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Documenting the Anti-Fracking Groundswell

Bullfrog Films, a U.S. distributor of independent and educational environmental documentaries, has just released a new film called Groundswell Rising: Protecting Our Children's Air and Water, which features the milestones of the anti- fracking movement.

The documentary gives voice to ordinary folks engaged in the struggle against Big Oil and Gas. We meet parents, scientists, doctors, farmers, and individuals across the political spectrum decrying the energy extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing orfracking, which puts profits over people's health, property values, and well-being. This growing grassroots movement is exposing dangers to clean air, water, and civil rights ... and is having great success in fighting the industry on a place-by-place basis, achieving bans, moratoriums, and referendums on fracking.

The film shows how homeowners near wells suffer from respiratory ailments and property devaluation. Reina Ripple, of Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, chronicles mounting ailments related to fracking. A former industry employee shows skin lesions and edema obtained while working with fracking waste.

More details and a trailer, plus pricing for educational institutions, can be found at Pricing for individuals and community group screenings can be found via links on the film's website at

Renewable Energy Breakthroughs

The year 2014 generated some exciting renewable energy breakthroughs. In November in Scotland, wind turbines had a banner month, generating over eight hundred thousand MWh of electricity, which accounts for the needs of one hundred and seven percent of Scottish households. Scotland, which is home to the U.K.'s largest wind farm, hopes to generate one hundred percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The U.K. as a whole also broke generation records in 2014. In August, wind accounted for seventeen percent of its national demand, setting a new record for its wind generation program.

In December, researchers from the Australian University of New South Wales achieved a record in solar efficiency, converting more than forty percent of the sunlight that hit the test solar panels into electricity. They achieved this by splitting four different cells, and by using concentrated solar photovoltaic technology. Solar powered cars are also being developed at the university. In June, a solar car designed by students that can travel nearly five hundred miles on a single charge broke a speed record for electric vehicles of eighty-seven mph. The students are now making it street-legal.

Advocating for the Local

The mission of Local Futures is "to protect and renew ecological and social well-being by promoting a systemic shift away from economic globalization towards localization." It began more than thirty years ago as The Ladakh Project. In 1986, founder and director Helena Norberg-Hodge won the Right Livelihood Award for ground breaking sustainability work in the Himalayan region of Ladakh. She is also known as the producer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness.

Over the years, the organization's focus has expanded to address more global concerns and, in 1991, its name was changed to the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC). In 2014, the shorter name Local Futures came into use. Its work now almost totally involves advocating for localization from an international perspective showing the benefits for the Third World as well as for the First World, and promoting the local, globally.

Its Advisory Board includes such luminaries as Wendell Berry, Frijof Capra, Vandana Shiva, David Suzuki, and Alice Waters.

The website houses a variety of articles about globalization, localization, food and farming, and rethinking development, as well as links to other sources of information. The organization hosts conferences too, with The Economics of Happiness conference coming up in Portland, Oregon from February 27 to March 1, 2015.

Help With Chemical Sensitivities

As I've written in this magazine in the past, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) is a medical condition characterized by debilitating chemical sensitivities. People who are chemically sensitive are made sick by exposures to chemicals found in many common products such as pesticides, perfumes, tobacco smoke, new carpets, air "fresheners," new paint and building materials, and many cleaning and laundry products. Most of these chemicals will make everyone sick at high levels, but exposures to even small amounts can cause symptoms for chemically sensitive people.

MCS prevents many people from working and finding safe housing. However, it has, in the past, not been treated seriously by the medical profession. Fortunately, an increasing number of organizations and individuals around the world have begun working on the problem and on providing information and assistance to those with the condition.

Among these helpful groups is the Chemical Sensitivity American non-profit foundation that raises public awareness about MCS. On its website is a wealth of information for the public and for patients, including two videos designed to help viewers understand this condition. -NL-
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Author:Priesnitz, Wendy
Publication:Natural Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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