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Book cover for "Planetary Health"
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Dr. Sam Myers is a Principal Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and founding Director of the Planetary Health Alliance. He joins us now to tell us about the new book he has co-edited: "Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves."

Human activity is driving the fastest changes in our global environment in the history of our species, and these planetary changes threaten the very foundations of human health by affecting the quality of our air and water, the amount and quality of the food we produce, our exposure to infectious disease and natural hazards, even the habitability of the places we live.

Dr. Myers says to address these threats, we need to establish a different trajectory. The good news is that we know how to do everything differently—across every sector we have powerful solutions that can be taken to scale—the question is will we? Planetary Health lays out the science and the politics behind the challenges as well as the potential solutions.

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Consumer advocates and environmentalists are applauding a bill New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed that prevents utility shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic and in other cases.

“Water, Water, Everywhere…” is the final production of Oldcastle Theatre Company's 48th season. The play is set in the office of a small town newspaper in the fictional small town of Walloomsac, Vermont as its reporters begin work on a story about a factory spewing (PFOA) from exhaust stacks that build up over years in the groundwater and soil.

Similar things happened in Bennington, Vermont and nearby Hoosick Falls, New York. But playwright and Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson, cautions that the play is fiction, not a documentary.

Much of the play revolves around the local newspaper which is facing a difficult financial situation and is in danger of closing. Two young reporters team up with a veteran editor to bring the story to their readers. Peterson, a former columnist for both the Bennington Banner and the Berkshire Eagle, has written often about Vermont themes in plays such as “Civil Union.”

"New York Times" bestselling author Charles Fishman has become one of the most provocative and inspiring voices on water issues in the last few years. He will be part of SPAC's Speakers Series on September 12, discussing his book "The Big Thirst."

Water is going to turn out to be the most important and the most contentious resource issue for almost every country in the world in the next 50 years, even places like the United States where water has typically been abundant, safe, and inexpensive. Climate change, economic growth, and the growing middle class around the world will put pressure on water supplies like never before. People will live or die, and countries will succeed or fail, based on their ability to re-imagine how to use water in the new era of scarcity and climate change.

More than 200 years after Thomas Jefferson proclaimed Lake George to be the most beautiful water he ever saw, the Lake remains one of the clearest, cleanest lakes in the nation. But that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges. In fact, invasive species; aging wastewater treatment plants and septic systems; stormwater runoff; and winter road salt all pose very real threats to the long-term health of the lake’s ecology and the Lake George Region’s economy.

The FUND for Lake George is dedicated to preventing these threats from devastating the lake. Guided by data from the world’s most advanced environmental monitoring system, The Jefferson Project, as well as additional FUND research, the not-for-profit organization is leading a multi-faceted, science-to-solutions effort to keep the 32-mile-long tourism mecca and drinking water source clear of harmful algal blooms and other threats, and providing a roadmap for other lakeside communities across the country.

Executive Director of The FUND for Lake George Eric Siy and CEO of Fort William Henry Corp. in Lake George and Chair of The FUND’s Council of Business Advisors Kathy Flacke Muncil join us to tell us more.

Water Protection To Be Subject Of SPAC Talk

Jul 31, 2019
USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

If there is one thing many of us take for granted, it’s water. Turn on the faucet and there is it, but Sandra Postel says it is important to protect the cycle of water, something that can be and has been forgotten. 

Mark Arax is from a Californian family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again.

In "The Dreamt Land," he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, that is straining to keep up with California’s relentless growth. The book is about the land and the people who have worked it; from gold miners to wheat ranchers to small fruit farmers and today’s Big Ag. Since the beginning, Californians have redirected rivers, drilled ever-deeper wells and built higher dams, pushing the water supply past its limit.

Mark Arax is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. A former staffer at the Los Angeles Times, his work has appeared in The New York Times and the California Sunday Magazine. His books include a memoir of his father’s murder, a collection of essays about the West, and the best-selling "The King of California," which won a California Book Award, the William Saroyan Prize from Stanford University, and was named a top book of 2004 by the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Christopher White has written numerous books, including "Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen" and "The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers." His articles have appeared in Audubon, The Baltimore Sun, The New Mexican, National Geographic, and Exploration.

In his new book, "The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine's Greatest Fishery?" he follows three lobster captains: Frank, Jason, and Julie (one the few female skippers in Maine), as they haul and set thousands of traps.

For the past five years, the lobster population along the coast of Maine has boomed, resulting in a lobster harvest six times the size of the record catch from the 1980s an event unheard of in fisheries. In a detective story, scientists and fishermen explore various theories for the glut. Leading contenders are a sudden lack of predators and a recent wedge of warming waters, which may disrupt the reproductive cycle, a consequence of climate change. Unexpectedly, boom may turn to bust, as the captains must fight a warming ocean, volatile prices, and rough weather to keep their livelihood afloat.

The Badilas are a close-knit family of artists whose incredible talent and community spirit have made them a household name in Hudson. The Badila’s unique blend of Central and West African traditions and popular culture resonates at home, and reverberates on the world stage. Elombe and Pamela Badila united to create a family and legacy of education and performance that celebrates their heritage. Elombe passed away in 2012 and his family continues this mission.

Hudson Hall presents a series of Badila family events this weekend. 

We learn more from each of them but do want to make sure it’s clear that there are many other siblings and participants celebrating and performing in Hudson this weekend.

"Spirit of the River" will be performed at Hudson Hall on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Milandou Badila (aka Young Paris) creates Afrobeat hip-hop music with an electronic injection on Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. His most recent album is “My Tribe.” Lady Moon and The Eclipse perform on Saturday at 7pm - their EP "Believe" is available now and they are working on their first LP.

Ink bottles - one part of Kazumi Tanaka's "INK: The Color of Manitoga"
www.visitmanitoga.org

Manitoga is the house, studio, and 75-acre woodland garden of American industrial designer Russel Wright. Its Artist Residency program began in 2014. This summer’s residency project is entitled “INK: The Color of Manitoga” by artist Kazumi Tanaka. Tanaka is creating natural inks from plant specimens she collects in Manitoga’s woodland garden. Her lab and art space is in the main house at Manitoga.

Tanaka was born in Osaka, Japan and graduated from Osaka University before relocating to New York. She lives and works in Beacon, NY and her art has been shown all around the world. Manitoga’s Executive Director Allison Cross and Kazumia Tanaka join us.

Manitoga’s Member Opening Celebration and the official Artist Residency launch will take place tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. Information about that event and ongoing hikes and tours and other special events is available here.

In his new book "Embattled River: The Hudson and Modern American Environmentalism," David Schuyler describes the efforts to reverse the pollution and bleak future of the Hudson River that became evident in the 1950s.

Through his investigative narrative, Schuyler uncovers the critical role of this iconic American waterway in the emergence of modern environmentalism in the United States. Oblong Books in Rhinebeck is having an event tomorrow night at 6 p.m. featuring Schuyler, who will be joined in discussion by Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper.

David Schuyler is Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of the Humanities and American Studies at Franklin & Marshall College and is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning "Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820–1909."

Photo of a faucet
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

20th District Representative Paul Tonko will spend a week touring Capital Region drinking water systems as Congress considers legislation that would support local projects.

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A water main has broken in the City of Cohoes on Saratoga Street. Mayor Shawn Morse shared details about the break with WAMC's Lucas Willard on Monday morning.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection says it has received a waver allowing it to continue to deliver unfiltered drinking water from upstate sources.

The department announced Thursday the 10-year waiver from the state to deliver drinking water from its Catskill and Delaware systems.

The systems make up the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States.

New York City has pledged $1 billion over 10 years to protect upstate reservoirs.

Most people in America enjoy the luxury of washing waste down the drain or flushing it away in a toilet. But once it leaves the home, office or school, where does it go? What happens to it? In the latest installment of our infrastructure series, WAMC’s Jim Levulis explores the complex wastewater treatment industry.

Jeff Goodell is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of five books, including How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth's Climate, which won the 2011 Grantham Prize Award of Special Merit. Goodell's previous books include Sunnyvale, a memoir about growing up in Silicon Valley, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future.

His new book, is The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World and he will discuss it at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY tonight and at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT on Friday.

William Carlson; Fenestral; SculptureNow Nexus at The Mount
Sarah LaDuke


  SculptureNow’s 2017 outdoor exhibition at The Mount in Lenox, MA is entitled, Nexus. It is on view through October 31st. SculptureNow offers free guided tours to the general public, students, and vision-impaired visitors and their exhibitions provide opportunities for sculptors to develop their careers.

 

This year there are 30 works on display in and around Edith Wharton’s historic home and gardens. We spoke with three participating artists about their pieces, Setsuko Winchester, William Carlson, and David Teeple.

 

There will be an artist guided tour on October 15th at 1:30 p.m.

The Capital Region has experienced many recent water infrastructure failures.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Congressman Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock about his ongoing water tour.

From the California drought, to the Oroville Dam flood, to the drilling of the Dakota Access Pipeline - environmental and humanitarian issues are at the forefront of conversation as the new administration takes the helm.

Water problems in the Western United States are just the tip of the iceberg, and they can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and remove the lawyers the equation.

In Where The Water Goes: Life And Death Along The Colorado RiverNew Yorker writer David Owen takes a closer look at a vast man-made ecosystem around the Colorado River that is far more complex and interesting than the headlines let on. 

Our region has several communities grappling with contaminated water.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th district, wraps up his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

a water drinking fountain
WAMC

Elevated concentrations of lead are being found in school districts across New York. In the Capital Region, traces were recently discovered in Scotia, Bethlehem, Vorheesvillle and others following the latest mandatory testing. Last spring, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law requiring public school districts to test for lead by October 31st.

  Over the past decade a new and controversial energy extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has rocketed to the forefront of U.S. energy production. With fracking, millions of gallons of water, dangerous chemicals, and sand are injected under high pressure deep into the earth, fracturing hard rock to release oil and gas.

Wenonah Hauter, one of the nation’s leading public interest advocates, argues that the rush to fracking is dangerous to the environment and treacherous to human health. Frackopoly describes how the fracking industry began; the technologies that make it possible; and the destruction and poisoning of clean water sources and the release of harmful radiation from deep inside shale deposits, creating what the author calls “sacrifice zones” across the American landscape.

  Water scarcity is on everyone's mind. Long taken for granted, water availability has entered the realm of economics, politics, and people's food and lifestyle choices. But as anxiety mounts - even as a swath of California farmland has been left fallow and extremist groups worldwide exploit the desperation of people losing livelihoods to desertification - many are finding new routes to water security with key implications for food access, economic resilience, and climate change.

Water does not perish, nor require millions of years to form as do fossil fuels. However, water is always on the move. In Water in Plain Sight, Judith D. Schwartz presents a refreshing perspective on water that transcends zero-sum thinking.

drop of water
Pixabay/Public Domain

More than a month after Rockland County residents were notified that too much of a certain chemical was detected in the drinking water, the legislature’s Environmental Committee held a panel Wednesday on the topic.

USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

The day after results from water samples at Ulster County facilities showed elevated levels of lead, Kingston city officials released their most recent water testing results. The tests show the problem is not at the source.

Tim Graham

One day after results from a test of drinking water at Ulster County facilities showed elevated levels of lead, Kingston officials released their own results.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

The New York State Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation say tests are showing decontamination of the Hoosick Falls water system is successful.

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility on McCaffrey Street in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard / WAMC

An environmental law firm has filed a class-action suit against two companies connected with the water contamination in the Rensselaer County village of Hoosick Falls. Meanwhile, neighboring communities are discovering the presence of the same chemical.

tap water
William Warby, flickr

A Central New York Mayor and a Capital Region Congressman are advocating for a new federally funded tool to ensure communities across New York and the U.S. have access to clean drinking water.

  Dragons Alive celebrates life and wellness through the ancient sport of dragonboating. The Dragons Alive team is made up of multiple crews, including breast cancer survivors, friends and family, and community members who support and respect its mission.

Feed the Dragon, the second annual dragon festival to be held this Saturday, July 18 from 8-3 pm at Mohawk Valley Marine in Alplaus, NY.

This year’s event is going to support the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and help promote fitness and the sport of dragon boating in our region.

To find out more, we welcome: Louisa Matthew, professor at Union College, founding member of Dragons Alive and Festival coordinator; Robert Baker, manager of Farm Projects & Food Drives for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York; and Florence Lynds, a member of Dragons Alive and Dragon Boat Festival team recruiter.

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