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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tell Your Alabama Legislature To Find New Revenue To Protect Clean Water!

Clean water protection in Alabama is severely at risk. After years of "kicking the can down the road," the budget situation in Alabama is in dire straits. An “austerity budget” that was created to show how bad things in Alabama would get if the Legislature could not find new revenue to fund the state government is now moving forward as a very real possibility. If passed, this budget would gut many of the agencies and programs that we rely on to protect Alabama’s natural environment and our public health and safety. 

 Under these cuts: 

  • Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) would get $0 from the General Fund and would actually have to send the state $9.5 Million from the water permit program. 
  • ADEM will no longer be able to conduct fish testing to determine if the fish are safe to eat. 
  • ADEM will not be able to conduct inspections and take enforcement action against polluters.
  • ADEM will likely lose its authority to issue discharge permits. 
  • Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) will be forced to close up to 15 of Alabama’s State Parks and let go hundreds of workers across the state. 
The Black Warrior River ©Elena White
Alabama is one of the most biologically diverse states in the United States, and for certain animals and plants, in the world. According to the Encylopedia of Alabama, the state not only "supports 77,000 miles of rivers and streams, but also harbors 64 types of terrestrial ecosystems, including 25 forests and woodlands, 11 wetlands, and 7 glades and prairies."

Clean water and public lands should not be victims of "political brinksmanship."  
Please contact your State Legislators and tell them that it is time to act in the citizens of Alabama's interests and find new revenue, and reject the “Austerity Budget.” 

You can find you legislators’ information here: http://capwiz.com/state-al/home/ 

For more information or to report back on a conversation with a legislator please contact Mitch Reid at mreid@alabamarivers.org or visit www.alabamarivers.org

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, clean water advocate, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ahhhhchooo! Spring is Here: 10 Ways to Deal

Spring has sprung! You're excited about the longer days, warmer weather, and finally being able to wear shorts again!  However, for allergy sufferers, it's not such a happy time of year. An estimated 54% of the American population has a reaction to at least one allergen (a substance, often a protein, that causes an allergy, such as pollen or dust). 

Although indoor allergens like dust mites, mold, pet dander and mildew can be problematic year-round, pollen is probably the major contributor to spring (outdoor) allergies.  Tree and grass pollens can start causing problems as early as late February and last through the beginning of summer.  While many seasonal allergy cases are considered to be fairly mild and mainly a big nuisance, some cases are severe with symptoms that can mimic the flu and persist for months.  Untreated symptoms can often lead to secondary infections of the sinuses, ears, throat, nose and lungs, because the fluid that builds up in reaction to the allergy provides a breeding ground for bacteria.  Seasonal allergies can also trigger asthma attacks due to the accumulation of pollen and fluid, which irritates the lungs.

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to minimize your exposure to allergens and make spring a little more enjoyable.

Earthbound’s Earthfest Benefits Black Warrior Riverkeeper on April 18th

A beloved event is returning for all who enjoy live music, clean water, and local food, beer, and art. Saturday, April 18 from 2pm to sundown, Earthbound will play their annual outdoor rock concert, Earthbound’s Earthfest, at Avondale Brewery (201 41st Street South, Birmingham, AL 35222).

The event’s purpose is to celebrate Earth Day and promote Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit clean water advocacy organization. The Black Warrior River basin includes parts of 17 Alabama counties and provides approximately half of Birmingham’s drinking water plus all of the water for Tuscaloosa and many other cities.

 “Earthbound’s Earthfest is a blast each year while highlighting water, a key to survival and prosperity,” said Charles Scribner, Executive Director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. “Water is threatened around the world, with California as a new example. We are blessed with reliable water in Alabama – let’s keep it that way.”

The family-friendly concert is open to all ages, although guests under 21 must be accompanied by a parent. Suggested $5 donations at the door – as well as proceeds from merchandise, art, beer, Saw’s Street Kitchen, and Red Mountain Crawfish Company – will support Black Warrior Riverkeeper. The event’s top sponsor is Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, followed by MacLellan, Inc., their award winning water treatment partner, and Skates 280.

“Mercedes-Benz U.S. International puts significant focus on ensuring that our plant operations protect the environment that surrounds us, including our rivers and wildlife,” said Jason Hoff, CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International. “Our plant sits on 1,000 acres of land which we share with beavers, geese and a wide array of wildlife. Our high-quality rainwater ponds and spill control systems allow these creatures to co-exist with us, and serve as a testament to their effectiveness. Respecting nature and ensuring we are doing our part to maintain wildlife habitats is an important part of the MBUSI culture. We are proud to support Black Warrior Riverkeeper as the lead sponsor of Earthbound’s Earthfest.”

 To view all of the sponsors of Earthbound’s Earthfest on this year’s poster, click here.

 To view a picture of part of the crowd last year at Earthbound’s Earthfest, click here.

 To view a picture of Earthbound on stage last year at Earthbound’s Earthfest, click here.

Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. The citizen-based nonprofit organization promotes clean water for improved public health, recreation, and wildlife habitat throughout the Black Warrior River watershed. Learn more at BlackWarriorRiver.org.

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, clean water advocate, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.