Category Archives: Environment

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Just Moms Question EPA Award for Atomic Site Remediation

West Lake Landfill

By Don Corrigan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the winners of the third annual National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse awards. The Weldon Spring atomic site, located in St. Charles, Missouri, receives one of three awards given nationally.

Pictured above: Dawn Chapman (Left) and Karen Nickel, co-founders of Just Moms STL.

Dawn Chapman, a leader of Just Moms STL, which has been battling for the remediation of the West Lake atomic site in the Bridgeton area across from St. Charles, is not so impressed by the award for Weldon Spring.

“If we are being honest, the federal government polluted the hell out of this area during the atomic bomb production era,” said Chapman. “Then it let everything just sit around leaking for decades — some of it sitting next to a high school. The government let radioactive waste get into ponds and streams, then knowingly allowed and even encouraged people to hunt and fish there.”

The Weldon Spring DOE LM Site, comprised of a former Chemical Plant and Quarry, has a complex history, according to the EPA. It played a pivotal role in the success of World War II and the Cold War, according to EPA, and the 228-acre site,  located about 25 miles west of St. Louis, has been revitalized for beneficial reuse as a community educational center and recreational site.

EPA officials said new Weldon Spring Interpretive Center features exhibits designed to fulfill DOE’s post-closure responsibilities. The center informs and educates the public about long-term stewardship and the site’s historical legacy. An important educational focus is on risk communication, showing how cleanup activities made the site safe for public use. Other redevelopment highlights include community use facilities and a natural prairie habitat, which promotes wildlife conservation.

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Consumers Turn To Insect Protein As Meat Disappears from Grocery Shelves

Sarah Schlafly, CEO of Mighty Cricket, with Jacob Pratt, general manager for St. Louis area FroYo locations.

St. Louis Startup Combats COVID-19 Meat Shortages

As grocery store meat cases empty, some consumers are seeking alternative sources of protein – from insects. This is exactly what St. Louis startup Mighty Cricket had been anticipating when it launched in 2018 with its line of all-natural cricket protein powders, decadent protein oatmeals, and wholesome protein pancake mix.

Mighty Cricket’s founder, Sarah Schlafly, explained, “Mighty Cricket was born out of the realization that the whole nation is food insecure. Our nation’s food system is incredibly fragile. One major catastrophe and we’re all suffering from food supply issues.”

Determined to create a sustainable food system, Mighty Cricket launched with a mission to build a clean protein supply to sustain the world.

Schlafly’s concerns about the U.S. food system was realized during the COVID-19 pandemic when supply chain issues forced farmers to destroy millions of pounds of fresh foods. In a letter published recently by John Tyson, chairman of the board at Tyson Foods, Tyson echoes Schlafly’s alarm, “The food supply chain is breaking.”

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EPA Helps To Reduce Diesel Emissions With School Bus Rebates

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a total of $1,030,000 to 23 Missouri school districts and one Missouri school bus transportation company to replace 52 older diesel school buses.

The funds are part of $11.5 million to replace 580 buses for 157 school bus fleets in 43 states and Puerto Rico, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage. The program awarded the funds in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Earth Day’s primary goal is to protect the environment for future generations. These rebates help do just that by continuing to improve air quality across the country and providing children with a safe and healthy way to get to school,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “While many fleets are currently off the road, when these local school districts start up again, EPA and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act have helped equip them with cleaner running buses, moving farther along the route to healthier kids and communities.”

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Visiting A Zoo Is Good For Your Health New Study Shows

Photo courtesy Saint Louis Zoo

new scientific study authored by Saint Louis Zoo researchers concludes that immersive, naturalistic exhibits in zoos can elicit positive changes in physiological and psychological measures of health and well-being of visitors. In other words – a visit to the zoo is good for your health!

The study titled “Changes in human health parameters associated with an immersive exhibit experience at a zoological institution” was published on Friday, April 17, 2020, in PLOS ONE.

“At a time when the number of people living in urban areas is on the rise, and humans and the natural world are more disconnected, we are now fully realizing why we need the human-animal-nature bond to ensure public health,” said Sharon Deem, DVM, Ph.D., Director of Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine and senior author of the study. “The evidence from this study supports the role of zoos and other green spaces in providing health benefits to zoo visitors,” said Deem.

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MDC Offers New Podcast Exploring Positive Impacts Of Nature

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is excited to announce the launch of its new podcast, Nature Boostwith a focus on the positive impact the outdoors has on each of us.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors is linked to an increase in overall physical health. Being outside has also proven to help decrease stress and anxiety, and help lower depression. For example, spending time in nature, conservation areas, backyards, and urban parks may ease stress levels, including increasing attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

“We’re very excited to share this Nature Boost experience with both our seasoned outdoor enthusiasts and those brand new to discovering nature,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “It’s a chance to learn about the incredible natural resources we have right here in Missouri, including how those nature experiences are changing lives every day.”

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Is use of Bathroom Tissue an Environmental Issue?

by Don Corrigan

“I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.” Several readers sent this piece of humor to me about a month ago. Unfortunately, it’s still relevant in the continuing age of the 2020 Pandemic.

I shopped at several grocery stores just in the last week. The squeeze on Charmin supplies is still ongoing. The cupboards were bare at several stores, except for a sign about rationing – only one package of Charmin, Angel, Coronet or Cottonelle per customer.

Toilet paper is still one of the most coveted items for care packages being assembled at local food banks and beyond. Rolls of paper are gladly accepted at Webster-Rock Hill Ministries. State Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, has put out a call for this essential commodity for those in need on so many levels.

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Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group to Meet May 13: Public Comment Period Included

City of St. Charles’ Frontier Park. Photos by Holly Shanks.

The Flood Recovery Advisory Working Group will meet at 1 p.m. on May 13. Out of caution surrounding the spread of COVID-19, participation in this meeting will be online only at dnr.mo.gov/videos/live.htm. When the public comment period begins, which will take place near the end of the meeting, the host will announce the call-in number individuals should use to comment.

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All Gassed Up — Nowhere To Go

BP station at the corner of Big Bend Boulevard and South Elm Avenue in Webster Groves. Photo by Ursula Ruhl (WKT)

Carl Campbell, editor of Carl’s Climate Letters, tells Don Corrigan that gas prices will continue to nosedive. He says the era of fracking is over due to the collapse of oil prices. 

 

By Don Corrigan

All gassed up, and nowhere to go. That’s a common refrain right now. Gasoline is cheap, but concert sites, sports stadiums, and amusement parks across the country are shuttered, thanks to the worst pandemic in America in over 100 years.

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St. Louis Cardinals Recognized For Sustainable Food Management

Cardinal Nation’s Kenny Chang, a 2008 Lindbergh High School grad in St. Louis, shows off some fan wear for the sustainable-conscious St. Louis Cards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2019 Food Recovery Challenge Regional Award.

“Food Recovery Challenge participants are leaders in showing how preventing food waste and diverting excess wholesome food to people is an environmental win and a cost-saving business decision,”said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Their accomplishments serve as excellent examples to other companies, governments, organizations and communities.”

As part of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results.

“We applaud the St. Louis Cardinals for their continued commitment and success in reducing food waste from their operations, said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford.“Thanks to their initiative and innovation, the St. Louis Cardinals have helped the greater community reduce hunger, while also protecting our environment by diverting food waste from landfills.”

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Q&A: How COVID-19 Is Impacting The Food Supply Chain and Animal Welfare

Graphic courtesy Purdue University

Purdue University’s College of Agriculture offers the following questions and answers to provide background and insight into how COVID-19 is impacting the food supply chain and animal welfare. The information is provided by Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, and Candace Croney, professor, animal behavior and well-being, and director, Center for Animal Welfare Science, Purdue University.

If there’s a surplus at the farm, why is there a shortage in the grocery store?

See answer and more below.

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