Go Green for Independence Day

This Fourth of July, some environmentalists are ditching the traditional red, white and blue patriotic fireworks display in favor of a greener option. The environmental pollution caused by fireworks has been a concern for several years, but the smoke in the air is even more potent this year in La Jolla, CA. An environmentalist group is suing the city in an effort to stop the fireworks display, which is of particular concern because it takes place near one of the most biologically important marine areas in California.  The court hearing was set to take place today.

Fireworks contain toxic heavy metals that are linked, not only to air and water pollution, but also to cancer and respiratory problems. And this does not just affect the La Jolla community. Many people around the country will celebrate with fireworks this Independence Day, despite the potential harm to personal and environmental health.

If reading this doesn’t make you want to do away with the fireworks altogether, perhaps you should look into other, more eco-friendly options.  This list of creative ways to celebrate the Fourth of July bypasses the typical fireworks display in favor of more educational ways to mark the day’s importance, like visiting a local cemetery in honor of war veterans or throwing a patriotic-themed potluck party. If you must insist on lighting some fireworks, consider the nitrogen-rich variety, which produce less toxic fumes and smoke.

Bottled Oil Spill Water – The Perfect Souvenir

Just because the BP Oil Spill hasn’t made its way to your state doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the black water that’s sweeping across the gulf. Thanks to the good folks at OilSpillWater.com, you can now purchase a sealed, glass bottle of oil and water to serve as a souvenir and reminder of one of the nation’s worst environmental disasters.

If you can’t tell by now that the site (and our description of it) is rather tongue-in-cheek, you need only read the barely-visible print at the bottom of the site’s home page: “Oil Spill Water is a novelty gift that is included with your donation.”

Jeffrey and David Shiffman, according to a piece from NBC Miami, are selling these bottles for $9.99. Half of that will go to support Reef Relief, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the International Bird Research Center. Where does the other five bucks go? To cover costs, apparently.

Personally, I think this is a great way to build awareness and raise funds for some organizations that seem to be doing good things in the gulf. I’m a little curious why it takes five dollars to mix an ounce of oil with an ounce of water.

More serious collectors looking for a genuine sample of water from the gulf should look elsewhere, as these bottles contain used motor oil mixed with real ocean water. The two brothers were initially shipping oil taken from the gulf, but that got expensive. By simulating their own bottled oil spill water, they are cutting costs in hopes of passing more of the donations on to the three organizations.

We don’t think the fact that the oil spill water is fake will deter many people from buying it. After all, people continue to buy bottled water from exotic springs and streams, even when 40% of bottled water is nothing more than well-marketed tap water. At least this bottled water is drawing attention to an environmental problem, rather than creating one.