China smog emergency shuts city of 11 million people

BEIJING, China – Choking smog all but shut down one of northeastern China’s largest cities on Monday, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country’s first major air pollution crisis of the winter.

An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts of Harbin, the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people.

A level above 300 is considered hazardous, while the World Health Organization recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

“You can’t see your own fingers in front of you,” Harbin’s official news site noted.


Coyote Gulch

Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office:

Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced several significant improvements and resources for communities recovering from the historic September floods: the Colorado Department of Transportation will reopen a section of US 34 to residents; the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will offer grants to repair flood-damaged water and waste systems and water quality testing and the Colorado Water Conservation Board will provide low-interest loans for water systems repairs; and a benefit concert on Sunday, Oct. 27 with several of Colorado’s favorite musicians for flood recovery efforts.

“We are leveraging all available resources from the federal government, local businesses and communities to repair and rebuild Colorado after the historic September flooding,” Hickenlooper said. “We want to thank everyone involved in helping impacted communities recover quickly. We have more work to do across the state, but our resolve is strong.”

US 34 Road Recovery

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I’m a brand new blogger (literally, I haven’t even been blogging for a month), so imagine my surprise when I was nominated for the Sunshine Award by fellow blogger and Coloradan newsofthetimes, whose posts are thoughtful, informed, powerful, and beautiful. Please take a look at her blog when you get a second.

I feel incredibly honored to be included in such distinguished company as other nominees for the Sunshine Award. I am very happy to have been nominated, and I will aspire to continue meeting the standards that allowed me to be nominated for this award.

Thank you all for reading, and thank you newsofthetimes for the nomination.

There are a few rules to accepting this award:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  • Nominate other fabulous bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to this post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they      have been nominated.
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

What is a favorite childhood memory? Most of my favorite childhood memories come from spending the summer in with my Mom while she did geology fieldwork. That usually meant staying in a trailer all summer in Idaho or Nevada, or at my grandparents’ house in Montana. Sounds boring, maybe, but I didn’t have to actually do the fieldwork with my Mom. While she was out working during the day, I would spend my time fishing, riding bikes, reading, or just running around with my brother.

What is a real fear you have? I am terrified of fire. Not fire in a fireplace, but wildfires. Basically, anything uncontrolled. Probably comes from growing up in the middle of a pine forest in dry Colorado.

How would you describe yourself? Outdoorsy, nerdy, motivated. My favorite things to do are outside – skiing, biking, running, hiking, backpacking. But I do love a good video game or book, too.

What Countries have you lived in? The United States and Ireland. I only spent a semester in Ireland while studying there in college, and I’m dying to go back.

What is your style? Anything that doesn’t have a corporate logo.

What is your favorite breakfast food? Meat Lover’s Burrito at the Country Road Cafe in Kittridge. Seriously, best breakfast food I’ve ever had. Anywhere. And their home fries are the best I’ve ever had.

What are some of your hobbies? Skiing, running, biking, hiking, backpacking, reading, movies, books, writing.

If you could tell people anything, what would be the most important thing to say? I don’t think I could possibly put this any better, so I’ll just leave what newsofthetimes wrote: Get involved in your life and the world around you. The world needs your unique set of knowledge, experience and wisdom.

What is one of your passions? Politics, economics, and the environment. I know people who think that econ and the environment are diametrically opposed, but I beg to differ. Economics is the study of scarcity, and where could this be better applied than to the environment and renewable energy?

What is the one truth you have learned? Never underestimate what can be accomplished by a small group of determined people.

Blogs that inspire me:

EvolveSustain is a collection of the latest news, blogs, and opinions dealing with issues of sustainability, green development, and resilience.

The FrostyShirts Report is written by two avid podcast, New Yorker, news, food, music, and movie junkies. Their posts always make me think, and often make me laugh.

The Rational Party is for “thoughtful, rational people who feel disgusted when the attention doesn’t go to the meaningful news stories, but instead to the ones that are the most sensationalized, the most polarizing, the most damaging.”

Stewards of Earth Because “dumping your oil in your neighbor’s backyard doesn’t mean it disappears.  Flicking that cigarette butt out your window doesn’t mean it disappears.  The trash you throw out does not disappear.  EVERYTHING we do has an impact on the environment.”

And of course, Newsofthetimes. She has been very supportive of my fledgeling blogging efforts, and I really appreciate it. Thank you!