House Republicans Pass Hostile 'Empty Oceans Act'
By Molly Masterton
The road hasn't been easy—in the 80s and 90s many of our fish stocks were still in bad shape—but through previous reauthorizations of the law in 1996 and 2006, Congress has consistently moved the ball forward on sustainable fisheries management, with broad bipartisan support.
And the health of our nation's fisheries and coastal economies improved as a result. Thanks to strong conservation mandates, and both lawmakers and fishing communities rising to the occasion, the number of overfished fish stocks and stocks subject to overfishing has been cut by more than half. And as of this year, 44 fish stocks have been successfully rebuilt from previously depleted levels.
But H.R. 200, the bill that the U.S. House of Representatives just passed in a contentious vote (222 yays, 193 nays), threatens to unravel those four decades of progress. H.R. 200 would weaken the core tenets of science-based fisheries management, increasing the risk of overfishing and delaying the rebuilding of depleted fisheries. It would also roll back science and accountability in recreational fisheries. And unfortunately, it retreats from the bipartisan common ground that has marked the law's success.
While H.R. 200 pretends to be a simple improvement to the law, it would eviscerate the very conservation requirements that have worked to restore our marine fisheries. This "Empty Oceans Act" would sell out our successful efforts to curb overfishing, harming coastal communities and the ocean wildlife we all love.
We should be tackling remaining challenges—like protecting marine habitat, replenishing stocks that remain at unhealthy levels, improving data collection and increasing our responsiveness to climate change—without compromising on conservation. Innovative approaches, not carveouts and loopholes, are what the thousands of stakeholders who spoke out against H.R. 200 (including fishermen, scientists, chefs and conservationists) are looking for.
Wednesday's highly controversial vote, with hours of debate and more than a dozen Republicans opposing the bill, demonstrated just how badly H.R. 200 misses the mark.
'Kicking Ass for Her Generation': Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat
By Julia Conley
Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.
In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.
‘Plastic Is Lethal’: Groundbreaking Report Reveals Health Risks at Every Stage in Plastics Life Cycle
With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the world's oceans every year, there is growing concern about the proliferation of plastics in the environment. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the full impact of plastic pollution on human health.
But a first-of-its-kind study released Tuesday sets out to change that. The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment. While previous studies have focused on particular products, manufacturing processes or moments in the creation and use of plastics, this study shows that plastics pose serious health risks at every stage in their production, use and disposal.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.