Posts that deal primarily with the environment

Gas "Frackers" Come to a School District's Rescue?

Gas "Frackers" Come to a School District's Rescue?

Two schools, one a vocational technical high school and the other an elementary school, sit on tracts of land a few blocks from the house in which I grew up, in Ford City (Armstrong County), Pennsylvania.* The communities served by them are, for the most part, not particularly prosperous. Household incomes, wages, home prices, rents, […]

Sego Canyon: Rock Art Glory, Mining Town Ruins

Sego Canyon: Rock Art Glory, Mining Town Ruins

 One of the most enjoyable things we do in the southwest is search for petroglyphs and pictographs, the rock art made by the native peoples. Sometimes we come upon them as we hike in canyons and at the base of cliffs. Sometimes we find information about them in books or online, and then we go […]

"Killing People in Apollo": An Update

"Killing People in Apollo": An Update

Last May I reported on the plight of people in the western Pennsylvania town of Apollo. As a result of gross corporate negligence, many residents have suffered serious illnesses from the uranium fuel plants located in and close to the village. The last owner of the facilities was the global conglomerate, Babcock & Wilcox. Left […]

Poisoning People in Apollo: All in a Day's Work

 Apollo is a small town in western Pennsylvania, part of the old coal and steel belt that surrounds Pittsburgh. The shallow Kiskiminitas River, a tributary of the Allegheny, flows through the borough. Although it is close to my hometown, I never knew much about it, except that my artist uncle once made a glass carving […]

The National Parks Were Made for You and Me

Arches National Park in Utah is a jumble of strange and beautiful rocks, spires, arches, and fins. The more times you come here, the more amazing wonders you might find: a fifty-feet long natural rock tunnel, nearly 2,000 arches, groves of cottonwoods in washes, springs, unusual canyons, beaver, turkeys, wildflowers, and petroglyphs. Most people who […]

Fools' Gold

As I was channel surfing a few months ago, I stopped to watch a new Discovery Channel reality show called Gold Rush. Since then I have seen every episode. The show is now in its second season, and it is one of this network’s most popular programs. “Reality” is a misnomer since Gold Rush is […]

No Place is So Beautiful that the "Magic of the Marketplace" Can't Ruin It

Estes Park, Colorado, is the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park. Much of its downtown was destroyed by flood in July 1982 when the Lawn Lake Dam burst. It was soon rebuilt, and those who oversaw the reconstruction did a good job. People still live in or close to the central business district, and […]


Every time we visit Pennsylvania, we notice the air pollution. According to a recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pennsylvania’s air is the second most toxic in the nation.  Much of the pollution comes from coal and oil-fired power plants in Pennsylvania and nearby states, but there are […]