Lifestyle changes could prevent a third of cancer

Lifestyle changes could prevent a third of cancers: report: “Mandate walking and cycling paths that encourage physical activity.”

The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund released a report yesterday that exercise and diet play a major role in cancer prevention. The report calls on governments to mandate more bike and walking trails, among other things.

This is just something many of us outdoor nuts have talked about for years. People are more healthy when they get outside and exercise. Now, get outside and enjoy a hike in a local park! Your health may depend on it.


Department Of The Environment

Department Of The Environment-In One Ear…Out the Other.

Back in January, posted a brief suggestion that there should be a cabinet level department of the environment. Our friends over at In One Ear…Out the Other expanded on the thought, noting that:

“One of the reasons why we have such haphazard and uninformed debates in this country about environmental issues (there are some ridiculous global warming, clean coal and green energy myths flying around) and why the environment continued to be such a low priority for so many years is that we have no structured governmental method of tackling environmental issues.”

Both posts make a great point. If we do not have a cohesive, singular focus on the environment, we will never act upon environmental problems in a coherent, systematic manner. If, for example, a developer wants to fill a wetland in Ohio, they need to get a permit from the Ohio EPA, and the U.S. Army. Each agency has different rules, different jurisdiction, and ultimately, different standards governing whether permits can be granted, and under what conditions.

At the federal level, as Marc Hudson points out, the Department of Interior is populated with agencies with divergent goals. The National Park Service mission is “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” We all know that National Parks are special places where nature can proceede unimpeded by man’s dominance. There are generally not timber harvests, extensive mining, or major extractive activities in National Parks.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management, also within the Department of Interior, is responsible for carrying out a variety of programs for the management and conservation of resources on 258 million surface acres, 700 million acres of subsurface minerals, 57 million acres of commercial forests and woodlands, more than 18,000 grazing permits and leases and nearly 13 million authorized livestock animal unit months on 160 million acres of public rangeland, 117,000 miles of fisheries habitat, as well as a plethora of other lands and resources. While the mission of BLM is managing and conserving, the emphasis appears to be on managing for revenue production. In 2007 alone, BLM collected $4.5 billion in mineral royalties, rents and other payments. Compared to the National Parks, BLM is much more of a land management agency, rather than a conservation or environmental agency.

A third agency, the U.S. Forest Service, is housed within the Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service’s mission is more straightforward: to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands. The National Forests are managed for timber production. BLM, over at the department of Interior, also manages forests. Why two agencies?

These small examples of overlap are indicative of a bigger problem. As Treehugger and Marc Hudson both point out, there is no cohesion. We have a warped system that is not set up to meet environmental goals. Our current agency configuration is remnant of a past when we as a people were not thinking in terms of ecology and protecting the environment. This country has come along way since the Clean Water Act, NEPA, and the beginnings of the environmental movement.

Our issue is now mainstream. This is not a side issue. A clean, healthy environment is not an extra. A clean, healthy environment is essential. If we are to have a healthy, vibrant human community, and a healthy, vibrant economy, we need a healthy, vibrant natural environment. The only way to do this is to align our governmental structure with this reality. “We the people” already see it this way. Our government needs to be responsive to reality and form a Department of the Environment or Department of the Ecosystem. Then, it needs to take the true conservation and environmental agencies and place them within that department.

Doing so would lead to clarity for the employees of the agencies, increased efficiency, less overlapping jurisdiction, decreased cost, and perhaps a simplified regulatory structure for the regulated community as well.

Write or call your representatives and urge them to draft and sponsor such legislation. Don’t know who to contact? Go to this web site to find out.


Southern Ohio Wildflower Pilgrimage

The following is from a recent email announcement from the Highlands Nature Sanctuary:

Spring will soon return.

Why not spend it in the woods, among the company of flowers?

In all the world, nothing compares to the verdant beauty of an Appalachian Forest in the spring. Join us as we celebrate the return of the flowers.

Southern Ohio Wildflower Pilgrimage
April 17, 18, 19, 2009
The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System

Three days of over thirty field trips to southern Ohio’s spectacular wildflower showcases. Led by some of our area’s best botanists and naturalists. Each field trip is limited to 15 participants. The Arc of Appalachia region has some of the most beautiful wildflower displays in the U.S. Eastern Temperate Forest. You are encouraged to register as quickly as possible. Area lodging and complete meals available.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kentucky’s superlative Photographer, Tom Barnes, author of Kentucky’s Last Great Places, Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky, and the just-released Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky.

Sponsored by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System with the cooperation and assistance of The Nature Conservancy Ohio Chapter, Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Nature Center, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Ross County Park District, Shawnee State Park & State Forest, Southern State Community College, and the Ohio Historical Society.

TO REGISTER: click here

For general information see Arc of Appalachia’s web site.


Avon Lake Power Plant Field Trip

Northeast Ohio Nature: Avon Lake Power Plant Field Trip

The blackbrook Audubon Society had a field trip to Lake Erie last week where they saw Glaucous gull, Greater Backed gulls, Redhead ducks, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead ducks. Check out their blog posting and photos of the trip.

Blackbrook Audubon Society promotes conservation and restoration of ecosystems with emphasis on birds and habitat through education and advocacy within Ohio’s Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula counties and adjacent communities. Lord knows we could use more of that!

If you ever have a chance to attend an event like this, even if you don’t know birds well, it is a real treat. Their next event is SUNDAY, MARCH 15th, 2009, when Blackbrook Audubon will visit Sheldon’s Marsh in Huron Ohio. You can learn more by going to their web page.


I’m Not A Commie!

I’m Not A Commie!: “As a matter of Justice, if someone were take a biological weapon and empty the contents in a public reservoir maintained for a city’s public drinking water, would you consider this mass murderer to be a terrorist?”

I would say “terrorist”. Even if it is a corporation polluting our water for profit. However, there are many who believe that environmental regulations are somehow anti-capitalist and hence somehow wrong. And of course, if it were 1950, we might just be called “commies” for suggesting such a thing.

Well, it ain’t 1950, but I do hear the term “commie” thrown around frequently these days. Times just don’t change for some people, including those of us who only lived through the last part of the cold war. Marc Hudson does a good job of debunking this anachronistic, unenlightened, red-baiting point of view in this post at In One Ear and Out the Other.

What do you think?


Ecological Stimulus Package: TreeHugger

Ecological Stimulus Package: Investing In Natural Capital : TreeHugger: “We need to be investing, much more seriously, in our natural capital. Green energy sources, green jobs, and greener consumption habits are a terrific start towards positive environmental change. Interventions and actions that reduce environmental stresses are good for our ecosystems.”

Check out this Treehugger post. It makes a great distinction between environment and ecology that we all ought to bear in mind. The post, from the Earthwatch Institute, suggests that we need to look more holistically at not just the outside environment, but at the ecosystem, which is an inclusive term that encompasses the various parts of the environment, but also the systemic interrelationships, and ultimately, us.

In order to really solve our planet’s problems, we need to think in this way. Investing in what Earthwatch calls our natural capital is not an extra or option. Such investment is necessary if we expect future generations to share in the tremendous wonders that our planet has to offer.

What can you do to help. Invest in a green company? Contact your congress people? Tell your friends? Drive less? Eat more locally?

Think about it.