As an Academy-Award nominated actor, and as part of the ensemble making up arguably the world’s most popular superhero franchise to date, Mark Ruffalo is in a unique position to support causes that will make our world a better place. Fortunately for us, he has chosen to stand for an issue both close to the heart of DiscountFilterStore.com and critical to our world as a whole: clean water. Continue reading
Clean water is critical to the sustainability of every life on our planet. The awful truth, though, is that clean water is inaccessible by nearly one billion people, leading to more than three million deaths per year. A silver lining to this fact is that there is also an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of up to one billion people, and in a very real sense, save millions of lives yearly.
Dale Bruder, President of the Lake Superior Chapter of the Safari Club International (SCI,) understands this fact implicitly. Bruder knows that clean water shortages impact more than just our world’s human residents, but every life on our planet – large and small, two-legged and four-legged. As such, his organization supports several humanitarian efforts that help to bring clean water to those people in need throughout the world, while also advocating for the protection of a spectacular array of wildlife.
This weekend, April 11-12, Bruder and his organization will be hosting their 16th Annual Hunter’s Banquet and fundraiser in Hinckley, MN. While he worked to finalize preparations for this event, Bruder sat down with us to share how the humanitarian efforts of the SCI can help save countless lives – and countless species – throughout the world.
[At the bottom of this post is a link sharing how you can donate to the SCI’s mission, if you are unable to attend this weekend’s event.]
For our readers that are unfamiliar with the Safari Club International, could you please share a brief summary of your organization and its mission?
The Safari Club International (SCI) is the largest organization in the world dedicated to protecting hunters’ rights and traditions, preserving wildlife through good conservation practices, educating our youth and the non-hunting public, and doing humanitarian deeds for the less fortunate.
You mention the worldwide humanitarian efforts deployed by the SCI. What types of projects have you seen deployed to date and what type of results have you seen these efforts achieve?
Our “Hunters Against Hunger” initiative has provided thousands of pounds of processed venison to the less fortunate so they can eat protein-rich meat. We also have a very active “Make A Wish” type hunting program that is available for disabled and terminally ill children. We support our wounded veterans by helping to fulfill their wishes to go on hunts that they aren’t able to do on their own.
Another initiative we are proud to support is the Blue Bag Drop program, where our members that are traveling overseas deliver blue bags filled with health aids for children and adults and items needed for the hungry. Oftentimes these blue bags will include portable water filtration equipment to be brought into those areas where clean water is not always a given.
Our store has helped to support the SCI Blue Bag Drops, providing some of the portable water filtration equipment SCI members bring with them on their journeys. How many Blue Bag Drops have been deployed to date – and overall – how many lives have been positively impacted through these efforts?
[Ed. Note: DiscountFilterStore.com is proud to support the SCI Blue Bag Drops through the donation of portable water filtration equipment, including our Katadyn camping filters. The photo to the left, from a story published in a recent SCI newsletter, shows one of the Blue Bag Drops we supported, in partnership with the Safari Club International, Safari Care Legacy Fund and Global Water Drops. Look closely and you’ll see the Katadyn Vario filter we donated, sitting atop the bag.
For those attending this weekend’s fundraiser in Hinckley, please look for a Blue Bag filled with water filtration equipment at the event’s auction.]
Clean water is critical for every life on our planet, making it a natural cause for the SCI to align itself with. From your perspective, how would you describe this alignment between protecting clean water and protecting wildlife?
They go hand in hand. As you said, clean water is critical for humans and animals alike. Both will drink contaminated water if thirst drives them to it. Then they become ill and that spreads disease and death among their respective species.
What type of opportunities would our readers have to become involved with the SCI or to support its humanitarian missions?
Go to any local member or local chapter and ask how to become involved. Go to any chapter’s fundraiser and join the organization. There is also a National website to get more information: www.scifirstforhunters.org.
Of course, we would also love to see everyone at this weekend’s fundraiser in Hinckley where they can learn about our organization first-hand, in addition to offering the donations that will allow us to continue our good work.
For registration information for the 16th annual Hunter’s Banquet and fundraiser, hosted on April 11th – 12th in Hinckley, MN by the Lake Superior Chapter of the SCI, visit this page on the chapter’s website. You may also donate to support the mission of the SCI by visiting their contribution page on their national website.
We invite you to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or +1 us on Google+ to be the first to learn about more ways you can support clean water initiatives throughout the world, in addition to being the first to learn about exclusive new deals and products.
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Clean water is a universal need for every man, woman and child on this planet.
That’s one reason we are thankful for organizations like Water Defense. Founded by Oscar nominated actor Mark Ruffalo, perhaps most famous as Bruce Banner / The Incredible Hulk from Marvel’s The Avengers, Water Defense’s mission as stated is to support ‘a world where water is safe to drink, a world where the oceans don’t rise and the economy is powered by clean, sustainable sources of energy like wind, water and solar.’
Such a bold mission requires technology and leadership to match, and for this, Ruffalo hand-picked Chief Scientist, Scott Smith – pictured with Ruffalo above.
In our interview with Smith below, he shares more about what attracted him to his position as Chief Scientist of Water Defense, his background as the founder of the ground-breaking OPFLEX water purification technology, (the only technology endorsed, ordered, reordered and recycled by BP in the Gulf oil spill) and how the new developments he and Ruffalo are supporting have the potential to change the future of our world’s water radically for the better:
[At the bottom of this post, see a video shared by Smith sharing more about the history and background of OPFLEX, the water purification technology he founded and developed.]
You are the Chief Scientist for Water Defense, an organization founded by actor Mark Ruffalo.
In founding Water Defense, Mark joined Matt Damon – co-founder of Water.org – in leveraging his influence to become a champion for clean water. Why do you feel that clean water is an issue that celebrities like Mark and Matt have become so passionate about?
I believe Mark and Matt understand there is one world and one waterway, and we are all connected. If we don’t bring people together to solve water contamination issues, nothing else really matters. Water is one of the biggest resources we take for granted. Without water, life ends. We drink it, bathe in it and cook with it.
For something so crucial to our everyday lives, we are doing a poor job in protecting the nation’s waterways. Unfortunately, people learn this lesson the hard way, and we want to educate people to prevent any more needless loss of life.
Those who live along the Gulf Coast, in Mayflower, Ark. and most recently in Charleston, W.Va. have experienced this firsthand. Worse is the lack of information and transparency that’s afforded to the public when accidents happen. We still don’t know the long-term effects of fracking and exactly what chemicals and gases are being released from deep below the cap rock of the Earth.
[Note: for those unfamiliar with fracking, see more in this resource provided by the Ohio Environmental Council.]
Clearly, with the Bakken oil train explosions of Lac-Megantic, Quebec; Aliceville, Ala.; and Casselton, N.D., we have started one of the more risky experiments in North America that will continue to cause tragic loss of human life if we do not develop new protocols and standards for not just understanding what explosive chemicals are being transported, but testing baseline water, which includes cumulative water testing. This is why the issue is so important to all of us, and it’s our mission to inspire people to stand up and take action to demand their right to clean water access.
Last month, you and Mark spoke out on behalf of clean water during a talk at Cape Cod Community College. For our readers that were unable to attend, could you please share more about the issues you covered?
We unveiled a new project we’re working on with Cape Cod Community College to create new protocols for baseline cumulative water testing that will allow the community to better monitor contaminants that accumulate over time and reduce pollution of Cape Cod’s waters.
Cumulative water testing mimics how life interacts with water. For example, a fish does not swim in the water for a split second; a child does not swim in the water for a split second; and people don’t bathe in the water for a split second. This initiative is a perfect example of what we want to replicate in communities throughout the country.
All waterways are connected; if there is a spill of Bakken oil in North Dakota that goes into the Missouri river, within seven to 10 days, the contaminated water will be in the Gulf Stream, which then flows up the East Coast to the waters of Cape Cod.
Your recent background is as the founder and inventor of OPFLEX Technology, an open cell foam sponge that helps to purify water. What inspired you to dedicate your life to clean water and develop this product, and go on to work with Mark as a part of Water Defense?
In 2006, a company I started was wiped out by oil-contaminated 500-year floodwaters in St. Johnsville, N.Y. After experiencing its destructive power, I dedicated my life to developing a simple solution that filters oil from water. This was the inspiration for what became OPFLEX Technology, which removes the oil at the source of contamination and prevent our waterways from being destroyed.
Also, while working side by side with fisherman and people in the communities of the Gulf of Mexico during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, I realized the world was relying on instantaneous water testing – taking water samples for a split second from the surface of the water. I found instantaneous water testing was giving false negatives of dangerous oil-related chemicals and started to deploy OPFLEX as an environmental indicator throughout the entire water column – from surface to bottom, where life exists – and found accumulation of previously undetected oil and related chemicals.
Upon this discovery, my life changed forever. I realized I had a duty and obligation to inform people about cumulative water testing and what could be done to protect human health and save our waterways.
Mark heard of my work on the ground in the Gulf and then in Mayflower, Ark. after the March 2013 ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline oil spill and specifically asked me to join his organization in the fight for clean water. Needless to say, the decision was easy.
OPFLEX [pictured below] has exciting potential to help solve our world’s shortage of clean drinking water. Could you please describe briefly the technology behind OPFLEX and how it works to purify water?
OPFLEX is a reuseable foam technology that sits in all levels of the water column and absorbs contaminants through a capillary network of open cells while repelling water.
Essentially, the OPFLEX technology is based on biomimicry of human lungs, where the open cells are like the alveoli, effectively acting as a filter and utilizing unprecedented surface area to rapidly filter water. It can be used both for water testing and in cleanup efforts, and OPFLEX technology was the only technology out of 43,000 ideas endorsed, ordered, reordered and recycled by BP in the Gulf oil spill.
In fact, this is referenced in a USA Today business section cover story from November 2010. OPFLEX Technology can be used by both companies and consumers alike to detect contamination and prevent our waterways from being contaminated.
Cost is oftentimes cited as a major hurdle in when we discuss how to solve global water issues, whether the proposed solution is distribution or purification. How do you envision OPFLEX helping to ease some of the cost issues involved with water purification?
What’s great about investing in OPFLEX technology is that it’s reusable, cutting down on long-term costs.
You can also use it for both water testing and cleanup, reducing the tools you need to one simple solution. Because of the surface area of OPFLEX, the cost is around $.10 per square foot, even without reuse (so if you use OPFLEX 10 times, the cost goes to $.01 per square foot).
Conversely, products that do not effectively filter the water and wind up in landfills cost $2.00 per square foot and cannot be reused.
Nearly 300,000 West Virginia residents recently suffered through an unprecedented chemical spill, leaving their tap water unusable. Because so little is known about MCHM, the chemical spilled into the water, we were unable to offer our customers any water filters certified to reduce this contaminant. How would a technology like OPFLEX help to purify water supplies contaminated by – for lack of a better word – the ‘unknown’?
We utilized the same lab as the state of West Virginia and detected MCHM at concerning levels within the open cells of OPFLEX deployed in a bathtub in Charleston.
The lab verified the efficacy of the OPFLEX technology with control samples, too. It appears the company testing the waters in Charleston did not have technology that could filter the MCHM.
We attempted to donate OPFLEX filter bags, but the governor and water company showed no interest, which is unfortunate for the community. However, we don’t ever give up and will keep trying.
In addition to West Virginia, there have been several more prominent water contamination issues over the past year, including water that was contaminated by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to the recent finding of E. Coli in several New York City drinking water tankers. How would a technology like OPFLEX help to purify water in these two types of situations?
We continue to develop prototype filtration systems that utilize OPFLEX in different configurations, such as eelgrass and cubes, which have shown preliminary results in their ability to substantially reduce biological oxygen demanders, chemical oxygen demanders, suspended solids and dissolved solids.
We are now researching E. coli. Because OPFLEX repels water, the technology can be used in these situations to assist in cleanup efforts by absorbing and removing oil and related non-polar contaminants like a magnet, along with metals due to its molecular structure.
Our thanks go out to Scott Smith, Mark Ruffalo and all at Water Defense and OPFLEX for their fight on behalf of clean water. We encourage you to learn more about this fight by watching the video provided by Scott below, sharing more about his history and the founding of OPFLEX.