Land And Water U.S.A.

Monday, August 29, 2011



Manhattan, Kansas was selected as the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) location after an extensive three-year site selection process that included a thorough risk assessment, environmental impact assessment, and security assessment. The Manhattan location puts the NBAF in proximity to research of NBAF-related missions in veterinary, agriculture, and bio-security research expertise, and resources. This location also puts NBAF in proximity to a major hub of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.
The NBAF will be built on a site on Kansas State University adjacent to the existing Biosecurity Research Institute. Once construction of NBAF is completed – an estimated five-year project – the current mission activities at Plum Island Animal Disease Center will begin to transition to the new facility. The transition process is expected to take approximately two years.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


By Roni Bell Sylvester

If these little darlings "HAD" to plow, grow, harvest, can, get kicked by a cow, charged by a bull, pecked by a feathered not so friend, slapped in the face by a manured tail, try to drive the tractor with a loaded hay wagon down a hill without having it jackknife, hay or harvest wheat in 100 degree temps where you get to enjoy the chaff scratching the hell out of your sun burned "red neck", meet with millions of regs made by these smart ass city people, deal with Mother Nature year around, stand for hours in a furnace kitchen to can corn, beans, peas, peaches, cherries, beets, carrots, tomatoes, jams, jellies, bake bread every day, forgo any normal high school activities because you have to milk the cows in the morning BEFORE you go to school...then get right home to gather/sort/milk the cows and scrub the gutters and clean the bulk tank every night, sew every pedal pusher you wear, drive your bike into town for piano lessons, grease the zerks in the combine blades, hoe row after row after roe of corn without rest/Perrier or IPod, and teeter on top of the silo silage praying you won't loose your balance and fall to sure death, they wouldn't think farming is just a romantic romp in a meadow!!!
In 1966, I read "Between Parent and Child" by Hiam Ginott - and it was the first time I'd ever heard about asking a child "How do you `feel' about blah, blah, blah."
I asked my Mom "I don't remember us ever talking about `feelings'- on the farm. Did we?"
She was hoeing - slowly she turned around, leaned on her hoe, looked at me with complete astonishment and thoughtfully answered, "Why Ronita. No. I never thought about feelings. When you had to go down to the barn and milk the cows, I never thought about asking, `how do you feel about bundling up and making your way through blizzards, electrical storms and monsoons to milk. Work never stopped and waited to see how we `'felt'. It needed to be done...and we all just did it."
We're into the generations of people who were given "choices" and they chose "not to work." Now they get to "play" in the fields of fluff, where they'll stay disconnected from reality, and subsequently keep choking the life out of us resource providers.
As Chuck (my farmer husband) keeps saying, "We have a nation full of baby birds in a nest, beaks wide open chirping, `feed me, feed me, feed me, YOU take care of me!!!"'
They're so damn stupid they don't know they're killing the very source of their gifts!!!
What a touchy, feely crock of a school! Completely misleading (like Michelle Obama's garden) unrealistic!!!!
I "feel" sick about the whole lie!

Here's the article "My Response..." is in response to... :-)
Students plow their way to the top of Sierra’s ‘Cool School’ rankings
August 22nd, 2011
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
Want to know what’s going on at the nation’s greenest colleges?
Just follow the young adults in the flannel shirts and rubber boots. No, those aren’t the latest fashion trends. That’s farm attire, practical togs for students plowing the land and exploring nearby swamps, streams and forests as part of their sustainability program.
Look more closely and you’ll find undergrads tilling the soil with oxen at Green Mountain College, processing grapes at University of California, Davis, getting in touch with their inner Thoreau in the Adirondacks via St. Lawrence University and wandering like John Muir across vast acreages of green space at Stanford and Cornell.
“The pendulum has really swung back to the age of these kids grandparents or great grandparents,” said Avital Binshtock, lifestyle editor of Sierra magazine, which just released its 5th annual Cool Schools rankings identifying the top green campuses.
“They’ve taken up knitting. They want to have chickens in their backyard and learn how to plant a plot of land.”
Grandparents, yes. But even moms and dads reared in the 1960s and ‘70s might recognize a lot of what’s going on as a renewal of the back-to-nature movement they participated in when “ecology” was the catchall term. Today’s young people, though, may be even deeper in the, um, compost, as they follow their professors into the field, literally, to take part in academic courses in sustainable land use, food production and green energy generation.
This modern tilting toward more earthy classes is just one part of a matrix of changes taking place as campuses try to improve their carbon and food footprints, move to more efficient energy use and attract the top students, who are increasingly looking at whether prospective schools are walking a green path.
Binshtock, who oversaw the 2011 Cool Schools project ranking 118 campuses for their climate-cooling practices, says research from multiple sources shows that a university’s commitment to sustainability is part of what students consider in selecting a school.
And once on campus, today’s students are not shy about demanding increased academic offerings as well as more eco-friendly operations. If they don’t like what they see, she said, “they get activist about it.”
That means schools that already are going green are impelled to transform themselves even further, like the University of Washington, which claimed the No. 1 spot in the 2011 rankings with its three farms, collection of LEED Gold-certified buildings and greener energy program relying on hydropower.
Not all universities are moving as swiftly to change, Binshtock said, but at many campuses there is a “perfect cocktail” of student desire for sustainability both in the curriculum and in operations, which is reinforced by compatible faculty and administrative goals, Binshtock said.
That’s resulted in a blossoming of sustainability course offerings and the growth of the nature- immersive courses, as well as the expansion of organic and local food offerings in cafeterias and changes in infrastructure.
Several of the schools at the top of the rankings employ co-generation power plants that have helped them reduce their reliance on coal or nuclear power.
Students are no longer silent on such issues. At many campuses, they have protested their school’s dependence upon coal power, with its heavy carbon pollution, providing yet another reason for universities to find alternatives and pushing the green movement into almost every arena of campus life.
“So it’s student led. It’s campus led. It’s also faculty led,” Binshtock said. “They’re forward-thinking people, and they would like to see the world going in a better way also.”
The Cool Schools rankings are based on a survey designed to measure a university’s progress on sustainability in 10 areas: energy supply, efficiency, food, academics, purchasing, transportation, waste management, administration, financial investments, and a catch-all called “other initiatives.”
All 118 schools that returned a survey were ranked. Weightings and considerations are explained in the report’s methodology section.
Copyright © 2011 Green Right Now | Distributed by GRN Network

Sunday, August 7, 2011


By Michael R. Shannon

Conservatives make a fundamental mistake regarding government employees. Frequently conservatives rail against lazy workers, using the enthusiasm–challenged as examples of all that’s wrong with government.

Yet drones making personal calls on their cell phone aren’t proponents of bigger, more intrusive government. Those disciples of inertia are, in a way, our friends.

It’s energetic and ambitious employees who want to expand government and these are the workers conservatives should be trying to eliminate.

Look at Virginia’s DMV, that long–time conservative whipping boy. Sluggish DMV employees aren’t agitating for more authority. They’re content with processing the license or registration paperwork at the standard glacial pace.

Sleepy employees aren't trying to expand DMV jurisdiction into selling government tires or oil changes. Their only goal is to discover once and for all what ratio of closed to open customer service windows produces the maximum number of disgruntled citizens with the least elected official outrage.

If you mistakenly inject a few highly motivated employees into the DMV the wait may go down to a comparatively speedy half–day, but with time on their hands the new hires may decide to go out into the parking lot and check the tint density on your SUV windows.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) is the real–world example of the damage and expense an eager–beaver employee can cause. VDOT scientist Bridget Donaldson has lately become concerned about that unfortunate byproduct of highway use – roadkill.

It’s not that she’s worried about the potential proliferation of small roadside memorials to squashed raccoons; Donaldson is preoccupied with the entire flattened fauna disposal process.

VDOT currently spends about $4.4 million annually disposing of animal carcasses, which only goes to show it takes a long time to clean any gene pool. In 77 percent of the cases crews haul vehicle victims to the nearest landfill and, according to Donaldson’s scare statistics, that can be a 40–mile round trip. The rest of the time practical VDOT employees simply bury the creature by the side of the road.

As a taxpayer, I’m satisfied, but then I’m not a ‘scientist.’

Instead of simply drinking coffee from her World Wildlife Federation mug, Donaldson wants to fix what ain’t broke and have VDOT embark on a new initiative that will cost more money and “help the environment.”

She claims that burying Rocket J. Squirrel by the side of the road could release harmful pollutants and bacteria, to say nothing of the damage adding his corpse to the critical mass of Happy Meal boxes and plastic bags in the landfill might produce.

If this was during former governor Tim Kaine’s administration, Donaldson could have simply recommended animal carcasses be stored in closed rest stops — instead she wants to compost the critters by mixing carcasses and wood chips, which sounds suspiciously like a Kashi bar to me.

But isn’t burial the original composting? And what could be more natural than decomposition, which doesn’t require the use of fossil fuels? If Donaldson is correct regarding the release of “harmful pollutants and bacteria” from burial, then every cemetery in the country is eligible to be declared a Superfund site.

Donaldson is simply not content to let roadside maggots do their work in peace. She wants to store vulture vittles in large gasoline–tanker sized drums that can cost up to $80,000 each. Presumably these cemetery cylinders will be cruising the Commonwealth looking for customers, which will surely burn more gas than the occasional landfill trip.

And how many road pizzas will it take to fill one of these behemoths? How much protective gear will the poor soul have to wear when he adds the last few fur frisbees to the marinating mix, if he hopes to survive the odor onslaught? And who wants to be stuck behind one of these critter containers during an August traffic jam on I–95?

Her alternate composting method requires building large concrete plazas for the putrefaction piles with the rotting runoff directed into a water–treatment plant that will have to be modified or built from scratch at additional taxpayer expense.

I’ll just bet every economic development authority in Virginia will be lobbying to get one of these “earth–friendly” odor–paloozas for their jurisdiction.

We should be thankful Donaldson doesn’t want a Wiccan to say a few words over the dearly departed.

A computer solitaire–playing VDOT scientist would’ve been content to let nature take its course, saving taxpayers the expense of studies and subsequent “solutions.” Which is why I’m now calling on conservatives to live and let live with the lethargic and embrace the ennui.

Smaller government depends upon it.


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