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Environment

Environment
2019 Equinox: 12 facts about the first day of fall
Melissa Breyer: This year, the autumnal equinox arrives precisely at 07:50 UTC (3:50 a.m. EDT) on Monday, September 23. Unlike an event such as New Year’s midnight that follows the clock around the time zones, equinoxes happen at the same moment everywhere. ... The autumnal equinox happens the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator, which is an imaginary line in the sky that corresponds to Earth’s equator. (Old Farmer's Almanac describes it as a plane of Earth’s equator projected out onto the sphere.) Every year this occurs on September 22, 23, or 24 in the northern hemisphere. ... For the astrology-minded, the morning of the autumnal equinox is when the sun departs Virgo and enters Libra; the scales, how appropriate! According to astrologists, this is a good time for balance and harmony... Visit Website ]
Sep 21, 2019, 4:04pm

Environment
More than a quarter of all birds have disappeared from North America since 1970
Brian Resnick: A team of scientists at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, in collaboration with the US Geological Survey and several conservation groups, have estimated North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970. That’s an estimated decline of 30 percent in the total bird population. ... One of the most surprising findings in the report is that it’s not just rare or endangered birds that have been declining; it’s some of our most familiar species: sparrows, blackbirds, larks, starlings, and finches that visit our birth baths and fill the air with song. ... Birds play an important role in ecosystems: They eat insects, they disperse seeds, and they’re food for other animals as well. They’re also important for sustainable agriculture by controlling pests (i.e. eating them) and reducing the need for chemical insecticides... Visit Website ]
Sep 19, 2019, 3:16pm

Environment
Air pollution particles found on foetal side of placentas – study
Damian Carrington: Research finds black carbon breathed by mothers can cross into unborn children ... The link between exposure to dirty air and increased miscarriages, premature births and low birth weights is well established. The research suggests the particles themselves may be the cause, not solely the inflammatory response the pollution produces in mothers. ... Damage to foetuses has lifelong consequences and Prof Tim Nawrot at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study, said: “This is the most vulnerable period of life. All the organ systems are in development. For the protection of future generations, we have to reduce exposure.” ... He said governments had the responsibility of cutting air pollution but that people should avoid busy roads when possible... Visit Website ]
Sep 17, 2019, 10:54am

Environment
Neonicotinoid Pesticides Have Caused A Huge Surge in the Toxicity of U.S. Agriculture
Tara Lohan and Dipika Kadaba: The most widely used class of insecticides is dangerous for much more than its intended target, new research finds. ... Neonics, as they are commonly called, are 1,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT, the infamous pesticide exposed by Rachel Carson’s work in the 1960s ... A big reason that neonics are so dangerous is that they persist in the environment — sometimes lasting up to 1,000 days. They remain in the soil and can be taken up by other plants. They’re also water soluble, so they wash into rivers, streams and wetlands. Their toxicity can build up in the environment and cascade from soil to plants, insects to birds. ... “Farmers have a great deal of trouble finding uncoated seeds because these [pesticide] companies also dominate the seed market” ... the European Union banned their use in outdoor agriculture last year... Visit Website ]
Sep 16, 2019, 3:56pm

Environment
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Robert Hunziker: Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which experienced three massive meltdowns in 2011, is running out of room to store radioactive water. ... “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it.” ... “The only option”... Really? ... it is believed the Japanese government is lying and should be held accountable for hoodwinking the world about the ravages of Fukushima, especially with the Olympics scheduled for next year. ... the Japanese government claims only one (1) death has been associated with the Fukushima meltdown ... Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station worker deaths “that expire at home” are not officially counted... Visit Website ]
Sep 16, 2019, 11:18am

Environment
Could Rights of Nature Laws Help Save Endangered Orcas?
Dana Drugmand: The Pacific Northwest’s most iconic species—the orcas that live in the Salish Sea year-round—are on the brink of extinction with just 73 whales remaining as of July 1. ... A United Nations report released in May found that human activities have placed 1 million species in danger of extinction, many within decades. ... Over the past decade, initiatives worldwide have begun to transform Western law to respect the inherent rights of the natural world to exist and flourish. ... Essentially the idea is that nature and other beings that have survived the evolutionary process have an inalienable right to exist and flourish. ... “Our whole system ... really predicates itself on controlling nature. Even with attempts to do good, it’s still about control of the natural world” ... “We must adopt a framework recognizing that ecosystems have the rights—such as to exist, flourish, evolve, to sustain life, and to be restored to a healthy state... Visit Website ]
Aug 30, 2019, 1:50pm

Environment
Fracking may be a bigger climate problem than we thought
David Roberts: The mysterious recent spike in methane emissions? It just might be US fracking. ... When it comes to reducing CO2 emissions, the chain between cause and effect is frustratingly long and diffuse. ... But with methane, the chain of causation is much shorter and simpler. Reduced emissions have an almost immediate climate impact. ... It turns out that a mysterious recent spike in global methane levels that’s putting climate targets at risk may be coming from US oil and gas fracking. ... 63 percent of the total increase in global natural gas production in the 21st century has come from shale gas. And second, shale gas production using modern hydrofracturing techniques tends to produce lighter methane than conventional natural gas drilling... Visit Website ]
Aug 29, 2019, 12:55pm

Environment
The US is drowning in natural gas, yet they keep drilling and fracking
Lloyd Alter: It's crazy. Here we have drilling companies producing gas nobody needs or wants locally, causing massive releases of methane in the process, so they then try and sell it internationally, and nobody wants or needs it there either. Energy is wasted liquifying it and shipping it. The worry now is that natural gas prices will go even lower because the drillers planned for the LNG consumption. But they will just keep drilling and flaring and giving, just to keep busy. ... Visit Website ]
Aug 28, 2019, 1:41pm

Environment
Boris Johnson, GMOs and Glyphosate - Irresponsible, Negligent and Criminal?
Colin Todhunter: In his first speech to parliament as British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said: Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world. ... Johnson reads from a well-rehearsed script. The ‘GM will feed the world mantra’ is pure industry spin. ... The never-ending push to force GM on the public under the guise of saving humanity is a diversion that leaves intact the root causes of world hunger and undernutrition: neoliberal deregulation and privatisation policies ... It is no secret that various Conservative-led administrations have wanted to break free from the EU regulatory framework on GM for some time. ... If genetically engineered ‘Roundup ready’ crops – are introduced to fields in Britain, the use of glyphosate could accelerate even further... Visit Website ]
Aug 25, 2019, 11:52am

Environment
The Fight Over Mauna Kea Is About More Than a Telescope
Sonali Kolhatkar: Mauna Kea is “our origin place. It’s where we believe all of man came from, and it is the home of our deities from the creator to all of our gods and goddesses.” In addition, Mauna Kea is “a burial ground of our most significant and revered ancestors, including navigators that discovered Hawaii thousands of years ago.” ... The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Observatory ... (have) alternative sites ... including the Canary Islands and Chile. ... The TMT represents the latest assault on the rights of indigenous Hawaiians, whose rights have been marginalized in favor of corporate, colonial and military interests for far too long. ... “The movement to protect Mauna Kea has nothing to do with a telescope. It has everything to do with the enduring battle over Hawaii’s future.”... Visit Website ]
Aug 1, 2019, 4:15pm

Environment
Environmental Damage Is a War Crime, Scientists Say
Jordan Davidson: Two dozen prominent scientists from around the world have asked the UN to make environmental damage in conflict zones a war crime. ... The letter, titled "Stop Military Conflicts from Trashing the Environment," asks the United Nations' International Law Commission to adopt a Fifth Geneva Convention when it meets later this month. ... Damage to protected areas during a military skirmish should be considered a war crime on par with violations of human rights, the scientists say. If the UN adopts their suggestions, the principles would include measures to hold governments accountable for the damage done by their militaries, as well as legislation to curb the international arms trade. ... military conflict continues to destroy megafauna, push species to extinction, and poison water resources ... Visit Website ]
Jul 28, 2019, 12:39pm

Environment
Poisoned for Profit: We Are Not the Agrochemical Industry’s Guinea Pigs
Colin Todhunter: Environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has just written to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Chemicals Regulation Division (HSE) in the UK claiming that the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup has poisoned her nature reserve in South Wales and is also poisoning people across the UK (she includes herself here, as she struggles with a neurodegenerative condition). She notes that the widespread spraying of glyphosate went against the advice of directive 2009/128/EC of the European parliament but was carried out at the behest of the agrochemicals industry... official narratives — pushed by the pesticides industry, the media and various key agencies — have deliberately downplayed or ignored the role of agrochemicals in this... Visit Website ]
Jul 27, 2019, 2:10pm

Environment
UK Report: Active transportation can fight climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion
Lloyd Alter: These are confusing times in the UK, and it will soon have a new Prime Minister who likes riding bikes. So it is an interesting coincidence that, on the day he won the vote, the House of Commons transport committee published the report Active travel: increasing levels of walking and cycling in England. The summary said it all: ... the economic, human and environmental costs of inactivity, climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion are huge. Active travel can help combat all of these, and as they become more pressing concerns there is an increasingly compelling case for policymakers to give active travel the attention and funding that it has not historically received... , "The greatest benefits of increasing levels of walking and cycling—to individual health, the environment and congestion—will only be realised if people choose to walk or cycle instead of driving."... Visit Website ]
Jul 24, 2019, 2:04pm

Environment
Get ready for the 1.5 degree lifestyle
Lloyd Alter: One new study, 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and Aalto University, argues that in fact, our individual actions could add up to make a big difference. ... Focusing efforts to change lifestyles in relation to these areas would yield the most benefits: meat and dairy consumption, fossil-fuel based energy, car use and air travel. The three domains these footprints occur in – nutrition, housing, and mobility – tend to have the largest impact (approximately 75%) on total lifestyle carbon footprints. ... In nutrition, the single biggest reduction in CO2 impact can be achieved by going vegan, with vegetarian not far behind. ... In housing, going all renewable is best ... In Mobility, getting rid of the car is off the scale, the most important thing you can do... Visit Website ]
Jul 15, 2019, 4:03pm

Environment
Is plastic a 'necessary evil' in our food system?
Katherine Martinko: Perhaps yes, if our food system stays the way it is, but maybe that's what we should be challenging. ... If plastic is needed to preserve food that is being harvested far away and help it to last awhile on our shelves, then perhaps that model is outdated and needs to be reanalyzed, instead of us throwing up our hands and saying plastic is necessary to maintain it. ... Shortening the food supply chain is an obvious first step ... Shopping more frequently ... Better packaging options exist, too, such as beeswax wraps that allow food to breathe naturally and do not smother it in the way that plastic does... Visit Website ]
Jul 13, 2019, 3:40pm


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