Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Hello World Family,
Today, the City of Pittsburgh, lead by an ordinance drafted by Councilman Doug Shields, took the unprecedented step to ban unconventional horizontal gas drilling in the city limits of Pittsburgh, PA, becoming the first city to do so.

Citing obvious concerns about the environment, safety, and public welfare, President of Council Darlene Harris was quoted as saying that the jobs that would be brought to the region wouldn't be high paying jobs in the gas drilling industry, but " funeral homes and hospitals. Is it worth it?" she said.

Falcon and Dove would like to applaud the 9-0 decision by council, recognising the risks far outweigh the benefits. Bromides recently detected in the water from the Monongahela River that cannot be removed by current water treatment plants in the region demonstrate that concerns for public welfare are legitimate. Bromides cannot be processed with chlorine, a much more dangerous water treatment with chloramine must be used that is a huge health hazard for people with certain health predispositions. Only through a complete and total moratorium can this industry be studied in full and sensible, lucid, science with full risk analysis, including remediation can be put into place. It may well be that the risk far outweighs the benefit that only seems to help large land owners (who will eventually be the ones held liable if there are problems from gas drilling on their property), foreign investment in companies and the bottom line on the quarterly report for shareholders. The process is fraught with problems, high risk, accidents, and a lack of liability and tax compensation to the communities who need it most.

What's wrong with fracking? Well, it uses millions of gallons of fresh water, without any compensation to communities and cities. That water is NEVER replaced. The water that is recaptured from the fracking process, (about 20%) is contaminated with salts, chemicals, radioactive shale and metals, and possibly, migrating methane and gas. Well casings made with concrete can fail if not allowed to sufficiently cure. Replacing the spaces in the cracked shale with sand is insufficient to hold substrate and formations in place. We have to remember that this formation was made because it was highly pressurized on a fault line. With the legacy of old abandoned mines, current mines and land subsidence, it is foolish at best to think that this process would protect the environment and communities.

Then there is the surface risk. Water is rarely treated by the industry and is dumped in all sorts of places: rivers and streams, lakes, occasionally into abandoned mines (this has been documented) and in the winter, on roads in townships that have a general permit to dump frackwater as liquid salt! Imagine where that goes : groundwater, topsoil, runoff into sewers, yards, and underneath your automobile. This fluid is very acid and corrosive. That will compromise your vehicle, your infrastructure in your town; businesses who recycle water that work with road equipment like care washes, etc. Who issues those permits? DEP. How much frackwater is allowed on area roadways and where? Who knows? I have asked several DEP officials on many occasions, they cannot tell me how many permits and to whom they have issued. There seems to be no limit on when and where this frackwater can be used. Ah...this is bad.

Accidents: there have been way too many already. The industry has a 95% safety rating, which sounds good until you realize that one in every 150 or so wells could have big problems.

Leaks, blow outs, capture pond failure or overrun, migration of fluids and gases, etc. Our first responders in PA are mostly volunteers (80%). They are our first line of defense to protect us in the unfortunate instance of a disaster. They are not properly trained, equipped, or suited to respond to many of these well problems. Jobs that pay well are going to those from other states. The gas company will pay you $15 and hour to drive and truck and poison the air with diesel and haul frack fluids that are highly dangerous. Where's your gear? Guess what? You don't get enough. You should be in a HAZMAT suit. It you have a leak, that is exactly who will come to your rescue, guys in the suit. Let's not forget trains hauling iso-butane (we just had a leak in September in a railyard). Extremely dangerous. At this point, the gas industry is not liable: not for the spills, the hazards, the leaks, the damage to the roads, or if your water well blows up, or if gas runs into your sewer lines and blows a manhole cover off, or causes a massive subsidence in your backyard. If will never be their fault.

Pittsburgh City Council did the sensible thing. Bravo! Now if the short sighted industry that sees profit over people would begin to show just a glimmer of a conscience or a reflection, and dialog along issues of risk rather than hide behind severe misinformation (Falcon is open to a debate with Ms. Marcellus Shale Coalition anytime, but she keeps bailing out on engagements every time we get a chance for a sitdown), we the citizens of Pittsburgh and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will be ready to listen. But we set the rules. After all, this is our land, and according to our constitution, you cannot have it or its resources without OUR permission. We did not give it.

Falcon and Dove

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reusable Bags from Popular Retailers May Contain Lead

Hello World Family,
Do you have a reusable bag from Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, Winn-Dixie, etc.? If so, it may be contaminated with lead. Yes, lead!!! The more decoration on the outside of the bag, the more likely it is contaminated. Less decoration means reduced lead levels. You may wonder why there is lead in them at all...well, China has a play in this one.

Apparently, there are no regulations concerning lead paint use in bags intended for food use, and many of these bags come from China. What should you do? Don't use them.

I know...that sucks.

How was this discovered? Researchers in Tampa, FL

Put the bags away, and go back to using recycled paper bags, that can be used again.
Falcon and Dove

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE PIPE: New Irish Film-See the Preview NOW!

Hello World Family,
Here is a preview of the new documentary THE PIPE, about an Irish village torn apart by natural gas found near their village and their fight against Shell Oil and their own government to preserve their way of life.


I hope we can get this important film screened in Pittsburgh. Falcon will follow up with you on this issue. The film will be released to theaters in Ireland next month.

Falcon and Dove

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The First Fifty: What a Wonderful Ride

Hello Cousins,
Yes, it has happened: Falcon has turned 50! I know, some of you will find this very hard to believe, but you know...Dove is in her twenties, so...

How does it feel?! Awesome! It is amazing to have lived half a century. It is wonderful to have lived this long; so many I have known did not make it to this age. I am honored and blessed that I have had had the opportunity.

And what a ride I have had so far! I have completed many items on my Bucket List, and some things I never dared to imagine I could do I have done. It is amazing!

What do I value the most about the ride: being healthy, happy, and surrounded by awesome people! I am not regretting any experiences, since all of them have taught me something I wouldn't have known otherwise. It is a blessing to learn, give, expand, and grow.

I have much I still would like to do, Great Spirit willing. Travel, books, food, experiences...on the list.
Greatest blessing: people to love who love me as well. Isn't that what it is all about?!

Has it been hard a times? Yes, extremely. Watching other people's pain has been the worst.

Are you writing your memoir? Yes, I am. Friends have convinced me that there has been a lot of miles there, and there are many stories worth telling. It will be my story, not anyone else's so....friends with secrets in my trust, yours is safe with me;)

Any juicy tidbits? Of course, but you will have to wait:)

Thank all of you who sent the bazillion birthday wishes! That was really, really cool. You are all very precious. Thank you so much for taking the time out to share your blessings with me. I hope to always return the favor.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tom Shadyac Presents 'I Am' at the Savannah Film Festival!

Hello everyone! Dove (Areya) here! Today, I experienced Tom Shadyac's new documentary, 'I Am' at the Savannah Film Festival. I must say that everyone needs to see this film. It was moving, inspiring, and enlightening and I cannot wait to see it again when it comes out in February!

Here's a synopsis of the film: I Am is the story of a successful Hollywood director, Tom Shadyac, who experienced a life-threatening head injury, and his ensuing journey to try to answer two very basic questions: "What's wrong with our world?" and "What can we do about it?" Tom visits some of today's great minds, including authors, poets, teachers, religious leaders, and scientists searching for the fundamental endemic problem that causes other problems.

The film acknowledges the wisdom of ancient Native American and other indigenous cultures and shows how their traditions and the belief that we are all connected is now being proven today with quantum physics. This is the first documentary I have seen drawing a connection between these two subjects (something I myself and my partner, Falcon, have been doing for years) and I thanked Tom profusely when I had the pleasure and honor of meeting (and hugging!) him today. I recorded the Question and Answer session following the screening of the film and Part 1 is below for your viewing pleasure (and enlightenment). Parts 2 and 3 will be posted to YouTube in the next few hours. Enjoy!

VOTE Your Conscience, Not Your Fears

Happy Voting Day, Americans!
Let's put aside all that garbage you have seen and heard over the past few months and get down to the nitty-gritty of it all: Most of it sucks! We are in a bad situation here in the U.S. and it didn't begin overnight. Don't blame the new guys for what a legacy of irresponsibility produced. Frankly, they did all they could to prevent The Great Depression II. I know some of you may not believe this, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

Today, vote with your higher principles, even if you believe the politician you are voting for doesn't have any. You will make that person accountable because you are aware and not going to take this stuff lying down one minute more. Do not vote for someone completely incompetent because your fear has overridden your reason. There are some real underlings out there, and they are not going to rescue you or this country. Only you can do that. YOU are the superhero you have been waiting for! You still live in a country (for the moment) where your vote does count (despite what unreliable machine you may be casting your vote on). Your obligations don't end today: they begin today.

You must stay active in the political process:local to international. When you don't, you give permission to low life persons to abuse the power you have entrusted them with-plain and simple.

You don't like something, do something about it. Go to meetings, protest, and see if legal action can be taken against those who have violated your trust. ACT ON THAT!

It's time to be an adult about the political system. It is our system. This is our country. If you don't like something, it is time for you to use your constitutional rights and every legal avenue available to you to do something about it. Put the damn remote down, and the beer, and make a conscience effort to vote your highest principles...and then see to it that others do your biding. After all, an elected official is a public servant-THEY WORK FOR US!

Make them do their job. Vote your highest and best today.
Falcon and Dove