By Julia Conley
Climate experts are warning the current extreme food shortage in southern Madagascar, following a dearth of rain for the last four years, has driven the country to the brink of the world's first famine driven almost entirely by the climate emergency.
The United Nations estimates that 30,000 people in the country are facing "level five" food insecurity, defined as a "catastrophe or famine" according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. With Madagascar's regular pre-harvest "lean season" looming, many more are expected to face catastrophic hunger in the coming months.
"These are famine-like conditions and they're being driven by climate, not conflict," Shelley Thakral, senior communications specialist for the World Food Program, told the BBC.
"This is unprecedented," Thakal added. "These people have done nothing to contribute to climate change. They don't burn fossil fuels... and yet they are bearing the brunt of climate change."
#Madagascar is on the brink of experiencing the world's first "climate change famine". This is unprecedented. We… https://t.co/WCVbRK27ch— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace)1629896458.0
In interviews with the press, families in farming communities across the southern part of the country have described foraging for cactus leaves and insects including locusts in order to avoid starvation as they struggle to grow crops.
"I clean the insects as best I can but there's almost no water," a mother of four named Tamaria, in the village of Fandiova, told the BBC.
Madagascar was identified in the latest report (pdf) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a country that was expected to face an increase in agricultural and ecological drought, particularly if global policymakers fail to rapidly work to eliminate fossil fuel extraction and reduce the heating of the planet.
Dr. Rondro Barimalala, a scientist from Madagascar who works at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, said the current crisis in his home country is clearly linked to the climate emergency.
"With the latest IPCC report we saw that Madagascar has observed an increase in aridity. And that is expected to increase if climate change continues," Barimalala told the BBC. "In many ways this can be seen as a very powerful argument for people to change their ways."
The U.N.'s most senior official in the country, resident coordinator Issa Sanogo, recently described traveling through southern Madagascar and witnessing the crisis:
In the town of Amboasary Atsimo, about 75 per cent of the population is facing severe hunger and 14,000 people are on the brink of famine.
This is what the real consequences of climate change look like, and the people here have done nothing to deserve this. Nevertheless, I have seen that they are ready to take up the challenge, with our immediate and medium-term support, and get back on their feet.
[T]hese people have been significantly affected by sandstorms; all of their croplands are silted up, and they cannot produce anything.
"We are in danger of seeing people who have endured the prolonged drought enter the lean season without the means to eat, without money to pay for health services, or to send their children to school, to get clean water, and even to get seeds to plant for the next agricultural season," Sanogo said. "If we don't act soon, we will face a much more severe humanitarian crisis."
Considering Madagasans' "negligible contribution to the climate crisis," tweeted the Environmental Justice Foundation, the current catastrophe represents "an appalling climate injustice." "Everyone should have a safe place to live," the group said. "Wealthy countries must step up and cut emissions now."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
For bears and the people that love them, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska wrapped up its annual Fat Bear Week competition Tuesday, in which online fans vote for the coastal brown bear that has had the most success bulking up ahead of winter hibernation.
"The votes are in! You've crowned the Earl of Avoirdupois, bear 747, the 2020 Fat Bear Week Champion," the park announced on Twitter.
Match 11: Lardaceous Leviathan Levels Chunky Challenger The votes are in! You’ve crowned the Earl of Avoirdupois,… https://t.co/4SlXOpVBcH— Katmai National Park (@Katmai National Park)1602036000.0
This is the first time bear 747 has won the competition, though he was last year's runner-up, The Washington Post reported. He was first identified in 2004, according to his bio on the competition website. At the time, he was still a growing bear who could not compete for the choice fishing areas along the national park's Brooks Falls. He has significantly beefed up since then, and is now so big that no other bear dare challenge him for prime riverfront real estate. In fall 2019, park workers estimated that 747 weighed more than 1,400 pounds, and they think he likely weighs as much or more this year.
"Many staff who've worked at Katmai for many years say that  is the biggest bear they have ever seen," Katmai media ranger Naomi Boak told The Washington Post. "It's pure coincidence that he has the same name as a jumbo jet, but he is the size of a jumbo jet."
To earn his crown, 747 faced off against runner-up Chunk, or bear 32.
Today’s the day we will crown 2020’s Fat Bear Week Champion. Where 747’s sedulous quest for salmon secured him a st… https://t.co/tBnlt5eyCS— Katmai National Park (@Katmai National Park)1602000969.0
Chunk was estimated to be more than 1,100 pounds in 2019, but he has become something of a gentle giant.
"In recent years he's shown a tendency to wait patiently to scavenge leftover salmon and even play with other bears," his bio reads. "These are two uncommon behaviors for a dominant bear to display. Due to his size and strength, 32 Chunk is poised to take advantage of opportunities not available to most other bears. Yet, it is only by observing his full range of behaviors that we can get a true sense of his individuality."
Fat Bear Week started in 2014 in order to honor the bears of Katmai National Park in their efforts to fatten up for winter. During hibernation, a bear loses a third of its body mass, the competition website explains, so the summer and fall feasting serves a vital purpose.
At Katmai National Park, the bears' preferred food is sockeye salmon. These fish have about 4,500 calories each, and the bears can eat more than two dozen per day, USA TODAY reported. The bears of Katmai are especially lucky, because the park has one of the biggest sockeye salmon runs in the world, the park said. And this year, the salmon run broke records, Reuters reported.
Katmai National Park has the world's densest concentration of brown bears. The bears like to feast along Brooks River, where people from all over the world can watch them on a webcam.
Since its debut, Fat Bear Week has become increasingly popular. A record 187,000 people voted in 2019, while more than 550,000 voted this year, The Washington Post reported.
"What a curative healing pleasure it is to, one, be able to laugh, and, two, be connected to nature by understanding the achievements of these individual bears," Boak told the Post. "I think such a cheerful release. And, quite frankly, how often does one get to celebrate fatness?"
- Wild Bears 'Having a Party' in Coronavirus-Closed Yosemite ... ›
- Trump Rollback Allows Hunters to Kill Bears and Wolves in Their Dens ›
- Meet the Winner of Katmai National Park's Fat Bear Week 2019 ... ›
Medically reviewed by Anna H. Chacon, M.D.
From eating foods for healthy skin to switching up your morning and routines, taking care of the largest organ in the body can get overwhelming. Recently, vitamin C has grown in popularity in the skincare world — but do the best vitamin C serums live up to the hype?
Vitamin C is not only an essential supplement for your immune system and overall health, but it's also a great skincare ingredient that can help limit inflammation, brighten skin, dull fine lines and wrinkles, fight free radicals, and reduce discoloration and dark spots.
Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine seems like a no-brainer, but before you start shopping for a serum, it's important to be aware that vitamin C is an unstable ingredient. Dermatologists say it's important to find legit and properly formulated vitamin C serums to capitalize on the benefits of the antioxidant. In this article, we'll help you find the right dermatologist-approved vitamin C serum to add to your routine.
Our Picks for the Best Vitamin C Serums of 2021
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall: ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
- Best Budget-Friendly Serum: CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
- Best Cruelty-Free Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum
- Best Anti-Aging Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment
- Best Brightening Serum: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
Skincare Benefits of Vitamin C
Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant that is present in the formation of collagen and that protects against aging, according to Dr. Anna Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist with MyPsoriasisTeam. A vitamin C serum may be a solid addition to your skincare routine because it has a great safety profile, and it's safe for most skin types.
"Vitamin C serum restores and neutralizes environmental stressors that accelerate signs of aging and can be used morning and evening," Dr. Chacon says. However, she warns, "it does not come with sun protection, so additional use of sunscreen is recommended."
As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects skin cells from being damaged by free radicals from things like UV exposure, vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke. It also hampers melanin production, which can help to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots and even out your skin tone.
6 Best Vitamin C Serums
Based on dermatologist recommendations and our market research, the following products are the best vitamin C serums available today.
Best Overall: ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating
Our overall recommendation for the best vitamin C serum is the ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. The product contains 10% vitamin C, which has anti-aging properties and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sunspots by promoting collagen production. "I have this in my bathroom," Dr. Chacon says. "It is gentle and non-irritating, and it leaves your skin radiant afterward."
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with under 100 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Along with L-ascorbic acid, this serum includes ingredients like Coenzyme Q10 for multi-layer antioxidant protection and plant-derived squalane for added hydration. ZO Skin Health's products are all cruelty-free.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
Made with plant- and vitamin-derived antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides and CoQ10, Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum will help rejuvenate your skin. The formula fights dullness, enhances firmness and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with about 300 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This product is paraben-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free, as it's not tested on animals. The container is 100% recyclable through TerraCycle, and it's formulated and manufactured in the U.S.
Best Budget-Friendly Serum: CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid offers high value at a reasonable price. It is a hydrating vitamin C serum that's fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and budget-friendly to boot. The formula uses 10% pure vitamin C to prevent free radical damage as well as soothing vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to make the skin look smooth and create a moisture barrier for your skin.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 20,000 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Chacon calls CeraVe "a trusted, dermatologist-oriented brand" that comes at drugstore prices, so it's a great choice if you want to try out a budget-friendly vitamin C serum.
Best Cruelty-Free Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum
Timeless Skin Care's vitamin C serum promotes healthy cell turnover to help minimize the effects of hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone. According to Dr. Chacon, "vitamin C, E and ferulic acid are all key ingredients that help to brighten skin, building up collagen and evening out tone." This product's formula is non-greasy and lightweight, so it absorbs quickly and clearly into the skin.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,700 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The Timeless Skin Care formula is paraben-free, synthetic dye-free, fragrance-free and polyethylene glycol-free. The company doesn't test on animals, and the product is made in the U.S. from natural ingredients. It's also part of the TerraCycle recycling program.
Best Anti-Aging Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment
Using dermatologist-approved ingredients, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment is lightweight and helps to firm, smooth, and brighten the skin for a more youthful look. The formula utilizes 15% pure vitamin C as well as vitamin E and ferulic acid to protect against environmental damage from things like sunlight, ozone pollution and diesel engine exhaust. Plus, it helps firm the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Customer Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars with over 200 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment is one of the best vitamin C serums for anti-aging purposes. It has an oil-like formulation that goes on smoothly and works effectively without clogging pores.
Best Brightening Serum: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is a topical form of vitamin C that's rich in antioxidants to target aging and brighten the skin. It uses a high concentration of L-ascorbic acid as well as hyaluronic acid spheres for skin hydration. The brightening serum helps enhance skin smoothness and radiance without being too harsh. However, to test skin sensitivity, it is always recommended to perform a patch test before a full application.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 4,500 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This vitamin C brightening serum is cruelty-free and vegan and does not contain alcohol, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, nuts, oil, silicone, parabens or sulfates. The moisturizing serum is good for all skin types, including acne-prone skin and dry skin.
FAQ: Best Vitamin C Serums
What vitamin C serum is the most effective?
Our top recommended vitamin C serum is the ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. It is a dermatologist-approved antioxidant powerhouse, yet it is gentle, non-irritating and leaves you with glowing skin.
Should you use vitamin C serum every day?
Dermatologists recommend using vitamin C serum either every day or every other day. After you cleanse and tone your face, use your vitamin c product before applying moisturizer and reef-safe sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Does vitamin C serum really work?
According to dermatologists, the best vitamin C serums work to protect against skin aging. However, if you do not purchase a doctor-recommended product, you run the risk of wasting your money on a low-concentration serum that won't give you any benefits.
What are the drawbacks of vitamin C serums?
Many vitamin C serums on the market, especially cheaper products, have nearly immeasurable concentrations of antioxidants, which makes them ineffective. Additionally, as with any skincare product, some individuals may have reactions to vitamin C serums including itchiness and redness.
Anna H. Chacon, M.D. is a dermatologist and author originally from Miami, Florida. She has authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and has been published in JAAD, Archives of Dermatology, British Journal of Dermatology, Cosmetic Dermatology and Cutis.
By Brett Wilkins
Asserting that humanity "cannot wait for the pandemic to pass" before acting to rapidly reduce carbon emissions fueling the climate emergency, more than 220 health journals around the world on Sunday published an unprecedented joint editorial calling for "urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5°C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health."
The editorial — which appears in journals including The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Chinese Science Bulletin, The East African Medical Journal, Brazil's Revista de Saude Publica, and The National Medical Journal of India — was published ahead of next month's United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China and November's U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow.
"The science is unequivocal; a global increase of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of biodiversity risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse," the authors write. "Despite the world's necessary preoccupation with Covid-19, we cannot wait for the pandemic to pass to rapidly reduce emissions."
Noting that "health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world," the editorial continues:
The risks to health of increases above 1.5°C are now well established. Indeed, no temperature rise is 'safe.' In the past 20 years, heat-related mortality among people older than 65 years has increased by more than 50%. Higher temperatures have brought increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality. Harms disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, including children, older populations, ethnic minorities, poorer communities, and those with underlying health problems.
Global heating is also contributing to the decline in global yield potential for major crops, falling by 1.8% to 5.6% since 1981; this, together with the effects of extreme weather and soil depletion, is hampering efforts to reduce undernutrition. Thriving ecosystems are essential to human health, and the widespread destruction of nature, including habitats and species, is eroding water and food security and increasing the chance of pandemics.
"The consequences of the environmental crisis fall disproportionately on those countries and communities that have contributed least to the problem and are least able to mitigate the harms," the authors write. "Yet no country, no matter how wealthy, can shield itself from these impacts," which will include "more conflict, food insecurity, forced displacement, and zoonotic disease."
The greatest threat to public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise… https://t.co/fupVGkiRru— The BMJ (@The BMJ)1630904414.0
"As with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are globally as strong as our weakest member," the editorial argues, calling current efforts to combat the climate emergency "insufficient."
"This... means that temperature increases are likely to be well in excess of 2°C, a catastrophic outcome for health and environmental stability," the publication warns. "Health professionals are united with environmental scientists, businesses, and many others in rejecting that this outcome is inevitable."
"More can and must be done now — in Glasgow and Kunming — and in the immediate years that follow," urge the authors. "Governments must make fundamental changes to how our societies and economies are organized and how we live. The current strategy of encouraging markets to swap dirty for cleaner technologies is not enough. Governments must intervene to support the redesign of transport systems, cities, production and distribution of food, markets for financial investments, health systems, and much more."
"The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5°C and to restore nature," the journals conclude. "Urgent, society-wide changes must be made and will lead to a fairer and healthier world."
Commenting on the editorial, Lukoye Atwoli, editor-in-chief of The East African Medical Journal, said that "while low- and middle-income countries have historically contributed less to climate change, they bear an inordinate burden of the adverse effects, including on health. We call for the world's wealthier countries to do more to offset the impact of their actions on the climate."
In a statement preceding publication of the landmark editorial, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that "the risks posed by climate change could dwarf those of any single disease."
"The Covid-19 pandemic will end, but there is no vaccine for the climate crisis," he added. "Every action taken to limit emissions and warming brings us closer to a healthier and safer future."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Healing Relationship With Nature Key to Stopping Next Pandemic ... ›
- Climate Vulnerable Nations Call for ‘Emergency Pact’ to Limit Warming ›
On her 82nd birthday, Jane Fonda was arrested. Approaching the capitol steps, Fonda was grabbed by the capitol police and put into handcuffs. But Fonda wasn't alone. She and 138 other people were arrested, and they were all there for a reason: the U.S. government's dismal response to the climate crisis. This kind of celebrity direct action is rare, especially among the Hollywood elite who are advocating for climate action as their new pet cause. Because of this it's more important than ever to dive into the celebritization of the climate crisis. Today we're going to figure out if celebrity advocacy is actually working as well as determine who is actually doing the work to build the movements we need to effectively foster a just transition.
Before we dive into the specifics of celebrity climate action culture, we need to first understand if their advocacy is even effective. The answer is… complicated. Indeed, as one paper puts it, celebrities like Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio have become the new polar bears, assuming the imagery of the new harbingers of climate change. But the ramifications of celebrity influence on various environmental issues can differ wildly. With their widely watched personas comes some amount of power as well as the filtering of political ideas and theories of change through that persona. Essentially, celebrities have become nodes through which many people learn about climate issues or perhaps are inspired to take action. So the result of this celebrity influence is very much dependent on the celebrity's politics. Some figureheads like Prince Phillip and David Attenborough champion false ideas of overpopulation and propose neoliberal and eugenicist solutions, while others, like Jane Fonda push for movement-based direct-action to end fossil fuel extraction. The spectrum of celebrity solutions to the climate crisis is almost as broad as the number of climate celebrities. But the way celebrities relate to movements, usually as figureheads rather than as comrades, perpetuates a "heroic individual" narrative that runs counter to anti-hierarchical, grassroots movement philosophies.
If you want to learn more about the celebritization of climate action check out the video above!
Our Changing Climate is an environmental YouTube channel that explores the intersections of social, political, climatic, and food-based issues. The channel dives into topics like zero waste and nuclear energy in order to understand how to effectively tackle climate change and environmental destruction.
To receive all the latest videos produced by Charlie subscribe to his YouTube channel here.
The coronavirus pandemic has left U.S. customers ever more reliant on retail goods shipped around the world to their doorsteps, but what does all of this fossil-fuel-fueled transportation cost the environment?
In a new report released Tuesday, nonprofits Pacific Environment and Stand.earth have uncovered the 15 retail giants that contribute the most both to the climate crisis and air pollution by shipping goods to the U.S. from overseas.
"These findings reveal new environmental and public health impacts of retail companies' manufacturing and transport choices — and they are damning," the report authors wrote.
By shipping goods, these 15 companies emitted the same amount of greenhouse gases as 1.5 million U.S. homes in 2019 alone. The same year, they also released two-billion vehicles worth of sulfur oxide pollution, 65.7 million vehicles worth of particulate matter pollution and 27.4 million vehicles worth of nitrous oxide pollution.
Walmart topped the list in terms of overall shipping emissions, followed by other familiar names Ashley, Target, Dole, Home Depot, Chiquita, Ikea, Amazon, Samsung, Nike, LG, Redbull, Family Dollar, Williams-Sonoma and Lowes.
The report notes that high shipping emissions are built into the retail business model that has been in place for decades, in which manufacturing is outsourced to other countries and shipped to the U.S. using fossil fuels. As a result, the world's shipping fleet has quadrupled since the 1980s. Shipping now releases one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, causes 6.4 million childhood asthma cases and contributes to 260,000 early deaths every year.
All of this pollution has a major environmental justice component.
"Working class communities disproportionately of color bear the brunt of the toxic pollution from ocean shipping," report primary author and Climate Campaign Director for Pacific Environment Madeline Rose said in a Stand.earth press release.
However, there has never before been a breakdown of how individual companies contribute to this problem.
"There really hadn't been an investigation into this pillar of companies' emissions portfolio," Rose told Verge. "Quite frankly, with the climate emergency on our doorstep, we just feel like there needs to be disruption of the data system and there needs to be greater transparency."
To help create this transparency, the report authors first looked at a public database called the Journal of Commerce, which lists the U.S.'s top importers. Next, they asked the University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) to check this information against other maritime databases that UMAS has access to. Finally, they were able to link retailers to vessels, and calculate the emissions per trip. However, the report authors acknowledge that the companies' true emissions are likely higher, since the researchers were not able to verify shipping emissions for shell companies and franchises. All told, the report authors estimate they were only able to accurately calculate emissions for slightly more than a fifth of the companies' total shipments.
In response to their findings, the report authors called on the companies to immediately reduce their impact by using clean technologies, moving away from fossil-fuel-powered shipping and committing to 100 percent zero emission transport by 2030.
"In the face of record profits, major retailers and their shipping companies have no excuse to not invest in cleaner ways of doing business," Global Climate Campaigns Director at Stand.earth Gary Cook said in the press release. "Every year they stall, communities of color will remain saddled with the high costs of air pollution, and we miss the ever-narrowing window to address the climate crisis and ensure a livable planet."
By Andrea Germanos
Greenland announced Thursday a halt on new oil and gas exploration, citing climate and other environmental impacts.
"Great news!" responded the Center for International Environmental Law.
The government of Greenland, an autonomous Danish dependent territory, framed the move as necessary to transition away from fossil fuels.
"The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain," the Greenland government, Naalakkersuisut, said in a statement.
Great news: Greenland bans all new oil exploration due to escalating climate emergency and concerns for the fragile… https://t.co/S7WFPyJSrD— Greenpeace i Danmark (@Greenpeace i Danmark)1626371956.0
A government statement posted in English points to federal geological data showing there could be 18 billion barrels of oil off the country's west coast as well as likely "large deposits" off the island's east coast.
"However," the statement reads, "the Greenlandic government believes that the price of oil extraction is too high. This is based upon economic calculations, but considerations of the impact on climate and the environment also play a central role in the decision."
According to the Associated Press,
No oil has been found yet around Greenland, but officials there had seen potentially vast reserves as a way to help Greenlanders realize their long-held dream of independence from Denmark by cutting the subsidy of the equivalent of about $680 million Canadian the Danish territory receives from the Danish government every year.
"As a society, we must dare to stop and ask ourselves why we want to exploit a resource," said Naaja H. Nathanielsen, minister for housing, infrastructure, mineral resources, and gender equality. "Is the decision based upon updated insight and the belief that it is the right thing to do? Or are we just continuing business as usual?"
"It is the position of the Greenlandic government," said Nathanielsen, "that our country is better off focusing on sustainable development, such as the potential for renewable energy."
Pele Broberg, Greenland's minister for business, trade, foreign affairs, and climate, says the decision is simply good economics.
"International investments in the energy sector in recent years are moving away from oil and gas and into renewable energy. It is therefore natural that we emphasize business on the opportunities of the future and not on the solutions of the past," he said.
"The decision to halt oil exploration is also the story of a population that puts the environment first," said Broberg.
Greenland's left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit Party [Community of the People party) gained control of the government after April elections, which some saw as a referendum on further mining of rare earth elements and uranium. The Ataqatigiit Party had campaigned against a major mining project in Kvanefjeld.
Mikaa Mered, lecturer on Arctic affairs at HEC business school in Paris, told Reuters following the election that "Greenlanders are sending a strong message that for them it's not worth sacrificing the environment to achieve independence and economic development."
The Thursday statement also announced the release of a draft-bill to ban preliminary investigation, exploration, and extraction of uranium.
The ban on future oil drilling comes amid a slew of extreme weather events and planetary changes linked to the climate crisis, including what researchers say is a destabilizing of the Greenland ice sheet.
In a Friday tweet sharing AP's reporting on the ban, Greenpeace appeared to reference the climate emergency, writing that there's "no time to lose. Who's next?"
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Greenland's Ice Sheet Has Reached 'Point of No Return' - EcoWatch ›
- 'We Need to Act Now': Glaciers Melting at Unprecedented Pace ... ›
- Rain Observed at Greenland Ice Sheet Summit for First Time on Record ›
Disempowered By Tyson: How Big Chicken Hurts Farmers, Workers, and Communities (and Why You Should Care)
By Karen Perry Stillerman
A few years back, the nation's largest meat and poultry company used the slogan "Powered by Tyson" to sell its chicken, pork, and beef. Tyson Foods' marketing language has since changed, but the notion of "power" is more apt than ever when it comes to the way this company operates. As a new joint investigation by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and The Guardian reveals, Tyson has aggressively consolidated its power in the chicken industry, particularly in its home state of Arkansas, while disempowering and exploiting its workers and farmers. The findings are disturbing, and they should raise new alarm bells for state and federal regulators and anyone who eats chicken.
The Trouble With Tyson
The US meat and poultry industry generally is highly consolidated, and there is no bigger player than Tyson Foods. One out of every five pounds of chicken, beef, or pork sold in this country is processed by Tyson, and the company slaughtered and packed a staggering 2.3 billion chickens in 2020.
That level of market share gives Tyson a lot of power, and we've seen examples of how the company uses it. Early in the pandemic, Tyson flexed its political muscles to keep plants across the country open even as its workers were contracting and dying from COVID-19 in alarming and tragic numbers. But long before the pandemic, farmers, workers, and commercial chicken buyers have been accusing Tyson of price fixing and wage suppression schemes that go back years. Some of these allegations have gone to court and ended in settlements, while others are still pending.
Nowhere is Tyson's power more concentrated than in its home state of Arkansas, which leads the nation in both the number of farms raising chickens for meat (known as broilers) and the number of plants that process and pack them. In collaboration with The Guardian and Venceremos, an Arkansas-based worker-driven community organization, UCS set out to better understand how Tyson's business model affects people in that state.
As detailed in our report, Tyson Spells Trouble for Arkansas, we analyzed US Department of Agriculture data and sales data from the Arkansas poultry processing industry and found that:
- Tyson operates like a monopoly in the Arkansas chicken industry. It accounts for more than two-thirds of the state's poultry processing. And in some parts of the state, Tyson really has the market cornered: In seven counties, Tyson was the single company controlling all broiler chicken production.
- Tyson has been aggressive in buying up companies and assets in its quest for poultry industry domination. Since 1990, it has made 47 acquisitions (far more than its leading competitors) up and down the supply chain, acquiring not just processing plants but also chicken breeders and even the mills that make chicken feed.
- Tyson's increasing stranglehold on the industry since 1990 has coincided with a loss of half of the poultry farms in Arkansas. That has happened even as the number of chickens raised in the state every year has risen 1,000%.
- Finally, the concentration and scale of Tyson's operation has also led to a concentration of chicken manure and other waste around the farms and plants clustered in Northwest Arkansas. That affects the people who live in the region. And the two most affected counties are counties with a large share of Arkansas's Latino and Native American population, already disadvantaged communities who now also have to live with the air and water pollution that Tyson has created.
The Guardian reporting digs deeper into the effects of Tyson's operation on its workers and their communities, unearthing personal stories of speed and output targets prioritized over worker safety, a points-based disciplinary system that pressures employees to work overtime and keeps many fearful employees working even when injured or sick, and noxious odors that harm Tyson's neighbors. The company, not surprisingly, denies it all.
How Can We Curb the Power of Tyson Foods?
But if you don't live in Arkansas, why does this matter to you? Well, first off, fairness and justice should be important to all of us, especially in a system as fundamental to our lives and well-being as our food system. Especially where Tyson's low-paid, largely immigrant workforce is concerned, it's really a human rights issue.
In February 2021, Tyson investor groups brought a resolution aimed at improving the company's human rights record in light of its miserable handling of the COVID pandemic. That resolution failed, though more narrowly than in previous attempts to hold the company accountable for worker health and safety. Meanwhile, Tyson's CEO earned nearly $11 million in total compensation in 2020. And the company's profits keep going up, up, up.
But there's also this: A company that treats its own employees as disposable and sub-human probably isn't all that concerned about its customers either. The Guardian reporting bears this out, too, in worker stories of flies and cockroaches running rampant in the plants and managers turning a blind eye when they get into the machinery that turns chicken parts into products you buy at the supermarket. (Chicken nugget, anyone?)
So what can be done to curb the out-of-control power of Tyson Foods and actually empower farmers, workers, communities, and consumers? You can read our detailed policy recommendations in our report, but at the federal level they boil down to this: Both the US Department of Justice and the USDA have a role to play in strengthening and enforcing antitrust rules to promote fairness and keep companies like Tyson in check. The previous administration severely weakened the USDA's ability to do this. But President Biden recently issued an executive order directing the agriculture secretary to take action to address competition issues in the food and farming industries, and we will be pressing Secretary Vilsack to do it right.
In addition, Congress can invest in infrastructure to help smaller scale meat and poultry processors compete and provide more and better options for small, medium, and even big farmers to get their products to market in a way that's good for workers, communities, and the environment.
Finally, we all have a role to play. One role is as consumers: If you eat chicken and are able to bypass Tyson and buy directly from independent farmers or smaller scale processors — for example, at farmers markets or through community supported agriculture arrangements — do it. As I've acknowledged before, in our current system, sustainability and justice come with a hefty price tag: those chickens are not just more expensive, they're totally unaffordable for many. Of course, that's partly because of income and wealth inequality in our society that leaves so many people without the means to afford better food. But there's another reason for the divide. As our report shows, Tyson's market domination gives the company tremendous power: power to set chicken prices for wholesalers, retailers, and other buyers, and power to squeeze out costs in their supply chain by stiffing workers and farmers and polluting communities, all while top executives and shareholders rake in billions.
Which brings me to our role as participants in a democracy, who can and must demand policy actions like those above to begin curbing corporate power. It's up to all of us to help make our food system fairer and more sustainable, and to hold Tyson and other companies accountable for their actions. And just maybe, to make Tyson Foods actually adhere to its latest marketing slogan: Keep it real.
As senior strategist and senior analyst in the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Karen Perry Stillerman manages campaigns and initiatives aimed at transforming and modernizing the American food system to make it safer and healthier for consumers, farmers and farm workers, rural communities, and the environment.
Reposted with permission from Union of Concerned Scientists.
- John Oliver's Beef With Chicken Giants May Have Impacted U.S. ... ›
- Tyson Foods Linked to Largest Toxic Dead Zone in U.S. History ... ›
A solar carport is a photon-capturing canopy covering a parking area. While they have some things in common with traditional carports and ground-mounted solar arrays, solar carports have distinct advantages over both.
If you're interested in solar energy and own a car, read on to decide whether a solar carport system is a smart investment for you.
What Is a Solar Carport?
Solar carports are increasingly popular for charging electric vehicles (EVs) in public and private parking areas. The potential for installing solar carport structures is huge: One study estimates that 14-20% of cities' total surface area is covered in parking lots. Imagine the energy that could be harnessed by installing solar carports and canopies in these otherwise wasted spaces. As a plus, solar carports and solar canopies offer protection from UV light and precipitation and provide convenient charging stations for EVs.
But solar carports aren't just for EV charging. They can also provide energy to be pumped into nearby businesses, homes or the local utility grid. Solar carports produce just as much energy as standard roof-mounted solar power systems — and then some. Roof-mounted systems have to work with the angle of the roof and potential shading obstructions like chimneys, trees and nearby structures. A solar carport, on the other hand, can be oriented at optimal angles to take full advantage of the sunshine.
How Solar Carports Work
Solar carports use the same technology to generate solar energy as a typical ground-mounted or rooftop system. Like ground or roof-mounted solar panels, a solar carport converts the energy of photons (light particles) into electricity, a process called the photovoltaic effect. When a photon hits a solar panel, its energy causes electrons to flow throughout the solar cells, producing an electric current.
The resulting electricity is direct current (DC) power, which is commonly used in battery-operated devices. For household or commercial use, this current is converted into alternating current (AC) with an inverter.
Though solar carports utilize the same technology as other solar configurations, they offer several key benefits. First, solar carports require zero additional land, taking advantage of wasted real estate above a parking space. Second, because solar carports are installed higher than ground-mounted systems, they allow optimal orientation to get the most of the sun's rays.
Solar carports offer a more efficient and unobtrusive way to gather energy from the sun when compared to ground-mounted systems. If space is an issue for your home or business, a solar carport is a great way to cash in on clean energy in the most efficient way possible.
Solar Panel Carport Cost
Like rooftop or ground-mounted solar, solar carport costs vary depending on the type of solar panel you choose, how much power you want to generate, how much space you want to cover and more.
A commercial solar carport, for example, usually spans one to three rows of vehicles, with many spanning as many as a dozen or more. Commercial solar carports almost always require steel construction, a further cost to installation. But while they come with multimillion-dollar price tags, they also provide multimillion-dollar benefits.
A residential solar carport, on the other hand, is much smaller and cheaper to construct than a large commercial unit. However, on average, they are more expensive than installing a full home solar system. This may be due to the increased labor and materials required for installation.
That said, solar carports also produce more energy than rooftop systems, as they can be designed to maximize sun exposure.
It's impossible to provide a precise figure on residential solar carport costs, but most 5kWh solar carports generally run between $18,000 to $25,000 out-the-door, without factoring in any federal or state rebates that can lower costs.
Saving Money on Your Solar Carport
Homeowners who install a solar carport are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, which is currently valued at 26% of the system's installation cost.
Solar Carport Installation
Unless you're a skilled builder and electrician who can tackle a DIY solar panel job, installing a solar carport is best left to the pros. Solar carports are growing in popularity every year, so the number of reputable installers are meeting demand, and most top solar companies can install solar carports.
It's important to note that a solar carport is more like a taller ground-mounted solar system than it is a standard carport — instead of building a carport structure and adding panels to the roof, the panels themselves make up the roof.
Another thing to be aware of is that some homeowners associations might not allow solar carports. Be sure to check with your HOA and obtain all necessary permits from local building agencies before getting started on your installation.
Solar Panel Carport Vs. Rooftop Solar
Rooftop solar is the cheapest option for generating electricity, but for many homeowners, space, angle and obstructions present significant obstacles to getting enough solar energy out of their rooftops. Furthermore, ground-mount systems may be out of the question for homes and businesses pressed for space. In both of these scenarios, a solar carport is a viable alternative.
But solar carports aren't just a last resort for those who can't install ground or rooftop systems — they actually can make more sense. As stated above, solar carports offer greater flexibility for optimal orientation of solar panels, and they utilize an otherwise wasted space.
Problems of roof angle, shading, orientation and size are axed with solar carports, because the solar panels themselves function as the roof. Solar carport support structures are purposefully designed to provide optimal exposure to sunlight, an option most roofs can't provide.
Another advantage is that, if a roof needs work before a rooftop solar system has expired, there's an added cost associated with removing and reinstalling the system while the roof is worked on. With a solar carport, roofing issues are of no concern.
Standard carports protect vehicles against sunlight, wind, rain and snow. Keeping a car shaded during storage actually improves the vehicle's fuel economy because of the reduced need to blast the air conditioning to cool the vehicle down upon entry. A solar carport provides these benefits and more: While keeping a car protected, it's also pumping out clean electricity for a home or business.
For many homeowners, the decision will come down to price. You can get started with cost comparisons by filling out the form below to get a free, no-obligation quote from a top solar installer near you.
Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Carports
Are solar carports worth it?
The greater efficiency of solar carports makes them a tempting option for homes and businesses alike, especially for those with rooftop or ground space constraints. If you value a cleaner, more comfortable car, snow-free windshields and the added benefit of renewable energy to boot, a solar carport is one of the best multi-purpose infrastructure upgrades money can buy.
Can I put solar on my carport?
Existing carports may be able to support solar panels, but they will likely run into the same problems a rooftop-mounted system would. An existing carport has a set roof pitch and wasn't designed with solar placement in mind. Furthermore, it might not be load-bearing. To get the most solar potential out of your parking space, it's best to invest in a dedicated solar carport.
How many solar panels do I need for a carport?
The average household requires 400 to 700 square feet of solar installation to provide its energy needs. The number of solar panels you need for a carport will depend on how much energy you need. Solar carports can be designed to provide all or some of your home's energy needs.
How do solar carports work?
Solar carports work in the same fashion rooftop or ground-mounted systems do: Solar panels absorb photons from the sun and convert them into usable electrons, which are sent to an inverter and converted to AC electricity for use on the grid. Where solar carports really shine is in their multi-purpose nature, providing clean energy while simultaneously protecting your car and saving space.
Why are solar panel carports popular for commercial buildings?
Commercial parking lots are typically very large spaces, which provide a great opportunity for solar energy production. Many commercial buildings and developers offer electric vehicle (EV) charging, and solar carports and canopies over commercial parking lots offer a great way to offset charging costs and provide perks for employees.
Plus, because solar carports usually produce more energy than EVs need, the surplus energy can be used to further offset energy costs in the building or sold back to energy providers via net metering programs. Furthermore, solar carports for commercial parking lots can channel water and snow accumulation away from parking lots, making them safer and easier to maintain.
Christian Yonkers is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and outdoor junkie obsessed with the intersectionality between people and planet. He partners with brands and organizations with social and environmental impact at their core, assisting them in telling stories that change the world.
By Jennie Gosché
In late 2019, before the world was completely upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, I was presented a last-minute chance to photograph polar bears outside one of the northernmost villages in the United States — Kaktovik, Alaska. It was an opportunity I couldn't refuse, and as the COVID-19 pandemic now stretches into summer 2020, I'm grateful I accepted.
Polar bears adorn the sign leading into Kaktovik. Jennie Gosché
Kaktovik is an Inupiat native village of around 250 people on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, located on barrier islands at the edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. My first trip there took place in September 2016, and I traveled with the purpose to photograph the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear population. The coastal region of the Arctic Refuge in fall is a special place to photograph these magnificent animals, as they congregate on dirt and sand spits of land waiting for the winter ice of the Beaufort Sea to make its way to the Alaska shore.
During the late summer and early fall, Inupiat boat owners from Kaktovik guide "tourist" photographers out to view polar bears from a safe distance in the placid lagoon adjacent to the raging waves of the Beaufort Sea. I joined one such group of photographers led by Hugh Rose, a professional photographer and geologist who lives in Fairbanks, and we took a short charter flight from Deadhorse to Kaktovik, landing in a morning snowstorm. But by afternoon, the sun was out and we had three and a half days of sunshine that combined with the ice and snow to create great conditions in which to photograph polar bears.
The welcome sign at the Waldo Arms Hotel. Jeff Stamer / www.firefallphotography.com
We were out in the lagoon twice a day, breaking only for lunch at our hotel, the modest but welcoming Waldo Arms Hotel owned by Walt "Waldo" Audi and Merlyn Trainer — one of only two options for places to stay in Kaktovik when visiting. The boat guides are skilled, and they have to be, because knowledge and awareness of depths in the lagoon is critical to prevent a boat from getting stuck in shallow water.
Polar bear viewing is done by boat for the safety of both people and polar bears. Jennie Gosché
This trip we were in a boat with a heated cabin, a perk since we were there later in the season. Our boat driver, however, told us that at that very same time the previous year, the lagoon was completely frozen over. He shared this as we floated on the lagoon in open water, though ice was visible in places and we occasionally heard pieces rubbing against the hull of the metal boat.
With rapidly rising temperatures, increases in wildfires, thawing permafrost, receding glaciers, eroding coastlines and disappearing sea ice, Alaska and the Arctic are on the front lines of climate change. It has hit Alaska's rural communities and Alaska Native villages especially hard, including villages like Kaktovik. Warming waters and the disappearing Arctic ice cap are also impacting ocean life, from plankton to polar bears to whales. And the decline in sea ice is making it increasingly unsafe for humans and wildlife to travel across it to hunt marine mammals like seals, walrus and bowhead whales.
Coastal erosion is causing permafrost to thaw and break off, here along the Arctic coastal plain in the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area of the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska. Brandt Meixell, U.S.Geological Survey
The Inupiat are primarily subsistence hunters and whalers, harvesting whales each summer (in addition to caribou and other wildlife), the meat from which is shared by the entire village. It is a staple of their diet and has been for thousands of years, but as temperatures warm, the lack of ice combined with changes in whale migration patterns and timing could make hunting progressively more difficult.
The Inupiat share their whale meat with the polar bears, something they have done for many years. This gesture provides much needed food for polar bears, especially as they spend longer periods of time on land due to the receding sea ice. When I visited Kaktovik in 2016, my most memorable photo is of a cub on top of whale bones, shaking what looks like animal skin in its mouth.
Bears have learned to scavenge whale carcasses left over from successful whaling hunts. Jennie Gosché
As I returned to the village in late 2019, however, they had moved the bone pile away from the lagoon to an area off-limits to tourists. I was told the bone pile now only stays on land for a short time, and then the bones are pushed into the ocean. Eventually, this change could affect the overall health of the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears, as many of them increasingly den on land in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and utilize the shared whale meat for sustenance during the summer and early fall before they enter their maternal birthing dens in November.
Which brings me back to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as wild a place as any other on Earth but one also under threat of oil and gas development. While in Kaktovik I learned that there is not a consensus in the village on the question of allowing oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Climate change and impacts to wildlife are serious concerns, so much so that more than 60 village residents signed a petition in 2017 opposing drilling on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain.
Oil production facilities dominate the region around Prudhoe Bay, to the West of the Arctic Refuge. Florian Schulz / www.florianschulz.org
Helping to prevent development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — a place that supports the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the entire circumpolar north — is very important to me, not least of all because the U.S. government has admitted it simply doesn't have enough information about the impacts of oil and gas development on the coastal plain to protect its wildlife and other values. Oil drilling will compound the devastating climate impacts already being felt by villages in the region, increasing carbon emissions, worsening climate pollution and further harming front line communities.
Especially now, in the midst of an uncertain present and looking forward to an uncertain future, we need to press pause on Arctic Refuge development. Instead of recklessly rushing ahead, more research over extended periods of time is needed so that we can fully understand the potential impact oil drilling will have on local villages, our climate and wildlife like the majestic polar bear.
A mother nurses her cubs. Jennie Gosché
Jennie Gosché has traveled to the Arctic seven times to photograph polar bears. Having visited the five countries where polar bears are found (Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia, the United States and Canada), Kaktovik, Alaska, has become her favorite place to photograph them. Jennie's photography has been exhibited in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Maryland. She is a member of Alaska Wilderness League.
By John R. Platt
It's a dirty world out there — but it doesn't have to be.
That message rings out from a slate of important new books covering the fight against various pollutants around the world. They examine everything from pesticides to air pollution and from mining waste to the trash that accumulates all around us. Along the way these books shine a light on some bigger stories — like our food system and human effects on complex ecosystems. They also dive deep into the racism, indifference, greed and ignorance that allow these toxic compounds to flourish in our world and in our bodies.
One group of pollutants didn't make it onto this list: greenhouse gases. We'll look at them in September's column, covering timely new books on climate change.
But for now, here are 13 new dirty books about filth for your perusal, along with their cover descriptions. Each title links to its publisher's site, but you should also be able to order these from any local or online bookseller or your favorite library.
The World We Need: Stories and Lessons From America's Unsung Environmental Movement edited by Audrea Lim
"…a vivid introduction to America's largely unsung grassroots environmental groups — often led by activists of color and the poor — valiantly fighting back in America's so-called sacrifice zones against industries poisoning our skies and waterways and heating our planet. Through original reporting, profiles, artwork and interviews, we learn how these activist groups, almost always working on shoestring budgets, are devising creative new tactics, building sustainable projects to transform local economies and organizing people long overlooked by the environmental movement — changing its face along the way."
"Lee Johnson was a man with simple dreams. All he wanted was a steady job and a nice home for his wife and children, something better than the hard life he knew growing up. He never imagined that he would become the face of a David-and-Goliath showdown against one of the world's most powerful corporate giants. But a workplace accident left Lee doused in a toxic chemical and facing a deadly cancer that turned his life upside down. In 2018, the world watched as Lee was thrust to the forefront of one the most dramatic legal battles in recent history."
Breathless: Why Air Pollution Matters — and How It Affects You by Chris Woodford
"Take a deep breath. You'll do it 20,000 times a day. You assume all this air is clean; it's the very breath of life. But in Delhi, the toxic smog is as bad for you as smoking 50 cigarettes a day. Even a few days in Paris, London or Rome is equivalent to two or three cigarettes. Air pollution is implicated in six of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and dementia. Breathless gives us clear facts about air pollution in our everyday lives, showing how it affects our bodies, how much of it occurs in unexpected places (indoors, inside your car), and how you can minimize the risks."
Pollution Is Colonialism by Max Liboiron
"Liboiron draws on their work in the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) — an anticolonial science laboratory in Newfoundland, Canada — to illuminate how pollution is not a symptom of capitalism but a violent enactment of colonial land relations that claim access to Indigenous land. Liboiron's creative, lively and passionate text refuses theories of pollution that make Indigenous land available for settler and colonial goals. In this way, their methodology demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible but is currently being practiced in ways that enact more ethical modes of being in the world."
Playing With Fire: The Strange Case of Marine Shale Processors by John W. Sutherlin and Daniel Elliot Gonzalez
"This book examines the tale of Marine Shale Processors, the world's largest hazardous waste company, and the women who fought to protect their community and their children. The lesson here is that a dedicated group of people fighting for what is right can win and it serves as an example for any community that wants to determine what their own environmental future."
Herbicides: Chemistry, Efficacy, Toxicology and Environmental Impacts edited by Robin Mesnage and Johann G. Zaller
"A comprehensive overview of this complex topic, presented by internationally recognized experts. Information presented will inform discussions on the use of herbicides in modern agricultural and other systems, and their potential non-target effects on human populations and various ecosystems. The book covers these matters in concise language appropriate to engage both specialists in the research community and informed persons responsible for legislative, funding and public health matters in the community at large."
Earth Detox: How and Why We Must Clean Up Our Planet by Julian Cribb
"Every person on our home planet is affected by a worldwide deluge of man-made chemicals and pollutants — most of which have never been tested for safety. Our chemical emissions are six times larger than our total greenhouse gas emissions. They are in our food, our water, the air we breathe, our homes and workplaces, the things we use each day. This universal poisoning affects our minds, our bodies, our genes, our grandkids and all life on Earth. Julian Cribb describes the full scale of the chemical catastrophe we have unleashed. He proposes a new Human Right — not to be poisoned."
The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country From Corporate Greed by Robin Broad and John Cavanagh
"The David and Goliath story of ordinary people in El Salvador who rallied together with international allies to prevent a global mining corporation from poisoning the country's main water source."
Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Ended Up in Everything — and Endangered the World by Jocelyn C. Zuckerman
"Over the past few decades, palm oil has seeped into every corner of our lives. But the palm oil revolution has been built on stolen land and slave labor; it's swept away cultures and so devastated the landscapes of Southeast Asia that iconic animals now teeter on the brink of extinction. This groundbreaking work of first-rate journalism compels us to examine the connections between the choices we make at the grocery store and a planet under siege."
Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound by David B. Williams
"In conversations with archaeologists, biologists and tribal authorities, Williams traces how generations of humans have interacted with such species as geoducks, salmon, orcas, rockfish and herring. He sheds light on how warfare shaped development and how people have moved across this maritime highway, in canoes, the mosquito fleet and today's ferry system. The book also takes an unflinching look at how the Sound's ecosystems have suffered from human behavior, including pollution, habitat destruction and the effects of climate change."
Plastic: An Autobiography by Allison Cobb
"Cobb's obsession with a large plastic car part leads her to explore the violence of our consume-and-dispose culture, including her own life as a child of Los Alamos, where the first atomic bombs were made. The journey exposes the interconnections among plastic waste, climate change, nuclear technologies and racism. Using a series of interwoven narratives ― from ancient Phoenicia to Alabama ― the book bears witness to our deepest entanglements and asks how humans continue on this planet."
Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet by Chelsea Wald
"While we see radical technological change in almost every other aspect of our lives, we remain stuck in a sanitation status quo — in part because the topic of toilets is taboo. Fortunately, there's hope — and Pipe Dreams daringly profiles the growing army of sewage-savvy scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and activists worldwide who are overcoming their aversions and focusing their formidable skills on making toilets accessible and healthier for all."
"All of Mumbai's possessions and memories come to die at the Deonar garbage mountains. Towering at the outskirts of the city, the mountains are covered in a faint smog from trash fires. Over time, as wealth brought Bollywood knock offs, fast food and plastics to Mumbaikars, a small, forgotten community of migrants and rag-pickers came to live at the mountains' edge, making a living by re-using, recycling and re-selling. Among them is Farzana Ali Shaikh, a tall, adventurous girl who soon becomes one of the best pickers in her community. Like so many in her community, Farzana, made increasingly sick by the trash mountains, is caught up in the thrill of discovery — because among the broken glass, crushed cans or even the occasional dead baby, there's a lingering chance that she will find a treasure to lift her family's fortunes." (Available in September.)
John R. Platt is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His "Extinction Countdown" column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
In 2017 and 2018, local mammoth tusk hunters made an incredible discovery on the banks of a Siberian river: two ice-age cave lion cubs lying only 15 meters (approximately 49 feet) apart.
The two cubs, a male named Boris and a female named Sparta, are remarkable because of what they can tell us about Ice Age cave lions, and especially because of the condition Sparta was found in.
"Sparta is probably the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found and is more or less undamaged apart from the fur being a bit ruffled," study co-author Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm, said in a Stockholm University press release. "She even had the whiskers preserved."
The discovery, written up in Quaternary on Wednesday, is a window into Ice Age Siberia, when large animals like mammoths, tundra wolves, bears, woolly rhinoceroses, bison, saiga antelopes and cave lions made the far North their home, as CNN explained. Cave lions were slightly larger than their contemporary African relatives, but it is not known how they evolved to live in such different conditions.
The discovery can help with this. The researchers found that the cubs' coats were similar but not the same as those of African lion cubs. The Ice Age cubs' fur had a thick undercoat that might have helped them adapt to the cold. Further, the researchers observed that Sparta's coat was greyish to light brown and Boris's was a lighter greyish-yellowish color.
"It is, therefore, possible that light colouration prevailed with age in cave lions and was adaptive for northern snow-covered landscapes," the study authors wrote.
When the cubs, who are both one to two months old, were first found along the Semyuelyakh River, researchers thought they were siblings. However, radiocarbon dating revealed that they lived around 15,000 years apart, Stockholm University said. Sparta dates from 28,000 years ago while Boris lived 43,448 years ago.
Researchers are not sure how they died, but there is no sign they were killed by predators. Their skeletons do show evidence of skull damage and dislocated ribs, so it is possible they were killed in a mudslide or fell into a hole in the permafrost.
They have now re-emerged at a time when the Russian permafrost is giving up more of its secrets. This is partly because there is more demand for mammoth tusks, encouraging people like those who found the cubs to make a living uncovering them. But it's also because the climate crisis is transforming the Russian Arctic.
"There are definitely more finds being made these days. The main reason is the increased demand for mammoth ivory, meaning more people are out searching in the permafrost. But climate change also contributes, making the melting (and thus field work) season longer," Dalén told CNN.
The founder of athletic apparel company Lululemon, Chip Wilson, spent $3.2 million to purchase the small Canadian island Saturnina, and to help preserve two others in an effort to protect the Douglas fir ecosystem.
"It's overwhelming," Wilson said in an interview with Global National. "You can almost cry… where's this jewel been hiding and I've never seen it?"
In addition to Saturnina, Wilson also contributed to the purchasing of two other small islands in the Salish Sea, according to International Business Times: The West Ballenas and Lasqueti Island.
The three islands all contain rare Douglas fir ecosystems. The islands support trees that are near 400 years old, including Garry oaks and shore pines, and provide a habitat for some at-risk species, according to The Guardian. Red squirrels, bears, chipmunks, and the rare northern spotted owls call the islands home, as reported by International Business Times.
The charitable efforts started in 2020 in order to save the West Ballenas. A crowdfunding campaign was started, and students from Ballenas high school collected donations from around the world; Wilson matched these donations and additionally purchased Saturnina Island, according to The Guardian.
A native Canadian, Wilson was CEO of Lululemon until 2013, when he stepped down as chairman, according to Forbes. The inspiration to be more involved in climate preservation stems from a past trip to visit Vancouver's Stanley Parks, according to The Guardian.
The ex-athletic-wear mogul thought to himself while visiting the vast parks that someone was "brilliant" enough to preserve them.
"I thought, if myself and my family ever get a chance, we want to be able to do that for future generations," he told The Guardian.
The purchases of the three islands come at a time of conflict, as environmental activists and biologists claim that the British Columbian government has failed to protect other old-growth ecosystems like the Douglas fir, according to The Guardian.
Wilson's purchase of the islands saved them from becoming real estate property for private homes, which would disrupt the rare ecosystems.
"What we're really fascinated with is being a part of funding future parks," Wilson said to The Guardian, insinuating similar purchases could be made in the future. "With the partnership with the BC Parks Foundation, I think they're going to be very good at finding the right particular pieces of land that are ecologically perfect."
Private acquisitions of pieces of land for conservation have become increasingly popular, according to The Guardian. Just this past March, The Westons, one of Canada's richest families, donated $25 million to conserve part of central Canadian prairie land.
"I believe that private land conservation is an important part of the solution," University of British Columbia professor Kai Chan, who sits on the board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada said The Guardian. "But it's definitely not a complete solution."