Idle Lands, Idle Hands

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop                                                 ~ Proverbs 16:27  The pandemic seems to have exacerbated a whole raft of social and economic problems. Personally, as a retiree, I find myself limited in the things I normally would do, such as shopping, travel, eating out, visiting friends, and even my volunteer activities. I can’t imagine being […]

Runoff

“A little water clears us of this deed.” ~ Lady Macbeth With the current loosening of restrictions on water quality and pollution discharges to streams and rivers, it’s worth thinking about what clean water actually means. We should all be familiar with the hydrologic cycle, where water evaporates into the atmosphere, condenses and falls to […]

Foul Air and Foul Deeds

“Prior to the late 19th century, night air was considered dangerous in most Western cultures …” ~ Wikipedia “Wherever the cloud of pollution travels, crime increases.” ~ Sefi Roth The idea has been rebuffed by modern science and our understanding of contagion (not withstanding anti-vaxxers), but according to Wikipedia: “Based on “zymotic” theory, people believed […]

Take It To The Limit

“But what about the plutonium?” he said, “If you breathe in even one atom, you’ll get cancer and die.” It was a chat over breakfast with the old guys, and the subject of Rocky Flats, the nearby old nuclear weapons plant, came up. Following clean up, it was scheduled to become a wildlife refuge open […]

The Web of Waste

And what was even more striking to me, and what I really got hung up on, was that the world inside the screen seemed to have no physical reality of its own. ~ Andrew Blum “It was just waste. Nobody wanted it and it cost too much to recondition, so we just dumped it.” He […]

There Oughta Be A Law!

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms, Alone and palely loitering? The sedge has withered from the lake, And no birds sing. — John Keats “What’s the minimum we need to do to be in compliance with the law?” the client asked. Their groundwater contamination was only on-site and no one was using the water. I […]

The Fungus Among Us

Every spring, several Stinkhorn mushrooms appear in the tree lawn on our block. They are repulsive-looking and smell bad, hence the name. A tall white shaft rises several inches through the soil, and becomes capped with a black, gelatinous tip, containing the spores. The rotten carrion stench attracts insects, and the the spores stick to […]

Cleaning Up

As reported by the media, it was a real mess. The US Environmental Protection Agency was conducting clean-up activities at the Gold King Mine in Colorado and accidentally caused a spill of a million gallons of contaminated mine water into the Animas River, turning it bright orange. This contamination represents a case of natural materials […]