more information about area environmental organizations
issues and events, go to www.EAGLE-EcoSource.org
of an Environmentalist Gone Mad 07/29/2002
The trees in “my” yard keep telling
me to relax. I don’t know how to do that. We were raised
to work, to produce, to be successful. They have it easy:
absorb nutrients from the soil, the wind and the sun and
spend the rest of their time just swaying---just relaxing.
Me, on the other hand, I can’t stop producing, like a
workhorse, and consuming, like diesel truck. I
guess I’m like my dad, in that way. And he was like his
dad, and so on and so on. But I’ve got a new role model.
It’s a 29 year old birch tree.
Environmental Tidbit of the Week
Researchers at Britain’s Meteorological Office said this
week that 2002 is shaping up to be the hottest year on
record. A while back, a United Nations panel of 250 scientists from around the world have
created potential computer models for global climate change,
and so far we’re keeping pace with their “worse case scenarios”.
According to Briony Horton, of the Meteorological Office, those worse case
scenarios “would cause major
problems of melting icecaps and tremendous flooding,"
If 2002 continues as predicted, this will be #1 in the
top ten hottest year ever recorded,
with the other 9 hottest years having occurred since 1990.
of the Week
“We are not interested in changing minds. Minds have always
followed the passions of the heart. We are interested
in opening hearts.”
Ken Carey- The Third Millennium
Local Home Depot Breaks Environmental
The 13 Home
Depot stores in Minnesota, including the Duluth location,
were recently fined by the Minnesota Pollution Control
Agency (MPCA) for mismanagement of
toxic pollutants within the stores. The original fine
was recently increased, due to an MPCA inspector spot
checking the Duluth location and finding they still weren’t
operating up to environmental codes, despite the initial
stores were allowing fluorescent tube bulbs to leak toxic
mercury gases into the shopping environment. According
to the MPCA press release, these pollutants “can cause
neurological damage in fetuses and young children”. In
addition, the stores weren’t following state laws regarding
lead-acid batteries. Supposedly the stores are now operating
up to code.
Diary of an Environmentalist Gone
So I’ve got a boy cat and a girl cat. Both are
“fixed” (like they were ever broken), but Boy Cat keeps
trying to make love to Girl Cat. She just gets pissed,
but he’s just looking for a little pleasure in what can
often be a sterile world. I recognize this in our human
genes. It’s far too familiar, and I can’t help but feel
like it’s an example of how evolution hasn’t completed
its job yet. We are far from perfect. If I was the God
of Natural Selection, we’d all be making love a whole
lot more frequently. There’d
be a lot more harmony on this planet if all the Boy Cats
didn’t feel so frustrated and all the Girl Cats didn’t
look so irritated.
Polls Show Golf Course Idea Sucks
A recent poll
on Duluth.com offered further verification of citizen
sentiment towards Spirit Mountain and the proposed golf
course. 72% of voters said there should NOT be a golf
course built on our area old growth forest on Spirit Mountain.
Interestingly enough, a similar poll was held by KDLH
last summer, and there is very little variance between
these two surveys. The KDLH poll found 76% of voters were
opposed to the golf course. Despite what the overwhelming
majority of people want, Mayor Doty and his Big Business
friends are now working with the state of MN to greenlight this ecological atrocity. This is not a democracy.
A group of passionate
local folk are organizing and training citizens for peaceful
intervention on the Spirit Mountain issue. More info--Joel
Kilgour (724-2054). You can
also donate to the Spirit Mountain Legal Defense Fund
by calling that same number. In the meantime, the bulldozers
are getting tuned-up to dig up the ashes of the Anishinabe
people buried on that sacred land.
---An acre of trees can store 2.6 tons
of carbon each year. This can compensate for automobile
fuel use equivalent to driving a car between 7,200 and
---An acre of trees can remove
between 287 and 651 tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide,
carbon monoxide, ozone and partriculate
matter per year.
---An acre of trees will provide
about 2.8 tons of oxygen per year. This is enough for
---Trees can reduce runoff as
much as 40% and reduce the costs of treating stormwater
runoff by decreasing the volume of water handled during
periods of peak rain events.
State Undergoes Record
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
is being reduced on record levels, due to recent legislative
cutbacks. Cutting environmental programs is pretty typical
when there’s a Republican ruled government, but current
reductions are setting new landmarks. The DNR is currently
being forced to cut over $13 million. 108 jobs will be
lost, as well as cutbacks in the Parks and Recreation
Department and reduced camping opportunities in the state.
Commissioner Steve Morse said of the cuts, “It’s gut-wrenching.
Historically, Minnesota has done a good job looking long-term,''
Morse said. "I'm concerned that is unraveling.” The
DNR is also expecting cutbacks for fiscal years 2004/2005
with a possibility of a 10 percent budget reduction, which
would mean $30 million in cuts for each of the next two
Another Local Environmental Treasure
The Skyline Harbor Airport on Park Point is looking at expanding,
again, and area residents aint
too happy ‘bout it. The
airport would like to cut into the Minnesota Point Pine
Forest to build new hangars, expand tarmacs, and install
fencing. Opponents of the expansion say Park Point needs
to be preserved, as it is the longest natural fresh water
sand spit in the continental US (seems like a good reason).
of the Park Point Community Club said of the proposal
“This forest resource means more than just old trees.
It is an incredible birding area, has the only beach grass
on Minnesota's Lake Superior shoreline, and also represents
the extent of the original shoreline prior to dredge-filling
operations. Once this forest habitat is gone, it cannot
be replaced, and this area will be disrupted indefinitely.”
To get involved, contact Kinnan
Don’t Swim In There!
a new Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report,
U.S. beach closures from pollution increased an alarming
19% last year. Duluth’s immediate area beaches (Park Point,
Pike Lake, and Twin Ponds) received excellent grades for
monitoring of pollution related health risks (the water
is checked weekly), and warnings are put out as needed.
that received poor grades for monitoring in the NRDC report
(having little or no monitoring of contamination) include
Babbit Beach, Carey Lake, and
McCarthy State Park Beach. Barkers Island
Beach fell somewhere in between the previously listed
categories. More info: call the Environmental Association
for Great Lakes Education 218-940-7186.
of an Environmentalist Gone Mad 08/04/2002
I got a weird message from the prairie behind my house the
other night. They said they need land for habitat more
than I need a lawn for aesthetics (only 1% of native long-grass
prairie left in MN). I agreed and made a pact with the
field. Two days later, I fell blind again. Like
I always do. I had forgotten my promise to the
prairie. I pulled out the mower and started chopping.
Suddenly, I see a beautiful snake squirming in the grass,
so I stop and bend over to say ‘hi’. It’s then that I
notice its brains are gushing out of its head. I had accidentally
run it over with the mower. I cried as it bled and had
epileptic fits on my lap. Now that snake and my son live
together on the sun. The mower hasn’t come out since.
Hunters Die From Deer Brain Disease?
the horrifying scenes of “rabid” cows suffering from Mad
Cow Disease overseas just a couple of years ago? Well
Wisconsin is now seeing a similar epidemic move through
its deer population. Among deer and elk, the disturbing
illness has been taking the form of Chronic Wasting Disease
(CWD). Thousands of the state’s deer have recently
been killed, in an attempt to contain this fatal neurological
disorer, and scientists fear it may be contagious to humans.
In fact, the potential for humans to contract the disease
is so great, Wisconsin wildlife managers are seeking to
eradicate deer in three counties, by shooting some 25,000
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
has recently announced it is investigating the deaths
of Wisconsin hunters who have died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease, a rare neurological disorder that has been tied
in Europe to eating meat from cattle infected with Mad
Cow Disease. In response, the Bush Administration has
said it will test nearly a million deer for CWD in the
nine states where the epidemic exists (that includes Minnesota).
Mad Cow Disease
(bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is the same strain of disease
as CWD. The disease was initially spread by feeding cattle
the left-over slaughter remains of other cattle. So far,
125 people have died horrifying deaths in Europe by eating
meat contaminated with the disease. The toll it
will take on the U.S. is uncertain. For more info, go
Saturday August 10 (9am), Skyline Planning and Preservation
Alliance Interpretive Hike along Kingsbury and Knowlton
Creeks. Meet at Beaner's Café in West Duluth. More info: Nancy Nelson 728-1002
-Sunday, Aug. 11 (4-8pm) Duluth Public Policy Alliance Annual Picnic.
Public is welcome. Potluck, music, speakers,
fun. Chambers Grove Park, Fond Du
Lac. More info: Barb Olsen Browne 349-6681
Aug.17 (11-3) Midsummer Organic Food Festival. Free and
open to the public. Organic food and farmers, great music,
door prizes, farm animals, kids activities, and more. At the Whole Foods Co-op parking
lot 1332 E. 4th St. More info: Dianna von Rabenau
-Saturday, Aug. 17 (9-3) Sugarloaf Interpretive Center Anniversary
Party. All public welcome.
interpretive hikes, environmental speakers, info tables,
music and more. At the Sugarloaf
Interpretive Center—9096 Highway 61, Schroeder, MN. More info:
Terri Port-Wright 879-4334.