What’s in YOUR Water?

The drinking water of about 244 million Americans is compromised and potentially unsafe to drink. That number represents nearly 2/3 of the American population.

(The following article is from Saving Our Oceans and is being reprinted with the permission of the publisher.)

Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

  Chapter 5: Fresh Water Has Problems Too

While cleaning the oceans of debris is a major challenge and task, it’s not the only task on which survival depends. And frankly, cleaning up the oceans cannot be accomplished without stopping the fresh water pollution that is the primary cause of ocean pollution. Some say that as much as 70 to 80 percent of the ocean’s pollutants comes from rivers and streams.

It’s quite easy to conclude that fresh water pollution is as serious as ocean pollution when one considers that the drinking water of about 244 million Americans is compromised and potentially unsafe to drink. That number represents nearly 2/3 of the American population. Much of the contamination happened in previous years (although it seems likely that there’s still some occurring) and just like plastic, contaminated water doesn’t simply go away. While plastic is a pollution problem, fresh water issues go far beyond plastic bottles left along the shoreline.

Lakes, rivers, streams, and aquifers across the country are home to cancer-causing ingredients from industrial waste, farm fertilizers, and chemical toxins. Whether one believes in global warming or not, there’s also the presence of brain and flesh eating bacteria in the mix that relishes warm waters. There are even more culprits, but these will suffice to make a point.

Let’s start with lakes first, and then delve into the serious issues with “potable” water. The EPA, with the assistance of state and tribal agencies, did water quality assessments for a large number of lakes. 55 percent of the lake water studied was considered to be of acceptable quality (whatever that means), but the other 45 percent had waters “impaired for at least one type of use,” such as drinking water, recreational fishing, swimming, or aquatic life support. Man-made lakes, often serving as dams, accounted for 59% that were impaired. (ThoughtCo. “Lake Pollution: Types, Sources, and Solutions.”) Plastic pollution was not part of this study, unfortunately. When plastic pollution is assessed in lakes, it appears that 100 per cent of them have some degree of contamination.

Algae blooms occur in both fresh water and salt water. These “blooms” are a serious problem that lead to toxin build-up causing oxygen levels to drop which kills fish and is dangerous for swimming. In fact, algae can be deadly to both humans and animals.

Some areas studied had nitrogen and phosphorus pollution which can come from inefficient sewage treatment and fertilizers. This is a far more serious problem than one may realize. Dead zones in lakes and the ocean where there are insufficient oxygen levels are often caused by fertilizer run-off, resulting in death to animals, fish, and plants that enter these zones.

A combination of fresh and salt water, the Baltic Sea is the largest man-made dead zone, and the northern Gulf of Mexico is the second largest and covers over 8700 square miles. Lake Erie (fresh water) and Chesapeake Bay (a combination of fresh and salt water) also have large dead zones. According to ThoughtCo, a 2008 study found over 400 dead zones in lakes and oceans worldwide. “The underlying cause of any dead zone is eutrophication…which is the enrichment of water with nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients causing algae to grow out of control or ‘bloom’.”  Unfortunately, some fresh water dead zones are not recognized or identified as such.

“Pollution is the primary human source of the nutrients that cause eutrophication and dead zones. Fertilizer, manure, industrial waste and inadequately treated waste water overload aquatic ecosystems. In addition, air pollution also contributes to eutrophication.” Waste water is often piped into rivers and coasts.

The study also found that 42 percent of lakes had metal contamination with mercury and lead predominating. Coal-fired power plants are a leading cause of mercury contamination, and lead can be caused by fishing tackle dropped in the water (but often the surviving fish are already inedible due to toxins).

Basically, phosphorous, mercury, sediment and bacteria and pathogens are the main culprits. Added to this, however, are deadly microorganisms like lethal brain-eating bacteria. Although the incidence of people contracting brain-eating bacteria is fairly low, it’s a ghastly brain infection with very few surviving.

The problem with fresh water pollution, however, is it goes far, far beyond lakes. While lakes often provide drinking water, rivers are another very large source of household water. The list of unscrupulous companies that have contaminated drinking water for literally millions of people is shocking. It seems there are endless accounts of “manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies – and dozens of others – who are among the country’s worst water polluters.” In all fairness, when some of these companies were dumping toxic waste, it’s possible they didn’t understand the ramification of these toxins contaminating groundwater that then causes cancer and all manner of debilitating diseases. This does not absolve them of responsibility for the death and destruction they caused, however. As they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse…neither is ignorance of the ramifications of one’s actions.  Unfortunately, these rivers carry contaminants to the ocean, adding their toxins to the mix.

 “Hundreds of these companies have been contaminating drinking water throughout the country for decades with everything from arsenic and lead, to mercury and chromium – most coming from improper dumping and waste disposal….” (Environment, “Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.”) “Mining and smelting operations are responsible for contaminating water with heavy metals in almost every state in the nation.”

Example: “In Ringwood, New Jersey, Ford Motor Co. dumped more than 35,000 tons of toxic paint sludge…poisoning groundwater with arsenic, lead, and other harmful bacteria. Today, more than 43 years after the dumping ended, those toxins are still in the groundwater and threaten a reservoir providing water to millions of residents in New Jersey.”

Example: “In North Carolina, the state has told residents living near coal-fired power plants their water contains elevated levels of chromium-6 and other chemicals.”

Example: Anaconda Aluminum in Montana produced manufacturing wastes that contaminated local water sources with lead and chromium. Gulf States Utilities in Louisiana discharged toxins into marshlands polluting waters with benzene and other chemicals, and the Conklin Dumps in New York leaked volatile organic chemicals into groundwater.”

Various industries located on or near the Ohio River which borders six states and provides drinking water to nearly 3 million people, have dumped over 600 million pounds of toxic substances into the river.

Photo by NRDC.ORG

These toxins cause extraordinary health problems in people and animals. Dioxins (byproducts of incinerators) are the most commonly released chemicals. “They are known carcinogens and exposure has been linked to health effects such as heart disease, diabetes, and reproductive issues. Almost every living creature on Earth has been exposed to dioxins, according to the National Institutes of Health.” (“Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.”) And how much of all these poisons floating downstream make it out to sea? We already know that fertilizer runoff provides a lot of contaminants to the Gulf of Mexico helping to create the giant dead zone there.

While many of these offenses may have occurred before people understood the severity of the problem that their illegal dumping was causing – or would cause – that does not appear to be the case with 3M and their fight to avoid massive pollution and restitution lawsuits.

“Chemical industry giant 3M is waging an aggressive campaign to stave off new regulations and potentially billions of dollars in damages stemming from a contamination crisis that has fouled tens of millions of Americans’ drinking water.” (Politico.com Energy and Environment)

As expected, the company has engaged lobbyists to work in Washington ostensibly to woo state attorneys general to their side as the company faces massive financial liability for toxic pollution that has been tied to two of its popular products that have turned up in the water supplies of some 1500 U.S. Communities.

3M argues that the chemicals are not hazardous according to their studies, an opinion many independent studies dispute. The issue that 3M is facing is that there are multiple lawsuits in the wings including personal injury, class-action, and property damage suits. “Altogether, industry experts say the company’s liability could reach the tens of billions of dollars.”

The chemicals known as PFOA and PFOS have been used for five decades in products like Teflon and Scotch Guard. They take years to break down and are called “forever chemicals.” They accumulate in bodies and cause cancers like kidney and testicular cancer, immune disorders and many other ailments – “and have been found in more than 99 percent of Americans’ blood.”

3M is known to support various political candidates, including attorney generals in Michigan, California, Ohio, and Alabama – “all states with major PFAS contamination.”

“In Alabama, where the chemicals made by 3M’s manufacturing plant in Decatur have contaminated the Tennessee River, a drinking water source for 4.7 million people…” the newly elected attorney general will not be joining a water utility’s lawsuit against the company. Is it possible that the contributions he received persuaded him otherwise?  Let’s hope not. But he was not the only person dissuaded. “The representatives of a collation mainly supported by 3M (Responsible Science Policy Coalition) have met with congressional officers and EPA political appointees arguing that the weight of current science evidence does not show PFOS or PFOA to cause adverse health effects in human at the current levels of exposure.” This goes entirely against the findings made by leading independent scientific researchers, the EPA and the CDC. This type of behavior is extremely disappointing and disturbing. If people are willing to do this to other people and the planet, it should come as no surprise that they would do worse to animals. We are all apparently just “collateral damage” – just a member of the herd – when we die of chemical induced cancers and other illnesses caused by their toxic products.

The bottom line: “3M’s own documents handed to the Minnesota attorney general office show that the company has known since the 1970s that the chemicals in question were toxic.”

With countless numbers of attorneys, lobbyists and “representatives” involved, the delay tactic for solving this issue may be even longer than the tobacco industry’s delay in finally coming to terms with the fact that tobacco causes cancer. How’s your water today? Perhaps you should have it checked.

Closer to home, “PFAS… have been found in five Washington drinking-water systems at levels over the Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, as well as dozens of private drinking-water wells near firefighting training areas where the foams were used.” (PFAS are used in fire retardants, such as firefighting foam.) This discovery contradicts somewhat the 3M disparagement of their products being deadly even in small doses.

Also troubles still haunt Hanford, Washington, the site where 56 million gallons of radiative waste are stored. Although there have been problems with leakage, and threats of leakage, the waste has probably not made it to the Columbia River or to underground aquifers (that are known, anyway). However, during the time the nuclear power plant was in production, water was released into the river; in fact, “Groundwater contaminated with radioactive waste from the decommissioned Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state is still ‘flowing freely’ into the Columbia River…” according to a program manager with the U.S. EPA. This is a river regularly used for fishing, swimming and boating activities. How much is withdrawn for irrigation? How many cancers have resulted from exposure to this freely flowing contaminated groundwater? Are the fish safe to eat?

It seems state leaders are becoming seriously galvanized to take a better look at the quality of water their constituents drink. Like plastic, PFOS and PFAS are ubiquitous. Partly this increased interest in local water safety may have been prompted by the “lead” scandal in the water supply of Detroit, Michigan’s residents, another debacle that exposed citizens, especially vulnerable children, to life-long debilitating toxins.

Thus most toxins in the water are the result of farming, mining, industry and activities of this nature. Some, however, are deadly pathogens of nature. Brain-eating bacteria (amoeba) officially known as Naegleria fowleri may be the worst. The infections occur when contaminated water gets in the nose. The amoeba travels up the nose and into the brain which it destroys. The disease itself is known as PAM (primary amoebic meningoencephalitis). This disease is almost always fatal (97 percent).  

The bacteria have been reported worldwide and live primarily in warm water, but can live in colder water for a length of time. In the United States the bacteria is most commonly found in warm lakes or rivers in the south, and even in water parks and pools. Some estimate that about 8 people a year die from this infection, mostly young males, but these estimates vary depending on the source. The exact number is unknown because PAN is difficult to diagnose in its early stage where it might be cured. It’s sometimes mistaken for bacterial meningitis. Likely climate change will contribute to this infection if temperatures continue to warm.

Unfortunately, the bacteria can also be found in drinking water – and that was the situation in 2017 in Louisiana. Health officials reassured people that contaminated tap water would not lead to an infection, “but using it for nasal irrigation or accidentally getting it into your nose can.” (“Brain-Eating Amoeba Found in Louisiana Tap Water, People Warned to Avoid Water in Nose.”) Residents were given a list of things to do to avoid contracting the bacteria, such as flushing out pipes by running showers and water hoses for a full five minutes before use, and also they could boil their water or use distilled or sterile water for washing and making nasal rinses. Yet another warning about the presence of the amoeba in drinking water was issued by the New York Post in June of 2018.

At the risk of being morbid, I will only briefly mention flesh eating bacteria – known as necrotizing fasciitis – a rare condition, but not as rare as brain-eating bacteria. There have been between 600 and 1200 cases of this disease every year since 2010. This is not necessarily a water-born disease, although it can be. The water version is from an ocean-dwelling bacterium called vibrio vulnificus. The bacteria can be found in warm coastal waters during the summer months. People can develop this infection by going into the water with an open wound and having the bad luck of coming into contact with the Vibrio. One can also become infected from eating contaminated seafood.

It might be worthwhile to consider using a water filter for all potable water, particularly water from private wells. (City water sources are likely tested more often than private wells although many people find the taste of treated water to be repugnant, but water filters may help with that.) These filters do not need to be elaborate systems. Some refrigerator filters work fine for filtering drinking water. There are many relatively inexpensive filtration products available. Using one of these for drinking water is not being paranoid. Doing so is completely understandable and justifiable considering the chemicals and toxins dumped in the water supply.

Release date: May 2019

To order your signed copy of Saving Our Oceans directly from the publisher, contact us at orders@moonlightmesaassociates.com.

It’s not Too Late to Avoid Another “Catastrophic” Problem, But Time is Running Out

People need to know the truth about critical freshwater sources and issues.

2020 will no doubt be a year that no one will forget. Will we want to forget? YES. The pandemic has jerked people around endlessly: Masks, no masks, advice to get outside, advice to hunker down, close schools, open schools, close schools.

*The weather in 2020, particularly in hurricane country, has served up fear and excitement…rather like a horror movie might.

*Riots and protests: democracy at work or terrorism in play?

*Unemployment and evictions have abounded.

*The stock market has offered its thrills and chills.

*And, of course, the election has been a nightmare for everyone regardless of who wins. The election may last longer than the pandemic!

When the pandemic was first declared, we at Moonlight Mesa expected an onslaught of book orders. After all, we reasoned, people were being confined at home (hunkering down in place I think they called it) and would tire of daytime television in short order. Wrong. Spring book orders languished horribly. Then, come late spring and summer when we traditionally have our slower months, sales unexpectedly bloomed. Best summer sales ever.

Fall arrived, but so far sales have failed to be as robust has usual.

But overall, what’s been selling for us? Nonfiction. Nothing else: NONFICTION.

Unfortunately, while the sales of all our nonfiction books have been very respectable, sales of Saving Our Oceans have greatly disappointed us, and we feel this book is one of the most timely, important books we’ve yet published. There are several likely reasons for this poor response – one being that the vast majority of people DO NOT LIVE BY OR NEAR THE OCEAN and aren’t really engaged with the issues. This is understandable – but not excusable when one considers that the ocean provides 70 to 80% of the oxygen we breathe.  And, the other issue (no surprise) is that people who actually live in coastal states may already be aware of many of the issues that Saving Our Oceans covers.

However…there are chapters in Saving Our Oceans  that should be read by everyone no matter where they live. People need to know the truth about freshwater sources and its critical issues (which the book also covers). Because we feel this information is vitally important, future blogs will offer chapters from the book. It’s not too late to avoid another catastrophe that will put the pandemic to shame in comparison, but time is running out.

(Or, you can buy the book. It’s priced at just 12.95 to expedite sales. All proceeds are donated to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum and the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, both in Washington State.)

Photo by NRDC.ORG

Time to Decide: Money or Nature?

If developed, the Pebble Mine would produce 10 billion tons of mining waste that would threaten communities and ecosystems, and it would increase the climate crisis by emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

Recently (September 11)  an article appeared in the Google list of weird articles that definitely was an attention-getter for those concerned about the Rights of Nature, the environment, and species extinction.

The article was entitled, “U.S. must not let China stop Pebble Mine that has rare earths we need.”

The Pebble Mine has been under siege by the NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council), Alaskan native groups, and environmental groups in general, and now China. The proposed mine site is in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

This long drawn-out legal battle basically is an attempt by NRDC, environmentalists, and native groups to stop the development of a mine that will completely devastate the Bristol Bay wilderness, renowned for salmon runs and wildlife as well as Native communities. It’s estimated that the planned toxic gold and copper mega-mine will produce billions of tons of mining waste and will have a devastating impact on the people, water, fisheries, and wildlife.

Photo by orvis.com

Despite pressure from President Trump’s administration, the pressure from the public and the NRDC proved to be too much for the Army Corps of Engineers, and they rejected the mining plan  because it posed “unavoidable adverse impacts” to the water and marine life of Bristol Bay, one of the nation’s last, truly wild places. (Despite the author claiming that Bristol Bay is a desolate location, plenty of photos say otherwise.)

Photo by glampinghub.com

However, the developers have 90 days to make changes…and they will. If developed, the Pebble Mine would produce 10 billion tons of mining waste that would threaten communities and ecosystems, and it would increase the climate crisis by emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

So where does China come in? The Chinese are working in their own insidious, under-handed way to ensure that the Pebble Mine project does not move forward. Why? Currently, China has a virtual monopoly on rare earth minerals, and it has been discovered that the Pebble Mine could produce minerals that are essential for the production of “many military and high tech items.”

The author of the Google article subtly implies his disdain for environmentalists who appear to be on the same team as those communist Chinese. He fails to recognize that the big losers in this ongoing mining drama are the American people, and fish, animals, and nature. Who wins: corporations greedy for the money they will make from the minerals that are essential for the production of many military and high tech items. Do we really need even more weapons of mass destruction and high tech items? Perhaps we would really benefit from more NATURE!

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A word about the NRDC. If you are environmentally inclined please consider membership in the NRDC. It is not expensive, and this organization takes on environmental destruction in the courtroom. They are very successful in stopping an inordinate amount of assaults on our environment, from the “Dirty Water Rule” to the effort to allow industrial take-over and pollution of our national parks and nature preserves by drilling, fracking, mining, and hunting.

Check out NRDC.org and learn more about their incredible efforts and victories in fighting against the industrial poisoning of people, animals, and nature.

Too Much Noise

Too much noise. There is simply too much noise for people to think clearly and calmly.

I’m not talking about honking horns, sirens, and social media conflicts. I’m talking about the social upheaval and unrest that’s descended not just in this country, but around the globe. Some is justified. Some not. I’m not going there, however. We’re all living in the midst of this terrible social angst and no one needs yet another voice from the wilderness dishing out unsought opinions. I’ll keep my thoughts about George Floyd and his untimely, unnecessary death to myself. I’ll refrain from railing about the lawless looting, vandalism and destruction of so many people’s dreams. Commentary on the innocent dead left in the wake of the massive and brutal uprising will not be discussed. And most certainly Covid-19 is not going to rear its ugly head here.

Despite the brouhaha raging in cities across America, I find it odd that I’m still mostly oiled birdjust concerned about plastic pollution, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, diminishing salmon runs, and the continuous destruction of nature and our earthly habitat.

I’m still plugging for the Rights of Nature. I recently renewed my membership to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and I’m applauding CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) for providing invaluable assistance to those fighting for the right to live in communities that aren’t damaged by greedy developers and industrial chemical tycoons.

However, I must confess that I’m a bit conflicted (is that a real word?) that I still eat red meat a few times a week. I love cows. I used to own a small herd of Texas Long Horns. I never butchered them except for one who was very mean and surly. Okay, I did eat her. I found wonderful homes for the other beautiful animals when we moved though.

I feel a bit bad that I no longer have any interest in being a political activist. Been there done that back in the Viet Nam days. I feel even worse that I’m not busting my ass getting more businesses and people involved in the JUST ONE THING Alliance. My thinking is that people have too many other things to deal with right now to be concerned about plastic pollution, captive whales held in swimming pools, the Rights of Nature, growing dead zones around the globe, aquifers worldwide drying up, the JUST ONE THING Alliance – and the list goes on.

Perhaps it’s my job to keep these things remembered until the noise stops.

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Save the World by Joining GARN

dead whales copy
Wanton slaughter of whales

As a nation we are rabidly concerned about the Covid-19 scourge, but we fail to notice, or to remember, that people have been a ruthless scourge to nature for centuries. Is Covid-19  nature’s payback, as some claim? Or is it already too late?

GARN stands for “The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. The “Alliance” is a global network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”. Rather than treating nature as disposable property under the law, the time has come to recognize that natural communities have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. “Our legal and political establishments perpetuate, protect and legitimize the continued degradation of Earth by design, not by accident.” (Wild Law by Cormac Cullinan)

“The members (of GARN) are a diverse network of scientists, attorneys, economists, indigenous leaders, authors, spiritual leaders, business leaders, politicians, actors, homemakers, students, activists: people from all walks of life in over 100 countries on 6 continents of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia who are looking to transform our human relationship with our planet.” (Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology)

Individuals as well as businesses can join the alliance. There is no fee to become a member. The idea in joining, however, is that you will engage in some manner, to some degree, in promoting and protecting the Rights of Nature. Even monetary donations count.

Nature isn’t just animals and birds – The title of nature also refers to all ecosystems, from rivers, lakes, forests, streams to living things. According to Wikipedia: An ecosystem is a large community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in a particular area. The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems themselves are of any size, but usually they are in particular places.

Being part of the GARN organization is critical. Without people working to protect oiled birdecosystems we would very shortly have none left. Corporations and state and federal government agencies would very likely claim and overwhelm every “nature area” in the country with development and pollutants of all kinds. Unfortunately, thoughtless individuals also contribute to ecological destruction. Scientists have discovered that even the most remote lakes in the world have plastic pollution in them.

david boyd book A few countries  have adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitutions. Obviously the United States is nowhere close to doing this. However, in this country there are groups who are pursuing the Rights of Nature in their areas and going to court against government and corporations and winning – often with the help of CELDF, a Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund that itself does not sue offenders, but helps its clients do so.

If one ponders the implications of our infringement on nature it’s easy to consider the real possibility that diseases of all sorts come from despoiled and invaded ecologies, “wet markets,” air and water pollution, and environmental destruction. Unfortunately, fresh water  pollution and shortages are already becoming a disastrous problem. No water – no world.

What can a person do to save the world:  Remember that even small things add up. Act on that.

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JUST ONE THING Launched

JUST1THING E2       Our grassroots movement, JUST ONE THING, is being launched. Please join us in this exciting enterprise and help spread the word. It’s FREE to join!

The idea behind JUST ONE THING (aka JOT) is simple. If every person does JUST ONE THING to help alleviate plastic use and waste, it will make an astounding difference in plastic pollution (at least in this country and in coastal and inland waters). It would also send a message, albeit slowly, to the hundreds of plastic producers who yearly spew out billions of plastic products and take no responsibility for the devastation and destruction their products cause our planet.

We’re not suggesting people go “plastic free,” which is near impossible in today’s world anyway. However, there are small things a person can do that that can add up to colossal results. Just choose one form of plastic use that you’re willing to eliminate.

This movement is not meant to be a burden. It’s meant to be a statement. It’s meant to be a positive step toward helping solve what seems to be an insurmountable problem.

This year the world’s largest plastic producer, Coca Cola, plans to manufacture over a billion plastic bottles and 3 billion tons of plastic packaging. That’s just one company out of hundreds. The top plastic producers in the United States are Coca Cola, Pepsico, Colgate, Palmolive, Nestle, Mars Inc., Unilever, and SC Johnson. In told, there are hundreds of plastic producers around the world. These companies have tended to blame the consumer for the pollution problem, but we all know that aside from recycling, which has been a disappointment in this country, there’s not much a person can do. Beach clean-ups certainly help – for a very short period of time.

And few people know that 3/4 of everyday plastic products are TOXIC.

JUST ONE THING may start as a whisper, but when enough people have had enough of the plastic industry’s pollution, it could become a roar.

bottles

Need help with ideas? For starters try these websites:  Myplasticfreelife.com; info@lifewithoutplastic.com. Try this book: Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield.

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(JUST ONE THING logo designed by Vin Libassi, cover designer for Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc.)

Change is Good!

I’m beginning to feel like our “relocation” is a very long saga, so I’ll make the ending brief.

 

1. Yes, we moved

2. No, we did not relocate to the Northwest

3. We relocated to a great location just outside of Wickenburg – so we’re STILL IN ARIZONA. It’s all the change we needed.

 

So, back to business!

 

For the last few months we’ve been struggling to get Lee Anderson’s new book into print. The last technical glitch wasn’t mine (this time). But despite being computer-less for several weeks due to the move, we finally have the book in print. Lee’s new book is phenomenal…and bold. People will love it, or they’ll be furious. Getting it into print has taken its toll on all of us, however. Release date for this title is January 15, 2020.

 

cover for lee
Author Lee Anderson and his horse Concho

As for end of the year business…I’ll have final numbers soon, but I do know that A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule  was the second highest selling book via Ingram this year.  The other three top titles for Ingram sales were Some Gave All, by J.R. Sanders; Developing the Art of Equine Communication  by C.L. (Lee) Anderson; and Saving Our Oceans, by R.L. Coffield. Note that these are all nonfiction.

 

9780977459391.MAIN.E-book sales have not been tallied, and not all books are in ebook format, but Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride,  by Rusty Richards (available in both paperback and ebook), looks like it snagged first place  in total sales in 2019. That being said, final results have not been determined yet.

 

 

JUST ONE THING

I’ve been rather forced to take a break from publishing this year (2020) as I have no staff left. Renee is sulking (for good reason and won’t be back for a long, long spell if then). Vin (our fantastic cover designer) has relocated to Ecuador. Jered took a job as Account Executive with Shamrock Farms (which pays much better than I do). And on and on. Even Tom has taken on other projects. I’m thinking it’s a sign I need to move on. It’s been 10 years – change is good.

 

So now on to the fun stuff: If I’m not going to publish in 2020, what am I going to do? JUST ONE THING, that’s what I’m going to do. JUST ONE THING.

 

My goal is to start a JUST ONE THING grassroots movement. It’s simple, right? IF EVERYONE, every single person, did JUST ONE THING to stop plastic use and pollution the results would be phenomenal. I’m not talking big sacrifices either. How about buying coca cola in the can or a glass bottle – or any of the many other plastic bottles of crapola  produced? How about saying no to the plastic bag that you don’t really need? We can all make a change that will be beneficial for the environment.

 

MARINE NATURALIST

We’ll be in the Northwest again this summer where I’m hoping to get in some hours toward my Marine Naturalist Certification. Yes, my heart is still in the Northwest, but thousands upon thousands of hearts there are working for the whales, the ocean, the chinook salmon, and cleaner water. My voice won’t be missed. Instead, I’m hoping to bring these issues to Arizona so that they make sense to the people here.

 

I’ll be blogging regularly about all these things and also on a rampage about a few of them. I hope you’ll stay tuned and think about CHANGE!

JUST ONE THING

It’s a minority of individuals who have any sense of stewardship about anything involving nature and animals. Some people are concerned with a specific animal – for example “Save the Whales” – which is perfectly fine. Some are concerned about all animals and nature – for example Green Peace. But we’re talking a very small number of people when it comes down to it.

One problem that those involved with saving animals or nature must dealoiled bird with is that  they’re regularly scoffed at as extremists, tree-huggers, radicals,  hippies,  environmentalists (heaven forbid) and other invectives, and often they must battle big business and corporations. I think it’s safe to say that a majority of people don’t give a thought to a species of any kind becoming extinct and might not even care if someone planted the thought.

whale-postcard3127275067734833074.jpgThis realization really hit home when I sent out an email to a group of 70 people, most of whom I know fairly well. Some I’ve known for years. I asked that they consider supporting the publication of Saving Our Oceans since the net proceeds from the sale of the book were being donated to several 501c3 organizations. Many of the 70 live in California, and California does have a healthy history of protecting their coastline and marine sanctuaries.

Get ready for the big response! Ready? One person out of 70 said they’d be delighted to buy the book. That is .02 per cent.

One woman asked me to remove her from my email list.

Well, it’s very possible it could simply be me.

However, I have found only one individual in the tiny town where I live who cares one whit about the health of the ocean, the captivity of orcas, Japanese whaling, or any similar environmental topic.

It’s NOT okay for 1,000,000 species of plants and animals to die off. It is NOT acceptable to be harpooning the smartest mammals in the ocean (possible smarter than people in some regards) or holding them prisoners in swimming pools for entertainment. It’s not acceptable for big business to rape, pillage, and pollute the earth. There seems to be a robust “leave it for others to fix” attitude. Or is the real reason behind inaction and ambivalence that the problems seem overwhelming and hopeless?

Seaworld's Orca Swimming Pool
Photo by change.org

Yes, for the most part we all have extremely busy, stressful lives, but the solution might be simpler than people realize. Imagine this: What if everyone, every single person, did something helpful. Just one thing. I think we can all afford to do JUST ONE THING.

bottles

Start by saying NO to PLASTIC Bags, Bottles and Straws. One thing.

 

The Rights of Nature Movement is Growing!

Despite our obsession with the slaughter and captivity of whales and dolphins, there are some growing bright spots on the horizon! Here at Moonlight Mesa Associates we’ve agreed to stop obsessing about captive whales and focus on the bigger picture. Plenty of other people are focusing on whales and dolphins. The four of us aren’t going to be missed. The Rights of Nature movement needs support and obsessing over too.

rights of nature poster    Essentially, the idea of the Rights of Nature arose in the “western” world around 1972, although indigenous citizens in many countries have pretty much always recognized and respected the rights of nature. However, in 1989 Professor Roderick Nash published the Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics which really began the ball slowly rolling.

The fact is, and it’s a happy fact, the Rights of Nature is being increasingly recognized worldwide. Just this past week, Sweden introduced a Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment in their parliament.

Parliament member Le Moine succinctly made it clear when he said,  “The underlying value in our society is that we are the dominators of this world and Nature is just a resource for us to use. Economic growth has been the real goal, not a healthy environment. I’m tired of this era, where our arrogant worldview has driven us far beyond the planetary boundaries. Now, when we’re in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse, I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature. And for me, it starts with admitting that Nature has rights.”

Mari Margil of CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) stated: “We need to quickly make a fundamental shift in our relationship with the natural world. Advancing the Rights of Nature in Sweden’s constitution is an important step forward.”

These exact words could/should have been said in the United States Congress, the British Parliament, and any number of countries. Unfortunately, it will likely be decades before words of this kind are uttered in the U.S. Congress, but there’s always hope!

rights of nature campaignSweden will be joining Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia, India, New Zealand and a host of other countries who have come to their senses and realized that some things (nature) are just more important than amassing untold amounts of money and multiple private estates.

Citizens of the United States are taking action even if the federal government here isn’t. I think I already mentioned about the citizens in Lincoln County, Oregon, who adopted a first-in-nation ban of aerial pesticide spraying. Despite a staggering campaign war chest of $300,000 raised by timber and chemical corporations, Lincoln County fought back with $16,000 and won their measure.

 Pennsylvania  is introducing a constitutional amendment called the “local Self-Government Amendment” which places the rights of people over the interests of private corporations and empowers communities to heighten state protections for civil, human, and ecosystem rights. This is in an effort to protect themselves from environmental and personal harm. Pittsburgh has already waded into this swamp and defended themselves against sludge, fracking, and a host of harmful corporate projects.

In Florida laws are being proposed in each county through the citizens’ ballot initiative process. In addition to protecting the Rights of Nature, the laws would recognize rights of local residents to a healthy environment and clean water.

Photo by NRDC.ORG

    Toledo, Ohio, however, passed a ballot initiative that gave Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake’s ecosystem a bill of rights. The intent is to protect and preserve “the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it – humans included – can have access to safe, fresh drinking water.” This certainly seems like a reasonable initiative, yet big business (in this case the Farm Bureau) had a stop put to this. The State of Iowa is supporting the farmers in a lawsuit against the city. Toledoans for Safer Water were told, by a judge no less, that they “cannot defend the voter-passed initiative in a lawsuit brought by a factory farm against the city over the initiative.”

Gig Harbor, Washington, formed a movement, Legal Rights for the Salish Sea,  to help protect endangered orcas and the Salish Sea.

Overall, small movements in this country are arising. Many have the backing and assistance of CELDF and are becoming victorious. Check CELDF out on the web, please!

For a full account of the timeline of Rights of Nature, visit https://celdf.org/advancing-community-rights/rights-of-nature/rights-nature-timeline/.

david boyd bookI can also recommend The Rights of Nature, by David R. Boyd. This is an excellent book and clearly explains what this movement entails and is all about.

Basically, we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to do much more than fret about the beloved Southern Resident Pod and the Humpbacks dying around the globe. The planet itself is at stake. And yes, small efforts add up!

What can  YOU do to help this movement? Stay tuned. We’re going to get to that.

 

Day 3: Spotting Whales

After two long days of lectures we will now be out in the field for the next 3 days!

Today’s outing was to Lime Kiln State Park to look for whales passing by, take a hike, and two more classes…two outside and one inside.

It’s interesting that the Southern Resident pod is finally finding its preferred food on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and not so much here in the Salish Sea. Reports from the coast are that the whales are looking fatter and happier! Meanwhile, a transient group of orcas, Biggs transient pod, is now in this area more. The Southern Resident pod prefers to dine on Chinook, and the transients like seals, sea lions, etc. And there are plenty of those around here. Their population has exploded in the last 40 years since they were listed as an endangered species…so no more shooting them for stealing fish off your hook! The Southern Resident pod is still around some though, but this year they even hit up Monterey Bay for food. It’s been a spell since the Southern Resident pod has traveled that far for Chinook.

The day, incidentally, was great! Weather was accommodating, the speakers were knowledgeable and interesting.

The question is growing in my mind, though, can I be a Marine Naturalist in Arizona? How’s that going to work? I will have to give this A LOT of thought. I signed up for this course thinking we’d be relocating back to the Pacific Northwest. This may not come true if our house in AZ doesn’t sell. Bummer.

Could I be a naturalist in Arizona? I just don’t see the culture there embracing this. We’ll find out soon enough.

Oh…we saw no whales.