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The Environment, Your Health, and Your Wallet

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It is difficult and frightening to many people to imagine that the water coming out of a home faucet is not good enough to drink or even wash your face with. Some people do not have to imagine this scenario because it has happened to folks a number of times around the New Orleans area and the country too frequently lately. The massive pollution problem in Ohio just a few short weeks ago sent counties scrambling for drinking water and just days ago an oil barge accident on the Mississippi River had the City of Gretna closing water intake ports to protect the city’s water supply. While on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain people are fighting a battle to stop fracking drilling in nearby communities because they fear potential underground water pollution and environmental damage. Fracking has been the cause of serious environmental issues in some states and people on the Northshore do not want to be added to the list. It is obvious companies are willing to put the environment at risk in order to gain profits from potentially damaging and polluting practices to continue the use of fossil fuel products. Some companies do not consider the lives of people and wildlife which inhabit the surrounding areas and the long term effects of continuing the ongoing problems fossil fuels have already claimed on the environment. Sure they all promise to abide by government safety standards but in the long run politics and the greed of more earnings have brushed aside regulations and the result is a massive oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico - eleven workers dead and others severely injured while BP and rig operator Transocean litigate over huge insurance settlements and all Gulf Coast states suffer for years to come from an accident already in the history books. Although in the courts the Deep Water Horizon accident may not leave BP (British Petroleum) solely holding the bag for responsibility, because of sub-contractual mismanagement, however BP appears to be financially responsible for much the aftermath. But have people really made a voice heard against such hainous and criminal acts? Have people changed their habits to lessen the use of fossil fuel products? It really does not seem they have in the New Orleans area, despite efforts from organizations such as, Gulf Coast Restoration, LA Bucket Brigade, and Restore the Mississippi Delta. Unfortunately some of these organizations efforts are being side stepped by political wrangling which influences government agencies like the EPA, and other regulatory agencies. So it really is up to citizens to cast their votes for elected officials who will stand for the interest of good health, enforcing pollution controls, recycling, and pushing for safe sustainable environmental alternatives for producing energy (and there are many). If more people joined in the effort or followed the lead of Wilma Subra who has tirelessly challenged the big oil and gas companies in Louisiana there would be more pressure on the companies, politicians, and the EPA. When there is over one hundred miles in Louisiana called the “Chemical Corridor” or “Cancer Alley” people of the state should want to have a strong voice in the decision making process. There are two simple things people can do to cut back on the consumption of high priced gasoline and one of them is to drive in a more economical manor. Driving within the speed limit and not racing up to stop signs and red lights are manageable and very simple things to do to burn less fuel and save on the consumption of gas as well as preserving braking equipment on a vehicle. By coasting more to regulate speed and when approaching a red light or stop sign the economic and environmental value outweighs the seconds a person gains from bad driving behaviors. In many cases you are not going to beat that red light anyway because of forward traffic and the configuration of the signal timer. So why do people speed up only to ride their brakes for distances that would make any race car driver cringe. Another fuel saving measure is to go green when cutting grass and doing other essential yard work by using none gas powered tools. Yes do it the old fashion way with human power and or using some electric powered equipment. Remember the old fashion rotary lawnmowers and hand held cutting tools? Well they are more improved and work just as well if not better and it can be a needed addition for personal exercise which many people are lacking. When people use a gas powered mower, even if it is self propelled there is some pushing and pulling involve, especially if there is a grass collection attachment on the back. So if you are going to push anyway you may as well without the cost of running a gas powered machine, and it also cuts down on noise pollution. Over all, clean economical sustainable energy sources should be on the minds of everyone with solar energy being a logical option. Solar panels are becoming a common site in the area and ultimately everyone should look into the benefits solar energy can provide for environmental impact and cost effectiveness. Think Green for health sake.

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