A UN Special Rapporteur who last August joined two colleagues in sounding an urgent alarm about the plight of Fukushima workers, has now roundly criticized the Japanese government for returning citizens to the Fukushima region under exposure levels 20 times higher than considered “acceptable” under international standards.
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Biodiversity / Biodevastation
Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.
Tthe Gates Foundation recently started Ceres2030, a Cornell University-based project to capture the science and drive the policy agenda of agriculture and development. Ceres2030 has purchased a forthcoming special issue of prestigious Nature magazine that it will populate with articles and authors of its own choosing. These articles will in turn be used for future media and policy work. The evidence so far is that the goal of Ceres2030 is not sustainability but to spearhead chemical-intensive and GMO agriculture in developing countries.
An insightful followup interview with former GMO researcher Caius Rommens, who recently declared his blight- and bruise-resistant GMO potatoes to be a likely health hazard. Should be read to accompany Rommens' own article.
Despite years of public promises from officials that the tailings ponds would shrink and go away, they are growing. And in the meantime, troubling gaps are opening in the oversight system meant to ensure the oilpatch cleans up its mess. Alberta has collected only $1 billion from companies to help remediate tailings— a problem that is now estimated to cost about 100 times that.
The thing that really gets me in the gut about global warming from fossil fuel combustion is how long it will last. Carbon mined from the deep Earth and injected into the “fast carbon cycle” of the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface will continue to affect atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and climate, for hundreds of thousands of years into the future, unless we clean up the atmosphere ourselves.
IT’S PRETTY EASY to paralyze America’s oil infrastructure. All Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein needed was a set of 3-foot-long green-and-red bolt cutters. And a willingness to go to jail for years.
On October 11, 2016, as they pulled up to an oil pipeline facility in the farm fields outside Leonard, Minnesota, the pair were bent on taking direct action to address climate change, since, they figured, the US government had failed to do anything about it. “This is the only way we get their attention,” Klapstein said on video before she got out of the car. “All other avenues have been exhausted."
Plastics are found in the products we use every day: the toys we give our children, the clothing we wear, the disposable cups we drink from, the automobiles we make, the straws we use, the list goes on. Cheap and easy to make, plastic goods and plastic production have exploded in recent years. Yet the junked cars, the used straws and cups, they all end up somewhere, perhaps in a landfill, or perhaps drifting in the wind. 91% of plastic goods are not recycled. Most have found their way to rivers, lakes, and oceans, and over time break down into tiny microscopic particles of plastic. Microplastics are everywhere, even in the deepest sea floor sediments and in the Arctic. They can originate in small form from toothpaste or makeup, or can be derived from larger pieces of plastic, which over time break down into small particles.
Maps below show the temperature anomaly for the past three months and the seasonal mean (Northern Hemisphere Summer). We draw attention to the cool region southeast of Greenland and warmth in the middle of the North Atlantic.
The underlying cause here is “technological fundamentalism,” the belief that the increasing use of evermore sophisticated, high-energy, advanced technology can solve any problem, including those caused by the unintended consequences of earlier technologies. This Panglossian approach allows modelers to state the climate problem can be contained without giving up a social and political system that is founded on continued and endless economic growth.
This belief also allows for the idea that the business-as-usual approach can continue, and the solution is replacing coal, gas, and nuclear plants with solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries or other storage technologies. As supporters of the fossil fuel and nuclear industries like to point out, even these technologies have environmental and social impacts. To live sustainably on this planet—and despite what folks such as Elon Musk might promise, this is the only planet available for the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants—even these more benign technologies have to be limited in scale.
On October 31st a select group of UK scientists launched a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government at the Houses of Parliament: “For criminal inaction in the face of climate change catastrophe and ecological collapse.”
According to the scientists, now is the time to act as a planetary emergency is already upon us.
Nearly 100 British scientists, academics, and writers are willing to go to jail to make their point that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is a surefire provocateur that’s already starting to decimate ecosystems.