Thursday, October 24, 2013

Look Out Chicago, The Koch Brothers Are at it Again by Lauren Campbell Kong

I have been reading a lot of press lately discussing the Koch brothers and their petroleum coke storing facility in Chicago. The situation is looking pretty bleak. Not only does this worry me for our environment, but I have good friends who live in Chicago. Now they and their families are at serious risk for asthma, cancer, and other adverse health effects. The Koch brothers, who own such companies as Oxbow, Koch Carbon, and KCBX an affiliate of Koch Carbon, (just to name a few) have single handedly effected thousands of individuals and exposed them to some of the dirtiest air imaginable.

Currently, petroleum coke which is a waste by-product of oil refining, is piling up along Chicago’s southeast side. Citizens of these Chicago neighborhoods have complained to the proper channels, but it seems that little is being done to give them immediate help. This comes as no surprise after the huge complaint Koch Carbon received from Detroit, MI citizens a couple of months ago. After two months of complaints, media frenzy, and a single cell phone video showing a huge, dark, billowing cloud of petroleum coke wafting through the air went viral, the Mayor of Detroit finally ordered the pet coke removed; the state Department of Environmental Quality is now doing a review on the impact of such large amounts of pet coke on citizens and the environment.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Chinese Dream

I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter online about the “Chinese Dream” lately. Naturally, I have to question what exactly is this new Chinese dream other than just another shrewd attempt at propaganda?

China is famous for its slogans since the establishment of their new People’s Republic. Mao had his personal slogans; so did Deng Xiao Ping with his “Reform and Opening Up.” Jiang Ze Min had his “Three Represents” and thereafter Hu Jin Tao had “Scientific Development Outlooks.” Naturally, Xi’s new slogan did not surprise me, but there is something different. Xi’s slogan seems a bit more than just a slogan to inform; it is rather inspiring in an abstract and non-informative way!?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cleaning the Waterways of Ohio by Lauren Campbell Kong

It is amazing to me how diverse environmental activism is in Cincinnati. The topics are so different from that of Indiana; as I get situated in the Queen City I am starting to see different environmental issues plaguing the area and it has been quite the learning experience.

Located on the Ohio River, Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have a huge clean water presence; Cincinnati actually leads the country in clean water technology and the tri-state area has more water patents per capita than any other area of the United States. The focus on how to approach these issues is much different than Indiana and their ongoing battle with the White River, the most polluted river in central Indiana. It has been refreshing to see a community interested in and involved with keeping the Ohio River clean. Granted it is the most polluted river in the country but the fact that it is so large and spans 5 coal states lends itself to that, regardless, people are educated on the topic and motivated to make a change. I’m sure this is correlated with the long history and culture of the Ohio River, providing commerce when the city was first settled, in addition to transportation for many people. Environmental landmarks influence our culture and thus how we perceive the environment, influencing what environmental concerns we address. People who live near bodies of water tend to be more environmentally aware of water issues, i.e. water pollution. They typically support such efforts to conserve, protect, and restore watersheds, rivers, lakes, and oceans more than people who do not grow up near such beautiful backdrops of water.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Environment Ohio: Getting involved - by Lauren Campbell Kong

Jin and I have finally settled into our new home and new location. Moving was tough for me, but what was hardest was finding organizations in the city that I could get involved in. In Indianapolis I was very active with the Sierra Club, specifically the Beyond Coal Campaign. When we arrived to Cincinnati I was surprised  that the Beyond Coal Campaign doesn't have a presence here; especially since Duke Energy’s headquarters do. But, after some digging and with due diligence, I finally found an organization: Environment Ohio (EO).