Facts about Recycling, Part 2

By Dale J. Harrington

This is the second of my articles on the importance of recycling. In the first article, I identified some of the many products created from recycled materials. This post identifies some additional ones. Examples include: food containers, tote bags, small cork coasters, paper towels, paper plates, napkins, envelopes, coffee filters, paper condos for cats, notebooks, egg cartons and trash bags.

As mentioned in my August 24th blog post, there are products you might be surprised to learn are made of recycled material. In this post, I will include some products made using recycled material. It is possible some of the following will be new information to you.

The website links in this post are intended for the reader’s convenience only.  No endorsement or promotion by Sustainable Rossmoor is expressed or implied.

Dakine men’s surf pack

One need only look at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to realize a lot of the plastic we use ends up in the ocean. So it’s cool this wet/dry surf bag is made with 100 percent recycled PET fabric from plastic bottles. The bag also includes a waterproof wetsuit pocket. Furthermore, Dakine offers other packs, duffle bags, totes, iPad bags and carry-ons made for both men and women. The company also doesn’t use PVC coating—an environmental toxin—on its products, so they’re ultra-Earth friendly. To go to Dakine: https://www.dakine.com/en-us/

Record bowls

Vinylux finds new use for old vinyl phonograph records by turning them into functional bowls. Most of the records the company recycles are “scratched, warped or otherwise played-out.” As a result, there’s no need to feel bad. The bowls are molded into shape over custom-made forms, the label is laminated and the spindle hole is sealed with clear tape. Additionally, the company also makes clocks, ornaments, sketchbooks, bookends and mirrors. No part of the record is wasted; the paper is collected and recycled and the vinyl scraps are sent to a plant in Nashville, where they’re recycled and turned into brand new records. To see more: http://vinylux.net

Baseball bat bottle openers

Sure, they’re a tad on the expensive side. But these bottle openers are made from bats swung by the Major Leaguers. Considering the cost game tickets, they’re cheaper too, when you factor in stadium prices for a hot dog and beer.  Each opener also includes a number, which can be plugged into a database to find out which game the bat was played in. Check it out at: https://www.uncommongoods.com/product/game-used-baseball-bat-bottle-openers

Too much waste!
Pi kitchen towels

Pi kitchen towels are made from cotton flour sacks and eco-friendly ink.

Coal Headware cottonwood beanie

Coal Headwear’s makes its cottonwood beanies from cotton yarn, repurposed from clippings and scraps made during manufacturing. Additionally, the color is already in the scraps, so the company uses fewer dyes and chemicals repurposing the materials into new yarn. For Coal Headware: https://coalheadwear.com

ReCycle Bikes

ReCycle Bikes are handmade in Portland, Ore., from recycled aluminum. The seats are made of renewable cork, and they use belts instead of chains because belts require less maintenance. Though it’s not quite there yet, the company hopes to one day have the bikes made of entirely recycled materials.

Green Toys

Green toys are super cute. They are also akin to retro toys and made out of recycled plastic milk jugs. Further, even their packaging is 100 percent recycled (and recyclable) – and, as a bonus, the retro toys don’t have any of twist ties that make regular kids’ toys such a pain to open. To check out Green Toys: http://www.greentoys.com

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, October 31, 2018.  Email Dale J. Harrington at dalejharrington@gmail.com

Can We Talk About Overpopulation?

by Anne Foreman

These days, all the attention about saving the planet is focused on protecting the earth’s natural resources and stopping climate change. Why isn’t attention also focusing on the other side of the equation? For example, how many people can the earth sustain? Why has overpopulation disappeared as a concern? Moreover, it’s no longer a part of  our political conversations. How was this critical issue muzzled?

I heard a lot about overpopulation as a college student. I remember joining the organization ZPG–Zero Population Growth. Paul Ehrlich at Stanford wrote The Population Bomb, a seminal work that raised awareness of the dangers of overpopulation. Similarly, we saw documentaries that explained the phenomenon of exponential growth in our human population. For instance, the global population increased by billions in just the 20th century. The facts are staggering. For example, in 1900 the world’s population was 1.2 billion and, in 2018, it is 7.6 billion!

Xiamen slum dwellers street
Overpopulation – from Concern to a Blind Eye

What changed? Why don’t we hear about population issues now? Unfortunately, I believe the role of conservative religion played a part in suppressing this important issue. That is to say, the idea of controlling population through birth control measures got mixed up with the controversy over abortion–a very toxic subject. In the interests of transparency, I confess I believe in a woman’s right to have an abortion if she really doesn’t want the child. But putting the abortion issue aside for the moment, we should, at the very least, be addressing the challenge of overpopulation.  Contraceptives need to widely available–in the United States and abroad. Yet they aren’t. Why?

Here again, religion looms large. The dogma of the Catholic Church maintains birth control is a sin. Similarly, Islam teaches birth control is a sin. Moreover, many religious conservatives of all faiths share this belief. The U.S. government once provided contraceptives through its international aid programs, such as USAID. Unfortunately, the Bush administration reversed this initiative under the Global Gag Rule (see Population Action International below).

Even here, in the United States, access to modern birth control is now curtailed. For example, employers no longer have to provide contraceptives to women in their insurance coverage if they object to contraception for “moral” reasons. Furthermore, evangelical groups and organizations are trying to shut down Planned Parenthood clinics. Such is the power of the religious right.

Urban Slum, Favela, in Brazil
Overpopulation Statistics

The nonprofit organization Population Connection (formerly ZPG) reports:

• Worldwide, nearly half of all pregnancies are unintentional

• Not surprisingly, an estimated 214 million women want to avoid pregnancy, but lack access to modern contraception

• Every second of every day, our global population grows by 2.6 people

• At the current rate, the population of the least-developed countries will double in the next 30 years

In short, we ignore the danger of overpopulation at our peril. Controlling our population is one piece of the puzzle in our quest for a sustainable world. We need to separate the issues of contraception and abortion, push back on religious conservatives and reestablish the issue of overpopulation as a critical issue of our time.

In my college days, there was a slogan/bumper sticker that I thought said it all–“Every child a wanted child.” What a different world this would be, if only that were true.

For more information from Population Connection, click here: https://www.populationconnection.org

See Population Action International for more information:  https://pai.org

For information from Negative Population Growth, click here: http://www.npg.org

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, October 17, 2018. Email Anne Foreman anneforeman60@gmail.com

Rossmoor’s Dumpster Diva

Kathleen Epperson, Rossmoor’s Dumpster Diva, was the featured presenter at the January 2019 Sustainable Rossmoor (SR) meeting. She gave a lively history and experience of her and her neighbors becoming expert recyclers.

Kathleen gave dozens of examples of what she’s found in dumpsters. She also gave tips for deciding what to put in the blue recycle, grey landfill and green composting containers.

Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.

 

 

 

 

Have a “Trash Talk” party a your entry. Kathleen will help you plan it. Trash Talk parties provide discussion, questions and answers. Here are examples:

  • Question: Do you bag your clean, dry plastic bags inside a larger, see through plastic bag? Why Bag Bags?
  • Answer: Flimsy, loose bags fly off the truck… One reason plastic bags are on the side of the road! …or get stuck in the newspaper bundles Plastic contaminates the paper!

Tips from one of her slides: Found in RECYCLE but DOESN’T BELONG there!:

  • Salad dressing (bottle must be empty and without a cap )
  • Chicken bones in take-out container
  • Kleenex, cleaning wipes, paper towels
  • Fabric
  • Loose shredded paper (must be knotted in a bag)
  • Plants and dirt
  • Snack & candy wrappers

Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.Slide from Kathleen Epperson's presentation at January SR meeting.

 

 

 

 

Download her 38-slide PowerPoint presentation in pdf format by clicking on this link: Adventures of a Recycle Dumpster Diva.

The January 12, 2019 Rossmoor News had a first page article about Kathleen advocating for recycling. You can read “Dumpster Diva: Advocating for recyling is one woman’s mission.”

For more information see pages 18 through 22 of the 2019 Rossmoor phone book or go to RecycleSmart.org
For help planning a “Trash Talk” party for your entry contact Kathleen.

February Film: ECO-COMEDY SHORTS

ECO-COMEDY SHORT FILMS

WHEN: Wed, Feb 13, 7:00-8:30 pm

WHERE: Peacock Hall

DESCRIPTION: An Eco-Comedy collection of environmental short films that provoke thought . . . and chuckles!

A  special evening of light-hearted short films on a variety of environmental topics will be presented by Sustainable Rossmoor. Educating with humor can be a powerful . . . and fun. The club’s first Eco-Comedy production in 2017 was very popular; this is an all new collection.

A panel of Rossmoor judges previewed a large number of nominations submitted by residents as well as culled from national eco-comedy film festivals to create a delightful evening while taking a fresh look at a large variety of subjects. You might wonder, what could be amusing about global warming, climate change, solar energy, wind power, plastic, water pollution, air pollution, traffic, landfill, oil spills, concern for other species, food waste, overpopulation, or extreme weather. Come to the theater and find out; see if you agree that these environmental short films provoke thought . . . and chuckles!

Please make your suggestions for the club’s next collection of eco-comedy short films by using the “Contact us” link on this website.

For links to some of last year’s (2017) ECO-COMEDY SHORT FILMS selections, go to: https://sustainablerossmoor.org/eco-comedy-shorts/

Carbon Intensity

By Wayne Lanier, Ph.D.

Your average five-year-old in the West Texas oil fields knows the “geology of oil.”  His family is probably in the business, so he knows about oil.  He knows the history of West Texas about as well as a college geology major. Most of us don’t, so I will put this story in context.

In 1968, I returned to the United States after four years living and working in London. To get around, I bought a VW “Thing.” Its design is based on the German command car of WWII. It did not sell well, so was very cheap. I decided to visit my uncle, who lived in Midland, Texas. He was retired and living off his oil wells. I had not seen him in some years.

During the visit we talked of Carlsbad Cavern, a nearby attraction in New Mexico.  I decided to drive over to Carlsbad and tour the cavern, which I had not seen since childhood.

An Unexpected “Norther”

When I came out of the cavern darkness had fallen and so had snow from a “Norther.” A “Norther” is a blizzard in the 6,000-feet high flat land of the Llano.  Llano runs north from New Mexico and Texas all the way to Canada. I found the two local motels full, with beds even in the hallways. No room at the Inn.

So, in the darkness, I filled the gas tank and started the 160-mile drive back to Midland. The “Thing” had a canvass top, and a separate gasoline heater instead of drawing heat from the air-cooled engine.

Even with the heater on, it was dreadfully cold. The snow continued to fall. It was hard to see the road. Hours passed and the gas gauge continued to fall. You don’t stop in a Norther; if you do they dig your body out of the snow when it’s all over. Suddenly I topped a rise and saw hundreds of flares to my right. I had come to the big oil field outside Midland. I was safe. Even if I ran out of gas, I could hike over and sleep under the warmth of a flare.

The Permian Basin

Well, this is where the geology comes in. We have to think first about how oil comes to be. The oil in that field was in a rock formation called the Permian Basin. The Earth’s geological history is divided into periods. The Permian Period began about 350-million years ago and came to a close about 250-million years ago, thus comprising about 100-million years.

Gas Flaring

At that time continental drift had pushed the earlier continents together into one single continent now called Pangea. Pangea encircled a shallow sea, called the Tethys Sea. As continental drift continued, Pangea was pulled apart. One part, consisting of some upland above the sea basin drifted to a position where Russia is today and came to be recognized as a distinctive rock formation, named after the town of Perm – The Permian Formation.

Another part, including both upland and part of the shallow sea, drifted around the world to the present location of west Texas – the Permian Basin. The rim was pushed farther up by this process to become the present 3,000-foot upland where Midland is now located. The sea was covered by other continental material in a series of continental collisions and now lies from several hundred to several thousand feet below the plain.

During the latter part of the Permian’s 100-million years, the sea life in the shallow Tethys Sea lived and died.  Fish and vegetation remains settled in the mud to be covered by increasing layers of mud, then rock at greater and greater pressures. This vast amount of accumulating biological material became the west Texas oil field over the millions of years.

Pumping Oil, but Flaring Gas

Oil deep in the earth is under enormous pressure.  Its gas component stays dissolved in the oil, even when the oil rises to the surface. At the surface, the gas boils off the oil. It can be captured and piped to homes, but out in West Texas, as in most oil fields around the world, there aren’t many homes nearby.  Piping the gas would  cost more than its market value. So it is burned off in a flare. This is true for oil fields all over the world.

The scientific journal Science featured a “Policy Forum” article on such flares in August. The article’s authors examined data from 8,966 on-stream oil fields around the world (about 96% of world production). The total atmospheric carbon production from these burning flares amounts to 1.7-gigatonnes, a figure that will increase as oil fields age, to 23 percent of the total atmospheric carbon production in the next decades. Most of this production is too far away from population centers to support the cost of collecting and shipping this gas, either by pipeline or tankers. As long as we produce oil, this increase in atmospheric carbon will continue.

Courtesy of Rossmoor News, October 10, 2018 edition.  Email Wayne Lanier at waynelanier-phd@gmail.com

Sustainable Development Goal Ideas for Rossmoor

The United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), American concern about climate change and Sustainable Rossmoor (SR) planning for 2019 were the highlight topics at the December 2018 SR general meeting. Jim Ware motivated the attendees by describing the five of the 17 SDGs related to SR’s mission and led group discussions.

Five of the 17 UN SDGs related to SR goals are (click on links for descriptions, facts and figures, and 2030 targets):

 

 

 

 

 

Jim showed Yale Program on Climate Change Communication research results. Overall, 70% of Americans are worried about global warming. Additionally, it was noted we have about 12 years to change and save our environment.

After the presentation the attendees gathered in groups to discuss what SR accomplished and learned in 2019, and what SR should focus in 2019. Here are the results.

Accomplishments 2018:

  1. Handout related to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot was distributed to members and others.
  2. Earth Awareness Week was well attended
  3. Composting Pilot Program
  4. 30 EV charging stations on GRF properties
  5. Support for GRF Water Reclamation
  6. Earth Matters bi-monthly articles in Rossmoor News
  7. Monthly SR movies
  8. Formed residential solar committee/program
  9. Worked with GRF to get 2-stream trash containers
  10. Public advocacy with City of Walnut Creek and Recycle Smart to promote Reuse, Recycle, Rot
  11. Raised money for future Sustainable projects
  12. Organics recycling
  13. Right-sizing
  14. Sustainable Rossmoor initiated Assembly Bill 634 was passed which allows condo owners throughout California to install solar panels without concent from other owners
  15. MOD solar array
  16. Distribution of recycling bags and organic pails
  17. New posters ready to install in trash enclosures (Move In, Move Out, what goes where)
  18. Guest speakers were informative and provided new learning for attendees

Learned:

  1. Earth Awareness Week was over ambitious
  2. Continuous education is crucial
  3. Permit process through Walnut Creek is significant implication factor
  4. Work carefully with GRF management to get things done
  5. Difficult but possible to create change
  6. Working cooperative with GRF is beneficial for all
  7. We need to continue thinking creatively to encourage change
  8. Microplastics and sunscreen impact the oceans and our water

Brainstormed Focus Ideas for 2019:

  1. Continue outreach with Rossmoor and City of Walnut Creek
  2. Recycling compliance
  3. Continue awareness education and participation
  4. Survey Rossmoor residents to ascertain areas of expertise
  5. Continue to expand solar array and recycling programs
  6. Build culture
  7. Water conservation inside manors
  8. Collaborate with Garden Club on sustainable issues (no public water yet)
  9. More education regarding: Recycling, Water, Solar, Infrastructure updates = increased value of our property
  10. Develop legislation that precludes single-use plastic
  11. Sponsor events that demonstrate recycling

January Film: THE WAVE

JANUARY film: THE WAVE

When: Wednesday, JANUARY 9th, 7 pm;   Where: Peacock Theater   

This thrilling feature film about a landslide-generated tsunami opens with old news footage of a landslide hurtling toward a small town, and the statement “It’s only a matter of time before the next big disaster.”

The Film’s Location

It’s high season for tourists, yet Geologist Kristian Elkjord and his family are leaving their idyllic Norwegian village to move to the city . . . but they are one day too late. Although forewarned, no one is really ready when the mountain pass above the scenic, narrow fjord sends tons of rock and earth crashing into the water, causing a 280-foot high tsunami – the wave. Our hero works at the warning station, sounds the loud siren, but everyone has only ten minutes to get to higher ground. The drama that unfolds is based on reality.

Glaciers, Landslides, and Tsunamis

Such geologic catastrophes occur often in real-life, and they are becoming more common due to climate change and receding glaciers. Glaciers help to hold the walls of icy narrow valleys in place. When there is a large landslide with a sudden displacement of material into a body of water, a very large wave is created called a megatsunami. They are more than 10 times as large as the much smaller type of wave caused by an underwater earthquake.  Just such a tsunami hit the Sunda Strait in Indonesia after the collapse of a wall of the Krakatoa Volcano into the ocean during an eruption last month.

Landslide Tsunami Effect

Several megatsunamis have occurred in uninhabited fjords in Alaska. The largest on record occurred in 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska. It destroyed trees up to an elevation of 1720 feet — a third of a mile high. In 2015 (the same year our film was released) a 633-foot high megatsunami occurred in the Taan fjord in Alaska. In 2017, a fishing village in Greenland was washed into the sea and 4 people were killed. Scientists have identified and are monitoring multiple likely future sites all over the world.

 

This film won awards for best visual effects, best score, and best editing.

It is in Norwegian with English subtitles.   Length:  1 hr 45 min.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi2929702169

“Somebody Should Do Something About It”

As greenhouse gasses decrease, earth’s health with increase

By Jim Ware

If you are at all concerned about climate change, you have, like me, frequently uttered the phrase, “Somebody should do something about it.” 

Several years ago, a good friend commented, “One day I woke up and realized, ‘I am someone.'” Then he added, “That’s when I became an activist.”

When we talk about global climate change it often feels daunting. The problem is so big and so complex. Impactful solutions appear limited to global corporations and national governments. The reality is our actions matter, on a daily basis.  Our actions either compound or reduce the challenge of climate change.

Yes, your individual actions may seem minuscule, but if a butterfly flapping its wings in Shanghai can contribute to a thunderstorm in New York City, our individual actions, in combination with those of millions of other like-minded individuals, will certainly make a difference.

Project Drawdown

Several years ago, Paul Hawken convened a brainstorming session.  Hawken is an environmentalist, thought leader and activist. He asked the assembled experts what actions individuals could take to avoid “our becoming Venus.”  The result became known as Project Drawdown.  Its mission is to drawdown the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted annually into the atmosphere.  Its goal is reach a year when greenhouse gas emissions would peak and gradually decline.

Some of the Drawdown initiatives are indeed of such a scale that only multinational corporations can achieve them. However, Hawken recently told New York Times columnist David Bornstein, “There’s a belief that there’re only a few things individuals can do beyond recycling, riding a bike and eating less meat. In fact, there’s an extraordinary diversity of solutions to global warming that are at hand, being implemented and scaling.”

Two of Project Drawdown’s top four solutions are things we as individuals can do, on our own, every day.

Project Drawdown – Solution 3

Solution number 3 is reducing food waste. In the United States alone we throw away over 133 billion pounds of food every year. This waste is close to one-third of all the food we produce. Such wasted food production consumes energy and produces greenhouse gasses. It takes energy to grow crops, feed animals, process both and transport food from the farm to our tables. We are wasting a full third of the energy we use to produce, transport and consume food. That wasted food accounts for approximately eight percent (8%) of global emissions!

Farmers Market – Local produce is fresher

One of the biggest reasons for such waste is much of the produce we buy is already several weeks old when it reaches store shelves. Food travels long distances to reach the urban markets where most people live. California lettuce is shipped to New York, Boston and Philadelphia.  Washington apples find their way to Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.  Georgia peaches travel west, California tomatoes travel east. You get the picture.

Farm to Table

“Farm to table” is a concept gaining popularity and growing in practice. It generally means buying and consuming local food crops. Crops that have traveled far shorter distances are much fresher when you purchase them. Rossmoor’s Farmers’ Market is a perfect example. The number of urban farms is also increasing. Such farms are typically located much closer to the vast majority of consumers, again reducing both the time and the cost of moving the produce from farm to table.

Even more intriguing, many of these urban farms are indoors. Nor are they traditional greenhouses. For example, a converted steel mill on the south side of Chicago is now an organic soap factory. The renovation included a 75,000 square-foot enclosed rooftop greenhouse.  The greenhouse produces over one million pounds of fresh, pesticide-free leafy green vegetables a year. The greenhouse is actually an automated slow-moving conveyor belt. It begins with freshly-planted seeds at one end of the building and delivers fully-grown lettuce or other veggies to the other end about 30 days later.

Two current Walnut Creek City Council members spoke at Rossmoor during Earth Awareness Week last April. They showed several photographs of a vertical conveyor belt about five stories high that produces hydroponically-grown lettuce and other greens. The most exciting aspect of these indoor “farms” is the food grown this way uses 95 percent less water than traditional “dirt” farms and requires no pesticides because the buildings are kept sterile.

Hydoponic Lettuce
Project Drawdown – Solution 4

Project Drawdown’s other top solution that we can individually implement is moving to a more plant-based diet. That may be a more challenging kind of behavioral change than buying locally-grown fruits and vegetables, but it can have an even bigger impact. A new analysis, published in Science last June, reported meat and dairy production provides just 18 percent of calories and 37 percent of the protein consumed worldwide, but requires  83 percent of farmland and produces 60 percent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing the amount of meat and dairy products in your diet does not mean you have to become a vegan or give up meat altogether. However, as Hawken observes, “Levels of protein that are healthier for you are healthier for the planet and atmosphere, too.”

Reversing global climate change will take far more than individual actions like the two I’ve described here. But every step we take in the right direction helps – especially if many of us take action. Remember, you are “someone;” you can do something about climate change right now.

For more information about Project Drawdown click here: https://www.drawdown.org

Courtesy of Rossmoor News, September 19, 2018.  Email Jim Ware at jim@jimware.com

Monsanto Loses Historic Lawsuit

By Karen Perkins

A San Francisco jury recently awarded DeWayne Johnson $289 million from Monsanto Chemical Corporation.  Johnson was a Benicia Public School groundskeeper.  He has Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of cancer.  For years he applied Monsanto’s product, Roundup/glyphosate, on school grounds.

The jury found Roundup/glyphosate, “having been a substantial factor in causing Mr. Johnson’s cancer.”

The lead attorneys representing Johnson were Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brent Wisner.  After the verdict, Wisner said, “We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that…Roundup could cause cancer.”

In addition, their case was strengthened by the World Health Organization having declared Roundup/glyphosate “a probable carcinogen” and California’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placing Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, on the Proposition 65 list as “Known to the state of California to cause cancer.”

Johnson is 46 years old. He has terminal cancer and is expected to live only to 2020.

You might think your exposure to Roundup is small, certainly less than Johnson’s.

But how would you know? There is often little to no prominently displayed postings near where it has been sprayed. It has been sprayed for decades on school grounds, park grounds, grounds of public buildings, businesses, offices, shopping centers, median strips and walking trails.

In fact, Roundup is the most widely and heavily used herbicide in the history of the world.

Applying herbicides and pesticides on crops
Roundup’s Spreading Toxic Effects

What has been the cumulative effect, particularly for those with chronic exposures over many decades, as well as for those with more constant exposures, such as Johnson, a pesticide/herbicide applicator? While Johnson’s particular case focused on Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, many independent studies by reputable scientists at highly esteemed universities indicate Roundup/glyphosate may cause all sorts of cancers as well as autoimmune and neurological diseases.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes her studies of Roundup show it to be a major factor in the rise of autism and dementia. Similarly, we now know smoking tobacco is a “substantial factor” contributing to heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia and other diseases as well as causing cancer. Independent scientists have also found glyphosate contributes to many health problems by disrupting beneficial intestinal bacterial mechanisms.

Employing the Tobacco Handbook

Industry observers accuse Monsanto of sowing doubt and confusion, suppressing unfavorable scientific studies, cherry picking data, buying scientists and politicians and having cozy relationships with regulatory agencies. Additionally, at least one Monsanto vice president became a deputy administrator of the EPA. In other words, Monsanto borrowed from Big Tobacco’s playbook and tactics.

There are 4,000 individual cases pending against Monsanto all over the United States. The jury found “Monsanto acted with malice.”  It awarded a $289 million fine, of which $250 million are in punitive damages to Johnson).  The size of the fines are unprecedented. Anyone following this issue for decades is rejoicing and hoping that Monsanto’s game may be up.

Monsanto, anticipating billions in fines, is trying to “hide” by merging with Bayer Chemical Corporation. It is appealing the case and obviously will try, by any legal means, to avoid monetary compensation.

Ripple Effects Will Last for Years

If Monsanto is successful, it’s likely plaintiffs will start suing the employers using Monsanto’s and similar products. Employers, like the Benicia School District where Johnson worked, and/or their landscaping companies. The potential cascading effect will create real financial liability for these companies and employers.

Several countries, cities, counties and municipalities worldwide have already banned Roundup. Wisner said the verdict sent a message to Monsanto.  He added, “its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits.”

Courtesy of the Rossmoor News, August 29, 2018. Email Karen Perkins kper@sbcglobal.net

December Film: CARBON NATION

December film: Carbon Nation

When: Wednesday, December 12, 7 pm; Where: Peacock Theater

DOCUMENTARY FOCUS

Carbon Nation, a peppy documentary directed by Peter Byck, is perfectly timed given the urgency of the climate crisis publicized in the recent IPCC report. It is addressed to Americans who already believe that we must make drastic changes in the way we live as a nation and as individuals. But even more, it is targeted to those who do not care or are antagonistic toward talk of global warming. That is why you will see spokespersons for large corporations, the military, and entrepreneurs stating that a low-carbon economy is good for business. Byck has gathered an astonishing and varied group of American citizens to educate us about solutions to the very-real crisis we are facing. It’s pragmatism is appealing across the political spectrum. It celebrates solutions, inspiration, and action.

LOW CARBON ACTIVISTS

The most enthusiastic and hopeful believer in a low-carbon economy and its positive impact on poor people is Van Jones, a civil rights activist who founded Green For All which brings new jobs in this burgeoning field to disadvantaged communities. A magic moment for him is watching trainees of Solar Richmond & Grid Alternatives installing solar panels in a California home.

Another activist is Bernie Karl, a geothermal pioneer in Alaska who has found a way to use 165 degree water to create geothermal power. He has come up with what many are calling a game-changing technology which can wean us from dependence on oil.

Dan Nolan, a former army colonel, shares the workings of the Green Hawks, people in the U.S. Department of Defense who are pushing the Pentagon’s move toward energy efficiency and sustainable power. There is a competition among base commanders around the US to become the first net-zero-energy base, to create all the energy they use, to use water in the most efficient manner, and to have bio-waste energy generators on base. Being off the grid makes the military more resistant to terrorism.

Cliff Etheredge, a rancher in West Texas, brags about the money he and others are making by leasing their land to wind companies. This project of green energy has brought new life back to a dying community.

Others featured in this engrossing documentary talk about:

  • the benefits of white roofs (Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld),
  • the search for a biofuel replacement for jet fuel (Richard Branson),
  • the generation of energy at or near the site where energy is used (Amory Lovins),
  • the fact that going green will save U.S. companies millions of dollars and create many new businesses (Thomas I. Friedman),
  • the benefits of plug-in hybrid cars (R. James Woolsey),
  • and the challenge of making energy efficiency in homes and offices universally accessible (James Rogers).

CONSENSUS VIEW

The consensus view of these movers and shakers in American society is that climate change can be dealt with before it is too late, but only if citizens, politicians, scientists, and businesses all work together on some of the solutions presented on Carbon Nation.

It is 84 minutes long. Sorry, no captions.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLs73KJI36w