February 12th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
High cases of the flu, which are currently plaguing 38 states, may be the result of shifts in the climate, according to a recent study published in the journal PLOS Currents: Influenza.
Read More:The Flu Outbreak and Climate Change: What’s the Connection?
December 13th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
It could be just what climate change naysayers need to be convinced of the true impact global warming is having. Newsweek is reporting in its current issue that wheat crops are facing major challenges as a result of the planet’s rising temperatures.
Read More:A World Without Bread: Low-Carb Lovers Dream or Climate Change Nightmare?
November 10th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
Attention coffee lovers: You might want to sip that cuppa just a little bit more slowly than normal as there’s news that the beloved wild Arabica coffee plant is facing an almost certain extinction by the year 2080.
Read More:Climate Change Threatens Extinction for Wild Coffee Plants
October 31st, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
As the nation scrambles to grasp the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation all along the Northeast, the USDA has issued a food safety warning in hopes of helping those stranded without power or dealing with flooding to avoid foodborne illnesses.
Read More:Sandy’s Aftermath: Food Safety Warnings and the Price of Ignoring Climate Change
July 17th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
To combat the issues brought about by global warming, 11 African countries are now building what’s being called ‘The Great Green Wall’—a 4,300 mile long and 9 mile wide stretch of trees across the continent from Senegal to Djibouti, reports the Guardian.
Read More:Global Greening: Africa Building 4,300 Mile ‘Wall of Trees’
July 15th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Having broken box-office records with Avatar, director James Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment have partnered with the Earth Day Network to create the Avatar Home Tree Initiative—an effort to plant 1 million native trees in 15 countries (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Haiti).
Each Avatar Blu-Ray and DVD has a unique code, which buyers can register here. Fans who do so can adopt one of the million trees and receive a virtual home tree that represents it. At press time, 227,713 trees have been adopted.
“We find ourselves facing the greatest challenge of our time: saving our natural world from ourselves,” Cameron says. “The time has come to stand up and be warriors for the Earth. Avatar takes place on a distant world, but it’s really about this miracle planet we have right here.”
“Climate change is a worldwide problem, and we have a universal responsibility to protect the world’s natural resources from man’s exploitation,” adds Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers, who calls Cameron an “environmental steward.”
Check out these official interactive sites:
- Pandorama. Using a webcam, immerse yourself in the world of Pandora. Insert yourself into different movie locations, and interact with the elements. Snap postcards, and share them with friends.
- Pandorapedia. Enter the official guide to the world of Pandora, with hundreds of online facts.
- Immersive Trailer. With this interactive trailer, click on any part of the video to explore frame-by-frame and in-context “hot spots,” which offer meticulous information on characters and locations.
Read More:Help Director James Cameron Plant 1 Million Trees
June 20th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
The oil industry, whose image couldn’t be worse in the wake of the BP spill, was less than thrilled that Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was defeated.
Predictably, Big Oil’s spokesmouth employed the usual Freddy Kruegeresque scare tactics.
“Massive and rapidly imposed restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions would harm the American economy and hit every American in his or her wallet,” warned Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. “If EPA’s aggressive campaign to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is successful, it will add billions of dollars to the cost of doing business in the United States, raise the cost of energy and other products for American families, wipe out the jobs of millions of American workers and simply shift greenhouse gas emissions from the United States to other nations without any increase in environmental protection.”
Can I come out from under the bed now?
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), a true friend of the environment, quickly shot down Drevna’s sky-is-falling scenario, saying the Murkowski crowd has made false economic claims.
“Quite the opposite, it is [the Murkowski] resolution that will hurt our economy by causing the American people to forfeit a third of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that are projected to come from last year’s historic agreement between the Obama Administration, the states, and the nation’s automakers and autoworkers,” he said.
“Much of what the special interests, and Big Oil and their lobbyists, have been saying in favor of this resolution is steeped not in science, but in politics and mistruths,” Leahy added.
Rebecca Rasch, communications manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, got it right when she noted that the Murkowski resolution would have nullified “EPA’s finding of scientific fact that greenhouse gases cause harmful global warming—a finding that forms the legal basis for any further steps EPA can take to address carbon pollution.”
Supporting the bill, Rasch added, would have been “a vote against the strong scientific consensus that climate change is a real threat we must avoid.”
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience
Read More:Oil Industry Resorts to Scare Tactics
June 14th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
My environmental hero of the week is Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), who actually cares about the ramifications of climate change and the quality of the air we breathe.
Before the June 10 defeat of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to enforce the Clean Air Act, Leahy employed an apt “punt, pass and kick” football analogy to chastise the “drill, baby, drill” crowd.
Murkowski’s resolution, he explained, “would punt away constructive action to begin addressing the many threats that each and every American faces from climate change, and the threats we face every day to our national security. It would pass on the opportunities to foster cleaner air and water for us, and for the generations that will follow us. And it would kick away the progress already negotiated by the Obama administration and key industries, such as our automobile and truck manufacturers, to usher in new products that would pollute less while creating good American jobs—jobs that cannot be sent overseas.
“Many on the other side of the aisle have been adamant in trying to wish these problems away and to forfeit the economic opportunities at our fingertips to lead the world in these new energy technologies,” Leahy added. “Powerful corporate interests are more than glad to contribute to these efforts to stalemate any progress.”
Passage of Murkowski’s resolution would have signaled that we’re “content to keep relying on the outdated, dirty and inefficient energy technologies of the past, and to let every other industrialized nation leap in front of us in developing and selling these new technologies,” Leahy said.
There’s no doubt that greenhouse gases are a “clear and present health and economic threat to the American people,” he added, noting that Murkowski’s resolution would give Congress permission to “undermine America’s ability to clean our air and our waters.”
Leahy wants the EPA to remain focused on protecting the American people, “whether it is arsenic in our drinking water, smog in the air, mercury in the fish we eat or greenhouse gases.”
He’s also calling on Congress to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation.
Read More:Vermont Senator Stands Up to Anti-Environmentalists
June 11th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Sarah Palin’s “drill, baby, drill” mantra seems all the more idiotic as we watch the environmental scoundrels at BP try to contain the disastrous oil spill they caused along the Gulf Coast (with, I should add, a little help from Dick Cheney’s greedy cohorts at Halliburton).
“While this is a popular strategy among Republicans, Tea Partiers and Blue Dog Democrats, it is a terrible policy,” says Rafael Reuveny, PhD, a professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington. “It risks the health of America’s environment and, even more so, the global ecosystem.”
Offshore drilling is growing costlier and more dangerous, Dr. Reuveny says.
“We don’t even know how to solve the current problem in the Gulf,” he explains. “Offshore drilling pushes our technology and safety measures to the limit. The more we drill offshore and the deeper the sea bed is, the higher the risk of these catastrophes. It is a simple game of probability.”
From Climate Change to Outright Violence
Instead of weaning the planet off fossil fuels, the United States is escalating its dependence and accelerating climate change.
“Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of weather disasters such as storms, floods and droughts,” says Dr. Reuveny, who coauthored Climatic Natural Disasters, Political Risk and International Trade in the May issue of Global Environmental Change. “As a result, these disasters have reduced foreign trade and investments and promoted waves of environmental refugees from poor, affected countries. In Arizona, the arrival of migrants has led to civil strife. In other cases, it has led to outright violence.”
As the United States continues to increase carbon emissions, other countries must wonder why they should cap theirs, Dr. Reuveny says.
Pursuing an Irrational Course
President Obama’s initial executive order to continue offshore drilling, which he reversed by moratorium after the BP spill, “brings all of us closer to the brink of social collapse due to severe environmental decline, which has occurred many times throughout history,” Dr. Reuveny asserts.
A better strategy is to preserve oil as an insurance plan for the future.
“Leaving our oil in the ground is like an underwater bank with an outstanding interest rate as oil becomes increasingly scarce and its price rises,” he says. “In the meantime, we must invest in new technology and alternative energy sources. These are the ways to maintain our status as world leader. We will only self-destruct if we continue on this irrational course.”
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Energy Independence: Your Everyday Guide to Reducing Fuel Consumption
Read More:Just Leave the Damn Oil in the Ground
June 6th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
More than 275 million people visit America’s national parks each year, but “years of underfunding, pollution and climate change have taken a toll on our national treasures,” says Theresa Pierno, executive vice president of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).
That’s why four-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Kenny Chesney has partnered with granola-bar company Nature Valley to raise up to $500,000 for the NPCA. .
“To me, there’s nothing better than being outside, enjoying the parks, the lakes and the oceans—and that’s what makes protecting our national parks so important,” Chesney says. “Teaming up with Nature Valley to raise awareness and funds is a great way to make sure the public realizes how special these parks are.”
You may make a donation to support restoration projects by clicking here.
In the first year, Nature Valley will contribute to the NPCA through the National Parks Project, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $250,000. Money raised will focus on three preservation projects:
- Reestablishing plant life critical to the Grand Canyon
- Restoring habitat for Yellowstone’s wildlife
- Rebuilding Biscayne National Park’s damaged coral reefs
Pierno says the new partnership “is another step toward ensuring our national parks get the care and support they need for the enjoyment of our children and grandchildren in the years to come.”
You can follow park conservation efforts on Twitter.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Natural Parks: America’s Best Idea
Photos courtesy of Kenny Chesney; Jim Peaco/National Park Service
Read More:Give Our National Parks Some TLC