Excellent article below by my friend and colleague Laurel Peltier that presents a brief and accurate summation of why a liquid natural gas export facility in southern Maryland is bad news for all of Maryland. And beyond.
I feel as if this is a confession and an embarrassing one at that. I say this because, as a passionate “environmentalist,” I should have already known intimately the work of Rachel Carson. But, in all honesty, I only knew about four sentences worth of who she was, a true hero that brought scientific light to the blind irresponsibility and profoundly toxic effects of spraying the chemical DDT on the living Earth. With the publishing of her monumental book Silent Spring in 1962, Carson set in motion the first laws in this country to safeguard the environment.
Yet it is only now that I have found her words, and I am grateful beyond measure. It is like opening up a treasure chest and finding pure gold. Nothing beats an insightful, poetic biologist. At the same time, her words are deeply disturbing to hear because, 50 years later, we are still irresponsibly contaminating our world and ourselves with toxic chemicals at an alarming rate. We are still ignoring science.
Cove Point LNG export terminal. Coming soon to a Chesapeake Bay near you?
In my constant state of vocation evolution, I now find myself focused on getting into places of faith to talk about fracking*, the new, unconventional natural gas extraction process I’ve been obsessed with over the past few years. I’m knocking on the doors of places of faith because the moral consequences of fracking are up in my face, screaming at me to let it be known that fracking is not the way to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
There has been an impressive, growing effort in religious communities to become more actively engaged in energy efficiency, thanks in large part to Interfaith Power and Light. So fracking seemed to me a reasonable extension of this engagement. Turns out, a fracking presentation is a harder sell than I had hoped. Taking a look at how natural gas is extracted isn’t a priority, and I get that. There are so many social causes that call out for help; fracking seems a more abstract and less pertinent one. But I beg to differ.
This garden we are graced to live in, this magical spinning planet we call home, was designed for abundance, designed to provide us with food, clothing and shelter, and, beyond that, beauty and magic. This garden was not designed to withstand the amount of carbon dioxide and methane we are putting into the atmosphere from fossil fuels; the pesticides we are putting into our water, soil and food; the destruction of our trees and oceans meant to clean our air and create oxygen.
We have forgotten where we live. We have forgotten that being alive is not something we are guaranteed.
We are forgetting our moral obligation to our children and future generations.
As spring begins, I am keenly aware of the urgency the renewable energy movement is facing. Fracking is moving at lightening speed across the country and the world, poisoning water, air and, of course, people. Elected officials in Congress are doing their best to get the Keystone XL pipeline passed, even as tar sands spills continue to rear their ugly head.
The fossil fuel industry has the deepest pockets on the planet, and at times it feels as if we can’t beat them in this fight for a viable future. Yet, we continue to grow as a movement in numbers and strength. The coordination between people, towns, cities, states and organizations is impressive and essential to our capacity to impact the shift to renewable energy.
This video was made to inspire all those giving so much of their energy and time to this dire cause. After all, there is no Planet B. Just us and the choice to create a safe and viable future. I say, in the end, our passion will tip the scales away from dirty energy toward renewables. Let’s keep it up!
Our daughter Claire definitely falls into the category of picky eater. Her sensitivity to taste limits what she eats, and I’m always trying to make the most of the food she’s willing to eat. One of those is pumpkin pie. She loves it, and pumpkin has good nutritional value. On Sunday, we decided to try a different recipe than our usual. I needed brown sugar, so I ran to the closest supermarket and picked up a pack of Domino’s brown sugar. I felt my GMO radar go off, but nonetheless it was time for Claire and I to make a yummy pie, which we did.
The next day, I bought some organic brown sugar for future pies and felt better. Yet I knew I hadn’t done any real research on GMO sugar, so I looked into it. Here’s the scoop.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are always on my radar screen. I’ve understood for some time that genetically engineered food is something I do not want to ingest if I can help it. Keeping them out of my family’s diet is a daily priority for me. Yesterday, I saw on Facebook that Peru had officially banned GMOs. Wanting to get clear on how many countries have banned them – in the hopes that these bans matter – I did some further investigation and ended up in…The Twilight Zone.
Countries that have banned GMOs include Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Russia, Austria, Greece, Poland, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar and, for the most part, the Nordic countries. Kudos to these countries for standing up to the biotech companies pushing these seeds!
Now, take a look at this map, which shows in red all the places where GMOs are thriving.
I don’t remember what year it was when I first encountered fleece. What I do remember is that it was love at first wear. Its softness, warmth and lack of itchiness were a godsend to me. Prone to being cold, I’ve been wearing it ever since, from fall through early spring. I couldn’t image being without fleece – until last week, when I learned that it’s poisoning the oceans.
Another Halloween has come and gone. After hopping from house to house in a celebratory frenzy, our little Ninja Claire came home, plopped on the living room rug and began the ritual carried out for generations: the sorting of candy. I remember doing it myself as a kid, with great excitement, wondering if I had more Sugar Babies this year than last. For Claire, it’s Nerds, Dots and Laffy Taffy that top her list. Twizzlers, too. Watching her sort with joy and precision, I pushed down the sadness and confusion I felt, knowing how happy she is to have all this candy. Knowing it’s all made with genetically modified corn syrup.
I wasn’t able to listen to the First Lady’s speech the night she delivered it at the Democratic National Convention. My 8-year-old daughter Claire is a night owl who loves to be read to sleep, so we lay in bed together reading Katie Kazoo Switcheroo as Michelle Obama spoke from her heart about the man she married and the country she so loves.
The next day I watched the speech on YouTube. Toward the end, Michelle spoke about who she was first and foremost amidst the many roles in her life. It was the only noticeable moment where tears filled her eyes.
“And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady and not just as a wife. You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.”
As I listened to her, my eyes filled with tears, knowing that I, too, am first and foremost a mom-in-chief to a daughter I love more than words could ever convey. I was moved to tears by that extraordinary love and a future my daughter and all children will be inheriting – a future that I’m not feeling very good about.
Granted the future has always and will always carry with it burdens and responsibilities that the next generation must take on when they have grown. But when it comes to poisoning water and air, the adults in this world right now have a responsibility to stop that poisoning. And right now fracking is at the top of the culprit list.