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When Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed on to the Governors' Accord for a New Energy Future in February, she touted the state's investment in renewable energy and green jobs. And, she made clear this was just a start: "More work remains and this accord acknowledges the challenges we face and our commitment to addressing them."
Indeed, more work remains for the governor to provide climate leadership for Rhode Island and the nation. At the very top of the list should be rescinding her support for a controversial fracked gas project in the town of Burrillville.
The community has been fighting the euphemistically-named Invenergy “Clear River" power plant facility and now national advocacy groups have joined the call. We've sent a letter to the governor telling her that not only would the proposed plan exacerbate the negative health impacts these gas projects have already had on local residents, it would also release massive amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and lock us into several more decades of fossil fuel infrastructure.
Welcoming the Clean River Energy Center would be a dirty deal for the governor, Burrillville residents and the planet. Methane leaks from every stage of the natural gas system—from well sites to processing plants and compressor stations to beneath city streets. When it comes to the relative impacts on our climate, methane leaks make natural gas about as bad as coal when used for generating electricity. And natural gas is about as bad as oil when used to fuel cars, trucks, industrial boilers and residential furnaces. More gas infrastructure means decades of more fracking and that will only fuel the ongoing climate crisis.
Supporting this infrastructure is a step in the wrong direction on climate leadership.
The local impacts are terrible as well. Burrillville is already inundated with the toxins and noise that come from gas infrastructure. The town is home to two interstate gas pipelines, two compressor stations and another natural gas-fired power plant. The residents of Burrillville have not consented to Invenergy's proposed fracked-gas plant, nor have the Nipmuc people, whose traditional territory would be site of the proposed plant.
Compressor stations discharge air and climate pollutants. Each year, compressor stations emit between 12 and 50 tons of volatile organic compounds, 51 to 99 tons of nitrogen oxides, 1.5 to 6.1 tons of particulate matter and up to 1.9 tons of sulfur dioxides—all associated with negative health impacts.
The intense local opposition to fossil fuel extraction and pollution has been led by The FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas) Collective and BASE (Burrillville Against Spectra Expansion). Working with other groups across Rhode Island, they have appealed to elected officials to stop the Clear River power plant from going forward. It's time for Gov. Raimondo to rise up and show bold climate leadership. It's time to pull the plug on the project.
Unfortunately, for now, Gov. Raimondo seems to want to have it both ways. She is cheering on the state's commitment to renewable energy while expressing support for a massive new dirty gas power plant. But public attitudes on fracking and climate change are rapidly shifting as the science has made clear we must act quickly to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming. A majority of Americans now oppose fracking and an even greater percentage of Democrats are demanding bold action on climate. And some elected officials, like Gov. Cuomo, who banned fracking in New York and has rejected several fracked gas infrastructure projects, are responding to the science. Gov. Raimondo has a decision to make: she can show bold climate leadership by rejecting this gas power plant or she can approve the Invenergy project, further locking Rhode Island into fossil fuel dependence.
On July 24, thousands from around the region will converge in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention to call on elected officials to ban fracking and related infrastructure and quickly and justly transition to a 100 percent renewable energy future.
Gov. Raimondo's decision will not only determine the fate of the project. It will also determine whether she is a leader in this revolution or a follower on the same old dirty path.
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The supply chain that provides medical supplies to the world is favoring the U.S. and Europe, which are outbidding poorer nations for masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic, according to NPR.
A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images
Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.