Parents and Kids Hold ‘Play-In’ Against Climate Change
By Jeremy Deaton
Hundreds of people, mostly parents and their children, took to Capitol Hill Wednesday to call on lawmakers to address air pollution and climate change. The "play-in" featured music by children's singer and guitarist Mister G, as well as remarks by several activists, journalists and members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Telemundo correspondent Vanessa Hauc and native rights activist Casey Camp-Horinek.
"We are united together to protect these babies that are around here, around our feet as we speak," Heather McTeer Toney, senior advisor for local government for Moms Clean Air Force, which organized the rally, said in a speech. Toney previously served as a regional EPA administrator during the Obama administration.
"I'm glad to be here to be with so many people who are standing together in solidarity against polluted air," Misti O'Quinn, director of outreach and community engagement for Breath is Lyfe, said to those assembled. O'Quinn spoke about her children struggling with asthma, a condition worsened by pollution. "Knowing that there is a building full of people lining their pockets, and my children are paying the price? I have a problem with that," she said.
Children at the rally. Nexus Media
By and large, young Americans are more likely to worry about climate change than their parents. Poll after poll finds that, more than older generations, Americans in their teens and twenties understand that carbon pollution is changing the climate and believe that humankind should tackle the problem. Parents and grandparents who showed up at Capitol Hill wanted to show that it is not just young people who are worried about and climate change.
Ask Americans why they think it's important to tackle climate change, and the leading response is to "provide a better life for our children and grandchildren." No other answer comes close, and to a certain extent, that makes sense. It will take years for today's carbon emissions to take full effect. If humans stopped polluting today, temperatures would continue to rise for another 40 years. Any effort made to limit the rise in temperature will take decades to bear fruit, meaning the fight to curb climate change, ultimately, is an altruistic one. It is the fight to protect the next generation.
"The climate system has a memory, and if we don't act soon, we're going to feel the effects for hundreds of years. The sooner we act, the better it's going to be for future generations," said Michelle Irizarry, a mother from Orlando, Florida. "I think action is the solution to despair and depression." Irizarry pointed the numerous advocacy groups tackling climate change, which include organizations for parents and grandparents like Moms Clean Air Force, Mothers Out Front, Climate Mama, Climate Dads and Elders Climate Action.
The rally was also attended by Kristin Mink, a teacher and mother who confronted former EPA chief Scott Pruitt at a Washington, DC restaurant earlier this month. "Listen, I don't know why anyone would not care deeply about this issue," she said. "This is not a partisan issue. This is not about politics. This is about the survival of the species. This is about our Earth. This is about our children and the kind of lives that they are going to have and that their children are going to have."
In her encounter with Pruitt, she said, "I just wanted to urge you to resign because of what you are doing to the environment in our country," adding, "We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, somebody who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all of us, including our children." Pruitt, who consistently undermined the EPA's mission to limit carbon pollution, stepped down from his role at the agency a few days later.
Mink spoke about meeting Pruitt at the rally. "When I walked up to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and told him to resign, I didn't actually think he would do it," she said. "We took down the EPA administrator, and we didn't need Congress or the president to help us." Mink noted that Pruitt's successor, Andrew Wheeler, would continue to pursue a deregulatory agenda, adding, "The endless pattern of this administration favoring corporate interests over real people won't end unless we all vote."
Kristin Mink speaking to a reporter at the rally. Nexus Media
Wednesday's rally belongs to a long history of parental activism in the U.S. Mothers, in particular, have had a profound impact on public policy. Mother's Against Drunk Driving was created in 1983 after its founder, Candace Lightner, lost her daughter to a drunk driving accident. The group successfully campaigned to raise the drinking age and to lower the legal limit for blood alcohol while driving, among other measures.
Similarly, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union fought for the prohibition of alcohol, a fight that onetime president Frances Willard described as "a war of mothers and daughters." Under Willard's leadership, the organization also pushed for women's suffrage, believing that women must secure the right to vote to act as "citizen-mothers."
Mothers have played such a an important role in pushing for progress that they even earned their own holiday. During and after the Civil War, West Virginia activist Ann Jarvis organized mothers to feed, clothe and nurse both Union and Confederate soldiers. After the war ended, she gathered veterans from both sides of the conflict to foster unity and encourage reconciliation. After Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, lobbied the federal government to designate a new holiday to honor the work of mothers on behalf of their children. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first national Mother's Day.
The officers and delegates to the first convention of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, 1915. National Park Service
Now, mothers are turning their attention to climate change. "If what you see happening now isn't what you want, then you need to get involved," said Keri Bresaw, a mother from Henniker, New Hampshire."I think we model behavior for our children, and by bringing my kids here to Washington, DC to show them that I can use my voice to stand up for things that I believe in, I'm hopefully planting some seeds for them to also decide to do the same."
Mink stressed the importance of the midterm election. "Everyone who cares about their children, everyone who cares about their future and our future needs to get to the polls," she said. "Voting is our final way to have our voice heard. It is required."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Nexus Media.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
Collecting With the Current<p>"Plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. To us, that future is unacceptable," <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/green-entrepreneur-sets-sights-on-great-pacific-garbage-patch/a-38855785" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a> declares on its website.</p><p>But Rebecca Helm, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, and one of the few scientists to study this ecosystem, fears that The Ocean Cleanup's proposal to remove 90% of the plastic trash from the water could also virtually wipe out the neuston.</p><p>One focus of Helm's studies is where these organisms congregate. "There are places that are very, very concentrated and areas of little concentration, and we're trying to figure out why," says Helm.</p><p>One factor is that the neuston floats with ocean currents, and Helm worries that it might collect in the exact same spots as marine plastic pollution. "Our initial data show that regions with high concentrations of plastic are also regions with high concentrations of life."</p>
Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
Inshore Solution?<p>Helm believes the best way to tackle the marine plastic problem would be to position the barriers closer to land — across river mouths and bays — to catch garbage before it reaches the sea.</p><p>"Stopping the flow of plastic into the ocean is the most cost-effective — and literally effective — way to ensure that it's not entering our environment," she says. </p><p>As for the plastic already floating in open waters, she does not believe it is worth sacrificing parts of neuston and wants to see more research first. </p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has made barriers across rivers a part of its mission. But it is also going ahead with its original vision of pulling trash from the open water. In late 2018, the project deployed a 600-meter, u-shaped prototype net into the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>. </p><p>The system ran into difficulties, failing to retain plastic as hoped, and needing to be brought shore for repairs and a design upgrade, after which Ocean Cleanup says it gathered haul of plastic that it will recycle and resell to help fund future operations.</p><p>Over the next two years, the project hopes to deploy up to 60 such barriers to collect drifting flotsam. Helm isn't the only one concerned about these plans.</p><p><span></span>"We should think twice about every action we take in the sea," Betti says. "In nature, nothing is as easy as we think, and often, we've done a lot of damage while trying to do a good thing."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2646992655#/" target="_self"></a></em><em></em></p>
By Hope Dickens
Molly Craig's day begins with feeding hungry baby birds at 6 a.m. The birds need to be fed every 15 minutes until 7 at night. If she's not feeding them, other staff at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, Illinois take turns helping the hungry orphans.
By Douglas Broom
"Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people," said former U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt.
So the FAO is using Twitter to remind the world of these five hidden benefits of forests.
A Michigan bald eagle proved that nature can still triumph over machines when it attacked and drowned a nearly $1,000 government drone.
- Judge Rules Against Trump's Attempt to Log in America's Largest ... ›
- Trump Admin Guts Endangered Species Act in the Midst of Climate ... ›
- 17 States Sue to Stop Trump Admin Attack on Endangered Species ... ›
A professional cycling race in Australia is under attack for its connections to a major oil and gas producer, the Guardian reports.
- Burning All Fossil Fuels Would Lead to a 17 C Rise in Arctic ... ›
- All Renewables Will Be Cost Competitive With Fossil Fuels by 2020 ... ›
- G20 Nations Spend $77 Billion a Year to Finance Fossil Fuels ... ›
- People Eat 50,000+ Microplastics Every Year, New Study Finds ... ›
- Microplastics Are Increasing in Our Lives, New Research Finds ... ›
- Sharks Are Polluted With Plastic, New Study Shows - EcoWatch ›
- 73% of Deep-Sea Fish Have Ingested Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Launch Groundbreaking Study on Health Risks of ... ›
- 25% of Fish Sold at Markets Contain Plastic or Man-Made Debris ... ›