Category Archives: Environment

Don’t look up (river): it’s not there

Rivers around the world are drying up. Some perennial rivers will eventually dry up permanently—many within this century—because the glaciers that feed them are disappearing at a rapid rate. This could be the plot line of a science fiction movie but this is science fact. Aside from the scientists, meteorologists, and environmentalists, too many people remain clueless about the Earth’s impending ecological crisis. One of the main reasons for this ignorance is the anti-science Luddism promoted by a gaggle of right-wing climate change deniers, medical quacks, junk scientists, lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians who have no business weighing in on subjects about which they have no ability or desire to understand. Continue reading

Melting of Greenland ice sheet poised to trigger almost a foot of sea-level rise: study

If the world halted planet-heating pollution today, the ice sheet would lose more than 3% of its mass in the coming decades, scientists warn. To prevent even worse outcomes, immediate climate action is needed.

The fossil fuel-driven climate emergency has already locked in so much ice melt in Greenland that sea levels will surge by nearly a foot in the coming decades, peer-reviewed research published Monday warns, underscoring the need to rapidly transform virtually all aspects of the global political economy. Continue reading

Western ‘naturalism’ disrespects nonhuman animals and the entire natural world

The self-destructive delusion that we are the only species that has a right to life on Earth has led to the ecological crisis.

One species has transformed into a material backdrop for its tribulations the 10 million other species that constitute its extended family, its giving environment, and its daily cohabitants. More specifically, it is one small population of this species that has done so, the bearer of a merely historical and local culture. Making all other living beings invisible is a provincial and late phenomenon—not the product of mankind as a whole. Imagine a people approaching a land populated by a myriad of other related peoples, and declaring that they don’t really exist, and that they are the stage and not the actors (ah yes, it’s not a fiction that requires a lot of imagination, as it also comprises vast swaths of our history). How did we accomplish this miracle of blindness toward the other creatures of the living world? We could hazard here—to exacerbate the strangeness of our heritage—a rapid history of the relations between our civilization and other species, a history which leads to the modern condition: Once nonhuman living beings were debased ontologically (that is to say, considered as endowed with a second-order existence, of lesser value and lesser consistency, and thus transformed into ‘things’), human beings came to believe that they alone truly existed in the universe. Continue reading

Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 with an oil, gas, coal & nuclear heyday

Instead of championing solar, wind and conservation energy, the GOP (Greedy Old Party) is championing the skyrocketing profits and prices for the omnicidal fossil fuel and atomic power companies. Continue reading

Why the internet itself is a major environmental problem

If the internet were a country, it would be the sixth biggest user of electricity.

The paradox of combating climate change is that the extent of the emergency extends far beyond the actions taken by individuals to mitigate the climate crisis, yet collective action is what is most required to address this issue. There are so many examples of this dilemma—from recycling to how power is being generated, to what people should consume. In each case, broad-based action is required to shift the dial, and while it might seem insurmountable, every little bit counts. A great example of this sentiment in action can be found in the growing field of eco-friendly web design. Continue reading

Why our climate isn’t jumping for joy after COP26

Two major gains took place at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow, Scotland, which concluded on November 13: the first was that there would be another COP in 2022 in Egypt, and the second was that the world leaders expressed their aspiration to keep global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius alive. These were, however, the only gains made at the end of COP26 to address the pressing issue of climate change. Continue reading

COP26: climate pledges don’t match up with policies or consumer behavior

The Glasgow Climate Pact kicks the climate can down the road.

After more than two weeks of negotiations during the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, diplomats from almost 200 nations finally agreed on two major points: ramp up the fight against climate change and help at-risk countries prepare. Specifically, governments agreed to meet again next in 2022 with more robust plans to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030, significantly reduce emissions of methane (which has even more global warming potential than CO2), and nearly double the aid to poor countries to help them mitigate the effects of climate change. Notably, nations agreed to initiate reductions in coal-fired power and to begin slashing government subsidies on other fossil fuels, representing the first time a COP text mentioned coal and fossil fuels. Continue reading

Climate action pretense at COP26

Joe Biden’s presence at COP26 was a photo opportunity meant to give the impression that he is fighting the climate crisis. But the U.S. and other governments continue carbon production while pretending to take action.

The 26th Conference of the Parties, COP26, climate summit ended with its president fighting back tears. Alok Sharma came to Glasgow, Scotland, hoping for an agreement to end the extraction of coal. Instead he said this, “I apologize for the way this process has unfolded. I am deeply sorry.” Continue reading

The People vs. COP26: Time for politicians, billionaires to listen

Of all the speeches and political grandstanding at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), the words of Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, were the most profound and least hypocritical. Continue reading

What happens to wildlife swimming in a sea of our drug residues?

Wastewater exposes plants and wildlife to hundreds of chemical compounds. Researchers are learning about potential side effects and solutions.

Fish hooked on meth? It’s a catchy headline that made the rounds a few weeks ago, but it represents a serious and growing problem. Our rivers and streams have become a soup of hundreds of drugs—mostly pharmaceuticals—that come from the treated water released from wastewater facilities. Continue reading

Canada is waging an all-front legal war against indigenous people

After mass graves full of Indigenous children have been found, how can Canada justify ongoing land theft?

Canada is developing a new image: one of burning churches, toppling statues, and mass graves. There are thousands more unmarked graves, thousands more Indigenous children killed at residential schools, remaining to be unearthed. There can be no denying that this is Canada, and it has to change. But can Canada transform itself for the better? If the revelation of the mass killing of Indigenous children is to lead to any actual soul-searching and any meaningful change, the first order of business is for Canada to stop its all-front war against First Nations. Much of that war is taking place through the legal system. Continue reading

“Once, there were forests . . .”

The state of the forests, deforestation, and what we can do about it

Up until about the Industrial Revolution, deforestation—if it could be called that—used to be a not unnatural consequence of man’s need for timber, the expansion of human settlements, and slash-and-burn agriculture which has been practised since the Neolithic Age and is still used by indigeous or nomadic peoples and settlers. Forests have been cleared “to make space for agriculture and animal grazing, and to obtain wood for fuel, manufacturing, and construction.” Further and other drivers of deforestation vary from one geographical region to another. Continue reading

Is Colombia’s military displacing peasants to protect the environment or sell off natural resources?

Corporations, not wildlife, stand to benefit from the emptied lands.

Colombia witnessed a series of mass protests at the end of April following a call for a national strike. Still ongoing, the protests have many causes: an apparent “tax reform” that was going to transfer even more wealth to the 1 percent in Colombia; the failure of the most recent peace accords; and the inability of Colombia’s privatized health care system to contain the COVID-19 crisis. In response to these ongoing protests, the government has killed dozens, disappeared hundreds, imposed curfews on multiple cities, and called in the army. But the protests continue—because they are, at least in part, a repudiation of the militarization of everything in the country. Continue reading

Planet Plastic

The vast tonnage of this trash increases every minute, with an afterlife lasting centuries.

What do your toothbrush and your running shoes have in common? Plastic. Continue reading

Biden makes it official: No Keystone XL oil pipeline

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden’s made it official Wednesday. He yanked, effective immediately, the federal construction license for the remaining section of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline from Alberta through the U.S. Continue reading

In ‘huge victory for polar bears and our climate,’ court rejects Trump approval of offshore drilling project in Arctic

While welcoming the win, activists vowed to continue fighting against destructive oil and gas extraction in the region.

Climate action advocates and wildlife defenders celebrated Monday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit rejected the Trump administration’s approval of Liberty, a proposed offshore oil-drilling project in federal Arctic waters that opponents warned would endanger local communities, animals, and the environment. Continue reading

Bank refusal and lawsuit may trump Trump drilling in wildlife refuge

On drilling in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge, banks, like broken clocks, get it right once every so often.

WASHINGTON—Occasionally, the nation’s corporate capitalists—in this case, its six dominant banks—do something right. And their refusal to lend big oil any money to “Drill, baby, drill!” in former GOP Gov. Sarah Palin’s words, in the ecologically vital Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may stop lame-duck GOP Oval Office occupant Donald Trump’s last-minute scheme to let the oil giants do so. Continue reading

Our world is burning

The central problem which the world faces in its attempts to avoid catastrophic climate change is a contrast of time scales. In order to save human civilization and the biosphere from the most catastrophic effects of climate change we need to act immediately. Fossil fuels must be left in the ground. Forests must be saved from destruction by beef or palm oil production. Continue reading

Trump moves to finalize ‘catastrophic’ stripping of key protections for largest national forest in US

At issue is Tongass National Forest, located in southeast Alaska and described as ‘the crown jewel of the National Forest System.’

The Trump administration on Friday moved closer to its goal of stripping conservation protections from the nation’s largest national forest, putting over 9 million acres at risk of clear-cut logging and bulldozing for roads and sparking warnings of “irreversible ecological consequences.” Continue reading

‘Resounding’ win for public health and climate as judge blocks Trump attempt to gut methane restrictions

‘The judge basically rejected every attempt by the Trump administration to gut these common-sense waste prevention measures on behalf of their oil and gas industry cronies.’

Green groups celebrated a “resounding victory for taxpayers, public health, and the environment” late Wednesday after a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from rolling back an Obama-era rule designed to limit planet-warming methane emissions. Continue reading

Stopping Trump’s demonic reversals of the long-term benefits of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970

The omnicidal Republicans controlling the Senate support Trump’s reckless agenda regardless of the environmental harm done to their own families.

Earth Day, April 22, 1970, was the most consequential demonstration of civic energy in modern American history. Engaging nearly 20 million Americans participating in about 13,000 local events, this first Earth Day changed corporate and government policies through popular demands for clean air, water, soil and food. Continue reading

The key to the environmental crisis is beneath our feet

The Green New Deal resolution that was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives in February hit a wall in the Senate, where it was called unrealistic and unaffordable. Continue reading

Want to save the environment? De-Fund the Pentagon.

Millions of people are uniting in demonstrations worldwide against our civilization’s ecocidal march toward extinction, which makes me so happy to see. It’s really encouraging to see so many young people burning with love for their planet and a hunger to reverse the damage that has been done to our ecosystem by the refusal of previous generations to turn away from our path of devastation. This must continue if we are to survive as a species. Continue reading

10 ways that the climate crisis and militarism are intertwined

To free up billions of Pentagon dollars for investing in critical environmental projects and to eliminate the environmental havoc of war, movements for a livable, peaceful planet need to put "ending war" at the top of the "must do" list.

The environmental justice movement that is surging globally is intentionally intersectional, showing how global warming is connected to issues such as race, poverty, migration and public health. One area intimately linked to the climate crisis that gets little attention, however, is militarism. Here are some of the ways these issues—and their solutions—are intertwined. Continue reading

Predator of our public lands

The man Trump charged with protecting our public lands doesn’t believe we should have any.

For generations, our country has been Mother Nature’s steward, setting aside and protecting important expanses of public lands for posterity. But what if these lands and natural resources suddenly got a “steward” who was a predator, rather than a protector? Continue reading

Brazil’s regime destroying the Amazon rainforest for profit

In October 2018, hardline Social Liberal Party (PSL) candidate Jair Bolsonaro defeated Workers Party (PT) aspirant Fernando Haddad. Continue reading

Brazil’s massive crime against humanity

The corrupt Brazilian government installed by Washington has decided to destroy the Amazon Rain Forest. This will adversely affect the Earth’s climate by eliminating a massive carbon sink. Continue reading

The cheapest way to save the planet grows like a weed

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the cheapest and most efficient way to tackle the climate crisis. So states a July 4 article in The Guardian, citing a new analysis published in the journal Science. Continue reading

Trump threatening the world’s most eco-sensitive habitats

The ecologically-sensitive Galapagos Islands, home to many species not found anywhere else in the world and made famous by scientist Charles Darwin in his seminal work on evolution, “On the Origin of Species,” will soon be the location of yet another US military base. Under Donald Trump, the Pentagon is expanding its network of overseas bases to include some of the world’s most pristine regions. Based on prior actions, a US military presence leaves a permanent footprint of hazardous materials, plain garbage, and petroleum and its by-products in and around air and naval bases. Continue reading

Fake food, fake meat: Big Food’s desperate attempt to further the industrialisation of food

Food is not a commodity, it is not “stuff” put together mechanically and artificially in labs and factories. Food is life. Food holds the contributions of all beings that make the food web, and it holds the potential of maintaining and regenerating the web of life. Food also holds the potential for health and disease, depending on how it was grown and processed. Food is therefore the living currency of the web of life. Continue reading

If corporations have rights, so does nature

A whopping 61 percent of Toledo’s voters said ‘yes’ to recognizing legally enforceable rights for the natural world.

From the very start of our nation, the most popular forum for debating and shaping our democratic rights was not stately legislative halls, but rowdy beer halls. Continue reading

Trump to add ‘tasteless insult to injury’ by promoting fossil fuel deregulation in shadow of fatal chemical fire

‘It's no surprise that Trump is once again taking an action championed by climate deniers and fossil fuel companies.’

Just a week after a chemical plant explosion killed one worker and spewed thousands of pounds of dangerous pollutants into the air in Crosby, Texas, President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to visit that city Wednesday to sign executive orders to speed up approval of pipelines and other fossil fuel projects. Continue reading