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Video: Freedom to Breathe Tour Bus Visits Communities Across the Country Working on Climate Solutions
By Owen Agnew
Wildfires, sea level rise, air pollution, asthma—you don't have to go far to find communities living with climate change impacts. But there are also climate solutions everywhere you look. This summer, the Freedom to Breathe Tour visited communities across the country that are working to reduce carbon emissions and make their communities healthier and more resilient.
Freedom to Breathe Solutions youtu.be
At Chispas Farm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, climate change figures into every planting decision. "The whole goal and why we grow so many crops, is this idea of resilience and diversity," farm manager Casey Holland said. "We grow over 120 different varieties of vegetables, mainly because, with a changing climate, some will do better than others."
Crop diversity is an important way farmers can adapt to climate variability, but many older crop varieties are being lost. In the U.S., 90 percent of the fruit and vegetable varieties grown by farmers a century ago are no longer available. Seed banks can help keep older, traditional varieties readily available to farmers and communities. At Tesuque Pueblo outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where people have been farming for more than 900 years, the pueblo's seed bank stores traditional varieties of corn, beans, squash, melons and other vegetables. Gailey Morgan, foreman at Tesuque Pueblo Farm, said the goal of the seed bank is to make locally sourced seeds available to the community. "We're here in the high desert, and we feel like our seeds are adapted to our environment here," Morgan said.
From locally-sourced seeds in New Mexico, the Freedom to Breathe Tour traveled to Nevada, where community members, politicians and businesses are working together to make solar power available to everyone. Last year assemblyman Chris Brooks helped pass a state law bringing back net metering, which makes roof-top solar viable. "We're providing a democratization of energy production," Brooks said, "and that is so important to so many segments of society. Everyone should be able to participate in both making their own energy, creating high-paying good-quality jobs, but also being part of the solution as we fight climate change, instead of being part of the problem."
Residential solar company Sunrun is helping to make solar affordable in Nevada and elsewhere. They offer discounted electricity rates to low-income customers in Nevada, and in California, they've committed to installing 100MW of solar on affordable housing around the state in the next ten years.
The growth of solar and wind energy across the country means that the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is no longer power generation—it's transportation. In California, where transportation accounts for 41 percent of emissions, the state is investing heavily in EVs and EV charging infrastructure, and plans to move to all electric buses by 2040. That includes school buses. With the help of state funds, school districts across the state are investing in electric school buses. For John Clements, a former district transportation director and a self-described electric bus evangelist, every bus is a mark of progress. "In my own school district, one in six students carried an inhaler to school. That's an example of what we're trying to change here," Clements said.
The move to electric school buses is just beginning—the leading manufacturer, Lion Electric, has about 150 electric school buses on the road across the country, and there are almost 500,000 school buses nationwide. But many states are planning to devote some of their share of the $3 billion Volkswagen settlement money towards replacing diesel school buses, which means the number of zero-emission school buses will continue to rise.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Nexus Media.
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Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.
gmnicholas / E+ / Getty Images
Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.
The climate crisis is getting costly. Some of the world's largest companies expect to take over one trillion in losses due to climate change. Insurers are increasingly jittery and the world's largest firm has warned that the cost of premiums may soon be unaffordable for most people. Historic flooding has wiped out farmers in the Midwest.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
'We Should Be Retreating Already From the Coastline,' Scientist Suggests After Finding Warm Waters Below Greenland
By Johnny Wood
The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.
The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.
Here are some of the challenges the river faces.
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.