Category Archives: Environment

STAY INFORMED: Listing Of Coronavirus Resources

We want our community and readers to stay safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. This virus has caused hardships and pain on every level of our social, economic and well-being around the globe. An important part of protecting ourselves, our families, our friends, our front line and emergency workers and our community members who are at risk is to make sure we stay informed.

Below find a compiled list of resources relating to COVID-19 information.

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MDC TRIM Grant Removes Invasive Trees At St. Louis Community College

Certified arborist David Slane removes an invasive white poplar tree at St. Louis Community College’s Meramec campus. Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy MDC.

16 down, one to go. That was the count on a gray and rainy Thursday in early March when students from the horticulture class at St. Louis Community College’s (StLCC) Meramec Campus gathered to watch a dentist take down a tree. It was being funded by a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

For David Slane, DMD, this was merely a routine extraction, just one more dendro than dental. Dr. Slane is also an arborist, certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. In fact, Slane’s self-appointed nickname is “Arbor Dave”. When he’s not working at his Kirkwood practice on teeth that have roots under the gum, he’s at work on trees with roots underground.

“They have things in common,” Slane said. “In both cases you diagnose and treat problems.”

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#BringTheStlZooToYou

Saint Louis Zoo ads-2Connecting people to animals is the core of the Saint Louis Zoo’s mission, and that doesn’t stop when its doors are closed. Stay connected with the Zoo’s #BringTheStlZooToYou  online resource providing access to stories, videos and photos of the animals and animal care, educational activities, conservation programs and more to help you stay connected to the Zoo during the temporary ​public closure because of COVID-19. You can find the fun and informative resources on the zoo’s social media and website.

“We know how important the Zoo is to the St. Louis area community,” says Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “We are happy to continue to provide everyone with opportunities to view our animals and see firsthand how well our zookeepers and other critical staff are working.  Likewise, we hope all those parents who are teaching their children at home can take advantage of some of this information.”

 

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Wildlife Not To Blame For Coronavirus

Sharon Deem, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl ACZM, Director of the Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine

By Don  Corrigan

Bats and snakes are taking the blame for transmitting the coronavirus which is taking such a toll on human health and economic well-being. Experts at the Saint Louis Zoo worry that such explanations for the pandemic will cause a backlash against wildlife.

“Bats are not to blame. Snakes are not to blame. Wildlife is not to blame,” said Dr. Sharon Deem, director of the Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine. “Humans created the avenue for a snake to be near a bat to be near a human. We humans have created the environments that allow the spillover of these pathogens.

Deem is referring to one theory that coronavirus was contracted from bats by snakes, then the snakes were purchased for consumption by humans  in a market in Wuhan, China. The virus has spread from China to more than 150 nations, with the United States now having the most infections of all countries.

“We humans have created the environments that allow the spillover of these disease pathogens,” said Deem. “In fact, one of the greatest impacts on human public health, beyond emerging infectious diseases and climate change, is the loss of biodiversity.

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Painful Shutdown of Environmental Meetings in St. Louis

By Don Corrigan

It’s painful for Environmental Echo to receive the notices of closings and cancellations of nature outings, green activities and environmental meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic that now affects the St. Louis area and more than 140 countries.

This spreading disease is deadly serious, environmentally destructive and totally global in consequence. Obviously, it was mistake for the administration to fire the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pandemic Response Team two years ago.

It might be time to reconsider the firing of that unit, as well as the quashing of the annual reports out of the U.S. Defense Department on “Preparing the United States for Impacts of Climate Change,” which were started in 2013. Those reports include information on pandemics.

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Solving Climate Change With A Trillion Trees

Mark Grueber of the Missouri Department of Conservation surveys trees at the Powder Valley Nature Center, which serves as his work location for the MDC. Photo by Diana Linsley (WKT)

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

With wildfires raging globally and 2019 being the second hottest year on record, even climate change skeptics are starting to look for answers. Could planting a trillion trees reduce carbon pollution and spur a needed cool down?

The trillion trees idea got a big boost last month at the World Economic Forum. Planting trees does present an easier solution than reducing fossil fuel use. Even President Donald Trump said the U.S. would sign onto a tree campaign.

Local tree and horticultural experts are pleased that some movement on the climate change issue seems to be in the works, but they argue that planting trees is no panacea for a problem that is taking a toll on Planet Earth.

“There are many facets to this discussion about trees and climate change, and most of them do have some merit,” said Jerald Pence, coordinator for the horticulture program at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood. His responsibilities include managing an 11-acre garden on the Meramec campus.

“I do think that it’s important to understand that there is rarely a ‘silver bullet’ solution that will fix a big problem so easily,” added Pence.  “I think it’s great that something is happening to at least begin a needed discussion.”

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Society of Environmental Journalists Celebrates 30 Years

Front row, left to right: Kevin Carmody, Sarah Thurin Rollin, Bruce Ritchie, Beth Parke, Marla Cone, JoAnn Valenti Center row, left to right: Mike Mansur, Don Corrigan, David Ropeik, Peter Fairley, Kathy Sagan, ID missing, Tom Meersman, ID missing, ID missing, Julie Edelman, Angela Swafford Back row, left to right: ID missing, Jay Letto, Chris Bowman, George Homsey, Russ Clemings, Gary Lee, Emilia Askari, Chris Rigel (now Bruggers), Gary Polakovic, Jim Bruggers, Noel Grove (Photo: SEJ)

Environmental Echo applauds the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) on the organization’s 30 years of advocating for nature, ecology and the environment.

EE’s Don Corrigan was in Boulder, Colorado, with SEJ when the organization debated its vision, mission and objectives. He has attended its annual conventions, which always are highlighted by field trips and a week-long intensive foray into nature to explore vital issues. He has been active with SEJ’s college teaching committees on environmental teaching and coursework. (Corrigan is pictured in the middle row – second from left.)

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New Missouri State Parks Director Named

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today named Mike Sutherland as director of its Division of State Parks.

Sutherland has served as acting division director since Nov. 15, when former Division Director Ben Ellis retired. Prior to that, Sutherland served as deputy division director since joining the department in June 2017.

Before joining the Department of Natural Resources, Sutherland served as policy director for a nonprofit organization focused on budget and tax policy. His additional previous experiences include serving as the executive director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, a state representative and the Warren County assessor.

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Environmentalists Challenge Ameren At Rate Hearing

by Don Corrigan (SCT)

Ameren Missouri officials answered concerns about rates, fees, coal plants, green energy and climate change at a spirited public hearing in Sunset Hills City Hall on Jan. 16. The hearing was originally slated to take up the utility’s proposed rate changes.

Several residents were skeptical of the 0.03% monthly decrease Ameren Missouri is proposing in monthly bills that would translate into an average monthly decrease of about 3 cents. They said the decrease is far offset by hikes in fixed charges that the utility also is proposing.

Warren Wood, vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs for Ameren, said the rate decrease will provide a benefit to low-income residents who have poorly-insulated homes. They require more electricity use as a result, so a rate decrease has more impact than the fixed fee hike.

“We are proposing to drop rates for a decrease in electric service revenues by approximately $800,000,” said Wood.  “We are glad to continue to see our rates be more than 20% below Midwest and national averages.”

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New Missouri Legacy Waste Caucus Formed

Missouri House Communications, a nonpartisan state government office, has released information about a new Legacy Waste Caucus that will focus on Missouri’s nuclear waste issues.

Missouri has had nuclear waste issues for decades, like the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton and Cold Water Creek area in St. Louis’ North County. Grassroots efforts have been spotlighting the issues for a number of years. The Just Moms STL  is one of those groups and has been working to bring awareness to the West Lake Landfill and the adverse effects the illegally dumped nuclear waste has had on the local community.

The video below shows the members of the Caucus and explains what the focus of the group will be.