February 19, 2007

A look in the mirror

In the comments section on a couple of older topics on this blog, we have been discussing environmental issues and how we can personally make a difference. This is really exciting to me because i think that it is really easy to make simple changes in your everyday life that reflect your true convictions and make this world a better place. We have all heard optimists call America "the land of opportunity" and in this area, they are right. We all make a range of choices every day that impact the world around us, and in making those choices, we have a range of options with different impacts.

In order to make a positive change, I think that it is important to recognize our current negative impacts. It can be easy to point the finger at other "less developed" countries and say that they are doing terrible things to the environment or to their workers, but in many cases, we are directly connected to those events.

Polluting factories in China and India are producing cheap clothes and toys that are sold primarily... in America.

People are clear-cutting the rainforest in brazil to raise beef that is sold in American Fast Food Restaurants. McDonalds buys this beef because they save $0.05 per burger if they buy it from South America where there are looser environmental regulations.

So when we shift the blame to other countries who are doing damage to the environment, we HAVE to recognize our part in fueling this. Every time you buy something, you are adding to the market statistics that demand certain products and services. The American market demands cheap stuff. When you buy clothes at Walmart you are supporting the practices of Chinese factories (very often terrible environmental and humanitarian standards). When you buy a Burger from McDonalds, you are supporting deforestation in Brazil.

If you want to make a difference, back up your beliefs with your actions.

Personally, I have decided not to eat fast food because I will not support their environmental practices (fast food is really bad for you anyhow). I haven't eaten fast food in a couple of years. I used to LOVE the way it tastes, and it sure is convenient and cheap, but it just isn't worth it to me.

Also, I don't buy clothes at Walmart or other big chains like that. This was an environmental and humanitarian decision. Again, they are really cheap and sometimes really cool, but just not worth it to me.

You have to change your habits a little bit, but it really isn't hard to back your beliefs with action. It isn't expensive either. When people say it is, that is a myth spawned out of laziness and unwillingness to change. I don't spend any more money on food or clothes now that I buy mostly organic and fair trade. Some things are a little bit more expensive, but still worth it. I buy wind energy for my home. True, it is a little bit more money, but it really isn't very much, and it gives me such a great feeling to be supporting my convictions in this way.

If you want to make some changes, I really encourage you to try. I would be more than happy to point you in the direction of some more earth friendly choices if you want.

P.S. I don't want to come across as self righteous or pompous. I am really excited about some of the changes and decisions I have made over the past few years and I have been really surprised about how easy and rewarding some of these changes have been. am really excited to tell people about them. Also I know that I have a long way to go to live entirely the way I want to. One step at a time.

Posted by collin on 11:53 AM | Comments (4)

February 13, 2007

How many earths would be needed

If everyone lived like you?

I would need 3.5 earths.

How many would you need?

Update: This site seems like a scam. I went in and filled out "best case scenario." I was vegan, lived in a 500 square foot green inspired designed house with no electricity with 7 other people. I ate only locally grown produce and relied on footpower for all my transportation. I didn't fly or drive or anything. And it said my lifestyle would take up one full earth!!!! WHAT???? It said my lifestyle took up 4 acres.

Environmental concerns are vaild, why do organizations have to exaggerate and play loose with the numbers like this? It's maddening.

Posted by jason on 11:21 AM | Comments (18)

February 12, 2007

An Incredible Opportunity

ucs-wind-turb-4g4-01.jpg

On Thursday, a new bill was introduced in the House that could be the best chance to finally pass strong, national renewable energy policy—but early support is needed.

This bill would require utilities to generate or buy 20 percent clean, renewable energy by 2020. This bill would create a large and growing market for clean and truly renewable sources of energy. It would save all of us a LOT of money, it would create a LOT of new jobs for Americans, and it would do an INCREDIBLE amount of good for the environment.

Energy from the sun and wind lasts forever and conserves resources for future generations. By requiring utilities to generate an increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable resources—rather than fossil fuels which emit carbon dioxide, soot, mercury, and other pollutants (they are very bad for the environment)—a national renewable energy policy would dramatically expand America’s use of solar, wind, geothermal, and energy from crops.

Analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists of a 20 percent RPS shows that the standard will:

--create 355,000 new jobs, nearly twice as many jobs as generating the same amount of electricity from fossil fuels;

--save consumers a total of $49 billion dollars on their utility bills for both natural gas and electricity

--reduce carbon dioxide emissions—the main cause of global warming—by over 400 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 71 million cars off the road or planting 104 million acres of trees.

CLICK HERE to write to your representative. It is really easy. When you click that link, you will go to a page where there is a letter already filed out. You can either send that letter, or change it and send a letter with your own thoughts and words. The really cool part is this: when you put in your address, zip, etc... this site automatically sends your letter to your representative. You don't have to look them up or anything. If you don't want to be on any email lists or anything, just uncheck the boxes at the bottom of the page (right before the "send this message" button.

Thanks for caring and doing your part to make this world a better place.

Posted by collin on 12:28 PM | Comments (9)

February 08, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

I just recently watched the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and I thought that it was very interesting. I love the environment dearly and I was very interested to hear what the movie had to say. I was slow to see it because I have heard so many negative things about Al Gore and his presentation of the issue, but when I heard that Al Gore was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and this movie was nominated for an Oscar I couldn't wait any longer.

The movie is a documentary that focuses on global warming, environmental degradation, and, more specifically, on the relationship that humans play in these issues.

By now everyone knows that global warming is a fact. What is always debated and questioned is the role that humans play. I thought that the movie did a very good job of presenting scientific findings in these areas. Gore explains how scientists study and measure climate change, carbon emissions, and the relationship between human actions and climate change. Best of all, the movie ends by giving many examples of things people can do every day to live in a more environmentally responsible way. I would highly recommend watching the movie.

One thing that I think is very annoying is that people who don't like Al Gore or people who don't want to take any responsibility for their role in global warming are very quick to point out the flaws in the movie and then throw the baby out with the bath water. Sure, Al Gore should change some things about his personal life to be more in line with what he is preaching. Sure, he is a sore loser and he takes many opportunities to turn the movie into a commercial for himself. I was annoyed by those things too, BUT that is no excuse to ignore all of the facts that are presented in the film. Also, the movie does have an agenda and data that was used in the movie was used to selectively highlight his points. However, it was real data and it should be given public attention. One section of the movie was dedicated to comparing publications in scientific journals vs. the popular press. It was fascinating to see the discrepancy between what the average person hears vs what the average scientist finds.

I am very thankful for this movie. At the very least, it FINALLY brings this issue into the spotlight and will spark research, publication, conversation, and hopefully... change.

Has anyone else seen it? If so, what did you think?

Posted by collin on 02:32 PM | Comments (4)

December 14, 2006

Welcome to a brighter, cleaner future!

I am proud to bring you the best news I have heard in a very long time!!! Someone has developed a 100% renewable and clean energy source. We've been drinking it forever, but this guy is saving the world with it.

As reported on Neatorama:

With all the hype over hydrogen fuel cells (still not very feasible), Denny Klein has been silently developing a unique way to generate a gas called HHO. It has the benefits of burning hotter than hydrogen while maintaining the stability of water. At first he was just looking for a better way to weld but soon realized he had developed an inexpensive and environmentally safe way to fuel just about everything.


He is designing duel fuel hummer for the U.S. military (water and gasoline) and is negotiating with members of congress and automobile manufacturers.

I am unspeakably happy about this! Fossil fuels are the source of so much evil! Political tension, wars, pollution, carcinogenic fumes, incredible environmental destruction, and, dare I say it, Global warming.

Laura and I were just talking the other day about things that we would really and truly die for. I told her that I would die to find a new energy source, but it looks like I might have a new lease on life.

I hope to God that this is real, practical, and made available very very soon!

Here is the website

Posted by ian on 12:38 AM | Comments (9)

March 17, 2006

This has to be great for the Fishies

So, did you know that Chicago literally dyes the water green around Saint Patrick's Day? I guess that it's a peace of Lake Michigan, maybe, it's been a while since geography, I don't know.

Somebody just was showing me that, and I thought that it was pretty cool/weird.

Saint Patricks Day 6.jpg

Saint Patricks Day 4.jpg

Saint Patricks Day 3.jpg
(All these pictures are simply "borrowed" from Google Images.)

Posted by shane on 11:48 AM | Comments (6)

March 10, 2006

BP, what's your carbon footprint now?

You know that we as a band are against ANWAR artic drilling. Here's why. I got this email from Drew McConville of the Wilderness Society today.

It involves BP, who has done a good job of convincing the consumer that they care about mucking up the world.

BREAKING: Largest Oil Spill Ever on Alaska’s North Slope
After days of lowball estimates (ten times lower!), BP and cleanup officials finally announced today that 201,000 to 267,000 gallons of crude oil were likely spilled this week in Prudhoe Bay, an area just west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The spill -- the largest in the history of Alaska’s North Slope -- underscores the fact that oil drilling is a dirty business and has no business in a world-class wildlife refuge. Such a large spill should make it even harder for the drilling lobby to sell their unwanted plan to drill the Arctic Refuge.

AP story
BP’s press release

Abuse of Power: Senate Rules Twisted to Push Arctic Refuge Drilling… Again
The full Senate will vote next week on whether or not to pass a budget resolution whose only instructions would be to the Energy Committee to authorize drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Because they cannot pass their shortsighted drilling plan by any other means, pro-drilling GOP leaders are manipulating the federal budget for the sole purpose of forcing Arctic Refuge drilling through the Senate by a bare majority. Although they tried the same scheme last year, Senator Stevens and his allies are not even pretending that this year’s budget instructions have anything to do with balancing the budget anymore.

Statement from The Wilderness Society

Posted by jason on 04:56 PM | Comments (3)

December 30, 2005

Mountains and Mole-hills

mountain_molehill.jpg

Posted by collin on 10:23 AM | Comments (1)

December 21, 2005

Artic Refuge is Safe. For Now.

First Fair Hill, and now this. This has actually been quite a good year for environmental causes.

I say good thing, no doubt. People talk about lessoning our dependence on foreign oil. I say lesson our dependence on oil, period. We're smart people, and there are alternative energy processes that we can exploit.

Posted by jason on 02:59 PM | Comments (1)

December 06, 2005

Another video Update

Hello everyone.

Here is another video. It is quite funny, I think. (Ian is the wonder filmographer, filmer... camera man. whatever. he is the one responsible for capturing this timeless jewel on tape, or gigabytes or something...)

There may be another version with audio sometime soon on here.

Does anyone know any good free video uploading sites?

well, without further adieu, here be a picture link for this fantabulous video:

Posted by shane on 12:42 AM | Comments (7)

November 27, 2005

Congratulations!!!

Everyone, an important update. Ian and Collin are out fishing in the bay ALL NIGHT on the pier! They just sent me this picture from collin's cell phone.
coll.jpg
(They probably just borrowed someone else's fish for a quick picture. haha. I can say that because they're far away, and they will be too tired to beat me up tomorrow.)

This is way more fun than writing that essay...

Posted by shane on 12:25 AM | Comments (14)

November 08, 2005

Senator Arlen Specter Supports Drilling ANWR

Today I got an email response from one of my senators, Senator Arlen Specter. I had written to him last week about my thoughts on the ANWR issue. As it turns out, he supports drilling ANWR and was one of the ones who voted to start selling of parts of this valuable reserve.

I thought it was pretty nice of him (or one of his secretaries) to take the time to write back and tell me his thoughts on the issue. It was a pretty long and detailed letter though, and I started to get suspicious. I google searched a line from the letter and found the same letter, word for word, posted on 10 other people's weblogs. Well, even if it is just a form letter that he has one of his secretaries send out to the environmental crazies, it was still nice to get a response. And you have got to give him props for being honest and not just saying something like. . . "thanks for your thoughts. I will definitely take that into consideration for my future votes."

Read the letter after the link:

Dear Mr. Palkovitz:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the possibility of opening a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to energy exploration and development. I appreciate hearing from you.

In my twenty ‑four years in the Senate, there have been few more heavily lobbied issues than ANWR exploration. I have personally visited the area and my support for oil and natural gas exploration in ANWR is a tough policy choice for me, but one I view as necessary in light of the rising costs for home heating oil, diesel fuel, gas at the pump, and our long-range national security needs. It is especially difficult because of my commitment to protecting the environment for future generations, as evidenced by my strong environmental voting record.

On one occasion in the past, I voted against exploration in ANWR, but the time has come where we must reduce our reliance on OPEC oil through a number of means, including at least limited oil exploration in ANWR. Of course, this must be done with the maximum protection for the environment that is possible, which would be required under Federal law. Past energy bill proposals would limit acreage eligible for exploration, which, combined with today's technology can mitigate environmental impacts of exploration in the area. Such technological advances include: the extended reach of multi-directional drilling, which can decrease "footprints", reduce waste, and increase the amount of product recovered; high resolution imaging that produces more precise well locations and consequently reduces the number of wells needed to access reserves; and the use of ice roads and winter season drilling techniques to maximize the season and reduce the amount of time to bring the reserves to market, while recognizing the needs of wildlife.

Tapping domestic supplies is only one of many steps that must be taken to free the U.S. from dependence on OPEC. To rely on the Saudis and Iran is to court disaster. Our reliance on domestic oil has broad ‑ranging implications on our policy in the Middle ‑East including our support for Israel. While debating energy policy during the 107 th and 108 th Congresses, I supported significant increases in renewable energy, generated from wind, the sun, biomass, hydro and geothermal sources. I have also supported expanding tax credits for clean coal technologies and I led efforts to mandate a reduction of U.S. oil consumption by one million barrels per day by 2013. It is only through concerted efforts to reduce projected U.S. oil consumption and to utilize domestic energy resources that our nation will be able to become energy independent.

Again, thank you for your thoughts on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Rest assured that I will take your thoughts into consideration if the Senate debates this issue in the 109 th Congress. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office or visit my website at http://specter.senate.gov .

Sincerely,

Arlen Specter

Apparently he thinks the potential of making money and becoming more autonomous as a country (no matter how small of a step it is) is worth going back on the Government's word and re-writing history. The fact that much of the land in question was legally set aside as land belonging to the native people living there doesn't matter to him. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The American Government has been stealing land they designated to native people since our country's foundation. Nothing new there.

I also thought some of his lines were entertaining and revealing. . . Here is my personal favorite. "To rely on the Saudis and Iran is to court disaster."

Posted by collin on 10:41 AM | Comments (4)

November 04, 2005

Senate Approves Drilling ANWR

Yesterday, by a 52-47 vote, the US Senate directed the Department of the Interior to begin selling oil leases within four years in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), with the goal of lowering the deficit and helping to pay for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Oil would not be available for another ten years, and according to a 2003 DOE report, opening the Alaska refuge to drilling would only reduce U.S. dependence on imported crude oil in 2025 from 70 percent to 66 percent. The House of Representatives decides next week on whether to keep the drilling measure in the bill.

This is what ANWR currently looks like.
ANWR-OkpikakFlowers.jpg

ANWR-OkpikakFoothills.jpg

ANWR-PolarBear.jpg

These are pictures of current oil facilities in Alaska. These facilities meet the same environmental regulations the proposed drilling would. This is considered "clean" drilling.

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So, over the next 20 years, if we get the most we possibly can out ANWR, we may reduce our dependency on foreign oil by 4%.

There are several reasons why I find the whole concept of drilling in Alaska to be disturbing.

1. This land was set aside as protected land in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration. Drilling it would be blatant disregard for a legal contract that protects the land. What good are laws and legislations if we can simply overturn them when there is money involved?

2. Part of the reason it was designated as a wilderness area was to protect the lands where one of the last surviving indigenous tribes lives in much the same way as they have for centuries. If we drill for oil, they will be forced to leave their homes and their land. They will literally be rounded up like cattle and forced onto a reservation.

3. There are endangered species that live exclusively in that part of the world. Drilling would ruin their habitats and disrupt their migrations, thus making extinction virtually inevitable.

4. There is inherent value in preserving wilderness as it was created. ANWR is literally one of the last great wildernesses.

5. No matter what you hear, drilling for oil is NOT clean and WOULD severely damage the environment. The current alaskan drilling projects have shown us time and time again, that despite the best efforts of science and industry, terribly damaging spills happen with regularity and frequency. On average, there is one oil spill of 2000 gallons in Alaska every day. This is considered routine and clean.

6. Although I don't think drilling would be worth it at any cost, WE WOULD ONLY REDUCE OUR FOREIGN DEPENDENCY BY 4%!!!! Also, because drilling in that environment would be so expensive, there would be NO drop in gas prices.

7. There is only enough oil in ANWR to sustain US oil consumption for 6 months. Drilling there would ruin it forever.

If you want to do your part in trying to stop this, please email your representative and let your voice be heard. While we do not live in a democracy, many voices can still change minds. Congress will vote next week. This is not a done deal. Congress could overturn the senate vote. YOUR OPINION MATTERS!!!!!!!

Click Here To write to your representative who will vote next week.


Here are email addresses for the senators of some states where I know we have a lot of readers. Please take the time to write to them too. Let them know if they did not vote in such a way that represents you. Perhaps your thoughts will influence how they vote in the future.

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter
Delaware Senator Joe Biden
Delaware Senator Tom Carper
Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes
Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski
New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine
New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg
New York Senator Hillary Clinton
New York Senator Charles Schumer

Posted by collin on 10:12 AM | Comments (13)

October 25, 2005

Farmer's Almanac Predictions

So, what do you think about the Almanac?

Here is what they are predicting for November. We'll put them to the test:

November 2005 1st-3rd. Fair and cold. 4th-7th. Stormy Mid-Atlantic States, then fair and cold. Stormy New England, heavy rains, wet snow possible. 8th-11th. Fair. 12th-15th. Some rain New England, then fair. Rain also Maryland, Virginia area, followed by clearing. 16th-19th. Storm; snow and rain through New England. Increasingly cloudy Mid-Atlantic States. 20th-23rd. Rain Mid-Atlantic States, then fair, colder. More rain and wet snow, then clearing, colder New England. 24th-27th. Unsettled Thanksgiving, with light snow or flurries, then fair. Fair, then rain Mid-Atlantic States, followed by clearing. 28th-30th. Mostly fair.

Posted by ian on 12:13 AM | Comments (7)

October 24, 2005

The Green Party's Stance on Nuclear Energy

I am very interested in Nuclear Energy. I'm interested in just about any kind of energy that doesn't have to do with drilling and fighting.

I've been writing an article for Journalism on nuclear energy, and John Cannon from the Green Party of Delaware has been amazingly kind and helped me so much on this project. He wrote a statement of the Green Party's position on nuclear energy and emailed it to me. I thought you might be interested in reading it.

The Green Party calls for the early retirement of nuclear power reactors as soon as possible - in no more than 5 years. Here are some reasons why:
1. There is no such thing as nuclear waste 'disposal'. We deny there is such a thing as safe disposal of nuclear waste. All six of the nuclear waste dumps in the US have leaked. There is no technological fix on the horizon to effectively deal with nuclear waste. Thousands of generations face the consequences of radioactive toxins in our environment from the production of nuclear waste generated by the nuclear power industry.

2. Nuclear energy is NOT cost effective. If it weren't for the enormous subsidies the US government provides the nuclear power industry, few if any companies would be building or operating nuclear power plants.

3. In my view, nuclear energy directly supports the building and deployment of nuclear bombs. Without the enriched radioactive material produced in the process of making nuclear energy, nuclear bombs would be much more difficult to produce.

4. Nuclear power plants are unsafe. Many in the US have now exceeded their safe 'life span'. Low-level nuclear accidents happen frequently throughout the US. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are reminders to us when there are major nuclear accidents - thousands of people and their lands are radioactively contaminated and hundreds have died from various forms of cancer resulting from this contamination. The Three Mile Island reactor remains unapproachable and a dangerous monument to an even more dangerous nuclear power industry.

5. Next door to us are the Artificial Island Salem I and II reactors. Tens of thousands of people live within a 10-mile radius of these aging plants that have a terrible safety record. When brave employees try to tell the public how dangerous it really is for us, they get fired and 'hushed up'. If these reactors malfunctioned and went critical, how many people would die? A 1982 report (Consequences of Reactor Accident (CRAC-2) Report) put initial deaths at 200,000 people, 145,000 injured and 80,000 'peak cancer deaths' with $285 billion in damage.

6. Nuclear power is a peace issue in addition to being an environmental issue. Most people, on the political right or left, believe that nuclear proliferation is a major problem and concern. Enormous effort is spent attempting to limit or prevent further proliferation (at least 10 countries currently have nuclear weapons). If the US really wants to prevent further proliferation and perhaps even eliminate these 'doomsday' weapons, shouldn't we take the lead and physically demonstrate our commitment to this goal? How can we expect other countries to honor the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty when we continue to maintain nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons? Let's follow the lead given to us by South Africa, who once had nuclear weapons then eliminated them, and be an example for the rest of the world.


So, what does the Green Party offer as an alternative to nuclear power and the weapons it makes possible?


1. First, Americans must dramatically increase their conservation of energy. With less than 5% of the world's population, the US consumes more that 25% of the world's energy resources resulting in major damage to our land, air, and water in addition to wars and human rights abuses in many countries. REDUCE is a vital part of the environmental call to Reduce - Reuse - Recycle which, unfortunately, and Delaware in particular, we have failed miserably to address adequately. At the federal government level, elected representatives have not insisted that US automakers build more fuel-efficient automobiles in over 20 years. Homes today are around 25% larger on average than homes built 20 years ago, increasing overall energy use despite energy saving technology. Back home, sprawl in Delaware has resulted in people commuting 30% further to work than they did 25 years ago. In contrast, Europeans consume less than half the electricity consumed per capita in the US. We can be similarly more energy efficient with a strong commitment by leaders to and focus on an environmentally safe and peaceful future that we all want for ourselves.

2. To replace nuclear energy, I would like to see an allocation of financial resources to clean renewable energy on the scale of the Marshal Plan that rebuilt a war-devastated Europe after WWII. Current support to make photovoltaic (solar), wind power, and hydrogen fuel-cell technology widely used are sorely inadequate. The Green Party calls for government commitment to the mass-production of cheap, non-toxic solar photovoltaic technology to enable the widespread deployment of solar power. I think environmental safe use of windpower and hydrogen fuel cells are also very feasible. With this commitment, nuclear power becomes obsolete.

3. On a personal note, my family purchased a fuel-efficient hybrid (gas-electric) car in 2001 that gets around 50 mpg yet has room to seat five comfortably and even has a spacious trunk. New hybrids get around 60 mpg. If you need a new car, consider purchasing a hybrid. In this vein, I would like to see the state and county governments of Delaware commit to replacing outgoing fleet vehicles with these fuel-efficient cars. However, we can't stop here. The Green Party calls for far more support for the rapid development, testing and production of hydrogen fuel cell cars and development of affordable, efficient, and effective mass transit systems. Hopefully, the hybrid car is just a significant, but short-lived, transition technology towards even more environmentally sustainable forms of transportation.

4. Finally, the Green Party strongly supports moving in the direction of decentralized regional electric grids by promoting energy efficient and localized clean renewable energy. Enormous amounts of electrical energy are 'wasted' in the current system of transmission over hundreds of miles. So-called 'micro-grids', where electricity is generated at the local community level, drastically reduces this type of loss and serves to prevent the huge power black and brown outs we are experiencing more and more frequently.

Individual Americans can do only so much in an effort to conserve energy and develop safe, renewable energy technologies. Government must take a lead in the effort, but whenever possible, people can help. For example, by replacing old and very inefficient home heating systems with highly efficient heaters now on the market you can save a lot of energy. Other ideas include buying a home nearby to where you work or if building a new home, face it in a Southerly (or Northerly) direction so you can take full advantage of solar power.

In my own home, when our 35-40 year old heater failed (it had a 60% efficiency in its combustion of the fuel), we replaced it with a furnace that is 93% efficient. We have (aging) triple pane windows, some of which have been replaced using so-called low-E windows that use multiple panes of glass filled with argon or other gases to increase their 'R' value. We are currently saving money to install roof mounted solar panels on our home this spring and, if financially possible, a solar hot water system.

I hope our family efforts in our home and those of the Green Party help put the nuclear power industry out-of-business.

J. Roy Cannon, Member
Green Party of Delaware

Past Chair - Green Party of Delaware Coordinating Council
2004 Green Party Candidate for New Castle County Council
Past Green Party of Delaware National Representative to the Green Party of the United States.
Former Chair - Newark Local of the Green Party of Delaware

I don't care what your politics are (I know there's about a 90% chance that if you're reading this you're republican), this guy has some great points. In the end, it is individuals who will make the changes that let this world survive. Your choices make a difference.

Posted by ian on 08:17 PM | Comments (12)

October 21, 2005

A Fall Tribute to Fair Hill

3/5ths of the Look Machine and Joe from Elany Arts went for a brisk hike through Fair Hill yesterday, working on our photography book of the area.

Here's a special selection of some of the shots we took. By the way, many of these pictures were taken on the side of 273 where the horse park would have gone. . . so it's nice to see these beautiful things and not a parking lot or a porta potty, huh?

awesometree.jpg

beechtree.jpg

Many more pictures after the link.

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forest_green.jpg

oldmill.jpg

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pathway.jpg

redleaves.jpg

steps.jpg

toadstool.jpg

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yellowleaf.jpg

Posted by jason on 04:43 PM | Comments (5)

October 12, 2005

Is this Democracy? Fair Hill Revisited.

Alison Asti is the director of the Stadium Authority, responsible for choosing Annapolis as the site of the horse park, sparing Fair Hill this past week.

"It was a very even match overall," Asti said, "which made our decision very difficult. We made it based on the criteria laid out, not on any public opinion. It didn't even come up."


Now why would she need to make a point of ignoring the public opinion? I can't for the life of me understand why, in a democracy these elected officials would emphasize that they dismissed the opinions of those they represent. "It didn't even come up"? Well, don't you think they should have at least discussed it? If that's true, that is ridiculous.

"I was very, very surprised and very, very disappointed," Cecil County Commissioners' President Nelson K. Bolender said. "I still think Fair Hill is the best location."


Another elected official just disregarding the will of the people of Cecil County here. I understand that they may feel this way behind closed doors, believing there are more pros than cons (of which public opinion is one), but why would they parade this in the press and to the public? He's "very, very disappointed" that his County didn't get something that virtually no one in the County wanted?

I'm telling you, this man should be voted out of office. In a democracy, a person who ignores those he is meant to represent for solely economic reasons is dangerous.

Is there just too much pride to admit that maybe, as you should in a democracy, the commitee members took public opinion into account as one of the many cons involved in the Fair Hill proposal?

What harm is there in saying, "Local residents brought up some very good points about the Fair Hill sport and we took those into consideration along with all the other factors." Because I'm telling you, I believe that public outcry did have a large effect on the final outcome. They just don't want to admit defeat.

But no, now they've done the most foolish thing a politician could do - not get their way but still tick off their constituency.

Posted by jason on 09:12 AM | Comments (4)

October 10, 2005

Fair Hill SAVED

Hallelujah!

Md. Naval Academy to Get Horse Park Park Will Host National, International Equestrian Events

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ
Associated Press
Monday, October 10, 2005; 1:39 PM

A Naval Academy dairy farm has been selected as the site for a proposed horse park designed to attract national and international equestrian events, the Maryland Stadium Authority announced Monday.

The proposal calls for a 5,000-seat arena, 1,000 stalls, eight to 10 show rings and other horse amenities. The 800-plus acre dairy farm site was one of two finalists, along with a site in Fair Hill in Cecil County near the Delaware and Pennsylvania borders.

The Anne Arundel County site, which was supported unanimously by the selection committee, is in close proximity to major highways, almost 9,000 hotel rooms, numerous restaurants and other tourist
attractions, the stadium authority said.

Cecil County, in contrast, has 1,090 hotel rooms and the surrounding area has less tourism infrastructure, said Alison L. Asti, executive director of the stadium authority.

The selection committee was also concerned that visitors would leave the state seeking hotel rooms, dining and other services if the Fair Hill site was selected, Asti said.

"We felt the economic impact to the state would be much greater in central Maryland and we didn't want to lose the business to out-of-state hotels and restaurants," Asti said. "Since this is an economic
development initiative, it's important to have those revenues stay in the state of Maryland."

The site is also more centrally located in relation to the state's horse industry.
"If you look at a map of all the horses in Maryland, the site in Anne Arundel County is smack in the center of the most populated horse areas in the state," Asti said.

Organizers hope the horse park, to be modeled after one in Kentucky, will become a tourist destination as well as attracting large national and international equestrian events.

Rob Burk, executive director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board, said the park will also promote agriculture and encourage the preservation of open space.

Six sites were nominated for the horse park, and the selection committee narrowed the list to Annapolis and Fair Hill on Aug. 23. The selection will be followed by a feasibility study of the winning
site, with the results forwarded to the General Assembly. Lawmakers will have to authorize a bond bill before the park can be built.

Architects working on the proposed park have also discussed the possibility of a working farm museum at the site, which would incorporate the Naval heritage of the property.

Posted by jason on 04:02 PM | Comments (17)

October 08, 2005

Rain.

Ian and I just went swimming in the flooded river.
I thikn that I will write more now. (the next day)
It was more like white water rafting except without a raft and the water was brown. can you see the similarity? Yeah, it was fun. We just let the current wash us a ways down the Elk river, then we hiked back up.
The water was up a fwe feet higher than normal. I love Fair Hill, and think that we should save it.

Okay, that's all. You thought that there was a lot more, bot I don't want to waste your life...

Posted by shane on 03:51 PM | Comments (14)

September 28, 2005

Save Fair Hill

"I'm not here for a lynching," said Cecil County Commissioner, Bill Manlove. It was too close to reality to be a joke.

"I've got my red pickup right over there!" shouted a bystander, insinuating that he was only too eager to drag the commissioner to death.

The crowd stirred and Manlove gave a nervous chuckle. A police officer stepped away from the crowd and pulled out his radio, ready to call for backup.

Bridge_FairHill_1.jpg
Fair Hill as it is meant to be.

Bridge_FairHill2.jpg
The Covered Bridge.

A hundred angry citizens had gathered on Saturday, September 17th to protest the selling and development of Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has asked the counties in Maryland to propose possible locations for a place to build a horse park. This would be a place where national and international non-racing competitions would be held, including: steeplechase, dressage, rodeos, concerts, and other cultural events. They plan on building 8-12 outdoor showing arenas, a large concession area, a campground, a barn with a minimum of 1,000 stalls, offices for vets, farriers, and breeders, a museum, an enclosed 5000 person arena, and parking lots large enough to accommodate massive numbers of cars.

The five Cecil County commissioners proposed Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area, a public park containing over 75 miles of trails, as a possible site for the new horse park. The park has been a haven of wild, open space in a quickly developing area, but how much longer can that last?

The bid for the horse park to be in Fair Hill was made before the public was ever even heard about the plans. “There was no ballot,” Said Manlove. “It was a consensus of the board that we would go for it.” With 5,613 acres state owned open space the Stadium Authority was immediately interested.

The Stadium Authority claims that the project will bring massive economic benefit and cultural enrichment. Alison Asti, the executive director of the project explains: “There are really two reasons to build a horse park. One is to encourage the agricultural industry by having more people to utilize the business of our farmers and our tack shops and our small business. [Secondly], open space will be made because people will continue to keep their horse farms, they would continue to grow hay, and all their agricultural enterprises would be enhanced.”

FairHillDustyRoad
Fair Hill as it it Today.

It sounds like a great leap forward for a county know for its backwardness, however, there is more than one catch.

If Fair Hill N.R.M.A. is selected as the site for the horse park it would mean that the DNR would be turning control of the park over to the Maryland Stadium Authority. The DNR is chartered to protect open space and maintain a park that is ecologically thriving and recreationally appealing. The Stadium Authority is chartered solely to make money.

It is doubtful that the economic benefits will go to Maryland at all. “Cecil County has nothing,” Said one protester. “Anyone that comes to these events will eat, sleep, and shop in Delaware because it’s a mile away, they have hotels, and there is no sales tax.”

According to Collin who's writing a book with Jason and Joe on the history and current activities of Fair Hill, the state bought the park from William Dupont in 1979 with the understanding that it would be open space for the public to enjoy. “William Dupont spent his whole life buying up farms and properties for more than their value then letting them go back to nature,” says Collin. “He wanted to see the land wild and undeveloped.”

Methuselah
Earth's Finest Tree.

Since 1979, the park has done an outstanding job of fulfilling Mr. Dupont’s wishes. In 1997 the state handed control of the property to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and established the Fair Hill Unit Plan. This plan stated that there should be no commercial development in Fair Hill outside of the existing fair grounds. The plan was made into law, but now it might be overturned. This is a proposition that worries some environmentalists. “What strength do our conservation plans have if we overturn this?” Asked a protester. People shouted to show their agreement.

“Why are people so surprised?” Asked park user, Michael Dean. “The American government has been lying since the beginning. They lied to the Indians then stole their land. Now they are lying to Cecil County and stealing their land.”

Monday, September 19th there was a public hearing to discuss the building of the park. Over 400 hundred people attended. The vast majority of the people violently opposed any change to the park.

Ed Walls, one of the founders of Fair Hill N.R.M.A. and the director of the park spoke for all the protesters. “The volunteers and the and the staff at fair hill have done so much with so little for so long, they can do almost anything with nothing,” he said. “Look how beautiful it is there with that small crew there now! We don’t need anybody to come there and help them out, because nobody has.” The crowd erupted into cheers.

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Ferns Growing on a Ruin.

The Stadium Authority is scheduled to announce their decision about the location of the horse park by the end of September.

For more information, visit Save Fair Hill.

Posted by ian on 12:07 AM | Comments (12)

September 27, 2005

A huge noise in the ocean... Bloop.

Scientists have discovered a strange sound in the depths of the ocean. It is definately being made by something alive. The structure of the sound is such that any animal that could produce it would have to be much larger than the largest whale!!!! Some scientists are theorizing that there is a real live sea monster lurking in the deep. Check out this artical about The mysterious sounds of the bloop .

I learned about this from JD's weblog. Ian and I were joking that maybe we should just post everything he does, That guy finds some cool things.

Posted by collin on 11:33 AM | Comments (12)