the hard-to-treat H5N1 flu strain…This approach is called “passive immunotherapy,” and more crude forms of the approach have long been used to protect against certain viruses. Before hepatitis A vaccines, for example, anti-body-containing shots were common for tourists heading to developing countries (also hepatitis B)…And during the 1918 flu pandemic, the worst in history, doctors sometimes transfused blood directly from survivors to the newly sick, sometimes with good results…More work is needed before trying these purified antibodies in people. It’s standard to test flu vaccines and treatments in ferrets, which respond to influenza more like people do…Then the antibodies would need testing in healthy people, to see if they are safe.”

Tone magazine from Ottawa, Canada of December, 2007 had an article “Acupuncture fights colds and flu.”

“It is advisable to come for acupuncture once or twice a month during cold and flu season to help strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy.”

April, 2009 “Swine Flu Travel Health Alert Notice” from the CDC tells how to prevent the spread of swine flu: “ …when you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (if you do not have a tissue). Throw used tissues in a trash can. After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel. Do not go to work, school, or travel while ill.

“Get Ready for H1N1” is an article by A.W. Martin, DC, Ph.D from Healthy Directions, August/Sept., 2009, Canada (www.HealthyDirections.ca)

Suggestions are: “Do a broad spectrum probiotic treatment for 30 days…Maintain an alkaline Ph…The best alkaline foods are fruits and vegetables…Increasing the fiber intake really helps one to become alkaline…Oil of oregano is anti-fungal, anti-viral, natural antibiotic…Take several drops a day, or spray your tooth brush two times a day and brush your gums vigorously for maximum absorption…Vitamin D3…in the fall, one should take 2000I.U. a day…”

The July, 2009 issue of Alive magazine, Canada, had an article by Stuart Harris “SARS, bird flu, swine flu…: What should you do?” “Along with eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising daily, we can prepare for the next contagious bug by taking proven immune-boosting supplements. Check with your natural health practitioner…”

The following is a list of recommendations:

“Multivitamin & mineral, esp. B vitamins… Echinacea…it should be taken at the first sign of illness but for no longer than 3 weeks…Vitamin E… supplement with up to 200 IU daily…Vitamin C…Since the body does not manufacture this vitamin on its own, take up to 2,000 mg a day…Zinc…take up to 50 mg daily… Oregano oil…is taken orally for up to 21 days at a time…Coenzyme Q10…take up to 200mg daily…L-glutathione…take up to 50 mg per day…Selenium…take up to 200 mcg daily…Probiotics…choose a daily supplement with up to 10 billion active cultures.”

Of course, we are concerned with what to give our children and in “Naturally Healthy,” a newsletter from Osteomed II (www.osteomed.com), Winter, 2002, Dr. Cheryl Leuthaeuser has “…Favorites for Immune Support: Sambucol for Kids (black Elderberry Juice…Can be used for 6-8 weeks at a time in children as young as 12 months…Try mixing a little Aloe Vera Juice in your child’s breakfast drink. This product works well as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Echinacea is an herb that is used in acute infections…Try these kids favorites: Rhino Chewy C with Echinacea or their ice pops or lolly pops.

COMMENTARY FROM BONNIE FRANZ:

I urge you to check out health food stores for alternatives and alternative health practitioners for more specific guidelines, especially for use in children for some caution is needed. Even if you or your children get the flu vaccines, remember what Dr. Balch stated above. I think it is a good account of why some people still get the flu or get sick after getting vaccinated—namely, vaccines depress your immune system and ironically, make you vulnerable to whatever may be going around. However, I think the editorial of the July 10, 2009 issue of Ottawa South EMC Community Newspaper says it best: “Panicking is not the best solution…Panicking is no way to deal with the matter, but rather common sense and good hygiene will help the most in the long run.” Perhaps, some of the above suggestions will help you to be confident and not panic.

--Bonnie Plumeri Franz

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our Drinking Water

From Pace University Environmental Science program:

Our Drinking Water

Join Pace University for an in-depth look at how the New York City Department of Environmental Protection monitors and maintains a high quality of drinking water for more than nine million people.

Hear from two water experts who will leave you with a new appreciation and knowledge for the resource that sustains all life!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Pace University, Westchester campus.
861 Bedford Rd., Pleasantville, NY 10570

Butcher Suite (Use Entrance 3)

Presentations By NYC Department of Environmental Protection Staff:

“The History of NYC’s Water Supply”

Robert Waterhouse, Systems Operations, Eastern Operations Division

“Keeping our Water Clean”

Matthew Giannetta, Stormwater Programs, Regulatory Review and Engineering Division

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information or to RSVP, call 914-773-3789 or email aspillo@pace.edu.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Composting in NYC

If you live in NYC and are passionate about the composting issue, let your voice be heard. East New York Farms tells you how:

http://eastnewyorkfarms.vox.com/library/post/bring-back-composting-to-nyc.html

embracing a sustainable lifestyle as a Locavore ... using locally grown and produced ingredients whenever possible ...

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