Welcome to Rocket Trike Diaries—a 10 week video tour of the 2011 "Ride for Renewables: No Tar Sands Oil On American Soil!" Join Renewable Rider Tom Weis as he pedals his rocket trike 2,150 miles through America’s heartland in support of landowners fighting TransCanada’s toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline scheme. Here are the video entries from Week Eight:
Video Entry #51: Riders Discover Apparent Cushing, OK Tie-In for Keystone XL
Renewable Rider Tom Weis and Ron Seifert discover what appears to be the Oklahoma tie-in for the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla. The location matches descriptions provided by locals; surveyors are working on the property; and sections of pipe are assembled on the ground. Describing the day as "soul crushing" and the area as an industrial "dead zone," with an "overwhelming" stench of gas in the area in some parts, Ron imagines how different it would feel to be standing next to a wind farm or field of solar arrays.
Video Entry #52: U.S. Senator James Inhofe: Member of Flat Earth Society?
Renewable Rider Tom Weis and Ron Seifert race a snowstorm towards Coalgate, Okla., with more than 100 miles behind them on the day. Reflecting on the clownish behavior of U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom wonders aloud whether Inhofe is truly in denial over the climate crisis, or if he's simply a tool of the fossil fool/fuel industry. The latter would suggest he cares more about staying in office than protecting the future of his children and grandchildren, something that could actually be said about most members of Congress. Time for an Occupy Congress movement?
Video Entry #53: World's Smallest 3-Piece Chicken Dinner
Renewable Rider Tom Weis asks Ron Seifert to remove the lid from a box discovered on the counter of Beverly's Country Kitchen in Jacksonville, Texas. Inside is the world's smallest 3-piece chicken dinner.
Video Entry #54: Why Is Rick Perry Letting a Foreign Corporation Mess With Texas?
Renewable Rider Tom Weis and Ron Seifert pedal through chilly north Texas after meeting with an "old school" reporter at The Paris News. For the first time in four days, the sun is out. Tom poses a pointed question to Texas Gov. Rick Perry: "For someone who prides yourself on law and order, why are you letting a foreign corporation mess with Texas?"
Renewable Rider Tom Weis speaks with Amy Fikes, co-owner of Phoenix Rising, a women-owned local business devoted to all natural products in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Amy says she is "definitely against the pipeline" and discusses the "wonderful, great solutions" our nation has available to us: wind, solar, algae for fuel. She praises the success of local activists in shutting down local coal mines and coal burning by energy giant, Luminant.
Video Entry #56: 92 Year Old Texas Man: Keystone XL is "Un-American"
Renewable Rider Tom Weis hears 92-year old Furman Boles explain why he is giving everything he can of himself to fight Keystone XL: "I believe it is the right thing to do." Furman calls the pipeline proposal "un-American," saying TransCanada has "lied all the way." Describing the act of protecting "God's green earth" as "patriotic," he says of TransCanada, "They don't have any business over here stomping on our ground and cutting our trees down." He says he loves "everything that has life in it" and is "for the environment" and "against abuses of eminent domain." Expressing concern for "critters" and "young folks," he explains, "All my life, I've been living it up. I've only got a limited time now to try to live it down." Furman poignantly describes how he plans to build his own coffin so he can "go green in the grave," but makes it clear he's not ready to go yet: "I got a lot of work to do."
Renewable Rider Tom Weis and Ron Seifert get a walking tour of David Daniel's wooded homestead in Winnsboro, Texas. The property he and his wife fell in love with, and dream of passing on to their 4-year old daughter, would be split in half by TransCanada's toxic tar sands pipeline. Four fresh water springs fall within the construction zone. David describes the moment he found the first survey stake on his property: "My heart just dropped." He shares a story of approaching five "jittery" TransCanada surveyors who had been illegally trespassing on his property and "took off running." He describes meeting with people sickened by toxins from Michigan's Kalamazoo River tar sands oil spill, saying TransCanada, which doesn't have an emergency response plan, is treating his family like a "lab rat." He talks about how company representatives regularly engage in "bold faced lying" and the toll the 3 ½ year fight has taken on their lives: "The disrespect for our lives, and the lives of our daughter and the resources is just unacceptable." David, his family, and everyone else living up and down the pipeline route need the American people to come to their defense.
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The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.
By Andrea Germanos
Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.
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By Jun N. Aguirre
An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.
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