California bans pesticide linked to brain damage in children

May 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on California bans pesticide linked to brain damage in children

In a move that is both a victory for environmental justice and a snub to the current president, the California Senate officially banned a pesticide that has been proven to cause brain damage in children. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously attempted to ban the toxic chemical, chlorpyrifos, nationwide, however, the Trump administration rejected the overwhelming scientific evidence of its health impact on pregnant women and children living near major farms. This week, California representatives voted to overrule the president in their own state. Public health activists believe the Trump administration is protecting the business interests of Dow Dupont, a chlorpyrifos manufacturer that previously donated to the president’s campaign. Related: EPA backs the use of toxic herbicide chemical glyphosate According to studies, the pesticide has been linked to impaired brain and neurological development among children. It has also been linked to increased risk of autism, memory problems and lower IQs among the children of women who were exposed to the chemical while pregnant. “Countless people have suffered as a result of this chemical,” the California EPA secretary, Jared Blumenfeld, said in an interview on Wednesday. “A lot of people live and work and go to school right next to fields that are being sprayed with chlorpyrifos … It’s an issue of environmental health and justice.” Low income and immigrant communities of California’s central valley are largely impacted due to their proximity to major industrial farms where the chemical is sprayed. Chlorpyrifos pesticides are often used on almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts among other products. Research shows that the chemical is linked to these health concerns at even lower doses than originally thought. According to Dow Dupont’s spokesman, the manufacturing company is planning to challenge the ban, saying it unfairly hurts farmers who need a way to effectively control pests. The ban will “remove an important tool for farmers and undermines the highly effective system for regulating pesticides,” the spokesman said in a statement. However, California’s governor has proposed a $5.7 million plan to help farmers transition to more sustainable pest control options. “The science is definitive,” said Blumenfeld . “This job really should have been done by the U.S. EPA .” Via The Guardian Image via  skeeze

Read more here: 
California bans pesticide linked to brain damage in children

Congress reports U.S. will lose $54 billion annually to storms

May 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Congress reports U.S. will lose $54 billion annually to storms

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office predicts an alarming $54 billion in hurricane and flood damage over the next few years — much of which can be avoided by spending money upfront to protect and prevent against losses. The frequency of what are called “billion-dollar storms” appear to be increasing. In 2018, there were 39 “billion-dollar” disasters around the world — 16 of which were in the U.S. Already in the first four months of 2019, the U.S. has endured winter storms Quiana and Ulmer, and each one caused more than a billion dollars  in damage to infrastructure and homes. The new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) focuses on hurricanes, which are the mostly costly natural disasters according to NOAA. Since 1980, tropical cyclones have caused a combined $927.5 billion in damages and are also the most expensive individual storm events in both financial cost and lives lost. Related: Low-income housing in flood zones traps families in harm’s way Of the annual losses predicted by the CBO, $34 billion is estimated in damage to homes, plus $12 billion for the public sector and $9 billion for private businesses. The direct cost to taxpayers is estimated at approximately $17 billion per year. However, the CBO report also underscores several preventive actions that could significantly reduce these costs. By some analyses , mitigation measures (such as flood prevention or watershed protection) could save Americans $6 dollars in losses for every $1 spent in preparation. Solutions to mitigate hurricane damage The following suggestions from the report include environmental and policy-level recommendations to reduce loss in infrastructure and lives from tropical storms and hurricanes. Reduce carbon emissions Hurricanes, and their rising frequency and intensity, are intricately tied to climate change . Increasing temperatures melt glaciers and cause sea level rise, which leads to higher storm surge levels and more destructive flooding. The rising temperatures have also been linked to increased rainfall. Climate change is a result of greenhouse gas emissions; therefore,  reducing emissions would slow and prevent some of the future damage caused by intense storms and extreme flooding. One primary way to reduce emissions, according to the CBO, is by expanding cap-and-trade programs. These programs incentivize companies to keep emissions below designated thresholds and allow the purchasing of emission credits between companies that pollute less and companies that pollute more. However, the CBO also acknowledges that limiting emissions may negatively impact the economy by increasing the cost of goods and services and reducing jobs. Likewise, the CBO argues that such strategies must be enforced at a global scale, otherwise corporations will relocate to countries that allow unfettered pollution. Increase funding for flood mapping The weather is changing, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is struggling to keep up. Rapid urban development in wetlands and flood zones, combined with sea level rise and erosion, are changing the landscape of flood risk. The scale of this need is overwhelming — in 2018, FEMA spent $452 million on flood mapping and data collection, but it was nowhere near enough. Expand flood insurance coverage Flood insurance agencies need accurate spatial data and maps in order to adequately provide coverage, charge appropriate rates and adequately inform the public about their specific risks. Most people simply do not buy flood insurance and of those that do, 25 percent drop their plan within the first year. More accurate data and delineated risk zones can help inform residents of their direct risks and incentivize homeowners to implement mitigation measure, such as relocating heating and cooling equipment above of the predicted flood level. Accurate risk data will also help justify changes for long-standing insurance policy holders who have been “grandfathered” into plans that grossly underestimated their vulnerability before climate science and spatial mapping were widely available. An estimated 20 percent of insurance policy holders are paying rates lower than their appropriate risk level, which is good news for the policy holder up until a storm hits and they are in need of benefits that correspond to the damage they endured. Encourage local and state governments to share recovery costs When the president declares a disaster emergency, municipalities receive federal dollars to provide basic needs and support recovery efforts. Though the federal government plans to ramp up funding for preventive measures, such as sea walls, the CBO believes that if local and state governments had to foot more of the bill, they would be more inclined to enforce important mitigation policy . For example, if local and state governments expected to have to pay for damage to infrastructure, they would be more strict about limiting new development in flood zones — something they have more power to control from a local level. The message is clear — mitigation efforts are worth every penny. The National Weather Service already predicted more severe flooding this hurricane season than previous years. As evidence piles up in favor of mitigation, the only question remaining is ‘where do we start?’ + CBO Via The Weather Channel Image via Raquel M  and Pamela Andrade ( 1 , 2 )

See the original post here: 
Congress reports U.S. will lose $54 billion annually to storms

Two abandoned 1960s buildings in the middle of a desert become a chic eco retreat

May 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Two abandoned 1960s buildings in the middle of a desert become a chic eco retreat

London-based practice Anarchitect has breathed new life into two stone buildings from the 1960s that had laid vacant in the United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah desert for years. Using the crimson landscape as inspiration, the firm converted the abandoned buildings into the Al Faya Lodge , a light-filled eco retreat that was built with a variety of resilient materials to withstand the remote area’s extreme temperature fluctuations. Set into the foothills of Mount Alvaah and surrounded by miles of desert, the boutique hotel  required a very strategic design that would enable the structures to be resilient against the harsh climate. According to Anarchitect founder Jonathan Ashmore, the location was challenging to say the least. “Desert conditions present extreme heat in summer with intense and prolonged sun exposure,” Ashmore said. “It is important to consider these factors when first designing the form and mass of the building and secondly the selection of suitable and robust materials, which go hand-in-hand.” Related: Off-grid eco-retreats reconnect you to serene nature in Brazil Using the existing frames of the old buildings (formerly a grocery store and cafe) as a guide for the layout, the architects selected a number of robust materials to create a resilient design that would stand up to the elements for years to come. Locally-sourced stone and concrete were chosen to create a heavy thermal mass, which would help keep the interior spaces at a comfortable temperature year-round. Additionally, using concrete and stone also protects the building from the harsh weather that often sees driving rain, sand storms and freezing overnight temperatures. In addition to these materials, the hotel was clad in a vibrant mixture of weathered steel and teak hardwood to add a refined industrial aesthetic to the design. Large floor-to-ceiling panels let in optimal natural light throughout the interior and provide a strong connection with the amazing setting found outdoors. While guests to the lodge can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and desertscape from the hotel’s dining area, reception room and outdoor fire pit, the rooftop terrace is the place to be at sunrise and sunset. All of the five guest rooms feature large skylights for stargazing. When looking for a little downtime from exploring the area, guests can also take in a luxurious soak in the open-air saltwater pool. + Anarchitect + Al Faya Lodge Via Archdaily Photography by Fernando Guerra via Anarchitect

Read more here:
Two abandoned 1960s buildings in the middle of a desert become a chic eco retreat

Energy-efficient light bulb production could take a major hit

March 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Energy-efficient light bulb production could take a major hit

The production of energy-efficient light bulbs could be hurt by a new proposal. The Trump administration is looking to get rid of Obama-era laws that encouraged companies to make energy-efficient bulbs. If the regulations are rolled back, experts warn that less-efficient bulbs will increase energy bills and lead to additional pollution. The bulbs in question were not originally included in President George W. Bush’s 2007 law, which pushed for more LED bulbs . These products include decorative globes, often put on display in bathrooms, three-way bulbs and candle-shaped light sources. In total, these products make up around 2.7 billion bulbs on the market today. Related: This high-tech LED lighting could grow veggies in space The Obama administration attempted to place these specialty items under the 2007 regulations. But companies objected to the move and sued the government. According to  NPR , President Trump hopes to reverse the Energy Department’s position on the matter by not requiring specialty companies to follow the same energy standards as other bulbs. Experts, like Alliance to Save Energy’s Jason Hartke, believe the move does not make sense. Not only do these energy wasting bulbs drive up utility costs, but they are also terrible for the environment. In order to produce these specialty items, companies will have to waste enormous amounts of coal-powered energy for products that are inferior. “I just don’t understand the rationale behind trying to turn back the clock,” Hartke shared. “There aren’t many people out there clamoring for outdated light bulbs that use four or five times as much energy.” At the end of the day, the issue will likely end up in court, where a panel of judges will decide if rolling back energy policies is legal. Opponents of the move argue that the Department of Energy cannot reverse policies when it comes to energy standards. While the government and environmentalists battle it out in court, people within the lighting industry claim that they have no interest in producing bulbs that are not energy-efficient. The industry knows that efficient light bulbs are the future and that consumers want products that are both good for the environment and their pocketbook. + Department of Energy Via NPR Image via Geoffrey A. Landis and Kotivalo

View original here:
Energy-efficient light bulb production could take a major hit

Mount Everest’s melting glaciers expose the bodies of long-lost climbers

March 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Mount Everest’s melting glaciers expose the bodies of long-lost climbers

Close to 300 climbers and explorers have died trying to summit Mount Everest, and the bodies of those that remain on the mountain are starting to become exposed because of  melting glaciers . Around two-thirds of the people who have passed on the mountain are believed to be encased in the ice and snow. Authorities are starting to remove the exposed bodies on the Chinese side of the mountain range, and efforts are picking up as spring arrives. To date, more than 4,800 mountaineers have summited Mount Everest , and more are expected to attempt the feat this year. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of Himalayan ice cap by 2100 “Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting, and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, who used to be the president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, explained. It is unclear how many deceased individuals have been removed from the mountain so far, but government officials said that the number of exposed bodies has steadily increased over the years. According to the BBC , one of the challenges with removing these bodies is that government officials are required to be involved in the process. This has made it difficult to remove some bodies from higher elevations. Recent studies have shown that Mount Everest’s glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, leading to flooding in local lakes and rivers. Scientists attribute the melting glaciers to global warming , and the issue is affecting the entire mountain range. Seeing a few bodies emerge every now and then is completely normal on the mountain, and most climbers are prepared for the situation. A few bodies are even used as landmarks. Still, it costs anywhere between 40 and 80 thousand dollars to remove a body, especially at higher elevations. Officials also have to consider personal issues when they uncover a body as well as how to get in contact with family members of the deceased. While melting glaciers are the main cause of the exposed bodies, movement in the glaciers is also a factor in the number of bodies that become uncovered each climbing season. Via BBC Image via Guillaume Baviere

Excerpt from: 
Mount Everest’s melting glaciers expose the bodies of long-lost climbers

Crucial animal protection laws for the sage grouse being eliminated by the White House

March 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Crucial animal protection laws for the sage grouse being eliminated by the White House

The White House is eliminating crucial animal protection laws for the sage grouse. The protections, originally put in place by President Barack Obama , are being rolled back to open millions of acres of land for gas and oil development. Conservationists warn the move could land the sage grouse back on the endangered species list. The Donald Trump administration’s new plan targets 8.7 million acres of Sagebrush Focal Areas, an important habitat for the sage grouse and hundreds of other wildlife. Since 2015, oil and gas companies have been unable to set up shop in these areas, which has boosted grouse populations. Related: Trump administration wants to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list Steve Holmer, vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, revealed that stripping away these protections has already cut down grouse populations in the Dakotas and Washington State. “These changes will put the grouse back on a path toward needing an Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing,” ABC President, Mike Parr, shared. “That’s exactly the outcome that the 2015 cooperative plans had sought to prevent.” Trump first proposed the plan back in December with the goal of opening the door for more gas and oil development on public land. Trump is justifying his new initiative by calling for a new age of “ energy dominance” in America, and his Interior Department head, David Bernhardt, is helping make it happen. Bernhardt is also looking to revise the Endangered Species Act, which was put in place back in 1973. Bernhard, who used to be an oil lobbyist, wants regulators to consider the economic effects of placing wildlife on the endangered list. This would ultimately make it easier to justify developing in endangered habitats that were previously off limits. With Trump’s new plan threatening sage grouse populations across the country, conservationists are doing their best to protect the beloved bird. This includes studying population numbers and learning how gas and oil development affects those statistics moving forward. Conservationists are also looking to put the sage grouse on the endangered species list, something that has not been possible because of the previous animal protection laws. Via New York Times Image via Shutterstock

Read more from the original source:
Crucial animal protection laws for the sage grouse being eliminated by the White House

Episode 162: More voices from GreenBiz 19, parsing Lyft’s environmental ambitions

March 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Episode 162: More voices from GreenBiz 19, parsing Lyft’s environmental ambitions

Among those featured: Beautycounter CEO Gregg Renfrew and Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp.

See the original post here:
Episode 162: More voices from GreenBiz 19, parsing Lyft’s environmental ambitions

Botswana considers lifting elephant hunting ban due to overpopulation

February 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Botswana considers lifting elephant hunting ban due to overpopulation

Botswana is contemplating removing an elephant hunting ban that has successfully boosted populations over the past four years. The country has seen the number of elephants increase over the years and officials believe culling is needed to prevent conflicts between the mammals and people. Experts believe there are around 130,000 elephants in Botswana, a number that has steadily grown since the country adopted a hunting ban in 2014. Although Botswana’s tourism sector has benefited greatly from the population boost, President Mokgweetsi Masisi advised ministers to re-evaluate the ban in light of overpopulation. Related: Mass poaching in Botswana leaves behind 90 tuskless elephants Officials in Botswana deliberated for months and consulted with residents and companies about the elephant hunting ban before releasing any data. The research indicated that people and organizations are in favor of lifting the hunting ban and keeping elephant populations within their traditional range. The ministers also recommended limited culling efforts in the event that the ban is lifted. “I can promise you and the nation that we will consider it. A white paper will follow, and it will be shared with the public,” President Masisi stated. Masisi added that they plan on consulting with parliament before they remove the ban and allow hunting of elephants . The president is also open to keeping the ban in place if parliamentary leaders believe it should be upheld. Proponents of lifting the ban claim that the rise in elephant populations in Botswana has led to an increase in conflict between the large mammals and humans. Farmers have also complained that elephants have been ruining crops. In some cases, the interactions between elephants and humans has turned violent, even leading to deaths. Environmentalists, on the other hand, disapprove of lifting the ban and say that better conservation efforts are needed to protect these animals . Experts also believe that Botswana’s tourism sector could take a major hit if the country starts hunting elephants again. Following its productive diamond mining, tourism is the country’s next highest source of outside income. It is unclear when officials in Botswana will initiate a plan to remove the elephant hunting ban and what the culling process will entail. Via BBC Image via designerpoint

See more here:
Botswana considers lifting elephant hunting ban due to overpopulation

This artist created a stunning art installation made from 168,000 plastic straws to encourage people to use less

February 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on This artist created a stunning art installation made from 168,000 plastic straws to encourage people to use less

The world produces 260 million tons of plastic every year, and 10 percent of it ends up in our oceans either degrading at a painfully slow rate or not degrading at all. Artist Benjamin Von Wong wants to send a message: The smallest action can make the biggest impact. Even something as simple as saying “no thanks” to a plastic straw. The numbers are constantly rising and soon the earth won’t be able to take it anymore. Among these troublesome pollutants is the humble plastic straw. Durable, too small to recycle and usually only used once, straws make up a huge portion of unnecessary plastic waste. Related: Volvo creates the living seawall in Sydney to help with plastic pollution Thankfully this epidemic is beginning to gain attention. With the help of volunteers, Starbucks Vietnam and Zero Waste Saigon, Von Wong spent six months gathering used plastic straws to turn into “The Parting of the Plastic Sea .” The art installation, also known as “strawpocalypse,” took over two weeks to create. To represent different parts of the wave, the straws were divided by color and connected together and formed into the flowing base, the white froth and the yellow sand. Volunteers spent hours arranging the straws to mimic paint brush strokes. Plastic bags were used to support the straws onto the structure and to act as a diffuser for the LED lighting . “The plastic problem is either out of sight, out of mind– or so omnipresent that it becomes invisible,” says Von Wong. “I wanted to use art to tackle both angles – by creating something beautiful and unique out of an environmental tragedy.” “Strawpocalypse” was truly a team effort. Along with the volunteers, Von Wong had the help of Nick Moser, a technical builder in SF, Stefan Suknjaja, an escape room designer in Serbia and Fosha Zyang, a local set designer . When it came to arranging the straws everything came together organically . Since it was difficult to predict exactly how the structure would look once finished, it was exciting for everyone when the piece finally began to come together. The piece currently resides inside the atrium at Estella Place in Ho Chi Minh City, giving viewers a chance to see “strawpocalypse” from a 360-degree angle. They also built a plastic background with a “sun” effect with LED light panels and galvanized wire to prevent distraction. The art installation is fitting, “something so large that if anybody walked by, they couldn’t help but ignore,” according to the artist. So next time you think to yourself “it’s only one straw,” just remember that eight billion other people are saying the same thing. “Strawpocalypse” will be looking for a new home starting in late March 2019, those interested can visit thestrawpocalypse.com + Von Wong Images via Von Wong

Go here to read the rest: 
This artist created a stunning art installation made from 168,000 plastic straws to encourage people to use less

The world is close to annihilation according to the iconic Doomsday Clock

January 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on The world is close to annihilation according to the iconic Doomsday Clock

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board has announced that the iconic Doomsday Clock is remaining at two minutes to midnight because of the dangers of climate change and the lack of progress on nuclear risks. Midnight on Doomsday is a symbolic point of annihilation and has reached the familiar point it was once in at the peak of the Cold War in 1953. The Science and Security Board made the decision to keep the clock in its current standing with the Board of Sponsors — which includes 14 Nobel Laureates — and have dubbed the situation as “the new abnormal.” In addition to climate change and nuclear risks, another factor in the decision was “the increased use of information warfare.” “It is still two minutes to midnight. Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention. These major threats — nuclear weapons and climate change  — were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilization in extraordinary danger,” read the 2019 Doomsday Clock statement. The statement went on to say that this “new abnormal” is unsustainable and extremely dangerous, but nonetheless, the power to improve the severity of the situation remains in the hands of world leaders. The clock can move away from catastrophe if leaders act under pressure from engaged citizens. Related: Is the Green New Deal the all-inclusive climate plan we need? Rachel Bronson, the president and CEO of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , says that they are describing a frightening reality and the clock is the closest it has ever been to an apocalypse and should be recognized as a stark warning by all leaders and citizens of the world. The 2019 Doomsday Clock statement emphasized #RewindtheDoomsdayClock and recommended multiple action steps be taken. They included U.S. and Russian leaders resolving their differences over the INF treaty, adopting measures to prevent peacetime military incidents on the NATO borders and American citizens demanding climate action from their government . Other recommendations were for countries around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to reach the temperature goal of the Paris climate agreement and for the Trump administration to revisit their decision to exit the plan for limiting Iran’s nuclear program. Via Bulletin.org Image via Shutterstock

Read the original here: 
The world is close to annihilation according to the iconic Doomsday Clock

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1150 access attempts in the last 7 days.