Confession: I Don’t Do the Seven Fishes

I’m going to be honest. I’ve never, in my life, done the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I know my dad’s family did when he was growing up, but it’s one tradition that the Boomers in my family seem not to have kept up with.

Another confession: I stopped eating fish all together a few years ago, because I’m fairly certain we have outright poisoned the ocean with plastic and radiation.

I’m sad to have never done this, and unless things drastically change, knowing that I never will.



Source: 2nd Day of Christmas: Feast of Seven Fishes Recipe | Italian Sons and Daughters of America

Dear Delta Thermo Energy: We Hope So, Too

If you search for Delta Thermo Energy’s website, this is what you’ll find:

Interestingly, that’s what DTE is basically also saying about the future site of their recently-approved and controversial Waste to Energy Plant:

Other details about the company on the web are sparing.  The LinkedIn profile is sparse, but we do learn that the CEO, Rob V. (Rob Van Naardan), used to work for a private equity firm. Mr. Van Naardan, if you’re reading this, I’d sincerely like to talk to you about emissions issues and I’d love to learn as much as possible about your process.  I’d also like to connect you and your company with the Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley – Berks.  Given your committment to near-zero emissions, DTE and AQP likely have some interests in common.

A New Reason to Not Kill the Rainforests: The Fungus I’m Calling Polyurethane Pam

The StumbleUpon algorithm took me from liking a chord sheet for “Hey Jude” to a story about a newly discovered Amazonian fungus that can eat polyurethane.  Coincidence, or does the algorithm like punning on Abbey Road tracks?

In any case, student researchers from Yale working in Ecuador have given us yet another reason to save the rainforests.

If you thought Fern Gully was propagandist tripe, read about the plastic-eating wunder-microbes here.  Plus one for biodiversity.


Going to the MATS for Air Quality in Pennsylvania (and Look For Me in the Morning Call Next Week)

Jon Geeting has a cost/benefit quote from Paul Krugman about the new Mercury and Air Toxins Standards (MATS) announced by EPA this week, and some thoughts about the GenOn issue here in our backyard.

As I commented on Jon’s blog:

Jon, thanks for posting on this.  In my capacity as Outreach Director for the Air Quality Partnership of Lehigh Valley – Berks, I have [a] piece running on related issues in the forthcoming Tuesday, Dec 27 edition of The Morning Call.

We’re applauding the president for the new MATS (Mercury and Toxins Standard), but we’re still looking for leadership on the new Ozone standards EPA proposed, based on the best available science, this past year.  In September, the President disappointed everyone by failing to enact these standards, leaving 2008 Bush guidelines in place that have been widely derided by the scientific community and advocacy groups.

Some of these groups have been pushing hard for GenOn to be forced to clean up sooner than the three year window that now seems to be codified.  My personal preference would be for a quicker total clean up.   Clean air is a fundamental legal right of all residents of the Commonwealth (Section 27 of the PA Constitution).  Krugman is right about the health benefits and cost/benefit of MATS, even as President Obama was wrong about the negative economic impact of better Ozone standards.  It makes one wonder why MATS got greenlit and responsible Ozone standards got punted to a presumptive second Obama term.

As you’ll see in Tuesday’s piece, “political realities” aren’t a good answer on the Ozone failure.  Check out what the President’s frenemies at the American Lung Association had to say about it.  They’re very pleased with the President this week about MATS, and they should be.   But my primary charge as a representative of the Air Quality Partnership is to advocate for and educate about ways we can reduce smog-causing ozone pollution and the production of deadly soot (often called particulate matter).   Mr. Obama, why, exactly, were the crucial updates to the Bush standards (so widely scorned in the progressive community) abandoned without a fight?  Why did you cede the cost/benefit narrative on better ozone protection when the science (and economics) were clearly in the favor of protecting public health?

Picture: How Soda Caps Are Killing Birds. Image: What’s Really In Our Food?

I’ve written about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (that is, the floating mass of plastic waste the size of Texas wreaking havoc in the Pacific Ocean) on quite a few occasions.  It’s in the news a lot and is becoming better-known.  And bigger.  And more devastating.  Take a look at this short piece from NPR today.  Warning: it’s graphic.  It should also be infuriating.

Consider also the eerie parallels between albatross parents mistakenly feeding their babies plastic and the degree to which we do or don’t know what’s really in most of the food we feed our kids.