Equinox Event 2014

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Meet the biggest polluter in China's most polluted city.

Environmental Health News - 1 hour 33 min ago
Jizhong Energy Resources Co., which operates six large coal mines and dozens of related facilities in Xingtai, is moving to clean itself up, reflecting the balancing act taking place across China as regional governments and businesses try to tackle runaway pollution without wrecking local economies.
Categories: Ecological News

Consumers Energy to upgrade five power plants in federal settlement.

Environmental Health News - 1 hour 33 min ago
Consumers Energy, the second-largest utility in Michigan, will spend $1 billion to upgrade pollution controls at five coal-fired powered plants in the state under a settlement reached with the Justice Department on Tuesday.
Categories: Ecological News

Florida governor calls for scrutiny of Big Sugar development plan.

Environmental Health News - 1 hour 33 min ago
Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday called for state regulators to pay “special attention” to potential effects on the Everglades that could come from sugar industry development plans for farmland south of Lake Okeechobee.
Categories: Ecological News

Red tide off northwest Florida could hit economy.

Environmental Health News - 1 hour 33 min ago
It’s like Florida’s version of The Blob. Slow moving glops of toxic algae in the northeast Gulf of Mexico are killing sea turtles, sharks and fish, and threatening the waters and beaches that fuel the region’s economy.
Categories: Ecological News

Environment and Society: Where is the Disconnect?

World Watch - 2 hours 17 min ago

PRESS RELEASE | Contact GAELLE GOURMELON | For release: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vital Signs, Volume 21:

The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future

is now available from our bookstore!

Notes to EditorsTo schedule interviews, obtain a review copy of Vital Signs, Volume 21 or for more information, please contact Gaelle Gourmelon at ggourmelon@worldwatch.org.

About the Worldwatch Institute: Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute’s State of the World report is published annually in multiple languages. Published annually, Vital Signs tracks key trends in the environment, agriculture, energy, society, and the economy to inform and inspire the changes needed to build a sustainable world. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.

About Island Press: Founded in 1984, Island Press works to stimulate, shape, and communicate the information that is essential for solving environmental problems. Island Press is driving change by moving ideas from the printed page to public discourse and practice. Island Press’s emphasis is, and will continue to be, on transforming objective information into understanding and action. For more information and further updates be sure to check out www.islandpress.org.

 

 

Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs, Volume 21: The Trends That Are Shaping Our Future explores surprising trends in the planet's environment and society

Washington, D.C.—Today, environmental issues are inseparable from social and economic problems. Yet, actions across these disciplines appear disconnected. By presenting cross-cutting analyses of global trends, the Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs, Volume 21 makes it clear that positive global change can only be achieved if the social, economic, and environmental dimensions are fully addressed.

“A failure to connect—to think and act across the boundaries of different disciplines and specializations—could well be diagnosed as human civilization’s fundamental flaw in the face of growing and real threats,” writes Michael Renner, Worldwatch Senior Researcher and Director of the Vital Signs Project.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, Vital Signs, Volume 21 highlights this disconnect between sectors by providing authoritative data and concise analyses of significant global trends in food and agriculture, population and society, and energy and climate.

For example, Vital Signs, Volume 21 shows that agricultural subsidies—some $486 billion in the top 21 food producing countries in 2012—support factory farms that have colossal environmental footprints. They also often favor wealthy farmers and undermine farming in developing countries. By predominantly funding a few staple crops for the largest farms, subsidies support industrial-scale operations with low crop diversity which often sap soil nutrients and require heavy loads of fertilizers and insecticides.

Social concerns suffer from similar disconnects. At a time when climate change increasingly intersects with social and economic upheavals, disasters, and conflicts, governments continue to invest large sums in traditional forms of security policy. These troubling priorities mean that the U.N. peacekeeping budgets of about $8 billion per year are not enough to cover even two days’ worth of global military spending. Military spending by high-income countries also dwarfs aid flows ten-fold, with $1,234 billion spent on military programs in 2012.

“Governments have created a large and well-funded apparatus of security agencies,” writes Renner, “but in numerous ways have failed to address many of the underlying reasons for the world’s conflicts and instabilities.”

On the energy front, technologies like wind and solar photovoltaics are rapidly becoming more cost-competitive. But governmental support is still essential, and policy uncertainties have put a break on investments in renewable technologies. Meanwhile, global fossil fuel use is still growing, with coal, natural gas, and oil accounting for 87 percent of global primary energy demand in 2012, and greenhouse gas emissions are hitting record levels (9.7 gigatons in 2012 from fossil fuel consumption and cement production alone).

“Energy policy across much of the globe can only be labeled as schizophrenic,” said Renner. “It seems driven more by the ideology of endless growth than by concern for a livable future, more by corporate strategies than by the public interest, and more by considerations of supply security and geopolitics than by shared human needs.”

Vital Signs, Volume 21 presents these and other global trends and analyses of our planet and civilization. The resource uses straightforward language and easy-to-read graphs to present each indicator. Vital Signs is an invaluable guide to inform and governments, businesses, teachers, and concerned citizens everywhere to make the changes needed to build a sustainable world.

Tip Sheet:

From carbon emissions and food prices to green businesses, Vital Signs, Volume 21 documents over two dozen trends that are shaping our future in concise analyses and clear tables and graphs. The twenty-first volume of the Worldwatch Institute series demonstrates that there is both increasing pressure on natural resources and scaled-up efforts to live more sustainably. Through its insightful analysis, it offers a starting point for those seeking solutions to the future’s intensifying challenges.

  • Automobile production: World auto production set yet another record in 2012, with passenger-car production rising to 66.7 million.
  • Natural disasters: Natural disasters in 2012 climbed to 905, roughly one hundred more than the 10-year annual average, with 90 percent weather-related.
  • Organic farming: Land farmed organically has tripled since 1999, although it still makes up less than 1 percent of total farmland.
  • Solar and wind power: Solar power consumption increased by 58 percent, and wind power consumption increased by 18 percent in 2012.
  • Military budgets: World military expenditures in 2012 totaled $1,740 billion, the second highest yearly amount since World War II.
  • Fossil fuels: Coal, natural gas, and oil accounted for 87 percent of global primary energy consumption in 2012.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production reached 9.7 gigatons of carbon in 2012 (with a ±5 percent uncertainty range). This is the highest annual total to date.
  • Food prices: Continuing a decade-long increase, global food prices rose 2.7 percent in 2012, reaching levels not seen since the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Green business: More companies are seeking new legal requirement or third-party certifications that will hold them accountable to higher standards, embracing a triple bottom line prioritizing profits, people, and the planet.

—END—

 

 

Categories: Ecological News

German virologist says world has lost Sierra Leone and Liberia to Ebola; should focus on containing disease

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) A prominent doctor from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, says the window has officially closed on containing the Ebola outbreak, apart from massive international assistance. Sierra Leone and Liberia, the two hardest-hit countries...

Indian officials scramble to set up isolation facilities to treat Ebola

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) As the Ebola outbreak tears through West Africa, nations all around the world have begun to consider and take emergency measures to ensure that the deadly virus does not make its way to their borders. One such country is India, where authorities have been on heightened...

Have you prepared your 'sick room' for a pandemic outbreak possibility?

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) With news this past week that some scientists believe that the Ebola virus which is currently ravaging West Africa could go airborne, now is the time to think about constructing your own "sick room" to prepare yourself and your family -- and your home -- beforehand....

The bizarre history of glyphosate, the chemical culprit of modern-day disease

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) It's easy to hide knowledge from the public when you run the very industry that the public perceptibly needs. So much knowledge about glyphosate is buried or disregarded because the public now feels that the Roundup chemical is a necessity for both agriculture and lawn...

Key antioxidant and trace mineral compounds that improve blood sugar stability

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) When we eat sugar or carbohydrates our digestive system converts these larger molecules into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream and taken to cells throughout the body. Blood sugar fuels cells, keeping them healthy, making it critical to maintain stable...

Conventional, organic plant breeding offers natural way to overcome pests and weeds while improving food security

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) As the biototech industry crows on with their "feeding the world" nonsense, several studies have demonstrated that the best way to feed the world is by smaller, organic, regional farming.One of the largest studies was even sponsored by the UN. But that doesn't get...

Egg industry trade group illegally fixed prices by artificially restricting supply, lawsuit alleges

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) That certification stamp on egg cartons is supposed to be a sign of quality, but according to a new lawsuit, an egg industry trade group called United Egg Producers, was using the stamp of certification as a manipulative tool. UEP coerced egg producers to join as members...

How fruit can naturally reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) An apple a day can help keep cardiovascular disease (CVD) away. In fact, a seven year study out of China indicates that you can cut your risk of CVD by up to 40% by eating a piece of fruit every single day, and the more you eat the more you can reduce your disk of cardiovascular...

USDA rules will allow chicken factories to conduct their own inspections

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) Apparently overburdened with having to police the filthy factory farm industry in accordance with the law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to simply hand over the inspection reigns to processing plants themselves, according to new reports. Updated...

Are you deficient in thiamine? Here's what you need to know about Vitamin B1

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is not a rare vitamin. Small amounts can be found in nearly all foods and many foods have substantial amounts of B1, yet an estimated 20% of Americans are found to be deficient in this extremely important and necessary vitamin. The reason? B1 is...

Dispensaries must give out free medical marijuana to low-income prescription holders, Berkeley City Council says

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) Any actions forwarding medical marijuana or cannabis is bound to be met with derisive comments that portray anyone who uses pot for any reason as a deadbeat, a "stoner," contributing to ripping our social fabric and moral fiber. The UK's Daily Mail certainly did a decent...

Did Johanna Budwig really cure cancer naturally?

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) Cancer. The very word causes a recoil, a visceral awareness that our statistical probability of "catching" this "disease" is astronomically high. Current statistics tell us 1 out of 2 men and 1 out of 3 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime...

Study links processed table salt to autoimmune disease

Natural News - 9 hours 33 min ago
(NaturalNews) Processed foods and the loads of nutrient-stripped salt that they typically contain could be a leading cause of autoimmune disease, according to new research. Scientists from Yale University and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany found that excess consumption...

See How the National Park Service Rocks Instagram

Yes! Magazine - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 03:00

Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Photo by usinterior / Instagram.

The Wilderness Act, which protected 9.1 million acres of mountains, forest, coastline, and other land, turned 50 this month.

There’s no better way to celebrate these wild and protected places than to visit them. But then ... some weekends are for laundry.

Luckily, many of the government departments responsible for the caretaking of protected places have gotten out their smartphones and opened Instagram accounts where staff, professional photographers, and other users post quite amazing photos.

Below, you’ll find photos from some of our favorite Instagram accounts that document the beauty of our public lands. Enjoy—and happy 50th anniversary, wilderness!

1. Glacier National Park Service

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, Colorado. Photo by glaciernps / Instagram

2. Yosemite National Park Service

Canhalagua flowers at Yosemite National Park, California. Photo by yosemitenps / Instagram

3. Rocky Mountain National Park Service

Chaos Canyon, Colorado. Photo by Wes Walker, rockynps / Instagram

4. United States Department of the Interior

Joshua Tree National Park, California. Photo by Brad Sutton, usinterior / Instagram

5. Bureau of Land Management

Salmon Falls Reservoir, Rogerson, Idaho. Photo by Austin Catlin, mypubliclands / Instagram

We'll give this grizzly bear—photographed by Department of the Interior—the last word (or wave).

Grizzly bear in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. Photo by Kevin Dietrich, usinterior / Instagram.

Mary Hansen wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Mary has a hard time staying in one place but is also known to write, edit, and be a die-hard Steelers fan. She is an online reporting intern at YES!

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Categories: Ecological News

Video: Hip-Hop Star Boots Riley Is “Brother Earth”

Yes! Magazine - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 01:45

In this video produced by the Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, a social change group based in Oakland, Calif., viewers meet the newest hero of the climate justice movement. That’s “Brother Earth,” a talking version of our own planet played by hip-hop star Boots Riley, the vocalist in the musical act The Coup.

“I’ve spent billions of years getting my atmospheric outfit just right,” Riley says, running a finger down the collar of his leather jacket. “But lately, something’s been messing with my style.”

That something, as you may have guessed, is climate change. The video moves on to make a strong plea for viewers to speak up about that and defend “Brother Earth” wherever they can, whether it’s outside the United Nation’s Climate Summit next week, or in their own neighborhood.

Highly recommended (although be advised that the video contains some strong language). If you’d like to learn more about Movement Generation, check out their site here.

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Categories: Ecological News
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