Author: adamsizemore11

Environmental Justice 101

Environmental Justice 101

Hello, again!

As I’m sure you know, our environment is not always maintained as well as it should be (or if you don’t, welcome to reality). There are many environmental impacts that affect us in our every day lives, which put our health at risk. I’m hoping, since you are taking the time to read this blog, you know that we should, and must, be more conscience of these impacts and make efforts to improve them. However, did you know these risks are unequally shared across race and class? Some of you may be asking yourselves now, “What do you mean, unequally shared?” or “What does race or class have to do with anything”. These are the questions I hope to answer for you. I also hope to give you a better understanding of the injustices that often get looked over and are not always brought to light by the media and/or politicians (which, face it, that’s where most of us get our news whether we like it or not).

Environmental Justice:

  • Things like hazardous plants, pollution, and contamination are disproportionately located in black and poor communities.
  • This spawned an area of research and social movement aimed at addressing these inequities: Environmental Justice.
  • It advocates that all people and communities, regardless of their race or class status, are entitled to a healthy environment, as well as equal protection of environmental laws and regulations.
  • Click here for the 17 guiding principles of environmental justice!
  • There are two main debates with environmental justice: race vs. class and the chicken and the egg.

“Race vs. Class Debate”

  • Debates whether race or class is a better predictor of “environmental bads”.
  • Answering this debate is complicated because race and class connected.
  • Poor racially concentrated communities are the best predictors.
  • This occurs wherever people have the least amount of power, called “the path of least resistance”.
  • Occurs in poor black communities, as well as poor white communities.
  • This rarely occurs in rich white communities.

“The Chicken and The Egg”

  • Debates whether the “environmental bad” or the people came first into a community.
  • This assumes only one form of discrimination: the environmental bad moving in.
  • If people move into a contaminated community, it is discrimination too because those of a lower socioeconomic status are often forced into them.
  • NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) is the act of rich white folks opposing environmental bads.
  • NIMBY acts concentrate these into marginalized communities!

I can’t stress to you enough how difficult it is for me to provide an introduction of environmental justice, alongside the two debates, in such a short blog! There are so many components to environmental justice that warrant their own blogs! In the coming months I plan on discussing many of these with you because it is a highly important topic to discuss, as well as a crucial component to environmentalism. In the mean time, I encourage each and every one of you to think about something in a community that negatively impacts the environment (power plant, factory etc.) around you. Then, ask yourself, where are these located?

Until next time!

Adam

 

 

 

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Looking to get involved? Environmentalism in Kentucky!

Looking to get involved? Environmentalism in Kentucky!

Hello, again everyone!

As many of you know, one component to Friends of Limestone’s mission is environmental awareness and education. As their environmental blogger, I like discussing environmental issues with you, such as conservation/preservation, environmental impacts of limestone extraction, sustainability, and even, more recently, recreation (have you visited any of those lakes yet?). This week I decided it might be interesting if we talked about other organizations, within Kentucky, that do environmental work. This way, if you are an environmental advocate, like myself, you can become more involved! Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of environmental organizations in Kentucky, so, I have decided to simplify it and include only three. Let’s begin!

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth

If you are from and/or live in Kentucky, you more than likely have heard about Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC)! This organization has been an established organization for 35 years in Kentucky. Their work focuses on grassroots building and empowering individuals to engage alongside their work. They currently have over 10,000 members and local chapters across the entire state! KFTC’s work focuses on four categories: coal and water, economic justice, new energy and transition, and voting rights. They advocate that social, environmental, and economic issues are related with one another, meaning we can’t talk about one area without talking about the others. However, let’s only talk about their environmental work for now.

  • They campaign and raise awareness of the impacts of coal mining in Eastern Kentucky.
  • They seek a just transition for Appalachia.
  • Lobbying for environmental policy is their game!
  • They campaign for moving Kentucky away from those nasty fossil fuels.
  • Sustainability initiatives of all types.
  • Join them!

Kentucky Environmental Foundation           

The Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF) was established in 1990. The organization was born out of opposition towards the disposal of chemical weapons right here in the commonwealth. They helped lead a grassroots movement focused on ensuring safe and environmentally responsible disposal methods. This campaign laid the foundations for the organization today! Today, they focus on a wide range of environmental research/education and getting folks together around environmental issues. So, what do they offer you?

  • An annual report detailing their work, as well as other highlights in Ky. Think of it as annual KEF 101.
  • A lot of information! They research and write countless reports on various issues.
  • A blog page discussing countless topics (they even have one discussing the chemicals in your furniture!).
  • A Mailing list so you can stay up to date on their work.
  • Check them out!

Sierra Club

You may be thinking “Wait, is he talking about the Sierra Club, the oldest national environmental organization founded by John Muir on May 28, 1892 that currently has over 2.4 million members? They are based out of Oakland, California!” If you are thinking this then you are correct…you also know a lot about the Sierra Club! I am impressed! Did you know the Sierra Club operates right here in Kentucky, as well? You didn’t?? They have a local chapter in Whitesburg, Ky (The Cumberland Chapter) and many other groups scattered across the state. So what can the Sierra Club do for you?

  • A lot of information! I mean a lot.
  • Membership and action
  • Community
  • Recreation
  • Many programs!
  • Go visit their page!

I know, I know, I didn’t even scratch the surface of environmental organizations in Kentucky. I hope this discussion has sparked your interest to join an organization and/or find some information that is useful for you. Is there an organization I missed that you believe should have been on here? Let me know!

Until next time,

Adam

My Favorite Lakes In (and around) Kentucky

My Favorite Lakes In (and around) Kentucky

Hello, all!

Last month my blog focused on the sustainable extraction of limestone. I wanted to make this month’s blog a little more fun and personal. So, we are going to talk about my favorite lakes in (and around) Kentucky. I know…I know…. it is officially fall. Why in the world am I blogging about lakes? Well, for one, you can always plan for next summer! Second, you can still enjoy our lakes in the fall and winter months. The cold weather should never stop you from enjoying what nature has to offer!

Cave Run:

Let’s start with one close to home for me. A little over 15 miles from my hometown of Morehead, Ky is Cave Run Lake. It is located in Rowan, Morgan, Menifee, and Bath County. I grew up visiting, hiking, swimming, camping, and fishing here and continue to visit every chance I get. What I love most about Cave Run is, even on extremely busy days, you can always find peace and quiet. What else does the lake have to offer?

  • Camp at Twin Knobs and Zilpo.
  • Put your boat in at 12 different locations.
  • Picnic all over.
  • Swim at two managed swimming beaches: The Beach (located in Twin Knobs) and. Or, swim wherever you like! I suggest Windy Bay and Billy Branch.
  • Try out your “lake legs” at Cave Run Marinas.
  • Hike!
  • Fish for Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Walleye, etc. Musky fishing is very popular here!
  • Eat at Pops BBQ
  • Attend the annual Storytelling Festival the 29th and 30th of September…you still have time to make it this year!

Norris Lake:

I spent a weekend at Norris Lake with a group of friends a couple years ago. Since then, I have always wanted to plan another trip. Norris Lake is in Tennessee; located a little over an hour from Pineville, Ky. I choose to include it in this blog because, in my experience, the lake is relatively unknown and it is close enough to Ky. I fell in love with Norris Lake immediately due to its seclusion and small size. So, why Norris Lake?

  • Over 20 Marinas!
  • Camp at Norris Dam State Park Campground
  • Water Skiing. I “attempted” it…. and failed.
  • Fish for Bass, Crappie, and Walleye.
  • Over 16 restaurants…many of which are at Marinas.
  • And obviously, swimming and hiking trails.

Cumberland Lake:

Over this past summer, I had to the opportunity to spend a couple days at Cumberland Lake, located in the southeastern part of the commonwealth. However, this was the only time I have been there. So, my knowledge of Cumberland Lake is limited. The short time I was there, I really enjoyed what the lake had to offer.

  • I remember thinking every person there, but me, was on a boat. There are boat rentals all over!
  • Our lodging was through a local cabin company. There are many…many more.
  • I suggest spending time on Cumberland River, as well.
  • Do I even need to say this? Lodging, food, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
  • If you’re a coffee drinker, try Baxter Coffee.

 

I think I see a pattern with my favorites. They are all relatively located on the eastern side of the state. Maybe I need to visit some lakes on the western side next year. Any suggestions?

What is your favorite lake? Let me know in the comments!

 

Best,

Adam

Limestone, Extraction, and the Environment

Limestone, Extraction, and the Environment

Let’s talk about Limestone.  Limestone is a sedimentary rock and the leading stone extracted and processed in the United States.  Out of all stone mining in the U.S., limestone accounts for roughly 42%.  It is extremely functional, as it is primarily used in the construction industry.  However, it has many uses!

You interact with limestone on a daily basis and you may not even know it.

  • It is used to make the paper you just wasted after trying for the 100th time to operate the office copier.
  • The plastic bag you used to carry a pack of gum out of Kroger.
  • The glass jar of outdated pickles in the back of your refrigerator.
  • The paint on your wall…and, if you did the paint job, possibly on your floor too.
  • The carpet in your house that you keep forgetting to vacuum.
  • The overly priced bottle of water you purchased at Speedway.
  • The food in your 4 for 4 at Wendy’s.

Let us not forget the horses and mint juleps we like to watch/drink on Derby Day!

Have you ever wondered how we extract it? Probably not, so here we go.  The majority is mined through a process called surface mining (some extraction is done through underground methods).  Surface mining mines from the top down, not the bottom up.  In respect to limestone, the process is referred to as quarrying.  Quarrying involves the removal of earth and stone piece by piece with heavy machinery and small explosives.   The end result is a large open pit (quarry).  Once completed, the stone goes to a processing plant.

You may be thinking, “oh, yeah, that’s what those giant holes in the earth are called!”.  Have you ever thought about the environmental impacts from “those giant holes in the earth”? Again, probably not.

If not conducted properly quarrying can have negative environmental impacts.  These include:

  • The removal of trees, vegetated areas, soil, and habitat loss required for many species to live.
  • Contamination of local water sources.
  • Acid mine drainage
  • The use of large amounts of water.
  • The creation of wastewater.
  • Air and soil pollution from heavy machinery.

All pose negative health risks for humans, non-animal species, and nature.

In a previous blog I discussed the importance of conservation and preservation.  Another crucial component is sustainability.  Sustainability is a principle that seeks to maintain the balance for both future and present species/generations.  If we are unable to find and maintain this balance, future generations will feel the impacts.  Limestone extraction is not immune.  Alongside practicing conservation and preservation to our limestone reserves, we also need to make certain our extraction methods are sustainable for our present and future generations, as well as the natural environment…and for the 4 for 4 at Wendy’s!

 

Best,

 

Adam

Meet Our Environment Blogger!

Meet Our Environment Blogger!

Hello everyone! My name is Adam Sizemore. I am from Morehead, Kentucky; a small town located in the Appalachian region of our great state. Even though I do not currently live there, I have lived in Kentucky my entire life and Appalachia has always been important to me.

I moved to Louisville in the summer of 2014 to continue graduate school at UofL. Prior to that summer, I completed both my undergraduate and Masters degrees at Morehead State University. There I became focused on studying environmental issues. 

There isn’t a specific moment I remember becoming interested in environmental matters, but it stretches as far back as Elementary School.  In the 4th grade, I entered a Kentucky conservation-writing contest where I imagined “00H20” (double-oh-H20), a secret agent who gave citations to people with outdated and environmentally unfriendly appliances, water faucets, and toilets.

Maybe I was just a little too obsessed with James Bond; I wonder where that paper is now…

Anyway, my environmental focus has shifted greatly since then! At Morehead State, I was extremely interested in our food system and its impacts on our environment. Now, I am focused on environmental issues in Appalachia; especially coal mining in Central Appalachia. I am currently researching how members of Martin County, Ky overcame a dam failure that released over 300 million gallons of coal waste into the community in the fall of 2000.

Being an advocate for the environment is something that I am passionate about in my career, as well as my personal life.  My wife and I are expecting our first child this November and the well being of our planet for future generations is something that will always be crucial to me.  I am excited to discuss environmental topics, as well as continue to learn more with each of you each month!

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”-Jane Goodall