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One of the world's most iconic parks is going vehicle-free this summer; New York City is banning all cars and trucks from Central Park.
"This park was not built for automobiles," Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday in Central Park. "It was built for people."
Starting June 27, the day after public schools close, drives will be closed below 72nd Street. Cars are already banned on park drives north of 72nd Street at all times.
There are roughly 42 million visits to Central Park every year. Its 843 acres of green space is a welcome respite for tourists and residents of the bustling, crowded metropolis. However, a number of motorists drive through the park's various roads to get to their destinations.
"Now all of those people will have a safe, beautiful experience because this park will be car-free," de Blasio said.
Mayor de Blasio has prioritized environmental concerns since taking office. Earlier this year, the city government said it will divest its pension funds from fossil fuel investments and announced that it filed suit against five oil giants for contributing to climate change. In Sept. 2014, the year he was sworn in, de Blasio announced New York City's plan to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.
"This announcement is very much connected to understanding what we have to do to protect our Earth and to fight against climate change," he said Friday, just days before Earth Day.
"Parks in this city are sacred because, probably more than any place, our parks are our refuge, they are where we do everything—little league, and kids learning on the playground how to play for the beginning of their lives," de Blasio said. "For some of us, even more important things. My wife Chirlane and I got married under a tree in Prospect Park."
"They are an oasis," he added. "For some people, they are literally where they take their summer vacation, because that's what they can afford, to be in a park and that's even more important for those families."
According to the New York Times, the new rule will not affect the crucial traverses between 65th, 79th, 86th and 97th Streets, which are built below park level. Parks Department vehicles and emergency and police vehicles will be allowed access to the park.
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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.
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.
The last four members of an embattled wolf pack were killed in Washington State Friday, hours before the court order that could have saved them.
By Randi Spivak
Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.
A new report by Greenpeace International pinpointed the world's worst sources of sulfur dioxide pollution, an irritant gas that harms human health. India has seized the top spot from Russia and China, contributing nearly 15 percent of global sulfur dioxide emissions.
By Sue Branford and Thais Borges
Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated: