Local Conservation

Currently I am rehearsing the musical setting of a Grimms’ fairy-tale, The Fisher and his Wife, modified for our times and set in Richmond, VA. It’s called The Fisher of the James, and like most of my narrative music, will be presented as a benefit concert. This time, I hope to use the music to call attention to the need for local conservation efforts in light of the worsening effects of climate change and the adverse consequences of delaying needed change.  The date, venue, and sponsors of this event are still being considered.

Here’s a small flyer of miscellaneous facts about some of the issues we would do better to embrace than to deny:

Would I lie to you?  Here are a few realities. Mix and match as you wish: .Cost to repair the nation’s sewers: $500 billion. Total allocated to fix the nation’s sewers: about $650 million. (from Eaarth, as are the following) Cost to repair its roads, spread over 20 years: $450 billion, and here are a few more:

  • Citibank’s bailout: $350 billion. Cost of Katrina’s cleanup: $130 billion. New Orleans levee repairs $14 billion. Safe-proofing New Orleans against a category 5 storm: $80 billion.
  • Growth of retail space per person from 1990 to 2005: from 19 to 38 sq. feet.
  • Population of Richmond’s metro area: 1.2 million. Richmond proper: 200,000. Richmond metro’s median income: $55,000. Richmond proper: $31,000.
  • In 1980 the Arctic icepack covered about 2.5 million square miles. Now it’s about 1.2 million square miles.
  • The US Forest service in Tennessee found urban trees contribute $80B in carbon capture and other benefits. (Appalachian Voices)
  • It is commonplace for states to subsidize multinational companies by allowing them tax credits equal to the state income tax paid by their employees. (The Fine Print, 2012)
  • Households with incomes <$13K spent 9% of income on lottery tickets in 2008 (The Week 4/13/2012)
  • 2.5% population consumed artificially sweetened drinks in 2003; and 10.8% in 2012.
  • 43 billion gallons of freshwater per day are needed to supply America’s electricity, more water than 140 New York cities. (Appalachian Voices, September 2012. And following.)
  • Nuclear power plants use 25-60 gallons of water per kilowatt hour. Since a typical home uses 958 kwh/mo, a home uses 19,160 gallons of water per month.
  • A coal fired plant producing 600 megawatts loses 2 billion gallons of water per year to evaporation. A large coal or nuclear station can draw in 500 million gallons of water per day . In the Great Lakes, 100 million fish and 1.2 billion fish larvae die per year in intake screens. At outlets, more habitat destruction occurs because of the hot water released. In North Carolina,  this  caused striped bass die-offs  in 2004, 2005, and 2010. I’d rather have had them for lunch.
  • Increased droughts since 2004 has forced a dozen power plants to shut down or reduce power output in peak temperature months.
  • Coal companies dump toxic slurry water into abandoned mines in Appalachia and elsewhere. The heavy metals and other toxins find aquifers and enter ground water and wells, causing sickness, as in the 1972 Buffalo Creek release of 132 million gallons of slurry from a dam. Although no longer stored in impoundments, the slurry in mine shafts still enters water systems.
  • In Virginia, House Bill 710 (Kilgore) leaves empty mines, called “voids,” under the control of the lessee of the property, not the lessor (owner). This means that property owners whose land was leased only to allow mining cannot necessarily prevent a mining company from adding coal slurry to the void, even though there is no longer any coal to mine. (VA League of Conservation Voters, and following).  This taking of property for nonpublic use, and probable use against the public good, is sponsored by the public. As a fish, I find this puzzling.
  • HB 869 and SB 274 eliminate requirements that areas of rapid growth seek to focus development on compact, energy-efficient neighborhoods rather than adding to the costly, inefficient, habitat destruction of sprawled development.  A similar sprawl-promoting law is the HB 599 Northern Virginia Transportation District Authority law, which indirectly discourages mass transit in favor of more auto traffic.
  • The people of Vanua Levu, the second largest of the FijiIslands, have not contributed much to cause climate change, but they are one of the first communities to begin relocation in order to escape the rising sea.
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks 1018 hate groups, a 69% increase since 2000, as well as 1274 antigovernment patriot groups and armed militias, such as the Hammerskin  Nation, one of whose members killed members of a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012.  Hear more from Mashkinonge (the fish) when Richard Rose performs The Fisher of the James.  See more about this and other projects  at Rose’s blog,  http://www.frameshifts.com.

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