Gwich'in Steering Committee

Protecting the Sacred Place Where Life Begins since 1988

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History of Wreckage

In the past 30 years, Exxon, British Petroleum, Conoco and other multinational oil corporations have turned over 1,000 square miles of Alaska’s North Slope into an industrialized oil field maze that includes:

  • 500 miles of roads and pipelines
  • More than 200 exploration and production gravel drilling pads
  • 4,800 exploratory and production oil and gas wells
  • Largest concentration of gas turbines in the world
  • 28 oil processing facilities, power plants, refineries, etc.
  • 36 gravel mines
  • 2 jet airports and numerous airstrips

Their record of environmental abuse ranges from the largest oil disaster in American history to the daily despoiling of Alaska’s land.

oiledduck The devastating 11-million-gallon Exxon Valdez oil spill, not just some 550 gallon oil tank, befouled 1,500 miles of shoreline along Prince William Sound, an area as vast as the distance from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Sixteen years later, much of the Sound’s wildlife still show little or no sign of recovering, including the region’s sea otters, harbor seals, orca whales, Pacific herring, marbled murrelets, harlequin ducks, pigeon guillemots and three species of cormorants.

The oil industry continues its record of wreckage. Consider that on the North Slope:

  • 95% of the area is already open to exploration or development by the oil industry;
  • 70,000 tons of nitrogen oxides pollute the air each year, more that twice the amount emitted in Washington, DC;
  • 500 spills of crude oil, other petroleum products and dozens of other toxic substances occur annually, adding up to 1.9 million gallons spills since 1996;

The National Academy of Sciences documented major negative impacts from oil development on wildlife, the land, and Native American cultures across extensive areas of the North Slope.

prudhoebay1 Their study, Cumulative Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alaska’s North Slope (2003), concluded oil development harmed wildlife and habitats in many ways:

  • Major cumulative impacts to caribou, grizzly and polar bears, waterfowl and shorebirds, and endangered bowhead whales;
  • The Porcupine Caribou Herd is the most vulnerable to human-caused and natural stresses of all the caribou herds in Alaska;
  • Natural recovery of tundra is very slow, “it is unlikely that most disturbed habitat on the North Slope will ever be restored.”

The National Academy of Sciences study documented harm to Alaska Native hunting, fishing and the land upon which they depend:

  • “The committee heard repeatedly from North Slope Inupiat residents that the imposition of a huge industrial complex on the Arctic landscape was offensive to the people and an affront to the spirit of the land.”
  • “The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA) fundamentally changed the relationship between North Slope Alaska Natives and the environment they had occupied for thousands of years. The effects of that change accumulate to the present.”
  • “North Slope residents also reported that traditional subsistence hunting areas have been reduced, the behavior and migratory patterns of key subsistence species have changed, and that there is increased incidence of cancer and diabetes and disruption of traditional social systems.”
  • “…There are subtle changes in species harvested by subsistence hunters, who have identified changes in the color, texture, and taste of the flesh and skin of several species.”
  • “Alaska Natives told the committee that anxiety over increasing offshore and onshore oil and gas activity is wide-spread in North Slope communities. Hunters worry about not being able to provide for their families or about the added risk and expense of doing so if game is more difficult to find… They worry about contamination of the food they consume and know that their health will suffer if they are unable to eat as their ancestors did”

prudhoeblacksmoke The National Academy of Sciences also reported health and social impacts from oil and gas development and few jobs for local Alaska Natives:

  • “In addition to stress contributing to adverse health effects, oil development has increased the smog and haze near some villages, which residents believe is causing an increase in asthma. The stress of integrating a new way of life with generations of traditional teachings has increased alcoholism, drug abuse, and child abuse. Higher consumption of non-subsistence food…has increased the incidence of diabetes.”
  • “That few who live in the North Slope Borough are directly employed by the oil and gas industry has been noted for almost two decades… and is supported by findings of both the NSB survey … and the Alaska Department of Labor.”
  • “In addition, Inupiat at Prudhoe Bay find they are a small minority in a primarily white workforce that can sometimes express hostility toward Alaska Natives. The jobs available to the Inupiat often are seen by them as menial or as token jobs.”

The National Academy of Sciences noted the major concerns of the Gwich’in regarding subsistence resources and their culture:

  • “The Gwich’in believe that oil and gas-related activities there [in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] would affect the reproductive potential and migration patterns of the Porcupine Caribou herd and as a result threaten their way of life. As with the Inupiaq concerns about offshore development, the beliefs are intense and widespread and themselves constitute a continuing effect that is exacerbated by the past and current political debate over development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge… The threats accumulate because there have been repeated attempts to develop the area and there is continuing pressure to do so.”

Arctic Refuge

caribouandcalfRenowned for its wildlife, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is inhabited by forty-five species of land and marine mammals. It was established in 1960 as a promise to the American people to preserve “wildlife, wilderness, and recreational values.” Vast and remote, this 19.5-million-acre refuge is the size of South Carolina. While 8.9 million acres are designated as wilderness, the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, the biological heart of the Refuge, does not yet have wilderness designation. Oil drilling has been proposed on the coastal plain.

The Refuge shares a common border with Ivvavik and Vuntut National Parks in Canada, which in combination constitutes one of the largest conservation areas in the world. North to south, the Refuge extends 200 miles—from the Arctic coast, across the tundra plain, over glacier-capped peaks of the Brooks Range, and into the spruce and birch forests of the Yukon basin. The Refuge preserves a continuum of Arctic and sub-Arctic ecozones.

It contains the greatest variety of plant and animal life of any conservation area in the circumpolar north. It is home to thirty-six species of land mammals; nine marine mammal species live along its coast; thirty-six fish species inhabit its rivers and lakes; and 180 species of birds converge here from six continents.

MAP of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Indigenous Cultures

gwichincamp2 The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has been the homeland to the Gwich’in Athabascan people of interior Alaska and the Inupiat people of the north coast. Both cultures have subsisted on this land for thousands of years. The Gwich’in have respected this land and its animals for millennia, caring for its clean air, clean water, and clean land.



sandpiper The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to thirty-six species of land mammals; nine marine mammal species live along its coast; thirty-six fish species inhabit its rivers and lakes; and 180 species of birds converge here from six continents.

The 100,000 to 110,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd migrates throughout the Refuge and northwestern Canada. The pregnant females come to the coastal plain to give birth in late May and early June. The annual migration of this herd is the reason the Refuge is sometimes called “America’s Serengeti.” The local Gwich’in people who have depended on the caribou for thousands of years call the caribou birthing place, the coastal plain, “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins).

All three species of North American bear (black, grizzly, and polar) range within its borders. The Refuge is the only national conservation area where polar bears regularly den, and it is the most consistently used polar bear land-denning area in Alaska. The pregnant bears dig their dens in November, then give birth to one or two tiny cubs in December or January. The mothers nurse and care for the young inside the den until March or early April at which point they emerge before heading for the sea ice.

The once-endangered muskox, an Ice-Age relic, live year-round on the Refuge coastal plain and give birth to their young from mid-April through mid-May, when the coastal plain is still fully covered in snow.

The Refuge contains North America’s northernmost Dall sheep population. A year-round resident, they have lived in the Refuge since the Pleistocene.

Millions of birds come to the Refuge each year. Their migrations take them to each of the fifty states, and they cross great oceans and follow distant coastlines to reach the lands and waters of six continents. About seventy species of birds nest on the narrow coastal plain.

Each autumn, the coastal plain of the Refuge supports up to 300,000 snow geese, which leave their nesting grounds in Canada and detour here to feed on cotton grass to build fat reserves and gain energy before heading south to their wintering grounds.


unnamedlake The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a place of wildness, where timeless ecological and evolutionary processes continue in their natural ebb and flow. The mystery of nameless valleys remains alive, where one can experience solitude, self-reliance, exploration, adventure, and challenge. The spirit of wilderness prevails here.

The majestic Brooks Range rises from the coastal plain here only ten to forty miles from the Beaufort Sea. The Refuge includes the four highest peaks and most of the glaciers in the Brooks Range. More than twenty rivers flow through the Refuge, and three are designated as wild: the Sheenjek, Ivishak, and Wind. It contains North America’s two largest and most northerly alpine lakes – Peters and Schrader.

Numerous prominent geological formations, including a range of permafrost and glacial features, are found here. It contains several warm springs, which support plant species unique to the area.

In this land of seasonal extremes, the summer sun remains above the horizon for months; in winter, the dark sky is enlivened by the multicolored aurora borealis.

Compiled with permission from Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, The Mountaineers Books and United States Fish and Wildlife Service reports.

Gwich’in Niintsyaa (Resolution)

childrendance_cropResolution to Prohibit Development in the Calving and Post-Calving Grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd

For thousands of years our ancestors, the Gwich’in Athabascan Indians of northeast Alaska and northwest Canada, have relied on caribou for subsistence, and continue today to subsist on the Porcupine Caribou Herd which is essential to meet the nutritional, cultural and spiritual needs of our people; and

The Gwich’in have the inherent right to continue our own way of life; and that this right is recognized and affirmed by civilized nations in the international covenants on human rights. Article 1 of both the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights read in part: “…In no case may a people be deprived of their own means of subsistence.”; and

The health and Productivity of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and their availability to Gwich’in communities, and the very future of our people are endangered by proposed oil and gas exploration and development in the calving and post-calving grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge-Coastal Plain; and

The entire Gwich’in Nation was called together by our chiefs in Arctic Village June 5-10 to carefully address this issue and to seek the advice of our elders; and

The Gwich’in people of every community from Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Beaver, Chalkyitsik, Birch Creek, Stevens Village, Circle, and Eagle Village in Alaska; from Old Crow, Fort McPherson, Arctic Red River, Aklavik, and Inuvik in Canada have reached consensus in our traditional way, and now speak with a single voice.

That the United States Congress and President recognize the rights of our Gwich’in people to continue to live our way of life by prohibiting development in the calving and post-calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou Herd;

That the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be made Wilderness to achieve this end. Passed unanimously this 10th day of June 1988 by the Chiefs and people of the Gwich’in Nation in Arctic Village, Alaska.

Gwich’in Culture

ravendanceThe Gwich’in are the northernmost Indian Nation living in fifteen small villages scattered across vast area extending from northeast Alaska in the U.S. to the northern Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada. There are about nine thousand Gwich’in people who currently make their home on or near the migratory route of the Porcupine River Caribou Herd in communities in Alaska, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. The word “Gwich’in” means “people of the land”, and it refers to a people who have lived in the Arctic since before the political boundaries that now transect the Gwich’in homelands were drawn on maps dividing Alaska and Canada. Oral tradition indicates that the Gwich’in have occupied this area since time immemorial, or, according to conventional belief, for as long as 20,000 years.

Map Showing Primary Habitat of the Porcupine Caribou Herd and Traditional Homeland of the Gwich’in.

The Gwich’in nation spans Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories.

gwichincamp Alaska: The Gwich’in in Alaska live in nine communities, Arctic Village, Beaver, Birch Creek, Canyon Village, Chalkyitsik, Circle, Eagle Village, Fort Yukon and Venetie. Their communities are organized under tribal governments with elected chiefs and councils. The Council of Athapaskan Tribal Governments is a consortium of the Gwich’in and two Koyukon tribal governments to address regional concerns as directed by the tribes.


Yukon: Vuntut Gwitchin is the name of people who live in the settlement of Old Crow, Yukon. The name in the Gwich’in language means “people of the lakes”. Old Crow is the northernmost Yukon community, located at the confluence of the Crow and Porcupine Rivers.


Northwest Territories: The Gwich’in communities Fort McPherson (Teetl’it Zheh), Tsiigehtchic, Aklavik and Inuvik in the Northwest Territories are located in the region of the Mackenzie Delta.

amycarrollFor thousands of years, Gwich’in have relied upon the Porcupine River Caribou Herd to meet their subsistence needs. Each spring they watch first the pregnant cows, and later the bulls and yearlings leave their country in their northern migration to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the caribou birthing place and nursing grounds. The Gwich’in are caribou people. The birthplace of the Porcupine River Caribou Herd is considered Sacred. The Gwich’in call it “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins). The Porcupine herd is named after its spring and fall crossings of the Porcupine River, during its annual migration. The Porcupine Caribou herd consists of approximately 129,000 animals. Each spring they migrate from their winter range in the boreal forests of the Chandalar, Porcupine and Peel Rivers, north to their spring calving and nursery grounds on the Arctic coast plain of northeastern Alaska and Yukon. Today, as in the days of their ancestors, the caribou is still vital for food, clothing, tools, and are a source of respect and spiritual guidance for the Gwich’in.

Environmentally-Conscious Plumbing – What You Need to Know

Rarely do we ever hear of eco-friendly plumbing. In fact, there are few occasions where home plumbing is discussed on the same statement with the environment.

Plumbing, however, should be an environmentally-conscious factor. Considering the fact that plumbing relies heavily on nature, then it is imperative that the environment be considered by the society, including homeowners and their plumbers.

Local Tradition

Whether in Colorado or Alaska, the natural environment does determine the serenity and charm of the residence. Thus, it’s imperative to have the best hands handling your plumbing. Professional craftsmanship isn’t always guaranteed. This issue is made worse when you require emergency plumbing.
With charming residence comes the need for preservation. Professional plumbing can also come with a sense of preservation. Professional plumbing companies come with a wealth of experience, especially about that local area. This wealth of experience not only guarantees the best job, but also access to useful information and tips that can assist you to maintain your residence without needing frequent repairs to the plumbing system. You also will know best how to preserve water through responsible water use at home.


Whether for the general maintenance or emergency plumbing, consistently good results are not an option. Bad plumbing is a health risk as well as a contributor to excessively high water bills. What’s more, if your county experiences water restrictions on usage, you can end up in trouble if your consumption rate is too high for domestic use.

So, where does consistency come in?

Consistently good results can help you predict the results even before you experience the service. With experience comes consistency. Thus, with years of experience, there is undeniable proof that the service is superior. With a track record of consistently delivering excellent results, you don’t have to worry about after-sale services or the expected life of your current plumbing.

If your plumber consistently delivers high-quality services, then you can bet that in the event of an emergency, your home will be handled as per your expectations.


Eco-friendly plumbing need not be an expensive affair. Neither is it restricted to country-side homes or large corporations. For very affordable rates, you can also play your role to the environment, whether for an overhaul or during an emergency. By choosing a plumbing company that has been consistently reliable over the years, you save yourself tonnes of cash by avoiding having extra repeat plumbing jobs.

While it initially seems expensive, professional plumbing services are affordable in the long run. Having plumbing jobs that last for years requiring minimal servicing are cheaper than the regular handiwork that seems cheap at the time but requires multiple servicing after the initial plumbing works. It’s worse when you need an emergency plumber, and they confirm that the problem extends beyond a leaking faucet – that is the true definition of expensive!
Therefore, for emergency plumber Denver, Alaska or anywhere in between, your plumber should be consistently reliable, environmentally conscious and cost-effective. This is the only means you can guarantee the emergency doesn’t blow up into a mega plumbing issue.

How Trees Save Us from Carbon Emissions

If the world can cut carbon emissions to significantly low levels, no one would have to worry about using trees to reduce carbon footprint. No matter the campaigns by governments and NGOs, there is still a high number of factories releasing carbon into the atmosphere. This is not about to end in the next decade.

To reduce carbon footprint, trees can be planted in large numbers. While this does not offer a permanent solution, at least it purifies the air for life. Learn more about trees and carbon.

Trees Use Up Carbon

Trees need carbon dioxide for survival just the same way we need food. They take in carbon dioxide and combine it with water during photosynthesis to manufacturer food. By doing so, they take in a lot of carbon from the atmosphere and release oxygen for animals to breathe in.

Living things are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen in different proportions. Due to their large trunks and deep roots, plants need a lot of carbon making up part of their bodies. By planting a tree, you are purifying the air and saving the environment.

A single mature tree can consume more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Besides, it releases enough oxygen to benefit human beings and animals.

Reduce Energy and Water Use

If you reduce the use of energy in industries and at home, you reduce the process of energy production, and you facilitate a habitable environment. Mature trees are able to reduce runoff in urban settings. Instead of water ending up in storm drains that will use extra energy to filter and pump out water, trees absorb up to 1000 gallons of runoff water from rainfall.

Instead of air conditioners, trees provide enough shade saving you a lot of energy. Again, you do not have to spend a lot on heating as trees will act as windbreaks around your house making hot days and cold nights bearable.

Trees are able to absorb ground-level ozone and play a part in preserving the atmospheric ozone layer; keeping us from the grueling heat of the sun. While this may not reduce the carbon footprint much, it keeps our environment safe by keeping our snow caps and our climate intact.

Look for the Best Trees

Trees are different, and some take in more carbon than others. Scientists are studying carbon sequestration of different trees for advice on which are the best to plant. Eucalyptus and Loblolly pine are considered as good options for carbon footprint reduction.

You need to look for large trees, since they take in a high amount of carbon. As long as a tree gets enough water, it should require very little maintenance. You also need to look for trees that are adapted to survive in the climatic conditions and soil in your area.

Start Planting Trees Today

There are lots of tree types in Austin, and you only need to choose the best ones. The most effective way of decreasing carbon footprint is by stopping the over-exploitation of natural resources and reducing energy usage. Trees play an important role in achieving this so go on and plant a tree today.

Can You Save the Environment Through Art?

Art is an expression of thoughts, emotions, and much more. It can excite, comfort, terrify, and give hope, among other things. However, its ability to inspire imagination, awareness, introspection, and to challenge is perhaps the main thing that gives it considerable power to foster environmental conservation. Great artists can also become public figures that people listen to. With art, you can not only entertain, but you can also educate, castigate, or pass a message that plays a part in changing the world.

If you are an artist, you can focus on inspiring people to take care of the environment through their simple day to day actions. This can happen when you create art that accomplishes that action and places it online for their consumption. See how to do that below.

Scan Your Art for Online Use

After creating your art, you need to upload it online for your fans to see. To do this, some artists take photos of the artwork and upload them while a majority of them scan the artwork. Scanning is preferred thanks to the quality of the scanned photo as the less editing involved seeing that scanned art has no background.
If you prefer scanning art pieces, you will need to choose a good scanner for that. A good scanner is one that does not distort the color quality of the original art and does not produce unwanted effects. With so many scanners on the market, you need to do online comparisons to choose the best.

If the art piece needs a little editing after scanning, ensure you do so for enhanced quality. This is only the first step. Next, embrace blogging.

Create a Blog

A blog gives you a platform where your fans can meet and look at your artwork and converse. Your art blog should be simple and easy to navigate. It should have all the information about a piece of art, and it should inspire people to take action especially towards saving the environment.

If you are getting started, create a free blog and then upgrade later when you can afford to buy hosting and domain. You have to ensure that you create art pieces that communicate to your audience about the environment. This way, you do not use a lot of words to explain your work.

When planning to monetize other forms of artwork, besides the environmental related pieces, you can do so on the same blog by creating different pages.

Be Active on Social Media

Social media is one of the best platforms for artists to reach a new audience and market their art. By being active on social media, you are able to reach out to more than 3 billion people. Your social media accounts should help you grow your blog and your career as well as educate, castigate, or mobilize people to save the environment.

Besides social media, you can have a YouTube account and join other useful platforms. This way, you can reach out to a larger crowd.

Make Environmental Related Art Today

By making art related to saving the environment, you are playing your part, however small, in saving the world. Your art will be consumed by the high number of people who have embraced the green movement, and you will never lack an audience. With good art and good marketing, this is a worthy cause, and you should start today.

How washers impact the environment

Washing machines have impacted human life in major ways. These appliances provide a number of benefits such as saving time and reducing the effort required to have clean garments and linen. The washer-dryer combo appliances also cut drying time. These appliances are not only useful within the home setting; they are also a source of livelihood for individuals who use them for commercial purposes. Despite the benefits, there are concerns regarding the manufacture and use of washing machines.


Same as hand washing, washing machines require water to clean laundry items. They are the second biggest consumers of water in the home after toilets. Some types of washers use up a lot of water, which is a problem in the face of scarcity of water. By using up quite a large amount of water, washers don’t just affect the monthly bill. Their impacts spread over to the environment.


Energy, in the form of electricity or gas, is required to manufacture and operate home appliances including washing machines. The environmental impact of these appliances goes back right to the sourcing of the key raw materials. For instance, Petrochemicals, used production of appliances, are largely products of oil and/or natural gas. Petrochemical production uses immense amounts of energy to ensure the right production environment is achieved. Oil, gas, and other resources required for creating petrochemicals are extracted and developed through processes that can affect the environment, wildlife, and the communities living in the affected areas such as the Gwich’in.
Other environmental problems have also been linked to washers and driers include contributing to our carbon footprint especially during the drying phase. Chemical pollution resulting from the detergent and softeners we use when a machine or hand washing, is also a major concern. Every individual can help address these problems.

How you can help

To help minimize these negative impacts on the environment, there are little steps a home a washing appliance user can take.

1. Use efficient appliances

As you shop for that washing machine to perfectly fit your lifestyle and help you breeze through your laundry chore, look at the energy consumption rating of the machines and research about the different types’ water consumption rate. You should select a machine that doesn’t use too much energy or water in its operation as well as one that whose capacity is bigger; allowing for a larger load per run. With an efficient machine, you minimize water usage and lower energy consumption since they can handle larger loads at a time. Washer types such as front load and the other HE machines are ideal for resource preservation. Read reviews and recommendations to know types and features available and carefully weigh the associated benefits and disadvantages of each.

2. Line dry

As much as possible, hang your laundry out to dry instead of throwing them in the dryer each time you wash. Using washers that help cut down on drying times also contributes to preserving the environment.

3. Go easy on the chemicals

As mentioned above chemicals in laundry soaps, bleaches and softeners find their way into water supplies affecting humans, animals and the environment. You can play your part by minimizing the detergents and fabric softeners you use in your washing.

4. Wash on cold

Unless you want to disinfect your laundry or the washing instructions on the garment expressly requires you to use warm water, wash using cold water.

The Forced Assimilation of Native Americans

Native American Assimilation

One of the more shocking and lesser known parts of the Europeans colonization of the United States is the demolition of various Native American social orders and societies. With whites feeling that Native Americans were on “their” property, the United States attempted to drive them to acclimatize to white individuals in the United States through a forced assimilation of Native Americans. Local Americans were constrained into winding up noticeably new natives in the United States. The repercussions of this enormous demolition of the American Indians is still felt today in some ways.

Whites going to the United States from Europe at first attempted to trade off with Indians. This can be seen in such goes about as the Fort Laramie arrangement which set up tribal limits and government assurance as a byproduct of whites having the capacity to cross tribal domain. Before long, with the whites pushing toward the West notwithstanding, guarantees were broken and the US government attempted to legitimize this observation over the Native Americans.

As Helen Hunt Jackson composes, “…and the United States Government breaks guarantees now as deftly as the, and with an additional resourcefulness from long practice…” Before long, wars broke out, compelling the indigenous Indians and the Europeans pilgrims into a battle for North America.

After around ten years of battling, the US and the Native Americans end the wars with numerous Native Americans being assigned land by the United States. This is not really reasonable for the Indians. As Chief Joseph said in 1879, “You should anticipate that the streams will run in reverse as that any man who was conceived free ought to be satisfied penned up and denied freedom to go where he satisfies.” Even all the more shocking was the manner by which, amid and after equipped clash, whites in the United States attempted to incorporate the Native Americans into white society; crushing American Indian

Demolitions and Excavating Impact in the Surrounding Ecosystems

Demolition on a house

There many ways you can carry out exavation and demolitions on any site. The equipment and tools used vary and so is the impact on the surrounding ecosystems. Generally, ecosystems are complex and sensitive, a small alteration to its components will lead to vast impacts. Below are the common demolitions and excavating impact in the surrounding ecosystems.

Potential for Air Pollution

These two activities produce dust and debris that are carried freely in air. In the past, this dust has been considered a nuisance. In the recent past, studies have proved that there are many health hazards associated with this hazardous dust. Diseases such as silicosis, asthma, and histoplasmosis among others have their source traced to demolition and exaction dust.  According to experienced demolition company Heneghan Wrecking & Excavating, these concerns can be mitigated by following proper procedure, as well as workers donning the proper masks and equipment.

It’s important to note that this dust directly impact on the way vegetation and other plants grow. In fact in some case, it causes complete extinction of plant species. Other animals in the surrounding may experience breathing problems among other effects and this may force them to try adapt or migrate completely from the area. All these greatly affect the ecosystem.

Also, it’s this dust that results in the formation of acid rain that corrodes roofs among other structure. The economic and health effects associated with this aspect are vast.

Concerns for Water Contamination

There is a common saying that water is life. This is true. To understand how serious the demolitions and excavating impact in the surrounding ecosystems is, try to understand its effects on water. With the two activities, both surface and ground water are exposed to pollution. Moreover, the water quality received from treatment is also reduced. All these, means that no plant, animal or human is receiving water in its pure form. This will not only implant on their growth but also their productivity. With water contamination all over, the aquatic species are at a higher risk of extinction and unnecessary disturbances.

Stability of Other Structures

ExcavationExcavation exposes pipelines, electric cables and when heavy machinery are used, the stability of structures nearby is reduced. During demolition, some of the debris may collect on the walls of the structures around. This weakens them. This not only has an economic significance but possess as a serious security problem to the habitats of the affected building.

Excavation produces pits that can be dangerous to people and animals in the surrounding. The two activities produces large debris that could be life threatening if they accidentally fall.

Effects on Surrounding Soil

First, excavations loosens the soil and exposes it to multiple forms of erosion. Also, fertile top soil is usually covered during demolition and excavation. Moreover, the debris resulting from these activities could be piled in one area and this could affect transport among other activities. Also, the habitat where these piles are situated is usually completely destroyed in the process. These forms of soil pollution negatively impact the surrounding ecosystem.

Basically, what these two activities do is to cause so much simplification to the ecosystem. It’s this that results in so much instability and extinction of main players in the ecosystem. The long term effects are global warming, depletion of natural resources and an unhealthy society.

Undesirable Chemicals in Drinking Water – What You Need to Know

Safe Drinking Water

When it comes to drinking water, there are very few of us who would hesitate when grabbing a glass of water at a restaurant or in a friend’s home when we know the water has come from the tap.  Unless we know for certain that the water in an area has been contaminated, we often assume that the water has been filtered in some capacity. The Utah based ecologist James P McMahon has some excellent information on his website about the dangers of drinking unfiltered water. He sells a water filter which is custom built, called the Urban Defender. James believes this is the best whole house water filter available today. If you would like to know more about the Urban Defender please see

So what kind of dangers could be hiding in water that hasn’t been filtered?  Are there chemicals that could make their way into our water that would make us sick from drinking it? There are a few undesirable chemicals that can be found in unfiltered water, such as:

  • Pesticides – Areas that are surrounded by farms, or get their water from natural means—lakes, wells, aquafers—run the risk of having their water contaminated by pesticides used on crops, or from lawn run-off. Pesticides in water can lead to damage to organs, and hormone imbalances.  Continued exposure over a long period of time can lead to serious illnesses, such as cancer.
  • Chlorine – This is a scent most of us can recognize fairly quickly, because it’s used to keep pools clean. Chlorine has been hailed as a miracle for stopping the spread of diseases through dirty water, and while it is extremely efficient in killing bacteria, drinking it in water over long periods of time is not good for one’s health.  In recent years, the focus has come off of removing harmful pathogens from drinking water and instead the focus has shifted to the fact that long term chlorine exposure is known to cause cancer.
  • Lead – Lead can make its way into water a variety of ways, such as from rusty pipes, or from improper filtration systems. Lead poisoning in adults can be mild, or barely noticeable.  However, the real danger comes when children or pregnant women ingest water contaminated with lead.  Babies and young children are very easily affected by lead, which can lead to cognitive delays, and permanent brain damage.  If there’s any worry about water being contaminated with lead, cease drinking and bathing with it immediately.
  • Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) – Lye is added in order to control the pH of water that is more acidic than it should be. The lye brings the pH back up to 7, which is what regular tap water should be.  However, drinking large qualities of lye in water, or drinking this mix for a long time can have serious effects on your health.  This is especially true because the usual reason there is a need to add lye to drinking water is because the use of chlorine has caused the water to become too acidic, which can slowly eat away at your pipes over the years.

One or more of these harmful chemicals can be found in any water you’re drinking in your home.  It’s important to make sure that you filter water you have access to with either a built in filter, or with a simple filter you can refill and leave in the fridge for drinking.  Being proactive is the best way to protect yourself and your family from unknowingly drinking something harmful.

Technologies to Clean Oil Wreckage Also Have Household Applications

The famous deep water horizon oil spill, as well as numerous other oil spills that we’ve documented, have made companies be interested in finding the best technologies to clean oil wreckage. While some of these are “space age” technologies, some are also relatively basic and can also be applied to household applications like carpet cleaning, laundry and other cleaning tasks. The list below will provide you with the insight on latest methods being used.

Use of Chemical Dispersants

This is a method that is used in deep sea. A chemical is sprayed on the water to break the oil into very tiny droplets that can easily mix with the water column. These droplets can now be eaten by microbes that further break them into less harmful compounds.  If used in the house, the chemical can be sprayed on the affected area and then use water to clean out any droplets or dirt created by this mixture, a common technique practiced by many large scale cleaning companies like Red River Carpet Cleaning. The water can be poured outside since it now less harmful.

• Use of MIT Magnets Technique

The "MIT Magnet Technique" has been used to extract oil from bodies of water.
The “MIT Magnet Technique” has been used to extract oil from bodies of water.

This is where good water-repellent ferrous nanoparticles are mixed in the oil plume and then a magnet is used to get the oil completely out of the water. The good part is that this process will allow a possible reuse of this oil.   This is a bit too advanced for residential applications, but has some uses in industrial applications on a non-disaster scale.

• Use of Super Absorbent Polymer Substance or Material 

This unique material is called PETROGEL. When in oil, it is able to soak up to forty times its original weight. This is possible because it has the ability to transform any absorbed oil into a very soft and solid oil containing gel. It is estimated that a pound of this special material can recover or absorb five gallons of crude oil. This soaked material could be taken to an oil refinery so that the absorbed oil could be recovered.

If you have oil spilled in your water storage tank, then this is the best material to clean up that mess.

• Use of the Lotus Leaf Inspired Oil Trapping Mesh

This is a stainless steel mesh that is able to allow water to easily go through but completely stops oil. The mesh was designed such that when a mixture is poured onto it, then oil is completely repelled. Larger nets could be useful for sea cleanup and the oil be reused.

In the house, boil and pour hot water on the affected area so it rips off the oil. Take this mixture of hot water and oil and pour it on this mesh to separate the water and the oil.

• Use of Aerogel

The translucent properties of Aerogel have led it to be named "Liquid Smoke".
The translucent properties of Aerogel have led it to be named “Frozen Smoke”.

This is also called NASA’s frozen smoke. Cleaning of oil wrecks is done through the creation of an Aerogel sponge. The chemistry of this sponge could be altered or changed so it could absorb either water or oil. It has a very low density allowing it to absorb so much oil as compared to all the other materials used. It works as a kitchen sponge and could be placed at a strategic point it absorbs the oil way before it reaches the coastline or the shore.


It’s now a fact that technologies to clean oil wreckage also have household applications like window, floor and carpet cleaning. The points listed above are just a few examples that are commonly used. All you have to do is to choose one that best meets your needs and you can afford.

Indigenous Trees throughout the US

For those that hold the native land of the Americas to be sacred, the planting of a tree is a satisfying, even spiritual act. It will not only contribute to the environment, it will offer you relaxation as well. Choosing the trees native to the region will be a rewarding job as you will not have to take much care of your trees as they will grow naturally. If they find the climates favorable and can grow with the minimal attention.  The benefits of the native trees are that they can grow without much care and can survive thousands of years even with the extreme climate conditions. The native trees are able to adjust to the changing environments. They also learn to cope with the pests and insects. If you are looking native trees in USA, then consider the followings.

Indigenous Trees in the US by Region

In state of the Alabama, you will get Longleaf pine and in Alaska, Sitka spruces are the natives.  In Arizona, Blue Palo Verde is the native and in Arkansas, Loblolly Pine is the local tree that can be grown without much attention. in American Samoa, pandanus and the coast redwood are the indigenous trees and in California, you will find giant sequoia as the native. In Colorado, Colorado Blue is the native and in district of the Columbia scarlet oak is known as the indigenous trees. in Delaware, American Holly and in Florida Sabal Palm are the native trees.

In Georgia, Southern live oak is the native and in Hawaii Candlenut tree is the local tree. In Indiana, tulip tree, in Iowa Bur oak, in Kansas eastern cottonwood, in Maine eastern white pine.  In New England States like Massachusetts and Rhode Island you will find flowering dogwood (special thanks to this tree service company in Rhode Island which gave us some special insighnts into this).  In Michigan white pine are the natives. Besides, in Montana, Ponderosa pine, in Nevada great basin bristlecone pine, in New Jersey northern red oak, in New Mexico penon pine, and in New York, sugar maple trees are indigenous.

In North California, you will find pine trees as the natives. in North Dakota American Elm is the local tree and in Oregon, Douglas –fir is known as the local trees. in south California Sabal palm, and in South Dakota Black hills spruce is the native trees. In Texas pecan, in Utah quaking aspen, in Vermont sugar maple, in Virginia flowering dogwood, in Washington western hemlock, and in West Virginia and Wisconsin sugar maple are indigenous trees. in Wyoming, plains cottonwood is the native tree.


See the following map provided by which shows the various “zones” throughout the US. These zones affect the types of plants/trees that are able to thrive in those areas:


These are some of the native trees in states of the US. All these trees are friendly to their native environment and can be grown naturally without much effort. You just need to know when and how to plant it. You should have the proper idea about the planting season to make sure that it will be grown on its own. You will have to follow some basics to ensure that these trees are getting enough water and foods.

Other Resources:

“Types of Trees on Long Island” by The Long Island Tree Service.

Long Island Tree Works