I had peaked at what's happening with the mining industry and they are hunting for some of the metals associated with the Tar Creek Superfund site like manganese but others like bauxite and uranium. We have learned that manganese can harm children much like lead does. Brazilian mining companies are finding lots of iron, so of course they have lots of water that has that familiar "look" of bad water we are used to finding.
I didn't cry about how our children have been lead poisoned and how the other heavy metals are creating their own health impacts, but it causes me a deep sadness and pushes me to speak out. I didn't take them to the damage uranium mining had caused to the Navajos and men who left our mines to work there, too which has caused much sorrow there and with our returning miners and their families.
Last week their Congress voted to protect large portions of the Amazon which left the mining ministry complaining that “Brazil needs to grow and create jobs, attract mining investment and even tap the economic potential of the region." The Jobs vs. the environment seems to be a universal dilemma.
So far the Amazon has so much diversity no single insect has done to the lungs of the southern hemisphere, what the pine bark beetle has done for ours.
The loss of our pine trees has been caused by climate change and its driving force is the continued use of fossil fuels' and the warming that results, allowing the beetles to reproduce many more times a season in great hungry numbers. The Brazilian group was committed to investigating best practices in overall energy sector management, particularly with respect to transitioning from traditional to renewable sources; and issues related to generation and distribution of electricity.
They lit up when Ariel Ross began to talk about her efforts as a regular woman in an Oklahoma town to stand up and get the city she lived in to attempt to regulate fracking inside their city limits to protect their property and their citizens' health.
They wanted to hear about earthquakes and Ariel had worked with Stop Fracking Payne County, an organization Earl Hatley, LEAD Agency's Grand Riverkeeper helped form, because as a land owner in Payne County, still owning a homestead where frack central was just around the country corner. A great question from one of the group was why did they concentrate on the fracking and injection wells, didn't they care about what was IN THE WATER that was being injected?
She explained the reasoning. Environment in Oklahoma is a dirty word, goes against progress and who would want to stop the industry where their daddy worked? So they strategically chose to focus early on the fracking that caused EARTHQUAKES because that was really a dirty word everybody could get behind and want to STOP. We all learned as the effort continued that the real earthquakes were linked to the high pressure waste water injection.
As it went on, she calmly talked about the organizing and the success, in the short run. Her winning a seat on the planning commission for Stillwater, how she was perceived in her neighborhood and the BIG ONE, the 5.8 earthquake and then she cried.
My mind wandered. The next earthquake worries me and what might happen to the fragile caverns that make up the Tar Creek Superfund site. Earthquakes are unpredictable and if that whole thing collapses what could be the repercussions?
My driveway is covered with layers of pine needles. The forest I planted 37 years ago is dying. I didn't cry but I did plead with the Brazilian delegation to take care of the Amazon since the North American boreal forest covering 15% of the earth and has been called "a poor person's Amazon," because it produces lots of oxygen and is a carbon storage "sink."
Billions of trees have died from Alaska to New Mexico, Minnesota to Mississippi the beetle is taking our trees, our forests. We should be crying, but before we left that room at the University of Tulsa,
I did plead for them to take better care of their Amazon, that we will all be dependent on that oxygen.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim