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Think Nuclear or Coal Is Bad? Tar Sands Mining Is Coming to Utah

America's first tar sands mine is soon to break ground in Utah. This is a terrible thing.

You may think of coal mining as a pretty dirty way of digging up energy, but in reality, it isn't even the worst. Tar sands mining is, far and away, the dirtiest, most toxic, and most climate corrupting means of energy production in the world. It's been going on in Alberta, Canada for a couple of decades now, turning the once-lush Athabasca boreal forests into a toxic industrial wasteland, polluting local rivers, ruining local air, and sending a thick plume of greenhouse gases up into the atmosphere.


Now, a devastating line is about to be crossed. Until now, tar sands within the U.S. borders has stayed underground, where it belongs. No more. It looks like tar sands extraction is coming to the states, and barely anyone is noticing.

A Canadian company has cleared all regulatory and legal hurdles to start mining Utah's Uinta Basin for this sticky, stinky, tar-like lowest-grade form of petroleum. And though this first mine will "only" spread out across 62 acres, the AP report makes clear that this is only the beginning.

The company has over 7,800 acres of Utah state land under lease, with plans to acquire more, and estimates its current holdings contain more than 250 million barrels of recoverable oil.

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Again, from extraction to processing to shipping to combustion, tar sands are far and away the dirtiest form of all fuels—locally, regionally, and globally. It is, quite literally, wringing the trace bits of oil out of sand and soil. And what does it do to the landscape and local ecosystems? Take a look at the photo up on top of this post. There's more evidence in this old OnEarth article and this more recent Grist piece about the tar sands boom in the Northern Alberta region.

Tim DeChristopher, the student who threw that federal land auction into chaos a couple years ago his colleagues at Peaceful Uprising have pledged to stop this mine. Follow their work, and we'll keep you posted for any specific things you can do to help stop the squeezing of tar sands from our country's lands.

Top photo from Oil Change International. Bottom photo from Peaceful Uprising.

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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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Politics
Pixabay

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

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Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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