Category Archives: Environment

Mood Controlled Water Makes Shrimp Reckless, Suicidal

Prozac Pollution Making Shrimp Reckless

There’s no happy ending for shrimp exposed to the mood-booster Prozac, according to a new study.

Remnants of antidepressant drugs flushed into waterways worldwide are altering shrimp behavior and making them easier prey, experts say.

(See “Cocaine, Spices, Hormones Found in Drinking Water.”)

To mimic conditions in the wild, scientists exposed the estuary-dwelling shrimp Echinogammarus marinus to the antidepressant fluoxetine at levels detected in average sewage-treatment waste. Fluoxetine is the key ingredient in the drugs Prozac and Sarafem.

Shrimp normally gravitate toward safe, dark corners. But when exposed to fluoxetine, the animals were five times more likely to swim toward a bright region of water, the team discovered.

“This behavior makes them much more likely to be eaten by a predator, such as a fish or bird,” said study co-author Alex Ford, a biologist at U.K.’s University of Portsmouth.

The fluoxetine likely makes shrimp’s nerves more sensitive to serotonin, a brain chemical known to alter moods and sleep patterns, according to the study, recently published in the journal Aquatic Toxicology. Full Story

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Shrimp on Prozac are killing themselves

A study shows that drug traces in our waste can affect marine life behavior, but can crustaceans have feelings?

I have friends who are always talking about happy pigs and happy chickens — left to roam freely, eating real food instead of weird commercial food pellets, given the occasional backrub. But pity the poor shrimp! No one is raising happy shrimp … on purpose anyway. But all the Prozac we’ve been taking may be doing the work for us, and marine biologists at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. have found that enough of the drug passes through our bodies directly into the wastewater to seriously change the behavior of shrimp who swim in it: They’re killing themselves. But do shrimp even have emotions?

Shrimp are a shy and retiring lot, living in shadows and dark crevices to hide from predators (and nurse their psychic scars?). But when they’re swimming in concentrations of Prozac (or, more specifically, the chemical fluoxetine) as those found in the water around some urban areas, they become five times as likely to swim toward light, making them easy prey. And sadly, pollutants from urban runoff are in highest concentration in river estuaries and right near the coast … which is where shrimp tend to live. Aside from the tragic irony, if shrimp populations start to collapse, it could have a serious effect on the established balance of the food chain. And most wastewater treatment plants aren’t geared toward removing residual drugs from the water. (A few years ago, scientists found fish changing sexes because of contraceptives and other chemicals in runoff.) Full Story

Gulf Oil Spill a (Purposeful) ‘Opportunity’?

Robert Gibbs says former FEMA director Michael Brown intimated that the Gulf Spill was ‘leaked on purpose’, though apparently, he made no such accusations. Is Gibbs leaking to us that it was a done on purpose?

Brown Never Said Obama Was Behind The Oil Spill


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Barack Obama turns the oil spill into his poor man’s 9/11 to revive Cap-and-Trade climate legislation

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s chief of staff, famously remarked. “And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” The extent to which his master has absorbed this maxim is demonstrated by Obama’s exploitation of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

After obsessively demonising “British Petroleum”, as his administration calls BP – a company 40 per cent British and 40 per cent American owned – Obama plumbed new depths this week by comparing the accident to the Twin Towers atrocity in 2001. To equate an environmental accident in which 11 workers tragically lost their lives with a ferocious terrorist attack that killed 2,995 people, 67 of them British, shows the extent to which Obama has lost touch with reality.

His agenda is to exaggerate the significance of the oil spill crisis to massive proportions, for two reasons. The first is that, the more Americans can be persuaded to regard the accident as a monumental, historic disaster, the less his patent impotence in the face of it will appear blameworthy. His second reason is that, in accordance with the Emanuel doctrine, he sees this as an opportunity to breathe new life into his moribund Cap-and-Trade climate change legislation.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the climate change Bill last year, but it has stalled in the Senate. Last month, in the wake of the BP oil rig explosion, Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a “compromise” Bill in the Senate to which Obama is desperate to give a fair wind. He is trying to whip up a green frenzy, to persuade Americans of the evil of oil. Yet ironically, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reminded his colleagues last week, “it’s been widely reported that a major part, a major part of the Kerry-Lieberman Bill was essentially written by BP”.

Cap-and-Trade is extremely difficult to pass in Congress, especially after the forcing through of the unpopular health care legislation, as more and more Americans begin to waken up to the consequences of Obama’s climate change programme. A freedom of information initiative has disclosed that, in contradiction of claims made by the administration, a study by the US Department of Treasury estimated that Cap-and-Trade laws would impose new taxation of up to $200bn a year, equivalent to a 15 per cent increase in income tax.

That is why Obama is trying, very unconvincingly, to brainwash Americans into thinking they are facing a crisis as grave as 9/11 – presumably casting BP as the new al-Qaeda – in order to gain support for legislation that would ratchet up energy prices, destroy jobs and cause the economy to contract. The fact that he is reduced to so transparent an imposture is testimony to how dramatically his status and credibility have shrunk during his 17 months in office. The latest Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll has his Presidential Approval Index rating at a humiliating –18, with 42 per cent strongly disapproving of his performance and just 24 per cent strongly approving. It is that haemorrhaging of support in the run-up to mid-term elections, rather than the oil leak, that is Obama’s real crisis.

Oil Spill, Climate Bill
Obama blocked clean-up of BP oil spill by America’s allies; Failed to issue timely Jones Act waiver
Goldman Sachs sold $250 million of BP stock before spill

Obamas Tout Organic While Giving US Pesticide Lobbyist

Agriculture nomination steams greens

When the Obama administration announced that it was nominating a former pesticide lobbyist to be the chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, it sparked more than the usual Internet chatter.

“Obama’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator Nominee Is a Pesticide Pusher;” screamed one website. ‘Obama’s Ag Policy Is Giving Me Whiplash,” lamented another. “Obama Backtreads,” scolded a third.

The nomination of Islam Siddiqui, vice president for science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, struck an off-key note among environmentalists — and not just because they think pesticides and chemicals are unsafe for humans and detrimental to the environment. Perhaps more important was the sense of betrayal. After all, it was Michelle Obama herself who had demanded a pesticide-free garden for the first family at the White House, suggesting — environmentalists thought — that the Obama administration was sympathetic to their cause.

“We are seriously disheartened by this appointment,” said Katherine Ozer, executive director of the National Family Farm Coalition, which represents family farmers. “While we have been encouraged by the first lady and USDA’s promotion of sustainable agriculture and local food, Siddiqui’s role will undermine those goals both here and abroad by promoting our current broken, chemical-intensive, industrial-agriculture model.”

The Pesticide Action Network, which documents what it says are the hazardous impacts of pesticides on crop production, farm animals and humans, said Siddiqui’s nomination last month called into question “just how committed the Obama administration is to promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing hunger in the developing world.” Full Story

Petition to withdraw the nomination of Islam Siddiqui

Obama’s Cap and Trade: ‘Massive Transfer of Wealth’

Obama’s Cap and Trade Carbon Emissions Bill – A Stealth Scheme to License Pollution and Fraud

On May 15, HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) was introduced in the House purportedly “To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.”

In fact, it’s to let corporate polluters reap huge windfall profits by charging consumers more for energy and fuel as well as create a new bubble through carbon trading derivatives speculation. It does nothing to address environmental issues, yet on June 26 the House narrowly passed (229 – 212) and sent it to the Senate to be debated and voted on. More on that below.

On March 31, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey released a “discussion draft” of the proposed legislation and falsely claimed:

– it’s “a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that charts a new course towards a clean energy economy;” it will

– create millions of clean energy jobs….that can’t be shipped overseas;

– put America on the path to energy independence;

– reduce our dependence on foreign oil;

– save money by the billions;

– unleash energy investment by the trillions;

– cut global warming pollution;

– strengthen our economy;” and

– make “America the world leader in new clean energy and energy efficiency technologies.”

Strong-arm pressure, threats and bribes got the bill through the House. Forty-four Democrats opposed it. Eight Republicans backed it. Over 1200 pages long, few if any lawmakers read it.

Warning: Cap and Trade Bubble Ahead

On July 1, Catherine Austin Fitts’ Solari.com blog headlined “The Next Really Scary Bubble” in stating:

“If you think the housing and credit bubble diminished your financial security and your community, or the bailouts, or the rising gas prices did as well, hold on to your hat” for what’s coming. “Carbon trading is gearing up to make the housing and derivative bubbles look like target practice.”

She quoted Rep. Geoff Davis calling it “a scam,” Rep. Devin Nunes saying it’s a “massive transfer of wealth” from the public to polluters and Wall Street, Rep. James Sensenbrenner stating “Carbon markets can and will be manipulated using the same Wall Street sleights of hand that brought us the financial crisis,” and Dennis Kuchinich citing “The best description to date (to) be found in Matt Taibbi’s….’The Great American Bubble Machine: From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs (GS) has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression – and they are about to do it again.’ “


Full Story

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Cap and Trade Bill

Government Has Made Job Growth Impossible

Floyd Brown – Author of Killing Wealth

What happened to our Economy

Chevron/Texaco Poisoned The Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Crude: 60 Minutes

This program focuses on on the class action lawsuit against Chevron for deliberately contaminating the Ecuadorian Amazon and causing a wave of cancer and miscarriages in the region.

Part One:

Part Two:

Somalian Pirates Protecting Against Exploitation

The Forbidden Truth about Pirates

‘Toxic waste’ behind Somali piracy

Somali pirates have accused European firms of dumping toxic waste off the Somali coast and are demanding an $8m ransom for the return of a Ukranian ship they captured, saying the money will go towards cleaning up the waste.

The ransom demand is a means of “reacting to the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years”, Januna Ali Jama, a spokesman for the pirates, based in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, said.

“The Somali coastline has been destroyed, and we believe this money is nothing compared to the devastation that we have seen on the seas.”

The pirates are holding the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and military hardware, off Somalia’s northern coast.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, 61 attacks by pirates have been reported since the start of the year.

While money is the primary objective of the hijackings, claims of the continued environmental destruction off Somalia’s coast have been largely ignored by the regions’s maritime authorities.

Dumping allegations

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia confirmed to Al Jazeera the world body has “reliable information” that European and Asian companies are dumping toxic waste, including nuclear waste, off the Somali coastline.

“I must stress however, that no government has endorsed this act, and that private companies and individuals acting alone are responsible,” he said

Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s.

But evidence of such practices literally appeared on the beaches of northern Somalia when the tsunami of 2004 hit the country.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) reported the tsunami had washed up rusting containers of toxic waste on the shores of Puntland.

Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesman, told Al Jazeera that when the barrels were smashed open by the force of the waves, the containers exposed a “frightening activity” that has been going on for more than decade. Full Story

Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates

In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: “Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it.” Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to “dispose” of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: “Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention.”

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: “If nothing is done, there soon won’t be much fish left in our coastal waters.” Full Story

See:

UN: Nuclear Waste Being Released on Somalia’s Shores After Tsunami
Exploration rights in Somalia for Chinese oil giant CNOOC
UN envoy decries illegal fishing, waste dumping off Somalia