If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening to the nonhuman life forms with which we share this planet, you’ve likely heard the term “the Sixth Extinction.” If not, look it up. After all, a superb environmental reporter, Elizabeth Kolbert, has already gotten a Pulitzer Prize for writing a book with that title.
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Biodiversity / Biodevastation
Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.
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.
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.
A former GMO researcher for Monsanto and JR Simplot reveals why the GMO potatoes he helped develop for Simplot are likely hazardous to health and should be pulled from the market.
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.