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Ecological News

Water contaminant linked to children's IQs.

Babies born to mothers with high levels of perchlorate during their first trimester are more likely to have lower IQs later in life, according to a new study.
Categories: Ecological News

Early, frequent antibiotic use linked to childhood obesity.

Parents and pediatricians will often reach for antibiotics to treat middle ear infections, strep throat, fevers and other common ailments of childhood. But new research suggests that doing so increases those children's risk of obesity, at least in early childhood.
Categories: Ecological News

The curious case of the Chinese chicken import-export business.

Beyond the health concerns, there also doesn’t seem to be any reason to ship chicken to and from China for processing. Apparently, according to those in the know, “it’s all about the beef.”
Categories: Ecological News

Canadian spy agency seeks to limit scope of energy activists’ complaint probe.

Canadian spy agency is pushing back against a civil liberties group's complaint for being "overly broad" regarding concerns of national energy policy.
Categories: Ecological News

Earth lost 50 percent of its wildlife in the past 40 years: Report.

Species across land, rivers and seas are decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Categories: Ecological News

Pollution micro-monitors less useful than hoped.

Those small, personal air monitors that are on the cutting edge of environmental technology and have been deployed in Louisville are turning out to be less useful than originally thought.
Categories: Ecological News

How a fishery that was once 'a marvel of the world' died.

The demise of Newfoundland's cod bears a message that should be included in the debate over climate change. Years of indiscriminate overfishing by packs of factory ships from a half-dozen nations pushed cod populations to the brink, leaving them too vulnerable to withstand sudden, quirky shocks to their environment.
Categories: Ecological News

Greens take 2014 fight to states.

Seeing no end to gridlock in Congress, national environmental groups are trying a new strategy for winning battles on climate change and green power: pouring record amounts of money into legislative races in a handful of states.
Categories: Ecological News

Air near Michigan chemical plant remains polluted long after it closed.

The air near a mid-Michigan chemical plant that was closed for cleanup nearly 40 years ago because it threatened the environment remains contaminated with chemicals even today, according to a recent Indiana University study.
Categories: Ecological News

Invasive apple snail threatens Florida Everglades clean up.

Florida wildlife and water managers are worried about an invasive snail that is wreaking havoc on the state's billion-dollar effort to remove chemicals from the fragile Everglades.
Categories: Ecological News

Congress pushes nuclear expansion despite accidents at weapons lab.

Weapons watchdog New Mexico Nuclear Watch says the government’s position is ‘increasingly hypocritical’ as the United States prepares to increase the production of warheads in spite of safety and environmental concerns.
Categories: Ecological News

Study examines cancer risk from first atom-bomb test.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute want to know how many past and present cancer cases in New Mexico may be related to the U.S. government's test of the world's first atomic bomb over a remote stretch of desert nearly 70 years ago.
Categories: Ecological News

Corporate-smart greenwash: the Global Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture

The Ecologist Magazine - 2 hours 6 min ago
The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture made its high-profile launch at the New York Climate Summit. But for a huge coalition of civil society organizations, it's a 'greenwash' initiative designed to promote intensive profit-driven industrial agriculture at the expense of small farmers, environment, and the real solutions.
Categories: Ecological News

Time for a New Containment Strategy? What Climate Marchers Can Learn from the Cold War

Yes! Magazine - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 00:05

At the People's Climate March in New York City. Photo by Stephen D. Melkisethian / Flickr.

This story is part of the Climate In Our Hands collaboration between Truthout and YES! Magazine.

More than 400,000 people jammed the streets of Manhattan on September 21, drawn from all parts by the magnetic force of the People’s Climate March. From Times Square to the upper reaches of Central Park West, a 40-block sea of humanity joined under banners that demanded action, named the responsible, and articulated the solutions. Most moving of all were those that expressed the fears and hopes of the children who drew and carried them. For those fortunate enough to be there, it was a deeply empowering experience.

The People’s March was not about demands that lacked the power to force action.

That said, Climate Week in New York—the march, the special U.N. summit that catalyzed it, and the swirl of side events surrounding both—was about far more than a one-time gathering of the masses. Its true value lay in the millions of conversations it spawned among the citizens who committed their presence to the battle. Some of these conversations came in organized forums but most were spontaneous, between strangers on the street or old friends reunited around a table. It was in these conversations that people dug for deeper insight into the challenge we face and where we go now as a movement.

Many of those conversations were about hope.

Just hours off my long plane ride to New York from Bolivia, I stood before an auditorium of students at Brooklyn College, young people who spoke of the future with fear and concern. Many of them had their introduction to the climate issue during Hurricane Sandy, an experience of vulnerability still fresh in their minds.

Finding hope may be more essential on climate than on any other crisis we face. War, genocide, disease, and injustice—dire as they are—have “off switches” that history has shown us before. Barbarians fall, governments make peace, vaccines are discovered.

We don’t know if the climate crisis has an off switch, even if we do muster powerful global citizen action. “Let’s be honest,” said a woman in the audience at one of the forums where I spoke. “It is OK for us to be here just to recharge our batteries for the battles ahead.”

A basic principle that is both big enough to make a difference and simple to understand: “Leave it in the ground.”

I saw that hope over and over again in small ways: in Christina, the young muralist I met on a corner in SoHo, painting a banner for the march. I saw it in Raymond, an engineer from Alaska who flew to New York to participate in the first political action of his life. “It seemed like an opportunity to do something,” he told me. In our large numbers, we saw glimpses of a people rising and we need that.

But there were many, many other conversations about what must come after the March, about goals, power, tactics, and the missing connection between each of those: strategy. I heard familiar criticisms of the March. Michael Dorsey, a 20-year veteran of U.N. and NGO work who spoke on a panel alongside me, chastised leader Bill McKibben as he listened to us, saying the weekend’s action lacked a clear message beyond “Do something!”

“Brother Bill,” he said, “I will not march with you tomorrow. I will not join in a march that has no demands.”

But the People’s Climate March was not about demands that lacked the power to force action. It was about building a base for action wide enough to connect Brooklyn families pushing strollers to the anti-capitalists who got arrested at Flood Wall Street the next day.

I have been in gatherings like this one before: the People’s Climate Summit in Bolivia in 2010; the activist assembly at Rio 20 in 2012; and others. I am continually amazed at the energy invested—and wasted—in these spaces as the movement’s intellectuals polish theories that no one outside the movement understands; as the various coalitions polish their passionate declarations that no one will read.

Absent always is genuine debate about how we make any of it actually happen. And in this way the debates around the People’s Climate March seemed, for the most part, no different.

Finding hope may be more essential on climate than on any other crisis we face.

On Sunday evening people gathered in gaggles to take stock of what they had just been a part of. I had the fortune to have that after-march conversation over Chinese take-out in the Harlem apartment of someone who has written extensively about these kinds of questions for many decades: City University of New York professor Frances Fox Piven.

An avid scholar of (and participant in) people’s movements since the 1960s, Piven listened and then offered a simple truth that has run through every key social movement of the past hundred years: Persuasion through words is not enough. We have to find the levers of real power, and then reach and seize them. Marching en masse alongside Central Park and blocking lower Broadway the next day may have raised our voices, but it brought neither shudders nor changes of course on Wall Street or in the U.N. assembly.

But among the many who gathered in New York this past week, among the activists who carry the fight forward, there is a good deal of solid thinking about how we move from inspiration to real strategy.

Around the world, there is a gathering around a basic principle that is both big enough to make a difference and simple to understand: “Leave the oil, gas, and coal in the ground.”

Over cheap Mexican food at a sticky table in Brooklyn, I listened to my old friend and fearless activist Antonia Juhasz. She began battling the oil industry years before the practice came into vogue, writing widely read books and getting arrested at a Chevron shareholder meeting in Texas. She had just returned from a submarine trip to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to witness the destruction of the sea floor wrought by BP’s spilled oil.

As she spoke about the People’s Climate March, I began to recognize a strategy that was old and familiar: containment.

For five decades, this was the geopolitical strategy that the U.S. aimed at Soviet Communism—don’t let it spread, roll it back where you can, and support those actions that will hasten it collapsing of its own weight.

Even if we have not articulated it as such, that is our strategy today against the threat of fossil fuels. The battles against fracking are about containing the spread of the drilling. The battles against existing coal plants are about rolling it back. The battles for divestment are aimed at making the industry a political pariah, akin to tobacco, to diminish its political clout. The hope is that the move toward energy and transportation alternatives, combined with divestment, will loosen fossil fuels’ grip over the political and economic territory the industry holds now, and hasten its collapse.

The march's true value lay in the millions of conversations it spawned.

We also know that our political clout against the industry is strongest closest to our communities, and that those are the battlefields we must drag the fight to. Victories against the Koch brothers in California, against fracking efforts in New York, and others show us what strategy and victory look like.

As I stood in the crowd during the march, I heard a chorus of unfamiliar voices chanting my name. “Hey Jim, we came, we came!” A group of the students I had spoken to days earlier at Brooklyn College had heeded my pleas and had given up their precious Sunday to join the march. They were all smiles as they walked.

This is where hope comes from. This is what the People’s Climate March was really about. Now we must make sure that the march does not end on Eleventh Avenue, where we all went our separate ways, but that it continues on across continents and countries in a way that can go beyond talking about our fears, demands, and dreams to also make a serious difference.

Jim Shultz wrote this article for YES! Magazine. It's presented here as part of Climate In Our Hands, a collaboration with Truthout that focuses on the climate justice movement. Jim is the founder and executive director of The Democracy Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He tweets at: @jimshultz.

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Categories: Ecological News

Wyoming's Gray Wolves win back federal protection - for now

The Ecologist Magazine - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 22:11
In a rare 'summary judgment' a federal court has ruled that the devolution of gray wolf protection to the state of Wyoming was unlawful because it was based on non-binding assurances. Federal protection is restored - for now. But an even bigger battle lies ahead.
Categories: Ecological News

GMO labeling measure in Colorado triggers heated debate.

Environmental Health News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:30
With a Nov. 4 ballot measure, Colorado is at the forefront of a fierce food fight raging across the nation: whether or not to label foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, so consumers can easily see if the food they buy is a product of genetic engineering.
Categories: Ecological News

Ogallala water continues to pour onto farm fields despite decades of dire forecasts.

Environmental Health News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:30
Significant portions of the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest bodies of water in the United States, are at risk of drying up if the aquifer continues to be drained at its current rate.
Categories: Ecological News

Climate change makes it harder to save Lake Erie.

Environmental Health News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:30
Although not the primary source of Great Lakes algae, climate change is exacerbating the problem and making it harder to reduce phosphorus and other nutrients that help algae grow, experts say.
Categories: Ecological News

Dry humor: Too much water doesn't damp Germans' thrifty habits.

Environmental Health News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:30
There are many subjects of German soul-searching. Among them: Is the country saving too much water?
Categories: Ecological News

Wildlife populations down drastically.

Environmental Health News - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 19:30
Populations of about 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have plummeted far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the world’s biggest environmental groups.
Categories: Ecological News
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