Tag Archives: local

The Unexpected Universe – Loren Eiseley & William Cronon


The Unexpected Universe

A Library of America eBook Classic

Loren Eiseley & William Cronon

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $8.99

Publish Date: November 15, 2016

Publisher: Library of America

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

“No one has ever managed to make the pursuit of knowledge feel more soulful or more immediate than Loren Eiseley . . . ” —Ben Cosgrove,  The Daily Beast   At the height of a distinguished career as a paleontologist, Loren Eiseley turned from fieldwork and scientific publication to the personal essay. Here, in  The Unexpected Universe , he displays his far-reaching knowledge and searching curiosity about the natural world, and the qualities that led many to hail him as a “modern Thoreau.” Fascinating accounts of the journeys of Odysseus, Captain Cook, and Charles Darwin frame Eiseley’s more modest wanderings as a suburban naturalist, attentive to the lives of small creatures. Sometimes he travels no further than the local dump. And yet, like Homer’s hero or these great explorers, he continually finds a universe “not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

Originally from:

The Unexpected Universe – Loren Eiseley & William Cronon

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, LG, Library of America, ONA, oven, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Unexpected Universe – Loren Eiseley & William Cronon

Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy – Alastair Gee & Dani Anguiano


Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy

Alastair Gee & Dani Anguiano

Genre: Nature

Price: $12.99

Publish Date: May 5, 2020

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

The harrowing story of the most destructive American wildfire in a century. There is no precedent in postwar American history for the destruction of the town of Paradise, California. On November 8, 2018, the community of 27,000 people was swallowed by the ferocious Camp Fire, which razed virtually every home and killed at least 85 people. The catastrophe seared the American imagination, taking the front page of every major national newspaper and top billing on the news networks. It displaced tens of thousands of people, yielding a refugee crisis that continues to unfold. Fire in Paradise is a dramatic and moving narrative of the disaster based on hundreds of in-depth interviews with residents, firefighters and police, and scientific experts. Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano are California-based journalists who have reported on Paradise since the day the fire began. Together they reveal the heroics of the first responders, the miraculous escapes of those who got out of Paradise, and the horrors experienced by those who were trapped. Their accounts are intimate and unforgettable, including the local who left her home on foot as fire approached while her 82-year-old father stayed to battle it; the firefighter who drove into the heart of the inferno in his bulldozer; the police officer who switched on his body camera to record what he thought would be his final moments as the flames closed in; and the mother who, less than 12 hours after giving birth in the local hospital, thought she would die in the chaotic evacuation with her baby in her lap. Gee and Anguiano also explain the science of wildfires, write powerfully about the role of the power company PG&E in the blaze, and describe the poignant efforts to raise Paradise from the ruins. This is the story of a town at the forefront of a devastating global shift—of a remarkable landscape sucked ever drier of moisture and becoming inhospitable even to trees, now dying in their tens of millions and turning to kindling. It is also the story of a lost community, one that epitomized a provincial, affordable kind of Californian existence that is increasingly unattainable. It is, finally, a story of a new kind of fire behavior that firefighters have never witnessed before and barely know how to handle. What happened in Paradise was unprecedented in America. Yet according to climate scientists and fire experts, it will surely happen again.


Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy – Alastair Gee & Dani Anguiano

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LAI, Landmark, LG, ONA, oven, Paradise, PUR, Ultima, Uncategorized, W. W. Norton & Company | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy – Alastair Gee & Dani Anguiano

Simple Acts to Save Our Planet – Michelle Neff


Simple Acts to Save Our Planet

500 Ways to Make a Difference

Michelle Neff

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Adams Media


Simple Acts to Save Our Planet shows you how to be more active in saving our planet every day by performing some “Simple Acts of Kindness”—for the Earth. Treat the environment with kindness with these easy, manageable activities that range from simple home updates, to gardening basics, to supporting the local community. You’ll learn simple techniques to help protect the planet every day, like starting a compost pile to reduce food waste, utilizing travel mugs and reusable containers, and choosing eco-friendly products. By working to implement these simple strategies into your everyday life, you can take an active stand to protect the environment now— and make a real difference for the future.

See original – 

Simple Acts to Save Our Planet – Michelle Neff

Posted in Adams Media, alo, Anchor, eco-friendly, FF, GE, LAI, LG, ONA, oven, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Simple Acts to Save Our Planet – Michelle Neff

The Philippines volcanic eruption is harming public health, but not the climate — yet

When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it plunged the surrounding area into darkness as an avalanche of hot ash and lava poured down. Ash buried homes, smoke blocked the sunlight, and deadly mudslides swallowed nearby cities. So when the Taal volcano, located 90 miles south of Mount Pinatubo, exploded on Sunday, many Filipinos feared the worst. It felt like déjà vu.

The Taal volcano, surrounded by the waters of the Taal Lake in the province of Batangas, just 40 miles from Manila, is a famous tourist destination. Visitors and residents alike were caught off guard this week when Taal spat enormous clouds of ash into the air. Tens of thousands of people living within a 9-mile radius of the volcano were ordered to evacuate, some finding shelter in classrooms and gymnasiums. No casualties have yet been reported, but houses and farms were destroyed, and thousands of animals were left behind by their owners.

Nearby regions are still experiencing small earthquakes, while seismologists warn of a possible volcanic tsunami, where water surging from the lake could deluge nearby villages. As of Friday, areas around the volcano still remain on Alert Level 4, which means another eruption could be imminent.

Amid all the bright lava and towering ash plumes, it’s easy to overlook that volcanic eruptions can dramatically affect air quality. Shortly after Taal erupted, air quality in the province of Batangas and nearby areas spiked to unhealthy levels, and face masks disappeared off the shelves. (Local business owners saw an opportunity in the tragedy, with some pricing face masks at five times their normal cost.) When aerosols like sulfur dioxide are inhaled, they can lead to asthma or respiratory diseases.

You can even see Taal’s volcanic emissions from space. Satellite imagery shows that strong winds pushed emissions from the eruption northward, leaving a trail of red, yellow, and blue.

Volcanoes can also affect global temperatures — though Taal isn’t expected to have much of an effect unless there’s a bigger explosion. During Mount Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption, for instance, 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide and ash particles were released into the air, blowing all the way into the stratosphere. The catastrophic event also emitted tens of millions of tons of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and water vapor. But thanks to sulfur dioxide, which reacts with water to form aerosols that reflect the sunlight back to space, the eruption ended up temporarily cooling global temperatures, which fell as much as 1 degrees F for about three years following the eruption.

Taal — which is currently releasing an average of 6,500 tons of sulfur dioxide per day — probably won’t have a noticeable effect on the climate, unless there’s a much bigger explosion. For comparison, Pinatubo spewed 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the air.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned residents that Taal’s immense tremors could last from three days to seven months. But Mariton Bornas, chief of volcano monitoring and eruption prediction division in the Philippines, told CNN that the alert level would be lowered if there’s no activity within two weeks.

“We’re still measuring high levels of sulphur dioxide,” she said. “We’re still having earthquakes, new fissures are developing, and the volcano is swollen. So, the potential for an explosive eruption is still there.” Let’s hope the volcano settles down before it becomes another Mount Pinatubo.

Link to original – 

The Philippines volcanic eruption is harming public health, but not the climate — yet

Posted in Accent, alo, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Pines, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Philippines volcanic eruption is harming public health, but not the climate — yet

These Girl Scouts are saving wild bees, one ‘hotel’ at a time

Last month, millions of youth activists around the world took to the streets to fight for their right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and not have to suffer the wrath of the climate crisis.

But that’s not the only way kids are taking climate action into their own hands. In Colorado, the task of saving bees from the consequences of climate change has fallen to the girls who sell us the best cookies. Yes, you heard that right. Over the summer, at a Girl Scout day camp in Denver, Girl Scout troops fashioned tiny homes for wild bees called “bee hotels” to fight the depopulation of bees across the country.

Bee hotels are like birdhouses for wild bees. Since wild bees don’t make honey, they don’t live in hives, but they’re always in need of a suitable habitat. Out in the wild, these bees often nest in holes in fallen logs, dead trees, and broken branches of bushes. But natural habitats can be hard to come by in developed areas, which is where bee hotels come in.

The troops repurposed cardboard boxes, old paper straws, toilet paper rolls, and other materials to create homes for bees in their local community. The project is part of a new initiative called Think Like A Citizen Scientist Journey, in which girls from grades 6 through 12 develop real-world sustainable projects to create change. After some brainstorming and research, the scouts at the day camp chose saving the bees.

Girl Scouts Imani and Aimee with a bee hotel.

“There were times it was hard because there were so many girls and lots of ideas, but we worked together, and it was fun,” said 11-year-old Imani, one of the girls who participated in the project. “We found a way to come to a compromise and work together to make a fun bee hotel so the bees can fit their fuzzy little buns in.”

Working with bees can be a daunting task for kids around Imani’s age. Many children are afraid of bees, because they only know them from the pain of their sting. But Girl Scouts learn to overcome their fears. “I’m afraid of bugs, so it was hard for me to go look at the bees and learn about them,” said Imani. “I’m glad I did. I’m still scared, but I understand how we need bees for food and flowers and that they have a purpose.”

The U.S. has more than 4,000 wild bee species, and 40 percent of them are now facing extinction. The depopulation of bees is due to a number of factors including human activity, pesticide overuse, disease, and the changing climate.

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an associate professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, College Park, says that bee hotels can play an important role in maintaining bee populations. Bee hotels aren’t only habitats but also a safe haven for bees to lay eggs. If built correctly and well maintained, vanEngelsdorp said, bee hotels can attract new bee species to areas that need pollinators.

“Bees, in general, not just honeybees, are keystone species,” he said. “They’re the ones that keep ecosystems together, they allow for trees to grow, and so, really, they’re cornerstone species.”

After building their bee hotels, the girls went out to install them in green pockets of their community, such as community gardens and the local botanical garden. They also donated one to a local beekeeper who spoke to the troops. “The most interesting thing I learned is probably when you think of bees, you just think of honeybees, but there are so many different types out there,” said Aimee, another 11-year-old Girl Scout.

In addition to helping maintain bee populations, the bee hotel project plays an important role in building a new generation of engaged citizens. “I want to show the girls that they have so many different opportunities to make the world a better place, and that they have many different assets already in their strengths that are all so viable,” said Tiffany Stone, one of the troop leaders.

VanEngelsdorp said it’s important for kids to learn that “every effort counts.” “What you’re seeing is that you need bees to survive, and so who better to be concerned about that than the people who are going to inherit the next generation?” he said. “These efforts are really good because hopefully they set up a lifelong commitment to preserving biodiversity.”

Taken from:  

These Girl Scouts are saving wild bees, one ‘hotel’ at a time

Posted in Accent, alo, ATTRA, Citizen, FF, G & F, GE, LG, ONA, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on These Girl Scouts are saving wild bees, one ‘hotel’ at a time

California town declares climate emergency 4 months after state’s deadliest wildfire

Subscribe to The Beacon

This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Four months after the Camp Fire destroyed the northern California towns of Paradise and Magalia, city council members in the neighboring town of Chico voted this week to declare a climate emergency that threatens their lives and well-being.

Chico’s emergency declaration calls on the city to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030, among other demands that echo those included in the Green New Deal bill state lawmakers introduced in February. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the state Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources.

The Camp Fire didn’t spread to Chico — it stopped just 10 or so miles away — but thousands of Butte County residents relocated there after they lost their homes. And given the devastating fire seasons California has faced in recent years, new and long-term residents alike want local leaders to take a more proactive approach to preparing for climate-related disasters.

Members of Chico 350, the local chapter of the national climate advocacy group 350.org, drafted the declaration proposal last month.

“The residents of Chico are already experiencing great economic loss and social, emotional and physical impact from climate related disasters,” they wrote. “It makes economic sense and good governance policy to be proactive rather than wait for more wildfires, severe storms, heat waves, and floods which threaten public health and safety.”

The Camp Fire started on the morning of November 8, 2018, after a PG&E transmission line failure. Over the course of a week, the fire destroyed 14,000 homes in Butte County and killed 85 people, many of whom were elderly and disabled. Members of the 14,000 households who lost their homes have tried to resettle in Chico, but it hasn’t been easy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided just 220 trailers for victims of the fire — hardly enough for the many families who are now insecurely housed.

“We don’t have enough housing, period, for the people relocated because of the Camp Fire,” City Councilwoman Ann Schwab, who voted in support of the declaration, told HuffPost in February.

Schwab said the town lacks both temporary and permanent housing options for the displaced. “People are sleeping in their cars, in motor homes. They are sharing bedrooms with friends and relatives,” she said.

“It was a bad situation before. Now it’s overwhelming.”

Visit source:

California town declares climate emergency 4 months after state’s deadliest wildfire

Posted in Accent, alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Paradise, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on California town declares climate emergency 4 months after state’s deadliest wildfire

Mardi Gras floods New Orleans in plastic beads. One scientist has a gooey fix.

Subscribe to The Beacon

A herd of dragons, followed by a brass band, and a float full of Star Wars characters rolled down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans earlier this week, pelting onlookers with shiny beads. When it was over, misthrown necklaces dangled from tree branches and pooled in streetcar tracks.

It’s a scene that played out dozens of times across greater New Orleans over recent weeks. And boy does it make a mess. The Mardi Gras season came to a close on Tuesday, but beads remain scattered everywhere, clogging the city’s sewers. Last year, New Orleans vacuumed 93,000 pounds of plastic beads out of its storm drains.

Someday, historians may look back on our current fossil-fueled plastic era — the geological layer peppered with K-cups, water bottles, and straws — as one particularly bad Fat Tuesday binge.

But at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, molecular biologist Naohiro Kato is working to fix the local version of the plastic problem: Kato has figured out how to fashion biodegradable beads and doubloons out of algae.

Naohiro KatoPaige Jarreau, LSU

Kato isn’t exactly into plastics — his research is all about finding medicines in algae. But back in 2013, a student forgot to put a test tube of algae back in a freezer. The next morning, they found a layer of oil had separated from the warm scum and floated to the top of the tube. You need oil, usually pumped out of the ground, to make plastic beads. But the algae in the test tube had pumped this oil out of the air — weaving together carbon-dioxide and water to make the hydrocarbons.

Starting with algae grown in a kiddie pool, Kato then managed to make a few doubloons and beads.

Plastic beads and doubloons made from algae oil will break down over time, rather than clogging sewers for decades.Paige Jarreau, LSU.

This is just one example of an ongoing revolution to replace petroleum-based chemistry with biology. In the 1950s, scientists broke open the secrets of polymers and, in a frenzy of discovery, figured out how to turn oil into hundreds of different kinds of plastics. Plastics to insulate wires, package food, grease engines, form medical devices, and of course, to shape into a trillion colorful party novelties that drunk tourists would drop in the French Quarter. Now scientists have begun unlocking a new treasure of secrets — working with living cells this time, rather than organic chemistry.

“How big of a deal could bioplastics be? Yeah, I think it could be huge,” said John Cumbers, the founder of SynBioBeta, a network of researchers and inventors involved in this new frenzy of discovery.

Cumbers noted that one startup, Mango Materials, has been capturing methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) and feeding it to bacteria. The bacteria then transform it into bio-polymer molecules, which can be made into plastics.

This isn’t just an exciting frontier for startups. Big companies have already demonstrated that biomaterials make sense. In the 1990s, DuPont began a moonshot effort to get yeast to build 1-3 propanediol, a molecule that’s incredibly difficult to make from petroleum. They succeeded, and soon it was replacing petro-chemicals in cosmetics, soaps, and fabrics. It won a presidential green chemistry award in 2003. Most of this propanediol goes to make a fabric called Sorona, which is woven into denim, carpets, wrinkle-free suits, and underwear. Compared to similar textiles, Sonora produces 60 percent less greenhouse gases over its life cycle, according to DuPont.

This biomaterial performs better and is cheaper than the alternatives, and so “we’ve been growing like gangbusters,” said Mike Saltzberg, who directs DuPont’s biomaterials efforts.

But that’s not always the case. The more environmentally responsible option is often more expensive. “When people say, ‘I’m not just looking at performance and cost, I’m also looking at the environment,’ that really gives bioproducts the advantage,” Saltzberg said.

Take Kato’s bio-beads. Right now they’d cost about a dollar per necklace to mass produce, which is a lot more that the competition (a dollar can buy you a dozen). But if you captured the byproducts of the algal supplements he’s working on, you might be able to make it much more cheaply. For example, you can sell algal fucoxanthin, a compound with potential medical properties for $50,000 a pound. And after you take out the fucoxanthin, you still have 98 percent of the algae you started with.

“That means, we can produce biodegradable Mardi Gras beds from almost all of the microalgae we cultivate,” Kato said. “A football-field size of pond can produce 130,000 pounds of biodegradable Mardi Gras beads, which is more amount than that clogged in catch basins in New Orleans last year.”

View the original here: 

Mardi Gras floods New Orleans in plastic beads. One scientist has a gooey fix.

Posted in Accent, alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LG, ONA, organic, oven, Radius, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mardi Gras floods New Orleans in plastic beads. One scientist has a gooey fix.

The West Coast is fired up for a coal battle with Zinke

Get your

daily dose of good news

from Grist

Subscribe to The Beacon

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recently proposed using military bases to export fossil fuels to Asia. The move could circumvent and undermine the decade-long struggle to stop coal exports on the West Coast.

So far, Zinke has just proposed using an Alaska base, but Northwest activists and state authorities say they won’t back down if the Trump administration tries to bring fossil fuels through their states.

“The people of Oregon and Washington have rejected coal export and our government leaders have made really clear decisions that it’s too dangerous for our communities and our climate,” said Brett VandenHeuvel, the executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper.

In Washington state, leaders have worked on several fronts to successfully block coal export terminals, such as the Millennium Bulk Terminals Project in Longview, along the Columbia River.

The State of Washington’s Department of Ecology denied permits to the Longview terminal after determining that the risks it posed were too great. The project would have dredged 41.5 acres of the Columbia riverbed and increased dangerous diesel pollution in a neighborhood along the rail line in Longview.

“At some point enough has to be enough,” said Dave Bennett, a spokesperson for the department. “We will not back down from our legal responsibility to protect Washington’s people and environment, including the Columbia River.”

In Oregon, activists worked to pass the first law prohibiting fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland. The year-long battle began with protests over a Shell drilling vessel. Activists delayed its departure while chanting “Coal, oil, gas, none shall pass!”

“[Zinke’s proposal] completely flies in the face of local and state action all up and down the West Coast,” said Mia Reback, the former organizer of a Portland climate group involved in the efforts. “This is really a matter of life and death — for our local communities and for the biosphere,” she said.

Jan Hasselman, a lawyer with EarthJustice who has litigated against the Longview terminal, does not see this proposal as having much legal ground. Even with military projects, he says that states have a say when it comes to protecting water quality. Under the Clean Water Act, any federal permit also requires a state water quality certification, which was denied in the Millenium Bulk Terminals Project.

What Hasselman finds particularly alarming is the use of the military to corporate ends. “We have a military whose purpose is to protect the national interests,” he said. “It’s not there to benefit private corporate interests. Let the military be the military and do their jobs and don’t saddle them with propping up a dying industry.”


The West Coast is fired up for a coal battle with Zinke

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LG, ONA, PUR, Radius, solar, solar power, Thermos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The West Coast is fired up for a coal battle with Zinke

Can Teddy Bears Help Fight Air Pollution in London?

When air pollution levels spike in London, new coughing teddy bears tweet at local politicians with a message about the dangers of dirty air.

Air pollution is becoming a massive global issue. Just take a look at this interactive map, and you’ll notice that a?worrisome amount of the world is in the yellow and red. The World Health Organization actually estimated that?unsafe levels of air pollution caused?seven million deaths globally?in 2012 alone. That is an astounding one out of every eight deaths for that year caused by dirty air.

The majority of the world’s most polluted cities lie in?growing?industrial nations, like India and China, but cities like London are starting to feel the devastating effects of air pollution. In fact, a lot of Londoners are gravely concerned.

“This is now a matter of life and death, and the government has one last chance to put it right,” said London’s mayor,?Sadiq Khan, last year.

Around 9,500 people die annually due to London’s poor air quality. That’s significantly more than the number of Londoners who?die?in car accidents.?What’s more,?there are?800+ schools in London that are regularly exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air (from road traffic) that surpass the E.U.’s legal limits. Air pollution is a silent killer, and it has?grown into a health emergency.

And yet, London’s government has been slow to act. So?one company decided to start?making a blatant statement?with an animatronic teddy bear.

The bear is named Toxic Toby, and it is the brainchild of creatives at the advertising agency,?McCann London.?Toby gets strapped on the side of the road surrounded by flowers, reminiscent of?a memorial, but it’s not just a lifeless teddy bear?tied?to a post.

“The 3D-printed bear is fed real-time air quality data from a company called BreezoMeter,” Zoya Teirstein?writes?at Grist, “When pollution hits dangerous levels, Toby lifts his little paw and coughs.”

Yep, the bear coughs when the air quality is bad?very realistically (and heart-wrenchingly). It’s pretty hard to ignore as a passerby. And every time he coughs, he sends a nagging little tweet to local politicians with a message about the dangers of air pollution.

Raising awareness on the streets while pushing politicians to make change?it’s an ingenious way to make a difference. And who can ignore a sick teddy bear?

While the US has significantly better air quality than many other parts of the world, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned. Los Angeles ?is barely behind London?when it comes to terrible air. And if you live elsewhere, bad news?air pollution travels, thanks to wind. Air pollution is?everyone’s problem, no matter where you live.

Take action?by contacting your local government and demanding stronger anti-pollution action. Clean air is a human right. Maybe we need a few Toxic Tobys on our side of the Atlantic to get the message across.

Related on Care2:

This Amino Acid has Powerful Gut-Healing Properties?
Big Win: The Entire City of Los Angeles Bans Fur Sales!
Who Shouldn’t Eat Kale?

Image via Thinkstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Jump to original:

Can Teddy Bears Help Fight Air Pollution in London?

Posted in alo, bigo, Everyone, FF, GE, LAI, LG, Omega, ONA, PUR, The Atlantic, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Can Teddy Bears Help Fight Air Pollution in London?

8 ways resigning EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suppressed science

This story was originally published by Reveal and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who announced on Thursday that he is resigning, leaves a legacy of suppressing the role of science at the agency.

Blocking science in the name of transparency

In March, Pruitt proposed a new “science transparency policy.” Under the proposed rule, when the EPA designs pollution standards and rules, it would use only studies in which the underlying data is public. Pruitt said his policy would prevent the EPA from using “secret science” that cannot be tested by other researchers. But scientists say important findings could be excluded.

One example is research by Harvard University that linked fine particle pollution in U.S. cities with an increase in deaths from lung and heart diseases. The data for the 1993 study was key to the EPA’s setting of health standards that regulate air pollution. But the study’s underlying data is not public because researchers promised confidentiality to their subjects, 8,000 adults and 14,000 children in six cities.

Firing academic science advisers

Pruitt fired Science Advisory Board members who receive EPA grants for their research, saying they cannot remain objective if they accept agency money. In replacing them, Pruitt transformed the board from a panel of the nation’s top environmental experts to one dominated by industry-funded scientists and state government officials who have fought federal regulations.

Pruitt removed 21 members of the advisory board, mostly academics, and replaced them with 16 experts with ties to industries regulated by the agency and two with no industry ties. Fourteen of the new members consulted or worked for the fossil fuel or chemical industries, which gave Pruitt nearly $320,000 for his campaigns in Oklahoma as a state senator and attorney general. Eleven new members of the EPA’s board have a history of downplaying the health risks of secondhand smoke, air pollution, and other hazards, including two who have spun science for tobacco companies, according to an investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Misrepresenting climate science

Pruitt repeatedly cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human activities are the primary cause of climate change. For instance, in a 2017 interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Pruitt said: “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s [carbon dioxide] a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

Along the same lines, the Huffington Post in March published leaked talking points from the EPA’s public affairs office. The memorandum seemed designed to downplay humans’ role in climate change.

This contradicts the overwhelming science that people are causing climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2013 summary for policymakers found that it is “extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations,” or human activity. By “extremely likely,” the group of international scientists means a probability of 95 to 100 percent.

Ignoring science to reduce protections for waterways

Pruitt took steps toward repealing Obama-era protections for waterways and wetlands to fulfill a Trump executive order to roll back the reach of the Clean Water Act. That rollback would strip federal protection from seasonal streambeds, isolated pools, and other transitory wetlands, exposing them to damage, pollution, or destruction from housing developments, energy companies, and farms.

In June, Pruitt sent his proposal to redefine which waters are protected to the Office of Management and Budget, which is the final step before it is made public. Trump had ordered Pruitt to incorporate a definition put forth by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which defines protected waters as relatively permanent and continuously connected by surface water to navigable bays, rivers or lakes. If that definition is incorporated, it could allow damage to waterways that provide drinking water for more than 117 million Americans.

EPA brain drain

Pruitt’s hostility toward science fueled a brain drain at the EPA. The New York Times reported that out of 700 employees who left the agency in 2017, more than 200, or 27 percent, were scientists.

Among those leaving were 34 biologists and microbiologists, 19 chemists, 81 environmental engineers, and environmental scientists, and more than a dozen toxicologists, life scientists, and geologists. Few of these scientists have been replaced. According to the report, seven of the 129 people hired by the agency in 2017 were scientists.

Website goes light on science

After first removing the EPA’s Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments web page, the agency relaunched it with a new name: Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments. The new web page omits many links to EPA information that was designed to help local officials prepare for climate change and reduce climate change emissions, according to an October study by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative.

Dirty power plants

Pruitt took steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan, the Obama-era regulation intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030 compared with 2005.

Pruitt also was revamping an earlier Obama administration rule that required that all new power plants meet greenhouse gas standards that roughly equate to emissions from modern natural gas plants.

Budget cuts to tribes

Pruitt proposed deep cuts in the EPA’s budget that could slow the cleanup of the Navajo Nation’s uranium mines. So far, Congress has resisted much of the cuts. But Pruitt kept proposing them. For instance, the $2.9 billion he proposed in state and tribal assistance grants for fiscal 2019 would provide $574 million less than the current budget.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye worries that such cuts could derail the EPA’s efforts to identify the companies responsible for cleaning up old mines and supervise the projects.

Read article here: 

8 ways resigning EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suppressed science

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 8 ways resigning EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suppressed science