Stephanie Sobek-Swant, executive director of the rare Charitable Research Reserve, gave a special Earth Week lecture at CIGI, as part of a week of public programming on energy choices, organized by the Waterloo Global Science Initiative.
Sobek-Swant is an internationally-trained biodiversity researcher with experience administering collaborative projects involving universities, municipalities and the community.
Zachary Roth, author-The Great Suppression, Voting Rights, Corporate Cash, and the Conservative Assault on Democracy/MSNBC, joins Thom. We on the left have become accustomed to thinking of the Republican war on democracy as something that just involves voter suppression. But as your book points out, it’s actually much bigger than that.
President Obama just authorized air strikes in Libya to combat ISIS, making it the fourth country that the United States is bombing in its unofficial, undeclared War on Terror – and the media barely reported it. The Resident breaks it down. Like The Resident on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheResident
The virulent Ames strain, which was used in the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, has received the most news coverage of any anthrax outbreak. The Ames strain contains two virulence plasmids, which separately encode for a three-protein toxin, called anthrax toxin, and a polyglutamic acid capsule. Nonetheless, the Vollum strain, developed but never used as a biological weapon during the Second World War, is much more dangerous. The Vollum (also incorrectly referred to as Vellum) strain was isolated in 1935 from a cow in Oxfordshire. This same strain was used during the Gruinard bioweapons trials. A variation of Vollum known as “Vollum 1B” was used during the 1960s in the US and UK bioweapon programs. Vollum 1B is widely believed to have been isolated from William A. Boyles, a 46-year-old scientist at the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories at Camp (later Fort) Detrick, Maryland, (precursor to USAMRIID), who died in 1951 after being accidentally infected with the Vollum strain. The Sterne strain, named after the Trieste-born immunologist Max Sterne, is an attenuated strain used as a vaccine, which contains only the anthrax toxin virulence plasmid and not the polyglutamic acid capsule expressing plasmid.
Anthrax spores can survive for very long periods of time in the environment after release. Chemical methods for cleaning anthrax-contaminated sites or materials may use oxidizing agents such as peroxides, ethylene oxide, Sandia Foam, chlorine dioxide (used in the Hart Senate Office Building), peracetic acid, ozone gas, hypochlorous acid, sodium persulfate, and liquid bleach products containing sodium hypochlorite. Nonoxidizing agents shown to be effective for anthrax decontamination include methyl bromide, formaldehyde, and metam sodium. These agents destroy bacterial spores. All of the aforementioned anthrax decontamination technologies have been demonstrated to be effective in laboratory tests conducted by the US EPA or others. A bleach solution for treating hard surfaces has been approved by the EPA.
Chlorine dioxide has emerged as the preferred biocide against anthrax-contaminated sites, having been employed in the treatment of numerous government buildings over the past decade. Its chief drawback is the need for in situ processes to have the reactant on demand.
To speed the process, trace amounts of a nontoxic catalyst composed of iron and tetroamido macrocyclic ligands are combined with sodium carbonate and bicarbonate and converted into a spray. The spray formula is applied to an infested area and is followed by another spray containing tert-butyl hydroperoxide.
Using the catalyst method, a complete destruction of all anthrax spores can be achieved in under 30 minutes. A standard catalyst-free spray destroys fewer than half the spores in the same amount of time.
Cleanups at a Senate office building, several contaminated postal facilities, and other US government and private office buildings showed decontamination to be possible, but it is time-consuming and costly. Clearing the Senate office building of anthrax spores cost $27 million, according to the Government Accountability Office. Cleaning the Brentwood postal facility in Washington cost $130 million and took 26 months. Since then, newer and less costly methods have been developed.
Cleanup of anthrax-contaminated areas on ranches and in the wild is much more problematic. Carcasses may be burned, though it often takes up to three days to burn a large carcass and this is not feasible in areas with little wood. Carcasses may also be buried, though the burying of large animals deeply enough to prevent resurfacing of spores requires much manpower and expensive tools. Carcasses have been soaked in formaldehyde to kill spores, though this has environmental contamination issues. Block burning of vegetation in large areas enclosing an anthrax outbreak has been tried; this, while environmentally destructive, causes healthy animals to move away from an area with carcasses in search of fresh grass. Some wildlife workers have experimented with covering fresh anthrax carcasses with shadecloth and heavy objects. This prevents some scavengers from opening the carcasses, thus allowing the putrefactive bacteria within the carcass to kill the vegetative B. anthracis cells and preventing sporulation. This method also has drawbacks, as scavengers such as hyenas are capable of infiltrating almost any exclosure.
The experimental site at Gruinard Island is said to have been decontaminated with a mixture of formaldehyde and seawater by the Ministry of Defence. It is not clear whether similar treatments had been applied to US test sites.
The first global pact to put our planet on a path toward a zero-carbon, resilient future was signed last December, when 196 countries adopted the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. Canada’s First Ministers are now building on the momentum of the Paris Agreement by developing a concrete plan to achieve Canada’s international commitments through a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change to be implemented early in 2017.
The Government of Canada has initiated national climate consultations to inform the working groups established to develop this framework. Climate Town Hall: Waterloo Region (August 18, Kitchener City Hall) is Waterloo region’s opportunity to join in this conversation. The Centre for International Governance Innovation is supporting these public consultations with this public education event featuring an expert panel presenting cutting-edge research and policy recommendations related to the four main themes of the federal climate strategy.
Join us for an engaging discussion about reducing emissions, putting a price on carbon, preparing for the impacts of climate change and innovative ideas for new technology and job creation, all within the context of supporting communities affected by climate change, including indigenous communities.
The following experts will be participating:
– Sarah Burch, CIGI Senior Fellow, Global Economy Program
– Heather Douglas, Waterloo Chair of Science and Society, BSIA
– Maria Panezi, CIGI Post-doctoral Fellow, ILRP Program
– Caterina Lindman, Citizens’ Climate Lobby
– Deborah McGregor, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, Osgoode Hall Law School
Moderator: Andrew S. Thompson, CIGI Senior Fellow, Global Security & Politics
A petition with over 200,000 signatures was delivered to the National Park Service Headquarters to oppose the proposal that would allow parks to fundraise from corporations and allow commercial advertising in such iconic places as Mount Rushmore or Yosemite. The move would also lift restrictions on naming rights. So is there a Koch National Park in our future? Joining RT America’s Manila Chan to discuss this and more is Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert Program.
A team of international researchers using special technology says it has found that Greenland Sharks can live as long as 500 years, making this type of shark the longest-lived vertebrate known on Earth. WSJ’s Monika Auger reports. Photo: Julius Nielsen
The Greenland shark can live for 400 years, making it the longest-living vertebrate known to science. Scientists tested the shark’s lifespan using radiocarbon dating, a science often used in archeology to determine fossil ages.
The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate has vowed to blow up more oil installations, if the government does not meet its demand for inclusion in negotiations with other militant groups. The group has claimed responsibility for the destruction of a delivery line from Isoko to the Eriemu Manifold.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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