The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Will No Longer Be Honored at American Natural History Museum
The American Museum of Natural History will no longer host a gala intended to honor controversial Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose plans to open the Amazon rainforest to industry were seen by many as incompatible with the museum's mission, Reuters reported Monday.
The museum faced criticism after it was discovered Bolsonaro would be honored at a Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce gala to present its "Person of the Year" award. The museum said the group had booked it as a venue before Bolsonaro was announced as the award's recipient.
"With mutual respect for the work & goals of our individual organizations, we jointly agreed that the Museum is not the optimal location for the Brazilian-Am. Chamber of Commerce gala dinner. This traditional event will go forward at another location on the original date & time," the museum tweeted Monday.
The gala was originally slated to take place in May in the museum's Hall of Ocean Life. The museum had hosted the gala in previous years, in which awards were given to figures like former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, The New York Times reported.
The Chamber of Commerce, which works to promote the cultural and economic relationship between the U.S. and Brazil, had chosen to honor Bolsonaro in "recognition of his strongly stated intention of fostering closer commercial and diplomatic ties between Brazil and the United States and his firm commitment to building a strong and durable partnership between the two nations," according to The New York Times.
However, many felt that the far-right Brazilian president's domestic policies made him a poor fit for the museum.
"My jaw dropped when I found out," museum curator and microbiology professor Dr. Susan Perkins told Gothamist. "Anything that happens in the museum reflects on us, and Bolsonaro represents just about everything we oppose: His treatment of indigenous people, his disrespect for the environment, his views and recent actions to defund scientific research. We find it appalling that he would be in our space."
More than 500 people signed an open letter written by museum employees to museum president Ellen Futter urging her not to host the event, ArtNet reported. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also urged the museum to reconsider, calling Bolsonaro a "very dangerous human being."
Hours after taking office in January, Bolsonaro transferred the power to recognize indigenous lands to the ministry of agriculture, which has strong ties to agribusiness. Indigenous and environmental advocates said the move would pave the way for greater deforestation and violations of indigenous rights. Just last week, Bolsonaro said his government could open up an Amazon reserve slightly larger than Denmark to mining, Reuters reported.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.
Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.