Enviroweb is the blog by a aquatic and environmental scientist Eugene Macri on all aspects of the environment,science, ecology, health, educational science and the politics involved. ©2006 All Rights Reserved E. Macri. Permission to reprint or use electronically as long as credit is given and we are notified.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Florida: Evolution and The Dark Ages!

The Dark Ages continue to make a comeback in America. Today in Florida the State Board of education proved that stupidity, mythology, and religion trump science when they voted 4-3 to only teach Evolution as a “Theory.” The Religious Fanatics continue to attack science on all fronts in this country as we fall into another hole of religious mysticism. These attacks have been widespread with major events taking place in Pennsylvania and Kansas.

These religious fanatics continue to make it onto school boards where they have an agenda to turn public schools in this country into religious indoctrination centers of mythological and mystical misinformation. These religious fanatics are bankrolled by extremists who want a Theocracy in America. Of course, the media are afraid of these religious idiots and seldom go after these people. Witness the recent theocratic statements of Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee who wanted to replace the Constitution with the Ten Commandments.

What did the media do with this idea? They were basically afraid to touch it. The same thing happened when the late Jerry Falwell of the Religious Right said similar stupid statements. And he said such things over and over again along with his cohort in religious insanity Pat Robertson. Remember when he said that the 911 attacks were God paying us back for our liberal behavior!

The founding fathers of this country Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin must be rolling over in their graves for these attacks on the democracy that they fought for. They wanted a separation of church and state. The rest of the world must sit and wonder what is happening to this place called America.

Every university or college outside and including the state of Florida should not give credit for this water downed biology class. In fact, no student should be allowed to enter college from a Florida high school unless they make up the biology class with evolution taught as it is supposed to be: the driving force of biology.

It is literally unbelievable what is occurring from the religious lunatics and the hold they now have on America from education to the war, to privacy rights. These people and the politicians like Bush are destroying every single aspect of freedom of thought and democracy as we move towards a complete Police State run by Religious Mystics waiting for the Rapture and Armageddon.

I leave you with this quote which says it better than I can:


Those who seek consolation in existing churches often pay for their peace of mind with a tacit agreement to ignore a great deal of what is known about the way the world works.


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River is Dying!

At one time it may have been the greatest smallmouth bass river in America. But those days may be over forever. Contrary to the myth engendered by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission this is much more than a bump in the road. The Susquehanna is a dying ecosystem. The neglect of one of the great rivers in the country by the state of Pennsylvania is no mystery. Pennsylvania is number one in water pollution and number one in pollution overall, and this rating is based on analysis from their own state's data! Pennsylvania issues more NPDES permits each year than any other state (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System).

Nature has few solutions to pollution. But a river can only do so many things. Rivers survive by diluting the pollutants that enter the system through the air, water, and land. When rivers like the Susquehanna go through extended periods of drought this dramatically concentrates the pollutants in the lower, warmer volumes of water and causes a complete disruption of the biogeochemical pathways of the system.

These disruptions can cause a myriad of problems to occur including diseased fish, algal blooms which use up oxygen, and increases in perturbations like endocrine disrupters which play havoc with fishes' hormonal balance. These endocrine disrupters come from a variety of pollutants including pesticides, flame-retardant chemicals, personal-care products, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products. Many products dumped into our streams often mimic or act like estrogen compounds in the water. Examples of Substances Known or Suspected to be Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)

Pesticides: atrazine, 2,4-D, DDE, DDT, diazinon,

diuron, endosulfan, fenthrothion, glyphosate, lindane,

linuron, parathion, permethrin, simazine, TBT,

trifluralin, vinclozolin.

Industrial chemicals or breakdown products:

bisphenol A, dioxins, nonylphenol, PCBs, some phthalates.

Industrial chemicals or breakdown products:

bisphenol A, dioxins, nonylphenol, PCBs, some

phthalates.

Now just consider the chemical soup that the Susquehanna River must endure. This chemical soup has cumulative and synergistic reactions that change normal pathways of the aquatic life. I have put more nets and have done more studies of the waters in Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna River System than anyone in the DEP or PFBC and those tributaries and waters are not getting better. They are getting worst. I should know because I was one of the biologists who closed the hatchery on Big Spring in Newville PA. This stream was destroyed by the pollutants from the state fish hatchery and PFBC tried to cover it up. The DEP in this case failed to properly monitor the stream and the EPA's wavier on NPDES permits for the states resulted in such a fiasco. Now that stream has returned to being one of the great spring creeks in America. But this will not happen with the Susquehanna River because there is no way to turn off the faucet of pollution into the river.

I invite anyone who believes that I am picking on the PFBC and DEP to simply read through the 303 D list of impaired waters and other waters in the state of Pennsylvania (http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/watermgt/Wqp/WQStandards/303d-Report.htm#List). Judge for yourself which streams enter the Susquehanna and what's in them. Then ask yourself what are we protecting? It's not the rivers...it's industry, government and corporations.

There is some form of madness in this country and this state. And it has gotten worst the last 7 years where the EPA has been totally destroyed. So all those pollutants don't matter. That's what we are told by the politicians, government, and corporations. Unfortunately, they do matter and the idea that they are in too small a quantity to amount to anything is just that ....a myth. The cumulative and synergistic effects of the chemical soup we are throwing into our rivers (and our own bodies too) is now coming to fruition.

A system is a system. A river is a flowing ecosystem; you are a walking ecosystem. You both have an immune system. When your immune system is stressed, damaged etc. you get sick or diseased. The same thing happens to a river. The Susquehanna's immune system is overload and damaged. It won't get better easily and considering what's coming out of the air, waters, and land emptying into the river it may never really return to it's former self because it is constantly getting impacted by so many types of pollutants it's biogeochemical pathways are overwhelmed.

Both the PFBC and DEP should share equally in the blame of this destruction because they reflect the unfortunate lack of good scientific benchmarking, baselining, and biomonitoring that is needed to protect our waters. The DEP fails to understand the cumulative and synergistic effects of all the NPDES permits that they issue in this state.

Oh, by the way in case anyone forgot including the geniuses at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation....this water will eventually get to the Bay! Did I mention,....that the Potomac is on its way to the same condition as the Susquehanna!

We have all failed. We have a government that doesn't care and is run by corporations, and we have too many anglers that take everything for granted and don't wish to get involved. The economic interest of all the people who make their money off this river is hardly considered. The loss is staggering from guiding, fishing, tourism, the food industry and even gas stations. But no one seems to get it. This is one of the great environmental fiascos along with the Bay and it just happens to occur in the state with the most pollution. Anymore questions!

However, if a few of you are actually interested (including organizatons) in doing something and have some time and some resources...you know where I can be reached. Perhaps we need a full court press approach like we used on Big Spring rather than the politically correct "no one is to blame game" now going on!

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