environmental risks

The Tulalip Tribes are extremely disappointed with the NEB’s decision to recommend approval of the TransMountain Pipeline. We are facing the very real threat of an oil spill that puts the Salish Sea at risk.

The fishing grounds of the Salish Sea are the lifeblood of our peoples.We cannot sit idly by while these waters are threatened by reckless increases in oil tanker traffic and the increased risk of catastrophic oil spills.
—  Mel Sheldon, Tulalip Tribes Chairman, in a statement from environmental law group Earthjustice.

First Nations and Allies Vow to Fight Kinder Morgan Pipeline Approval
Trump administration withdrew memo that found 'ample legal justification' to halt Dakota Access pipeline
The legal opinion was withdrawn two days before an easement was approved.
By ABC News

Two days before the Trump administration approved an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross a reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, the U.S. Department of the Interior withdrew a legal opinion that concluded there was “ample legal justification” to deny it.

The withdrawal of the opinion was revealed in court documents filed this week by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the same agency that requested the review late last year.

“A pattern is emerging with [the Trump] administration,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “They take good, thoughtful work and then just throw it in the trash and do whatever they want to do.”

The 35-page legal analysis of the pipeline’s potential environmental risks and its impact on treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux and other indigenous tribes was authored in December by then-Interior Department Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins, an Obama appointee who was – at the time – the top lawyer in the department.

“The government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Tribes calls for enhanced engagement and sensitivity to the Tribes’ concerns,” Tompkins wrote. “The Corps is accordingly justified should it choose to deny the proposed easement.”

Tompkins’ opinion was dated Dec. 4, the same day the Obama administration announced that it was denying an easement for the controversial crossing and initiating an environmental impact statement that would explore alternative routes for the pipeline. Tompkins did not respond to a request by ABC News to discuss her analysis or the decision made to withdraw it.

On his second weekday in office, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that directed the Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve” the pipeline in an expedited manner, to “the extent permitted by law, and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate.” “I believe that construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest,” Trump wrote in the memo.

Two weeks later, the Corps issued the easement to Dakota Access and the environmental review was canceled.

The company behind the pipeline project now estimates that oil could be flowing in the pipeline as early as March 6.

The analysis by Tompkins includes a detailed review of the tribes’ hunting, fishing and water rights to Lake Oahe, the federally controlled reservoir where the final stretch of the pipeline is currently being installed, and concludes that the Corps “must consider the possible impacts” of the pipeline on those reserved rights.

“The Tompkins memo is potentially dispositive in the legal case,” Hasselman said. “It shows that the Army Corps [under the Obama administration] made the right decision by putting the brakes on this project until the Tribe’s treaty rights, and the risk of oil spills, was fully evaluated.”

Tompkins’ opinion was particularly critical of the Corps’ decision to reject another potential route for the pipeline that would have placed it just north of Bismarck, North Dakota, in part because of the pipeline’s proximity to municipal water supply wells.

“The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations are the permanent and irreplaceable homelands for the Tribes,” Tompkins wrote. “Their core identity and livelihood depend upon their relationship to the land and environment – unlike a resident of Bismarck, who could simply relocate if the [Dakota Access] pipeline fouled the municipal water supply, Tribal members do not have the luxury of moving away from an environmental disaster without also leaving their ancestral territory.”

Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, has said that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on local water supply are unfounded” and “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”

The decision to temporarily suspend Tompkins’ legal opinion two days before the easement was approved was outlined in a Feb. 6 internal memorandum issued by K. Jack Haugrud, the acting secretary of the Department of the Interior. A spokeswoman for the department told ABC News today that the opinion was suspended so that it could be reviewed by the department.

The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes are continuing their legal challenges to the pipeline. A motion for a preliminary injunction will be heard on Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The Corps has maintained, throughout the litigation, that it made a good faith effort to meaningfully consult with the tribes.

The tribes contend, however, that the Trump administration’s cancellation of the environmental review and its reversal of prior agency decisions are “baldly illegal.”

“Agencies can’t simply disregard their own findings, and ‘withdrawing’ the Tompkins memo doesn’t change that,” Hasselman said. “We have challenged the legality of the Trump administration reversal and we think we have a strong case.”

environmental rambles #1: the market is unequipped to handle the fight against climate change

It just occurred to me that for all I post about politics, I don’t actually post about my area of expertise—that being environmental policy and sustainable measures. And as I’m getting deeper into conversations with people, I forget how much I just assume is known. So here’s a loose series I’m going to begin. I have no outline or general idea about how long these posts will be.

The key issue when tackling *climate change* or environmental degradation (ugh do I have to write a post that explains how this is a real problem? Please no.), and frankly the key issue when tackling anything in this political climate, is money. Because solving any problem usually requires shelling out, and we have a very entrenched economic system where profit is valued above all else. For instance, with healthcare, consider how many conversations there were about the burdens on small to mid-sized business, or costs shifting to states, or how best to implement price controls. It’s the first thing anyone looks at.

Climate change is tough, because our largest sources of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions are electricity, transportation, and heating. It seems logical to tackle the actual shit we burn to power this stuff, which is why there’s a push for renewables, or for nuclear energy (97% renewable, but that 3% is a Problem). Ditto for mixing our gas with ethanol (there’s claims that GHG emissions are net-zero because corn fields act as carbon sinks, but honestly, corn production in the USA is its own damn topic), or the push to mass transit, telecommuting, the purchasing of off-sets for travel, and electric cars.

Keep reading

glitched-glitch  asked:

Hi im going to college and im really interested in animals but my school doesnt offer zoology but ecology.Im more interested in getting close to animals and im wondering if you have any tips or suggestions for majors or if ecology bachelor can still land me jobs working with animals cause I know ecology is more about studying impact of populations of species in an environment.

Ok i looked a bit into it but mostly for universities in my country so i dont know if that applies to wherever you live. Here ecology is part of a bachelor or master in biology and it consists of courses such as community ecology, system ecology and ecophysiology, population ecology, conservation biology, global change biology, alpine ecology and field courses in ecology and plant

And for what i saw community ecology includes faunistics and animal ecology, and nature conservation biology includes biological principles of natural and environmental protection, risk assessment and zoo biology so it could help you find a scientific employment in a university, zoo or animal sanctuary where you could work with and/or study animals so yeah i would say its a very good base for biological work in general

Schizophrenia and cannabis use may share common genes

Genes that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia may also increase the likelihood of using cannabis, according to a new study led by King’s College London, published today in Molecular Psychiatry

Previous studies have identified a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it has remained unclear whether this association is due to cannabis directly increasing the risk of the disorder.

The new results suggest that part of this association is due to common genes, but do not rule out a causal relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia risk. 

The study is a collaboration between King’s and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia, partly funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). 

Mr Robert Power, lead author from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s, says: “Studies have consistently shown a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia. We wanted to explore whether this is because of a direct cause and effect, or whether there may be shared genes which predispose individuals to both cannabis use and schizophrenia.”

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and its use is higher amongst people with schizophrenia than in the general population. Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 in 100 people and people who use cannabis are about twice as likely to develop the disorder. The most common symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions (false beliefs) and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). Whilst the exact cause is unknown, a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make people more likely to develop the disorder.

Previous studies have identified a number of genetic risk variants associated with schizophrenia, each of these slightly increasing an individual’s risk of developing the disorder.  

The new study included 2,082 healthy individuals of whom 1,011 had used cannabis. Each individual’s ‘genetic risk profile’ was measured – that is, the number of genes related to schizophrenia each individual carried. 

The researchers found that people genetically pre-disposed to schizophrenia were more likely to use cannabis, and use it in greater quantities than those who did not possess schizophrenia risk genes.

Power says: “We know that cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia. Our study certainly does not rule this out, but it suggests that there is likely to be an association in the other direction as well – that a pre-disposition to schizophrenia also increases your likelihood of cannabis use.”

“Our study highlights the complex interactions between genes and environments when we talk about cannabis as a risk factor for schizophrenia. Certain environmental risks, such as cannabis use, may be more likely given an individual’s innate behaviour and personality, itself influenced by their genetic make-up. This is an important finding to consider when calculating the economic and health impact of cannabis.”

anonymous asked:

You posted some stuff about GMOs and I just wanted to encourage you to do some research on them! You generally seem pretty well educated on food so I think it would benefit you! GMOs allow for the use of less pesticides and use 0 chemicals. (1/2)


In fact, the majority of GMOs is simply breeding different plants to make them yield more! It’s all just scientific engineering to make agriculture more efficient. Have a great day! Also, your post about corporation owned corn is misleading information! Monsanto breeds new strands and seeds of corn that have greater yield, so farmers opt to buy these because their return is larger. Same goes for wheat! They could use others But using other seeds mean using more land and water and pesticides for less yield! It’s economically and environmentally better to use genetically modified corn and wheat strands. Remember, GMO simply means organisms are bred together!


As an environmental science major i have had to do a lot of research on GMOs and write too many opinion papers on them! I’m just going to copy and paste one of my essays here for you to read rather than writing it all out again! Thanks for this message though- i enjoy talking about things like this with people who actually are educated on the subject!!

With the turn of the century, the advent of GM foods have created a new divide in society: those for GM foods and those opposed to it. With the confusion over the new science, GMO companies like Monsanto have spread the use of their products with little resistance. Now, as the public has become more informed on the issues at hand, GM foods have been put under scrutiny. While GM foods boast advantages for agriculture, these advantages have major side effects that outweigh the positive effects and these coupled with their monoculturism and their spreadability make them a major threat to the farming industry rather than a benefit.

GM foods are said to have major beneficial factors that outweigh their negative effects. It is claimed that with increase in GM foods, pesticide usage will go down, however; this is untrue due to the use of glyphosate. Glyphosate, more commonly known as ‘Roundup’, is a herbicide that is commonly used to kill off weeds that are found around crops. Since the start of GM foods, Glyphosate-resistant crops have been invented, making the option for farmers to be able to spray Glyphosate to kill off weeds without harming their crops (GMO Crops). Although this seems like an excellent invention, it has had some serious unintended consequences. Rather than go down, pesticide use has grown because the new GM crops are unaffected by pesticides (GMO Crops), so farmers no longer have to worry about over spraying their crops. GM crops have been tested to reduce or eliminate nut allergies, even though this is a step in the right direction, they are also creating new allergies as well as worsening known allergies. New allergies are being created from the increase in herbicide use and the changing of DNA without being labeled (Institute for). GM foods have brought the ability to feed more people with less time, space, and money. While being able to feed the growing population is good, the GM foods have less nutritional value and the longterm affect on the human body is still unknown (8 Reasons).

Ever since the creation of GM foods, genetic diversity of crops have gone down. 100 years ago there were 307 types of corn being grown and consumed, today there are only 12, but most of the corn grown belongs to one of three of these types. This is the same with almost every crop grown today. As the usage of GM foods grows, crop diversity is diminishing (We Used). Along with the fact that we are loosing types of food, plants that have less diversity tend to have a harder time with survival. Wether this is through fighting off deceases, living through droughts, or warding away insects, natural plants have a better chance of living (8 Reasons). The mono-culturing of crops also depletes the soil of beneficial nutrients, which will cause a future decline in production.

GM crops are able to pass on their modified traits on to other species, many of which are not targeted crops. This can lead to the creation of a new species that have not been tested nor have been meant to be created (8 Reasons). This is a huge environmental risk because it can change certain genetic components of other foods making them unsafe to consume, as well as destroying a crucial source of food for other species. The Monarch Butterfly’s food, milkweed, has unintentionally been mixed with Bt corn. The corn seeds have drifted into milkweed crops and the two have crossbred to create a version of milkweed poisonous to the Monarch. This spread also takes away a consumer’s right to chose what they want to put into their body. As GM crops spread, companies like Monsanto gain power by seizing farms accidentally infected with GMOs (Pocket K).

GMO companies have a tight grip on agriculture and it will take a lot of informed opposition to loosen this hold. Much of the damage of GM foods will only be reversed with time, but first, production of these crops needs to be stunted if not stopped. Their obvious abuse of the environment will not only hurt the areas where they are used, but the larger environment around us, and no one is being held responsible for these actions. With the increase in pesticides, allergies, and crops with empty calories, global human health will deteriorate. The most damning point of evidence against GM foods is this: if GM foods were truly as good for us as advertised, why did Monsanto pump millions into not having food labels as “GMO” or “non-GMO” (What are).

Sources Sited

“8 Reasons GMOs Are Bad for You | Organicauthority.com - Organic Living.” Organicauthoritycom Organic Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2014.

“Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful?” Genetically Modified Foods: Harmful or Helpful? N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2014.

“GMO Crops Increase Pesticide Use.” Farm Wars RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

“GMO Myths and Truths Report.” 5.2. Myth: GM Crops Decrease Pesticide Use. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.

“Institute for Responsible Technology.” - Genetically Engineered Foods May Cause Rising Food AllergiesGenetically Engineered Soybeans. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

“Pocket K No. 4: GM Crops and the Environment.” GM Crops and the Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.

“We Used To Have 307 Kinds Of Corn. Guess How Many Are Left?” Upworthy. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

“What Are We Eating? - LabelGMOs.” LabelGMOs. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.

Plant Compounds May Yield New Class Of Safe Pesticides

by Michael Keller

A massive screening effort that sifted through more than 1,600 plant species has discovered a handful of compounds that could make the next generation of safe insecticides.

An international research team isolated five metabolites from two types of plant that counteract hormones found only in insects, which they say makes the compounds safe for people and the environment.

The metabolites, naturally produced by a species of shrub called Lindera erythrocarpa and a common herbaceous flowering plant in the aster family named Solidago serotina, are chemical warfare agents the plants have evolved to thwart insect attackers. They work by counteracting a core regulator of development and reproduction in insects called juvenile hormone.

In experiments, mosquitos of the species that typically carries yellow fever were exposed to low doses of the natural insecticides, which are part of a class called juvenile hormone antagonists (JHANs). Researchers watched as larvae died and the ovaries of juvenile females failed to develop fully.

Keep reading

Apple, Samsung and Sony face child labour claims - BBC News
An Amnesty report into child labour in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo raises questions for electronic firms.

Human rights organisation Amnesty has accused Apple, Samsung and Sony, among others, of failing to do basic checks to ensure minerals used in their products are not mined by children.
In a report into cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it found children as young as seven working in dangerous conditions.
Cobalt is a a vital component of lithium-ion batteries.
The firms said that they had a zero tolerance policy towards child labour.

The DRC produces at least 50% of the world’s cobalt. Miners working in the area face long-term health problems and the risk of fatal accidents, according to Amnesty.
It claimed that at least 80 miners had died underground in southern DRC between September 2014 and December 2015.
It also collected the testimonies of children who allegedly work in the mines.
Paul, a 14-year-old orphan, started mining when he was 12 and told researchers: “I would spend 24 hours down in the tunnels. I arrived in the morning and would leave the following morning … I had to relieve myself down in the tunnels … My foster mother planned to send me to school, but my foster father was against it, he exploited me by making me work in the mine.”
UNICEF estimates that there are approximately 40,000 children working in mines across southern DRC.
In response to the report, Apple said: “Underage labour is never tolerated in our supply chain and we are proud to have led the industry in pioneering new safeguards.”

It said that it conducts rigorous audits on its supply chain and any supplier found hiring underage workers is forced to:
fund the worker’s safe return home
finance the worker’s education at a school chosen by the worker or his/her family
continue to pay the worker’s wages
offer him or her a job when he or she reaches legal age to work.
On cobalt specifically it added: “We are currently evaluating dozens of different materials, including cobalt, in order to identify labour and environmental risks as well as opportunities for Apple to bring about effective, scalable and sustainable change.”
Samsung said that it had a “zero tolerance policy” towards child labour and that, it too, conducted regular and rigorous audits of its supply chain.
“If a violation of child labour is found, contracts with suppliers who use child labour will be immediately terminated,” it said.
Sony commented: “We are working with the suppliers to address issues related to human rights and labour conditions at the production sites, as well as in the procurement of minerals and other raw materials.”

The Amnesty report, which was jointly researched with African Resources Watch (Afrewatch), traced how traders buy cobalt from areas where child labour is rife, selling it on to firm Congo Dongfang Mining (CDM), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese mineral giant Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Ltd.
Amnesty contacted 16 multinationals who were listed as customers of the battery manufacturers, who in turn source minerals from Huayou Cobalt.
One company admitted the connection while four others were unable to say for certain the source of the cobalt they used. Five denied sourcing the mineral from the firm, despite being listed as customers in company documents and two others said that they did not source cobalt from DRC.
Six firms said that they were investigating the claims.
“It is a major paradox of the digital era that some of the world’s richest, most innovative companies are able to market incredibly sophisticated devices without being required to show where they source raw materials for their components,” said executive director of Afrewatch (Africa Resources Watch) Emmanuel Umpula.
“The abuses in mines remain out of sight and out of mind because in today’s global marketplace, consumers have no idea about the conditions at the mine, factory and assembly line. We found that traders are buying cobalt without asking questions about how and where it was mined.”

Mark Dummett, business and human rights researcher at Amnesty said that mining was “one of the worst forms of child labour”.
“The glamorous shop displays and marketing of state of the art technologies are a stark contrast to the children carrying bags of rocks and miners in narrow man-made tunnels risking permanent lung damage,” he said.
“Millions of people enjoy the benefits of new technologies but rarely ask how they are made. It is high time the big brands took some responsibility for the mining of the raw materials that make their lucrative products.
"Companies whose global profits total $125bn (£86.7bn) cannot credibly claim that they are unable to check where key minerals in their productions come from,” he said.
It should be noted that the majority of the children working in the mining industry in DRC do not enter the underground mines but perform a variety of tasks on the surface, including scavenging for ore and sorting minerals that have been mined underground.

Search the conflict minerals tag

*don’t comment if you’re just going to make a blank state especially if you’re not Congolese*