May 18, 1980, thirty-five years ago tomorrow, Mt St Helens in Washington State went off like a bomb, killing 57 people and turning hundreds of square miles of beautiful forest into a wasteland.
Here’s a handy dandy graphic from the Wiki page of what happened during the blast:
I was living near Lake Shasta at the time, and working at the K-Mart just off I-5 in Redding. I was amazed at the uptick in the numbers of travelers going north; we could tell who they were because they were buying stacks and stacks of crappy K-Mart air filters for their cars. My thought was, “Why drive into that mess on purpose?,” but I guess they had their reasons — maybe selling crappy air filters to the masses. :D
Thankfully, no one in my family was living in northern at the time. My parents and younger sister moved to Moscow the next year, so they could establish residency before my dad started law school in 1982. To hear the old people around Moscow tell it, they received anywhere from a couple inches to 12 feet of ash. As much of a nightmare as it was, I’m pretty sure it was closer to a couple inches than it was to a foot — let alone 12 feet.
Exciting times!! My inner geology geek was pinging like mad…
This is our daily open thread — where were you the day Mt St Helens went off?
I often joked that a stick of dynamite is a powerful rivers restoration tool that is under utilized. Science backs me me up.
Actually, dynamite would be irresponsible in and of itself, but you get the idea. There are alternatives to dams for hydroelectric, flood control and irrigation. As a nation, we don’t have the same courage to fund their replacements that we had when we built many of them in depths of the Great Depression, when we REALLY had no money as a nation. Removing dams would be the number one improvement in rivers to get our salmon and steelhead runs back on the recovery track.
Open thread, discuss.
The good times are here. Well, let’s say there is some good news this week with respect to the environment. The first two have to do with the importance of biodiversity and resiliency in nature. Who could be against that? The last shows that we can have clean energy and jobs. In Georgia, of all places. Who could be against that?
Yes our common weed that itches like crazy when you brush against it also has the same effect on cancer cells.
A way too early study, with more research to come.
Open thread, discuss.
Today environmental news and food politics cross paths, in the UK anyway.
I can just see the proposals now for a pipeline connecting the Great Lakes with California after seeing this bit: Record low snowpacks in Southwest is bad news for water supplies
And the last bit of good news…
Open thread, discuss.
I’ll be brief. I received, this week, the following email from Defenders of Wildlife concerning current and recent efforts by Congressional Republicans to effectively decimate if not completely do away with the Endangered Species Act.
From Defenders of Wildlife:
Anti-wildlife Senators showed their true colors last week as they unleashed a torrent of proposals that if adopted, could cripple endangered species conservation efforts for years to come.
Proposals ranged from delaying the listing of highly imperiled species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to restricting access to the courts to enforce the ESA, to creating loopholes in restrictions on the elephant ivory trade for special interests.
The proposals came as part of the shameless free-for-all in the Senate known in Washington as “vote-o-rama.” Technically, it’s part of the Congressional budget process, but in practice it’s little more than a special interest stampede to raid the federal budget and advance extreme ideological agendas.
Here’s just a sampling of what was proposed:
Amendment #759 by Senator Mike Lee would ban federal protection for any endangered species whose range falls entirely within one state. Roughly half of all endangered species would fall under this exception and lose federal protection.
Amendment #452 by Senator Dean Heller would indefinitely delay a listing decision on the dwindling population of greater sage-grouse under the ESA, making it all but impossible to provide federal protection for this imperiled species.
Amendment #606 by Senator Steve Daines would relax restrictions on trade in elephant ivory, creating further enforcement loopholes that would aggravate the poaching crisis that these magnificent creatures face.
While these proposals never made it to an actual vote, their Senate sponsors have tipped their hands and identified their anti-ESA agendas – and many of these proposals are likely to be reintroduced in the Senate in the months ahead.
Thanks for all you do.
To date, nothing introduced in Congress has made it past the opening stumbling blocks, but rest assured that raucous attempts will continue because . . . profits are easier and larger when not encumbered by silly environmental and wildlife protection mandates. And really, it’s just that simple.
So. Please. Take a moment. Click on the link. Ask your Senators to help STOP the assault on the Endangered Species Act. Help halt the idiocy.
Human antibiotics in meat took another downturn today as club wholesaler Costco is phasing them out of its stores. The story is that Big Agriculture gets the bright idea to doctor the food without studies to determine safety. The FDA goes along because , well, what can be the harm? Only later do we find antibiotic resistance on the rise. As a therapist I knew once said ‘think before you stink’. Can this apply to corporations too?
Here’s an interesting twist on milk. An Australian researcher claims that milk of most westerners contains a-1 proteins. This a-1 protein was a genetic accident 10,000 years ago in some dairy cattle. Now it is all we drink. The researcher says that a-2 protein is what existed before in these herds, and is what most of the worlds drinks. The research is claiming that a-2 milk is more compatible with the human digestive system. Californians will be the first to tell us whether a-2 is better.
Happy St. Patty’s Day. Open thread.