Wow, there's a lot going on this week working to move our world beyond fossil fuels. From India to the U.S. to Australia, people across the globe are saying no to extreme fossil fuel extraction and yes to cleaner, renewable energy.
Leading the charge in India is India Beyond Coal. On Nov. 10, India Beyond Coal is organizing a Day of Action because coal is starting to take over the country, from the mines of Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh to the massive power plants in Andhra Pradesh. And with it comes hidden costs like deforestation, loss of biodiversity, increased sickness and a changing climate that endangers India’s future and everyone else’s.
Check out this video highlighting tomorrow's Day of Action:
On Nov. 7, 350.org hit the road with their Do the Math Tour to jump start the next phase of the climate movement. The tour highlights how it’s just simple math when it comes to global warming. We can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming or anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on Earth. The only problem? Fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all—unless we rise up to stop them.
The Do the Math Tour is encouraging college students to call for fossil fuel divestment on college campuses. Just like in the 1980s, apartheid was an injustice too terrible to be ignored. Today, global warming is the tremendous injustice that demands our generation to unite and take action.
Watch Bill McKibben explain the motivation behind the Do the Math Tour:
Greenpeace Australia is working to protect the Great Barrier Reef by stopping the coal industry from polluting its waterways. Check out Kick Kennedy's post, Trouble Down Under! A Charming Look Into the Very Un-Charming Australian Coal Industry, exposing the coal industry's complete disregard for human health and the environment.
Now that the Presidential election is over, it's time to move forward on legislation that will create a sustainable energy policy by igniting the renewable energy industry. Sign the Expedite Renewable Energy Petition today telling Congress to:
• Mandates an aggressive RES (renewable electricity standard)
• Sets a limit and tax on greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)
• Puts an end to subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power
• Provides incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects
• Modernizes the electrical grid
• Provides market certainty to accelerate investment in renewable energy
• Invests in research and development for battery storage and renewable energy technologies
• Encourages distributed generation to help localize energy generation
• Defines renewable as non-combustion sources of energy
• Puts Americans back to work by creating green jobs and a sustainable economy
• Makes the U.S. a leader in fighting climate change and global warming
• Puts the health of people and the planet before corporate profits
We can transition to a cleaner, renewable energy future, but Congress needs to help lead the way.
Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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