10 in 2 - Week of March 26th - civil disobedience legally necessary

  1. Tigerswan, the private security company notorious for its work surveilling pipeline opponents at Standing Rock is back in the news. The state of Louisiana determined that TigerSwan was unfit to obtain a license to work on the site of another controversial pipeline in the state based on a lawsuit it is facing for unlicensed security operations in North Dakota. So naturally, Tigerswan tried to create a new company to subvert the licensing debacle but the state noticed, and denied the application. (The Intercept)

  2. Soups and chutneys made from wonky vegetables, beer from stale bread, cider from blemished apples and soaps from discarded orange peels are selling fast in the Wageningen branch of Jumbo, one of the biggest Dutch supermarket chains. The "Waste is Delicious" initiative launched last week, supported by a local university as part of a new national program, United Against Food Waste. (news.trust.org)

  3. I heard a story on Science Friday today called Beyond the Hive, which provided advice to citizens worried about pollinator populations. The surprising advice was to just mow your lawn less frequently, which allows various miniature flowers to bloom, and is a lazy way to attract native bees to your yard. (Science Friday)

  4. An update to a story I’ve brought up before on the 10 in 2 about the protesters who were arrested for taking actions to stop a pipeline in West Roxbury massachusetts. This week the final 13 protesters facing charges over the demonstrations were found not responsible by a Massachusetts judge, who ruled that the potential environmental and public health impacts of the pipeline — including the risk of climate change — had made civil disobedience legally necessary. (ThinkProgress)

  5. Scientists from UNESCO say that within five to ten years, Mexico’s monstrous glaciers will be reduced to piles of ice. The disappearance of the natural structures can have global consequences as the icy surfaces which once reflected the ultraviolet rays melt away, sun rays are absorbed by the earth and the world’s temperature will rise. I have to admit that I didn't even know that Mexico had glaciers, but I do know that I already miss ‘em. (Telesur)

  6. Google created an incredible interactive website exploring how a tribe in the Brazilian state of Pará is exploring ways to use old mobile phones and machine learning to fight deforestation. The website is hard to describe, but it uses sounds, videos and photos in a unique way. Check it out right now by following the link on our website to get an idea of how it is possible to save a rainforest by listening to it. (google.co.in)

  7. a new report from Royal Dutch Shell called the “Sky scenario” envisions a world that achieves net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, thus (in the company’s accounting) holding global average temperatures beneath the international target of 2 degrees Celsius. It has garnered a lot of criticism, but at the very least, it is an ambitious idea. (Vox)

  8. On Thursday, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, called climate change “the most systemic threat to humankind” and like many of us he worried aloud “I am beginning to wonder how many more alarm bells must go off." (NYT)

  9. Climate change seems to be in the courts a lot these days, and this story is no different. Exxon wanted Judge Valerie Caproni in the District Court for the Southern District of New York to stop the attorneys general from issuing subpoenas and dispositions related to what Exxon executives knew about climate change and when. But in a big loss for Exxon, Caproni said the company’s allegations were “implausible,” and dismissed its case. (The Hill)

  10. A leaked memo reveals that the EPA sent employees a list of talking points on Tuesday instructing them to cast doubt on the scientific consensus about climate change. The talking points instruct employees to highlight scientific uncertainty and lack of evidence linking human activity to climate change which is in direct conflict with the 2017 federal climate assessment. Sorry to leave you on that note, but…(Shareblue)



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10 in 2 - Week of March 19th - in a very dystopian way

  1. Bike sharing took off in China, so much so that the quantity of bikes vastly outpaced demand.  Millions of brightly colored rental bikes were flooding the streets, many abandoned and broken.  As the cities began to impound them, they formed enormous piles of them in storage yards, creating the perfect visualization of speculation gone wild. Go find these pictures in The Atlantic, they are gorgeous in a very dystopian way.

  2. The U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach had spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact—that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation's and the world's, largest polluter. Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. (Ecowatch)

  3. A new analysis, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, reveals the makeup of the massive collection of floating trash in the North Pacific in a way that’s never been done before. The patch is twice the size of Texas, weighs 87,000 tons — which is 16 times more than previous estimates — and contains more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.

  4. This week, Smithsonian Magazine profiled Dale Ross, the republican mayor of Georgetown, Texas. He has become famous recently for a unexpected fact that largely due to his advocacy, his city of 67,000 became the largest in the United States to be powered entirely by renewable energy, which is a switch they made in less than two years. (Smithsonian)

  5. Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, died Monday in Kenya. He was 45 years old and is survived by just two females, 27-year-old Najin and 17-year-old Fatu, neither of which are capable of breeding due to their own various health problems. (The Revelator)

  6. Landscape architect Kongjian Yu is turning cities into sponges and using ancient chinese wisdom to mitigate urban flooding. Yu says, it’s important to “make friends with water”. “We don’t use concrete or hard engineering, we use terraces, learned from ancient peasantry wisdom. We irrigate. Then the city will be floodable and will survive during the flood. We can remove concrete and make a water protection system a living system.” (The Guardian)

  7. Prosecutors in Munich searched BMW’s headquarters on Tuesday as part of their continuing investigation into an emissions-cheating scandal that has badly damaged other German carmakers. Unil now, BMW has remained unscathed by the investigations brought on by the Volkswagen debacle. (NYT)

  8. The mayor of Paris wants to make all public transport free in an effort to reduce air pollution, but faces staunch opposition from the head of the regional transport authority who said the move would hit taxpayers. It is also worth mentioning that several smaller French cities, already provide free busses in addition to the capital of Estonia, Tallin (news.trust.org)

  9. The ongoing saga of San Francisco and Oakland suing oil companies in an effort to get some help paying for sea level rise has another update. In court, Big Oil rejected climate denial showing that even oil companies accept human-caused global warming: “From Chevron’s perspective, there is no debate about the science of climate change”. Their angle is the same as big tobacco’s has been for decades: that consequences are the fault of smokers or, in this case, energy consumers, not the companies producing the dangerous products. (The Guardian)

  10. Another longform plug from me this week. Rolling Stone has published a story outlining an investigation into how lax regulation made it cheaper for China to outsource pork production – and all of its environmental and human costs – to the U.S., specifically North Carolina. It’s a really interesting read, and one that flips America’s image of itself on its head. (rollingstone.com)



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10 in 2 - Week of March 12th - the final nail in the coffin of bottled water

  1. Ireland will phase out coal by 2025. Admittedly, Ireland only has one coal power plant left, but it’s still big news. The move from Ireland brings the Powering Past Coal Alliance up to a total of 27 countries, as well as many regional governments like Ontario, Washington State and Oregon. (TreeHugger)

  2. The Amazon, the single largest tropical rainforest and home to 10% of the world’s known species, could lose half of its plants and animals by the end of the century as global warming ravages the planet according to a study published this week by the World Wildlife Fund

  3. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal government's first responder to floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, has eliminated references to climate change from its strategic planning document for the next four years. (NPR)

  4. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke publicly worried this week about how many birds are being killed by wind turbines, but it was Zinke’s department that in December slashed protections for migratory bird species. You literally cannot make this stuff up. (HuffPost)

  5. More Zinke news! Zinke may not allow oil drilling off the West Coast after all as has been contentiously suggested. He appears to have realized that the iconic Oregon coast would be better off without a couple of oil rigs as a backdrop. (Grist)

  6. Stephen Hawking tributes are flying around everywhere this week, but it cannot be said often enough that in his last years, Hawking used his platform to warn that human activity is causing irreversible planetary damage and that we must take action. (Live Science)

  7. The World Health Organisation has announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water after a new analysis of some of the world’s most popular bottled water brands found that more than 90% contained tiny pieces of plastic. We can only hope that this news puts the final nail in the coffin of bottled water. (The Guardian)

  8. More bottled water news, which I’m quite sure is your favorite type of news: Adidas sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic in 2017. Each pair of shoes reuses 11 plastic bottles. (USA Today)

  9. California is increasingly inhospitable to fossil-fuel power plants. In the latest development, NRG Energy Inc. plans to shutter three old gas-fired power plants in California, according to a Sierra Club statement. (Bloomberg)

  10. Miamians get nearly all of their drinking water from the Biscayne Aquifer, a clean source of natural water that stretches underground from the southern tip of the state north to Palm Beach County. The water system already faces serious threats from sea-level rise and saltwater leaking from Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station. Now the state Legislature has decided to allow companies to dump "treated" sewage into drinking-water sources. (Miami New Times)



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10 in 2 - Week of March 5th - limited to botanical elements — LEGO leaves, bushes, and trees

  1. A new study out today in Science Advances shows that in addition to sea level rise, much of the coastal bay area is sinking.  Treasure Island is sinking at a rate of a third of an inch a year and the San Francisco Airport could see half of it’s runways and taxiways underwater by 2100. (Wired)

  2. Eric Lundgren, ‘e-waste’ recycling innovator, faces prison for trying to extend life span of PCs. He was convicted of manufacturing 28,000 counterfeit discs with Windows operating system on them BUT, a federal appeals court has granted an emergency stay of the sentence because by his account, he just wanted to make it easier to extend the usefulness of secondhand computers — keeping more of them out of the trash. (Washington Post)

  3. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says moving from fossil fuels to renewables is ‘immoral’.  Perry seems completely unaware that solar and wind are now cheaper sources of electricity than fossil fuels. (ThinkProgress)

  4. An update on a story we’ve talked about before: The federal lawsuit filed by a group of young people accusing the federal government of violating their constitutional right to life with fossil fuel policies that promote climate change has won a key ruling. The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that the case can proceed toward trial. (Huffington Post)

  5. Exxon thinks it can create biofuel from algae at a massive scale. The oil and gas giant says it could be making 10,000 barrels a day within a few years–a small drop in the amount of oil it produces, but a huge boost in the amount of algae-based biofuel. (Fast Company)

  6. Mountain snow is on the decline across the western US, and climate change is largely to blame, according to a new study published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science. Both the observations and modeling showed widespread declines in snowpack, and is “pretty robustly caused by rising temperatures.” (BuzzFeed)

  7. I bet you’ve heard this one already, but I think it bears repeating. The Trump administration has quietly decided once again to allow Americans to import the body parts of African elephants shot for sport, despite presidential tweets decrying the practice as a "horror show." (Chicago Tribune)

  8. I got excited when I read that LEGO has decided to move away from plastic in its supply chain. My excitement diminished when I read that the brand’s first sugarcane-based plastic items will be hitting the market later this year. However the change will be limited to botanical elements — LEGO leaves, bushes, and trees —  which only account for 1% to 2% of all LEGO products.

  9. A concerted push is underway in South America that could see one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water soon fall into the hands of Coca-Cola and Nestle. According to reports, talks to privatize the Guarani Aquifer have already reached an advanced stage. The deal would grant a consortium of U.S. and Europe-based conglomerates exclusive rights to the aquifer that would last over 100 years. (Mint Press News)

  10. Honduran authorities have arrested a former military intelligence officer in connection with the murder of activist Berta Cáceres 3 years ago this week. The officer is an executive of Desa, the company building a dam Cáceres campaigned against when she was murdered. I think that bears repeating. An executive of the company being protested, is now directly implicated in the murder of an activist. (Democracy Now)



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10 in 2 - Week of February 26th - ...and justice for all

This is your 10 in 2 for the week of February 26th

 

 

...so here we go:

 

  1. Metallica frontman James Hetfield has officially turned over 1,000 acres of land as open space that will end up with the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. This is a huge benefit to the local community and has a certain irony coming from the man that wrote KILL ‘EM ALL. In all fairness, he did also write ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, so I guess it’s a wash. (East Bay Times)

  2. The number of US cities reporting they are predominantly powered by clean energy has more than doubled since 2015 according to Data published on Tuesday by the not-for-profit environmental impact researcher CDP. Much of the drive for climate action at city level in the past year has been spurred on by the global covenant of more than 7,400 mayors that formed in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord. (Tired Earth)

  3. On Wednesday, a coalition of 34 student groups from around the country—including 23 chapters of the College Republicans—announced the formation of Students for Carbon Dividends, a bipartisan group calling for national legislation to fight climate change. It marks the first time that a coalition of College Republican groups has publicly backed a climate-change policy. (The Atlantic)

  4. The North Pole hasn’t seen the sun for months, but temperatures there briefly skyrocketed to as high as 35° F (2° C) over the weekend, according to the U.S. Global Forecast System. It’s too soon to tell if this is a “new normal” for the Arctic or if it’s one of a series of skewed temperature patterns. (PBS)

  5. This week saw the opening of a unique store in the Netherlands where items on its aisles are completely free from plastic packaging. The new pilot store will stock over 700 plastic-free products; a symbolic step towards reducing dependence on the damaging material. (cliamteactionprogramme.org)

  6. In the name of organizational “efficiency,”  Scott Pruitt is making some big changes at the EPA — including the possible shuttering of the National Center for Environmental Research, best known for work to reduce children’s health risks from chemical exposure. This guy apparently really wants to be a Bond villain, or he just really likes being featured in the 10 in 2 every week. (Grist)

  7. It turns out that the teacher strike in West Virginia is closely tied to environmental justice. Kristina Gore, who teaches fifth grade social studies in Logan County said “This has moved from a strike to a movement to a reckoning, and that reckoning is on public officials who are in the pockets of big energy.” I highly recommend reading up on this powerful collective action. (The New Republic)

  8. World's last surviving male northern white rhino 'starting to show signs of ailing'. The rhino, named Sudan, became a global icon after park rangers were forced to put him under 24-hour armed guard to protect him from poachers in 2015. (CNN)

  9. Climate change could decrease the yield of some crops in California by up to 40 percent by 2050. That's a big deal for farmers in the state, which provides about two-thirds of the nation's produce. Walnuts would be the hardest-hit crop because they "require the highest number of chill hours” (NPR)

  10. Scientists have stumbled across a huge group of previously unknown Adélie penguins on the most northerly point of the Antarctic Peninsula. Numbering more than 1.5 million birds, they were first noticed when great patches of their guano, showed up in pictures taken from space. My 4 year old is gonna be stoked about this discovery, specifically the poo part. (BBC)

 



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22nd Century Leadership - Kris Tompkins

 Kristine McDivitt Tompkins with her dog, Wacho, on a ridge overlooking land that the Tompkins Conservation donated to the Chilean government. Credit: Meridith Kohut for The New York Times    

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins with her dog, Wacho, on a ridge overlooking land that the Tompkins Conservation donated to the Chilean government. Credit: Meridith Kohut for The New York Times 

 

I’m very excited to introduce our next guest, Kris Tompkins. I first met Kris almost 25 years ago when she moved to a remote valley in a southern Chilean rainforest to live with her new husband, Doug Tompkins, where together they would work tirelessly to become the most important Wildlands Philanthropists in recent history. As of January 29, 2018 when the current Chilean President signed decrees legally creating over 10 million acres of new parklands in southern Chile, they and their teams of dedicated Chileans and Argentineans have been directly involved in the creation of 17 new national parks and over 13.4 million acres of new National Parklands in Chile and Argentina.

This historic conservation victory in Chile creating 5 new parks – including two five-star parks created and donated by Tompkins, Pumalin and Patagonia - and the expansion of 3 other existing parks, is bittersweet, because the vision for this ‘network of parks’ spanning almost 2000 km was was brainchild of Kris’ husband Doug, who had presented it to the Chilean president just before he passed away on a kayak expedition in a remote area of Lago General Carerra in December 2015.

Kris’ story is storybook-like. She was born and raised on a ranch in southern California, except for a three-year stint in Venezuela. At age 15, she met and befriended rock climbing legend and equipment manufacturer Yvon Chouinard, who gave her a summer job working for Chouinard Equipment, his climbing gear company. After finishing college in Idaho, where she ski-raced competitively, she started to work full time for what then became Patagonia, Inc. During her 20 years as CEO, Kris helped Yvon build Patagonia into a renowned “anti-corporation” and a leader in the outdoor apparel industry. Recognizing that manufacturing inherently causes pollution, Patagonia became a model of corporate responsibility, mitigating its ecological impacts and educating its customers about threats to the Earth. In 1993, Kris retired from Patagonia, married Doug, and moved to the wilds of southern Chile where she has been creating national parks, restoring wildlife, inspiring activism, and fostering local economic progress as a consequence of conservation. I got the chance to sit with her for a few minutes in Chile earlier this month in the new Patagonia National Park and recorded our conversation to my iPhone with her dog Wacho looking on.

Also, full disclosure, I’m a proud member of the Board of Directors of Tompkins Conservation, the umbrella organization that houses all Kris’ philanthropic activities. 

- Jib



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10 in 2 - Week of February 19 - the most toxic community in America

This is your 10 in 2 for the week of February 19th

 

 

...so here we go:

 

  1. Peru has moved to protect ‘one of the last great intact forests’. While the United States may be weakening protections for wilderness (See Bears Ears, etc), the creation of Yaguas National Park protects millions of acres of wilderness - and the indigenous people who rely on it - from development and deforestation. (NYT)

  2. A study conducted by EPA scientists found that minority and poorer communities are disproportionately affected by air pollution relative to the overall population. The findings by five EPA scientists, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, found that when looking at areas most affected by particulate air emissions, like soot, there were large disparities between communities differentiated by color and social strata. I’ve brought this subject up on this podcast before, and I plan to keep doing so until something changes. (The Hill)

  3. The Appalachian Trail is under threat by a proposed 300 mile natural gas pipeline called the Mountain Valley Pipeline, or MVP. The threat comes from the suggested 125 foot wide clearing that would need to take place on either side of the pipeline making the width roughly the size of a 12 line highway. Luckily there are no other threats, because no pipeline has ever leaked, as we all know. (Common Dreams)

  4. Fishing activity now covers at least 55 percent of the world's oceans -- four times the land area covered by agriculture -- and can now be monitored, in near real time, to the level of individual vessels thanks to the work of Christopher Costello, a professor at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Costello says "This new real-time dataset will be instrumental in designing improved management of the world's oceans that is good for the fish, ecosystems and fishermen." (Science Daily)

  5. It’s 2018, and black lung disease is on the rise in Appalachia. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) looked at three federally funded clinics between 2013 and 2017 and documented the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease — ever.

  6. To the untrained eye, the website for the Mass Coalition for Sustainable Energy looks like just another Massachusetts-based advocacy group. It’s not clear that the site is actually sponsored by major energy and utility companies seeking to build more gas pipelines in the region. Putting together coalitions to promote interests is fine (I guess), but just don’t hide it, guys.

  7. The state of California and two Canadian provinces kicked off a cross-border auction of greenhouse gas emission credits on Wednesday, their first joint effort to buy and sell in the "cap and trade" market to fight global warming. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

  8. The remote town of Kotzebue, Alaska, has a surprising secret. Kotzebue was the most toxic community in America thanks to leaking or dumping an astonishing 756 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the environment, as detailed in a little-known EPA dataset called the Toxics Release Inventory . Pamela Miller, the director of an Anchorage based community action advocacy group said “I think these lands are going to be contaminated for the foreseeable future. It’s a big concern, because many people in that area depend on subsistence food.” (National Geographic)

  9. The Wind Catcher Energy Connection project, which includes a massive 800-turbine wind farm under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle, is getting closer to lift-off. The Wind Catcher facility, developed by Invenergy, will be the largest single-site wind farm in the U.S. once complete. (EcoWatch)

  10. And lastly, we’re going on out on a high note this week, for once. The government of the Seychelles has created two new marine protected areas in the country's remote Indian Ocean archipelago. The sanctioned areas will cover more than 81,000 square miles—a swath of space about the size of Great Britain.

 



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10 in 2 - Week of February 12th - 60,000 soldiers to plant trees

This is your 10 in 2 for the week of February 12th

 

 

...so here we go:

 

  1. John H. Shott, a West Virginia state lawmaker, did not appreciate when, during a public hearing on the House floor on Friday, a citizen began listing donations he and some of his colleagues had received from the oil and gas industry. After she refused to stop, she was forcibly removed. (NYT)

  2. U.S. regulators have leveled the playing field for batteries and other forms of energy storage, voting to eliminate market barriers for those technologies. Under the rule, technologies such as batteries and flywheel systems can be used by grid operators to dispatch power, set energy prices and offer capacity, energy and ancillary services. (Bloomberg)

  3. News that Swedish furniture giant IKEA is planning to sell solar panels “at cost” in its Australian stores has been met with mixed responses from the local solar industry, with many expressing fears that it will further destabilize – and perhaps undermine – an already overcrowded solar retail and installation market. However, my take is that more access to cheap solar is rarely a bad thing. (reneweconomy.com)

  4. Animals are adapting to rapid climate change. Some species that used to turn white in the winter are now staying brown year-round. The new study by L. Scott Mills  and colleagues mapped hotspots that could foster a rapid evolutionary response to climate, and is likely to help us better foster future persistence of wild animals as the climate changes. (Research Gate)

  5. Europe’s “first sustainable hotel” opened in Dublin this week. The Iveagh (Ivayeah) Garden on Harcourt Street will source all of its energy from an underground river, running 50 metres below the hotel. Large turbines will convert power from the river Swan to meet all of the hotel’s energy requirements. (Irish Times)

  6. The world's largest species of orangutans is rapidly disappearing. Borneo, which has the largest deforestation rates in the world, has lost more than 100,000 orangutans in the last 16 years – that's more than the number of the critically endangered species remaining. (NPR)

  7. China has reportedly re-assigned over 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in a bid to combat pollution by increasing the country's forest coverage. The majority will be dispatched to Hebei province, which encircles Beijing.  (independent.co.uk)

  8. The federal government is quietly reconsidering protected status for endangered Florida Key deer. This comes after a rough patch for the dog sized deer, who have been hit with habitat destroying hurricanes, outbreaks of flesh eating bacteria, and now this possible delisting. (Miami Herald)

  9. A well-known Iranian-Canadian professor has died in prison in Tehran, a statement posted on his son’s Instagram page revealed on Saturday, and his family is seeking an independent autopsy. The professor, Kavous Seyed Emami, was one of the founders of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Iran’s most prominent non governmental organization focused on the environment. (NYT)

  10. Frequent star of the 10 in 2, EPA head Scott Pruitt argued in at least two recent interviews that green groups, scientists, and other advocates working to slow the climate crisis are "arrogant" in saying that humans should work to keep the earth from warming. But hey, at least he admits it might be warming now? (commondreams.org)

 



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10 in 2 - Week of February 5th - we know that humans have most flourished during times of what?

This is your 10 in 2 for the week of February 5th

 

...so here we go:

 

  1. Everyone one was fawning over the Falcon Heavy Space X launch this week, but a certain subset of the internet wasn't having it.  Elon Musk has caught a lot of flak from the left for union busting at Tesla, for one, and using his billions for private space missions when we face so many environmental and social challenges here on earth, for another. There were a lot of good takes to choose from, but I think Naomi Klein had the clearest opinion with this tweet: 

 

  1. Edinburgh University, which, ironically, is where Joseph Black discovered carbon dioxide--divested from all fossil fuels this week. The move makes it the largest university fund in the UK to ditch all coal, oil and gas holdings. (The Guardian)

  2. The number of new enforcement actions by the Environmental Protection Agency has fallen significantly over the past year, according to data released Thursday by the Trump administration. The EPA initiated 20 percent fewer civil cases against polluters for violating environmental laws from the beginning of September 2016 to end of September 2017, as compared to the previous fiscal year. The EPA also opened 30 percent fewer criminal enforcement cases during the same time period. (NBC News)

  3. More scientists than ever before are preparing to run for political office. Of the historic 455 Democratic challengers already filed to run for Congress in 2018, nearly 60 of them have STEM backgrounds. (scienceaf.com)

  4. The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

  5. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is again understating the threat posed by climate change, this time by suggesting that global warming may be a good thing for humanity. “We know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends. So I think there’s assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing.” (AP)

  6. Dunkin’ Donuts announced plans to eliminate all polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018, with a targeted completion date of 2020. In U.S. restaurants, they will replace the foam cup with a new, double-walled paper cup. (Dunkindonuts.com)

  7. After Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, hungry people needed food. FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company failed to deliver. Needless to say, this did not end well for her or for those who needed those millions of meals. (NYT)

  8. Scientists have confirmed a form of water that is simultaneously solid and liquid. It is the latest advance in the study of water, a seemingly simple substance that can shift between many different configurations. This new form, called superionic water, consists of a rigid lattice of oxygen atoms through which positively charged hydrogen nuclei move. It is not known to exist naturally anywhere on Earth, but it may be bountiful farther out in the solar system. (NYT)

  9. All-female mutant crayfish that clone themselves are taking over rivers and lakes around the world. The entire global population of marbled crayfish has been traced to a single female held in a German aquarium, which was born with the ability to reproduce without having its eggs fertilised by males. It may not be necessary to say, but this could be devastating to local wildlife and ecosystems as it spreads. (independent.co.uk)

 



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10 in 2 - Week of January 15th - just in case the court disagrees

  1. Today is that day that citizens can start staking claims on sections of bears Ears national monument. The Bureau of Land Management has officially begun to move forward with allowing stakeholders to claim plots of land, and has determined the process will be governed by the General Mining Law of 1872, which covers mining for metals such as copper, gold, silver, and uranium. There are no environmental guidelines specific to hard rock mining, and no requirement to pay a royalty. (alternet)

  2. Chevron is suing another oil company for causing climate change. Last year, Oakland sued the American oil company and four others for billions of dollars, to pay for sea walls and other measures to protect the city from the impacts of global warming. Chevron says it hasn’t caused climate change and shouldn’t have to pay—but just in case the court disagrees, then they want Statoil, Norway’s state-owned oil company, to have to pay up, too. (New Republic)

  3. Long strips of bright wildflowers are being planted through crop fields to boost the natural predators of pests and potentially cut pesticide spraying. The strips were planted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England last autumn and will be monitored for five years, as part of a trial run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). (The Guardian)

  4. As the Trump administration looks to open up the Atlantic Ocean up to oil and gas drilling, New Jersey and New York are racing forward to develop offshore wind energy projects that would generate significant amounts of power and create thousands of clean energy jobs. (ThinkProgress)

  5. A concrete dome holding the radioactive waste of 43 nuclear explosions is leaking into the ocean. The Enewetak Atoll was used by the US government to test 30 megatons of weapons - equivalent to 2,000 Hiroshima blasts - between 1948 and 1958. A vet from the cleanup team is claims that the dome is just one typhoon away from a even more serious breach. (express.co.uk)

  6. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink on Tuesday sent a letter to CEOs of public companies outlining his expectation that they start accounting for their effect on society. "Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose," (Business Insider)

  7. The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects. The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption. (The Guardian)

  8. Ultraviolet blocking chemicals in sunscreen have been linked with a variety of environmental harms, most notably coral bleaching.  But recently, scientists have created bacteria that produce the key ingredient for environmentally friendly sunscreens thanks to gene modification, which I’m sure will have zero unintended consequences.  Regardless, I’m here for it. (independent.co.uk)

  9. Chile has declared the start of their coal power phase-out. President Michelle Bachelet says the country will not build new coal plants without carbon capture and begin talks to replace existing capacity with cleaner sources. (Climate Change News)

  10. In more excellent Chilean news, on a subject we have talked about a ton on this podcast, but, now it is official. On Monday, President Bachelet signed into law the historic creation of 5 new national parks spanning 10.3 million acres. This is the culmination of decades of work by Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Doug who have poured their lives into purchasing, rewilding, and then donating large swaths of land in the name of conservation. (NYT)



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