Class VI Rapids: Environmental stories that risk our lives

Wet Planet defines Class VI Rapids as “Nearly impossible and very dangerous. Involves risk of life.” For our purposes, Class VI Rapids is an apt metaphor for the ecological perils threatening all life: pollution, extinction, unsustainable economics, the human-caused climate emergency. And so Class VI Rapids becomes the title of this weekly review of recent life-threatening environmental stories.

+PA Senate Bill 790 Update

PA Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee
PA Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meets to consider SB 790.

Just a few lowlights from the video of this weeks Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee meeting to consider Senate Bill 790. Democratic Senator Dinniman (Senate District 19) sounded like a Republican from western PA. Here are a few of his astounding quotes:

  • “We have a whole history of oil production here in Pennsylvania that goes way back to the nineteenth century. In fact, I think the first oil well was drilled here in Pennsylvania.” [Senator Yaw then chimes in to confirm Senator Dinniman’s suspicion.]
  • “We’re not talking about fracking. . .so this is not a fracking question.” [Even according to the industry lobbying group Pennsylvania Grade Crude Oil Coalition, most conventional gas wells are fracked. Note that neither Republican Senator Hutchinson sitting next to Dinniman, nor Republican Senator Yaw—nor any Democrat—chimed in to correct the record.]
  • “There’s an opportunity here to reassert an industry that has a long tradition in Pennsylvania and has not polluted. . . .” [With regard to the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania, is there an opposition party?]

+Joe Biden’s Link to Oil and Gas

As of this date, Biden still leads the Democratic Presidential Primary polls.

+Greta Thunberg: “This is what it’s all about.” Speech becomes music.

+3 billion fewer birds singing, but more than 9 billion frying. . .

Sure, we may have lost 3 billion wild birds, but we more than made up for that in the number of caged birds. Americans now eat 9 billion chickens every year, or 42.2 billion pounds—93.5 pounds of chicken per person. According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, seventy percent of all birds on Earth are domesticated, mostly chickens.

+#PoetsForScience Initiative

by Jane Hirshfield

On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.

The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
were silenced,
and the ones who worked for the bees.

Author: John Able

John is a retired Forest Service employee. He worked as a wildland firefighter, public affairs officer, and technical writer. He lives with his family along a left-bank tributary of Conewango Creek in rural Warren County, Pennsylvania.

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