This tiny house community aims to help veterans rebuild their lives (Video)

There’s a saying in the military to “never leave someone behind.” As reports of high rates of PTSD, mental illness, homelessness and suicide surface among returning veterans, the question becomes, what can we do as a society to better help vets who have been let down by the system and left behind?

Pastor, former policeman and USAF veteran Donnie Davis has an interesting take on one potential solution. Davis is the founder of Operation Safe Haven, a microhousing community that provides housing, healthcare, counselling and therapy animals for veterans suffering from PTSD or homelessness. A bit more on the project via Pickler & Ben:

Operation Safe Haven© Operation Safe Haven

Situated on an old 277-acre campground in Franklinville, New Jersey, the organization works with volunteers as wall as federal, state and local agencies to build 300-square-foot dwellings for veterans struggling with readapation. The project is entirely funded by donations, and has so far raised USD $265,000 out of a goal of $500,000 since 2016. In return for free housing and counselling, vets participating in the Operation Safe Haven program help maintain the property and its community gardens, which provide food for the vets and local families. Says Davis:

The idea is to help homeless veterans get back on their feet and contribute to society again. There’s no overhead, so all donations to the campaign go straight to the project.

Operation Safe Haven© Operation Safe Haven

Operation Safe Haven© Operation Safe Haven

Operation Safe Haven© Operation Safe Haven

The tiny houses all use solar power and composting toilets, and the campground itself is a hub of activity, hosting a variety of community events, such as kids’ day camps to family picnics. Davis was inspired by the ethos of self-reliance that underlies the tiny house movement, as well as his own personal life experiences:

Helping others has been my own therapy. My PTSD came from serving in the police department. Up until a year ago, I couldn’t even say what I struggled with out loud. I never realized how much I needed this, too.

Vets in Operation Safe Haven’s transition program can stay up to two years, during which participants can undergo skills retraining to help them better reintegrate. The aim is that by the time a vet leaves, they will have had completed their education, or a job and permanent housing lined up. For veterans who have suffered so much as a result of their service, it’s great to see a project that gives them tools to rebuild their lives. To find out more, or to donate, visit Operation Safe Haven and GoFundMe.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/tiny-house-community-for-ptsd-homeless-veterans-operation-safe-haven.html

England fans & Volgograd veterans to play friendly with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard

Ex-England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will take part in a friendly match between UK football fans and Volgograd veterans on the day of England v Tunisia on June 18 in the city, TASS reports.

Former FC Rotor Volgograd striker and current FIFA World Cup 2018 ambassador for Volgograd, Alexander Nikitin, announced the friendly match between England fans, volunteers and veterans with the all-important participation of former midfield dynamo Gerrard.

“The idea for the match with the participation of former England player Steven Gerrard came from the English side. Without doubt we supported this idea,” Nikitin explained to TASS at a football training session at Volgograd College of the Olympic Reserve.

“Now the organizational matters are being decided. The friendly match will most likely take place on the morning of June 18 at Neftyanik Stadium and will feature adult teams consisting of volunteers, English football fans, and Volgograd veterans – namely former players of Rotor Volgograd,” he added.

In a distinguished career with Liverpool, Gerrard was twice FA Cup winner as well as lifting the 2005 Champions League as captain of his boyhood team, where he led the team from 3-0 down at halftime to win in Istanbul. He finished his club career at MLS side La Galaxy in 2016.

Gerrard also skippered England to their first group stage elimination since 1958 at the 2014 World Cup. Since hanging up his boots, Gerrard has coached Liverpool’s U18s side and will become manager of Scottish club Rangers FC at the end of the season.

READ MORE: Great Dane. Great goalkeeper. Great goaltender? – Schmeichel visits Russia 2018 host city Volgograd

During his own playing career, Nikitin scored Rotor’s goal that knocked Manchester United out of the 1995/96 UEFA Cup, grabbing Rotor’s second goal in 2-2 draw against at Old Trafford that saw the Russian side progress at the expense of The Red Devils on the away goals rule.

As well as England’s game, Volgograd Arena will also host Nigeria versus Iceland on June 22, Saudi Arabia versus Egypt on June 25, and Poland versus Japan on June 28, all in the tournament’s group stage.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/sport/426793-volgograd-england-steven-gerrard-russia2018/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Orange County Launches Attacks On the Homeless and Veterans

If you want to know what the term Fabian Socialism means, it is on full display wwith treatment of the homeless where it is now illegal to feed, clothe and shelter these unforunate people. This is disgraceful and America should be ashamed. Orange County has seen fit to criminalize what you see in this picture. For some this will be a death sentence.

 

 

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Suspected shooter and three women dead after standoff at veterans home

The community in Yountville, California are remembering the victims of the standoff: three staff members at the nation’s largest veterans home, one of whom was seven months pregnant.

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Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/suspected-shooter-three-women-dead-154625749.html

4 Dead As Hostage Standoff Ends At California Veterans Home

A standoff at a veterans home in Yountville, California, ended Friday night with the deaths of three female employees and the gunman who took them hostage, the California Highway Patrol said.

Police identified the shooter as Albert Wong, a military veteran they said was armed with a high-powered rifle. The gunman stormed the Veterans Home of California-Yountville in Napa County midmorning Friday during a farewell party for an employee. He exchanged gunfire with a Napa County sheriff’s deputy, then took three hostages into a room, where he stayed throughout the day. The others in the building fled.

The victims have been identified as Jennifer Golick, 42; Jennifer Gonzalez, 29, and Christine Loeber, 48.

Hostage negotiators were never able to contact Wong, 36, as law enforcement officers and a SWAT team circled the veterans home. Officers finally entered the building about 6 p.m. local time and found the four bodies, Chris Childs, assistant captain of the California Highway Patrol, said at a news conference late Friday.

“This is a tragic piece of news, one that we were really hoping we wouldn’t have to come before the public to give,” Childs said.

Childs thanked the deputy who confronted the gunman and prevented him from “going out and finding other victims.” The deputy was not injured.

Officers found the gunman’s rental car nearby, and a police dog indicated there may have been an explosive inside. “We found a cellphone, not a bomb,” Childs said. 

He did not say what kind of gun the shooter used or give a time of death for the gunman and the hostages. Authorities were reaching out to family members of the victims late Friday.

California state Sen. Bill Dodd (D) told reporters that the gunman was a participant in The Pathway Home, an independently run program on Veterans Home grounds that works with veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder. The gunman was apparently “a veteran who served in the Middle East and has PTSD,” Dodd told ABC News. The man had been in the program since last year but had been asked to leave earlier this week, Dodd said. All of the victims had reportedly worked with the shooter in the Pathway program.

The standoff began after the county sheriff’s office responded to a call about 10:30 a.m. when a gunman walked into a party hosted by The Pathway Home.

Larry Kamer said his wife, Devereaux Smith, was one of about 10 to 15 people at the party when the gunman came in, according to The Associated Press. The gunman reportedly allowed everyone, including Smith, to leave except for the three people he took as hostages.

“Potentially” 30 shots were heard being fired, Veterans Home spokesman Joshua Kisser told HuffPost.

The Veterans Home is built on roughly 600 acres, making it the largest veterans home in the U.S., Kisser said. The facility, about an hour north of San Francisco, is home to about 1,000 retired service members. 

Jan Thornton, 51, said her father is a World War II veteran who lives in the skilled nursing section of the facility. She said staff immediately locked down the buildings, along with individual rooms, upon reports of an active shooter Friday morning. 

“I called my dad’s friend [who lives there] right away, because my dad has dementia and I didn’t want to panic him,” Thornton said, adding that her father was safe.

Brian Goder, a 59-year-old Air Force veteran who has lived at the Veterans’ Home for a little over two years, said he was walking to the dining hall when he was put on lockdown.

“As I was walking, people kept yelling ‘Sir! Sir!’ to me,” Goder told HuffPost. “I turned around and there were probably about a dozen police officers with ARs running past me.”

Ground and air ambulances were initially staged near the Veterans Home, police said. Police also cleared out the nearby Vintners Golf Club, which is open to the public.

“My poor dad,” Thornton said. “He saw enough of this at war. He doesn’t need to see this at home.”

Sarah Ruiz-Grossman contributed reporting. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-veterans-home-lockdown-amid-193623485.html

PTSD plummets for veterans who try horseback riding

A new study found that PTSD scores dropped 87 percent after just six weeks of therapeutic horsemanship sessions.

Spoiler: The moral of the story is never underestimate the power of horses.

By some estimates, more than 23 million military veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) each year, described by Rebecca Johnson as “an anxiety disorder that occurs after exposure to life-threatening events or injuries and is marked by flashbacks, avoidance, and changes in beliefs and feelings.”

While counseling and behavior therapies are often prescribed to help treat the symptoms of PTSD, complementary therapies like therapeutic horseback riding (THR) have also been put into play. Johnson, a professor in the University Of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine and the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing in the Sinclair School of Nursing, was interested in exploring how useful THR could be in treating PTSD. And thus, the study “Effects of therapeutic horseback riding on post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans” was born.

Working with a nearby Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, 29 military veterans suffering from PTSD were introduced to a THR program once a week for six weeks. In these sessions, they learned basic horsemanship skills and completed tasks on horseback. The hour-long classes consisted of grooming and interacting with the horse before riding, applying the riding tack to the horse, then riding with a horse leader. They also had side walkers until they were capable and comfortable enough to ride alone.

The horses that worked in the study were chosen by a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH)-certified riding instructor for their fitness and experience of being ridden by adults. The study notes, “As part of the ethics approvals, the VA Research and Development Animal Component of Research Protocol (ACORP) involved a visit by a VA-affiliated veterinarian to the riding centers to verify the welfare and husbandry conditions for the horses.”

PTSD symptoms were measured after three weeks and again after six weeks, using the PTSD Checklist-Military Version assessment, as well as other tests, to assess improvements made in the treatment of the anxiety disorders.

“Results showed that participants in the program experienced a significant decrease in PTSD scores, almost 67 percent, after just three weeks of THR,” Johnson says. “After six weeks, participants experienced an 87 percent drop in PTSD scores.”

And maybe even more remarkable is that some of the participants had been suffering PTSD from the Vietnam War. “Interestingly, the veterans who self-identified for the study all were from the Vietnam War era meaning that some of these military veterans had been experiencing PTSD symptoms for 40 or 50 years,” added Johnson.

Most of us who have known and loved horses understands how powerful they can be. And of course the same goes for therapy animals of every stripe. Tucked away in the study was the following paragraph, showing how help can come in surprising ways.

One gentleman who was a Vietnam war veteran said that he did not want to participate, but his wife encouraged him to come. However, after his first session (which occurred the week before the University went on spring break and the THR was also on recess), he thought that it was too bad to have to wait 2 weeks to do this again. This veteran not only completed the study, he expressed interest in continuing to volunteer at the riding center after completion of the study.

We tend to think that animals need us; but what if it’s the other way around? In the case of military veterans and the tragic reality of PTSD, healing may very well come in the guise of four legs and a whinny.

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/animals/ptsd-scores-plummet-veterans-who-try-therapeutic-horseback-riding.html

Nets Ignore NFL Quashing ‘Please Stand’ Super Bowl Ad by Veterans Group

As the controversy-filled 2017 NFL season was set to come to an end in a couple of weeks, the league found itself engulfed in controversy Tuesday when they banned an ad from a veterans group asking people to “please stand” for the national anthem. It was a truly sad story, but the none of the major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) felt the need to report it to their viewers during their evening broadcasts.

While the liberal networks were drooling over the recently announced Oscar nominations, Fox News Channel’s Special Report was going the veterans group justice. “New England and Philadelphia will play on the field, but there is another battle taking place involving the NFL, veterans, and the national anthem,” announced anchor Bret Baier as he introduced the segment.

“The NFL has rejected a $30,000 print ad from a veterans group for the games program that addressed the issue with these two words: Please stand,” reported Fox News’ media analyst Howard Kurtz. “Amvets, founded by World War II veterans, had already modified the wording of the request of the company handling the program, but the league has final say. And Amvets now accuses the NFL of corporate censorship.”

Amvets National Commander Marion Polk laid it all out for Fox News. “The NFL, bottom line, just denied us our opportunity for free speech,” he explained. “We didn’t place this ad, please stand, for any political reason whatsoever. It was our way of just getting the American public to stand in their beliefs.”

 

 

As reported by Kurtz, despite the Amvets’ non-political intentions, the NFL asserted that the program had “never been a place for advertising they could be considered by some as a political statement.” But it was clear that the NFL was shutting down those they saw as opposing the players: “The NFL naturally wants the day’s focus on the Patriots and Eagles, not political ads. But since any on-field protest will draw huge media coverage, the league does seem to be blocking the other side’s message.”

Kurtz also noted how rough the year had been for the NFL because of their position to back their protesting players. “It’s been a tough season for the NFL with sinking ratings and constant controversy over protesting players who kneel during the national anthem,” he recalled. “And that controversy is now casting a shadow on the league’s premier showcase: the Super Bowl.”

It’s no wonder the liberal networks didn’t care about what happened to the veterans because they enthusiastically took the side of the protesting players. When President Trump first went to battle with the NFL, ABC and NBC claimed Trump was using racially coded rhetoric. And as Puerto Rico was just beginning their insanely long road to recovery after Hurricane Maria, they elevated the spat with 3.6 times more airtime than the crisis (92 minutes to 25 minutes).

As with most political subjects, the networks picked their side and supported it over everything else, including veterans.

Transcript below:

 

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Fox News Channel
Special Report
January 23, 2018
6:38:05 PM Eastern

BRET BAIER: Welcome back to the White House. You may have heard the Super Bowl is coming a week from Sunday, Super Bowl LII [52]. New England and Philadelphia will play on the field, but there is another battle taking place involving the NFL, veterans, and the national anthem. Fox News media analyst and host of Fox’s Media Buzz Howard Kurtz fills us in.

[Cuts to video]

HOWARD KURTZ: It’s been a tough season for the NFL with sinking ratings and constant controversy over protesting players who kneel during the national anthem. And that controversy is now casting a shadow on the league’s premier showcase: the Super Bowl. The NFL has rejected a $30,000 print ad from a veterans group for the games program that addressed the issue with these two words: Please stand. Amvets, founded by World War II veterans, had already modified the wording of the request of the company handling the program, but the league has final say. And Amvets now accuses the NFL of corporate censorship.

MARION POLK: The NFL, bottom line, just denied us our opportunity for free speech.

KURTZ: An NFL spokesman said the big game has “never been a place for advertising they could be considered by some as a political statement.” He said the super bowl will salute vets of the military on the field, at the NFL had asked Amvets to consider alternative wording, “Please honor our veterans,” the group didn’t respond in time.

POLK: We didn’t place this ad, please stand, for any political reason whatsoever. It was our way of just getting the American public to stand in their beliefs.

KURTZ: President Trump kicked off a season of controversy by tweeting about the kneeling players and personally denouncing them.

DONALD TRUMP: Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a [bleeped] off the field right now?

[Cuts back to live]

KURTZ: The NFL naturally wants the day’s focus on the Patriots and Eagles, not political ads. But since any on-field protest will draw huge media coverage, the league does seem to be blocking the other side’s message.

Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2018/01/23/nets-ignore-nfl-quashing-please-stand-super-bowl-ad-veterans

Toxic firefighting foam contaminated the water at a Colorado Air Force base, now veterans and residents are coming down with cancer

Image: Toxic firefighting foam contaminated the water at a Colorado Air Force base, now veterans and residents are coming down with cancer

(Natural News)
A Colorado air force base recently came under fire as water contaminated with perfluorinated compounds (PFC) was associated with the onset of various forms of cancer among people living in close proximity to the base. A Daily Mail report noted that former soldiers, firefighters and residents near the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, were diagnosed with thyroid, prostate, and testicular cancers following direct exposure to water containing the toxic chemicals from firefighting foam.

Just last year, the base admitted that it accidentally released up to 150,000 gallons of water containing the hazardous chemicals into the sewage system. Reports noted that the Air Force so far spent more than $4 million to provide bottled water and filtration systems to the bases. Thousands of firefighters and first responders across the U.S. inferred that exposure to the fire retardant and other firefighting equipment might play a role in the upsurge of cancer cases among the residents.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stressed that any toxins over 70 parts per trillion found in water pose great threat to the general public’s health. Data from water analysis showed that water samples taken from Colorado Springs contained more than 1,300 parts per trillion. In addition, the agency warned that up to 15 million Americans across 27 states could be exposed to PFCs in their drinking water. (Related: PFCs contaminate 67 percent of New Jersey’s public water systems.)

“What we’re saying is these still are chemicals that have potentially toxic side effects. I’ve got to rely on the Environmental Protection Agency and on the health agencies… to tell us whether or not that’s going to be a problem in the future. We’re going to treat it as if it were any other hazardous material… so that we can prevent contamination in the ground water and in the soil by cleaning it up immediately,” Mark Correll, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for environment safety and infrastructure, said in a CBS News article.

Dennis Pinski, health risk assessment supervisor for New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, confirmed that the contaminants may raise the odds of various health woes including certain types of cancer.

“Scientific studies have shown exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water to be associated with … developmental effects, decreased bone formation, accelerated puberty in males, reduced newborn body weight, liver toxicity, thyroid effects, immune system effects (and) cancer. The EPA determined that there is ‘suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential’ for both PFOA and PFOS under EPAs 2005 Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment,” Pinski told The Portsmouth Herald online.

“Human studies suggest that PFOA exposure could lead to increased risk for kidney and testicular cancer. Animal studies have indicated that PFOA exposure could result in increased risk of liver, testicular and pancreatic tumors,” Pinski added.

Health experts offer tips to prevent PFC exposure

health information summary published by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) warned that once PFCs enter the body, it would take between two to four years to reduce those levels by half. In line with this, the data sheet listed a few ways in order to prevent PFC exposure. These tips include:

  • On private wells – The agency advised that households using private wells to contact the EPA. The agency also suggested using alternative water sources if PFC levels were higher than the safety guidelines.
  • On public water – The ATSDR suggested conducting routine water testing for public water sources. Likewise, the agency recommended that people contact water filtration device manufacturers to gain more information about how well the devices work on public water sources.
  • On fish consumption – The agency discouraged consuming fish from certain water sources due to high levels pf PFC contamination.

Sources include: 

DailyMail.co.uk

CBSNews.com

SeacoastOnline.com

ATSDR.CDC.gov [PDF]

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2018-01-17-toxic-firefighting-foam-contaminated-colorado-air-force-base-cancer.html

Hypocrisy: Trump Signs Veterans’ Mental Health Bill as Jeff Sessions Declares War on Their Medicine

veteransveterans

President Trump signed an executive order that was presented as an effort to improve veterans’ mental health treatment, just days after reports claimed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to wage war on their medicine by rescinding a policy that keeps federal prosecutors from aggressively enforcing federal law in states where cannabis is legal.

Trump signed an executive order titled, “Supporting our Veterans during their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life” on Jan. 9. The order calls for the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to work together to provide “seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for transitioning uniformed service members in the year following discharge, separation, or retirement.”

The measure is intended to improve reintegration into civilian life and to prevent suicide if at all possible. But the type of mental health services Trump is asking for almost certainly do not involve using cannabis for PTSD, depression, or chronic pain. That is because the U.S. Attorney General just rescinded the Cole memo, allowing state Attorney Generals to go after legal weed.

As The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, legal cannabis and access to it is not supported by VA hospitals. In fact, we interviewed one veteran who suffers from PTSD and lives in Phoenix. For privacy reasons we will call him “Jeremy.”

Jeremy told TFTP that his disability benefits are directly connected to his blood tests. If his blood does not demonstrate a measurable level of psychotropics then the VA will end his disability benefits. In other words, if he does not take dangerous antidepressants and antipsychotics then he loses his monthly cash benefit.

While Trump’s executive order will guarantee 100 percent of veterans will now be able to get mental health benefits (whereas only 40 percent were able to get them before), what veterans really want is access to legal weed. So do the majority of Americans. They also do not want to be forced to take psychotropics, drugs that have actually caused the very suicides the executive order has stated it is attempting to combat.

Jeremy is a budtender at a Phoenix-area marijuana dispensary. He said he loathes being forced to take psychotropics but cannot part with the significant disability payouts each month. So he takes as little as he possibly can and throws away the rest. He says weed works much better and he would use it exclusively if he could.

Sessions’ move to rescind the Cole memo follows months of similar actions by the government. As TFTP reported in July, the House Rules Committee blocked an amendment called the “Veterans Equal Access,” which would have allowed the VA to discuss cannabis as an option for veterans’ treatment in VA hospitals. The amendment did not pass largely because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic (purely for political and Pharma-Cartel reasons) much to the dismay of a majority of Americans, including veterans advocacy groups, like the American Legion, who want cannabis made available to veterans.

Veterans who choose to go against the VA and to use cannabis as a viable mental health protocol not only face the loss of financial benefits, they run the risk of prison time as well. Kristoffer Lewandowski is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC was arrested in Oklahoma for personal possession of marijuana. He says the VA had him taking 18 different medications daily for his PTSD, which included deadly opiates. At one point, he was taking 180 Percocets per month, but the drugs were killing his liver.

After finding that cannabis worked better, Lewandowski quit taking his prescription pills. Because Oklahoma does not have medical marijuana, he began growing a few plants for his personal use and treatment of PTSD. The police discovered the plants and arrested him.

Lewandowski was charged with cultivating marijuana, and the police confiscated the ounce of cannabis they found. They charged his wife as well and took their children away. After getting approval from the OK district attorney, the family bonded out of jail and moved to California. But Lewandowski’s freedom was short-lived. After missing an appointment at the Veterans Administration’s psychiatric hospital, he was arrested again. Later, he accepted a plea deal and was allowed to stay in California to continue taking the plant he says saved his life.

While Trump’s executive order sounds like a great idea by giving all veterans access to mental health services, what veterans really need and want is universal access to cannabis as a natural treatment for depression, PTSD, and pain. Instead, they are given prescription pills, which are needlessly driving up the suicide rate among veterans.

Ironically, one of Trump’s campaign promises was for veterans was that they would be able to bypass the VA and go wherever they wanted for treatment. That promise has yet to be fulfilled and almost certainly did not mean going to the marijuana dispensary for their medicine.

It’s time for Congress to act on behalf of all veterans and Americans to legalize marijuana across the nation. Too many people are in jail, are going to jail, and are being charged with felonies for a plant—one that has demonstrated the power to treat pain, depression, addictions, and to prevent suicide.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/trump-signs-veterans-mental-health-bill-jeff-sessions-war-medicine/

‘US doesn’t acknowledge environmental issues’: Veterans slam US polluting Okinawa

Michael Hanes, a former US marine, saw for himself the effects of decades of pollution caused by the American military on the island, which is home to nearly 1.1 million residents. Now he is a member of Veterans for Peace, a global group of military veterans which promotes alternatives to war. In an interview to RT Hanes recalled his visit to Okinawa, within the group’s delegation supporting local people opposed to the construction of military bases in Henoko district. US bases take up nearly 19 percent of Okinawa. 

“I heard reports that there was trash all over the place, but I had to see with my own eyes,” Hanes said, “So I went up there and it just blew my mind, I couldn’t believe what I saw. All that trash in such a pristine area.”

Having seen all the trash left by US marines, Hanes says that he is sure the US is the biggest polluter in the world. “The US doesn’t look to the environmental issues or acknowledge them,” he said.

Hanes recalled that when he served in Okinawa he never littered. “Marines [with whom I served] would never do that. We were trained if you would pack it in, you take it out,” he said.

Earlier in December Hanes, together with the Veterans of Peace, was featured is the video showing the Yanbaru rainforest in the north of the island. The US Jungle Warfare Training Center occupies some 7,500 ha of Yanbaru’s land.

The activists found dozens of empty packs for Meal Ready-to-Eat – commonly known as the MRE – a field ration for the US military which doesn’t seem to be clearing up after itself.

“Do US marines behave like this even in their own country? Or they just do it here because it’s Okinawa?” Akino Miyagi, a local biologist who joined the group, asks rhetorically. She says she comes to the forest every weekend to clean up the trash.

Former US soldier William Griffin believes that Washington doesn’t want to cooperate in any investigation on the environmental issue in Okinawa “because it’s a direct threat to their national security goals.”

“The problem is that environmental issues [are] a direct threat to our lives. The US gets away with a lot of environmental issues,” Griffin, who also joined Veterans for Peace, told RT.

Having a training center in the middle of a rainforest should ultimately come down to the people who live in and near that rainforest, Griffin said, referring to the Yanbaru area. “People who live there have to suffer from the consequences of that training. They don’t want it there,” he added.

In the meantime, empty packs from chicken and brownies are not the only litter found on the island. According to a Japan Times report from 2013, workers unearthed some 20 rusty barrels from beneath a soccer pitch in Okinawa which was once a part of Kadena Air Base. The barrels contained ingredients of highly toxic military defoliants used in the Vietnam War.

READ MORE: Banned chemicals contaminate groundwater near US bases on Okinawa

The Pentagon repeatedly left pollutants containing arsenic, depleted uranium, nerve gas and carcinogenic hexavalent chromium on Okinawan soil, the report said.

In May 2017, the Eco Watch environmental news site ranked the US military the world’s biggest polluter. “While the US military’s past environmental record suggests that its current policies are not sustainable, this has by no means dissuaded the US military from openly planning future contamination of the environment through misguided waste disposal efforts,” Eco Watch said. 

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/usa/414260-us-doesnt-acknowledge-environmental-issues/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS