An Update

Thanks for all your support! Don’t forget to check the blog for new posts!

Watch our previous episode: Dig Too Deep – Amy Allgeyer – YouTube

Read the previous book review: Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

Read the previous how to help article: How to help reduce water pollution due to mining – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

-Diya and Keya

Episode 6 – Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer and water pollution caused by mining.

Check out our review – Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

Check out how to help reduce water wastage and impacts of mining- How to help reduce water pollution due to mining – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

How to help reduce water pollution due to mining

Dig too Deep by Amy Allgeyer highlights issues caused by water pollution and unsustainable mining. We have covered these two issues in previous episodes, and the following blog posts highlight what you can do to help the cause.

Mining: https://easierreadthandone887945191.wordpress.com/2020/10/23/the-environmental-effects-of-mining/

Water pollution:

https://easierreadthandone887945191.wordpress.com/2020/09/25/how-to-avoid-water-pollution/

Check out the book review – Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

Check out our podcast – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Z6_LFBFlty5gctJVFKtTA

Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer

What happens when you dig too deep? Both into the ground and into secrets?

Amy Allgeyer’s book Dig Too Deep revolves around Liberty whose life has been upturned when her mother goes to prison, and she has to move from DC to Ebbotsville in rural Appalachia to live with her grandmother. Her singular focus now, forgetting her life before and getting straight A’s. But Ebbottsville isn’t the same as Liberty remembers, and it’s not just because the top of Tanner’s Peak has been blown away to mine for coal. Half the county is out of work, an awful lot of people in town seem to be sick, and the tap water is bright orange—the same water that officials claim is safe. And when her grandmother’s seemingly lingering cold turns out to be more, Liberty starts to question if somebody at the mine is hiding the truth about the water.

But whenever Liberty tries to ask questions, she’s told to stay out of other’s business. Yet, she can’t let it alone, not with her only family left —notwithstanding her former mother, as she calls her— getting sicker and sicker. And so she begins to dig and find answers and more questions and secrets that maybe could put her life in jeopardy. Her searches for answers and justice lead to even tougher questions—should she turn to violence and end up like her mother? Give up her quest for the sake of keeping the peace? Or keep fighting until the mine is shut down for good?

Allgeyer’s ability to create this singular sense of place on the page makes you experience the stark and lush parts of rural Appalachia all at once. The way Allgeyer writes characters leaves you unprepared for how they burrow into your heart. You root for the characters as they wade through corruption and love and trust and forgiveness. Even Allgeyer’s secondary characters experience glorious character arcs that are important and interconnected and tightly woven into this feverish plot. 

Overall, Allgeyer created a tense and riveting read, with characters so rich that they stay with you once the book is finished. Liberty, in particular, the main character, is utterly amazing and yet not perfect — flawed in a completely human way. Her love for her grandmother, her indignation as to what she sees around her, her anger toward her mother: they read true and authentic. The book is filled with the power of simple moments. It pulses with ageless wisdom as well as heartbreak. It is a story of advocacy and making peace with your roots, your family. It is a story of fighting for what you believe in. Fighting for the natural beauty that our world affords. 

And if you’re still not convinced, with this book Allgeyer won the 2017 Green Earth Book Award for Young Adult Fiction and the 2017 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award (SONWA)for Young Adult Notable Book

Other book review and summary links:

Check out how to help reduce water wastage and impacts of mining-

Check out our podcast – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Z6_LFBFlty5gctJVFKtTA

How to help reduce forest fires

The book we reviewed recently, Fire Flight by John J Nance follows veteran pilot Clark Maxwell who fights two global-warming induced forest fires threatening to destroy Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Forest and trees are said to be the ‘lungs of the Earth’ as they sequester carbon dioxide from the environment. We need them even more in present times as the carbon emissions steadily increase, leading to global warming. But, forest fires are the double edged sword that both destroy trees and release greenhouse gases at the same time. 

How are they caused?

  • Naturally due to lightning during dry conditions. But forests have a natural resilience to natural disturbances such as fires that are started by lightning strikes, and it is sometimes even needed for their life cycles. During drought conditions, forests become increasingly at risk of fire during lightning strikes. These natural and often harmless forest fires are exacerbated by human interference.
  • Man-made causes:
    • Clearing forests using fires for agriculture that often become uncontrollable.
    • Accidents during activities such as camping, hiking, or by burning debris and garbage
    • ignitable fuel and debris from building up on the forest floor as petroleum products used in logging equipment or other machinery can cause fires when there is a leak onto the vegetation
    • Equipment Issues and Unruly Engine Sparks -running engines can spew hot sparks and bits of burning debris — a potentially dangerous situation if that device is operating in a field or forest.
    • Tossing lit cigarette butts on the ground, especially if near a wooded area
    • Being careless with fireworks especially near forests

What are the effects?

  • Carbon Sequestration And Storage Is Affected: Forests act as the carbon sink by absorbing carbon-dioxide and thus reducing the concentrations and wildfires destroy the beneficial plant cover which in turn adversely affects the carbon sequestration and storage. Long burning forest fires can contribute significantly to global warming and climate change
  • Loss Of Biodiversity: Wildfires lead to the failure of the entire ecosystem. Large areas are cleared off vegetation. Many animals, birds, reptiles, and insects burn to death. Others die due to starvation or stress.
  • High Levels Of Soil Erosion:The soil is left exposed as vegetation disappears due to wildfires. Such soil is highly susceptible to erosion by the action of wind or water. Often, areas experiencing wildfires take a long time to recover or they are rendered permanently barren.
  • High Levels Of Air And Water Pollution: Smoke and ash released during fires can pollute the atmosphere with toxic gasses and particles. As an after-effect of a wildfire, the loss of plants can also lead to the erosion of the soil and the contamination of water bodies by the eroded soil and dead plant and animal matter.
  • Wildfires Can Lead To The Extinction Of A Species: Species with a highly restricted range are the most highly susceptible to extinction. A single disaster event can wipe out the entire population of such species. Thus, catastrophic wildfire events have the potential to render a species extinct in the wild. That is the reason why the IUCN Red List recognizes “fire and fire suppression” as one of the major threats to more than 100 threatened species in Australia. Recently, bushfires have destroyed 90% of the known habitat of the Western ground parrot, a bird whose population prior to the fires was estimated to be 140.
  • Increased Vulnerability To Other Natural Disasters: Since vegetation cover is vital to protect the soil against erosion by strong winds and floods, the loss of such cover renders the area prone to natural disasters. In the absence of plants, the fire-affected region becomes easily prone to catastrophic floods or storms.

What you can do to help

Wildfires are usually caused by human negligence so being aware of your actions can help to a great extent. 

  • Make sure you are following all of the local regulations and laws regarding burning fires during various times of day, year, and what materials and substances are permitted to be burned. If you do not see a sign with the rules find a park ranger or someone close by and keep a list of the rules and regulations on hand.
  • Keep up to date with the weather forecast so you are sure not to burn any substances while there are high winds or other treacherous conditions. Certain areas are more prone to wildfires than others so make sure that you check with the area to see if they are more at risk than other areas.
  • Only light fires in areas that are easily controlled locations. Make sure when you are creating fire pits or other fires that you are doing so in areas that are controlled and fires cannot spread into other areas. A fire will need to be contained so that it will be easy to put out especially if a dangerous situation would arise.
  • Do not burn any materials that are combustible or unusual in nature. Do not throw garbage onto campfires or any other materials that should not be burned. You should only be using materials that are organic such as leaves, woods, or yard waste. 
  • If you are a cigarette smoker it is important not to smoke cigarettes where you are not supposed to. If you do smoke you need to make sure that you put your cigarette out completely before disposing of it.

What government can do to help

  • Regulating wooded areas and enforcing the laws placed to help prevent forest fires
  • Creating protocols for putting out wildfires
  • awareness campaigns on the causes of fires to reduce human initiated fire incidences
  • Creating buffer zones

Make sure to support your local governments in preventing wildfires!

Helpful Links:

Petitions:

There are more region-specific petitions available, and we highly recommend you look for them.

Check out our book review on Fire Flight by John J Nance- Fire Flight by John J. Nance – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

Check out our podcast – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Z6_LFBFlty5gctJVFKtTA

Fire Flight by John J. Nance

Fire Flight by John J Nance is an action-packed, riveting tale revolving around veteran pilot Clark Maxwell. He is called back into duty when two global-warming induced forest fires threaten to destroy Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park and thousands of homes.

It is the peak of the fire season, and the wildfires are spreading with no indication of stopping, despite the fire fighter’s best efforts. Amidst said efforts, though, Maxwell starts to notice many things going wrong. He claims that the air tankers being used are faulty and should’ve been grounded years ago. Some of the planes are even falling apart mid-air, leading to numerous lives being lost. 

Maxwell’s investigation into these unexplained incidents takes him to the highest levels of the government while unraveling the mystery along the way. In doing this, he is able to prevent a natural disaster of gargantuan proportions. 

Alongside this action-packed plot, there is plenty of romance, ensuring a light and engaging read. The book is written with great authenticity that only a veteran pilot could provide, and we highly recommend you read this book. 

Other book review and summary links:

Check out how to help reduce forest fires- How to help reduce forest fires – Easier Read Than Done (wordpress.com)

Check out our podcast – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Z6_LFBFlty5gctJVFKtTA

Episode 4: World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler and How Governments Can Help Reverse Climate Change

Check out our book review on World Made By Hand by James Howard Kunstler- https://easierreadthandone887945191.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/world-made-by-hand-by-james-howard-kunstler/

Check out how governments can help reverse climate change- https://easierreadthandone887945191.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/how-governments-can-help-reverse-climate-change/

How governments can help reverse climate change

We have already described how you can help reduce the effects of global warming at a grassroots level in one of our previous articles. However, for this article, we would like to talk about how governments can potentially help the cause. It is our duty, as citizens, to push our leaders to take action and save our home.

  • Urging governments to regulate industry-generated carbon emissions so that they are at acceptable levels: Emissions, in most cases, are unavoidable. However, by setting limits on these emission levels and having set repercussions when industries fail to meet these limits would be a step in the right direction.
  • Initiating state-level tree planting campaigns: Trees play a key role in regulating the temperature of the earth. In light of increasing deforestation globally, it is important to reverse the damage that has already been done. This would also help in maintaining biodiversity.
  • Provide cleaner and safer public transport: Many people do not opt to use public transport because it isn’t safe or clean. In some cases, people may not even have access to public transport. This may cause them to use personal vehicles for daily commutes, increasing carbon emissions. If the option of using clean and safe public transport is accessible and available to all, there would be a scope of reducing these emissions. 
  • Protection and restoration of ecosystems: This is something that is not possible at an individual level. Reversing the damage already done to the environment would have to be undertaken by the government, and it is our responsibility to urge them to do so.
  • Promoting green/non-conventional forms of energy

Articles:

Petition links:

Here are petitions that are applicable at a global scale:

It is important to look for petitions/NGOs working towards this cause in your country and participate. We strongly urge you to do so.

Check out our book review on World Made By Hand by James Howard Kunstler- https://easierreadthandone887945191.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/world-made-by-hand-by-james-howard-kunstler/

Check out our podcast – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Z6_LFBFlty5gctJVFKtTA

World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler

World Made by Hand is a dystopian novel by American author James Howard Kunstler, published in 2008. Set in the fictional town of Union Grove, New York, the novel follows a cast of characters as they navigate a world stripped of its modern comforts, ravaged by terrorism, epidemics, and the economic upheaval of peak oil, all of which are exacerbated by global warming.

Narrated by Robert Earle, a local carpenter who has lost his wife and son, the novel focuses on four separate “cultures” that represent the directions society could go after a breakdown of modern social norms. The government has disintegrated and the lights have flickered out. Kunstler only alludes to the cause, which seems to be an amalgam of climate change and global battles over resources (mainly oil). Parts of the country are as lawless and grim but other areas, like Union Grove, NY, are rustic and communal. World Made by Hand explores the tension between these two elements, where the water is clean, the fish are huge, and they all farm but gangs of former motorheads mine the town dump and strip abandoned buildings for their aluminium window frames. 

It is jarring however as Kunstler depicts a collapsed world whereby the 2020s the engines of commerce have grounded to a shuddering halt, the arm of the state has withered into oblivion, and the electric lights of modern civilization petered out, ushering in a new Dark Age, both literally and metaphorically. This depiction of then (2008) near future and today’s present really shocks you and makes you consider what daily life would be like if our current world went “offline.” The best, and in some ways worst, part of this book would be its plausibility particularly as Kunstler acknowledges that there would be both benefits and drawbacks to such a life. The future depicted in this world is wholly plausible as he describes world oil supplies running out, something that scientists predict to be an inevitability in the near future.

All in all, this is a great post-apocalypse story and it doesn’t even have plague zombies or giant radioactive roaches. It does have a remarkably detailed and frighteningly plausible setting coupled with well-rounded, believable characters and a plot engine – the effort of people to create law and sanctions in a lawless world.

Book review and summary links:

Check out how governments can help reverse climate change- https://easierreadthandone887945191.wordpress.com/2020/11/06/how-governments-can-help-reverse-climate-change/

Check out our podcast – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Z6_LFBFlty5gctJVFKtTA