Stoves that produce pollutants known to make people sick can be donated to tribes and Appalachian communities
A ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be brought forward by eight years to 2032, MPs say.
Sitting on a plastic chair in a small office, I’m wearing medical scrubs rolled up to my knees and I have an X-ray machine strapped to my shin.
The machine is scanning my bones for lead as an expert monitors readings streaming on to a screen.
Earlier that day, after arriving at a Mount Sinai facility in New York City, I dropped off a urine sample that will be studied for 81 chemicals in lab tests far more advanced than at a regular doctor visit.
A couple of weeks earlier, I spent five days wearing a silicone wristband designed to measure dangerous chemicals in my environment. I wore it while I cleaned my apartment, applied cosmetics and commuted to work.
All this testing came during a six-month journey to try to answer what sounds like a very simple question: how toxic am I?
As an environment reporter for the Guardian in Washington DC, I had noticed a growing number of experts expressing concerns about how Americans are exposed to potentially toxic chemicals just by living our everyday lives.
But how concerned should individuals be? How worried should I be?
As his Environmental Protection Agency delivers its latest blow to environmental regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, President Donald Trump is heading into the heart of coal country to deliver the good news.
I remember the dawning of my green consciousness: the sudden, painful realisation that products were tested on animals. This was in the early 1970s. I was about 10 years old. A teacher told me that baby powder was put into the eyes of cats and dogs to make sure it was safe. She also said that the plastic container would pollute the Earth.
A few years later, as punk sensibility captured my naturally rebellious heart, I immersed myself in the ecological fight. I joined Greenpeace. I wrote letters – even to the pope on his visit to Britain – arguing against the clubbing of baby seals in Canada. This passion has never left me.
Throw into the mix that I’ve been disabled since the age of 14, however, and environmentalism can start to get tricky. Over the years, I’ve had to learn that being green does not always sit comfortably with my access needs.
Sometimes, the sheer weight of the social, economic and environmental “wicked problems” in our world can leave us feeling frozen, unable to take any kind of action. But these are exactly the kinds of problems that researchers everywhere can help with – especially if we use methods that include and draw attention to the communities most affected by them.
First, let’s define our terms: the concept of a wicked problem dates to the 1970s, when two researchers used it to describe problems with no obvious or clear solution. Today, they’re also thought of as problems for which time to find a solution is running out.
A good example of a “wicked problem” is climate change, but there are
numerous others: lack of access to healthcare and clean water, to agricultural
land, sovereignty and self-determination, and the prevalence of poverty and
In the case of climate change, the bulk of evidence supports the findings of the US Climate Science Special Report, which states that it is “extremely likely” that human activities have caused warming since the mid-20th century. The report reviewed thousands of scientific studies from around the world that documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapour.
Ralph Nader in an article posted on Tuesday’s Counterpunch took to task the current hype about driverless cars following a day long conference on them at Washington University’s law school.
Driverless cars are being promoted because sales are cars are expected to flatten out due to car-sharing, or even fall as the younger generation are less inclined to buy them. Rather than actually investing in public transport, the car industry is promoting driverless automobiles as a way of stimulating sales again.
Nader is rightly sceptical about how well such vehicles will perform in the real world. There are 250 million motor vehicles in the US. This means that real driving conditions are way more complicated than the simple routes on which these vehicles are developed and tested. And while the car industry claims that they will be safer than human-driven vehicles, the reality is most people won’t want a car…
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Climate Change, while extremely important, is but one reason to fear a Trump administration for there is racial, gender and sexuality abuse which is being encouraged to increase, then there is the nuclear option, for can Trump be trusted with the codes.
Trump is one total disaster for the world, environmental sustainability and the existence of any living entity.
Donald Trump may turn out to be a major threat to the world’s environment, putting hundreds of thousands of species under threat, promoting major climate change and putting many communities at risk of such things as flooding, drought, extreme weather, hurricanes, crop failures and starvation. This could result in mass migrations of people and mass extinctions of plants and animals.
President elect Trump claims that manmade climate change is a hoax. He is threatening to pull out of the Paris agreement and reverse the Green Energy programmes. He says that he will promote economic growth by returning to fossil fuel programmes (coal, oil and gas), reopen plants and to hell with the carbon dioxide output or pollution.
He is solely concerned with the economy and jobs. The environment is not an issue.
This runs contrary to all the evidence accumulated on climate change. In the long term it will not only…
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A sad state of afairs
Reblogged from Centre of Biological Diversity
The Huffington Post, June 30, 2015
Will EPA Heed the Pope’s Call to Save Our Oceans?
By Miyoko Sakashita
When it comes to saving our oceans, I’m wondering: What would Pope Francis do?
With his sprawling encyclical on the fate of our planet this month, the pope became an unexpected revolutionary. I never thought I’d see bold environmental leadership arise from this powerful, historically conservative institution.
By now, everyone knows about his call to fight climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and loss of the planet’s biodiversity.
Pope Francis opened a unique opportunity for a renewed environmental movement with his landmark encyclical Laudato Si, or “On Care for our Common Home.” Now the burden is on society to seize this moment and for the United States to robustly regulate carbon dioxide – the chemical compound that is warming our atmosphere and acidifying our oceans – as the powerful pollutant that it is.
The pope observes that the wealthy countries that have plundered and degraded the natural world “because of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production” have the greatest duty to clean it up — starting with the United States, among the world’s top carbon dioxide emitters.
“Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us,” the pope wrote.
Despite the growing climate crisis, the U.S. government barely even recognizes carbon dioxide as a pollutant, let alone one that it is serious about regulating in meaningful way. Despite some improvements, the federal government’s regulation of carbon pollution has been timid under the Clean Air Act. We’re still a far cry from cutting carbon dioxide in a way that will help us avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis.
So imagine if the EPA were emboldened like Pope Francis we could use the full extent of existing laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and others to solve these problems.
During the heyday of environmental law reforms of the mid-1970s, Congress also passed another, broader law to act as a backstop when other measures fail: the Toxic Substances Control Act. So we at the Center for Biological Diversity, along with Dr. Donn Viviani – a retired scientist who headed the Climate Policy Assessment Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – have just formally petitioned the federal government to broadly regulate CO2 under the TSCA.
We lay out a litany of problems that carbon pollution is causing in our oceans as it increases their acidity, from the oxygen-deprived dead zones to widespread weakening of corals and shellfish that are unable to create the carbonate coverings they need for protection, problems that ripple up and down the food chain.
Our first-of-its-kind petition to regulate carbon dioxide as a toxic substance gives the Obama administration an opportunity to show important leadership on this global challenge just as international negotiators prepare for the Paris climate talks this December.
This is an urgent problem requiring immediate action, as the pope indicated: “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity.”
Nowhere is that more clear than in our oceans, which are collecting about 30 percent of our carbon emissions and becoming more acidic in the process and weakening the basic building blocks of life.
“Particularly threatened are marine organisms which we tend to overlook,” the pope noted, “like some forms of plankton; they represent a significant element in the ocean food chain, and species used for our food ultimately depend on them.”
He’s right: When we save the oceans and all the life they hold, we save ourselves and a viable future for generations to come. Who can argue against that?
Society has solved difficult social and environmental problems in the past, and we can all work to fix this one. Now we need to call on EPA for bold leadership to do the right thing.
Follow Miyoko Sakashita on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EndangeredOcean
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This article originally appeared here.