Every Oklahoma County Under State of Emergency as Historically Wet Spring Continues
This has been a historically wet spring for the South and Central U.S.
The National Weather Service said that Mississippi River flooding in at least eight states has lasted its longest since the "Great Flood" of 1927, USA Today reported Wednesday. And now, following two weeks of storms in Oklahoma and Kansas, the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas has swollen to record levels, Axios reported Wednesday.
Authorities in Tulsa, Oklahoma are hoping 70-year-old levees will hold, according to Axios, and every county in the state has declared an emergency over flooding, CNN reported Tuesday. As many as six people have died in the state over the past few days because of extreme weather, including floods and tornadoes.
"We still have water still rising in the east," Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Monday. "We are not out of the woods yet."
Here’s a look at the flooding we are seeing as we patrol by boat in the Town and Country Neighborhood today. This i… https://t.co/Dp8XM4xUl1— Tulsa County Sheriff (@Tulsa County Sheriff)1558976145.0
Thunderstorms are predicted through Tuesday night from Iowa to Oklahoma and then again Wednesday and Wednesday night from Texas into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, The Weather Channel reported. This could threaten new flash floods and add to existing flooding.
The Army Corps of Engineers increased the water flow from the Keystone Dam in Oklahoma to 275,000 cubic feet per second to try and prevent water from overflowing the spillway, The New York Times reported. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said authorities were monitoring water levels.
"We are planning for and preparing for the flood of record, and we think everybody along the Arkansas River corridor ought to be doing the same," Bynum told reporters Tuesday, according to The New York Times. "While it's high risk, there is not an emergency behind the levees right now. It's a high-risk situation when you're talking about infrastructure that's being tested in such a strong way."
Meanwhile, flood waters have turned the town of Braggs, Oklahoma into an island since late last week, and residents have organized boat runs for gas, medicine and food for livestock and people.
"We're just blocked off from civilization," 35-year-old nurse Carrie Ross told The New York Times.
Record flooding is also expected in Ozark, Dardanelle, Morrilton and Toad Suck Reservoir, Arkansas this week, and could top levees in Conway and Faulkner Counties, The Weather Channel said Tuesday.
Here is an update including the latest river levels along the Arkansas River as of early this evening. The next for… https://t.co/scisSn6shn— NWS Little Rock (@NWS Little Rock)1558999951.0
Locations from Oklahoma to Missouri have seen as much as 10 inches of rain this month, and many places could break rainfall records both for May and for any month, as The Weather Channel outlined:
Almost 15 inches of rain soaked Bartlesville, Oklahoma, nearly tripling its average May rain, crushing its previous May record of a mere 10.31 inches in 2000 and threatening the city's single wettest month record of 16 inches in June 1957.
All-time monthly rain records are also within reach in Chanute, Kansas (18.35 inches in May 1990), Wichita, Kansas (14.43 inches in June 1923), and Enid, Oklahoma (15.85 inches in May 1982).
But the wet weather has lasted longer than a month in many places. Since early 2019, most of the lower Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys have seen more than two feet of rain, USA Today reported. In several locations, the Mississippi has either broken or matched its 1927 records for the longest time at flood stage.
In Vicksburg, Mississippi, it has been at flood stage since February 17, the longest since 1927. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, it has been at flood stage since early January, and will break its 1927 record if it stays elevated far into June. And in Illinois' and Iowa's Quad Cities, the river did beat its 1927 record for the amount of time it stayed above the flood level.
The Great Flood of 1927 killed hundreds, displaced around 750,000 people and led to the existing system of flood controls managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Today's historic flood and precipitation levels are associated with climate change. Warmer air holds more moisture, and extreme precipitation events have increased in frequency and intensity across most of the U.S., according to the National Climate Assessment. Since 1991, that increase has been most extreme in the Northeast, Midwest and Upper Great Plains, and has led to an increase in flooding in the Northeast and Midwest. In the Southern Great Plains, the overall frequency of flooding has decreased in the last 30 years, but the number of record-breaking floods has increased. The frequency and intensity of heavy rains are also expected to increase in the region, especially if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the National Climate Assessment concluded.
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By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.