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Environment

Environment
Battery boom aids climate change battle
Paul Brown: The fastest-expanding industrial sector on the planet is now electricity storage − a battery boom which heralds an end to the need for fossil fuels. ... Recent developments in batteries are set to sweep aside the old arguments about renewables being intermittent, dismissing any need to continue building nuclear power plants and burning fossil fuels to act as a back-up when the wind does not blow, or the sun does not shine. ... Batteries as large as the average family house and controlled by digital technology are being positioned across electricity networks. They are being charged when electricity is in surplus and therefore cheap, and the power they store is resold to the grid at a higher price during peak periods... Visit Website ]
Jan 21, 2019, 11:27am

Environment
Recycling is not enough. Zero-packaging stores show we can kick our plastic addiction
Sabrina Chakori and Ammar Abdul Aziz: Plastic now litters the planet, contaminating ecosystems and posing a significant threat to wildlife and human health. Food and beverage packaging accounts for almost two-thirds of total packaging waste. Recycling, though important, has proven an incapable primary strategy to cope with the scale of plastic rubbish. In Australia, for example, just 11.8% of the 3.5 million tonnes of plastics consumed in 2016-2017 were recycled. ... The emergence of zero-packaging food stores is challenging the idea that individually packaged items are a necessary feature of the modern food industry. ... Zero-packaging shops, sometimes known as zero-waste grocery stores, allow customers to bring and refill their own containers. They offer food products (cereals, pasta, oils) and even household products (soap, dishwashing powder). You simply bring your own jars and containers and buy as little or as much as you need... Visit Website ]
Jan 18, 2019, 3:14pm

Environment
Warning: A 'Shrinking Window' of Usable Groundwater
Tara Lohan: We're living beyond our means when it comes to groundwater. ... "We found that the average depth of water resources across the country was about half of what people had previously estimated," said Jennifer McIntosh, a distinguished scholar and professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. ... The problem isn't evenly distributed across the country. While a number of aquifers in the West have deep freshwater reserves, the water in parts of the eastern and central U.S. becomes salty at much shallower depths. ... The study looked at a total of 28 sedimentary basins across the U.S. that were chosen because they're known to contain oil and gas reserves. ... In some cases the industry pumps out brackish water as part of its drilling operations. Industry waste is then injected back underground into deep aquifers. As a result, water reserves are depleted from pumping and possibly contaminated during re-injection, the researchers found... Visit Website ]
Jan 14, 2019, 2:42pm

Environment
Capitalist Agriculture: Putting Soil on a Diet of Snake Oil and Doughnuts
Colin Todhunter: The premise is that under capitalism water, food, soil and agriculture should be handed over to powerful and wholly corrupt transnational corporations to milk for profit, under the pretence these entities are somehow serving the needs of humanity. ... One of the greatest natural assets that humankind has is soil. ... When you drench soil with proprietary synthetic chemicals, introduce company-patented genetically tampered crops or continuously monocrop as part of a corporate-controlled industrial farming system, you kill essential microbes, upset soil balance and end up feeding soil a limited “doughnut diet” of unhealthy inputs ... Microbes can help plants better tolerate extreme temperature fluctuations, saline soils and other challenges associated with climate change... Visit Website ]
Jan 13, 2019, 4:12pm

Environment
There’s a Toxic Weedkiller on the Menu in K-12 Schools Across the U.S.
Caroline Cox: Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the US. Its use has skyrocketed during the last 20 years because of the popularity of genetically-modified crops that are tolerant of this weedkiller. Health concerns about glyphosate have also skyrocketed since 2015, when the World Health Organization evaluated its ability to cause cancer. ... Exposing children, with their developing bodies, to a chemical that can cause cancer and hormone dysfunction is wrong. It’s especially wrong for children simply eating breakfast at school, who often are from low-income families. ... We found significant contamination in 70 percent of the products we tested, including big name brands like Quaker, whose glyphosate contamination more than six times the safety threshold developed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Cheerios, whose glyphosate contamination was more than five times the EWG safety threshold... Visit Website ]
Jan 10, 2019, 4:28pm

Environment
10 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastics Use in 2019
Sandra Laville: With dire predictions that if nothing is done there will be more plastic in the seas by weight than fish by 2050, it has become evident that we cannot recycle our way out of the plastic problem. ... This year Britain’s Iceland supermarket has led the way—and others are beginning to follow suit. Iceland has pledged to eliminate plastic packaging on its own goods in five years. ... 1. Start at home. Do a plastic audit of your household. ... 2. Bamboo tooth brushes ... 3. Carry reuseable fabric shopping bags. ... 4. Try buying wholesale and putting dried products such as rice, pasta and lentils into glass jars to avoid buying products wrapped in plastic. ... 5. Recycle old plastic children’s toys.... Visit Website ]
Jan 5, 2019, 2:44pm

Environment
Worst Mass Extinction Event in Earth's History Was Caused by Global Warming Analogous to Current Climate Crisis
Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay: The Permian period, the last period of the Paleozoic Era, ended about 250 million years ago with the largest recorded mass extinction in Earth’s history. Before the dinosaurs emerged during the Triassic period somewhere around 243 and 233 million years ago, a series of massive volcanic eruptions is believed to have triggered global climate change that ultimately led to the Permian extinction, which wiped out 96 percent of marine species in an event known as the “Great Dying.” ... other shifts in the ocean environment, such as acidification or changes in the productivity of photosynthetic organisms, probably contributed to the Permian extinction, but that warmer temperatures leading to insufficient oxygen levels accounts for more than half of the losses in marine life... Visit Website ]
Jan 4, 2019, 3:07pm

Environment
Fracking Future Shock in Colorado
Philip Doe: That Prop 112, a citizen setback initiative, made it onto the fall ballot and that about one million Coloradans supported it shows there is growing public awareness and concern over industrial fracking. ... The oil and gas industry defeated the initiative by spending $40 million to create uncertainty about the factual health and safety hazards of fracking. ... Still, some things about fracking are certain. As an example, fracked wells decrease in production very rapidly, after which they must be properly closed. ... Closing wells costs about $85,000 each according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ... How much will it cost to properly close the remaining 100,000 wells in the state? And who will pay for their closing and maintenance? ... Colorado requires bonding from drillers of $10,000 per well up to $100,000 for all wells they hold ... That the fracking industry is deeply and intractably in debt is a certainty. Recently the oil and gas sector borrowing debt was estimated to be over $260 billion.... Visit Website ]
Dec 28, 2018, 12:13pm

Environment
'This Is Our Land': Move to Reduce Bears Ears Monument as Assault on Native Culture
Kurtis Lee: Every few months for much of his life, the 66-year-old Navajo spiritual leader has trekked from his nearby home to this slice of land in southeastern Utah, not far from the base of the Bears Ears buttes, to gather sage. Throughout the year, he uses the plant in ceremonies, often sharing it with people seeking wisdom or health, or as a way to offer thanks. ... “This is our land and our herb,” Yellowman said. “It has to be protected. It’s all we have.” ... Last year, President Trump signed proclamations slashing the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and neighboring Grand Staircase-Escalante by about half, the largest combined rollback of federally protected land in the nation’s history. ... The nation’s sole uranium-processing mill sits along the eastern boundary of the original monument. Documents obtained last year by the Washington Post show that Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. urged the Trump administration to reduce the size of the monument, making it easier for the company to access radioactive ore.... Visit Website ]
Dec 27, 2018, 2:19pm

Environment
9 States Sue 'Flat-Out Wrong' Trump Administration Over Seismic Blasting in Atlantic
Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch: A coalition of attorneys general from nine states added their clout to a South Carolina-based lawsuit against the Trump administration to block seismic airgun blasting off the Atlantic coast. ... Democratic attorneys general from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York filed a motion on Thursday to intervene in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by several conservation groups and South Carolina coastal communities. ... These seismic surveys will expose marine life to repeated sound blasts louder than 160 decibels ... What's more, the release noted, these tests are a precursor to offshore drilling for oil and gas, which will harm coastal and marine resources should a leak occur.... Visit Website ]
Dec 23, 2018, 11:47am

Environment
'Generations at Risk': Study Links Agrotoxins to DNA Damage
teleSur: The report indicates that pesticides affect different cells and affect pregnant women, as well as damaging the cells of a fetus and even the next generation. ... A new study financed by Paraguay’s Catholic University and the National Council of Science and Technology showed significant damage in the DNA of children exposed to widespread fumigation techniques in the use of agriculture. ... Pediatrician Stella Benitez Leite led the team that carried out the research project which was based on the analysis of the cells of 43 children from the community of San Juan, in the Department of Canindeyu in Paraguay. ... These children lived in an area of high soybean cultivation and are constantly exposed to agricultural toxins used by soy farmer to fumigate their fields. ... The most widely used pesticide in industrial agriculture is glyphosate, a potent herbicide used to ripen plants and regulate weeds. It was which was banned in several countries and classified by the World Health Organization as potentially carcinogenic... Visit Website ]
Dec 18, 2018, 4:18pm

Environment
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
Robert Hunziker: Two hundred nations at Katowice COP24 Poland just wrapped up two-weeks of climate meetings. If history is a guide, CO2 emissions will continue to accelerate until COP25 next year in Chile. ... There’s a ray of sunshine peering out from behind the Katowice coal-clouded skyline because big money interests may be altering the landscape for combating global warming ... “Tackle Climate or Face Financial Crash, Say World’s Biggest Investors,” global investors managing $32T issued a “stark warning” that the world faces financial Armageddon worse than 2008 if carbon emissions are not cut, including a phase-out of coal... Visit Website ]
Dec 18, 2018, 4:00pm

Environment
Reindeer Numbers Have Fallen by More Than Half in 2 Decades
Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch: It's a sad Christmas for the world's reindeer—the antlered Arctic grazers associated with all things Santa Claus. Their numbers have fallen by more than half in the past 20 years, and climate change is likely to blame. ... The latest numbers come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 2018 Arctic Report Card, which listed the increasing impacts of global warming on the earth's northernmost region, as EcoWatch has already reported. But the loss of Rangifer tarandus—called caribou in North America and Greenland and reindeer in Siberia and Europe—is of note because it threatens to further throw Arctic ecosystems and cultures out of whack. Reindeer are important prey for wolves and biting flies, and a key source of food and clothing for indigenous groups... Visit Website ]
Dec 14, 2018, 12:43pm

Environment
The Weedkiller in Our Food Is Killing Us
Erin Brockovich, Guardian UK: On a recent Saturday afternoon, in an estuary near Tampa Bay, Florida, I watched airboats move up and down the river banks, spraying massive plumes of weedkiller on to the vegetation. The state of Florida was trying to control and kill off scores of plant species. Nearby, children were lying out in the sun ... The main active ingredient in that mist, and in the weedkiller being sprayed throughout Tampa Bay, is glyphosate, one of the most widely used herbicides in the US ... it is now an ingredient in more than 750 products, including the most widely deployed herbicide in the world, Monsanto’s Roundup ... glyphosate causes a form of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma ... Almonds, carrots, quinoa, soy products, vegetable oil, corn and corn oil, canola seeds used in canola oil, beets and beet sugar, sweet potatoes – these are just some of the foodstuffs which typically contain high levels of glyphosate... Visit Website ]
Dec 10, 2018, 4:58pm

Environment
Unlike a Globalized Food System, Local Food Won’t Destroy the Environment
Helena Norberg-Hodge: If you’re seeking some good news during these troubled times, look at the ecologically sound ways of producing food that have percolated up from the grassroots in recent years. ... Small farmers, environmentalists, academic researchers and food and farming activists have given us agroecology, holistic resource management, permaculture, regenerative agriculture and other methods that can alleviate or perhaps even eliminate the global food system’s worst impacts: biodiversity loss, energy depletion, toxic pollution, food insecurity and massive carbon emissions. ... They involve smaller-scale farms adapted to local conditions, and they depend more on human attention and care than on energy and technology ... (But) The food system is inextricably linked to an economic system that, for decades, has been fundamentally biased against the kinds of changes we need... Visit Website ]
Dec 5, 2018, 3:24pm


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