Snippets …

writing2Last year, melting permafrost in Siberia released a strain of anthrax, which had been sealed in a frozen reindeer carcass, sickening 100 people and killing one child. In July 2015, during the hottest month ever recorded on earth (until the following year), and the hottest day ever recorded in England (until the following summer), the Guardian newspaper had to shut down its live-blogging of the heat wave when the servers overheated.

The New York Times Magazine, April 19, 2017. Our Climate Future is Actually Our Climate Present by Jon Mooallem.

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The Guardian, April 17, 2017. Receding Glacier Causes Immense Canadian River to Vanish in Four Days by Hannah Devlin.

Over the last eight years, food policy has gone from being a topic for industry insiders and wonks, to a regular staple on mainstream America’s menu of interests.

Case in point: A plurality of Americans now believe healthy food should be more affordable, farm subsidies should be used to grow that healthy food, farming should happen in harmony with the environment, and food system workers should be treated—and paid—fairly.

By most any measure, the prospects for advancing a progressive food and agriculture agenda now seem grim. But all is not entirely lost, and some advocates are working to create a national food strategy—a centralized list of federal policies, priorities, and principles to guide our nation’s food system.

Civil Eats, April 18, 2017. In Trump’s America, Navigating a Path for a Progressive National Food Strategy by Steve Holt.

Cashing In!

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“Exxon Mobil is seeking permission from the U.S. government for approval to resume drilling around the Black Sea with a Russian partner, state-owned Rosneft, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The oil giant’s request is being reviewed by the Trump administration and is certain to draw extra scrutiny because it involves a company formerly run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who cultivated close ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.”

AP Source: Exxon Seeks OK to Resume Russian Oil Venture, By MARTIN CRUTSINGER and DAVID KOENIG, Associated Press

Border Wall: What Happens to the Animals?

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(cc) Rebajae  South side of the United States-Mexico border wall in Progreso Lakes, Texas. March 2016

Many people think of the U.S.-Mexico border being located in an empty, lifeless, desert. Nothing could be further from the truth. The desert is home to many animals that migrate from north to south and back again across the border. Far too many of these creatures are listed as endangered.  For environmental reasons alone, the Twitler’s border wall should be canceled, in toto.

The Texas Tribune published a story a few weeks ago that is a good summary of the important environmental issues that are in play here. “Scientists say Trump’s border wall would devastate wildlife habitat” is well worth your time to read.

 

 

Sabotaging Healthcare

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“On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he plans to use the powers of his office to jeopardize health-care access for millions of low-income people, while destabilizing America’s insurance markets — because he believes that voters will blame the ensuing chaos on the Democratic Party, leaving Chuck Schumer desperate to negotiate with the White House over Obamacare repeal.” Read the rest of Eric Levitz’ article here.

California Lists Glyphosate as Carcinogen

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By USDA Photo by: Charles O’Rear [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup. This chemical is widely used throughout California, particularly in the Central Valley. This is the first time a regulatory body in the United States has listed glyphosate as a carcinogen. The federal Environmental Protection Agency claims: Glyphosate products can be safely used by following label directions.

Monsanto is not pleased with this situation and is fighting (i.e., litigating) California’s decision. For more information see: Cancer Worries Over a Common Weedkiller.

Coal Museum Adds Solar Panels

COAL_BARGE_ON_THE_MONONGAHELA_RIVER_MOVES_PAST_A_UNITED_STATES_STEEL_CORPORATION_COKE_PLANT_AT_CLAIRTON..._-_NARA_-_557216.tif
US Steel Coke Plant, Clairton PA, 1973. Public Domain, National Archives and Records Administration

Grist reports that “A coal museum in Kentucky is switching to solar power. Long live irony!” The museum will save money on electrical costs by installing solar panels on the roof. All excess energy produced will feed into the town’s power grid. In the past election, 85% of the voters in Harlan County, where the museum is located, voted for The Twitler who promised to bring back coal jobs. Yea, right….