Archive for March, 2009

How Clean Is Your Air?

I attended a Lunch and Learn meeting in a neighboring town today about clean air and asthma. It was sponsored by Cool People Care, Clean Air Partnership of Middle Tennessee and the local chapter of the American Lung Association. As an environmentalist, I am very glad that I attended, as I learned many disturbing facts about our air, especially the air where I live.

Gail Bost, development director of the local chapter of the American Lung Association spoke and gave us some startling information.

I am an animal lover and have always had a pet, either fish, bird, dog, cat or rabbit. Dog dander stays in a room for six months after the dog leaves, and this includes regular vacuum cleaning. Cat dander hangs around for one year.

In the United States, over 20,000,000 people have asthma. Over 353,000 adults in my home state of Tennessee have asthma. That is one in every 13 persons, which is increasing in epidemic proportions.

St. Louis ranks #1 in American cities with dirty air. Tennessee has three cities in the top ten nationwide with Chattanooga at #4, Memphis at #6 and Knoxville at #7. My home Nashville comes in at #32 on the list. Dirty air, not only causes lung problems, but also increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Radon gas is a major problem in the Tennessee region. While radon is a naturally occuring element, it is the second greatest cause of lung cancer. I learned that I need to get the air in my house tested for radon.

While these statistics are somewhat frightening, we can all take steps to stay healthy. We can pay attention to the daily air quality rating in our city. This is usually publicized by radio, television, local newspapers or the internet. We can avoid using Plug-In air freshener, which contain carcinogens. Air fresheners just perfume the air and does not clean it.

Have fresh air blowing into your home on days when the air quality is good. Use public transportation or reduce automobile driving on bad air days. Walk or use bicycles for transportation.

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Al Gore, Earth Hour and Nashville

Apparently, Al Gore left some security lights on during Earth Hour and some stalker redneck drove by and is harassing him:

We were away from home during Earth Hour and left two lights on in the house for the dog. He had had two seizures during the week, and we felt more secure with him home alone in some light. Probably he would not have know the difference.

The whole concept of Earth Hour is to get folks aware of the amount of energy we use all the time. I stated on my Facebook page today that I celebrate Earth Hour all the time. I use the minimum amount of light and energy. You can ask my husband about the controls on the heating and cooling. I control them and put them where the least amount of energy is used to insure our comfort.

We were in downtown Nashville during Earth Hour. Security lights were on in all the buildings. Street lights and traffic lights continued to operate as normal. The intent of Earth Hour is not to cause chaos or emergencies.

Get over it. Go turn out a light.

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Blogging Lite

I have something which I think is food poisoning. Thus I have not been blogging the past few days. I hope to get over it soon. Later.

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Earth Hour

Don’t forget to celebrate Earth Hour tonight at 8:30 p.m.

Today we helped setting up for the Green Tie Affair tonight at the Limelight. This is a fund raising event for the Tennessee Environment Council.

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More Unusual Trash In the Streets

golftees_1418During the Great American Clean Up, I have been showing some objects I find that we normally do not think of litter. I found these broken golf tees on a street in a neighborhood close to my neighborhood. They are made of wood which is a natural product and would eventually decay.

These are probably more dangerous to car tires as they are sharp. But again it is irresponsible to throw discarded items on the ground for someone else to pick up and dispose of.

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Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications

From US News and World Report:

Posted March 26, 2009

THURSDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) — Fish from five U.S. rivers were found to be tainted with traces of medications and common chemicals, according to a new study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Baylor University.

The common antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl), an anticonvulsant and two types of antidepressants were among the seven types of pharmaceuticals found in the tissue and livers of fish from waterways in or near Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Orlando, Fla. Each river is considered “effluent-dominated,” because they receive large amounts of wastewater discharge from nearby sewage treatment plants.

While federal standards exist for treated wastewater, they do not address pharmaceuticals or most personal care products, and little is known about the effects they have on the environment and wildlife. This study is part of a federal strategy to address the issue.

Previous research has concluded that behavior vital for fish survival, such as mating and fighting, can be affected if too much antidepressant residue collects in their systems.

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This is not news. When you dispose of medications, put them in coffee grinds or cat litter in a bag, then in the trash. Some cities have hazardous wastes pick up sites to take medications and some pharmcies (I think CVS) will take them for proper disposal.

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Nashville Arbor Day Celebration

tree-green1I had the honor today of participating in my first Nashville Arbor Day Celebration as chair of the Metro Beautification Environment Commission. I thought that I was just an attendee, but I was seated on the stage with the mayor and other local community leaders. I felt like Kramer from Seinfeld as I was underdressed for the occasion and did not think I merited the honor .

Nashville is an official Tree City USA and there is lots of civic involvement to maintain our urban forests. We have an excellent group called the Metro Tree Advisory Committee watching over our trees.

Three local students read their winning essays on their favorite trees. I was most impressed that the children associated their favorite tree with their grandmother. As a child, one of my favorite trees was a weeping willow in our neighbor’s yard. I used to love to play under the tree and pretend that I lived under the branches. I also like tulip poplar trees and planted a tiny one in the yard last year.

My favorite tree is the redbud which is currently in bloom. I do not have a redbud in my yard, but there are many wild ones around my neighborhood.

Please honor, remember or plant a tree for someone this spring.

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