1,000+ March to NY Capitol Telling Cuomo 'Don't Frack NY'
Today more than one thousand New Yorkers staged a massive march and rally in Albany to highlight the dangers of fracking. They marched from Corning Preserve Riverside Park to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the West Capitol Lawn.
“As a scientist and a mother, I am urging Gov. Cuomo and the DEC to choose to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of fracking,” said Sandra Steingraber, distinguished scholar in residence at Ithaca College and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking. “The DEC hasn’t conducted an independent study of the health impacts of fracking, and the science shows that fracking can be devastating to people’s health.”
Accidents and spills at drilling and fracking sites contaminate land, risking farmland and streams.i Contamination of underground sources of drinking water with methane and other hydrocarbon gases is a common problem.ii Local air pollution also accompanies drilling and fracking, and there are numerous reports of mysterious health problems linked to such pollution.iii Intense truck traffic destroys roads and increases the likelihood of dangerous accidents and spills.iv
Street theatre at the DEC illustrated the inappropriate collusion between the gas industry and the DEC in writing the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, how independent scientists and experts have been excluded from the process and how having Brad Field as director of the Division of Mineral Resources derails the legitimacy of the DEC's review of fracking given that Field is on record as a climate denier. Given the state of the study and review, the public's faith has been broken and Gov. Cuomo would have no ground upon which to stand in saying that fracking can be done safely.
Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, said, “In this brutally hot summer, it was a real slap in the face to learn that Gov. Cuomo had turned over the environmental review of fracking to a global-warming denier. And amidst the drought plaguing America, it’s almost unbelievable that New York State would put its unparalleled water resources at risk.”
In total, more than 3,000 people signed a new Pledge to Resist Fracking in New York leading up to the event following signals that Gov. Cuomo is considering releasing final fracking regulations and lifting New York’s moratorium. The pledge lays out that stopping fracking is necessary to prevent the destruction and poisoning of New York’s water, air and food systems on which life, health and economic prosperity all depend—including that of future generations. The 1,000+ participants at the demonstration today delivered the pledge to the governor’s office.
Gerri Wiley, a resident of Owego, said, “An unparalleled grassroots movement in New York is unified in opposition to fracking. The Pledge to Resist Fracking in New York is a stark warning to Governor Cuomo that the amount and level of opposition to fracking will only grow if he moves forward.”
"Over the last few months, opposition to fracking in New York state has continued to grow, with over a thousand businesses, hundreds of artists and local opposition in the Southern Tier,” said Dave Publow from United for Action in New York City. “Given how dangerous fracking is to our water, many of these opponents have already committed to civil disobedience to ensure that fracking doesn't go forward."
“The gas industry’s own science tells us that six percent of wells will leak immediately upon drilling and 50 percent will leak over a 30-year period. There is no known way to fix this problem and the gas industry knows it,” said Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox. “This means the contamination of New York’s water is certain. Surely Governor Cuomo must listen to the science and roundly reject this industrial proposal. We can develop more jobs and energy by announcing that New York aims to lead the world in renewable energy development.”
State Sen. Tony Avella, Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and author of a Senate bill banning hydrofracking (S.4220), stated, "With reports indicating that a decision on allowing hydrofracking in New York State is expected very soon, it is more important than ever to rise up and make our voices heard—hydrofracking is an extremely dangerous drilling practice and cannot be allowed in this State. Residents in other states that have allowed hydrofracking have paid too high a price, with contaminated water, increased seismic activity, crumbling infrastructure and lower property values. New York must learn from the disastrous effects of what hydrofracking has done in neighboring states like Pennsylvania and take the lead in banning this dangerous practice. The battle over hydrofracking has reached a climax and with the health and safety of millions of New Yorkers on the line, it is a battle that we cannot afford to lose.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
[i] Olson, Laura. “Chesapeake says Bradford County fluid and gas leak is under control.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 22, 2011; Aaron, G. Jeffrey. “Pa. fracking blowout spews fluid onto state forest lands.” The Ithaca Journal. January 25, 2011; Warco, Kathie O. “Fracking truck runs off road; contents spill.” Observer-Reporter (Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania). October 21, 2010; York, Kate and Brad Bauer. “Fracking wastewater leaked onto Ohio roads.” The Marietta Times (Ohio). December 24, 2011; “Waste from Marcellus shale drilling in Cross Creek Park kills fish.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 5, 2009; Whong, Jason. “Police probe fracking fluid spill in Bradford County.” Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York). January 11, 2012; Maykuth, Andrew. “Pa. suspends gas drilling at Marcellus rupture site.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 7, 2010; Schneyer, Joshua and Selam Gebrekidan. “Denbury plugs North Dakota oil well leak.” Reuters. September 3, 2010; Winter, Deena. “Welcome to boomtown: oil production raises health concerns.” Great Plains Examiner (Bismarck, North Dakota). January 10, 2012.
[ii] “Tests: Pa. gas drilling town’s water still fouled.” Associated Press. October 15, 2011; Lustgarten, Abrahm. “So, is Dimock’s water really safe to drink?” ProPublica. March 20, 2012; Osborn, Stephen G. et al. “Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 108, No. 20. May 17, 2011 at 8172 to 8173; Urbina, Ian. “A tainted water well, and concern there may be more.” The New York Times. August 3, 2011; United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Risk Management Research Laboratory. “Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming.” Draft. (EPA 600/R-00/000.) December 2011 at xi and xiii; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. [Press Release]. “DEP reaches agreement with Cabot to prevent gas migration, restore water supplies in Dimock Township.” November 4, 2009.
[iii] McKenzie, Lisa M. et al. “Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources.” Science of the Total Environment, vol. 424. May 2012 at 79 to 87.; Bamberger, Michelle and Robert E. Oswald. “Impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health.” New Solutions, Scientific Solutions, vol. 22, iss. 1. January 2012 at 51 to 77; Lustgarten, Abrahm and Nicholas Kusnetz. “Science lags as health problems emerge near gas fields.” ProPublica. September 16, 2011; Wolf Eagle Environmental. “Town of DISH, Texas Ambient Air Monitoring Analysis: Final Report.” September 15, 2009 at 6; Steingraber, Sandra. Ithaca College. Testimony on Health Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing Techniques. Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Health. New York State Assembly. May 26, 2011 at 11, 12, 18 and 19; Colborn, Theo et al. “Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective." International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, Vol. 17, Iss. 5. September 2011 at 1039 to 1056.
[iv] Reppert, Julie. “Collision spills fracking fluid on state route.” Williamsport Sun-Gazette (Pennsylvania). December 27, 2011; Efstathiou, Jim. “Taxpayers pay as fracking trucks overwhelm rural cow paths.” Bloomberg News. May 15, 2012.
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By Alexander Richard Braczkowski, Christopher O'Bryan, Duan Biggs, and Raymond Jansen
A Cute But Threatened Species<p><a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/what-is-a-pangolin" target="_blank">Pangolins</a> are the only mammals wholly-covered in scales, which they use to protect themselves from predators. They can also curl up into a tight ball.</p><p>They eat mainly ants, termites and larvae which they pick up with their sticky tongue. They can grow up to 1m in length from nose to tail and are sometimes referred to as scaly anteaters.</p><p>But <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128155073000332" title="Chapter 33 - Conservation strategies and priority actions for pangolins" target="_blank">all eight</a> pangolin species are classified as "<a href="https://www.pangolins.org/tag/endangered-species/" target="_blank">threatened</a>" under International Union for Conservation of Nature <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/search?query=pangolin&searchType=species" target="_blank">criteria</a>.</p><p>There is an unprecedented demand for their scales, primarily from countries in Asia and <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12389" title="Assessing Africa‐Wide Pangolin Exploitation by Scaling Local Data" target="_blank">Africa</a> where they are used in food, cultural remedies and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/141072b0" title="Chinese Medicine and the Pangolin" target="_blank">medicine</a>.</p><p>Between 2017 and 2019, seizures of pangolin scales <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/02/pangolin-scale-trade-shipments-growing/" target="_blank">tripled in volume</a>. In 2019 alone, 97 tons of pangolin scales, equivalent to about 150,000 animals, were <a href="https://oxpeckers.org/2020/03/nigeria-steps-up-for-pangolins/" target="_blank">reportedly</a> intercepted leaving Africa.</p>
Reintroduction of an Extinct Species<p>Each year in South Africa the African Pangolin Working Group (<a href="https://africanpangolin.org/" target="_blank">APWG</a>) retrieves between 20 and 40 pangolins through intelligence operations with security forces.</p><p>These pangolins are often-traumatised and injured and are admitted to the <a href="http://www.johannesburgwildlifevet.com/our-hospital" target="_blank">Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital</a> for extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation before they can be considered for release.</p><p>In 2019, seven rescued Temminck's pangolins were reintroduced into South Africa's <a href="https://www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Game Reserve</a> in the KwaZulu Natal Province.</p><p>Nine months on, five have survived. This reintroduction is a world first for a region that last saw a viable population of this species in the 1980s.</p><p>During the release, every individual pangolin followed a strict regime. They needed to become familiar with their new surroundings and be able to forage efficiently.</p>
A ‘Soft Release’ in to the Wild<p>The process on Phinda game reserve involved a more gentle ease into re-wilding a population in a region that had not seen pangolins for many decades.</p><p>The soft release had two phases:</p><ol><li>a pre-release observational period</li><li>an intensive monitoring period post release employing GPS satellite as well as VHF tracking tags.</li></ol>
Why Pangolin Reintroduction is Important<p>We know so little about this group of mammals that are vastly understudied and hold many secrets yet to be discovered by science but are on the verge of collapse.</p><p>The South African and Phinda story is one of hope for the Temminck's pangolin where they once again roam the savanna hills and plains of Zululand.</p><p>The process of relocating these trade animals back into the wild has taken many turns, failures and tribulations but, the recipe of the "soft release" is working.</p>
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By Jake Johnson
In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.
Why You Should Wash Fresh Produce<p>Global pandemic or not, properly washing fresh fruits and vegetables is a good habit to practice to minimize the ingestion of potentially harmful residues and germs.</p><p>Fresh produce is handled by numerous people before you purchase it from the grocery store or the farmers market. It's best to assume that not every hand that has touched fresh produce has been clean.</p><p>With all of the people constantly bustling through these environments, it's also safe to assume that much of the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables" target="_blank">fresh produce</a> you purchase has been coughed on, sneezed on, and breathed on as well.</p><p>Adequately washing fresh fruits and vegetables before you eat them can significantly reduce residues that may be left on them during their journey to your kitchen.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Washing fresh fruits and vegetables is a proven way to remove germs and unwanted residues from their surfaces before eating them.</p>
Best Produce Cleaning Methods<p>While rinsing fresh produce with water has long been the traditional method of preparing fruits and veggies before consumption, the current pandemic has many people wondering whether that's enough to really clean them.</p><p>Some people have advocated the use of soap, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/white-vinegar" target="_blank">vinegar</a>, lemon juice, or even commercial cleaners like bleach as an added measure.</p><p>However, health and food safety experts, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), strongly urge consumers not to take this advice and stick with plain water.</p><p>Using such substances may pose further health dangers, and they're unnecessary to remove the most harmful residues from produce. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/chlorine-poisoning" target="_blank">Ingesting commercial cleaning chemicals</a> like bleach can be lethal and should never be used to clean food.</p><p>Furthermore, substances like lemon juice, vinegar, and produce washes have not been shown to be any more effective at cleaning produce than plain water — and may even leave additional deposits on food.</p><p>While some research has suggested that using neutral electrolyzed water or a baking soda bath can be even more effective at removing certain substances, the consensus continues to be that cool tap water is sufficient in most cases.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The best way to wash fresh produce before eating it is with cool water. Using other substances is largely unnecessary. Plus they're often not as effective as water and gentle friction. Commercial cleaners should never be used on food.</p>
How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables With Water<p>Washing fresh fruits and vegetables in cool water before eating them is a good practice when it comes to health hygiene and food safety.</p><p>Note that fresh produce should not be washed until right before you're ready to eat it. Washing fruits and vegetables before storing them may create an environment in which bacterial growth is more likely.</p><p>Before you begin washing fresh produce, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-should-you-wash-your-hands" target="_blank">wash your hands well</a> with soap and water. Be sure that any utensils, sinks, and surfaces you're using to prepare your produce are also thoroughly cleaned first.</p><p>Begin by cutting away any bruised or visibly rotten areas of fresh produce. If you're handling a fruit or vegetable that'll be peeled, such as an orange, wash it before peeling it to prevent any surface bacteria from entering the flesh.</p><p>The general methods to wash produce are as follows:</p><ul><li><strong>Firm produce.</strong> Fruits with firmer skins like apples, lemons, and pears, as well as <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/root-vegetables" target="_blank">root vegetables</a> like potatoes, carrots, and turnips, can benefit from being brushed with a clean, soft bristle to better remove residues from their pores.</li><li><strong>Leafy greens.</strong> Spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, leeks, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and bok choy should have their outermost layer removed, then be submerged in a bowl of cool water, swished, drained, and rinsed with fresh water.</li><li><strong>Delicate produce.</strong> Berries, mushrooms, and other types of produce that are more likely to fall apart can be cleaned with a steady stream of water and gentle friction using your fingers to remove grit.</li></ul><p>Once you have thoroughly rinsed your produce, dry it using a clean paper or cloth towel. More fragile produce can be laid out on the towel and gently patted or rolled around to dry them without damaging them.</p><p>Before consuming your fruits and veggies, follow the simple steps above to minimize the amount of germs and substances that may be on them.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Most fresh fruits and veggies can gently be scrubbed under cold running water (using a clean soft brush for those with firmer skins) and then dried. It can help to soak, drain, and rinse produce that has more dirt-trapping layers.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Practicing good food hygiene is an important health habit. Washing fresh produce helps minimize surface germs and residues that could make you sick.</p><p>Recent fears during the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/coronavirus" target="_blank">COVID-19 pandemic</a> have caused many people to wonder whether more aggressive washing methods, such as using soap or commercial cleaners on fresh produce, are better.</p><p>Health professionals agree that this isn't recommended or necessary — and could even be dangerous. Most fruits and vegetables can be sufficiently cleaned with cool water and light friction right before eating them.</p><p>Produce that has more layers and surface area can be more thoroughly washed by swishing it in a bowl of cool water to remove dirt particles.</p><p>Fresh fruits and vegetables offer a number of healthy nutrients and should continue to be eaten, as long as safe cleaning methods are practiced.</p>
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By Danielle Nierenberg
Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.
Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.
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Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?
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By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas
From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.
When Looking Through a Microscope Isn’t Close Enough.<p>For the last few years, <a href="http://www.rokaslab.org/" target="_blank">our team at Vanderbilt University</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/lab/Gustavo-Goldman-Lab" target="_blank">Gustavo Goldman's team at São Paulo University in Brazil</a> and many other collaborators around the world have been collecting samples of fungi from patients infected with different species of <em>Aspergillus</em> molds. One of the species we are particularly interested in is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/rwgn.2001.0082" target="_blank"><em>Aspergillus nidulans</em>, a relatively common and generally harmless fungus</a>. Clinical laboratories typically identify the species of <em>Aspergillus</em> causing the infection by examining cultures of the fungi under the microscope. The problem with this approach is that very closely related species of <em>Aspergillus</em> tend to look very similar in their broad morphology or physical appearance when viewing them through a microscope.</p><p>Interested in examining the varying abilities of different <em>A. nidulans</em> strains to cause disease, we decided to analyze their total genetic content, or genomes. What we saw came as a total surprise. We had not collected <em>A. nidulans</em> but <em>Aspergillus latus</em>, a close relative of <em>A. nidulans</em> and, as we were to soon find out, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.071" target="_blank">a hybrid species that evolved through the fusion of the genomes</a> of two other <em>Aspergillus</em> species: <em>Aspergillus spinulosporus</em> and an unknown close relative of <em>Aspergillus quadrilineatus</em>. Thus, we realized not only that these patients harbored infections from an entirely different species than we thought they were, but also that this species was the first ever <em>Aspergillus</em> hybrid known to cause human infections.</p>
Several Different Fungal Hybrids Cause Human Disease.<p>Hybrid fungi that can cause infections in humans are well known to occur in several different lineages of single-celled fungi known as yeasts. Notable examples include multiple different species of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/yea.3242" target="_blank">yeast hybrids</a> that cause the human diseases <a href="https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6218/cryptococcosis" target="_blank">cryptococcosis</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html" target="_blank">candidiasis</a>. Although pathogenic yeast hybrids are well known, our discovery that the <em>A. latus</em> pathogen is a hybrid is a first for molds that cause disease in humans.</p>
(Left) Candida yeasts live on parts of the human body. Imbalance of microbes on the body can allow these yeasts, some of which are hybrids, to grow and cause infection. (Right) Cryptococcus yeasts, including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008315" target="_blank">Why certain <em>Aspergillus</em> species are so deadly</a> while others are harmless remains unknown. This may in part be because <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2007.02.007" target="_blank">combinations of traits, rather than individual traits</a>, underlie organisms' ability to cause disease. So why then are hybrids frequently associated with human disease? Hybrids inherit genetic material from both parents, which may result in new combinations of traits. This may make them more similar to one parent in some of their characteristics, reflect both parents in others or may differ from both in the rest. It is precisely this mix and match of traits that hybrids have inherited from their parental species that <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/science/14creatures.html" target="_blank">facilitates their evolutionary success</a>, including their ability to cause disease.</p>