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4 Surprisingly Green Presidents
By Callum Beals
Presidents Day is here once again, a holiday that encourages us to reflect on the legacy on some of our most influential presidents (and gives us an excuse to relax on our federally mandated day off). By the nature of their position, U.S. Presidents have an unrivaled platform from which to dictate policy and enact legislation with regards to the environment. While many presidents have shirked their environmental responsibilities, others have championed our nation's greatest attribute, attempting to ensure its glory for future generations. Here are a few of our most environmentally proactive Presidents:
Despite his unabashed taste for hunting, Theodore Roosevelt was undeniably a lover of nature, and perhaps our first environmentalist president. Throughout his presidency, Roosevelt used executive action like no other president before him to reach his conservationist goals. Roosevelt ensured that Yellowstone National Park could not be exploited for commercial goals and established more than 50 national bird refuges through executive action. He would go on to found the U.S. Forest Service and create the first 18 National Monuments, including Muir Woods, Grand Canyon, and Devils Tower.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
With the country being ravaged by unemployment during the Great Depression, one of the most successful aspects of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal policies was the creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the decade before World War II, the CCC employed millions of Americans in conservation positions, helping reintroduce wildlife to depleted areas and helping establish outdoor recreational infrastructure for many of our national parks and forests.
When you think of environmentalists, Richard Nixon is probably not the first name to pop into your head. Nevertheless, in 1970 President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, the first centralized government agency with the goal of protecting the health of Americans as well as the environment. Nixon also went on to sign the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Though he only served one term as president, Jimmy Carter's legacy as an environmentalist will be long lasting, as he was the first U.S. President to install solar panels on the White House roof. This visionary move came years before solar panels began to make a serious dent on the energy market, and marked a pivotal and symbolic moment in our nation's continuing shift towards renewable energies. Though President Reagan dismantled President Carter's solar panels in 1986, panels once again adorn the White House over President Obama.
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.