Build a Wigwam



I want to live in a Wigwam, Yes I want to live in a Wigwammmmm


This is what happens when kids get together outside. The Atlantic has a great article this month about childhood and the importance of independent play.

Very Interesting.


Marking One Anniversary with Another – Oil for the Masses

A bird covered in oil from the Black Sea oil spill.-taken from

We just marked 25 years since the Exxon Valez drained its contents (11 million gallons of oil) into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Through the mess we learned that Exxon turned a blind eye to warnings, choosing profits over anything.

This is an old, old story. Or is it?

In 2010, the biggest oil spill ,ever, occurred in the Gulf of Mexico when  the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, uncapping an oil well and shooting oil into the gulf for 3 months straight. It is estimated that 4.9 million barrels of oil poured into the Gulf. Why did this happen, BP turned a blind eye to warnings, choosing profits over anything.

To mark the anniversary of the Exon Valdez, we have yet another spill in the gulf, just outside of Houston.  A barge carrying almost a million gallons of bunker fuel oil ran into a boat, spilling just under 200,000 gallons of sticky, thick oil into the gulf. This happened at a most unfortunate time, contaminating a major bird migratory path during spring nesting season and closing down the Houston ship channel for trade.

I hope I’m not being too cynical when I say- I wonder why this happened?

Citizens of Tonawanda Finally are Heard

It took more than 30 years for the citizens of Tonawanda to be heard. Finally, the Tonawanda Coke industrial plant is being held responsible for poisoning the people. In my opinion, they couldn’t pay enough, and they wont.

Not surprisingly, it took a group of sick citizens to test the air themselves, finding high levels of benzene which can lead to Leukemia, infertility and other cancers and illnesses. Unfortunately, the toxic air did lead to illness, a lot of illness. The coalition of residents of Tonawanda is composed of over 200 people. After these citizens tested the air quality and found theses extremely high levels of benzene, it still took 5 years for the state regulators to act, despite the diligence of Tonawanda’s citizen’s efforts.

The judge of this case was quoted as saying the crime was, ‘Singularly inexcusable.’ The retired head of environmental controls was sentenced to jail for a year- a small price to pay for the pain and suffering and early death’s of the local people affected by the poison.  The company will also pay out $24,000,000 towards additional research and fines .

No More Paper Receipts

‘Rooftopping’ in Dubai
A photo taking at the beginning of ‘fog season’ in Dubai, as fog settles over the marina.
See more of Daniel Cheong’s work on Flickr and Facebook.


It would seem a logical next step to fully adopt e-receipts, and it is happening, slowly but surely. You’ve probably noticed that many retailers offer the option and some even offer the option to not receive a paper receipt. Great idea! Less paper, less toxic plastics.

I just read an interesting article at

Dubai hopes to do away with paper receipts completely to reduce its carbon footprint. Hurray!

Coal Ash and the Environment

Coal ash pulled from the bottom of the Dan River near the site of the Duke Energy spill in Eden, N.C. (Photo courtesy of Dan River Basin Association)

Duke Energy’s Coal ash ponds are unlined, and are always leaching chemicals into our waterways, even when there are not major leaks, like the one that flooded the Dan River in North Carolina last month. Duke is planning to clean up all 33 of its coal ash ponds across the state- their plan… power customers will foot the one billion dollar bill.


Plastics and Endocrine Disruptors

Unfortunately, BPA is not the only endocrine-disruptor in plastics. Many BPA-Free plastics contain endocrine disruptors and some in higher dosage than those containing BPA.

I just keep wondering, how can we solve this problem in a plastic world?

Mother Jones has a great article on BPA and plastics in general.  This article is packed. And frankly, kind of disturbing. The reporter, , touches on everything from health implications to politics of the plastics industry.