Friday, June 24, 2011

13th Tar Creek Conference Sep. 21, 22, 23!

Our blog has been sorely neglected the past two years. On a positive note this is because our staff are staying busy with a number of environmental projects.

Be sure to watch our Facebook page and website for details regarding the 13th National Conference on Tar Creek--Last Chance!, scheduled for September 21, 22 and 23rd at the Miami Civic Center. The reason for the words, "Last Chance," in the title--Ottawa County residents have the opportunity to have their yards tested for lead this year. If you reside in the area, please consider having your yard tested.

Monday, September 7, 2009

11th Annual Conference on Tar Creek--It's NOT Just Tar Creek Anymore

It has been a l-o-n-g time since anyone posted on this blog but I needed to write about the upcoming 11th Annual Conference on Tar Creek. Yes, this is number 11 and as noted in the title of this blog entry, it's not just about Tar Creek anymore. The variety of environmental issues to be addressed at this conference is not just exciting but inspiring.

Attendees will not only hear the latest about environmental issues in our area but will also have the opportunity to tour University of Oklahoma's Passive Treatment System with Dr. Robert Nairn. They will also be introduced to Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) by Drs. James and Susie Aber. KAP is an important method of conducting research and is certainly one of the most fun methods of obtaining data!

For those of you that need food or entertainment to catch your attention, well, the conference offers that as well. Even a movie!
Please do check out the details of the conference at LEAD Agency's conference page. There is a registration form and agenda available for download.

I hope to see you at the conference. I'll be the person asking if I can help with the KAP--one time I can be asked to go fly a kite and be happy to oblige!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Energy and the Environment, Now Up Close and Personal

Welcome 2009.
Such a historic year with the new Obama-Biden Administration and their plans for addressing our environmental crisis.

I decided it was time to take a look at the White House website and I'm pleased to say energy is featured on the main welcome page. The page invites you to read President Obama's agenda for energy and the environment. Energy and the Environment, up close and personal as it should be.

One thing I noticed are the words "clean coal". I cannot grasp how coal can be viewed as a clean energy source but what a great start with many of the other items addressed.

Another area caught my eye on the website, a link to the Office of Public Liaison. At the top of the button is the word, Participate, and below the office title are the words, Changing the Way Americans Engage with Their Government.

If you follow their
link, they invite you to submit your thoughts and comments (up to 500 words). The site stresses their office will be taking the Administration out of Washington and into communities across America, stimulating honest dialogue and ensuring that America's citizens and their elected officials have a government that works effectively for them and with them.

It is noted OPL-IGA will bring new voices to the table, build relationships with constituents and seeks to embody the essence of the President's movement for change through the meaningful engagement of citizens and their elected officials by the federal government. The website also stressed more ways will be added for you to interact with OPA-IGA at this page in the weeks and months ahead.

This is a wonderful concept and I think we all need to get involved. I'm also thinking the OPA-IGA are going to need more people, maybe even volunteer help, just to read all of the suggestions and feedback they will be receiving. . .

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blogging Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

LEAD Agency has a new page dedicated to the promotion of environmental blogs and in creating it we cited the work of Ewan McIntosh, an educator in Scotland. McIntosh has a thought-provoking blog on topics ranging from social participative media to education and importantly, the future.

We noted on our Environmental Blogs web page that one of his musings is spot-on about the challenges we face when promoting environmental change. McIntosh's writing follows and I hope you see how this relates to environmental work:

Never Mistake a Clear View as a Short Distance

The challenge for those trying to predict the future is that, at one stage on the uptake curve you're made to look foolish as no-one joins you in the adoption of the technology. After a while, you give up on that bandwagon and think about what is worth betting your efforts on next. Just as you give up on it everyone else starts to adopt. You therefore look foolish twice over. I've written off many a fashion faux pas on that S curve theory.

Back to how this relates to our environmental work. . . well, for one, I hesitated to update this blog recently because no one sends any feedback or volunteers to be a guest blogger. Back to the master, McIntosh--there was a website explaining why blogging is important and linked to McIntosh's work as an example. Well, the explanation was as follows:

"If we give some good stuff to other people, we might get some good stuff back, like nice comments, or someone answering a question we’ve asked, or telling us something really good we didn’t know about."
This sums up my hope for the LEAD Evolution blog.

So, environmental bloggers, we LEAD bloggers are learning as we go and blogging is actually fun, but we want to experience the "A-ha" moment experience after receiving helpful feedback and possibly an offer or two from future guest bloggers. We won't even refuse help from celebrities! Brad Pitt, I, too, attended University of Missouri, and Sheryl Crow, I, too, was a member of the Singsations Jazz Group and Mr. Herbert was my piano teacher. (You can call the previous statement pathetic begging if you wish but a little humor injected into this blogger's musings seldom hurts).

In the mean time, I will praise the environmental bloggers that are experiencing the organic fruits of their labor such as Tree Hugger (they have been nominated for Webbies, Bloggies, Vloggies, SXSW, etc.)
and to the newer bloggers like Oklahoman, John D. Sutter, who already has an impressive track record in environmental work and is now helping with his new blog, The Concrete Buffalo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ineffectivity Not An Excuse for Inaction Anymore

I received a letter from Cathy Zoi, CEO of We Can Solve It website (URL: She noted last week the U.S. Congress left Washington. Of course, this leaves some unfinished business. In speedreading her email I thought to myself, "Oh, great . . . Another online petition which is totally a waste of time because the government doesn't take those seriously," but I clicked on the link and to my surprise I was redirected to a We Can Solve It webpage with the heading, Speak Out--Write a letter to the editor. You enter your zip code and then a huge list of links to email addresses for local, regional and national newspapers appears.

Newspapers now accept emailed opinions and what this tells me is that one of two groups of email users can benefit from the above feature on the We website:

1 The first group includes everyone that has a compulsion to send emails by the thousands to everyone they have ever met or heard of to complain about topics they have not researched or to implore that people sign up for online petitions (or one of hundreds of other topics such as lets get money from Microsoft by forwarding this email, lets make Timmy's last days happy by forwarding his email to millions). No, the online email feature won't help this group. They will continue to send a barrage of pleas for you to forward emails, add your name to an emailed petition, etc.

2 The second group includes everyone else with email accounts, and you know who you are, the individuals that complain about receiving group 1's email and how useless their electronic soapbox is and how they need to "get a life." I'm in group 2 by the way.

We's newspaper email links can help group 2 members and that means as a group 2 member I can no longer use the excuse that emailed petitions are ineffective and then sit on my derrierre and do nothing. So . . . at some point I may try my hand at writing a letter about an environmental concern to my
area and local newspapers! We's website even has a preview feature so you can proofread your letter before sending. The film, Shall We Gather at the River will be presented during the 10th Annual Conference on Tar Creek in September, and I have a feeling I may feel like writing a letter or two after viewing this film as will a number of others in the viewing audience.

Ms. Zoi reminded her readers that comments published in newspapers can fuel debates on the evening news. She stressed printed comments are an easy way to reach our Members of Congress who are home for the summer and read the opinion pages of the paper daily.

According to Zoi, typing an email. . . can make a huge difference in the public debate. My thoughts are i
f we don't speak out on environmental concerns, there is no debate. Like the old Harvey Cox quote, "Not to decide is to decide. . ."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

How AARP Helped Me Find Heart in Art

OK, young people, I was flipping through the new issue of AARP Magazine yesterday and noticed an article about coming back home. There were some lovely photographs and thoughts on coming back to New Jersey but one thing really caught my attention--these thoughtful, sentimental images reminded me of Vaughn Wascovich's photographs of the Tar Creek Superfund site.

There I sat, trying to read the article, but each lovely photograph of the author's hometown reminded me of a different Wascovich photo of the Superfund site and I could not keep my mind on the article. I just kept thinking about Vaughn's imagery and could not read the article in its entirety.

Since I mentioned the article is in AARP you may question if my mind just tends to wander but I actually think I learned something in the process, so like the ole' folk Christmas Carol, "I wonder as I wander." Seeing the other photographer's work helped me realize Wascovich's images are not only beautiful because he is an artist with much experience and truckloads of technique but also because his heart is with Tar Creek's indigenous people.

Source of image to left: Vaughn Wascovich

Ahhh! The appealing image to the left is one of Vaughn's photographs. You see the azure water and peak surrounding the small water body and think, "where is that small piece of heaven!" And then someone wakes you up by reminding you, "Excuse me, but the mountain is a tailings pile and the water is ever so blue due to metals in the water."

To see more of
what I'm blogging about please visit Wascovich's gallery online. . . and do take a look at his Tar Creek images including his Picher tornado slideshow. Now I have a question--which is your favorite of the images posted in his Tar Creek gallery?

If you would like to see Wascovich's work up close and personal you will not want to miss the 10th National Conference on Tar Creek, September 15-17 in Miami, OK. He is a workshop presenter for the conference.

Well, I guess I will close since I still have an article about New Jersey to read in AARP. . . if I can just keep my mind off of Wascovich's photographs. . .

Monday, July 28, 2008

Keeping Up with other Bloggers by Asking a Question

OK, it has been about a week since I started this blog but I've had zero, count them, zero comments about any of the postings. The EPA is doing so well with their weekly blog question so I thought I'd ask two questions.

These questions are for concerned NE Oklahoma, SE Kansas and SW Missouri residents and the many governmental and scientific researchers from around the country that are working on the Tar Creek Superfund Site, Tri-State Mining District and other environmental issues here in the area.

The good news is you only have to answer one or the other question (the second question is the easy one):

Blog Question 1: In your opinion what are two or three actions every resident of this area can undertake that will help with the environmental crises here in our little corner of the world?

Blog Question 2: How close to the ceiling does a fly get before it flips over and lands? (No fair calculating delays in landings due to being swatted by a swatter or hand-ew, or sprayed by toxic chemicals)