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“If you’ve ever thought ‘Someone should do something about that litter problem’, remember, you’re someone.” Joel Goldes has visited the creek in his suburban Southern California community nearly every day. And for the past 10 years, he’s been picking up litter, trapping invasive crayfish, opening blocked channels, and testifying at local hearings – often the lone voice in support of the under-appreciated ecosystem near his home.
Twenty minutes outside of Visalia, amidst the seemingly endless rows of citrus trees, Yolanda Cuevas packs enchiladas with shredded chicken for her husband Benjamin, their adult daughters and two teenaged grandchildren in her modest single-story home. Their house is the first one off the main drag, one of 83 lining the two crumbling roads that comprise the tiny town of Tooleville. Yolanda must wash the tomatoes for the salsa first in the sink and then again with a splash of clean water from a 5-gallon jug. The process is arduous, and though she’s resigned to do it, she’s not happy about it. Along with Tooleville’s several hundred other residents, Yolanda’s family has survived on bi-weekly delivery of water to their homes for the past12 years. It’s an annoyance for the family, and it’s expensive for the State of California, which has been paying for the replacement water since the discovery of Chromium-6 (the same chemical featured in Erin Brokovich) in the water.
Decades of mismanagement, environmental changes and a burgeoning population have created tensions for the 40 million people living on the shores of the world's second largest freshwater lake, Lake Victoria. Desperate fishermen use illegal nets and overfish the East African lake's dwindling stocks, while many fishermen have had to turn to other forms of work - much of which has a detrimental impact on the health of the lake and its residents. Lake Victoria: An Ecosystem in Turmoil follows some of those trying to eek out a living on the lake: a Kenyan fisherman who illegally crosses the border into Uganda in the search for fish; a Ugandan who gave up fishing to become a palm oil farmer; and a Tanzanian gold miner using mercury with his bare hands to extract the precious mineral from unregulated mines on the lake's shores. But how well do they comprehend the pressure that they’re putting on the lake, and can the regional governments and communities take action before irreversible damage happens?
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Green Acre Park is an important stop along the creek’s journey and another example of how a community exists side by side with the natural resources that sustain it. For the residents that live near the park, and for the city of Gainesville as a whole, the protection and preservation of Hogtown Creek is vital to ensuring that future generations will have clean drinking water for years to come.
The San Onofre reactors are among dozens across the United States phasing out, but experts say they best represent the uncertain future of nuclear energy. “It’s a combination of failures, really,” said Gregory Jaczko, who chaired the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the top federal enforcer, between 2009 and 2012, of the situation at San Onofre.
On one side, proponents of nodule extraction claim it could save the world, while opponents warn it could unleash fresh ecological mayhem. For better or worse, these mineral spheres are going to play a critical role in determining our future – either by extricating us from our current ecological woes or by triggering even more calamitous outcomes.