Home Buying

Super Polluters; A Super Problem

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Post By: Molly Hover, Upstream Research™ Marketing Manager

Super polluters are power plants that release more than the usual amount of pollutants into the surrounding environment– “millions of pounds of toxic air pollution.” The Center for Public Integrity underwent a nine-month investigation in Indiana to measure industrial air pollution in a state where there are seven super polluters within a 30-mile radius.  

The Weather Channel’s publication of this study created a 12-minute video and supporting case study. “A third of the toxic air releases in 2014 from power plant factors and other facilities came from just 100 complexes out of the more than 20,000 reporting to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency,” with 22 sites listed as super polluters and their owners’ profits at more than $58 billion.

As the italicized quote above outlines, this is a complex issue.

The video, however, makes it personal. A photographer-turned activist based in Evansville, Ohio, John Blair, made two remarks that stood out.

“I think the people should fight for their homeland.”

and

“People are just resigned to having ill-health.”

He has lived in this area of highly concentrated super-polluters for over 40 years and, after losing countless family members to cancer and other disease, he became an activist for the cause. Jessica Thomas is a local teacher in the same area and said, “I have 5-year-old twins and they love to play outside and the idea that we don’t know for sure what they’re breathing, that double-edged sword…”

Producers Greg Gilderman and Neil Katz and Director Jonathan Scienberg make the short film powerful by featuring the stories of real people affected by a real and huge industry. The accompanying case study written by Jamie Smith Hopkins seeks to bring the story further to life by providing graphs and statistics about super polluters and the damage they do.

Perhaps most simply put, Professor George Thurston from the NYU School of Medicine said: “I think clean coal is pretty much an oxymoron.”

The video seeks to inform the public and end these juxtapositions.

 

To read the article and watch the short film, click here:

 

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Neighborhood Health

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Image from Unsplash

Post By: Molly Hover, Upstream Research Marketing Manager

The adage, ‘Be the change you want to see,’ can be taken literally when it comes to where you live as well. We can improve our neighborhoods by noticing the warning signs of an unhealthy neighborhood or self-evaluating our community’s health. At the same time, we can also be proactive in finding ways to better our community health and security.

Assessing a neighborhood’s health may be as simple as observing what is happening in the neighborhood. Do there seem to be an unusual amount of people sick within a small area? Has the crime increased? What are the surrounding schools and houses like (upkeep, attendance, etc)? This can include anything from indoor air pollution (smoking, onset of asthma, lead dust or paint), outdoor air pollution (traffic congestion, respiratory infections, climate), or water pollution (urban runoff, sewage overflows, agriculture). 


Community members can take control of their local situation and have an impact on the greater environment as well. Starting a community urban garden, petitioning for city’s interference in pollution of any kind, and joining or forming public and neighborhood health groups that promote healthy and sustainable neighborhoods.

 

Source:

https://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/eli-pubs/d10.09.pdf

 

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Healthy Neighborhood Cycle

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Image from Unsplash

Post By: Molly Hover, Upstream Research Marketing Manager

If your home is healthy and you contribute to the neighborhood, your neighbors will likely do the same and vice versa. Furthermore, your involvement with the city will encourage them to keep your area green and clean and you will likewise be encouraged to maintain it. This is what is what we’re calling the Healthy Neighborhood Cycle.

There are many programs across the nation that support initiatives and communities that are related to a healthy neighborhood cycle. For example, the Healthy Homes, Healthy Neighborhoods program in Tacoma, WA uses local events and word of mouth to educate the community on better practices in individual homes and entire neighborhoods. Topics range from air and water quality to gardening to waste reduction and show how families can make a difference for each other and their city. 

 

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What To Look For in a Neighborhood

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Image from Unsplash

Post By: Molly Hover, Upstream Research Marketing Manager

If you have young kids and are looking for a home, you are not alone in thinking that more than the house itself matters. It’s the neighborhood. Before you pour over listings and prepare for tours, go through this checklist from the American Planning Association:

  • How accessible is the neighborhood?–This could be to a school, downtown, cafes, your work, or anything else important in your daily life.

  • Does it promote safety?–Traffic, security cameras, gates, the list goes on.

  • Does it use, protect, and/or enhance the natural environment?

  • Does it have character?–This could mean anything from the way the land it plotted to the community of neighbors.

  • How does it promote and protect water/soil/air quality?–this could be tree cover, “green” features, or a number of city or neighborhood led initiatives to protect the environment.

 

Happy house hunting!

 

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The Value of a Healthy Home

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Image from Unsplash

Post By: Molly Hover, Upstream Research Marketing Manager

Can you put a price on your home’s health? When considering buying or selling a home, factors such as home age, materials, neighborhood, surrounding schools, and overall location can make or break a listing. The home itself can also be healthy or unhealthy, often in ways that are barely discernible to homebuyers. The U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development began the Healthy Homes Program in 1999 which has evolved to home safety concerns including: mold, lead, pesticides, and carbon monoxide.

Many peer-reviewed papers and other articles point to lead as an environmental health risk in older homes especially which, once remediated, had a “net benefit of $13,032 per home or a return on investment of 179%” (Billings & Schnepel, 2015). Among this, using preventative measures in the home such as checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, avoiding smoking, testing for lead paint, using toxic-free cleaning products, and maintaining regular cleanliness. The housing market changes regularly with demand, but the value of a healthy home will remain. 

 

Other Source:. http://www.medicinenet.com/home_health_pictures_slideshow/article.htm

 

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