Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: March 2011

To the Everglades! from Planet Harmony on Vimeo.

The hubs of Hip Hop reign from the South Bronx, the ATL, the Bay and now …the Everglades.  Kelvin "The Lyric Master" Jennings and his two friends Quinterius "Young Q" Cameron and Shawn Cameron have trained their rapping talents on Florida's famous wetlands .
The Florida group known as The Path of Righteousness attended the federal mentoring program GEAR UP that gives disadvantaged youth guidance for student success.  Their mentor, Travis "TP Drums" Pinkney, who was at the time a senior at the University of North Florida, helped the teens record their songs with Jacksonville's Paxon Middle School's musical equipment where the teens were students.
In a chance encounter, Jennings knocked on the door of U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's outreach coordinator Nanciaan Regalado to sell CDs of the groups positive rap music.  Moved by the group's message, Regalado used her own frequent flier miles to fly the group to take a tour of the Everglades.  Struck with inspiration, the Path of Righteousness lyricized the experience and created a music video.
The video first debuted at Paxon's Eco Awareness Career Fair.  However, their video gained a nationwide audience when the National Park Service showcased their video on its website. 

     Do you think it’s important to have chemical-free, organic food?
     Do you buy organic dairy to avoid exposure to pesticide residues in milk, ice cream, butter and cheese?
     If so, you may want to pay attention to a fight that’s brewing between the food safety groups, and organic dairy producers and the federal government.
     Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved unrestricted planting of a type of genetically modified alfalfa grass engineered by the Monsanto Corporation. 
     Now opponents are suing in court—for a second time after the losing the first time around—trying to block the use of genetically alfalfa.
     Why might you worry? You don’t eat grass!
     Well, sweet alfalfa is an important; some might say the most important grass that US cows eat. And the reason that the alfalfa is being genetically altered by Monsanto is so that it won’t die when massive amounts of weed killers are sprayed on it, in particular Monsanto’s herbicide called Roundup®.
     Weed killers make it easier for large industrial farmers, but the poisons that are supposed to get in the weeds also get into the groundwater and on the alfalfa, and then into the cow, and then into us.
    Exposure to synthetic chemical weed killers is linked to a wide variety of maladies, and Roundup® has been linked by some researchers to cancer.
    And since alfalfa readily cross pollinates in a wide area, opponents say once this genetically modified alfalfa gets into the environment, there is no way to keep it from mixing with natural alfalfa.
    Thus the decision to allow the use of genetically altered alfalfa could spell the end of organic dairy products, ranging from milk to ice cream, butter and yogurt, as organic products aren’t allowed to contain genetically engineered products.
    According to opponents the widespread use of genetically modified alfalfa would lead to the release of an estimated 23 million toxic chemicals into the environment.
   But Monsanto says its critics are overstating the case against genetically modified alfalfa. 
   “Despite dramatic claims, Roundup Ready® alfalfa can be grown with organic and conventional alfalfa without impacting them," says Monsanto. "Pollen flow (or drift) in alfalfa and hay production is well-understood and has been researched by public and private institutions for more than 25 years. ” 
 
To see details of the lawsuit filed against the US Dept of Agriculture on March 18, 2011 by opponents to genetically modified alfalfa, go to: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/2011/03/18/farmers-and-consumer-groups-file-lawsuit-challenging-genetically-engineered-alfalfa-approval/
    Monsanto’s comments on the issue can be found here:
 http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/roundup-ready-alfalfa-organic-coexist.aspx
    The Organic Consumers Association citations about research linking Roundup® with cancer can be found here:
 http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/glyphocancer.cfm

Planet Harmony’s Latara Bailey expected a warm greeting when she moved from her chilly hometown, Detroit to warm and sunny Tallahassee for college. But was surprised by an unusual cold snap. Here's her story about Florida’s weird weather.

Latara Bailey: Before I moved to Tallahassee for college, my family, friends and I thought the sunshine state was just that- bright and warm. But now I think Florida might need to change their nickname to the bright and cold state. October 2009 brought unexpected weather change my way. Temperatures were fluctuating wildly, which could have been a sign of climate change.

I mean temperatures all over Florida were high at the beginning of October and then dropped drastically during the middle of the month. Tallahassee temperature fell to 36 degrees F. Tallahassee’s weather did not only feel as cold as Detroit, but was only 1 degree behind Detroit’s lowest recorded temperature in October! I thought I had escaped the cold by leaving Detroit, but I began to realize that majority of the United States was going through the same weather changes Florida encountered.

Floridians were surprised by the low temperatures, but I was really surprised. I hadn’t packed for this. My fellow North Floridians and I had to buy coats to stay warm. North Floridians were without electricity last year due to broken pipes from the low temperatures.

We weren’t the only ones left out in the cold. Florida wildlife was also suffering. The cold weather started killing off Florida manatees, sea turtles, crocodiles and other sea animals. According to Florida fish and wildlife, Manatees have been among the hardest hit, with over 200 killed in January alone. Manatees can experience what is known as cold stress syndrome, which can be potentially lethal when they are exposed to water below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degree Celsius) for long periods of time.

We, humans, are doing this to our planet. Think about it. Driving our cars makes us responsible for over a quarter of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s just one of the daily activities we do to warm our planet. Do we realize any of this? I feel that it is time to change our daily lives to help improve our planet.

I’m trying to help by driving less and playing global warming PSAs on my campus radio show. So let’s take a stand for our planet and make a difference. For living on Earth and Planet Harmony, I’m Latara Bailey.

This is the first in our series from students at Florida A&M University. Stay tuned to the pH for more essays on students' stories on the environment.

Planet Harmony’s Latara Bailey expected a warm greeting when she moved from her chilly hometown, Detroit to warm and sunny Tallahassee for college. But was surprised by an unusual cold snap. Here's her story about Florida’s weird weather.

Latara Bailey: Before I moved to Tallahassee for college, my family, friends and I thought the sunshine state was just that- bright and warm. But now I think Florida might need to change their nickname to the bright and cold state. October 2009 brought unexpected weather change my way. Temperatures were fluctuating wildly, which could have been a sign of climate change.

I mean temperatures all over Florida were high at the beginning of October and then dropped drastically during the middle of the month. Tallahassee temperature fell to 36 degrees F. Tallahassee’s weather did not only feel as cold as Detroit, but was only 1 degree behind Detroit’s lowest recorded temperature in October! I thought I had escaped the cold by leaving Detroit, but I began to realize that majority of the United States was going through the same weather changes Florida encountered.

Floridians were surprised by the low temperatures, but I was really surprised. I hadn’t packed for this. My fellow North Floridians and I had to buy coats to stay warm. North Floridians were without electricity last year due to broken pipes from the low temperatures.

We weren’t the only ones left out in the cold. Florida wildlife was also suffering. The cold weather started killing off Florida manatees, sea turtles, crocodiles and other sea animals. According to Florida fish and wildlife, Manatees have been among the hardest hit, with over 200 killed in January alone. Manatees can experience what is known as cold stress syndrome, which can be potentially lethal when they are exposed to water below 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degree Celsius) for long periods of time.

We, humans, are doing this to our planet. Think about it. Driving our cars makes us responsible for over a quarter of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s just one of the daily activities we do to warm our planet. Do we realize any of this? I feel that it is time to change our daily lives to help improve our planet.

I’m trying to help by driving less and playing global warming PSAs on my campus radio show. So let’s take a stand for our planet and make a difference. For living on Earth and Planet Harmony, I’m Latara Bailey.

This is the first in our series from students at Florida A&M University. Stay tuned to the pH for more essays on students' stories on the environment.

LATARA CLIMATE.mp3 1.5 MB

Avoid (PPD) which goes by the name paraphenylenediamine- 1,4- diaminobenzene or 1,4 phenylenediamine. Found in permanent hair dyes, it has been tied to increase in bladder cancer in long term frequent users

Another ingredient to avoid includes petroleum. It comes from the nonrenewable crude oil, kind of like tanking up at the pump. It's not breathable. Mineral oil is also petroleum-derived so say no to hair grease, Vaseline, and baby oil. Furthermore, it makes your skin drier and causes a nasty build up in your hair

Instead of storing your left overs in plastic tupperware, use glass tupperware. 
This will help eliminate your exposure to chemicals used in plastic such as BPA and phthalates.  In a recent study, 70 percent of plastics release chemicals that act like estrogen.  Even products that claimed to be BPA Free!

Low budget: Opt for a glass container with plastic lid (But do not microwave with lid on)
High budget: Buy all glass 

Another beauty ingredient to avoid is parabens (including methyl-, ethyl-). Even if the ingredient is not listed on the bottle, it is in "fragrant" and "non-fragrant" products. The ingredient has been found to mimic female hormones and found in breast tumors. Furthermore, it has been found in the bloodstream hours after paraben containing creams are applied

Another beauty ingredient to avoid is parabens (including methyl-, ethyl-). Even if the ingredient is not listed on the bottle, it is in "fragrant" and "non-fragrant" products. The ingredient has been found to mimic female hormones and found in breast tumors. Furthermore, it has been found in the bloodstream hours after paraben containing creams are applied

Get Gorgeously Green: Here is another beauty ingredient to avoid. It is formaldehyde. You might not see the chemical listed in ingredients like the Brazilian Blowout "non-formaldehyde formula." Nevertheless, it is a toxin found in imidazolidnyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and quaternium-15. When the chemical is wet, it evaporates into the air. Protect yourself and your stylits by singing " no, no, no" to the Brazilian Blowout.

Japan is now considering burying the nuclear reactors in sand and concrete as a last attempt to halt a nuclear meltdown.  Fukushima Dai-ichi, the nuclear reactor site which exploded after its cooling system failed due to the tsunami, has leaked radiation already eight times the legal amount for a year in just days.  The leak has prompted Japanese officials to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors.  According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government radiation spiked twenty times normal radiation levels.  However, health officials say the effects are not life threatening.   
The nuclear crisis in Japan has left many in America feeling uneasy about the safety of our own nuclear power plants.  Twenty percent of America's electricity comes from nuclear energy provided by 104 reactors.  While nuclear is touted as clean and safe now it is showing to be quite the contrary.
Residents in California living near the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County are demanding answers in the wake of Japan's crisis.  Diablo Canyon is located less than half a mile from the Shoreline Fault.  The plant's operator PG&E has tried to assure residents that the plant can withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake.  However, PG&E already suffers from bad PR.  The utility company became infamous in the movie Erin Brockovich for leaking contamination into the ground water of Hinkley, California residents. San Luis Obispo County residents have long-held doubts about the location of the nuclear plant.  Now, they're worst fears are being lived out in Japan.    
President Obama campaigned on nuclear energy being a green option for America.
"Japan does it and France does it, and it doesn't have greenhouse gas emissions. So it would be stupid for us not to do that in a much more effective way," the President said.
After witnessing Japan's nuclear crisis, how do you feel about nuclear energy?  Is it still a good source of green house gas free energy? Or do the cons out weigh the pros?