How Does Compost Collection Work? | Compost Crew

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 14, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; image credit, Compost Crew

Composting home kitchen scraps is vitally important. It’s one of the most critical climate actions we can take as we rush to keep global warming below 1.5ºC and avoid the much feared tipping point (that threatens to trigger runaway warming). In fact, composting is so essential to our survival as a human species, that if you’re not already composting, it’s imperative that you begin today. 

In John Doerr’s new book Speed & Scale, An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now, he explains that food waste is roughly 33% of all the food that’s produced, and is responsible for 2 billion tons (GtC) of CO2e each year, most of which is in the form of methane emitted from landfills. “Every pound of wasted food is a pound of wasted water and energy,” he asserts. In order to reach net-zero, Doerr outlined that we must decrease food waste from the current 33% of food produced to 10%.

In order to achieve this goal, composting is essential and should be mandatory.

But there’s more. Compost significantly increases soli health in the following ways:

  • boosts carbon drawdown substantially
  • increases soil water infiltration rate
  • keeps soil moist during high heat especially when dense biodiverse plants are grown on the surface to keep the soil protected
  • adds vital nutrients and microbes to the soil which increases the nutrient density of vegetables and fruits

“Compost is like a sponge that helps soil retail moisture.” 

Kiss the Ground, Netflix

Click here to learn more about what food scraps can and can’t be composted. 

There are 3 options for what to do with your compost each week once it’s collected:

1. Create your our own compost pile. Depending on what size yard you have, and how much time and patience you have are at your disposal, you may decide to set-up your own compost pile, or purchase and manage a compost bin. Bins are sold at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon, and most big box stores. YouTube has a large number of “How To” videos that will guide you. Warning, there’s a bit of science and math involved. You’ll have to keep track of green and brown ratio, etc. And compost piles often attract wildlife that will have to be managed.

2. Compost Drop off. Most communities now have at least one compost drop-off location. Drop-off works well for a household of one, possibly two people, but families will likely prefer signing up for compost collection service.

3. Compost collection service. The Compost Crew provides weekly curbside pick-up throughout metro Washington DC. They are a great example of the evolution of the composting industry and a model for how the industry has taken off as millions of us rush to change our daily habits to minimize our impact on the environment and become more sustainable. Hopefully, laws will be passed soon requiring composting in all communities.

Below are the questions I asked Compost Crew’s Dan Israel, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing, in order to provide the public with insights into the how a composting collection service operates.

When did you start Compost Crew? Compost Crew was started in 2011.  Last year, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary and received proclamations from both the State of Maryland and Montgomery County.

In a few sentences can you explain how you got off the ground.  (How did you find funding?) The company was originally self-funded.  In 2018, Ben Parry purchased Compost Crew and became our CEO.  Last year, we raised additional funds for further expansion from several investors including Exelon’s Climate Change Investment Initiative (2c2i).

Who were your first customers? Compost Crew originally started by servicing homes in Montgomery County.  Over the years we have expanded geographically into the District of Columbia, Baltimore, Northern Virginia and much of the surrounding area.  We have also expanded to serve commercial customers like grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, senior living communities and property management firms.

How did the growth happen? We’re now in our 11th year.  There’s so much opportunity in front of us – the region produces 700,000 tons of food waste each year, and only a fraction of that is composted.  So, we expect to be able to keep growing.

Two states and DC are a unique arrangement. Different laws, different climate action plans, different levels of urgency. Which communities and which state have/has best existing legislation that supports composting?Maryland passed a law last year that will require large waste generators to compost their food waste, starting in 2023.  Ben (our CEO) spoke in front of both the House of Delegates and the Senate in support of this legislation.  Outside our region, California’s new composting bill requires all businesses and residents to compost their food waste – we want to work with DC, Maryland and Virginia to make that a reality in our region.

Do you plan to grow down to Fredericksburg and out to Gainesville or is your goal to have more customers sign up in your established area? We see plenty of opportunity to grow within our existing service area.  Many homes and businesses still throw their food waste in the trash, which is a missed opportunity to recycle these materials into nutrient-rich compost.  Having said that, we’re open to expanding into other communities, particularly in partnership with local governments.

Have you ever tried to win over Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill as a customer? While we generally don’t discuss the work we may do for specific customers, we have seen significant growth in the number of area office buildings and other businesses using our composting services over the past year.  And we’re always happy to speak to anyone about the benefits of composting at their workplace.

How much does the service cost? Our standard residential rate is $32 per month for weekly curbside collection.  Many neighborhoods have lower rates, based on large numbers of homes who have signed up for our service as a community.  Our rates for businesses depend on the amount of food waste and the frequency of collection.

What did I forget to ask, or what additional information would you like readers to know? Compost Crew has begun building distributed composting facilities in the region, including our first one at One Acre Farm.  We call them our Compost Outposts.  We’re aiming to put more of these Compost Outposts around the region, in partnership with farms, schools and local municipalities, to process the food scraps closer to where they are generated.  That will reduce the amount of resources spent hauling the food scraps and will make our communities more resilient.  

Twice a year, spring and fall, Compost Crew delivers a bag of finished compost to your doorstep to use in your yard, or for your house plants. You may decide to share with neighbors and encourage them to compost as well. Our future will become much brighter when everyone is composting.

Treehugger named Compost Crew the “Best Composting Service in DC, 2020.” Congratulations, Compost Crew! Keep up the great work.

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.
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“The future? What future? You’ve got to be worried about NOW”

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 11, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; image by AdobeStock

At his Glasgow speech during COP26, Vijay Prashad eviscerated the West with an impassioned rebuke of colonialism, and our “middle class, bourgeois, Western slogan” that states how worried we are about the future. There are “2.7 billion who can’t eat NOW,” the Indian historian raged to a stunned crowd. Prashad’s fiery speech went viral. “The United States, 4-5% of world population, still uses 25% of its resources.” 

Prashad’s charged coup de grace never made it into the Western mainstream media news cycles during this twelve day gathering of global leaders. The critical points he was thundering, and striving to communicate to the West, are valid, though, and need to be absorbed into our consciousness.

Our excesses, and our warped perspective, are harming billions of people.

Vijay Prashad is Executive-Director of Tricontinental: Institute of Social Resreach, a journalist commentator, and former professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut from 1996-2017. Maybe it was Prashad’s Trinity professorship that had me so transfixed as I listened to his impassioned wake-up call. Trinity College was my old stomping grounds from 1997-1998. I lived nearby and visited campus regularly. Perhaps that’s the reason why Prashad’s message resonates so strongly with me now, our being at the same place at the same time, back when all of our futures were so much brighter. Back when Americans could have changed the course of human events had we only paid attention to the scientists and acted.

“There is hope. In these moments of darkness, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Assad, COP26 Commentator in Glasgow introducing Vijay Prashad

Prashad’s fury stems from what he referred to as the West’s “colonialism,” and our lecturing others about how to behave, insisting that others reduce consumption, and how our hypocrisy has left 2.7 billion innocent people starving with many children going days without food.

Prashad unleashed his contempt for Western colonialism as a permanent condition in two ways:

  1. Colonial mentality. From Prashad’s perspective, the US and the West tell others that others are responsible for the global climate crisis. “The US will never accept that they’re to blame.” The West comes up with catchy phrases like “We’re all in this together.” But Pershad assured his Glasgow audience that “We’re NOT in this together.” The US outsources the production of most of our products: phones, buckets, nuts and blots, etc. Our excessive consumption, with production in foreign countries, destroys these foreign landscapes and pollutes their air, and then we lecture them about polluting.

    Our excessive consumption, and inability to restrain ourselves, destroys these foreign landscapes and pollutes their air, and then we have the gall to lecture them about polluting.

  2. Colonial structures and institutions. Prashad reminded listeners that between 1765 — 1938 the British Isles stole £45 trillion sterling from India, destroyed the landscape, forced coal on India, and now lends India’s money back to India as debt. “No, it’s OUR money. You gave us our money back as debt and then you lecture us about how we should live.”

Prashad’s outrage should cause us to each take stock. Excessive consumption in the US should not come at the expense of 2.7 billion people on the brink of starvation, many of whom are children. The simmering anger that vulnerable countries feel, countries who didn’t contribute to the climate crisis, but are already suffering permanent negative impacts, (while millions of Americans act oblivious and refuse to change their habits), may soon become a national security concern. Not only our actions, but also our inaction. Prashad’s hair-raising indignation is a warning bell for the West, particularly the US.

Democratic leaders have become advocates for climate justice and equity, as communities create climate action plans to guide us through climate mitigation and adaptation and reaching a 50% cut in CO2 by 2030. But they can’t stop there. And neither can we as individuals. 

Fairfax County’s Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) highlights the importance of protecting the most vulnerable. It established the One Fairfax Policy that declares that every Fairfax County resident, no matter what personal characteristics, deserves an equal opportunity to succeed.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 246 was announced on January 7, 2022 and emphasizes the significance of ensuring environmental justice and equity in North Carolina’s transition to clean energy.

Additionally, Prashad’s warning about the extreme harm of colonial institutions, such as banks, on the vulnerable should be addressed immediately through legislation and the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau (FCPB). US banks charge excessive overdraft fees and refuse to make exceptions regarding waving fees for situations like Covid or extreme weather events, mail delays, a whole host of challenges in this new 1.2ºC world we live in. Banks are literally profiting on the most vulnerable’s financial distress. Tragically, this is so American, and is one of the reasons why we’re despised around the world during what is quickly becoming a life-threatening emergency for billions of people TODAY, not tomorrow.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Act Now to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Don’t Worry, Military Has BIG Plan to Cut It’s Big Carbon Footprint

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 9, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; image by AdobeStock

The US military is ranked number 55 out of the world’s largest carbon polluters (2019). According to Forbes Magazine, the DOD has emitted more than 1.2 GtC (billion metric tons of carbon) since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The military is the largest fossil fuel energy consumer in the US, and is the single biggest buyer of crude oil on the planet. But all of these missteps are about to change. 

Although, seven military bases have already transitioned to solar, military outposts around the globe are often in remote locations without easy access to electricity. Constructing large solar arrays for these facilities, isn’t feasible. But, sticking with petroleum isn’t the solution either. 

The military has been in search of an energy source that has limited infrastructure that it can tap into from any of its far-flung locations around the world. Enter the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that appears to have the solution. A set of satellite-mounted solar arrays that harnesses energy on orbit and transmits it back to Earth. Just the type of innovation John Doerr advocates in Speed & Scale, An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.

I loved hearing from people who had far out ideas and plans for catching lightning in a bottle.

Eric Toone, Executive Managing Director and Science Lead, Breakthrough Energy Ventures — Speed & Scale

This innovative concept is referred to as SSPIDR, Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research. It will be manufactured by military contractor Northrup Grumman with tests projected to begin as soon as 2024, and an on-orbit demonstration by 2025.

SSPIDR technology:

  • captures carbon from sun
  • converts to radio frequency (RF) on orbit
  • transmits back to Earth
  • once on land, converts to rectenna (rectifying antenna) 

Northrup Grumman received an award of $100 million to apply to the conversion of solar-to-RF. But that’s not the only contractor involved. Other companies will create the deployable space structures, and lightweight high-efficiency solar cells, etc.

The concern that has the engineers scrambling, is the weight. Everything will have to be miniaturized to keep the weight and bulk down. The entire structure will have to be condensed into a launch payload.

According to Defense News, SSPIDR communications officer Rachel Delaney said that AFRL’s goal is to produce 1,000kW of power from the SSPIDR structures, which per the Naval Research Laboratory is sufficient to run a forward operating base. SSPIDR needs to increase the surface area of the solar arrays, and boost the efficiency of the solar cells, to produce the amount of power engineers are looking for.

According to Defense News, SSPIDR communications officer Rachel Delaney said that AFRL’s goal is to produce 1,000kW of power from the SSPIDR structures, which per the Naval Research Laboratory is sufficient to run a forward operating base. SSPIDR needs to increase the surface area of the solar arrays, and boost the efficiency of the solar cells, to produce the amount of power engineers are looking for.

Space Solar Power (SSP), as a sustainable energy alternative, has been on the minds of sc-fi enthusiasts for decades. According to Cosmos, The Science of Everything, first mention of such an evocative solution was in Isaac Asimov’s 1941 work, “Reason,” in which two robots, Powell and Donovan, transmit energy to various planets through microwave beams. With access to the sun 24/7, and orbiting above the intense hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other extreme weather events on the horizon, space solar will be significantly advantageous.  

Check back each week for new climate optimism articles featuring innovative solutions that will help solve the climate crisis.

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Act Now to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Our Food System & Climate Action | Recipe for Survival

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 7, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

According to John Doerr’s Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now, tackling our food system carbon emissions has to be addressed systematically. More than 15% of the excess carbon in the atmosphere is attributed to our food system. Doerr has broken down the 15% into sub groups:

  • Agriculture emissions
  • Fertilizers
  • Consumption
  • Rice
  • Food waste

The general public only has to focus on consumption and food waste. Consumption, too, has been broken down for us, making our individual decisions and responsibility much easier.  Doerr explained in Speed & Scale that we must cut our intake of conventional beef and dairy 25% by 2030, and 50% by 2050, as well as follow recommended dietary guidelines and choose low emissions food products when shopping. Carbon labeling will make visits to the grocery store much easier. 

Although we’re only responsible for reducing beef and dairy 25% by 2030, there are many who are choosing to become 100% vegan, or somewhere in between the two numbers. This is okay. (I hover at about 85% vegan. I do eat eggs daily, and chicken on occasion. )

We need to improve and scale plant-based alternatives to compete with (conventional) beef and dairy products, and shift demand from high emissions foods. Carbon labels and dietary guidelines can guide consumers to better choices.

John Doerr, author of Speed & Scale, Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now

How do we begin to rethink our individual food habits and factor in the recommended dietary guidelines that John Doerr mentions, as well as cut the high emission food choices available to us?

As if on cue, Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD’s new book Recipe for Survival, What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and More Environmentally Friendly Life  (Cambridge Press, available January 27, 2022) is available for pre-order. Recipe for Survival provides the necessary insights into how to develop a climate action way of eating and shopping. 

Dana is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a Senior Dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Her day-to-day experience as a practicing dietitian, educator and researcher provide an example for us on how to rethink our food habits as we begin to shoulder our individual responsibility for cutting the emissions from our individual food choices and habits by the required amount by 2030.

Dana explained for Gallant Gold Media Hill Report that she’s an advocate for the most sustainable and environmentally friendly diet.  She and her husband are vegan at home where they have full control over what they purchase and how it’s prepared. When they’re out at a restaurant and vegan options are available, they’ll choose those. If not, then no worries, they’ll choose something else from the menu. 

Dana considers meat grown on a regenerative farm that contributes to soil health to be fine. She points out that 99% of the meat sold in stores is not prepared this way. She eats plant-based meats. Impossible is a personal preference, although she also eats Beyond. All plant-based meats are environmentally friendly and use 80-90% less water than beef, and have less than 10% the CO2 emissions than beef. Dana’s 7 year old son is vegan when he’s with her, and he’s vegetarian when he’s on his own (at school or with friends). Many schools have plant-based choices for children now. Some of the largest school districts in the U.S. (Los Angeles and NYC) have signed on for the Meatless Monday campaign.  

I advocate for doing the best you can as often as you can. Choose what you can do now – you don’t need to be perfect. You just need to make an effort.

Dana Ellis Hunnes, author of Recipe for Survival, Recipe for Survival, What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and More Environmentally Friendly Life

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Making Products by Capturing Factory Carbon Emissions

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 6, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

Converting industry greenhouse gases into valuable commercial products before the carbon dioxide reaches the air is the type of innovation that global leaders and green venture capitalists have been longing for.

Twenty percent of annual carbon emissions in the US come from American industry. In order to reach our goal of cutting carbon dioxide 50 percent by 2030, we have to cut the current 12 GtC emitted by American industry to 6 GtC in the next nine years. This breaks down to 666 million tons of carbon per year.

A scientific collaboration led by an OSU College of Science researcher, Kyriakos Stylianou, discovered a novel way to pull CO2 from smokestacks and use it to manufacture valuable chemicals that can be sold commercially. 

The newly discovered metal organic framework (MOF) can also catalyze the production of cyclic carbonates from the mix of methane, CO2 and other gases emitted from decomposing organic material.

“We’ve taken a big step toward solving a crucial challenge associated with the hoped-for circular carbon economy by developing an effective catalyst,” said Stylianou. “A key to that is understanding the molecular interactions between the active sites in MOFs with potentially reactive molecules.”

A catalyst is a medium that boosts the rate of a chemical reaction without itself changing its chemical structure. Lanthanides are malleable light metals that are used to make products such as:

  • night vision goggles
  • flints for cigarette lighters

Carbon dioxide fixates into the propylene oxide’s epoxy ring to produce cyclic carbonates. Cyclic carbonates have a wide range of applications for global industries:

  • polar solvents
  • precursors for polycarbonate materials (ie eyeglass lenses and digital discs)
  • electrolytes in lithium batteries
  • precursors for pharmaceuticals

“These are very exciting findings,” Stylianou said. “And being able to directly use carbon dioxide from impure sources saves the cost and energy of separating it before it can be used to make cyclic carbonates, which will be a boon for the green economy.”

*David Le, Ryan Loughran and Isabelle Brooks of the College of Science collaborated on this research, as did scientists from Columbia University and the University of Cambridge.

**The College of Science and the OSU Honors College funded the study.

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

Check back each week for new climate optimism articles featuring innovative solutions that will help solve the climate crisis.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Don’t Look Up’s Gorilla In the Room

Every exceptional film deserves an afterthought once all the reviews have been written. Especially a film as controversial as Don’t Look Up with its thousand pound gorilla in the room, busy lumbering about, pounding on its chest, bashing into walls, throwing fits from time to time, and erupting right in front of our faces. You spotted the gorilla moving from scene to scene along with the exaggerated subliminal advertisements promoting biodiversity didn’t you? 

If we use the size of the magnified subliminal messages as the scale by which Adam McKay (writer, producer and director) overemphasized his BOLD FACE apocalyptic warning about the dire consequences of not acting on climate change, it’s unfathomable that anyone could actually not feel motivated to act. Doing nothing after watching Don’t Look Up would be mind-blowing. In fact, it’s inconceivable that anyone could possibly log off Netflix without making a personal commitment to vote for climate candidates in 2022 election, buy an EV, call for a solar quote, finally begin composting, plant a pollinator garden, become mostly vegan, etc. McKay deftly revealed what all human beings perishing would look like if we did nothing. Clearly McKay’s ingenious experiment would prove the psychological phenomenon of Inattentional Blindness wrong, right?

Not.

Back in 1999, “The Invisible Gorilla Test” was conducted by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris (Simons & Chabris, 1999). Participants in a study were asked to watch a video of two teams passing basketballs. One team wore white, the other team wore black. Participants were instructed to count the number of times the white team passed the basketball. A person wearing a gorilla costume walked through the players while the teams were following through with their instructions. When participants were asked whether they saw anything out of the ordinary in the video, nearly 50 percent confirmed they had not. 

Psychologists referred to this psychological phenomenon of not seeing the clearly visible gorilla in the room as inattentional blindness (also known as perceptual blindness). The participants in the study who didn’t see the gorilla were focused on something else, and thus oblivious to what others considered very obvious. Again, this is a very real psychological phenomenon. Psychologists warn of the danger in perceptual blindness and cite examples of car crashes, airplane accidents, tripping and falling while walking on a sidewalk, etc.

So, to all the negative reviewers of Don’t Look Up who are in the mainstream media, you were tagged by psychologists a few decades ago. The results of the 1999 invisible gorilla test were used to warn about the danger of perceptual blindness, both the danger to the distracted and the danger to others. The invisible gorilla test has been very useful in getting laws passed, especially laws about holding a cellphone while driving (1.6 million crashes each year from drivers using a cell while behind the wheel). The fact that Don’t Look Up has in effect proven that it’s the mainstream media that suffers from this blindness (as revealed in their bitterly defensive reviews) has to be noted so the danger can be contained. 

Adam McKay’s most ingenious spoof, though, was his clever play on James Vicary’s subliminal messaging that Vicary inserted into a movie back in 1957 when he used .003 second flashes of “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” to inspire movie-goers to spend money on concessions. McKay’s biodiversity flashes were closer to 3 seconds, so there was actually nothing subliminal about them. (Did Inception spring to mind for anyone else while watching the biodiversity hints? Not only did Leonardo DiCaprio’s brilliant performance in Inception flash before my eyes while absorbing these images, but also DiCaprio being the powerful voice that promotes rewilding.) Psychological tricks really work.  

The biodiversity lightbulb should have gone off for all of us. But did it? 

These are just a few of the multiple unusual twists that tie-in to Don’t Look Up that make the film seem prophetic rather than an instrument to inspire a rebellion against such a bleak prophecy. But do any of us want Don’t Look Up to be prophetic? I’m sure billions of us don’t.

The irony of McKay including a real invisible gorilla in the film isn’t lost on me. 

Emotions ran wild on Twitter the week following Don’t Look Up’s debut on Netflix with it trending for several days and the hashtag still having strong daily numbers nearly two weeks later. Fossil fuel advocates were clearly behind all the negativity. 

As if to prove the point that no one listens to calm, factual statements about climate, DiCaprio appeared in a powerful YouTube video that explained the film. DiCaprio’s direct, eloquent summation was the antithesis of Don’t Look Up’s satirical parody. Same urgent message, spoken by the same person, but two completely different styles, as if to prove why McKay went out on a limb to use a chest-pounding, screaming scientist to get the point across.https://youtu.be/YEMaLsPTWlo

McKay talks about Don’t Look Up’s three endings, but aren’t there really four? I view the many mainstream media attacks and lackluster reviews of  Don’t Look Up as the fourth ending. Very similar to psych thriller Shutter Island’s twisted ending when we’re forced to come to grips with our altered reality. 

It’s time to recognize that many in the mainstream media, along with the fossil fuel industry, are the metaphorical Shutter Island criminally insane psych patient. If Adam McKay’s magnified gorilla didn’t change the hearts and minds of the perceptually blind, then nothing will, except perhaps laws that force them to report daily about the crisis.

John Doerr noted in his book, Speed & Scale, An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now, that there is no margin for error. We’re out of time and can’t make any mistakes. Climate is not going to get better anytime soon, it’s only going to get worse. We can’t pin our carbon cutting targets on false hopes. The mainstream media has just proven through McKay’s incredible psychological experiment, what the obstacle is to our achieving our target of staying below 1.5ºC. The vast majority in the mainstream media will not help us in our mission to cut carbon 50 percent by 2030. Rather, they will thwart every effort that we make. So our next step has to be to create a pathway around this obstacle so we can reach our goal and save humanity. 

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

Wind Trees & Wind Walls | Wind Is Fastest Growing Clean Energy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 2, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author

Wind power is growing faster than any other utility, including fossil fuels, John Doerr notes in his new book, Speed & Scale, An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now. He explains that wind has a higher market share than solar and that these two clean energy sources naturally compliment each other rather than compete.

Solar operates during the day, and wind turbines are more active at night when the wind is strongest.

John Doerr

The size of the wind turbines determine how much electricity it can generate. The taller the frame, the faster the wind speeds that can be channeled to generate more electricity. The only downside is that the size of the turbines limits the location where they can be placed. The largest wind farms are now being built offshore because of their size.

Join the conversation and receive regular climate action tips, and soil health and biodiversity advice by staying engaged at Act Now for the Earth Cafe. You’ll feel hopeful when you ask questions and interact with like-minded others about finding solutions that will help the earth recover from the damage of climate change. You’ll feel confident that we can succeed at staying below tipping points. It’s all about community. We’d greatly value you being part of our ecosystem. CLICK here today and join the conversation at  Earth Cafe!

Heart of the matter. With wind energy taking off, but the turbine size limiting the location where turbines can be installed, innovators have jumped in and invented several original designs that will enable wind energy to be produced in more congested areas like cities and busy suburbs.


Aeroleaf by New World Wind

Inspired by nature, French inventor Jerôme Michaud-Larivière of New World Wind has created the aesthetically pleasing mini wind turbine Wind Tree, Wind Bush and Wind Petal. The first prototypes were tested between 2013-2016 in France, Belgium and Germany. New World Wind Wind Trees were recently installed at Place de la Concorde in Paris. Photos show additional Wind Trees in a park, along a street, on the boardwalk at a picturesque water front destination, and another on what appears to be a corporate campus. According to New World Wind’s Facebook page, a single oversized Aeroleaf Wind Petal was installed in Seoul, South Korea to power a charging station.

  • quiet
  • optimized for low wind speed
  • 32 feet tall
  • 36 Aeroleafs
  • each Aeroleaf is 3 feet tall
  • 5,400 watts
  • made of steel
  • can also recharge a car

Wind Turbine Wall by Joe Doucet

The kinetic wind wall was developed by NYC-based Joe Doucet. The rotary blade wall currently stands 8 feet tall and 25 feet wide, but can be adjusted. The framework is expected to be made of aluminum. 

Doucet’s wind wall hasn’t been tested yet, but seems ideal for American neighborhoods that have traditional wooden fences dividing yards. Additionally, the military would likely make good use of these 8 foot wind walls. Military bases usually have endless walls distributed throughout their bases. 

Wind wall overproduction will also be able to be stored in wall-mounted batteries just like solar, or monetized and fed back to the national grid. 

Power technology ranked the top ten US states for wind production.

  1. Texas – 24,899 MW powering more than six million homes
  2. Iowa – 8,422 MW
  3. Oklahoma – 8,072 MW
  4. California – 5,885 MW
  5. Kansas – 5,653 MW
  6. Illinois – 4,861 MW
  7. Minnesota – 3,779 MW
  8. Colorado – 3,706 MW
  9. Oregon – 3,213 MW
  10. North Dakota – 3,155 MW

The United States is ranked number two in wind power, right behind China. As the wind market continues to grow at a rapid pace, more innovative improvements will be developed. China’s already cornered the market on manufacturing solar panels. It would be ideal if the United States could dominate the market on some segment of renewable energy manufacturing.

Check back each week for new climate optimism articles featuring innovative solutions that will help solve the climate crisis.

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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US Schools Are Climate Action Champions | Top 10 Climate Actions

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 28, 2021, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

From the IPCC Report boldly stating a Code Red for Humanity warning in August 2021, to the COP26 global conference in Glasgow a few months later in November, (both which urgently pleaded with communities across the globe to act immediately to lower carbon emissions), now is a great time to look back and see who was paying attention.

“It’s simple. Will we act? Will we do what is necessary? Will we seize the enormous opportunity before us? Or will we condemn future generations to suffer.”

President Joe Biden, COP26

Based on the following 10 bedrock climate actions, which are basic requirements for reducing carbon emissions, boosting biodiversity, and drawing down legacy load carbon, it’s very exciting to see that our schools have become a bright beacon of light at the top of the hill. Additionally, not only are schools leading the way to a green community, they’re also climate action accelerators that transmit vigorous energy through a very powerful nationwide network.

Join the conversation and receive regular climate action tips, and soil health and biodiversity advice by staying engaged at Act Now for the Earth Cafe. You’ll feel hopeful when you ask questions and interact with like-minded others about finding solutions that will help the earth recover from the damage of climate change. You’ll feel confident that we can succeed at staying below tipping points. It’s all about community. We’d greatly value you being part of our ecosystem. CLICK here today and join the conversation at  Earth Cafe!

The combination of quick climate action that improves the well-being of our children, as well as provides significant financial benefits that enable school districts to have budget surpluses and finally offer teacher raises, is a win-win combination that is topped off with interactive hands-on science learning opportunities for students.

Did you know that our schools collectively are one of the largest landowners in the US?

The following list of 10 key climate actions pertain to K12 public schools, which have the most public data available. Private K12 schools are likely moving forward at the same quick pace. Colleges and universities with their larger campuses and sustainability departments may even be doing that much more than K12. The awesomeness of K12 schools, though, is that parents can learn from their children and establish the same habits at home. 

  1. EV buses

School districts have begun switching to EV buses at a faster rate than the general public is transitioning to EV cars. According to the World Resources Institute, in a report released in August 2021, data shows that 258 school districts out of 13,500 have committed to one or more EV buses. Fourteen of these districts have procured 10 or more, and 5 of these 14 are the largest school districts in the country. 

Just last week SEA Electric announced that it reached a deal with Midwest Transit Equipment to convert 10,000 diesel school buses to EV over the next 5 years. According the Live Green, districts save 80% on maintenance and 72% on fuel costs when they switch to EV. Montgomery County, Maryland has made the largest investment so far, committing to a procurement of 326 electric buses over the next 4 years. Fairfax County, Virginia just rolled out its first 8 EV busesin October 2021.

  1. Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on school roofs, as well as open fields have become a very big deal to superintendents. These savvy “just do it” community leaders are motivated by the substantial financial benefits that clean energy provides. Seven thousand schools across the country have solar power, and nearly 200 schools operate using wind energy. An Arkansas High School was able to install solar panels on their open field and within three years their budget surplus grew so large they rewarded all teachers with raises between $3,000 – $15,000. Arlington County, Virginia public schools are ranked number 4 on a list of the top 30 school districts with highest green power usage.

  1. White Roofs

Painting school roofs white lowers the heat inside schools by 10ºF, which cuts carbon emissions by as much as 29% and decreases electricity bills significantly. The Chelsea school district north of Boston, a sweltering heat island across from Logan Airport, painted the middle school roofs white during the summer of 2021. Superintendent Almi Abeytawas looking forward to the lower electricity bills and the various ways that the much needed extra money could be used.

Back in 2009, Nobel laureate and President Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, announced at a global conference, “If you take all the buildings and make their roofs white, and if you make the pavement more of a concrete type of color rather than a black type of color, and you do this uniformly…it’s the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions of all the cars on the road for 11 years.” 

  1. High albedo parking lots

Large stretches of black asphalt becomes a danger as well as a health risk in high heat. Black asphalt is 40-60ºF warmer than the air temperature which can become a major safety risk for children playing at recess. Light concrete or asphalt painted with a high albedo color such as white or light grey, not only lowers the heat bringing it closer to the air temperature, but also reflects more of the sun’s energy just like the shrinking icecaps, which helps to cool the entire planet.

  1. Composting

In many cities and communities, the town waste management facility partners with schools to incorporate waste management into the curriculum. Most provide lesson plans. Composting is a big part of this educational opportunity. Schools that have vegetable beds, pollinator gardens and tree planting programs, likely have their own compost pile outside near the gardens. Every school produces hundreds of pounds of organic waste each day. Schools now know not to throw food scraps away anymore. They’ve created efficient composting systems. Students are quickly becoming the composting experts in our communities. 

  1. Recycling & Upcycling

Many school districts consider their students citizens of the earth and stewards of the environment. Recycling is part of the daily routine. Teachers are quite resourceful, taking students on field trips to the landfill and town recycling center. Teachers also host fun activities such as upcycle night where students transformed newspaper into pencil holders, a juice box into a wallet, jars into piggy banks, etc. Recycling and upcycling develop critical thinking skills, inspire innovation and are now a part of most STEM learning programs. 

  1. Food Program

Our flawed food system emits 9 billion tons of carbon per year. In order to stay below 1.5ºC, we have to cut 7 billion tons of carbon per year, beginning immediately. As John Doerr pointed out recently, “humans have never been able to cut any carbon in the history of our planet, so this is a tall order.” But schools are moving quickly on the food front as well, much faster than any other mass population. 

One hundred large school districts and counting, including Los Angeles Unified School District and New York City Public Schools, have adopted the Meatless Monday campaign. According to FoodPrint, between these two large school districts alone, 1.5 million meat-free meals are served each Monday. Additionally plant-based meat alternative companies (ie Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods) have begun connecting with schools through the K12 marketplace, hoping to inspire school districts to switch to plant-forward recipes.

By the way, School districts will want to buy Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD’s new book Recipe for Survival(available January 27, 2022). Dr. Hunnes shares invaluable tips on the health impact of climate change, food choices and food insecurity. Hunnes is a Senior Dietician at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Assistant Professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.

  1. Pollinator Gardens

Our overall pollinator populations around the globe have shrunk significantly in recent decades and scientists worry that our food supply is at risk. Thankfully, teachers are coming to the rescue. Pollinator gardens are popping up on school grounds from coast to coast. These vast displays of native flowers not only provide food and shelter for our life-saving pollinators, but they also boost campus biodiversity, create biodiversity corridors within our communities, beautify campuses, brighten moods, and store more carbon above ground in the plants themselves, and in the soil. Schools across the United States and Mexico are embracing pollinator gardens as a STEM teaching tool and are all in on planting lots of milkweeds in the mix.

  1. Tree planting

Schools are major property owners, and the vast majority of our schools are eagerly taking ownership in increasing the tree canopy in our communities. Trees beautify the school campus, increase carbon storage, stabilize the soil, purify the air and the water, lower the heat, reduce noise pollution, and increase privacy. Tree planting is also a STEM tool for teachers.

  1. Vegetable beds

Vegetable beds are an ideal learning environment that inspire students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Vegetable beds promote the scientific method through inquiry, observation and experimentation. Movement is also a big part of the outdoor gardening experience which improves dexterity. The USDA promotes Farm to School programs and provides much guidance. Home grown produce is also that much more nutritious, containing higher vitamin content. 

If climate action is this beneficial, quick, easy and fun for schools, why is it so hard for everyone else? 

Just imagine how quickly we’d be able to cut carbon emissions if every household, business, organization and community quickly implemented these same 10 climate actions in 2022. We’d then have no problem staying below 1.5ºC. 

Let’s do this!

© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.


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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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“Dr. Mindy, can I be vulnerable in your car?” | Don’t Look Up

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 20, 2021, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

All true things said in jest, right? That was certainly my impression when I checked out Don’t Look Up on December 10, 2021. This timely film is an ink blot test, which becomes abundantly clear when scrolling through the majority of mainstream media reviews. You’ll quickly discover that most are nothing more than defensive ambushes against Adam McKay, (writer, producer and director of Don’t Look Up), and his star-studded cast, with the trademark fossil fuel maniacal thumbprint.

The truth hurts. 

As a climate activist, my impression of McKay’s intrepid work was that it was masterfully written. A satirical mask covering the faces and behaviors of very real people. Picking up on the legitimacy behind each raw jab, I felt grateful to hear the facts spoken this way. It disarms and makes us much more open-minded to the next painful truth. It’s as though the script was written in code, and whoever can decipher will know how to proceed with climate action.

Heart of the matter. Don’t Look Up is a multi-dimensional, emotional roller-coaster filled with nuances. In addition to his unchained smack down of politicians and their short-term priorities, self-serving tech giants, and the soulless media, Adam McCay skillfully weaves in valuable advice throughout the film that we’d otherwise have to pay a lot of money when we visited a crisis manager or therapist.

Timothée Chalamet’s character, Yule, portrayed this aspect of the parody so admirably. The best line in Don’t Look UP wasn’t a slick diss, but rather  Chalamet’s, “Dr. Mindy, can I be vulnerable in your car?”

In my humble opinion, allowing ourselves to admit to our vulnerability is the key takeaway.  “Can I be vulnerable” is a pivotal question in this transformational film, and becomes Don’t Look Up’s valuable contribution to our global society. It’s the question that will lead to the majority of effective solutions required to successfully solve the climate crisis. Until we’re willing to expose ourselves to risks and rejections, making mistakes through trial and error, and taking big leaps, we won’t be able to stay below 1.5ºC. 

Chalamet also models the benefit of having a personal spiritual substratum to help us deal with all the harsh unknowns.

Thankfully, Chalamet nails both of these critical concepts. We now have a mental image to work off of that reinforces how cool it is to be vulnerable and deep.

Adam McKay was first in line to expose his own vulnerability in taking the big leap of faith to create Don’t Look Up. As if on cue, the mainstream media’s shallow and acidic reaction to Don’t Look Up is WHY so many innovators with new ideas remain silent and refuse to act. By putting his own neck on the line, McKay has not only exposed, but he’s ruptured the barriers that restrain many innovators.  What a brilliant and daring legacy McKay has bestowed on humanity at this critical juncture in our timeline, creating a path in the tangled wilderness for others to follow. Hopefully many of us will take the necessary risks after watching Don’t Look Up when it’s released on Netflix, December 24, 2021.

The remarkable cast of stars, promoting a powerful message to the public, urging us to open our eyes, “JUST LOOK UP,” and do the right thing to end global warming for humanity’s sake, is the equivalent of the music industry banding together and creating “We Are the World” to provide relief during the 1985 African famine. 

Jennifer Lawrence’s flawless depiction of PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky embodies the classic hit-job women often experience when they have discoveries and make valuable contributions that organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant posts about regularly on social media. “When men get mad, they’re commended as strong leaders. When women get angry, they’re condemned as aggressive bitches.” Or how about, “When men raise ideas, they’re respected as leaders. When women voice ideas, they’re often ignored.”

As thrilled as we are to have a female president, Janie Orlean, played by Meryl Streep, represents how a crisis would unfold under the leadership of a female Donald Trump (Marjorie Taylor Greene?!). LOL. All joking aside, the unfortunate reality is that power tends to warp good judgement, no matter what the gender. Nobel laureate Daniel Khaneman explains this ruinous flaw in his book Noise, A Flaw in Human Judgement.

On the other end of the spectrum is Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe, Rob Morgan, NASA’s head of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Teddy models excellent leadership behavior in the film, providing viewers with a baseline of what real leadership looks like, which helps to underscore the deficiencies of President Orlean, ridiculous Peter Isherwell played by Mark Rylance,  (I kept wondering if he was a heartless hologram), and General Themes, Paul Guilfoyle, who was apparently trying to make up for all the grifter defense contractors who deceptively invoice the military with padded bills like the $435 hammer. (Kate couldn’t get over that the General had charged them for what were supposed to be free snacks and water.) 

As always, Jonah Hill was amazing. I wouldn’t have wanted him to play the President’s son, a male Ivanka, I mean Jason Orlean, any other way. I can’t help but wonder if Peter Brand in Moneyball, played by Johah Hill, and Peter’s genius idea, is the type of solution we need to uncover to solve the climate crisis. (Make sure to keep watching beyond the credits to see Jason’s P.S. to the world. Haha.)

I found that I was the one who laughed the most in the theater. I’m sure I was the one who cried the most, too. The majority in my millennial and Gen-Z audience seemed to be processing the significance of what the film was conveying and appeared too stunned to know what to do. We all seemed to be connecting with what Greta had warned us about. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic.” And there Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) was, panicking. And suddenly, so were we. (I had to look this up, because I was so curious about how a star’s acting could actually make me feel an extreme emotion like panic. It’s called the chameleon effect. But seriously, see if you don’t physically feel “pit in your stomach” panicked when you watch Randall panic. Trust me, you will.)

I have to admit that I too was glad they cut Randall’s beard when they were preparing him for his whirlwind media blitz.

Sadly, the double ending (plus Jason’s P.S.) made sense. Most of us speculated as much on social media when Jeff Bezos lifted-off for his test flight to outer space this past summer while in the middle of unprecedented heatwaves and out of control wildfires. 

As I exited the theater, and in the days that have followed, I couldn’t help but imagine a different kind of outcome for our real climate crisis. The kind of ending that becomes a new beginning with millions, and billions of us following the lead of Leonardo DiCaprio in the Revenant, clawing our way back to our original paradisiacal earth, this after being left for dead along the edge of a cliff by the extreme capitalists and billionaires who are busy trying to profit off our planet’s death spiral just the way Mark Rylance did in Don’t Look Up.  

Leonardo DiCaprio has been a global leader and environmentalist supporting biodiversity and rewilding the world since 1998, particularly for marginalized groups, such as the Waorani People of the Amazon and the ICCN in Virunga National Park. DiCaprio’s philanthropy aligns with Sir David AttenboroughJohan RockströmJane Goodall and multiple others who are urgently promoting rewilding. 

So yes, imagining the better conclusion that Sir David Attenborough spoke of at COP26 in November 2021 when he said, “If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilize our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it.” Attenborough went on to assure his audience in Glasgow, “In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery.”

That’s the brilliance of Don’t Look Up. The craftsmanship of subliminally showing us what we don’t want to have happen within the next decade, which opens our eyes to the natural path leading in the opposite direction.

Whether it’s Dr. Randall Mindy, Hugh Glass from the Revenant, or the real Leonardo DiCaprio of Appian Way Productions and the Leonardo DiCaprio FoundationDon’t Look Up adeptly inspires viewers to reach for a better path forward. (Note to self, it’s rather extraordinary that one actor can play the two dissimilar roles of Dr. Randall Mindy and Hugh Glass to such excellence. Looking forward to seeing what DiCaprio does with Jim Jones.) 

And although we may have panicked when Randall panicked, we don’t have to calmly accept annihilation the way Randall, Kate, Teddy, Yule and Randall’s wife and two sons did. Rather, let’s Hugh Glass ourselves and reach and stretch and claw our way back to civilization by rewilding our local communities so that we can have the happily ever after outcome the majority of us want so desperately. 

“We really did have everything, didn’t we? I mean when you think about it…”

Yes, Dr. Mindy, we really did. Let’s get it back while we still have time.

Don’t Look Up is the entertainment world’s Code Red for Humanity. An urgent warning for those who may have missed the 2021 IPCC Report Report, or forgot to read the Paris Agreement. We only have a few short years to stay below 1.5ºC. We must return to the Garden of Eden. Let’s reach this blissful destination within the next ten years, rather than 22,740 years.❃

© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Extreme Tornadoes Digging Up Ground Where Superfund Sites Are

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 17, 2021, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

The severe chain of tornadoes that ravaged eight states on December 10, 2021, touching down in 30 separate locations, opened our eyes to the new normal that we’ve thrust ourselves into after breaking through the boundaries that human civilization has existed in for more than 10,000 years. 

We’ve left the Holocene Epoch, the era of stable climate and predictable seasons with a global temperature of +/- 1ºC, and entered the unstable Anthropocene Epoch, the age of humans. Nothing is predictable anymore. We’re currently at a global temperature of 1.2ºC above the pre-industrial age baseline. Climate scientists have warned that we’ll experience many more extreme weather events and thus have to find more ways to adapt as quickly as possible, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions, just as urgently, in the hopes that we can make our way back to the safe Holocene conditions.  

Join the conversation and receive regular climate action tips, and soil health and biodiversity advice by staying engaged at Act Now for the Earth Cafe. You’ll feel hopeful when you ask questions and interact with like-minded others about finding solutions that will help the earth recover from the damage of climate change. You’ll feel confident that we can succeed at staying below tipping points. It’s all about community. We’d greatly value you being part of our ecosystem. CLICK here today and join the conversation at  Earth Cafe!

However hopeful we may be about the future and our ability to turn this around, the current conditions are baked in for the next 20 years. Understanding the new extremes and creating strategies for adapting, (ie deep underground tornado shelter bunkers), will keep people much more safe, although our personal property will still be at great risk from here on out, as we saw with the total destruction of Mayfield, Kentucky

The heart of the matter.

According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL),  under Severe Storms 101, powerful tornadoes have the ability to shred the ground itself, spew dirt, and in some cases dig trenches as deep as 3 feet. There have even been reports of tornadoes pulling up asphalt.

A powerful tornado’s ability to dig into the ground, should set off alarm bells. Graveyards are a concern of course, although right now, most caskets are 6 feet deep so they’re still relatively secure. But for how long? How deep will a tornado be able to dig if we reach 1.5ºC, or worse 2ºC?

And how about Superfund sites? The remedial procedure for decontaminating soil tainted by toxic waste is to cap it off, usually with clean soil, the depth of which is determined by the EPA and varies. 

For example, General Tire & Rubber Co (Mayfield Landfill ) is located two miles north of Mayfield, Kentucky and was deemed a superfund site in 1990 at which time it was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). The EPA removed General Tire & Rubber Co (Mayfield Landfill ) from the NPL when it determined that no cleaned would be necessary after all following the PRP (potentially responsible party) covering the trenches (that contained 152 tons of hazardous waste) with two feet of clean soil, and seeding the top.

Not cleaning up the contaminated area and instead just covering it up, may have benefitted the PRP and the EPA in the short term, but it has become a significant threat in the long term. The hazardous waste at General Tire & Rubber Co (Mayfield Landfill ) is still there, two feet below the surface based on EPA records. The tornadoes will become more powerful due to climate change, more stronger than the 163-190 mph winds that tore up Mayfield on December 10, 2021. Stronger tornadoes have the potential to dig into the trenches where the hazardous waste still remains and propel it into the air where it can swirl around and potentially spread hundreds of miles. 

In 2021, there were 1,317 Superfund sites in the US. Kentucky has its fair share, a dynamic list that the EPA is trying to whittle down to zero. It appears that at one point there were 21 Superfund sites in Kentucky. Eight are still showing as active on the current list, although at least one of these was removed from the NPL in September 2021.

The tornado that raged through Kentucky on December 10, 2021, passed over 3 Superfund sites in two counties. 

  • Logan County (EF2, 111-135 mph winds)
  • Marshall County (EF4, 166-200 mph winds)

According to WLKY “assessments show the tornado was on the ground over the entirety of Marshall county.” Marshall County is home to two Kentucky Superfund sites.

The Airco Superfund site had been an industrial landfill and is located in close proximity to the BF Goodrich Superfund site. The EPA determined that Airco toxic waste would not harm local residents because it is fenced, secured and capped. Based on this low safety standard, the public needs to demand that the EPA investigate how well the Airco Superfund site withstood the force of an E4 tornado raging across every inch of ground in Marshall County on December 10, 2021.

The EPA asserted that the BF Goodrich Superfund site posed a significant public health risk to before the tornado. In light of the fact that the December 10 tornado was “on the ground over the entirety of Marshall County,” an investigation should be conducted as quickly as possible to determine how the public is affected:

Contaminated soil and groundwater underlying the Site pose a potential for the occurrence of contaminated vapors in the vadose zone and intrusion of vapors to indoor air spaces. An investigation of indoor air in buildings occupied by administrative workers not regulated under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicated elevated levels of VOCs. The maximum indoor air risk estimated was 5 × 10-4 for cancer risks and a hazard index (HI) of 20 for non-cancer risk. However, a comparison of the outdoor air and sub-slab data indicates an outdoor air source for the VOCs. The elevated levels of VOCs encountered in the outdoor air may be attributable to point and non-point emissions from plant operations.” —DOJ (Remedial Action Work Plan for the B.F. Goodrich Superfund Site, Calvert City, Marshall County, Kentucky)

Again, it’s imperative that local officials who are working with FEMA connect with the EPA about investigating all the Superfund sites the tornadoes passed over in all eight states. There were three in Kentucky alone. Several more are relatively close to Edwardsville, IL where the Amazon warehouse caved in. With more than 1300 Superfund sites in the US, climate change extreme weather events striking the same location as a Superfund site and spreading the toxins far and wide, is highly likely and poses a significant danger to the public. Some of these are nuclear contaminants. Communities must be made aware of the best health protocols to implement and follow when extreme storms collide with highly toxic waste.

Gallant Gold Media will following this and will keep the public updated.


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