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Can’t Count on the County

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The Spokane County Commissioners are at it again. To raise awareness about the Earth Day celebration on Saturday, the planning committee wrote a proclamation for the county. Most proclamations are a feel-good affair but this year organizers decided to write a call to action for climate change. Here is the original document:

Spokane County recognizes the natural environment as the foundation of a healthy community, society and sustainable economy.

Under growth management, this county works with environmentalists, community groups, businesses and individuals to protect the land, air, water, and wildlife and maintain sustainable development in this region in order to safeguard the environment while enriching quality of life for all county residents and future generations.

Global warming is a reality and we must act to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and develop a robust clean energy economy based on alternative energy and fuel.

In its role as a government entity, Spokane County will demonstrate corporate citizenship and public leadership in ways that are supportive of global warming adaptation and mitigation by employing critical policies on land use, public transit provision, environmental management and economic development directed towards stimulating fuel and technology markets with low carbon impact in mind. Spokane County provides tools, resources and incentives designed to inspire residents to reduce their carbon footprints, live green and make every day Earth Day.

As individual residents we can take action in our daily lives to combat global warming by making energy-conscious choices such as using renewable sources of energy, making our homes more energy efficient, avoiding pesticides and herbicides, choosing to use alternative sources of fuel and transportation and educating future generations about these practices.

The county’s participation in this fortieth Earth Day provides all Spokane County residents the opportunity to learn how to take these actions and much more.

Now, therefore, we the Board of County Commissioners of Spokane County, Washington do hereby proclaim Saturday, April 23, 2011 EARTH DAY in this vibrant county.  We encourage all residents to join us in celebrating the earth, learning how we can take action to prevent the adverse effects of global warming, protect our healthy natural environment and continue to build a thriving community of residents empowered for environmental protection.

But when County Commissioners read the proclamation, any mention of global warming was gone and the document was significantly softer:

Yeah, yeah, yeah: The Spokane County Commissioners have an anti-science agenda. The public largely understands that climate change is a problem; they largely accept the science.  On climate change, the Spokane County Commissioners have traditionally been a mess – a familiar mess, stuck between their increasingly loopy base and less than 50 percent of the American mainstream. But here, in Spokane County, their base is full of flat-earthers that don’t believe the scientific consensus.

Don’t tell that to Earth Day Spokane. Just like the successful “Taking It To The Streets” block party last year on Main Ave between Division and Browne Streets, one hundred organizations  are participating, representing that environmental change begins with personal responsibility, leading by example, and becoming involved in the decision making process. There will be live music from 11 a.m.-midnight, street performers, good local food, children’s activities, organization tabling, spoken word, information gathering, eye-opening experiences, speeches and the 2 p.m. Procession of Species parade.

RSVP on Facebook to Earth Day Spokane

A Hotbed for Cold Electricity

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While the worlds stands aghast at massive oil spills in the Gulf, or the political football about where to bury left over atomic waste, Spokane has become a harbor for a handful of independent, non-funded technical researchers who are on a quest to revolutionize the way the world generates power. These fringe physicists and electrical engineers defy the laws of thermodynamics, and are working with humble means to discover a new technology that they believe will supply more energy than their inventions would consume.

This search for an endless fountain of “free energy” has become a lifetime calling for many in our area, and they have slowly evolved their own community of interest. Just a few weeks ago Coeur d’Alene was home to the first world free energy conference of its kind. Outside this network of support they receive no assistance whatsoever from academic or government organizations. This is not surprising, given that the law of Conservation of Energy is the solid bedrock for classical physics and chemistry. Despite opposition from every establishment, they trudge on in search of a system that would represent an age-changing event.

But why would so many of the country’s cold electricity researchers congregate in the Inland Northwest? They all agree, to the best of their knowledge, that there is no other place on the planet where so many authors, bloggers and active experimenters are engaged in this heretical subject. Is it something about our regional culture? Something in the ether, perhaps? Either way, for the sake of the planet, one can only hope they might stumble across that new Holy Grail after all.

Awesome. Authentic. Apple.

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Last Thursday, SSYP did a “Beer With Jennifer Hall” event at the new Main Market Co-op downtown. It was the first opportunity we had to get up on the roof during construction.

The plans for the store will simply blow you away. Their/our website (I say “our” as a reminder that membership means partial ownership) is chalk full of interesting information and other opportunities for learning. Check it out and support with an early membership to hasten the grand opening of the store!

The Environmental Harm of Nuclear Energy

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nuclear powerplant

The Environmental Harm of Nuclear Energy

One big thing impacting our planet today is nuclear energy. Some may argue that the nuclear energy plants aren’t nearly as bad as other kinds of plants in the world. However, even though nuclear power plants don’t directly emit carbon dioxide, there are some other factors in play as to how it harms the environment.

Radioactive Waste

Nuclear power plants create a major environmental concern with the radioactive waste such as reactor fuel and uranium mill tailings. EIA reports that once released, these wastes can remain harmful for thousands of years. There are two classifications to radioactive wastes, high-level waste and low-level waste. Nuclear waste’s radioactivity will decrease over time through radioactive decay. The radioactive waste that is considered having a short half-life is typically stored prior to disposal decreasing doses of radiation the workers will come in contact with.

nuclear waste

Conserve Energy Future describes the effects of radioactive waste to be cancerous. If not disposed of properly. This could harm millions of humans and animals. While plants do follow the safety guidelines of disposing of the radioactive waste, accidents can always happen. History goes to show that there have been times where it was not disposed of properly resulting in the waste being carried through storms and causing contaminated water.

These wastes are stored in metal bins but if a leakage occurs, it could seap into the ground. With the life span of this waste, it could eventually end up in water or come in contact with a living being and cause serious health problems. Not only are the effects from this waste harmful, the cost to clean it up is pricey was well and once it is cleaned up, it could take over ten years for the environment to thrive in that spot again.

Examples in history this has become a problem with nuclear energy, 1979 Three Mile Island Incident, 1986 Chernobyl Incident and the 2011 Japanese tsunami which happened shortly after the release of radioactive materials. All of these events caused thousands of dollars in clean up and in some places, it is still considered radioactive. Luckily these events went public as to warn people about these areas, however the environment and habitat to many animals will forever be ruined.

Nuclear Energy, while deemed safe if taken care of and disposed properly, can have some major effects on not only the environment. When a habitat is ruined for an animal, they will search for a new habitat, but if the environment all around the area is ruined, that will be a slow demise to the nature living around there. This will slowly start affecting humans since if many of these animals were to go extinct, it would directly affect the way humans live. For example, if the bees were to completely disappear, they would no longer be able to pollinate plants which in turn there would be less plants and less oxygen in the world. Everything on the planet, that is not man made, serves a purpose for balance and survival. Everything is connected so affecting one thing could potentially be disastrous for everything else.

Authors: Kylie is the editor at Green & Growing. She enjoy the outdoors, especially when she can go on a fun hike or adventure. She likes to focus on the perks green living. She feels it is so important to take care of our earth and hope to spread more awareness as she edits and writes.

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