enviornment

If you care even a little bit about climate change, animal abuse, world hunger, deforestation, human health, the oceans, you really really really need to take a long hard look at what you eat. As much as people don’t want to admit it, animal agriculture is killing the environment, animals, and humans, and the longer society refuses to admit it the more damage is going to be done.

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Today we honor Vandana Shiva, because as the corporate oligarchy continues to destroy our planet, it is clear that we need more leadership like hers:

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  1. Environmental racism is the geographic relationship between environmental degradation and low-income or minority communities.
  2. The people populating areas within 2 miles of our nation’s hazardous waste facilities are by majority of color.
  3. Racial disparities of color exist in 9 out of 10 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regions.
  4. Existing laws and land-use controls have not been adequately applied in order to reduce health risks for those living in or near toxic “hot spots”.
  5. African Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of causing the greatest health dangers.
  6. A Commission for Racial Justice study found that three of the five largest waste facilities dealing with hazardous materials in the United States are located in poor black communities.This study also showed that three out of every five African American and Latinos live in areas near toxic waste sites, as well as live in areas where the levels of poverty are well above the national average.
  7. Poverty-stricken Native American communities face some of the worst toxic pollution problems in the country.
  8. “Approximately half of all Native Americans live in communities with an uncontrolled toxic waste site,“ according to the Commission for Racial Justice.
  9. Living near toxic waste facilities and in low income housing affects almost every aspect of life including food, water, and air. Homes, schools, and workplaces are deemed unsafe because of environmental hazards in the buildings, which are dilapidated and outdated.
  10. Children of color who live in poor areas are more likely to attend schools filled with asbestos, live in homes with peeling lead paint, and play in parks that are contaminated.
  11. These same children are nearly 9 times more likely than economically advantaged children to be exposed to lead levels so high they can cause severe learning disabilities and neurological disorders. 96 percent of African American children who live in inner cities have unsafe amounts of lead in their blood.
Evidence often cited by climate scientists and also normal people attempting to demonstrate just how much we’ve destroyed the Earth is that we’ve experienced 13 of the hottest 15 years on record since 2000. Climate deniers will respond, reminding you that they aren’t scientists, but they have it on pretty good authority that the climate is always changing — we just don’t have anything to do with it. So, the people at Climate Central made an animation in which they examine just how likely it is for us to have experienced so many record-breaking years in such a short period of time if human-influenced global warming isn’t to blame. The odds? 1-in-27 million.
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Ok yes, unhinged neighbor kid from American Beauty: plastic bags can be beautiful. But mostly, they’re not, and everyone knows it.

Following the lead of developing countries like China and India, more than 100 U.S. cities and counties now carry anti-plastic-bag legislation (including, as of this year, Los Angeles and New York City), and that’s still a small bulwark against a staggering rate of use. By recent estimates, Americans fly through 102 billion plastic bags a year, enough to circle the equator 1,330 times if laid end to end, according to prognosticators.

And yet, the damn things can be beautiful. Case in point: the unusual “landscapes” of London-based photographer Vilde J. Rolfsen.

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This Earth Day, let’s skip all the talk and go for the easy swaps – the things you can really do right now to better the planet, both today and for the entire year to come.

Not only will these five easy Earth Day habits make your home a more eco-friendly place, but they’ll likely save you money, too. Be green, save green, and make a pact to start these five game-changing practices … TODAY. 

Read on here for more easy tips. 

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Thousands of gallons of pollution recovered from oil & gas spill in Colorado
March 23, 2013

Cleanup continues at the site of an underground spill of thousands of gallons of pollution related to the oil and gas industry in the heart of Colorado’s fracking country.

The underground leak is located near the town of Parachute and has threatened to contaminate Parachute Creek, which flows into the Colorado River. State officials continue to report that buffers have kept the creek safe, so far.

Colorado regulators reported that nearly 6,000 gallons of “hydrocarbons” had been recovered from the site. At least 102,564 gallons of contaminated water have been recovered, as well.

The spill site is near a natural gas plant operated by Williams Energy, and another company, WPX Energy, operates underground oil and gas pipelines in the area. Both companies are working to contain the spill but neither company has taken responsibility, publicly revealed the source of the pollution or identified the type of hydrocarbons contaminating the area.

Spokespeople for Williams did not respond to several inquiries from Truthout.

Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said that work had begun on Wednesday to excavate a large pipe in the spill area, where workers are “proceeding with care and deliberation.”

Earlier this week, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued notices of “alleged violation” to Williams and WPX. The commission ordered both companies to continue working to contain the spill and submit a cleanup plan to regulators.

Williams Energy workers first identified the spill on March 8, but the company did not alert the nearby town of Parachute until five days later, which frustrated local officials who visited the site this week. It’s unclear how long the underground plume of pollution was growing before Williams discovered the contamination in an area adjacent to its gas plant.

A local cattleman told The Denver Post that such spills are common in the area and often remain secret, and state records show that the oil and gas industry is responsible for hundreds of spills each year, the newspaper reports. 

Advancements in drilling technology, such as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” have facilitated an oil and gas rush in Colorado and several other states. The environmental group Earthjustice reports that at least eight fracking-related accidents, mostly involving contaminated wells, have occurred across the state.

In a statement, the Colorado Wildlife Federation said the spill might have been detected earlier with better monitoring.

“This is one more strong argument for keeping oil and gas wells and related infrastructure a safe distance from waterways,” said Suzanne O'Neill, the organization’s executive director. “Regulators pledged to form a stakeholders’ group to develop standards for riparian setbacks a while ago. We’re still waiting.”

In 2008, Colorado regulators failed to include protections and buffer zones for waterways as they overhauled regulations for the oil and gas industry, the group noted.

Source

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An Indonesian court has ruled indigenous people have the right to manage forests where they live, a move which supporters said prevents the government from handing over community-run land to businesses.
May 17, 2013

Disputes between indigenous groups and companies have become increasingly tense in recent years, as soaring global demand for commodities like palm oil has seen plantations encroach on forests. In Thursday’s ruling, Constitutional Court judges said that a 1999 law should be changed so it no longer defines forest that has been inhabited by indigenous groups for generations as “state forest”, according to court documents.

“Indigenous Indonesians have the right to log their forests and cultivate the land for their personal needs, and the needs of their families,” judge Muhammad Alim said as he handed down the ruling, state news agency Antara reported.

While environmentalists welcomed the ruling, they warned it could unintentionally lead to an upsurge in disputes between authorities and communities over the classification of indigenous land. In March, seven villagers were shot in northern Sumatra, where a dispute over a forest claimed by both the community and government has been simmering since 1998.

The National People’s Indigenous Organisation filed the challenge to the 1999 law, which has let officials sell permits allowing palm oil, paper, mining and timber companies to exploit their land. The group said Friday’s ruling affected 40 million hectares (98 million acres) of forest - slightly larger than Japan, and 30 per cent of Indonesia’s forest coverage. Despite their living there, the area was legally classified as “customary forest”, a term that describes forests that have been inhabited by indigenous people for a long time.

“About 40 million indigenous people are now the rightful owners of our customary forests,” said the group’s chief Abdon Nababan.

Stepi Hakim, Indonesia director of the Clinton Climate Initiative, said the ruling would give legal grounds for indigenous communities to challenge businesses operating in their forests, but this could lead to a string of new disputes. “As soon as this policy is delivered, local governments have to be ready to mitigate conflicts,” he said.

Source

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Ran across a great book while doing research on racism in the environmental movement.

Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places

Each person interviewed talks about what they do outdoors and when/how they first became attracted to nature. They also discuss their views on (usually) being the only Black/Brown person in a “wild place” and on what they think keeps other people of color from experiencing the wild outdoors (variety of reasons given…  poverty, too many responsibilities at home, not wanting to expose themselves to overt racism in small town America, etc.) .

The author of the book is Dudley Edmondson, a Black nature photographer/writer. So yeah.. the book has amazing photographs but also a great message: “Nature without question is for everyone.”

The purpose of the book is to encourage more Black people to discover nature and also for people to quit talking about what we don’t do. We (can) do everything!

I’m a nature enthusiast myself, and I’d love to not be the only Black person for miles and miles all the time. I cannot remember ever having any racist experiences on any of my little adventures… however, people in the book share some unfortunate stories. But, don’t let a fear of racist events stop you from enjoying nature. The land is a part of our culture! It is only in the last hundred years or so that Black people have become urbanized. Before this, we always had a relationship with nature. It’s time to reconnect!

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth. As well as having been featured in a number of books, she and the Green Belt Movement were the subject of a documentary film, Taking Root: the Vision of Wangari Maathai (Marlboro Productions, 2008).

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, a rura…l area of Kenya (Africa), in 1940. She obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964), a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966), and pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, before obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region. (Greenbeltmovement.com) ‪#‎WomensHistoryMonth‬ ‪#‎Herstory‬ ‪#‎IWHM‬