There’s nothing like a roaring case of diarrhea to put a serious damper on a day at the beach—but if you’re swimming in polluted water, that may be what you’re signing up for. Top 10 Trash Items In The Ocean According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 2011 saw the third-highest number of beach closures due to unhealthy bacteria in more than two decades. The NRDC estimates that one in 28 people will come down with diarrhea, dysentery, pinkeye, and other illnesses just from spending a day at a polluted beach. "Our beaches are plagued by a sobering legacy of water pollution," says NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine, one of the report's authors. Most of the high bacteria levels are caused by heavy storms and polluted runoff, which means water loaded with garbage, oil, and animal waste from yards and farms run into the oceans. The most polluted area by far, says Devine, is the Great Lakes region, which … [Read more...] about How Healthy Is Your Beach?
House smells like sewage
This story originally appeared at OnEarth.org. Before I even stepped from my truck onto the gravel outside the New Fashion Pork hog confinement facility, Emily Erickson, the company’s animal well-being and quality assurance manager, handed me a pair of stretchy white plastic footies to put over my shoes. It was a blustery day in September, the sky threatening snow—the first hint of winter, when cold, dry air stabilizes viruses and biosecurity becomes a topmost concern.All of the hogs inside the confinement near Jackson, Minnesota, just north of the Iowa state line and on the headwaters of the Des Moines River, would be sold to Hormel Foods. Hormel would soon post record profits on the strength of sales of Spam to Asian markets and the expansion of the company’s China operations. But Jim Snee, head of Hormel Foods International, announced that the company was making an even bigger push, to firmly establish Spam in Chinese grocery stores before products from its … [Read more...] about China’s Appetite for Spam Is Wrecking U.S. Waterways
Not since Huey Lewis and the News has America’s working class had such an iconic, affable brother in arms—or elbow grease, or sewage sludge or aviary vomit, as the case may be—as in Mike Rowe. Host of Discovery Channel’s much-watched Dirty Jobs (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.), which casts a loving spotlight and a spitball of mischievous humor on some of the nation’s grungiest gigs, the 49-year-old Rowe has become an unlikely spokesperson for the blue-collar brethren.Last year, Rowe went to Washington, addressing the United States Senate on employment issues and trade activism. Rowe has used his celebrity status as a platform for launching MikeRoweWorks.com, a trade-resource center giving away more than half a million dollars in scholarships to U.S. students learning labor skills, an endeavor he believes is key to reinventing America’s workforce.Not bad for an Eagle Scout who sang opera and now spends months of every year knee-deep in bodily fluids with some of … [Read more...] about 7 Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires
Industry standards say that learning the finer points of RV operation is a 2-hour process, so my friends and I set aside precisely that amount of time to pick up a 24-foot long Itasca Viva RV, which we were to pilot to a large music festival last month.But when we arrived at the RV dealer ready for instruction on the rig's ins and outs, an employee named Gary greeted us with a quizzical look."Well, guys, I hate to tell you this," he said, "but the mechanic who was supposed to take you through all the instructions left to go home a couple of hours ago." Shit.The missing mechanic would return the next day at 9 a.m. So we ran the scenarios: Coming back for RV instructions in the morning would put us in front of one of the multiple stages at Firefly Music festival in the early evening. Commandeering the RV right then, with zero training, was surely a roll of the dice—but at least we wouldn't miss 6 hours of live music.We politely told Gary that we needed this $90,000 machine tonight, … [Read more...] about Should You Buy an RV?
With climate change back in the public mind following the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last month, we thought we’d take a look at some homegrown green innovators in cities across our country. Starting with Vancouver, the Olympic city, and working east, we’ve profiled some of the greenest mayors and their penchants for making green changes both in their own lives and in the lives of their citizens. Vancouver, BCVancouver is aiming to become the greenest city on the face of the earth by 2020. Behind such lofty branding stands a politician who is staking his reputation on beating out some pretty stiff competition, particularly in Europe. Mayor Robertson Robertson won the mayor’s job just over a year ago and immediately began making the environment a centrepiece of his civic administration, appointing a panel of environmentalists and economists to develop short- and longer-term actions aimed at taking Vancouver to the number-one spot on matters … [Read more...] about The Great Canadian Cleanup
It’s been a month since the most historic elections of our lifetime. The liberal left ran out of tears of despair and outrage, the celebrations of Trump supporters subsided, commentators and media pundits are losing their steam. The world didn’t come to an end, and Donald Trump in the Oval Office is what’s in store for our country as of January of 2017. Our new President – like him or not, is busy selecting his Cabinet. I have to admit that I was less than thrilled with a Trump candidacy, extremely apprehensive about him winning the elections and just when I considered softening my stance – he selected Tom Price for the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price – the Republican representative who voted for DARK Act, a big victory for Monsanto. Mike Pompeo – Trump’s appointee for the CIA leader, is also in favor of DARK. But I choose to believe that everyone is entitled to a change of heart and maybe those two men have since … [Read more...] about President Elect And The Challenge of Sludge