Tag: earth talk
If by pollution you mean greenhouse gas emissions, then definitely yes. According to Maria Diuk-Wasser at the Yale School of Public Health, the onset of human-induced global warming is likely to increase the infection rates of mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever and West Nile virus by creating more mosquito-friendly habitats.
In what’s being billed as the greatest environmental initiative of his presidency, Barack Obama announced on June 25, 2013 that his administration is instituting stringent mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants, factories and other industrial sources. These sources combined account for roughly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. The goal is to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions nationally by four percent below 1990 levels within the next seven years.
While it is true that habitat loss as a result of human encroachment is a primary threat to birds and wildlife of all kinds, outdoor cats are no doubt exacerbating the loss of biodiversity as their numbers swell and they carry on their instinctual business of hunting.
Organic production may still represent only a small fraction of agricultural sales in the U.S. and worldwide, but it as been growing rapidly over the last two decades.
The monarch butterfly, royally adorned in black, white and reddish-orange and able to migrate as far as 2,800 miles, is a true wonder of nature. Each year monarchs travel from Canada and the U.S. to hibernate in the forests of central Mexico. But in recent years the monarchs have been in sharp population decline due to habitat loss, eradication of the plants it depends upon and other environmental factors.
Indeed we are embroiled in what many consider the worst drought in the U.S. since the “Dust Bowl” days of the 1930s that rendered some 50 million acres of farmland barely usable.
According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), energy consumption for home air conditioning units accounts for more than eight percent of all the electricity produced in the U.S., at a cost to homeowners of $15 billion annually. Besides the cost, all this cooling leads to annual emissions of about 195 million tons of CO2—or two tons per year for each American home with A/C.
Many people may not realize that what happened on April 17, 2013 in the town of West, Texas—a fertilizer plant with an unreported large stockpile of explosive ammonium nitrate blew up, killing 14 and rendering hundreds of others injured and homeless—could happen almost anywhere.
The so-called Monsanto Protection Act is actually a provision (officially known as Section 735) within a recently passed Congressional spending bill, H.R. 933, which exempts biotech companies from litigation in regard to the making, selling and distribution of genetically engineered (GE) seeds and plants.
In essence, greenwashing involves falsely conveying to consumers that a given product, service, company or institution factors environmental responsibility into its offerings and/or operations. CorpWatch, a non-profit dedicated to keeping tabs on the social responsibility (or lack thereof) of U.S.-based companies, characterizes greenwashing as “the phenomena of socially and environmentally destructive corporations, attempting to preserve and expand their markets or power by posing as friends of the environment.”
Americans care more about the environment than ever before and the overwhelming majority of us acknowledges that climate change is real and human-induced. But still we continue to consume many more resources per capita than any other nation and refuse to take strong policy action to stave off global warming—even though we have the power to do so.
Environmentalists and wind energy boosters breathed a sigh of relief this past January when Congress voted to reinstate the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a federal tax incentive for companies that generate renewable energy from wind, geothermal or “closed-loop” biomass (dedicated energy crops) sources.
The sequester that went into effect March 1 is a budget measure that cuts federal spending across the board to the tune of $85 billion, meaning every federal agency is affected and must reduce discretionary spending. Indeed, the cuts are already having a negative impact on everything from air quality monitoring to extreme weather response capability to staffing at national parks.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chlorine levels of four parts per million or below in drinking water—whether from a private well or municipal reservoir—are acceptable from a human health standpoint. Inexpensive home drinking water test kits (from $5 on up) that can detect levels of chlorine and other elements in water are widely available from online vendors. Administering the tests is easy and can provide parents with a way to involve kids in science for a practical purpose right at home.
Food scarcity is a bigger problem than ever as human population numbers continue to swell, putting additional stress on already fragile food production and distribution systems. And it’s not just happening in far away places: A recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the number of U.S. homes “lacking food security” rose from 4.7 million to 6.7 million in just the last five years.