Posted by: John Sutton | January 18, 2013

This blog is no longer current

See fivetownwatershed/

Posted by: John Sutton | August 2, 2010

July 2010

High Vista, July 2010

Posted by: John Sutton | July 22, 2010


The Post-Standard, Syracuse July 21, 2010

By Meghan Rubado

Mayor Visits Nation Leaders

Stephanie Miner on Tuesday became the first Syracuse mayor in at least a quarter century to meet with the Onondaga Nation leadership on its home turf.

Miner attended a two-hour meeting in the longhouse to discuss environmental issues, including Onondaga Lake, hydrofracking and sustainability with the Council of Chiefs, clan mothers and other members of the Nation, the mayor said.

They also discussed the recent plight of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team… “I told them I admired the stance they took, ” Miner said.

The meeting between the Onondaga leaders and Miner had been rescheduled twice since January after the Nation extended an invitation, she said. Miner brought with her Andrew Maxwell, city director of planning and sustainability.

“It was an overreaching discussion of how much we share on policy issues, and we agreed to be partners.” Miner said. “We’re both very concerned about the future of Onondaga Lake, the future of hydrofracking and the impact on the watershed.”

Jeanne Shenandoah, speaking for the Onondaga Nation, said the meeting was an opportunity to share greetings and discuss topics that affect both governments. City hall is located about seven miles from the Onondaga longhouse. Former Syracuse Mayor Lee Alexander, who served from 1970 to 1985, visited for a similar meeting at his request, Shenandoah said.

“It was a meeting of friendship,” Shenandoah said of Miner’s visit. “We talked about some of our situations here that need attention and the fact that we’re neighbors. It went very well.”

Posted by: John Sutton | July 17, 2010

Recent Talk You Might Be Interested In

Julia Butterfly’s recent talk at the Midwest Yoga Conference posted on her weblog June 21, 2010. See link below:

Julia Butterfly Hill’s Weblog

Posted by: John Sutton | July 7, 2010

July 6, 2010 Namgyal Ithaca

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no educating at all.”

Statement from the Tibetan Association of Ithaca, NY on occasion of HHDL’s 75th Birthday Celebration:

“When we rise in the morning and listen to the news or read the newspaper, we are confronted with the same sad stories of wars, violence and disasters. It is clear that even in modern times precious life is not safe. I cannot recall a single daily news program without a report of crime somewhere. There is so much bad news now a days, such an awareness of fear and tension, that any sensitive and compassionate being must question the “progress” we have made in our modern world.

Ironically, the most serious problems emanate from industrially advanced societies, where unprecedented literacy only seems to have fostered restlessness and discontent. There is no doubt about our collective progress in many areas – especially science and technology – but somehow our advance in knowledge is not sufficient. But basic human problems remain. We have not succeeded in bringing about peace or in reducing overall suffering.

This situation brings me to the conclusion that there may be something seriously wrong with the way we conduct our daily affairs, if not checked in time, could have disastrous consequences for the future of humanity. Science & technology have contributed immensely to the overall development of humankind, to our material comfort and well-being and lists go on. But we are in danger of losing human aspects of knowledge that contributes to the development of an honest and altruistic personality.

Science and technology cannot replace the age-old spiritual values that have been largely responsible for the true progress of the world civilization, as we know today. No one can deny the material benefits of modern life, but we are still faced with suffering, fear, and tension-perhaps more now than then before. So it is only sensible to strike a balance between the two and in order to bring about a great change, we need to revive and strengthen our inner values.

Morality, compassion, decency and wisdom are the building blocks of all civilizations. These qualities must be cultivated in childhood and sustained through systematic moral education in a supportive social environment so that a more humane world may emerge. We cannot wait for the next generations to make this change; we ourselves must attempt a renewal of basic human values. Hope lies in future generations, but not unless we institute major change on a worldwide scale in our educational systems now. We need a revolution in commitment to universal values.

I hope that you share my concern about the present worldwide moral crisis and that you will join me in calling on all humans who share this concern to contribute to making our societies more compassionate, just, and equitable. I say this not as a Buddhist or Tibetan but simply as a human being. I also do not speak as an expert on international politics but as a part of the Buddhist tradition, which like the traditions of other great world religions, is founded on the bedrock of concern for all beings.”

Namgyal Monastery, Ithaca, NY July 6, 2010

Posted by: John Sutton | June 12, 2010

Sandra Steingraber – June 12, 2010

Good afternoon, Ithaca.

My name is Sandra Steingraber. I’m a biologist up at Ithaca College. I study carcinogens—chemicals that cause cancer. My interest in this topic began in a hospital bed in 1979 when heard a doctor tell me that I had bladder cancer. I had just turned 20. Back at the university library, I found out that bladder cancer is almost always caused by chemicals in the environment. Especially chemical contaminants in air and water.

Like solvents.

Like benzene.

Like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, otherwise known as soot. Years later, I came back to my Illinois hometown as a Ph.D. biologist. I found out that I was just one data point in a cluster of cancers there. I found chemicals linked to bladder cancer in my hometown drinking water wells and in the landfills. So I wrote about all that in my book Living Downstream.

Living Downstream came out as a movie recently. It was shown here in Cinemapolis, and it was shown at a Washington DC film festival together with—guess which other film? Gasland. So I got to see Josh Fox’s amazing documentary way before the rest of you, and it blew me away. Gasland inspired me to start researching the carcinogens used in the gas drilling of shale by hydrofracking.

Ithaca, nothing I’ve learned in the last 30 years of researching carcinogens scares me more than fracking. So when I was asked last month to participate in Congressional briefing about the environmental contributions to cancer, I spoke about fracking. I spoke about it again at a meeting with White House staff.

We all need now to be speaking about fracking. Here’s why. The bedrock under our feet is made of shale. Geologists call it the ancient basement of New York. It’s an old sea floor. It’s like a big chalkboard under the ground and trapped inside this layer are tiny bubbles of methane—natural gas. Those bubbles represent the bodies of ancient sea creatures.

To get these gas bubbles out of the bedrock, you have to shatter it with explosives. You have to pump it full of chemical-laced water under high pressure. You need compressors running 24/7. You need to fill the rural roads of upstate New York with diesel trucks. Carcinogens are involved at every single stage of hydrofracking. They fill the air in the form of diesel exhaust. They are added to our precious fresh water to turn it into fracking fluid. And most frighteningly, they are released from the earth itself when the shale is shattered.

Benzene. Heavy metals. Radioactivity. They come back up with the gas.

There is no water treatment plant known to man that can turn that poisonous, radioactive fluid that comes up out of a fracked well—a million gallons of it with every well drilled—back into fresh, drinkable water.

The earth contains some pretty toxic stuff. As long as it’s held a mile below our feet inside layers of bedrock, it won’t hurt us. But when we turn that bedrock into rubble, and when we puncture holes through our drinking water aquifers over and over in drilling thousands of gas wells, we give those toxic substances—the radon, the methane, the heavy metals—a potential means to escape and find us up here on the earth’s surface.

We scientists don’t know what happens to the fractured shale and the toxic fracking fluid left underground. We’ve never done that experiment before in here in the Finger Lakes. But I’m not just a scientist. I’m also a mother and a resident of this beloved place. And I’m not willing to be part of the fracking experiment. Are you?

We’ve seen the results of the experiment called Deep Water Horizon. We don’t need to wait for the result of Deep Shale Horizon, do we? Because if there is a catastrophic blow-out beneath our feet here, there won’t be any way of plugging the leak. There won’t be any 24 hour spill cams in the shattered bedrock. There will only be lakes and streams and wells and air full of carcinogens and no way of fixing the problem. No way of fixing it. And because my job as a parent is to keep my children safe from harm, my job as a parent is to say NO to fracking—until and unless it can be demonstrated safe.

Some people say that’s unrealistic. That fracking is inevitable. Well, that’s what they said about abolishing slavery, too. And Ithaca played a heroic role in that struggle. And that’s what they said about women winning the right to vote. And we in upstate New York played a heroic role in that struggle, too.

Ithaca, this is our moment. This is the struggle of our time. This is our chance to be heroic. To make history. I love this place. I love my children. And what we love, we must protect. Join me in letting our leaders know that fracking our land with carcinogens is no solution to our energy problems. Join me in letting our children and grandchildren know—letting all the generations who come after us know— that we in Ithaca did not play the role of Good Germans when the frackers arrived.

Let it be said that we were the French resistance, that we were the ones who stood up and said fracking for methane is the bridge to nowhere. Women’s suffrage began in Seneca Falls in 1848. Let it be said that the shift to a green energy economy began here, in Ithaca, on June 12, 2010.

Sandra Steingraber

Posted by: John Sutton | January 5, 2010

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