Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Water World

With all the unrest in the oil producing Middle East and North Africa lately, the earthquake devastation in New Zealand and now this morning on the island of Japan causing a tsunami, along with major flooding throughout the northeastern United States this past week from heavy rainfall, it is time to start reconsidering our antiquated buildings and infrastructures, and design and engineer them to withstand the severe weather we’ve been having. Our local Long Island roads have been neglected and are crumbling especial due to past year’s harsh winters. Why when it is time to resurface the roads are agencies not using recycled ground-up shredded tires in the asphalt mix so the roadways can expand and contract more so the road surface can last for up to 60 to 70 years at a time. More effective creative solutions, along with unique architecture, design and engineering is needed, and we as a people need to be open to it so we can adapt to climate shifts.

The Kansas town of Greensburg is a perfect example to follow, where after a devastating tornado demolished their town, decided to go with “green” building construction to rebuild their town. Here on Long Island, we have such severe winds at times with the occasional tornado, so why not place power lines underground instead of on unappealing cluttered telephone poles. If you want to build in tornado ally and resurrect and rebuild a town, why not build underground structures or semi-submerged ones or use aerodynamic creative building techniques that will withstand the strong winds, so it is not a total loss every time a tornado hits. It make no sense why year after year we rebuild in areas that are prone to severe flooding, only to have the new construction destroyed again and again.

New Orleans will probably flood again in our lifetime, because they are below sea level. Man cannot out smart Mother Nature, she is king. We as humans need to work with Mother Nature and not against her, we need to design our structures and buildings codes accordingly and get more aggressive and creative with the future regarding renewable energy.

We cannot rely on the unstable Middle East to fuel our future, nor should we. Nuclear it not as stable as the nuclear industry spins it to be, with its potential for meltdown and far-reaching fallout, and we can’t forget the spent toxic waste generated that will never ever decay. Clean renewable energy: Wind, Solar, Tidal, Hydro, and Bio-Fuels are the answer, so what are we waiting for?

My thoughts are with the people of Japan today, as it will take years and years to clean up, rebuild and recover.

Port Jefferson Beach Restoration

While our pristine beaches along the Gulf Coast are being ruined by toxic crude oil spills, our coastlines along the shores of Long Island are being eroded by storm surges and improper planning. Sadly, due to significant storm damage to the beaches in Port Jefferson this past years, it appears that the East Beach may only be open for limited public bathing or closed all together for the summer season, couldn’t be worse timing! It angers me that the state of our local beaches has gotten to this stage. One of the main reasons why I moved back to Long Island and Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson was for the beaches. For the past few years, the focus has been on the development of the Port Jefferson Harborfront Park, which was desperately needed, but during that time East and West Beach were unfortunately neglected and fell into the state that they are in today. Mother Nature will always do her thing, and as a coastal community, we need to accept that and work with nature instead of against it. Thankfully our local representatives are working on a beach remediation project to shore up our coastline and protect us from future beach erosion. This large-scale restoration project will involve parking lot reconstruction, removal and relocation of beach access points, removal of submerged hazardous debris and dredging.

Hopefully this project will be well planned out, designed and executed to last another 40 years and not just a quick fix. It should be done in a more natural eco-friendly way to work with nature and not just a matter of dumping blocks of cement in the water. I’d like to see the Village and its residents approach this project as a ‘Coastal Restoration’ instead of just a parking lot on the beach. It would be nice to see the landscape, facilities and amenities at the beach have a more natural aesthetic appeal that would enhance our historic Seaport Village by hiring the same architectural design firm, Quennell Rothschild & Partners and lead designer Beth Franz that helped developed the Port Jefferson Harborfront Park.

Since dredging is in the plans, restoring the dunes with natural beach grass is critical. While doing some research, I came across Geotextile Tubes which are weather resistant large, sand filled fabric bags of lengths up to several hundred feet used to create a number of shoreline protection structures such as dune cores, groins, jetties, breakwaters, and coastal barriers as well as providing a means of dewatering and containing dredge materials.

The beaches and wetlands are our crowning jewels and act as our protective barriers from storm surges. We need to respect them and take better care of our precious coastlines before they are gone forever.

One World – Ours To Protect

Why does it seem like the petroleum industry and the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) is in charge of protecting our environment and precious ecosystems? Why is their no U.S. environmental czar?

It’s time to step up to the plate citizens of planet earth. We need leadership and we need green energy alternatives and solutions, and most importantly they need to be implemented ASAP! Harnessing solar, wind and tidal power and producing bio-fuels is all-doable. If this spewing toxic crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico and the die off our protective wetlands, and the price at the pump doesn’t wake us up, what will? Green jobs anyone? Changing our thinking and approach is necessary, lets think out of the box a bit. Lets innovate and reduce our addiction to dirty fossil fuels; we as a collective can do this!

Vote With Your Dollar

If you are as disgusted as we are with the spewing toxic crude oil in the Gulf Coast, and if you are asking yourself ‘how can I help,’ ‘what can one person do,’ ‘how can I make a difference,’ here’s what you can do to help the situation. Obviously we need energy to run industry and the modern world. Oil and coal powered the 20th century, but we need more environmentally friendly and efficient solutions to power the 21st century. We have the technology to do this by harnessing solar, wind and tidal power, but why are we not putting these abundant free resources to better use? We need to innovate instead of importing foreign oil, thus reducing our reliance on petroleum based products.

The easiest thing that every consumer can do is vote with your dollar. With it being spring-cleaning season, you can make the choice at the register to purchase and use non-petroleum based cleaning products from dish soap and laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaners. There are even natural plant-base car care products on the market that work fantastic while being friendly to people, pets and our environment.

Did you know that if every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 100 oz petroleum-based conventional brand of liquid laundry detergent with a 100 oz plant-derived liquid laundry detergent, 466,000 barrels of oil could be saved – enough to heat and cool 26,800 U.S. homes for a year! I don’t know about you, but I prefer to support our American farmers over foreign oil companies any day.

Next time you head out for some cleaning supplies, check out these natural non-toxic biodegradable household cleaning products: Seventh Generation, Sun & Earth, Ecover, Biokleen, Method and Green Works. Also, if you are into detailing your car or motorcycle by hand, try Zymol, which is a high-end plant-based car care product line that works amazing and smells great too.

Restoring The Northeast's Power

Are you enjoying the weather here in the northeast lately? With 1 million people losing power due to the recent blizzards and severe nor’easter that has struck the northeastern United States, maybe it’s time to relocate power lines under ground to minimize power loss caused by damaging winds and uprooted fallen trees. Makes sense, right? As an added bonus, it will make neighborhoods look nicer by eliminating those suspended power lines and poles and restore the natural beauty of Long Island. Getting back to basics with becoming more energy independent and relearning how to heat our homes using natural wood burning fireplaces along with solar and wind generated power might be a good start to self-sufficiency without having to completely rely on fossil fuels and foreign oil to heat our homes, businesses and government. What would happen if power couldn’t be restored for weeks? What would you do to survive the winter cold in your suburban / urban environment? Please feel free to call your local power company and township to request having power lines moved underground.