Flint, Michigan, tried to save money on water. Now its children have lead poisoning.

lead poisoning
Flint learned that cheaper water came at quite a price.                                                                               Shutterstock

From vox.com, updated by Libby Nelson on January 5, 2016.

How Flint poisoned its children while trying to avoid bankruptcy

The lead crisis in Flint has been public since October and suspected long before that. But things were bad in the Michigan city long before its tap water turned out to be unsafe.

Lead poisoning affects brain development so much that the gradual reduction of lead poisoning in American society has worked something of a miracle. Exposure to lead — and no amount of exposure is now considered safe — can lead to learning disabilities, lower IQs, and impulsivity. Those effects, multiplied over a city or state or country, are costly.

Read more.

Ontario IESO Contracts for Large Scale Battery Storage

From Solar Thermal Magazine:
​S​unEdison, Inc., ​recently ​announced that it signed ​an agreement to supply battery storage to the province ​of Ontario​.​ ​This is to insure everyone in the province gets the electricity they need​ as it’s needed​, ​and to smooth the power flow from wind and solar​. This will eventually result in major improvement​s​ ​in how its grid functions​:
“By integrating energy storage into their grid, the Ontario IESO gains access to a powerful new tool that has the potential to transform how it operates the power system,” said Tim Derrick, SunEdison’s general manager of Advanced Solutions. “Batteries can be used to reduce grid congestion, smooth out power flow from solar and wind sources, and may help the IESO defer or avoid expensive upgrades to the grid.”


Daily Diagnosis: Tropical Diseases Moving North Toward US


From the American Society for Clinical Pathology and BulletinHealthcare: due to climate change, disease-carrying insects are making their way father and father north.

Tropical Diseases Moving North Toward US.

In a nearly 1,200-word article, the New York Times (1/5, D3, McNeil, Subscription Publication) reports that as mosquitoes and ticks are able to expand their ranges due to climate change, tropical diseases, including Lyme, West Nile, Chagas, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, are moving north. Scientists say that while this does not mean epidemics are imminent, as a “set of factors far more complex than the weather” will determine whether a full outbreak occurs. However, they say some factors “are, for now, unstoppable, scientists say: the weather is hotter; cheap airfares mean humans travel more than they did decades ago; and cities in tropical countries are becoming more crowded, creating nurseries for each disease.” Meanwhile, “other factors can be manipulated to stop outbreaks: insects can be killed; patients can be cured before they are bitten again; vaccines can be developed; and simple measures like screens, air-conditioning and bug spray can play big roles.”

Forbes (1/4) contributor Judy Stone gives an overview of the Zika virus, describes its’ origin, how it spreads, the symptoms associated with the virus, prevention, travel and treatment. Given her overview, Stone concludes that “with globalization and climate change, we can expect to see more and more similar infectious.” She predicts that viruses like dengue, Chikungunya and Zika “are likely to be growing problems in the US over the coming year or two.”

Read the Forbes and the New York Times articles.

Wind turbines now produce enough power to energize 19 million U.S. homes

Thanks to Ron Martino on the facebook page, Essex Coastal Wind Forum, for bringing our attention to this story by Lulu Chang on December 29 for Yahoo News. 2015 was a good year for wind power in the U.S. About five percent of our total electricity generated comes from wind power at this point in time. The recent decision by Congress to extend the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit has turned the tables, making it good business to invest in wind.

wind farm in Spain

Turbines at Maranchon Wind Farm in Spain’s Guadalajara province (AFP Photo/Curto de la Torre)

“This American wind power success story just gets better. There’s now enough wind power installed to meet the equivalent of total electricity demand in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Wind energy is the biggest, fastest, and cheapest way we can cut carbon pollution here in the U.S., and as wind power grows, so will savings for American families and businesses all across the country.”

Read more.