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What a great piece, John. And important reminders. I'm reminded of something a legislator from Oregon state said at the National Walking Summit several years ago (Ed Blumenthal maybe?). I can't remember the exact words, but the paraphrase is something like, "We spend all our money on trying to clean up disasters that could have been avoided" because money doesn't get spent on infrastructure and planning that could make the disasters nonexistent or not as bad in the first place.

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Thank you, Nia. Yes, it's hard to watch, and easy to lose faith. I'm blessed to have a community of friends in the affected areas, agencies, and non-profits who can pick each other up.

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Tyson Yunkaporta has talked about all of us being at the beginning of a "1000-year cleanup." I try to remember we're in for the very, very long haul and whatever we can do in our lifetimes gets the next lifetimes that tiny bit further along.

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Just reading today that latest calculations show that the West Antarctica ice sheet is essentially doomed, even if we hold 1.5 deg C. So at least 6 feet of sea level rise by 2100. Will we do anything for the next lifetime, even the one that's already overlapping ours?

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Well, I tend toward fatalism but try not to inflict it on others. And I always try to keep in mind that no matter what I might hope to see changed or fixed before my life ends, there's never any guarantee of it and it's worth doing the work anyway. I know I don't need to tell you that!

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Especially when we can do the work in good company!

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πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

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This points out so much of what is wrong in how we approach the environment, what's happened since the 1970s environmental regulations. When I worked in archaeology the first year in Alaska I was under a contract to work at a military base (joy) and spent my time learning primarily how contaminated areas of Alaska are that have been impacted by DoD activity. It's a side of Alaska that is never talked about in the wider scheme of things--that a place of such wilderness is also a place that has suffered so much contamination in places. It was so frustrating to know that and try to get things done that would direct attention towards remediation goals. Sigh. Also grew up spending time in the San Juans and have that same feeling of sadness knowing places of such beauty are suffering with having to find a way to remediate the toxicity that has been unleashed in our waters. We just have to keep trying to do whatever we can--which is what your work is doing. Grateful for that. πŸ’œ

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Oct 23, 2023Β·edited Oct 23, 2023Author

Thank you, Freya. It's good to be among fellow travelers.

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Thanks for sharing this. PFAS... such a downer but something we should all be aware of! I hear PFAS is in everything. Even our dental floss??

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It's in a lot of things, but most of our body burden has come from food packaging - pizza boxes, popcorn bags, anything grease and water resistant - and drinking water. Use in food packaging has been phased out, so we're left with drinking water as an ongoing problem.

The idea that it's everywhere and there's nothing we can do about it is an industry talking point aided and abetted by the media. I wrote about it here: https://johnlovie.substack.com/p/about-that-toilet-paper

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Thank you for the clarity of this essay and your responses here. I’d kind of switched off in despair when PFAS were mentioned, now I have hope for the long haul, and a more realistic idea of the problem.

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I lived on Lopez for a year, John, and didn't know about this water contamination on San Juan. On the southern end of Lopez it wasn't water quality we were suffering from, it was Growler jets rumbling houses to their foundations with their low-fly roaring noise until 10 or 11 pm, against the Navy's own house rules. The Salish Sea area has taken huge strides in organizing to resist the Growler jets in the four years since we've been gone, and I'm glad to see it. It was like living in a war zoneβ€”like the Navy was waging war against its own citizens. Us. It was intolerable. The Navy is not being a good neighbor there at all. And don't even get me started on the price tag of the Growler, which is a so-last-century idea of weapons, intending to intimidate those on the ground with high-tech noise. I mean, really?

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Yes, we're just out of range down here, but friends of mine have been very active on that issue.

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John, thank you very much for putting this together and giving us a valuable report from the front lines of this alarming hazard and the fashion in which the various service branches are addressing it with affected communities in Washington. I'm looking forward to meeting you when you come to Spokane. --Tim Connor

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Thank you so much Tim. Looking forward to meeting you too.

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Oct 23, 2023Liked by John Lovie

How long before all of Whidbey Island has PFAS in their water systems? Any idea?

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About 10% of systems are likely to test with levels above the new MCLs, with very few of those on the south end. Some will be able to treat, others consolidate with other systems. Private well owners and small group Bs will be vulnerable. It's important to identify the areas where the aquifer is good and protect it. That will mean some curbs on development.

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Oct 23, 2023Liked by John Lovie

I'm all for curbing development!

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Comp plan update coming up. A good time to act!

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