Archive for March, 2016

Clean Energy versus Predatory Energy

March 31, 2016

The Northern Pass project is looking more and more like a chapter in Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen. Eversource president, Bill Quinlan plays a convincing Very Wicked Hobgoblin, complete with his Magic Glass Mirror that makes everything beautiful look hideous. At the March 14 hearing, Quinlan let it slip that Eversource has many more projects planned for New Hampshire. For anyone wondering what Eversource/Hydro Quebec plans to do with all the property HQ has bought up in the North Country, here’s a peek.

Seen through the glass mirror, our hills, farms, schools, neighborhoods, towns and cities will be covered with a network of high voltage towers. The Northern Pass Project is just the beginning of a much bigger plan to create a humongous carbon footprint in NH, one NP has no intent to fully offset because offsetting would cut into their tremendous profits. Every 35 foot piling they blast and fill with cement will emit a ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement NP pours in. In Quebec, HQ got away with not offsetting responsibly by calling their reservoirs a “land use change” while destroying river systems. Token payments are not a fair exchange for the fishing and tourism industries, indigenous culture, or wildlife now extinct. HQ energy is Predatory Energy.

NH electrical workers welcome the project and seem unaware of the health effects and loss of livelihood, home equity, wildlife, and tourism that Eversource has planned for all of us UNLESS we come together and support options for Clean Energy.

Most of us do not know what it is like to be ordered to move far from our home, land, work; to have our livelihood destroyed; to lose our community. We love our rivers, mountains, lakes and little towns.

Vermont finds Solar energy a clean option. The city of Rutland now runs on solar. Rutland put the solar grid on top of the city’s old dump, (not in a forest), and now has the most solarized city in New England via the Strafford Hill Solar Farm. The partnership is between Rutland, Green Mountain Power and Grow Solar with wins for everyone involved.

Right here in Grafton County, the Bristol Library now runs on solar. Other significant NH solar arrays include Manchester Airport Parking Garage, Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Factory, Peterborough Wastewater Treatment Plant, Exeter Regional High School and more. See https://solarpowerrocks.com./new-hampshire/.

By comparison, the NP has already strained the health and security of NH residents with property threats and hearings that run 5-6 hours long in strategically inconvenient places. Eversource reps claim false benefits and do not answer questions honestly. Hydro Quebec could easily run their line down through the approved NY/VT underground line, bypass NH altogether and eliminate a NH carbon footprint. Let us make that happen!

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Early Ticks Generated by a Warm Winter

March 23, 2016

Despite our singularly icy winter, deer ticks seem to be more abundant than ever. They seem to thrive on the periods of warm rain that alternated with snowfall this winter, and are ahead of schedule glomming onto hapless hikers before wildflowers are even up.

Given the high incidence of bone breaks caused by falls on ice covered by an innocent looking dusting of snow, it may be well to wait until the ice is out of the woods to venture in. Just this week the trail up Starr King Mt. was a virtual river of ice a foot thick in some places and an effective bushwhack around it was impossible. Two hikers ended up with bone breaks. On the same day, a hiker slipped going to the lookout on Welch Mt. and had to be rescued with a broken ankle.

To know what we’re dealing with and how to prevent bites, it helps to understand the life cycle of the Deer tick and what it needs to survive. The tick gets its name because the preferred host is a deer. Adult ticks feed on the deer’s blood, mate and, once the female eggs are fertilized, both the male and female die and drop to the ground where the eggs hatch to larva. The larva seeks a new host, a mouse or whoever is handy. The larvae molt to nymphs and continue to feed on mouse blood and other small mammals. Ticks are usually found on grasses, waiting for other victims, like us and deer, to pass.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control recommend DEET, Picaridin, and Permethrin for insect repellants. All are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past, readers responded that 7% or 30% DEET had not served as a protection from tick bites for them. Products with 99% DEET, commonly used by hunting and fishing people seemed to have more success. However, Permethrin is the insecticide that people are finding effective against tick bites. Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide made from the flowers of a species of the Chrysanthemum plant. Permethrin is a synthetic insecticide whose chemical structure is based on natural pyrethrum. As an insecticide, it is currently sold as a 0.5% Permethrin Pump Spray.

When used as directed, Permethrin appears to have no harmful effect on the environment. It is NOT used on the skin. It is sprayed ONLY on your clothes (shirt, pants, socks, everything but your underwear) and one treatment will last up to six launderings or six weeks before clothing has to be treated again. You need to wash the sprayed clothes between wearings or check the product label for specific instructions.

Other readers have found Permethrin Tick Tubes to be effective, especially if you live in a wooded/grassy area, have pets, and need protection right in your own yard. Tick Tubes are designed for the little critters. The tubes are biodegradable cardboard tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls. Mice gather the cotton for their nests. Deer ticks intending to feed on the mice are then killed when the mice return to their nests.

However, the mice and other mammals are not harmed. Put these tubes around your yard and the mice will love you for it. Caution needs to be taken that children do not take them apart out of curiosity and handle the cotton.

If you are interested in purchasing either of these products, check your local camping or hunting supply store. Otherwise, both products are available on line.

IMPORTANT CAUTIONS: DEET comes in varying strengths and preparations, in roll-ons, sprays and liquid. If applied to the skin (which hikers and gardeners often do,) it needs to be thoroughly washed off with soap and water when home safely. DEET is potentially toxic. Body checking, especially the head and hairline, remains a must. Our heads have a rich supply of blood just under the surface. Check and re-check each other after time spent in tick-infested areas, especially if near grasses; get out of your clothes, do a complete body check, and shower well.  Wash clothes to avoid spreading ticks to your home. Check pets routinely. Walk on the center of trails and save bushwhacking for winter. And don’t sit on a nice soft clump of grass to eat your lunch!

Permethrin is ONLY applied to clothing, NEVER to the skin. It is highly toxic to humans but safe when applied to clothing and not when clothing is being worn. For safety, clothing is sprayed according to specific directions on the bottle and left to dry for 2 hrs. before wearing. One reader has a separate bag he stores Permethrin sprayed clothes in between wearings.

 A Deer Tick may only be the size of a sesame seed but if it has been sucking your blood, it will swell up much larger. If you are bitten and the tick has been on you for more than 24 hrs, or if you develop a fever, chills, headache, muscle & joint pain, fatigue, rash or any other symptom that seems odd for you, bring yourself and the tick to your health provider.

Time to spread the word and send in suggestions for what works for you. Thanks!

The Planet’s Antibodies in Action

March 11, 2016

Ruminating on our environmentally induced health problems this week, I was relieved to see several signs that the times are a changing.

Despite the threats to our health posed by Australia’s coal mines, Canada’s Tar Sands, and Russia’s Gas Fields, environmentalist, Bill McKibben (Boston Globe 3/5) notes that positive change is happening as well. He sees protesters as the planet’s antibodies finally kicking in. Right here in NH, protesters have stayed the course against the Northern Pass Project for 5 ½ years and continue their protest of this project that threatens our land, our wildlife diversity, and ultimately, our health.

Film director, Michael Moore, believes that we can do more for good in the world. Annette Insdorf interviewed him about his new film. Instead of documenting US problems, Where to Invade Next documents places around the world we could learn from, countries who have turned these same problems around. In Norway, prisons are for rehabilitation, not revenge. There is no death penalty and no life in prison. The warden meets with each prisoner on arrival and says, “Someday you may be my neighbor and I want you to be a good neighbor.” And Norway leads the world in successful rehabilitation.

Germany has taken in 400,000 refugees and is prepared to take in 400,000 more because, as Angela Merkel says, “that’s who we are”. Germany refused to participate in the Iraq holocaust. They know the futility of war first hand.

The list continues through health care, education, etc. but the take home for me was the reality that we can learn from other countries when we stop pretending that we are the superior people of the world.

Philosophers have routinely called us to think “we” instead of “me”. Martin Buber, in his book, “I and Thou,” spelled out the difference between relating to other people as an “it” and as a “thou.” Environmental Activist, Joanna Macy, sees us in the midst of “The Great Turning” from an Industrial Growth Society to a Life Sustaining Civilization. Mohandas Gandhi encouraged protesters, “When people lead, the leaders will follow.”

We are no longer simply part of the United States. We are part of the World. Our health depends on World health. How can each of us claim citizenship in a Life Sustaining Civilization?