Grousing about gardens and slurry

My goodness, greenies, there is so much to write about this week. Passenger rail has gotten a big boost, which is good news for anyone troubled by air pollution between here and D.C. (and all the places downwind). The Tap Project is on. And Design Week is starting up Friday.

Amidst all this activity, there are a couple of things I want to put forward. Number one, the Obamas are starting a veggie garden at the White House, as you probably already heard. I do not know if Michelle will be out there personally double-digging, but she certainly has the biceps to do so. The part of me that’s just relieved we have human beings in charge again is, of course, glad to see the First Family growing some food. Or having it grown by schoolkids, or whatever’s going on up there.

The part of me that’s always wishing for more, though, is kind of bummed that Michelle has not, apparently, made a big deal about all the important and timely food issues that her garden represents, whether she likes it or not. “Ms. Obama…showing no inclination to get involved in the politics of food, did not set forth any goals for the new garden aside from the hope it might help educate children about healthy eating,” says the Washington Post. Why the hell not? How rad would it be if she’d come right out and said “We’re growing our own, and all of you should do the same, because that tired nonsense you buy at the grocery store is no kind of dinner”?

Yeah, I know: the realities of Washington, Vilsack, big agribusiness, politics, not burning bridges, campaign money, etc. I know. But still.

On to another disturbance from the Sunday Post. People in West Virginia and other Appalachian states are worried about coal slurry, which is a waste byproduct. What the coal companies do with it is inject it into abandoned mines, where it is not regulated and barely even tracked. People who live near these sites say the slurry leaks into their drinking water, contaminates it with chemicals and heavy metals, and gives them a range of diseases. Predictably, the coal companies deny this, but have no real data to prove what they say.

The more I read about coal mining, the more disgusted I am by it. I’m going to go turn off a light right now. This is no way to power a decent society.

Weigh in with your own laments, folks! Good news welcome too.

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