Remembering Earth Day

Earth Day remembered

Since the Pilot appears to have forgotten, here’s a decade old commentary on Earth Day. The day shouldn’t pass without comment.

4 thoughts on “Remembering Earth Day

  1. I mentioned the upcoming relaxation of mercury emissions the other day. You dismissed that as minor and just affected apex fish.

    “ Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, or tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, because these all contain high levels of mercury.
    Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children older than 10 years, should eat between 8 oz (227 g) and 12 oz (340 g) a week (2 or 3 average meals) of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Children ages 10 and younger should eat less.
    Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
    Another commonly eaten fish, albacore (“white”) tuna, has more mercury than canned light tuna. So when choosing your 2 or 3 meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 4 oz (113 g) a week (one average meal) of albacore tuna.
    Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 4 oz (113 g) a week (one average meal) of fish caught from local waters, but don’t eat any other fish during that week.“

    So are we to expect that restricting one of the healthiest foods is a good idea?

    Also, industry has already paid and installed mercury scrubbers, why not leave well enough alone?

    Dumping more mercury into both the air we breathe and the waters we harvest from makes no sense even on the best of days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scrub all you want, apex predators in the Gulf will still have mercury.

      Mercury doesn’t just come from power plants. It also comes naturally from erosion. Take a look at a map and see how big the watershed for the Mississippi River is.


      1. hat about mercury in the Atlantic fisheries?

        Or in the air?

        It just seems that if industry is not up in arms with something that they have already addressed, what was the point of this particular de-regulation?


        1. Mercury is very reactive and shows up in a lot of places. Most starts out as cinnabar, a sulfate of mercury. It can be taken up by plants or carried in sediment to the oceans.

          Right now, a little under half of what’s in the ocean is from natural sources, most of the human contribution comes from burning coal, which releases mercury that had been sequestered when the coal formed.

          The levels at the base of the food chain are low but it gets concentrated as it goes up the food chain.

          But it can travel a long way in the atmosphere and in the ocean, carried by migratory baitfish.

          So, like CO2, even if we stopped burning coal completely, as long as China and India don’t, we still get more added. Even if everyone stopped burning coal, that would only stop half of the input.

          So, the change in the US regulations will not have a measurable impact.


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