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Gender: Female
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Member since: Mon Dec 13, 2004, 02:55 AM
Number of posts: 12,232

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Governor declares emergency in 20 Washington counties hit by wildfires

Source: Seattle Times

SPOKANE — Several wildfires continued to burn in Eastern Washington on Tuesday, and Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for 20 counties.

Firefighters appeared to be gaining the upper hand against wildfires burning in the Spokane region, although heavy smoke blanketed the state’s second-largest city.

Inslee visited a fire-command center on the Spokane County Fairgrounds on Tuesday morning and blamed tree diseases and rising temperatures caused by climate change for the state’s recent spate of record wildfire seasons.

Inslee says diseased trees and climate change have created “explosive conditions” in forests.

Read more: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/inslee-declares-emergency-in-20-counties-due-to-wildfires/

Sadly, more high temperatures and dangerous conditions are on the way.

"Glaciers are dying at anything but a glacial pace"

Mauri Pelto has been auditing North Cascades glaciers for 33 years as a job for the National Academy of Sciences to audit these glaciers for 50 years.

His data has shown the impact of climate change here.


For the first couple decades, it was old-fashioned scientific legwork in almost total obscurity. Our glaciers were losing mass in total, and had been for decades though at relatively slow rates. But then around the late 1990s, it all took off.

The past three years, the rates of loss have been off the charts. Some glaciers have lost nearly 20 percent of their volume just since 2014, Pelto says. In total since he started, the glaciers have lost up to a third of what was there in 1984 — an average of 65 feet of thickness gone across all the North Cascades glaciers.


“The fight about climate change is over, it seems to me,” Pelto says. “I don’t get anywhere near the pushback about whether it’s happening that I used to.”


Overall, our glaciers lost 5 to 10 percent of their volume last year alone — the largest one-year loss measured. This year it’s about a 3 to 5 percent loss. The last time the glaciers gained appreciable ice volume was 2011. They have lost volume in 23 of the years Pelto has been auditing them and gained it in 10. But the losses have overwhelmed the gains by more than seven to one.

Bentz statement points to Lochte as instigator


"After attending an event with several swimmers from different nations, I left in a taxicab along with U.S. swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen and Ryan Lochte around 6 a.m. On the way back to the Olympic Village, we pulled into a convenience store to use the restroom. There was no restroom inside, so we foolishly relieved ourselves on the backside of the building behind some bushes. There was a locked door out back and I did not witness anyone breaking it open. I am unsure why, but while we were in that area, Ryan pulled to the ground a framed metal advertisement that was loosely anchored to the brick wall. I then suggested to everyone that we needed to leave the area and we returned to the taxi.

"Two men, whom I believe to have been security guards, then instructed us to exit the vehicle. No guns were drawn during this exchange, but we did see a gun tucked into one of the guard's waistband. As Jimmy and Jack were walking away from the vehicle, the first security guard held up a badge to me and drew his handgun. I yelled to them to come back toward us and they complied. Then the second guard drew his weapon and both guards pointed their guns at us and yelled at us to sit on a nearby sidewalk.

"Again, I cannot speak to his actions, but Ryan stood up and began to yell at the guards. After Jack and I both tugged at him in an attempt to get him to sit back down, Ryan and the security guards had a heated verbal exchange, but no physical contact was made.

"A man that I believe to be a customer approached us and offered to help as he spoke both English and Portuguese. Understandably, we were frightened and confused during this time. Through the interpreter, one of the guards said that we needed to pay them in order to leave. I gave them what I had in my wallet, which was a $20 bill, and Jimmy gave them 100 Reals, which is about $50 in total. They lowered the guns and I used hand gestures to ask if it was okay to leave and they said yes. We walked about a block down the street and hailed another taxi to return to the Village.

More at link.

It could have been worse, much worse. Lochte's and Feigen's allegations.

This whole mess is bad enough with the swimmers creating an international incident after vandalizing a gas station restroom, then with two of the swimmers, Lochte's and Feigen still perpetuating their lies about the incident, even reaching out to media after the other two swimmers, Conger and Bentz had testified truthfully to police.

Yet, it could have been even worse.

How many times have we seen round ups and even imprisonment of people of color in the United States after false accusations aimed at specifically at African American men?

I think the Brazilian police did a good job at investigating to get to the truth, rather than jumping to the conclusion that these privileged men must be telling the truth and unleashing a manhunt based on their false allegations.

All the more reason for caring and change. Developed countries have

issues with this as well.

That doesn't nullify calls to recognize and improve. Brazil's message that that we can and must do better is just as valid as the same message from developed countries. We have to accomplish this together.

Here are some examples of similar issues in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, both regions which value environmental concerns, but also still face problems and need to improve. Having issues doesn't invalidate calls to improve them in our countries. The same should be the case for Brazil.

Victoria's Secret: Dumping Raw Sewage Like It's 1915


More specifically, I blamed Victoria's raw sewage, which is pumped out to the Juan de Fuca Strait at a rate of 130 million litres per day. British Columbia's capital is one of the last major cities north of San Diego to dump all of its untreated waste (including pesticides, street runoff and pharmaceuticals) into the ocean. On Friday, the sewer's screening system failed, spilling three million extra litres of unfiltered crap into Ross Bay.

"Victoria thinks they're miraculously in a different situation."

When I relate this anecdote to the scientists tasked with monitoring Victoria's sewer situation, Chris Lowe and Glenn Harris of the Regional District's environmental protection division confirm the vast majority of testing happens within a few hundred metres of Greater Victoria's two major sewer outfalls. They test for a great many things -- heavy metals, bacteria, dissolved oxygen, hundreds more toxins -- but at a relatively short distance. Then they use computer models to extrapolate where it goes. This happens in weekly, monthly and quarterly cycles. Government guidelines don't require more remote testing, so they don't generally do it.

Lowe and Harris told me bacteria tests do routinely exceed water quality guidelines -- a problem that seems to be getting worse as time passes. Fecal coliform is a group of bacteria found in poop that can carry illness-causing pathogens like salmonella, E. coli and norovirus. Between tests in 2010 and 2013, the average fecal coliform count in Victoria's wastewater pipes went from 5.3 and 5.7 million bacteria per 100 millilitres of water up to 7.2 and 9.3 million bacteria per 100 millilitres of water.

It's been so bad for so long there's even a poop mascot, Mr. Floaty, to try to get people energized around the issue.


Water and waste ignore man made borders, which has led Washington State to express its discontent over the issue.


Victoria is one of the few remaining Canadian cities that does little to treat its sewage, essentially pumping 130 million litres of raw effluent daily into the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Environmentalists and communities in the United States complain of pollution, while scientists say the ocean acts as a natural toilet that flushes and disperses waste with minimal environmental impact.

Gov. Inslee said the sewage issue poses health and economic issues for the area, because the untreated waste flows toward Washington State.

“Left unresolved, Victoria’s lack of wastewater treatment has the potential to colour other regional and national issues at a time when our two countries are working to re-establish steady economic growth through various cross-border initiatives,” said the letter.

And Washington has issues with run off pollution and waste leaks itself.


The National Research Defense Council and Environmental Integrity Project released the report "Swimming in Sewage" in 2004, which also documented the effects of sewage pollution, though the focus was broader than the EPA's combined sewer overflow study. The nonprofit groups' report included this now oft-cited bit of data specific to overflows:

Each year, 1.8 million to 3.5 million illnesses are caused by swimming in water contaminated by sewage overflows, and an additional 500,000 from drinking contaminated water.

One of the most troubling effects of polluted runoff is the contamination of peoples' drinking water--something we might take for granted as safe. More than half of the documented waterborne disease outbreaks in the US since 1948 occurred after extreme rainfalls, according to a 2001 peer-reviewed study. A 2003 study likewise made the connection between polluted stormwater runoff and waterborne disease.

Northwesterners generally can expect clean, safe drinking water to flow from their taps. But that's not always the case. There are numerous local examples of drinking water that's fouled when sewage and stormwater flow into waterways, or when storm runoff directly dumps fertilizers, fecal bacteria, and other pollution into our drinking water sources.

Yet, disasters have happened in those countries. Flame lighter is reminder of that.

But, those countries aren't bashed or removed from future consideration.

Look at what happened to Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima in Athens.

He was attacked by a defrocked Irish priest during the marathon, an attack that may have cost him the gold.




In Sunday's men's marathon, the last competition of the Summer Games, a Brazilian runner who led for more than 23 miles fell out of the lead shortly after being assaulted by a man in a black beret, red kilt and green knee socks. The assailant pushed him through a wall of befuddled fans onto a curb until he could be extricated and sent on his way again -- wobbly and dazed.

Within minutes, Italian Stefano Baldini and American Meb Keflezighi, who had been about 10 seconds behind, surged into the lead, setting the stage for Baldini to race to his first Olympic gold and Keflezighi to claim a stunning silver, the first Olympic medal won by an American man in the event in 28 years.

And then, there he came. As Keflezighi made the sign of the cross after running through the finish in 2 hours 11 minutes 29 seconds, 34 seconds behind Baldini, the battered Brazilian, Vanderlei de Lima, entered the 108-year-old marble Panathinaiko Stadium and sprinted joyously, exuberantly, to a bronze medal in 2:12:11.

"The Olympic spirit prevailed here," de Lima said. "My determination prevailed."

Neil Horan, a defrocked Irish priest who similarly trespassed onto the British Grand Prix Formula One course the year before, grabbed de Lima by his blue Brazilian singlet. He took the runner off the road and into a row of spectators in a few seconds.


De Lima emerged seven seconds after the collision to continue running, his lead cut into but not gone. He was obviously affected. De Lima once waved his arms in apparent exasperation after returning to the road.

“I think that the psychological shock was the greatest impact that I suffered,” de Lima said in Portuguese in the NBC Olympics profile. “To be attacked like that, it was painful. I was totally defenseless and exhausted.

“From that moment, it was a matter of overcoming the odds. I was even shaking my head like that guy messed everything up for me. But quitting the race didn’t once cross my mind.”


I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for a great Olympic Opening Ceremony. Spoilers!

Anyone else watching the opening ceremony?

I like how they are celebrating the many cultures and ethnicities in Brazil, while not sugarcoating.
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