The gas industry helped to develop a magic camera to find leaks in their pipelines.

It makes invisible Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) visible.

Some concerned citizens in Colorado got one of these cameras.


They pointed it at a fracking operation that was right near a high school.

This is what they saw:

That big black cloud is made of VOCs rising off the gas works and spreading out over a neighborhood.

Wait, what are VOCs?

It's a group of chemicals, including acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, and others. They're in everyday household products, in small amounts. They're what makes that "new car smell" and what makes you get high off glue.


He's well acquainted with VOCs.

What's wrong with VOCs?

A lot, it turns out. Exposure can cause nosebleeds, headaches, nausea, asthma attacks, and dizziness. Long-term exposure to some VOCs causes cancer in humans.


Gas operations all have relief valves so that gas can escape if the pressure gets too high. It keeps things from exploding. It's for safety. But what's coming out of those valves? Not just methane, but lots of nasty VOCs too.

Tens of millions of Americans live close to this kind of activity.

Anywhere that oil and gas extraction is happening near homes, kids are being exposed to VOCs. Researchers have found increased infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and infant deaths in areas with lots of fracking activity.

Seriously, why would anyone let this kind of thing happen in their community?

It's not as simple as you think.

Fracking is generating jobs. They're coming to areas where people have lived in poverty for generation after generation. Maybe the jobs won't last, and maybe they're not very safe, but they are jobs.

Ask me how I know. I grew up in an area like that. I know people who spent their lives barely making it — and whose parents and grandparents were strangers to luxury — and now they are pulling down six figures.

So when I hear, "If you're against it, you're against jobs. If you're for it, you're against children," I honestly understand what makes that a hard question.

But even hard questions have a right answer.

Is your community thinking about opening its doors to fracking? Check out this video for some images that might make that decision crystal clear.

Photo from Dole
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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

Yesterday, photos from the first day of school in two different Georgia school districts revealed the startling reality that "safe" school reopenings aren't happening in some areas. Now it's come to light that one of those same school districts had a positive case in an elementary school classroom on the first day of school, proving that opening schools in an uncontrolled pandemic is simply not going to work.

According to WSVN News, a second grader at Sixes Elementary in the Cherokee County School District tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday. On Tuesday, the classroom was closed for cleaning and all 20 students in the class as well as the teacher began a two-week quarantine at home.

Just one day of school, and an entire class has already been shut down for the next two weeks, at least.

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Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

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For months, government officials, school administrators, teachers and parents have debated the best and safest way to handle educating kids during the global coronavirus pandemic. While some other countries have been able to resume schooling relatively well with safety measures in place, outbreaks in the U.S. are too uncontrolled to safely get kids back in the classroom.

But that hasn't stopped some school districts from reopening schools in person anyway.

Photos have emerged from the first day of school at two districts in Georgia that have people scratching their heads and posing obvious questions like "Um, they know we're in a pandemic, right?"

One photo shows high school students crowded in a hallway in Paulding County, Georgia. Of the dozens of students pictured, the number wearing masks can be counted on one hand. It's like looking straight into a petri dish.

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