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Environment

Environment
Could COVID-19 Lead to a Cleaner World?
Honah Liles: The widely published image of a clear and bright Beijing, China — a city otherwise often covered under a sooty fog — offers hope that there could be a silver lining to this devastating pandemic. According to one analysis, carbon dioxide emissions in China were down by as much as 25 percent during the country’s weeks of industrial shutdowns. Particulate matter in the air also decreased. ... The question is: Will any of these positive impacts last? ... Congress should find ways to include environmental incentives into stimulus legislation moving forward ... environmental advocates who are politically savvy to team up with businesses and work together to convince lawmakers to funnel stimulus money their way... Visit Website ]
Apr 8, 2020, 3:21pm

Environment
Covid-19’s viral lessons for climate heating
Kieran Cooke: There are some glimmers of hope discernible in the loss, confusion and misery that’s spreading worldwide, and one is that Covid-19’s viral lessons could help to equip us all to tackle the climate crisis that’s remorselessly building up. ... Epidemiologists have constantly warned of the likelihood of the worldwide spread of a virus ... In the same way, climate scientists have been warning for decades of the catastrophe threatened by global heating. ... Covid-19 also reinforces the difficult-to-get-hold-of concept that nothing is normal any more. ... Scientists say climate change will mean even greater and more sustained adjustments to our lives... Visit Website ]
Apr 3, 2020, 3:11pm

Environment
In race for a sustainable alternative to plastic, Indonesia bets on seaweed
Johan Augustin: Edible cups made from seaweed. Shopping bags from cassava starch. Food containers from sugarcane fiber. These are some of the bioplastic alternatives being tried out in Indonesia, the world’s No. 2 producer of seaweed... A local government initiative to revive seaweed farming off Bali comes amid growing interest in the crop’s promise to tackle environmental problems ranging from carbon emissions to plastic waste pollution. ... Cultivated at scale, seaweed can grow up to 60 times faster than land-based plants, making it an important carbon sink. ... Local startups are also exploring its potential to make bioplastic that is naturally degradable and even edible, for use in food packaging and other applications to replace plastic... Visit Website ]
Mar 30, 2020, 3:37pm

Environment
Scientists find bug that feasts on toxic plastic
Damian Carrington: The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic is produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, nappies, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfill because it it too tough to recycle. ... The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, identified a new strain of Pseudomonas bacteria, a family known for its ability to withstand harsh conditions, such as high temperatures and acidic environments. ... Scientists revealed in 2018 that they had accidentally created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles, which are made of PET, potentially enabling the complete recycling of bottles for the first time... Visit Website ]
Mar 27, 2020, 2:35pm

Environment
Scientist Is Saving Corals by Breeding Them in the Lab
Lana Cohen: Cued by the lunar cycle and ambient temperature, entire colonies of coral reefs release their tiny packages of eggs and sperm, called gametes, in unison in mass coral spawning events known as “broadcast spawning.” The gametes float to the surface of the ocean, and fertilization begins. This is how baby corals — which start out the size of the tip of a needle — are born and, ultimately, how coral reefs are made. ... “Coral reefs are one of the premier valuable ecosystems on earth,” ... integral to, among other things, marine biological diversity, the economy, and protecting coastal areas from destructive storms. ... Worldwide, coral reefs account for a $172 billion annual income from fisheries, tourism, and recreation ... the reefs absorb wave energy, protecting tens of thousands of miles of coast from erosion, flooding, and storm damage.... Visit Website ]
Mar 25, 2020, 2:36pm

Environment
Native Activists Are Forging A Just Transition To Renewable Energy
Winona LaDuke: Native activists and youth are shaping a clear vision for the transition necessary to guide us toward an environmentally just future — and there are more of them coming. ... Transition is inevitable, but justice is not. ... “Just transition” is a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all. ... “The just transition framework,” Enei Begaye of Native Movement reminds us, “upholds relationships that stem from time immemorial and must recognize it was not people who governed the land, but rather the land and the spiritual beings of the land prescribed relationships among humans and their relationships to the land... Visit Website ]
Mar 13, 2020, 4:13pm

Environment
Revealed: Monsanto’s secret funding for weedkiller studies
Damian Carrington: The research, used to help avoid a ban, claimed ‘severe impacts’ on farming if glyphosate was outlawed ... The research was used by the National Farmers’ Union and others to successfully lobby against a European ban in 2017. ... The tendency of the results of scientific studies to favour their funders – called funding bias – is widely recognised in research on chemical toxicity, tobacco and pharmaceutical drugs. ... Citizens, media and decision-makers should know who pays for studies on subjects of public interest. ... campaigners claim Monsanto has defended the product by ghostwriting research papers for regulators and using front groups to discredit critical scientists and journalists... Visit Website ]
Mar 13, 2020, 3:49pm

Environment
Dumping Contaminated Water from Fukushima Plant Into Ocean – the Lesser Evil?
Vladimir Odintsov: In February this year, a number of media outlets reported that the Japanese authorities intended to drain more than one million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. According to some experts, this method is the lesser evil because the ocean is able to dilute contaminated water, thus making it safe for people. ... 9 years have passed since the accident at the Fukushima power plant, but three of its damaged reactors are far from being dismantled ... Every day, cooling the molten reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant yields an additional 150 cubic meters of contaminated water containing tritium (a radioactive isotope of hydrogen) and other chemicals ... TEPCO is currently storing 1.1 million cubic meters of radioactive water in one thousand special tanks... Visit Website ]
Mar 12, 2020, 3:12pm

Environment
Can Free Public Transportation Transform a Country?
Lana Cohen: The small country of Luxembourg launched an interesting social experiment this week: If you make public transportation free in a country that has the European Union’s (EU) highest number of cars per capita, will people ditch their automobiles and switch to trains, buses, and streetcars? ... As of March 1, anybody in this country of 600,000 can use all of these modes of transportation for free — regardless of whether they are a resident; a cross-border worker commuting from neighboring France, Germany, and Belgium; or one of the many tourists who come to take in the sights of the lush, hilly country. ... Officials in Luxembourg said that, while lower emissions are a nice side effect, the primary purpose of the decision to offer free transportation is to help reduce inequality and provide more efficient mobility. Visit Website ]
Mar 4, 2020, 4:06pm

Environment
Environmental Collusion is Corruption
Sam Stearns: Regulatory capture is defined as the process by which regulatory agencies eventually come to be dominated by the very industries they were charged with regulating. ... How do you lose money selling truckloads of timber? By spending more money than the timber is worth “administering” the sale; and most egregiously by reimbursing the timber/paper companies for the cost of building their own logging roads. .. This regulatory capture is not confined to government agencies. It is facilitated by legislators in the pocket of industry. Our local State Representative a few years ago who sponsored fracking legislation in Illinois received tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-state contributions from the fracking and other extractive industries.... Visit Website ]
Mar 2, 2020, 11:44am

Environment
Toxic Agriculture and the Gates Foundation
Colin Todhunter: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was launched in 2000 and has $46.8 billion in assets (December 2018). It is the largest charitable foundation in the world and distributes more aid for global health than any government. ... the Gates Foundation is a heavy pusher of agrochemicals and patented seeds ... (and) is also reported to be collaborating in Bayer’s promotion of “new chemical approaches” ... While Bill Gates promotes a chemical-intensive model of agriculture that dovetails with the needs and value chains of agri-food conglomerates, Mason outlines the spiraling rates of disease in the UK and the US and lays the blame at the door of the agrochemical corporations that Gates has opted to get into bed with... Visit Website ]
Feb 29, 2020, 12:30pm

Environment
The Border Patrol Invited the Press to Watch It Blow Up a National Monument
Ryan Devereaux: Presented as a run-of-the mill construction project, the explosives detonated on the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona went off just as the chair of the Tohono O’odham Nation — a Native American tribe with deep historic and cultural ties to the area — offered testimony in Washington, D.C. regarding the Trump administration’s desecration of O’odham lands. ... “an estimated average of 84,000 gallons of water” are used each day for border wall construction on Organ Pipe. The extensive pumping of a rare desert aquifer to provide that water has been among the chief concerns associated with the project, as it threatens an oasis known as Quitobaquito Springs... Visit Website ]
Feb 27, 2020, 3:20pm

Environment
An Olympic-Sized Disaster Is Brewing in Japan
William Boardman: The 2020 Summer Olympics are coming to Japan — despite two major health scares: radiation from the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima and, more recently, the coronavirus. Over half of the coronavirus cases outside of China were onboard a cruise ship docked in Japan. ... There is no way to know how the coronavirus spread will play or what effect, if any, it will have on the Summer Olympics. But it’s clear that the Japanese government has a huge stake in minimizing the perceived threat ... The J-Village National Training Center is an Olympic sports complex that includes a stadium, 11 soccer fields, a swimming pool, a hotel, and conference center — all located about 12 miles from the ruined reactors at Fukushima. ... “Using Greenpeace’s calculations, people staying near the stadium could be exposed to a greater amount of radiation in just over a day than they would naturally experience in a year.”... Visit Website ]
Feb 24, 2020, 4:27pm

Environment
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis
Colin Todhunter: The vast majority of studies leading to the approval of a pesticide are carried out by the pesticide industry itself ... The public is being conned, according to Mason, by contributing to ‘cancer research’ with the fraudulent promise of ‘cures’ based on highly profitable drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies whose links to the agrochemical sector are clear. ... The genetic damage is caused by mutations secondary to a lifetimes’ exposure to thousands of synthetic chemicals that contaminate the blood and urine of nearly every person tested – a global mass poisoning. ... while scientific research confirms the adverse effects of pesticides, proving a definitive link between exposure and human diseases or conditions or harm to the ecosystem presents a considerable challenge, especially given the systematic denial by the pesticide and agro-industry... Visit Website ]
Feb 22, 2020, 11:21am

Environment
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Was a Cover-Up, Not a Cleanup
Alison Rose Levy : “On April 20, 2010, a fiery explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig ... unleashing a gusher of oil into the gulf ... leaked an estimated 3.19 million barrels (over 130 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico ... (The Administration ) ultimately failed to remediate the disaster by:... Bypassing authentic remediation and instead pouring 1.84 million gallons of a chemical product called Corexit into the Gulf of Mexico without regard for environmental or health consequences. ... Dispersants do not reduce the amount of oil entering the environment, but push the effects of the spill underwater.”... A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution found that crude oil becomes 52 times more toxic when combined with Corexit... Visit Website ]
Feb 18, 2020, 2:37pm


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