Napa Valley Wines Getting Polluted?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Napa County, California, have recently pledged to appropriate $3.3 million in funding to improve water quality and the natural wildlife habitat of the Napa River watershed.

This recent announcement can be found in the EPA’s newsroom at yosemite.epa.gov.

This two part restoration effort covers 15 miles of the Napa River. Also, approximately 135 acres of farmland will be converted back to wildlife habitat. More than 40 landowners have agreed to contribute to help make this happen.

Although this project will benefit many species of wildlife, salmon is definitely a major focal point here. Local salmon populations have been declining for decades in the Napa River. Stream erosion and higher concentrations of fine sediment are two of the primary culprits for the dwindling salmon numbers. The river once supported between six thousand to eight thousand Steelhead salmon. Now the adult salmon population measures in just the hundreds. The grant money will help stop erosion and improve spawning gravel to help spur a recovery in salmon population numbers.

There is also strong economic incentive for this project. The Napa Valley is perhaps one of the most well known wine producing locations in the world. Local winemakers have been not surprisingly very cooperative with the restoration efforts. More than 20 acres have been restored to help protect the Napa River. This can be seen as a common sense move on behalf of the vintners as they are taking a positive step in helping to protect their own stake in a $61 billion per year industry.

The river has become increasingly narrow which has led to a high erosion factor. A decrease in water has created banks as high as 30 feet. This has created a situation where these banks can collapse much more easily. Work is being done to mitigate this danger as well.

Another important goal of this project is to minimize potential pollution sources affecting the Napa River. Polluted runoff will be monitored as well as an implementation of heightened pollution standards.

This project is a truly shining example of how environmentalism and economic stability go hand in hand. It is very refreshing to see businesses and agencies like the EPA working together on a common goal.

It really is quite simple. Any business activity that is not good for the environment is also not good for business. There is no long term business model that does not rely on environmental resources. So it is easy to conclude that taking care of the environment easily translates into a long term, sustainable business.

The moral of this story is that you can make money by making a better world.

Hopefully examples like this news story will start to spread to other parts of the country and the world.

Better Water = Better Beer!

This post comes by way of The Huffington Post and describes one of the very many ways clean water is important.

As any beer enthusiast knows, you need good water to make good beer.

The higher the water quality, the better the beer!

Those who work at New Belgium Brewing, are also well aware of this fact. This company produces the very popular Fat Tire Amber Ale as well as 15 other quality brews. Jenn Vervier, their Director of Strategic Development and Sustainability, outlines the importance of clean water not just for basic health needs but also for sustainability-minded businesses like New Belgium Brewing.

The article primarily mentions the importance of the Clean Water Act, which is celebrating its 40th year anniversary. The brewery is specifically concerned about some smaller waterways that are currently not protected by the Act. These mountainous streams contribute to the rivers whose water is used by the brewery to make its beer. Although the main rivers are protected under the CWA, they are still at the mercy of the smaller streams that feed into them.

Environmentally aware businesses like New Belgium are counting on the Trump Administration to help strengthen the power and reach of the CWA, which was weakened by the previous administration. The good news is that the President seems to be a strong proponent of the work being done by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The people have spoken as the EPA received more than 200,000 comments from people who are in support of stronger water pollution restrictions and a healthier Clean Water Act. This is obviously a topic that should receive full support from everyone. After all, we all need clean water. It doesn’t get more basic than this.

This story is not surprising as Colorado is a very forward thinking and environmentally conscious part of the country. Hopefully this awareness spreads throughout the rest of the country. Businesses should eventually become aware of what New Belgium has; that clean water equals good business. Any of the costs associated with the EPA and its Clean Water Act will eventually be recouped through a much more sustainable and long lasting business.

One day we might not need agencies like the EPA. We should eventually get to a point where pollution would be unthinkable. We would finally have a full understanding of the idea that we have only one environment that we all live in. It’s all connected, so we must do all we can to protect it.

Oil Refineries, Your Water and the Environment

Commerce City Colorado, just north of Denver, is still being exposed to water pollution from an oil refinery leak that began almost a year ago.

The denverpost has been following this story since November of last year. The primary pollutant in this case is Benzene, a well known carcinogen. Apparently, efforts over the past few months have largely failed at both removing significant amount of this toxin and preventing any more from entering the environment.


Although almost 700,000 gallons of “material” have been removed over the past few months, recent measurements show that there are levels of benzene that are more than 400 parts per billion in affected bodies of water. Government mandated “safe” levels of benzene in drinking water must not pass 5 parts per billion. This is obviously major cause for concern when you realize that nearby waterways are being exposed to levels of benzene that are more than 100 times the limit of what is considered “safe”.

It turns out that this story is nothing new for this part of Colorado. This refinery site dates back to the 1930′s. State health officials have known about pollution incidents in the area for more than a decade now, making this the most enduring case of industrial pollution in Colorado.

The refinery company in question here, Suncor, has attempted to mitigate the problem to some degree. Last year they managed to pump out 209 million gallons of contaminated groundwater. This water was then treated and released into Sand Creek. Obviously, this is the least that they should do since they are the reason for this toxic mess to begin with.

Not surprisingly, Suncor has not received any fines even though the pollution they have caused due to their business practices has contributed to benzene levels that have been tested to be more than a 1,000 times the legal limit. Sadly, the little that has been done to repair the environmental damage here only occurred when the EPA finally stepped in.

When will ethics and environmentalism finally trump the power and influence of the almighty dollar? Hopefully sometime soon. We are running our of rivers and waterways to pollute.

Fast Food Refuses to Give Water to Children?

I know it sounds too surreal to be true! It is very true though. I experienced it first hand in 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature (37c). Taco Bell refused to serve or sell water during a heat wave by a school to myself and dehydrated high school students.

If you contact Taco Bell they will tell you that they have always given out water. This is sadly VERY untrue. They (the location of topic) were not distributing water in ANY form for the month of September. If you did not drink soda you were out of luck. I have heard the Manager of the store say contrary as well. I do not know why they are claiming this.

During this past month of September 2017 in a full blown heat wave here in the Austin area at least one Taco Bell has refused to give and or sell water to children right by a school.

Every day they get out of school, spend their money at the Taco Bell while they wait to be picked up. Taco Bell will only SELL them caffeine infested, fattening soda that will not help them with their dehydration one bit. And if the children have no money they start to beg for money to get soda.

This is not a matter of Taco Bell charging for the cup. Taco Bell is REFUSING to sell or give any water to those poor children. If your child goes to North Hollywood High and you would like to help in this cause please do some or all of the following…

It is not illegal to refuse to serve water. It is unbelievable that we might actually have to pass a law because of Taco Bell to make them serve water in a state that lays claim to being a healthy state. We have a call in with a State Assemblyman who is currently double checking the legalities of this issue so that we can push it forward.

About Our Protest…

On Monday Oct 13th between 2pm and 6pm we had scheduled picketing in front of the Taco Bell on Magnolia and Colfax.

Although Taco Bell has agreed already resolved this issue we are not entirely canceling this. Taco Bell has told me they will hand out coupons to try and compensate their upset customers and bring this to an end (Not their words).

Protesting will be done in a 100% peaceful manor. All protesting must be done on the sidewalk off Taco Bell property. 100% access to the restaurant must be allowed to the store. Entrances will not be blocked. Bring your own signs!!

Finding the Best Water Bottle

I have grown up playing many sports and I have always used water bottles. I have travelled all over the world, lived in many countries, done extensive day trips and always used water bottles.

I’ve used good water bottles and seriously bad ones too. I have had favourites and then had favourites overtaken my favourites. At the end of the day, water is the best drink on earth and a great water bottle is essential, especially when travelling.

Some might think I am crazy, possibly a little obsessed about water bottles. But, hey, that’s just me. We are all different and some more “different” than others.

So let’s get back to basics and dive into the history of water, the bottling of it and the introduction of water bottles into modern day society.

Why Water Bottles?

Most of the portable water bottles you see today have not been around for long. Although, bottling water from the ground began back in 1622 in a small village in the UK. The demand came from villagers believing in the therapeutic benefits of this water. The first instance of commercial water bottling in the U.S began in Boston in 1767, again, people belived in the benefits of the “mineral” in the water.

Zoom forward a few decades and we have a billion dollar industry built on misleading market hype.

There is nothing more I hate than seeing people finish a disposable water bottle in thirty seconds and throw it away. I am guilty, I admit. When I am at home, I always use one of my many water bottles. But, when I am travelling and unsure of local water quality I buy awful disposal water bottles.

I have tried numerous advanced filtration water bottles and will review them in depth in further articles.

Water is truly the most beneficial liquid that we can consume. My mission is to find the best portable water bottle on the market. I want to make it easier for the world to remain hydrated, with minimal environment impact.

Six Water facts you need to know…

  • Roughly 70% of an adult’s body is made up of water
  • Water helps your kidneys and also aids in healthy bowel function
  • In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water
  • NASA has discovered water in the form of ice on the moon, mars and many other moons and planets.
  • Water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century

Is this possible? Is there one water bottle that is better than the rest? I will find the answer to this question. I will drink litres and litres to get the bottom of this.

The Original Water Bottle

When you’re looking for a clean, green, reusable and indestructible drink bottle Nalgene could be it.

Nalgene (originally Nalge Company) began crafting it’s products back in 1949 in Rochester, New York. A young chemist by the name of Emmanuel Goldberg was the original developer.The first product was actually a pipette used purely for laboratory use. How times have changed.

500ml Everyday Wide-Mouth Water Bottle

An array of laboratory equipment was designed and developed by the team until 1970. In 1970 the then president of the company, Marsh Hyman, noticed the use of his products for external uses. Many scientists were taking these Nalgene out of the labs and using them for water storage on day trips and the like.

The idea caught on and people started using these bottles to store dry goods, shampoo, oils etc etc. The brand naturally evolved out of the lab and turned into a practical consumer product.

The real turning point was when Hyman’s son, an avid boy scout, started using the products out on the trail. He and his fellow scouts used the Nalgene lab bottles to hold and separate all their different camping supplies.

On seeing this, Hyman decided that the word was to be spread. He went to the speciality department inside the business and set them a new mission. The mission was: “Spread the word to outdoors people all over! Tell them about this new line of high quality camping equipment.”

Now looks look a little closer at what Nalgene are and what Nalgene are not.

Nalgene Are Not…

– A fashion item.
– Stylish and/or trendy.
– Winning design awards.
– Impressive to your girlfriend.

So what are Nalgene water bottles then?

Nalgene Water Bottles Are …

– Strong
– Practical
– Functional
– Very Well Priced
– Durable
– BPAF Free
– Tried & Tested
– Used In All Conditions
– Wide Mouth For Easy Storage of Dry Goods.
– Life Time Guarantee

Stainless Steel Water Bottles

Another amazing brand out in the market is Klean Kanteen. Klean Kanteen started back in 2002 by the inventor and founder Robert Seals. Robert was a thinker and an innovator and noticed that there were no stainless steel bottles on the market. He started putting together a few basic designs from bits and pieces that that he bought at the local hardware store.

In 2004, Robert hit the market with the awesome 27oz Klean Kanteen water bottle. The whole idea of this product was to give people an alternative to plastic. Aluminum bottles were marketed as being a safe, healthy, lightweight, reusable, BPA free alternative to plastic. Robert tested the market by sharing his bottles with people at sporting events and festivals.

In 2005 Klean Kanteen was taken over by the Cresswell family. The Cresswell family really took Klean Kanteen to the next level. They improved upon the original design and started expanding on the limited product line.

In Klean Kanteen’s favor, worldwide media started reporting about the danger of BPA. This was perfect for Klean Kanteen as consumers everywhere searched for a plastic alternative.

The office phone rang non-stop at this time for the company and business boomed. More and more “anti-plastic” reports hit the international news and this further increased business for the company.

Apart from Klean Kanteen caring for the health of the population, they also take the next step, they care for the planet. Strongly ingrained in the business philosophy is environmental protection and conservation. Everything Klean Kanteen does is done in the most environmentally way possible.

In 2008 the company joined One Percent For The Planet and donates at least 1% of their annual income to non profits to promote the health of the planet.

All in all, Klean Kanteen are a small family owned and run business in northern California with over 30 years of history. They strive to produce excellent, ethical products that are functional and look great. Simplicity, affordability, safety & quality are just a few words that the company aligns with.

I like to keep things simple and uncluttered, forgetting about the bells and whistles and look at the facts. Back in 2002, Klean Kanteen introduced their “Classic”, which mind you remains to this day as one of the best water bottles in the world. This 18/8 stainless steel water bottle is completely free of BPA, phthalates, lead or other toxins.

It really has become an iconic product in the world of water bottles and recognised for it’s durability and performance. It comes in multiple colours and cap designs. Choose your own colour, but take my advice and get the sports cap, it is so easy to use. The sports cap is also leak resistant and quieter ( no slurping please). One of the awesome things is that these water bottles also fit in most cup holders and have a lifetime warranty!

New Years Party at The Ghost Room

I write to you with a humble and grateful heart.  Our campaign closed on Christmas, and we officially raised $5,411 for students across the world!  Students will now have clean water, bathrooms, and places to wash their hands because of your efforts.  You all have done an incredible job this semester.

Imagine this: our organization didn’t exist at the beginning of the semester, and in a few months we have raised an incredible amount of money.

To everyone who showed up at meetings, donated their money, donated their time, organized events, came to events, supported events, stopped at the table, signed our mailing list, expressed interest, prayed for us, or encouraged us – thank you.  I don’t even know how to express in words the overflowing amount of gratitude I have for each and every one of you.

We ended the semester with a benefit concert organized by the amazing Martan Roca.  Thanks to Tom. Foler, Kat Maley, and The Sound of Substance for playing!

What is Water?

Technically it is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O.  It contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds.  It is essential to all human life, and it covers 70% of the earth’s surface.

To Americans, water is something that we don’t think twice about.  When we want some, we turn handles and it pours out.  Shower heads, sink faucets, fountains, bottles – it is accessible all the time.  We don’t question whether or not the water we drink will kill us.  We assume that the liquid consumed after we complete strenuous exercise or to satisfy our dry mouths or to fill our nalgenes will be safe.

This is a blessing.

But to 12% of the world, water is something that destroys lives.  When they want some they have to walk up to 8 miles to retrieve water that may not be sanitary, and they risk being raped on their journey.  To them, it is something that kills children and causes dysentery, diarrhea, and other illnesses.

We are working to erase this divide.  We are working so that the 12% of the world that is currently without clean water and adequate sanitation will have easy access to water and adequate sanitation that will satisfy their needs without threatening their health.

This semester, Students for Clean Water at UT is working to raise $20,000 to give a school in a developing country clean water and adequate sanitation for the first time.

Join us in bringing hope to a hurting world by making a donation to our campaign:

BPA: Good or Bad for You?

BPA Free is a term that is thrown around a lot in the world of drink bottle. Most people have no idea what it means. It must be bad, is it really? I mean if people are promoting it not being in there product, it must be good!

Let’s dive into the whole “BPA Free” equation a little further and look for the facts.

BPA Free – What are we talking about here?

Firstly let’s have a look at “BPA”. BPA is a carbon based synthetic compound. It is basically a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. BPA has been around since 1957.

BPA is used in production of water bottles and other plastic consumer items. Other items include sporting goods, dvd’s, and cd’s. Certain resins containing BPA are also used to line water pipes and act as coating for beverage cans. BPA is also found in the making of common thermals papers finding it’s way into typical sales receipts.

As with any health or health issues there are many conflicting points of view. This BPA free scenario originally became a concern from a FDA report that identified possible risks to fetuses, infants and young children. Pretty heavy when we consider this in our water bottles that we use every day of our lives. OK, so BPA is ok at very small levels, but really do we want to consume something that is only ok at small levels. Let’s just get rid of it out of our life altogether.

In July 2014 the FDA updated it’s view, stating that “BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods”???? This apparently was based on a further two in depth studies in early 2014!

Ok, so now the Europeans look into the importance of the “BPA Free” debate a little more in-depth.

Further studies by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded differently. Studies done from 2008 – 2015 basically confirmed that EFSA experts could not identify any new evidence to change their minds. They concluded that current levels of BPA exposure in the market is safe. They also said that they will further in the BPA Free matter as there are some uncertainties.

BPA was discovered in 1891 by a Russian scientist of the name Aleksandr Dianin. It wasn’t until 1997 that studies produced any sort of negative effect of BPA in the human body. As with most reactions, they are more severe in babies and young children. In 1997 lab tests starting showing side effects from low dosage on laboratory animals.

A general conclusion is that BPA Free products are important for the young and developing. But what about us adults??

There are whole host of negative health effects from ingesting BPA, but is not just our drink bottles that are a concern. Many food packaging items contain BPA and this should be stopped. Some baby books contain it, therefore if a baby chews on the corner, they ingest it.

BPA Free water bottles are a start for society, but there is a long way to go. If you want the best for your health, only ever choose BPA Free products. There is not enough solid evidence of the current BPA levels. But there is enough to suggest us to stay clear of it.

Make sure all of the water bottles in your home are BPA Free, especially your children’s bottles. I mean why not go BPA free when you have a choice?

Let me know how you go and what bottle you choose! and make sure you keep drinking H2O!