Premature Births Linked to Living Near Power Plants
Closing coal- and oil-fired power plants may help decrease the incidence of premature births in surrounding areas, according to new research.
A study published Tuesday in the American Journal of Epidemiology surveyed preterm births in more than 57,000 mothers living near eight power plants in California retired between 2001 and 2011. Researchers found rates of preterm birth decreased after the power plants' closures, with women living within three miles of the power plants experiencing a two percent drop in premature birth rates after the plants' retirement.
As reported by InsideClimate News:
"In an accompanying commentary in the journal, Pauline Mendola, a senior investigator with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, wrote that the methods and creative design of the study add to its importance.
'The authors do an excellent job of testing alternative explanations for the observed associations and examining social factors that might increase vulnerability,' she wrote.
'We all breathe. Even small increases in mortality due to ambient air pollution have a large population health impact,' she wrote. 'Of course, we need electricity and there are costs and benefits to all energy decisions, but at some point we should recognize that our failure to lower air pollution results in the death and disability of American infants and children.'"
95% of World's Population Breathes Unsafe Air https://t.co/0NVplWFhsS @Greenpeace @ScienceNewsOrg— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1524001808.0
For a deeper dive:
Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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By Alexandra Villarreal
As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
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The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.
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By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.
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