Protesters Get Nude at UC Berkeley to Save the Eucalyptus Trees
Aug09

Protesters Get Nude at UC Berkeley to Save the Eucalyptus Trees

The tree hugging hippie is alive and well in Berkeley, California. Earlier this month, UC Berkeley announced that they would be moving forward with a tree clearing program that plans to clear a grove of eucalyptus trees from the University’s campus. On July 18, 50 protesters responded to the tree clearing announcement by arriving at the grove, stripping down to their birthday suits, and posing naked with the eucalyptus trees. Standing by was their leader, Jack Gescheidt, who photographed the protesters’ intimate encounters with the trees. The photographs are set to be apart of a series called “The Spirit Project”, a photography project that aims to show environmental awareness for eucalyptus trees through the juxtaposition of naked bodies and trees. According to Campus Reform, Gescheidt felt that trees were being treated like ‘monsters’ rather than the longest living organisms on earth. He adds, “We need to tell more people and get them involved and put a stop to this nonsense.” The protesters also made clear that the glyphosate, the chemical used to treat the trees, is in fact toxic and poses a threat to the safety of the community. The initiative to remove the eucalyptus trees was put in motion by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) as a response to the rampant wildfires previously caused by eucalyptus groves in the past. Eucalyptus trees are also considered an invasive species. Eucalyptus trees use a great deal of water to grow, and their rapid growth poses a threat to biological diversity in the Bay Area. Despite all of these very real concerns, Gescheidt and his protesters feel that the claims made against eucalyptus trees are completely untrue. He feels that the trees are not, in fact, an invasive species, and that “all living trees and forests are fire resistant”. Considering the rampant wildfires rampaging across Washington States only states over, Gescheidt’s statement is a bold one. FEMA plans to set the tree clearing initiative in motion in late August. Will the protesters’ naked bodies be enough to keep the trees out of harm’s way? Only time will...

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You’ll Never Guess What This Thief Got Caught Stealing on a Surveillance Video
Aug04

You’ll Never Guess What This Thief Got Caught Stealing on a Surveillance Video

Residents of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, thought that deer were responsible for removing the flowers planted alongside the city’s covered bridge. But when police watched surveillance video taken at the scene, they found something even more shocking. It turns out the missing flowers were taken deliberately by 63-year-old Deborah Stottlemire, who wanted the flowers to plant in her own yard. When police arrived at Stottlemire’s home, they saw that the stolen goods were planted right in her front garden. Locals were upset by the petty theft, too, which resulted in a $269 fine for the culprit. Lovette Malatarich, another Sheffield Lake resident, said that the flowers had been planted by elementary school-age Girl Scouts. “My daughter is a Brownie and the day they planted flowers for the area that they were going to meet in, they were so excited. Not that it made any difference that Brownies planted it, but it’s just nice to walk here and see the flowers,” Malatarich told Fox8 in Cleveland. Maybe next time, the thief should just visit a local garden supply shop or find a florist online — she has 36,613 of the latter to choose from here in the United States! Perhaps even more baffling is that Stottlemire returned to the scene just days later, this time trying to replant the flowers that she’d stolen and display an apology sign. Police told her and the man accompanying her to move along, and make her restitution in court instead. When reached for comment, however, Stottlemire did say that she felt badly about the incident. The 63-year-old told police that she hadn’t had the money to buy flowers, which had motivated her to steal them, topsoil and all. But Sheffield Lake Police Chief Tony Campo said this isn’t the first time Stottlemire’s been in trouble with the law. “We had a previous incident with her in December of last year over a petty theft at a local store,” Campo said. Stottlemire is due to appear in Mayor’s Court on Aug....

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Greenpeace Protesters Create an Aerial Barricade Against Shell Arctic Icebreaker
Jul30

Greenpeace Protesters Create an Aerial Barricade Against Shell Arctic Icebreaker

Preventing a major oil corporation from drilling in the Arctic is no small feat, but Greenpeace protesters are proving that, with a little bit of creativity, anything is possible. On July 29, 13 Greenpeace protesters set up camp on the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. According to local news station KATU, the protesters suspended themselves on the edge of the bridge in an “aerial blockade” in order to prevent a Shell oil ship from passing through. It was around 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning when the protesters rappelled over Portland’s tallest bridge, which stretches over the Willamette River. Thirteen additional protesters have remained stationed on the bridge as lookouts for those dangling over the river. According to Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, the protesters have enough food and water to remain suspended over the river for about a week. Their harnesses allow the protesters to raise themselves to let other ships pass through, but for Shell oil, they’re saying #ShellNo. The ship, named the Fennica, is an icebreaker and is part of the Shell Oil Arctic fleet which received presidential approval earlier this year from the Obama administration to begin exploring Arctic drilling off the coast of Alaska. The Fennica had been damaged earlier in July, according to TIME, when the hull collided with an underwater object in the Aleutian Islands. The icebreaker arrived in Portland last week for repairs and was scheduled to depart on Wednesday but was forced to remain docked indefinitely in the Swan Island port, which is an important location for ships, like the Fennica, that need repairs in order to transport around 95% of the world’s cargo. As the Washington Post reported, the Fennica is transporting critical cargo for Shell’s operations in the north; without the safety equipment aboard the icebreaker, Shell workers do not have emergency response equipment that would be necessary in the event of a spill. No charges have been filed against the protesters yet, but local law enforcement agents have stated that criminal charges might be filed if...

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Californians Cut Their Water Use By an Incredible 29% This May
Jul21

Californians Cut Their Water Use By an Incredible 29% This May

The latest figures from the California drought are in — and throughout the month of May, California residents successfully cut their water consumption by an incredible 29%, officials with the State Water Resources Control Board announced. According to the LA Times, the news offers hope that the state’s residents may be able to meet the unprecedented conservation requirements imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in response to the drought crisis. This reduction in residential water use also suggests the state’s aggressive campaign to encourage lifestyle changes — such as taking shorter showers, replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants and investing in water-efficient appliances — is finally starting to see success. “My first response is almost disbelief,” Mark Gold, of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, said. “These results are beyond encouraging; they’re heartening. They make you realize that as a whole, people in urban areas are making the sacrifices necessary to get through this unprecedented drought.” The State Water Resources Control Board found that urban residents cut their water consumption by 28.9% in May, a significant improvement over April’s 13.6% reduction. In California’s first-ever mandatory water rationing, Gov. Brown is requiring all urban areas to cut water use by 25%. The news arrives at the start of California’s peak lawn-watering season; during the summer months, lawn irrigation makes up a stunning 80% of residential water use. In an effort to meet Gov. Brown’s stringent water restrictions, state officials have urged residents to let their lawns fade from green to gold with slogans like “Let it go” and “Turn it off.” While the typical American family of four consumes approximately 400 gallons of water per day, California residents aren’t afforded the same luxury. The state has been in a state of severe drought for more than four years, with no visible end in sight. As a result, California’s residents can’t afford to be liberal with their water usage. However, May’s water reduction statistics offer hope that Californians are resilient enough to withstand the challenges of living through a drought. “The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought,” Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said in a statement. “That said, we need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don’t know when it will rain and snow again, because we...

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Family Camping Vacation Tips That Will Make Your Trip Perfect
Jul20

Family Camping Vacation Tips That Will Make Your Trip Perfect

It’s high summer in the U.S., which means one thing — camping season. Family camping trips are one of the most popular choices for American families, with camping days spent together totaling 534.9 million in the year 2011 alone. However, camping with kids requires some special planning, so read on for some recommendations for having the best camping vacation ever with your family. Know Your Needs Will your family enjoy tent camping or should you look at cabins? Do you need flush toilets and hot showers or can you handle a campground with outhouses, in order to get even closer to nature? Buy Gear Slowly According to this tip from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Don’t invest heavily in gear until you know camping is a good fit for your family. Borrow what you can, troll garage sales and invest in necessities.” Above all, keep your packing as simple as possible to save time. Pack for the environment If you are camping somewhere that gets cold at night, plan on layers of clothing. You want your bottom layer to wick moisture from the skin, a warm layer, and then a water repelling layer on top of that. If you are going somewhere warmer, try to remember battery powered fans and sport towels. Don’t forget the bug repellent! Pre-pack Prep as much food as possible at home, and keep quick snacks on hand like nuts and dried fruit to keep everyone’s energy up. Have a box designated for camp cooking supplies only, so you can just grab it and pack it when you leave. Plan, Test, Modify Keep a running list of what you take camping that you can adjust as your family takes more trips. According to one article on Summit Daily, “To prepare for a camping trip, consider testing out your gear beforehand, making sure the batteries in the battery-operated lantern and glowsticks are still functional and practicing putting up the tent, including how to put on the rainfly.” Make your first night easy Set realistic expectations on how long it will take to get your campsite set up and everyone settled in. Plan on simple meals your first night so you don’t make more work for yourself — sandwiches or hot dogs, for example, are quick and easy. Challenge the Kids Have activity ideas on hand, which can be as easy as an impromptu scavenger hunt or hike. Participating in planned activities such as junior ranger programs can be very interesting and educational for the little ones. Smartphones can help you identify plants, wildlife, and constellations when you’re bored — if you have a connection. Be Flexible, Not...

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Oxon Hill Sewage Pipe Spilled 15,000 Gallons of Sewage Into the Potomac River
Jun30

Oxon Hill Sewage Pipe Spilled 15,000 Gallons of Sewage Into the Potomac River

The Potomac River received some unwelcome waste after a sewer main near Oxon Hill, Maryland sprung a leak. TheBayNet.com reports that last month, residents of Oxon Hill were advised to avoid certain parts along the Potomac as repair crews were hard at work stopping the leak. Workers from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) faced an especially challenging job considering that fixing a sewer main involves building tributary pipes to divert the sewage. “Fixing a broken sewer main is very different than fixing a broken water main,” said Lyn Riggins, a spokeswoman for WSSC. “You can’t just shut off the wastewater. The wastewater has to keep flowing or it will back up somewhere.” The leak itself comes from a 14-inch crack in the main sewer line. The line was buried roughly two feet underground. In order to prevent back up, the repair crews built a temporary 7,000-foot pipeline to safely re-route the sewage around the cracked pipe. They also inspected the busted pipeline with a camera before they actually touched it. Because the pipes were buried underground, they were prime candidates for the trenchless pipe repair method. As the name suggests, the method does not require digging large trenches in order to reach the pipes. Rather, the method calls for the use of existing pipes in order to guide special flexible pipes in them. Already available for residential projects for the past 10-15 years (although still relatively unknown), the trenchless method is considered more efficient and considerably less destructive than traditional methods. All in all, the repair work took about a week to complete. More than 15,000 gallons of sewage was spilled before the work was done. WSSC maintains that the leak could have been a lot worse had Oxon Hill not been located in a low-lying area. Due to the town’s topography, much of the sewage was effectively blocked off from the Potomac. Some of it, however, managed to seep into the river through the Oxon Run tributary. WSSC and Oxon Hill officials reassured residents that their water was safe to drink since the sewage and wastewater treatment plants that treat the nearly water is separate from the drinking water plant. Still, officials warned residents to avoid certain areas close to the spillage and put up warning signs just in case. “Even though there is waste water leaking in this area, the drinking water system is safe,” Riggins...

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