Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

February 9, 2018 by  
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt has once again aired thoughts that depart from mainstream climate science , according to The Guardian . In a recent interview with Nevada TV station News 3 , Pruitt suggested global warming could be beneficial for people. He said, “Do we really know what the ideal surface temperature should be in the year 2100, in the year 2018? It’s fairly arrogant for us to think we know exactly what it should be in 2100.” Pruitt said in an interview with News 3’s Gerard Ramahlo, “No one disputes the climate changes , is changing, that’s, we see that, that’s constant. We obviously contribute to it; we live in the climate, right?…Now measuring that with precision, Gerard, I think is more challenging than is let on at times but I think the bigger question is…is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? I mean, we know that humans have most flourished during times of what, warming trends. I mean, so, so, I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming that that necessarily is a bad thing.” Related: Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban The EPA administrator echoed an idea that’s been raised in the past of a debate on climate change, to go over “what we do know and what we don’t know, so the American people can be informed and make decisions on their own.” A snapshot of the EPA website on January 19, 2017, the day before Donald Trump was sworn into office, was very clear that the impacts of climate change would threaten human health . They said people could be exposed to disease , be threatened by extreme weather events, or face food insecurity due to climate change impacts. Via The Guardian and News 3 Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans

Beautiful Eichler-inspired home draws the eye with a dramatic roof

February 9, 2018 by  
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A coastal infill lot in Southern California has been transformed into a beautiful new home that leans heavily on mid-century modern influences. Surfside Projects and architect Lloyd Russell teamed up to design Avocado Acres House in Encinitas, a beach town just outside of San Diego. The Case Study Houses and Eichler Homes provided the main inspiration for the home, which also incorporates sustainable and energy-efficient design elements. Like all beloved mid-century modern homes in California, Avocado Acres Home embraces the outdoors with ample glazing . A sloping curved shed roof tops the single-story building and tie together its three pavilions that make up a U-shaped plan. “Straight lines with an angular street front geometry sits in stark contrast to the unique curvilinear roof profile,” wrote the designers. “A simple color palette of the open interior space complements the muscular concrete walls and extensive use of natural wood tones on the vaulted ceiling, flooring and cabinetry.” Related: Classic Eichler gets a tasteful renovation and expansion in the heart of Silicon Valley The main living spaces are placed at the front of the home near the street and arranged in an L-formation, however, high walls and clerestory windows preserve privacy. In contrast, nine-foot-tall sliding glass doors open the dining room up to the outdoor courtyard hidden from the street. Three bedrooms, including the master ensuite, are located at the rear of the home. The home’s sustainable features were certified by California’s GreenPoint Rated system. + Surfside Projects + Lloyd Russell Photos by Darren Bradley

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Beautiful Eichler-inspired home draws the eye with a dramatic roof

Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

August 3, 2017 by  
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A top senior official at the EPA resigned this week with a scathing letter  aimed at Trump and his anti-environmental agenda. Elizabeth Southerland has been with the EPA for over 30 years, and in that time she has battled cancer-causing water contaminants, toxic pollution and a host of other threats to our natural resources. But working under climate deniers Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt is a bridge too far. “Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities,” she said in her letter. Southerland isn’t the first scientist to quit to protest the administration’s policies, which has also seen key scientists demoted in an attempt to drive them out of their roles. Southerland is particularly critical of Trump’s oversimplified policy of cutting two regulations for every new one. “Should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin?” Related: Trump’s EPA moves to kill Obama’s Clean Water Rule Southerland was the director in the Office of Science and Technology. Already eligible for retirement, she cites the need to focus on family as a key decision to quit, in addition to her outrage at the hostile policies pushed by Trump. “[T]he President’s FY18 budget proposes cuts to state and tribal funding as draconian as the cuts to EPA , while at the same time reassigning a number of EPA responsibilities to the states and tribes,” she says in her letter. She also comments on a speech given by the Administrator in which he admonished the EPA for running roughshod over state’s rights. “In fact, EPA has always followed a cooperative federalism approach since most environmental programs are delegated to states and tribes who carry out the majority of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement actions.” Via Huffington Post Images via Flickr  and Wikimedia

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Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

Earths natural resources for 2017 are already in overdraft’

August 3, 2017 by  
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Yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day – but unlike Earth Day , this is no occasion to celebrate. As of August 2, 2017, humans have officially used more natural resources than the Earth can replenish in one year. From now until the beginning of 2018, every natural resource used is considered unsustainable . The Global Footprint Network can be calculated by dividing the number of ecological resources which are produced annually by humanity’s ecological footprint . That number is then multiplied by 365. The resulting data reveals the day every year that is the maximum date humans have before overshooting the “sustainability mark.” Unfortunately, that day arrived just slightly over halfway through 2017. According to the Earth Overshoot Day website, there are three main culprits to blame for the depletion of natural resources: overfishing , deforestation and the emissions of CO2. Deforestation is a primary concern as approximately 130,000 square kilometers (50,200 square miles) of forested land is removed every year, according to WWF . To put that into perspective, consider that is roughly the size of England. Effects of deforestation including habitat loss, reduced oxygen output and decreased animal populations. Large areas of woodlands are burned as well, releasing vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Related: Stefano Boeri unveils Amatrice Food Village in town devastated by earthquake Every year, an estimated 38.2 billion tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere as a result of human activity. Because CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it produces an “insulatory effect” which increases the temperature of Earth’s climate. This, in turn, results in melting glaciers which raise sea levels , causing natural disasters such as tsunamis, floods, and food shortages. Fortunately, hundreds of nations all around the planet have agreed to set sustainability goals as outlined by the Paris Climate Agreement . Though progress is slow, action is being taken to reduce resource depletion. If you are interested in calculating your own overshoot day, visit the Global Footprint Network . + Earth Overshoot Day Via Daily Mail Images via Pixabay

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Earths natural resources for 2017 are already in overdraft’

Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban

June 28, 2017 by  
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If anyone is still hoping the Donald Trump administration will put the environment before industries, new reports should put that to rest. Back in March the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided they wouldn’t ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos , a big cash cow for Dow Chemical that’s also been shown to harm children’s brains in health studies, including an EPA review. But apparently there was no chance the EPA would prioritize children above businesses. The Associated Press (AP) recently learned EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met privately with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris shortly before the decision to not ban the pesticide . Polluting industries champion Pruitt met with Liveris on March 9 for around half an hour in Houston, according to Pruitt’s schedule. EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman said they were “briefly introduced” and did not talk about chlorpyrifos. But 20 days later the EPA announced they wouldn’t ban that brain development-interfering pesticide after all. Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers Scientists have repeatedly shown chlorpyrifos can have a negative impact on child brain development, according to Gizmodo. EPA scientists also said even in small doses the chemical can interfere with child brain development – and they also said levels of the chemical found in food were higher than what would be deemed safe. As if that wasn’t enough, federal scientists found chlorpyrifos – along with two other chemicals Dow manufactures, diazinon and malathion – are harmful for nearly 1,800 endangered or critically endangered species. And the AP found out lawyers representing Dow and two other pesticide-manufacturing companies sent letters to the EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Department of Commerce requesting they set aside those study results as they were “fundamentally flawed.” In 2016 Dow Chemical spent over $13.6 million on lobbying. They sell around five million pounds of chlorpyrifos in the United States every year. They also donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration festivities, although Dow’s director of public affairs Rachelle Schikorra told the AP the idea the donation was meant to influence decisions is “completely off the mark.” Guess they gave that $1 million donation out of the goodness of their hearts then. Via the Associated Press ( 1 , 2 ), Gizmodo , and Vanity Fair Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban

Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers

May 16, 2017 by  
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If President Donald Trump is waging a war on local farmworkers in California , he’s winning. His Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened up the use of a pesticide called chlorpyrifos to agriculture in March, and then this month when at least 50 laborers were exposed to the pesticide Vulcan, of which chlorpyrifos is an active ingredient, some of them vomited or fainted; one person had to go to the hospital. Chlorpyrifos was scheduled to be banned under Barack Obama’s administration. But at the end of March , EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt denied a petition that called for the ban. Then in Bakersfield, California a Sun Pacific farm sprayed Vulcan on their mandarin trees, and it drifted over to Dan Andrews Farms where workers harvesting cabbage began to feel sick. Grist said Kern County officials have not yet determined if chlorpyrifos was indeed present in the Vulcan sprayed, but both Grist and Kern Golden Empire described chlorpyrifos as an active ingredient in Vulcan. EPA documents from February 2017 also listed chlorpyrifos as the active ingredient in Vulcan. Related: Trump’s EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children 12 workers reported symptoms of nausea or vomiting. One person fainted and another went to the hospital. Kern Golden Empire reported 12 other laborers didn’t show systems, but that over half the workers had left before medical aid could arrive. Officials described Vulcan as highly toxic, and the Kern County Fire Department and Kern Country Environmental Health and Hazmat came to do a mass contamination of the area. Kern County Public Health Public Relations Officer Michelle Corson called for anyone exposed to seek out medical attention right away. So why, exactly, was chlorpyrifos not banned? Touting a return to sound science, Pruitt apparently didn’t think there was enough evidence to ban the pesticide, even though, according to Grist, multiple studies link exposure to the harmful chemical with lowered IQ in kids and neurological defects. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Office of Pest Management Policy director Sheryl Kunickis welcomed Pruitt’s decision. She said it was good news for consumers, meaning they’d have access to fruits and vegetables. Guess she forgot to mention chlorpyrifos could also send people to the hospital. Via Grist and Kern Golden Empire Images via Wikimedia Commons and Austin Valley on Flickr

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Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers

Norwegian billionaire funds world’s largest yacht to scoop up plastic

May 16, 2017 by  
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Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke has profited from offshore drilling . But now the businessman, who started as a fisherman, wants to give back with a colossal yacht for marine research . The vessel will be able to scoop up around five tons of plastic every day, and then melt it down – all in yet another private effort to help clean up the ocean . Røkke, who’s worth around $2.6 billion , owns almost 67 percent of shipping and offshore drilling conglomerate Aker ASA . But now he’s contracted a 595-foot Research Expedition Vessel (REV) to be built by VARD and designed by superyacht designer Espen Oeino . Scientists and marine researchers will be invited aboard to study and innovate around issues like climate change , overfishing, plastic pollution, and extraction, according to owner Rosellinis Four-10 , a subsidiary of the Røkke family company TRG. Related: The Ocean Cleanup raises $21.7 million to begin ridding the Pacific Ocean of plastic Rosellinis Four-10 will collaborate with none other than World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Norway , who will manage the ship. Aboard, scientists will have access to laboratory space, sea and air drones, an auditorium, two helipads, and an autonomous underwater vehicle. 60 scientists and 40 crew could travel aboard the immense ship. According to Yacht Harbour, the REV will be largest yacht in the world – it will narrowly beat out the 592-foot Azzam yacht rumored to be owned by a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. You may be wondering about the carbon footprint of such a massive ship. According to VARD , environmental performance was important in the vessel’s design. The REV will be equipped with an “energy recovery rudder system, medium speed engines, a direct drive diesel-electric propulsion system with battery package, and an exhaust cleaning system.” An energy management system will also help the crew lessen the REV’s carbon footprint. Røkke told Oslo’s Aftenposen publication, “I want to give back to society the bulk of what I’ve earned. This ship is a part of it…sea covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface and much is not researched.” He’s given WWF Norway total independence over the REV’s mission. WWF Norway Secretary General Nina Jensen told Aftenposten they may disagree over oil, and the organization is willing to challenge Røkke when they disagree, “but in this project we will meet to collectively make a big difference in the environmental struggle.” The REV should be ready to go around 2020. + Rosellinis Four-10 Via Time Money and Yacht Harbour Images via VARD

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Norwegian billionaire funds world’s largest yacht to scoop up plastic

HWKN unveils plans for a green-roofed business district in Munich

May 16, 2017 by  
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New York-based architecture firm Hollwich Kushner just released images of Die Macherei– their first European project– a mixed-use business district based in Munich, Germany. HWKN collaborated with German firms msm meyer schmitz-morkramer and OSA Ochs Schmidhuber Architekten to design the new financial hub that will bring together offices, retail and hospitality spaces. Art-Invest Real Estate and Accumulata Immobilien developed the new business district , which will total 64,000 square meters (15 acres) of rental space. Out of the six new buildings, HWKN designed the hotel and two adjacent office buildings located on the eastern quarter of the site. The hotel will feature an elevated bar with a series of outdoor terraces that offer views of the surrounding mountains. The office building will accommodate a two-story gym, while the third building will guide pedestrians toward the public plaza which will function as the heart of the development. Related: HWKN converts a paint factory into Upenn’s new state-of-the-art innovation hub “Designed not just as a series of buildings but as an exploration of the spaces between the buildings, Die Macherei is an innovative design for a new way of working and interacting, integrating social activity and behaviors to promote a sense of community,” said Matthias Hollwich. + Hollwich Kushner

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HWKN unveils plans for a green-roofed business district in Munich

Trumps EPA chief lifts ban on pesticide that poisons children

March 31, 2017 by  
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As part of the Trump administration’s current war to overthrow Obama-era environmental regulations, this week, newly appointed EPA Chief Scott Pruitt signed an order reversing a recommendation to ban a pesticide linked to nervous system damage in children. Chlorpyrifos is sprayed on tree nuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, apples, citrus, and a number of other common crops. In recent years, researchers have found that chlorpyrifos exposure on foods, in drinking water, and in the air can impair cognitive development in children. (Given that the active chemical is related to nerve agent weapons, perhaps this should not be surprising.) Multiple studies have found that children exposed to the pesticide at high levels have lower IQ scores than their peers. In light of the evidence, much of it gathered by the EPA’s own researchers, the agency adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for any residues of the chemical left on food items in 2015. Since it’s impossible to completely remove the chemical, this would have effectively ended its use in the US. This followed a decade of restrictions that have gradually reduced the number of approved crops and circumstances for its use. Despite the risk, it’s still used widely in other countries. Related: EPA chief says carbon dioxide is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming Now, Scott Pruitt is ignoring his own agency’s research in order to allow farmers to continue using this toxic pesticide. Of course, that’s not the way he’s spinning it – if you ask him, it’s a win for the scientific process. In a statement about the order, he said, “By reversing the previous administration’s steps to ban one of the most widely used pesticides in the world, we are returning to using sound science in decision-making — rather than predetermined results.” The Natural Resources Defense Council has already pledged to fight the new action in court. Via LA Times Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump begins process of rolling back Obama-era clean water rule

March 1, 2017 by  
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As part of his ongoing campaign to repeal and undermine many of Barack Obama’s environmental accomplishments, yesterday President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the EPA to roll back a 2015 regulation known as “Waters of the United States” rule. The regulation gives the federal government the authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water, rivers, streams, and wetlands. Trump’s executive order, on its own, can’t repeal the rule. However, he’s directed the controversial new EPA head, Scott Pruitt, to begin the complex legal process of rescinding and rewriting the rule, which the New York Times writes could take longer than Trump’s first term to actually carry out. The rule was originally created to clear up confusion about the federal government’s authority in regulating streams, wetlands, and major bodies of water after a series of court decisions created legal confusion. Related: New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties Though the rule was put forward jointly by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, many business owners in industries including property development, oil and gas , and fertilizer and pesticide manufacturing claim it stifles economic growth. Environmentalists, on the other hand, contend that it will help provide healthier drinking water and cleaner natural areas to people around the nation. This isn’t the only environmental executive order Trump’s expected to sign in the near future. Reports are also circulating that in the coming week he’ll sign a similar order directing the EPA to dismantle Obama’s 2015 climate change regulations as well. Via NRDC Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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