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Making Our Communities What They Need To Be

The symbols of public-sector infrastructure are often associated with urban areas: major highways and subway systems, for instance; bridges and tunnels; large ports and airports; billions of gallons of fresh water to deliver and hundreds of tons of solid waste to cart away every day. Yet public works departments are no less important in rural areas, where municipal employees and their families, whether members of the National Education Association, the Firefighters union, or the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers (AFSCME), are dependent on the same community services they provide. In Middlebury, Vermont, the largest town in rural Addison County, 46-year-old Jeremy Rathbun is one of those public servants.

Red Hill Whistleblower Details How Her Warnings Were Ignored

As the new director for the U.S. military’s largest fuel depot in May 2020, she realized almost immediately that something was wrong. The fire suppression system for the massive Honolulu storage system, which was holding 100 million gallons of fuel, was essentially turned off. Firefighting foam necessary to put out a potential fuel fire had been removed by officials who feared a leak could contaminate the drinking water aquifer below, she said. As a result, those working in the facility’s underground tunnels, and those residing in surrounding neighborhoods, were at risk of facing an out-of-control blaze, she said. So Bencs did what the Navy itself had trained her to do: She said something.

Around The Mountain Valley Pipeline, Farmers Losing Access To Clean Water

There are some who say the water of Monroe County, West Virginia, is the purest and best-tasting in the world — or at least it was in the 1990s. The springs on Peters Mountain, which straddles the border with Virginia, won first prize at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting four times in that decade, beating out — as farmer Maury Johnson will tell you — the renowned municipal water of New York City. Johnson’s family has owned over 200 acres of farmland in Monroe County for 130 years, in the verdant Hans Creek Valley. Coming around the bend of a two-lane road into the valley, you behold a patchwork of dandelion-dotted pastures where small farmers raise sheep, cattle, pigs, and even a paddock of wide-eyed, statue-still deer. Underneath that farmland is a geological formation called karst, which is found throughout the greater Appalachian region.

The Real Cowboys Of Alberta Battle Zombie Coal Mine

Ranchers in southwest Alberta are contending with one of the worst droughts on record and a dwindling mountain snowpack. However, the latest threat to critical rivers near the Crowsnest Pass is being served up not by climate change but their own provincial government — in the form of a zombie coal mine proposal on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains that simply refuses to die. The Grassy Mountain open pit mine proposal from Australian-based Northback Holdings, formerly known as Benga Resources, was rejected by both provincial and federal regulators in 2021 because the impacts from water contamination were judged to outweigh the limited benefits.

Over 160 Groups Call On UN To Stop Promoting Carnivorous Fish Farming

Over 160 experts and civil society groups are calling on the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to remove carnivorous fish farming from its definition of “sustainable aquaculture” ahead of World Ocean Day on 8 June. As industrial aquaculture expands globally, concerns are mounting among academics, fishing communities, and campaign groups about the environmental and social impacts of farming species like salmon, shrimp, and sea bass  – carnivorous fish that are reared on wild-caught fish for feed. The FAO has advocated for the growth of aquaculture and claims the sector can play a bigger role in feeding the world “sustainably” in the face of climate change and a growing global population – a stance the EU and salmon companies have eagerly echoed.

Mine Water Is Spewing Into This West Virginia Community

Wolf Pen, W.Va.—Trees line Tina Christian’s driveway, and the rolling mountains of southern West Virginia rise around her yard. Her grandchildren play in the peaceful creek that twists through the woods behind her trailer. Or, at least, they did — until a geyser of dirty mine water shot out of an abandoned gas well behind the home in February 2023. It flooded the yard for weeks. Now, Tina and her husband, Jamie, are afraid to have their grandchildren visit at all. “I’d hate for them to come down here and visit and spend the night, and ten years down the road, they find out they’ve got cancer from playing at momaw and popaw’s house,” Tina Christian says.

Texas Needs Radical Solutions For Water Conservation

South Texas is facing a water crisis decades in the making. Much of the region’s growing population relies on the Rio Grande as its sole source of drinking water. Yet in recent years, as climate change has gripped Texas and caused hotter, drier summers, the river’s flow has diminished to a trickle in some areas. This year, months before summer has officially set in, major reservoirs on the Rio Grande are nearly empty after reaching historic lows last year. Falcon Reservoir is less than 15% full as of mid-April, and Amistad Reservoir hovers below one-third full. Last month, Hidalgo County issued a disaster declaration as a binational agreement with the Mexican government fails to deliver water from the Rio Grande, as it is obligated to do under the terms of a 1944 treaty. Farmers fear losing their crops.

Nepal’s Self-Managing Forests And The Duck That Dares To Love

Nepal’s unique approach to community-based conservation means the country’s 118 different ecosystem variants are very much alive. The country boasts more than 950 species of birds, 13,067 species of plants, and 17,097 species of animals, including one-horned rhinos, Bengal tigers, Asiatic elephants, gaurs, and red pandas. Thanks in part to 22,500 forest community user groups, forest cover in Nepal has risen from 25% to 45% since the 1990s, making it one of the few developing countries to expand its forest cover. Nearly 40% of Nepali households are involved in some way. This is supported by the fact that now more than 23% of Nepal’s land is protected by the government.

‘Teslastoppen’ Elon Musk’s Water War In The Heart Of Europe

“Welcome to the Utopian Gigafactory,” reads a banner hung across a path in a Brandenburg Forest outside Berlin, Germany. At the end of the path, Tesla’s -very real- Gigafactory is visible behind the trees. The banner has been hung by activists of the “Teslastoppen” (Stop Tesla) initiative, who have occupied part of the forest since late February, aiming to prevent Tesla from expanding its only European Gigafactory. The occupation consists of approximately 100 activists, rotating between Berlin and Gruheide,  who have set up around a dozen treehouses and platforms suspended with ropes between trees, several meters up in the air.

Justice Department Admits Navy Jet Fuel Leak Caused Thousands To Suffer

The U.S. government, in what an attorney says is a "monumental admission," said last year that it caused injury to thousands of people on the Hawaiian island of Oahu when jet fuel from its storage facility leaked into the drinking water system. On Monday, thousands of military family members and locals are headed to trial seeking financial compensation. Kristina Baehr, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case, said her firm has 7,500 clients suing over the leak. Monday's proceedings kick off a bellwether trial, meaning it's a smaller consolidation of lawsuits taken from a larger group.

Dozens Of Organizations Urge Legislators To Pass Red Hill Remediation, Water Bill

Honolulu, HI - A bill seeking to facilitate the cleanup of contamination from the Red Hill Fuel Facility, and further insulate the Hawaiʻi Commission on Water Resource Management from political favoritism and undue influence, has received another wave of widespread community support, as 46 community organizations urged Hawaiʻi legislators to ensure its passage before the end of the 2024 legislative session. Representing medical, public health, labor, religious, agricultural, cultural, and environmental stakeholders, among others, the organizations submitted a joint letter to conference committee members on HB2690 HD2 SD1, emphasizing the importance of the bill.

Draining The World Of Fresh Water

The thirst of humans and our technology for water, according to two important studies, is bottomless and accelerating, even if the precious liquid itself is finite on this planet. One study shows that human activity has massively altered the world’s flow of surface water and imperilled water cycles critical for life as varied as fish and forests. The other confirms that in many places on Earth aquifers and groundwater wells are being pumped and mined faster than they can be replenished. The concept of the technosphere helps to explain the forces in play.

How To Stop To Israel’s Genocidal Starvation Of Palestinians

Gaza has been under a blockade for over 15 years that created bare subsistence conditions for Palestinians, but since October 7, 2023, the noose has been tightened. Palestinians are dying of starvation and dehydration in addition to the massacres committed by Israeli soldiers. In Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC-Pal) has been struggling to provide water and materials to Palestinians to grow food and has been purchasing produce to provide to families in need. Clearing the FOG speaks with Fuad Abu Saif, director of UAWC-Pal, about their work and the global days of fasting in solidarity with Palestine. The next one is April 13. Click here to donate to the UAWC-Pal. Clearing the FOG also speaks with USAF Airman Larry Hebert, an active duty member of the military who began an open-ended hunger strike on March 31 to press the Biden administration for a ceasefire and an end to the starvation of Palestinians.

Thousands Have Lived Without Love, But Not One Without Water

By November 2023, it was already clear that the Israeli government had begun to deny Palestinians in Gaza access to water. ‘Every hour that passes with Israel preventing the provision of safe drinking water in the Gaza strip, in brazen breach of international law, puts Gazans at risk of dying of thirst and diseases related to the lack of safe drinking water’, said Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN special rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation. ‘Israel’, he noted, ‘must stop using water as a weapon of war’.

Alberta’s Brutal Water Reckoning

Alberta’s water reckoning has begun in earnest. Snowpack accumulations in the Oldman River basin, the Bow River basin and the North Saskatchewan River basin range from 33 to 62 per cent below normal. A reduced snowpack means less summer water for the fish and all water drinkers. Ancient glaciers that feed and top up prairie rivers in the late summer melted at record speeds last year, the hottest on global records. Many indomitable ice packs, such as the well-studied Peyto Glacier, are disappearing altogether, wasted by the desiccating hand of climate disorder.
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