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Environment

Environment
Slave labor found at Starbucks-certified Brazil coffee plantation
Daniela Penha contributor for Repórter Brasil, Roberto Cataldo — translator: Brazil Labor Ministry investigators have raided the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, and rescued 18 workers who were laboring on coffee plantations in conditions analogous to slavery. ... The Córrego das Almas farm holds the C.A.F.E. Practices certification, owned by Starbucks in partnership with SCS Global Services. After hearing of the raid, the two companies responsible for issuing the seal said they would review the farm’s quality certificate. Starbucks says it hasn’t bought coffee from the farm in recent years. ... Another inspection in Minas Gerais, in the town of Muzambinho, rescued 15 workers in conditions analogous to slavery from a farm owned by Maria Júlia Pereira, the sister-in-law of a state deputy, Emidinho Madeira... Visit Website ]
Sep 20, 2018, 3:21pm

Environment
A Dutch Teenager Had a Dream to Clean Up the World's Oceans. 7 Years On, It's Coming True
Billy Perrigo: After five and a half years of hard work, the 23-year-old Slat will watch from dry land as System 001 — a floating barrier nearly 2,000ft long — snakes its way out under the Golden Gate Bridge into the Pacific. Its destination is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre of plastic waste twice the size of Texas held in position by ocean currents between California and Hawaii. ... Struck by the idea for a floating barrier that could collect plastic using the power of ocean currents alone, he founded his company, The Ocean Cleanup, aged just 18. ... What was originally envisaged as a large rigid barrier arranged around a central tank for collecting plastic, is today an unmanned, modular system that moves with the currents, naturally gravitating to areas of higher concentration. From the air it looks like a pipeline sitting on the surface of the sea, but beneath the waves lies a 10ft deep ‘skirt,’ which traps plastic accumulated by the current... Visit Website ]
Sep 10, 2018, 10:58am

Environment
New Study Links Air Pollution to Dementia
Lorraine Chow: There's no question that air pollution is bad for your body, from lung cancer to heart disease. ... Now, researchers from Arizona State University have determined another air pollution risk: dementia. ... The new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, compared fifteen years of Medicare records for 6.9 million older adults with the EPA's air quality data. They tested whether these individuals' onset of dementia was correlated with long-term exposure to tiny pollution particles known as PM2.5. ... Indeed, the researchers found that a 1 microgram-per-cubic-meter (μg/m³) increase of PM2.5 over the course of a decade increases a person's odds of receiving a dementia diagnosis by 1.3 percentage points. ... Other studies have found a link between air pollution and damage to the brain... Visit Website ]
Sep 7, 2018, 2:33pm

Environment
Why Defending Indigenous Rights Is Integral to Fighting Climate Change
Jade Begay and Ayşe Gürsöz: Indigenous peoples around the world are quickly becoming the generation that can no longer swim in their own waters, fish in their rivers, hunt their traditional foods or pick their traditional medicines. The climate isn't just changing the landscape—it's hurting the culture, sovereignty, health, economies and lifeways of Indigenous peoples around the world. Yet despite the immense impacts climate change and fossil fuel industries have on Indigenous cultures and ways of life, Indigenous communities are tremendously resilient. ... It's essential to note that Indigenous vulnerability and resilience to climate change cannot be detached from the context of colonialism, which created both the economic conditions for climate change and the social conditions that continue to limit the capacity for Indigenous resistance and resilience. Both historically and in the present, climate change itself is thoroughly tied to colonial practices... Visit Website ]
Sep 5, 2018, 2:41pm

Environment
Berry Farmers Break Free From Big Agriculture
Lynsi Burton: These farmworkers created an organic co-op that guarantees fair wages and healthy working conditions while preserving indigenous heritage. ... For the first time, Ramon Torres maintains control over his livelihood. He chooses what to farm and how to farm it, free from pesticides that harm workers, under working conditions he helps set. ... The 22 acres of juicy strawberries and blueberries he farms belong to him and three others under Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad (“Land and Liberty Cooperative”), a farm co-op founded in 2013 to meet consumer demand for berries farmed under nonexploitative conditions and worker demand for a fair paycheck and safe working conditions. The co-op prides itself on organic farming and livable wages for its workers... Visit Website ]
Aug 30, 2018, 5:12pm

Environment
How a DuPont Spinoff Lobbied the EPA to Stave Off the Use of Environmentally Friendly Coolants
Sharon Lerner: The U.S. — indeed the entire world — is in the process of phasing out chemicals used for cooling that, in a bitter twist, contribute significantly to climate change. Chemours wanted the EPA’s help not just to promote its next generation of coolants to replace the chemicals now used in refrigerators and air conditioners (among other products), but to stave off the use of more environmentally friendly options. ... Of particular concern were “so called ‘natural’ refrigerants,” as Chemours described the naturally occurring chemicals, including propane, iso-butane, ammonia, air, water and carbon dioxide, which are increasingly relied on for cooling around the world. ... While some of the cooling systems using natural refrigerants may be more expensive than HFO-based systems, many are less expensive and the substances themselves, which aren’t patented, always cost less than HFOs. ... in terms of both climate and toxic pollution, HFOs present environmental hazards that natural refrigerants do not... Visit Website ]
Aug 25, 2018, 1:36pm

Environment
Is Climate the Worst Casualty?
Stacy Bannerman: If we don’t get serious about stopping the U.S. war machine, we could lose the biggest battle of our lives. ... We’ve got wind farms to build and pipelines to stop. We’ve got solar panels to install and water to protect. We need torchbearers from every tribe and nation to walk the green path and light the Eighth Fire . But to do so while continuing to feed the fossil-fueled military beast chewing up nearly 60 percent of the national budget is energy inefficient and environmentally self-defeating. We cannot cure this man-made cancer on the climate without addressing underlying causes. ... In order to achieve the massive systemic and cultural transformations required for mitigating climate change and advancing climate justice, we’re going to have to deal with the socially sanctioned, institutionalized violence perpetrated by U.S. foreign policy that is pouring fuel on the fire of global warming... Visit Website ]
Aug 23, 2018, 11:35am

Environment
Capitalism’s Rough & Tumble Climate Affair
Robert Hunziker: It’s entirely possible that capitalism and climate change are not compatible. They just cannot seem to live together, kinda like a marriage on the rocks. Assuming the planet is headed for a 2C climate event in the not so distant future, some kind of separation is probably necessary to avoid planetary dystopia and chaos. ... In point of fact, the world order is deeply ingrained in unabashed capitalism, the pandering, plundering type that chews up and spits out any form of interference as quickly as one can say Milton ‘laissez-faire’ Friedman: Slash taxes, throw-out regulations, transfer public assets into private hands, cut welfare benefits, degrade schools, and infinite growth as the universal fixit... Visit Website ]
Aug 22, 2018, 3:36pm

Environment
The Modern Automobile Must Die - If we want to solve climate change, there’s no other option.
Emily Atkin: In 2010, a NASA study declared that automobiles were officially the largest net contributor of climate change pollution in the world. ... according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions,” while “in total, the U.S. transportation sector—which includes cars, trucks, planes, trains, ships, and freight—produces nearly thirty percent of all US global warming emissions ... .” ... The problem is that most automakers seek to meet those requirements by developing electric cars. If those cars are charged with electricity from a coal-fired power plant, they create “more emissions than a car that burns petrol”... Visit Website ]
Aug 21, 2018, 4:45pm

Environment
Water Protectors Take Action to Keep Pipeline Out of Black and Indigenous Communities
Jen Marlowe: An encampment of protesters in Louisiana is resisting the crude oil industry, whose environmental disasters disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. ... Chants of “St. James needs an evacuation route!” came from the dozen-plus activists gathered at Louisiana Radio Network on July 18. The activists were part of the L’Eau Est La Vie (“Water Is Life”) camp, in Rayne, Louisiana. They want to stop the construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana from St. Charles to St. James, through the Atchafalaya Basin. ... They believe that the struggle against the pipeline is inherently connected to the struggles against extractive capitalism and White nationalism, and the movements for Native rights and Black lives... Visit Website ]
Aug 15, 2018, 4:43pm

Environment
Granting Legal Rights to Rivers: Is International Law Ready?
Mara Tignino and Laura E. Turley: Last year, four rivers were granted legal rights: the Whanganui in New Zealand, Rio Atrato in Colombia, and the Ganga and Yamuna rivers in India. These four cases present powerful examples of the increasing relevance of rights-centered environmental protection. Like corporations, which have legal rights in many jurisdictions, these rivers are rights-bearing entities whose rights can be enforced by local communities and individuals in court. But unlike corporations, these rights are not yet recognized in international treaties. Which raises the question: what are the implications of rights for nature for international environmental law?... Visit Website ]
Aug 14, 2018, 4:48pm

Environment
Organic Solar Cells Set 'Remarkable' Energy Record
Matt McGrath, BBC: Chinese researchers have taken what they say is a major step forward for the development of a new generation of solar cells. ... Manufacturers have long used silicon to make solar panels because the material was the most efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. ... But organic photovoltaics, made from carbon and plastic, promise a cheaper way of generating electricity. ... This new study shows that organics can now be just as efficient as silicon. ... The term organic relates to the fact that carbon-based materials are at the heart of these devices, rather than silicon ... Organic photovoltaics (OPV) can be made of compounds that are dissolved in ink so they can be printed on thin rolls of plastic, they can bend or curve around structures or even be incorporated into clothing... Visit Website ]
Aug 11, 2018, 2:12pm

Environment
Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not “Human Nature”
Naomi Klein: We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy ... It is absolutely true that the global unleashing of the unbound form of capitalism known as neoliberalism in the ’80s and ’90s has been the single greatest contributor to a disastrous global emission spike in recent decades, as well as the single greatest obstacle to science-based climate action... Visit Website ]
Aug 3, 2018, 3:17pm

Environment
Surrounded by Oil Fields, an Alaska Village Fears for Its Health
Sabrina Shankman: When the wind blows in from the vast oil operations, noses run and asthma flares up. Concerns about respiratory illness have risen as North Slope drilling spreads. ... Nuiqsut is the only town planted in the midst of Alaska's most prolific oil region on the state's North Slope, which today is poised for another drilling boom. ... more than three-quarters of residents still live off the fish they catch, the whales they harvest and the caribou they hunt—has found itself on the frontlines of a modern crisis. ... Each step in the extraction process on the North Slope can yield pollution. ... Stacks that flare off gas like 24/7 pilot lights can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Larger flares spew black carbon. Methane can leak from equipment throughout the production process. Studies show that methane exposure can cause headaches and dizziness. VOCs can damage kidneys and the nervous system and cause vision and respiratory problems. Some VOCs cause cancer... Visit Website ]
Aug 2, 2018, 3:03pm

Environment
The Burning Hot Planet
Robert Hunziker: A recent UK newspaper headline read “The World’s On Fire,” which is literally true as extraordinary continent-wide wildfires consume the planet, accompanied by unbearable, insufferable, oppressive heat. Europe, North America, Japan, and North Africa are all experiencing unprecedented scorching heat. ... In fact, the science is absolutely 100% clear: It’s indisputable that, over time, GHGs (greenhouse gases) blanket the atmosphere and act like an oven... imagine that! ... Maybe the U.S. should alter its climate change/global warming stance re: (1) the Paris ’15 Agreement by joining ASAP and (2) cancel the interminable Republican (mostly) denial about human-caused global warming, or more formally known as: “The Great American Global Warming School of Denial” ... Visit Website ]
Jul 28, 2018, 10:23am


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