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Jane Goodall and Other Environmental Leaders Respond to Notre Dame Fire
A fire broke out in Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral Monday evening. It burned for almost five hours, destroying two-thirds of the roof and causing its spire to collapse.
The church, which has stood in Paris since the 1200s, has come to embody "the permanence of a nation," Henri Astier wrote for BBC News. It was last seriously damaged during the French Revolution and survived both World Wars.
Around 500 firefighters worked to control the blaze. In the end, the church's structure, including its two towers, was "saved and preserved as a whole," Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said. No one was killed, though one firefighter was seriously injured. The fire also had a profound emotional impact on those who watched it burn.
"It is like losing a member of one's own family," 45-year-old marketing director Pierre Guillaume Bonnet told The New York Times. "For me there are so many memories tied up in it."
As expressions of grief and solidarity poured out from around the world, environmental leaders were among those who responded to the tragedy.
Primatologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall wrote on her website about how much the cathedral had meant to her. She shared an excerpt from her book Reason for Hope in which she described how visiting the church had helped her through a difficult time in her life.
"[T]he experience I had there, when I visited in 1977, marked an epiphany in my thinking about my place on Planet Earth and the meaning of my life," Goodall wrote.
In the excerpt, Goodall describes hearing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor play on the cathedral organ while the Rose window glowed with morning light. She said she could not believe that the moment was the work of chance alone, and so came to believe in God.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters tackling the frightful flames, and all those in France for whom Notre Dame is a integral part of the French nation and especially for all who worship there," Goodall wrote Monday. The fire comes as Catholics celebrate Holy Week, which leads up to Easter next Sunday.
Other activists drew a connection between the loss of Notre Dame and the loss of the natural world due to climate change and other human actions.
"Beauty and meaning can be so vulnerable — not to be taken for granted, ever," he wrote.
Grist writer Eric Holthaus agreed.
"The profound sense of permanent loss is heartbreaking," he tweeted.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to see the church rebuilt.
"Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives ... So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together," he said, as The Guardian reported.
French billionaire and Kering CEO and Chairman François-Henri Pinault has promised 100 million euros to the cause.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.