This is Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's (BREDL) Podcast where we discuss environmental issues that are right in our backyards. Topics include coal plants, fracking, pipelines, and much more. This podcast takes a deep dive into these topics and talks with people who are on the ground fighting for the health and safety of their communities as well as protection the planet.
53. Conserving Maryland's Coastline with a Living Reef
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30:50Jesse Howe is the Assistant Director of the Coastal Conservation Association, Maryland (CCA) whose purpose is to advise and educate the public on the conservation of our marine resources. They seek to conserve, promote and enhance the present and future availability of coastal resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public. One of the main projects CCA does are living reefs, which are reef balls that they create in the Chesapeake Bay to provide important habitat for oysters and other estuarine critters and they are valued in both fresh and Bay waters. And since the 1700’s oyster populations have seen dramatic decline due to over-harvesting, disease, habitat loss and more and the Bay has really seen the effects of that as oysters are natural filters. Therefore the reef balls offer a place for oysters to come back to the Bay and help maintain healthy waters and the ecosystem. With Jesse we talk about why Maryland's coastline is ecologically significant, the goals of the Living Reefs, how they get the community involved, citizen science, and how to support their work. Contact and connect with Jesse: [email protected] CCA Maryland: https://www.ccamd.org/ https://www.ccamd.org/product/cca-membership/ https://www.ccamd.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Vision_Chesapeake_Final.pdf https://www.instagram.com/cca_md/ https://www.facebook.com/CCAMARYLAND
52. CARE-4-AIR: Air Monitoring in the Southeast
24:12Ann Rodgers is BREDL’s Grant Writer. In 2021 BREDL received a grant from the EPA, which Ann wrote to fund an air monitoring program, called CARE-4-Air, for our chapters who are experiencing air quality issues in their community. I misspoke in my intro as there will be 10 air monitoring sites in TN,NC, SC, GA, and VA. These sites are all currently subject to significant sources of air pollution, including: coal-burning power generation, wood-burning biomass gasification, industrial landfill, biochar production, wood pellet manufacturing, railroad operation, biomass plant operation, coal ash deposition, natural gas compressor stations, prescribed forest burning, and asphalt plants. Many of the affected communities are experiencing documented health impacts associated with air pollution generated by these industrial operations. And then among the 10 sites at which monitoring will be conducted, 6 of them have documented health risks for African American communities. BREDL staff and chapters are scheduled to start monitoring this spring to collect further data.
51. Sailing the World for Ocean Research
29:20Matt Rutherford is one of the CO-Directors & Expedition Leaders of Ocean Research Project, which is a nonprofit whose mission is to observe the unknown and monitor humanity’s impact on the Ocean through dedicated interdisciplinary field expeditions. Two of the main projects they focus on is research on the melting glaciers in Greenland as well as marine plastic pollution. Greenland has a vast coastline and the surrounding waters are largely uncharted and under-monitored due to the harsh conditions and remote location. Therefore, the Ocean Research Project goes out and pursues the observations necessary for scientists to define the conditions for monitoring the effects of climate change on the Arctic marine environment. Then the other project we talk about is marine debris, ORP has conducted multiple research expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. ORP completed its first marine debris research expedition in 2013. During this trip, its crew spent 70 days sailing in the Atlantic Ocean, collecting samples of plastic trash in the water and mapping out the eastern side of the North Atlantic garbage patch. They are now doing local work in the Chesapeake Bay and have helped increase the scientific community’s understanding of plastic pollution’s pervasive distribution across oceans from the sea ice to the seabed. Ocean Research Project: https://www.oceanresearchproject.org/ Articles: Plastic Pollution in the World’s Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea PCBs and PBDEs in microplastic particles and zooplankton in open water in the Pacific Ocean and around the coast of Japan Mitigation strategies to reverse the rising trend of plastics in Polar Regions Support ORP’s work: https://www.oceanresearchproject.org/support-ocean-research/
50. Residents Against a Liquified Natural Gas Plant For the Common Good
28:54Elissa Huffstetler and Theresa Ahrens are Residents of southeastern Person County, NC where Dominion Energy is wanting to put a facility that would include a 25 million gallon liquified natural gas storage tank, and plans submitted by Dominion suggest that a second tank could be built there in the future. The facility could emit 65,579 tons of greenhouse gasses, specifically methane, each year and not to mention, the what is produced there will not be used in the area, but other counties. There are many concerns about this facility including air pollution, fire explosion risk, endangered species in the streams and creeks nearby, and loss of local wetland, forestland, and farms. On November 9th residents went to a meeting about rezoning the land from rural to industrial for the plant to be placed there and more than 100 people came to speak out about their concerns. Many neighbors at the community meeting said they are concerned about the potential for fires or explosions. Vapor clouds are composed not only of methane, but of flammable refrigerants that can ignite. And they will be continuing the fight at future meetings. Contact and connect: [email protected] and [email protected] More info: https://ncnewsline.com/2023/11/03/dominion-plans-large-liquified-natural-gas-facility-in-person-county-near-rougemont/ https://bredl.org/resources/person-county-planning-board-recommends-rezoning-for-lng-facility-amid-public-outrage/
49. Insight on Overfishing and Sustainable Seafood
24:04Adam Ratner is the Associate Director of Conservation Education at Marine Mammal Center. The Marine Mammal Center advances global ocean conservation through rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education. They are the world's largest marine mammal hospital and rescues more marine mammals than any other organization in the world, covering a rescue range that spans 600 miles of California coastline and Hawai‘i. Within the episode we talk about overfishing. Overfishing simply refers to the process of taking more fish out of the sea than can reproduce and replenish naturally. With the use of massive industrial fishing practices and nets that can stretch for miles, it isn’t only the targeted animals that are at risk, but also other animals that are caught by accident and killed. With billions of people around the world relying on seafood, the pressure on fish stocks has never been greater. Currently, one-third of all fisheries around the world are overfished, and the rate is increasing drastically so we must take action now to support healthy fish stocks for people and animals. Contact and connect: Marine Mammal Center: [email protected] https://www.marinemammalcenter.org/science-conservation/conservation/sustainable-seafood/wild-caught-seafood
48. Duke Students Protecting Our First Amendment
15:49Sarah Ludington is a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the First Amendment Clinicare and Kyle Compton is a Local News Fellow of the Clinic. The First Amendment Clinic at Duke University provides students the opportunity to work directly with clients facing free expression concerns, including defamation, content-discrimination, and reporter’s privilege. Their services are pro bono and open to the public’s use. BREDL has used their services as we were waiting for PFAS records from the NC Department of Environmental Quality for 8 months and when we reached out to the Clinic and they sent a demand letter on our behalf, we got the records immediately. To contact and connect with the Duke First Amendment Clinic is in the show notes below. Thanks for listening and enjoy the episode. Contact and connect: [email protected] First Amendment Clinic: https://law.duke.edu/firstamendment/
47. Envisioning a World Beyond Pesticides pt. 2
29:11We’re back to continue our conversation with Jay Feldmen who is Executive Director with Beyond Pesticides. Go back to the previous episode to learn the background of Beyond Pesticides and what they are doing. And now here is the rest of our conversation. Beyond Pesticides are science and research based. They seek to protect healthy air, water, land, and food for ourselves and future generations. By forging ties with governments, nonprofits, and people who rely on these natural resources, they reduce the need for unnecessary pesticide use and protect public health and the environment. They believe that people must have a voice in decisions that affect them directly and that decisions should not be made for us by chemical companies or by decision-makers who either do not have all of the facts or refuse to consider them. With Jay, we discuss what pesticides are, common places they are found, effects they give to humans, research they’ve done and are continually doing, alternatives, and how it is all interconnected. Jay has a wealth of knowledge, so to contact and connect with him will be in the show notes below. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy the episode.
46. Envisioning a World Beyond Pesticides pt. 1
18:15Jay Feldman is the Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides. Beyond Pesticides are science and research based. They seek to protect healthy air, water, land, and food for ourselves and future generations. By forging ties with governments, nonprofits, and people who rely on these natural resources, they reduce the need for unnecessary pesticide use and protect public health and the environment. They believe that people must have a voice in decisions that affect them directly and that decisions should not be made for us by chemical companies or by decision-makers who either do not have all of the facts or refuse to consider them. With Jay, we discuss what pesticides are, common places they are found, effects they give to humans, research they’ve done and are continually doing, alternatives, and how it is all interconnected. Jay has a wealth of knowledge, so to contact and connect with him will be in the show notes below. Thanks for listening and I hope you enjoy the episode. This episode will be broken into two episodes since it’s longer, so be on the lookout for it in two weeks.
45. Working for the Public's Interest in Maryland
21:52Emily Scarr is with the Maryland Public Interest Research Group. Maryland PIRG is an advocate for the public interest. They speak out for the public and stand up to special interests on problems that affect the public's health, safety and wellbeing. For every issue they work on, they have a bold vision of how to transform our country. Although, they understand that change comes one step at a time, and often powerful interests are standing in the way. The focus is on making a difference for the public, not just making a statement. With Emily we speak about the campaigns she is working on from energy issues to PFAS contamination in Maryland. She ends the conversation with saying Maryland can be a great state to be leading the change and then for other states to follow. Contact and connect with Emily: [email protected] Maryland PIRG: https://pirg.org/maryland/
44. Protesting for Peace: Stories from the Netherlands pt. 2
26:51This is the continuation of last week’s episode of interviews from my week at the International Peace Camp in the Netherlands. Go back to the last episode to get the background of why we were there and actions we did, and those stories. And without further ado, here are the rest of the conversations. 45 of us from around Europe and the U.S. gathered together for a week of actions in protest against the U.S. Nuclear bombs stored at the Volkel Air Base. The Netherlands is one of five NATO members to host US nuclear weapons on its territory as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement. The Dutch air force is assigned approximately 15 B61 nuclear bombs, which are deployed at the Air Base. And The F-35 and F-16 fighter-bombers emit over 10 tons of CO2 per flight hour practicing to bomb the world with new, even ‘better’ nuclear bombs in the next war. And during the week, we heard those fighter-bombers practicing numerous times a day. First is Marion Kuper from Germany who is speaking at our gathering on Hiroshima Day about the nuclear free work in Germany and reads some of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), then we talk with Judith from Germany, Hubert from Germany, Vera from the U.S., Brian from the U.S., Onnau from Germany, Ria from Germany, Theo from the U.S. and then Susan from the U.S. These are just a few stories and testimonies from the week there. You can check out the links below to learn about why we were there and nuclear sharing in general. There is also some background noise, since I record this in person with people, so I apologize for that. News coverage: https://www.democracynow.org/2023/8/10/nuclear_protests_netherlands