Musician Neil Young, who lost his Malibu home to the devastating Woolsey fire, is urging the world to come together to fight climate change—especially since the president of the U.S. seems "unfit" to take care of the problem, as the icon said.
On Sunday, the legendary rocker posted a letter on his website, the Neil Young Archives, blasting Donald Trump's infamous denial of climate science and his Saturday tweet that blamed California's wildfires on "gross mismanagement of the forests" even though most of the fires are burning on federal land.
Trump's tweet—which was particularly callous amid the deadly and overwhelming destruction—is also incorrect because the conflagrations in Southern California are urban interface fires, meaning they have nothing to do with forest management, as a local fire association pointed out.
"California is vulnerable-not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think," Young wrote. "As a matter of fact this is not a forest fire that rages on as I write this. We are vulnerable because of Climate Change; the
extreme weather events and our extended [droughts are] part of it."
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is… https://t.co/k5gzPlaT4E— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1541837332.0
"Our temperatures are higher than ever here in our hottest summer on record. That has not helped," Young continued. "DT seems to be the Denier. (I'm holding back and not using the word liar just because it rhymes with denier). It really is time for a reckoning with this unfit leader. Maybe our new Congress can help. I sure hope so."
Young, a Canadian citizen, cannot vote in our elections but is a
prominent environmentalist and is no fan of Trump. He was not happy when Trump used "Rockin' in the Free World" to launch his presidential bid in 2015.
"Hopefully we can come together as a people to take Climate Change on. We have the tools and could do it if we tried. There is no downside," Young wrote.
He concluded: "Imagine a leader who defies science, saying these solutions shouldn't be part of his decision-making on our behalf. Imagine a leader who cares more for his own, convenient opinion than he does for the people he leads. Imagine an unfit leader. Now imagine a fit one."
Actress Daryl Hannah, Young's wife, recently posted an Instagram photo of charred grounds and fire hoses and included the hashtag #ClimateChangeIsReal.
Other Californian celebrities have responded to Trump's tweet, including Katy Perry, John Legend and Leonardo DiCaprio, who also pointed out the fires are worsened by climate change and drought, and noted that "helping victims and fire relief efforts in our state should not be a partisan issue."
This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing t… https://t.co/wHkmRRiKak— KATY PERRY (@KATY PERRY)1541839856.0
Our National Embarrassment can't bring himself to show some empathy to Californians dealing with a horrific disaste… https://t.co/1s5uy4vwqX— John Legend (@John Legend)1541867062.0
The reason these wildfires have worsened is because of climate change and a historic drought. Helping victims and f… https://t.co/Psw3mQqhFW— Leonardo DiCaprio (@Leonardo DiCaprio)1541892730.0
Rapper and Comedian Lil Dicky Recruits 30+ Artists Including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber for Earth Day Video
Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky released a 7-minute climate change awareness song and video today, ahead of Earth Day on Monday, with proceeds going to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
The song, Earth features a smorgasbord of top-tier talent lending their voices to the animated animals in the video, with Ariana Grande as a zebra, Justin Beiber as a baboon, Snoop Dogg as a weed plant, Ed Sheeran as a Koala, Wiz Khalifa as a skunk, Kevin Hart as Kanye West, and many more.
A mere 7 hours after its release at midnight last night, "Earth" has already accumulated more than 2 million views. The video (which includes some NSFW language) directs those interested in more information to WeLoveTheEarth.org, and concludes with a warning that we only have 12 years left to turn things around.
For a deeper dive:
From bamboo utensils to bamboo toothbrushes, household products made from bamboo are becoming more popular every year. If you have allergies, neck pain or wake up constantly to flip your pillow to the cold side, bamboo pillows have the potential to help you sleep peacefully through the night.
In this article, we'll explain the benefits of bamboo pillows and how they can help you on your journey to better sleep. We'll also recommend a few of the best pillows on the market so you can choose new bedding that's right for you.
Our Picks for the Top Bamboo Pillows
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
- Best Overall: Sleepsia Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Luxury Pillow: Cosy House Collection Luxury Bamboo Pillow
- Best Body Pillow: Snuggle-Pedic Full Body Pillow
- Best Bamboo Alternative: Avocado Green Pillow
Why Switch to Bamboo Pillows?
Bamboo may be thought of as a tree-like structure because of its resilience, but it's actually classified as grass, which can be spun and woven in a soft, spongy material much like cotton. The pillows are made with a bamboo-based outer sleeve and stuffed with foam pieces in order to mold to your head position. Bamboo is considered naturally hypoallergenic and doesn't attract pests, bacterias or other fungi like most other plants.
Bedding materials such as cotton and silk don't have the concise cellulose structure that bamboo does. The material's cell structure allows more oxygen circulation, which keeps it lightweight and breathable so your pillow stays cooler longer.
Other than the sleeping benefits of the pillows, bamboo is considered an extremely sustainable material through production. The adaptable plant works as a great renewable resource, as it can thrive in any soil type and it is considered one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. As the bamboo is grown, it produces more oxygen than its calculated carbon emissions. And the cultivation of bamboo doesn't require fertilizer or pesticides, so ecosystems around the bamboo farms can be left unharmed.
Although bamboo itself is a completely natural and sustainable material, it has to undergo a strong chemical process in order to become a textile. Bamboo viscose, which is a type of rayon, is controversial among environmentalists because of this process, but overall, bamboo derivatives still produce lower carbon emissions than traditional polyester bedding. New bamboo textile processes are also being developed to be much more eco-friendly.
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks
When choosing our top recommended bamboo pillows, we looked at factors including:
- Comfort: Quality comes first when choosing bedding. The bamboo pillows chosen contain soft and snug adjustable filling to adapt to your preferred firmness.
- Materials: Most traditional pillows are stuffed with synthetic foam that contains VOCs, also known as volatile organic compounds. We ensure both the bamboo fabric and foam used in our picks are toxin-free.
- Cost: Bamboo pillows are usually a little more expensive than regular polyester or feather pillows because of their superior comfort and eco-friendly properties. It's important that the product you spend your money on is worth the cost and will hold up long-term.
- Customer reviews: We look at real and verified reviews in order to make sure each product is genuinely beneficial to customers' sleep.
Best Overall: Sleepsia Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow
The Sleepsia Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow is our pick for the overall best bamboo pillow because it offers just the right amount of support for side sleepers, stomach sleepers and back sleepers. Unlike most memory foam pillows, which use a large compact memory foam base, the shredded memory foam in these sleeper pillows allows you to easily add or remove the filling to meet your optimal comfortability. This memory foam pillow can support your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles without putting stress on your spine.
The bamboo cover as well as the memory foam allow for better air circulation to keep you from feeling too warm. These bamboo pillowcases are antibacterial as well as machine washable, so you can always have a clean sleep. The sizes range from standard to king-size pillows and are sold in a compact box that can easily be reused or recycled after purchasing.
Customer Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars with over 6,000 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Sleepsia's memory foam pillow uses CertiPUR-US® certified safe foam to ensure low emissions and prohibits the use of harmful components.
Best Luxury Pillow: Cosy House Collection Luxury Bamboo Pillow
Cosy House's king- and queen-size pillows are made with high-quality, bamboo-derived rayon fabric. The premium bamboo fibers increase airflow and temperature control so you won't have to flip to the cool side of your pillow through the night. If the pillows get dirty or flat over time, simply throw them in the washer and dryer to make them feel brand new again.
These bamboo pillows have a middle layer of transitional foam for extra durability as well as a safe, non-toxic filling to ensure you can sleep comfortably. If you're not satisfied with the luxurious product, Cosy House offers a satisfaction guarantee and will answer any questions or concerns in a timely manner.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 2,300 Amazon ratings.
Why Buy: Cosy House products are Amazon's Choice for luxury bamboo pillows and are CertiPUR-US certified. They contain premium materials to ensure you get the best possible sleep.
Best Body Pillow: Snuggle-Pedic Full Body Pillow
If you have back pain and neck pain, the Snuggle-Pedic Full Body Pillow will be able to support your full body to relieve tension while sleeping. The 4.5-foot-long pillow works great as a pregnancy pillow or for anyone seeking premium comfort and support.
The Snuggle-Pedic was developed by chiropractors who wanted to help restless patients get a good night's sleep. The doctors found that your body is able to evenly distribute its weight and naturally align your spine when hugging a body pillow. Inside the pillow is a cooling material that is designed to absorb heat and help people prone to night sweats and overheating. The shredded memory foam pillow can be easily maneuvered to your body's comfort and is fully machine washable if you want to clean or re-fluff it for long-lasting coziness.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 14,300 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Made in the USA and GreenGuard Gold certified, Snuggle-Pedic ensures non-toxic stuffing.
Best alternative: Avocado Green Pillow
If bamboo pillows just aren't for you, Avocado's 100% organic cotton pillow is just as sustainable and comfy. When you open the sleeve, the pillow is divided into three main materials. The outer layer consists of a quilt-like cover made from high-quality cotton. The soft organic latex ribbons underneath provide structure and customizable firmness to support all sleep positions. Finally, the pillow is stuffed with eco-friendly kapok tree fiber which is hypoallergenic, biodegradable and never grown with pesticides.
Avocado provides an extra bag of filling if you want to adjust your volume for a softer or more extra firm pillow. You can wash your removable cotton pillow cover if needed, but there's no need to use bleach and hanging it to dry will keep it from naturally shrinking. The soft pillows come in every size necessary and pair well with Avocado's green mattress if you're determined to sleep well with sustainable peace of mind.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 5,000 ratings on the Avocado website
Why Buy: Vegan, GreenGuard certified and considered a carbon-negative business, Avocado's Green Pillow has passed some of the most strict emissions and sustainability testing for sleeping products on the market today.
Frequently Asked Questions: Bamboo Pillows
Is a bamboo pillow sustainable?
Bamboo is considered a great renewable resource that can be used in many different household items and is a great alternative to traditional polyester bedding products. The fast-growing plant has such a high carbon to oxygen rate that it actually offsets carbon emissions, and it doesn't require any fertilization or pesticides that could potentially cause runoff production. However, the production process to turn bamboo into a textile can create toxins that leach into the environment. Still, it's a better alternative to full synthetic materials.
What is so special about bamboo pillows?Bamboo bed pillows are a great product to try if you have trouble sleeping because of allergy issues, breathing problems or overheating at night. They are known for their distinct fibers that encourage airflow and make the pillows so lightweight. The breathable features have shown evidence of hypoallergenic properties and create a natural cooling to help sleepers get a good night of rest.
Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, Nepal now has an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, a nearly twofold increase from its baseline of 121 individuals in 2009, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) announced Sunday on the occasion of Nepal's National Conservation Day.
The South Asian nation is now on track to become the first country to double its tiger population as part of WWF's "TX2" goal to double the world's wild tiger population by 2022—the next year of the tiger on the Chinese zodiac.
The news was celebrated by environmentalists including actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a WWF-US board member. His foundation has funded tiger conservation in Nepal's Bardia National Park and elsewhere since 2010.
"This significant increase in Nepal's tiger population is proof that when we work together, we can save the planet's wildlife—even species facing extinction," DiCaprio stated in a press release received by EcoWatch. "Nepal has been a leader in efforts to double tigers within its own borders and serves as a model for conservation for all of Asia and the world. I am proud of my foundation's partnership with WWF to support Nepal and local communities in doubling the population of wild tigers."
I am proud of @dicapriofdn’s partnership with @World_Wildlife to support Nepal and local communities in doubling th… https://t.co/2Qs8iRqkoV— Leonardo DiCaprio (@Leonardo DiCaprio)1537731033.0
Due to years of illegal poaching and habitat loss, there are roughly 3,890 of the iconic big cats roaming the planet today, a dramatic decline from the 100,000 about a century ago, according to WWF. As top predators, they are crucial to the ecosystems they inhabit.
"Every tiger counts, for Nepal and for the world," WWF-Nepal's Ghana S. Gurung stated in a press release received by EcoWatch. "While Nepal is but a few tigers away from our goal to double tiger numbers by 2022, it also underscores the continued need to ensure protection, and improved and contiguous habitats for the long-term survival of the species."
Under the TX2 goal set at the 2010 St. Petersburg summit, all 13 tiger range countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam—pledged to increase the number of wild tigers in the world to more than 6,000 by 2022.
"With four more years to go, the TX2 goal of doubling tiger numbers globally can only be achieved if all the tiger range countries step up and commit to a similar level of [Nepal's] excellence," WWF said.
To estimate its tiger population, Nepal conducted surveys between November 2017 and April 2018 by using camera traps and other techniques. The last survey in 2013 counted 198 tigers.
Camera traps were used to survey Nepal's wild tiger numbers.DNPWC/WWF Nepal
Nepal's success story can be attributed to its political commitment towards tiger conservation. For one, Nepal was the first country to achieve global standards in managing tiger conservation areas, an accreditation scheme governed by the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards, according to WWF.
"Protecting tigers is a top priority of the government, and we are thankful for the able support of our partners, enforcement agencies, local communities and the international community for a common purpose," Bishwa Nath Oli, secretary of Nepal's Ministry of Forests and Environment, stated in the press release.
New Sightings of 'Putin's Tigers' Are Good News for Conservation in Russia https://t.co/kRv066FbyG @environmentca @ConservationOrg— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1517453405.0
Thailand's iconic Maya Bay, made popular by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, will be closed to tourists indefinitely, CNN Travel reported.
The beach had been closed temporarily since June 1 to restore the damage done by more than a million yearly visitors, but on Tuesday Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) announced the closure would continue "until natural resources return to normal."
The announcement came in the form of a letter signed by DNP director-general Thanya Nethithammakul.
"The ecosystem and the beach's physical structure have [not] yet returned to its full condition," the letter said, in Thai.
The beach, visited for its golden sands and clear blue water surrounded by the dramatic cliffs of Ko Phi Phi Leh island, shot to prominence following the release of the 2000 DiCaprio film. It drew as many as 5,000 visitors and 200 boats daily and generated 400 million baht (approximately $12.4 million) a year, The Guardian reported.
But the beach's popularity was less profitable for its coral reefs. It is estimated that pollution from litter, boats and sunscreen destroyed 80 percent of the coral around the bay.
Because Maya Bay has no hotels and forbids overnight stays, all of that damage is caused by day-trippers, often boating in from nearby Phuket, CNN reported.
"It's very difficult to remedy and rehabilitate because its beach was completely destroyed as well [as] the plants which cover it," national parks director Songtam Suksawang told The Guardian.
He further said the original four-month recovery timeline was "impossible," a belief that was shared by environmental groups when that timeline was first announced, since coral only grows by half a centimeter a year.
"More than 1,000 corals are being installed at Maya Bay. Trees are also being planted on land nearby. Experts realize that it is too fast to open Maya Bay at this stage," Worapoj Lomlim, chief of the park that includes Maya Bay, told The Thaiger.
The Maya Bay closure also extends to Lo Sama Bay in the same Hat Nopparat Thara – Moo Koh Phi Phi national park.
The pollution that accompanies tourism has been a growing problem for beaches in the region. Indonesia declared a "garbage emergency" this year after a video of a diver encountering plastic off the coast of Bali went viral. Meanwhile, the Philippines closed its famous Boracay Bay for six months in April, and President Rodrigo Duterte called the resort area a "cesspool," The Guardian reported.
Unlike Maya Bay, Boracay is on schedule to reopen in stages starting this month, CNN reported.
Plastic Shreds, Rubber Bands and Balloon Pieces Found in Thai Turtle https://t.co/66MdIJDbvM @YEARSofLIVING… https://t.co/kAbqzWX722— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1528736311.0
Watch to find out the story behind the newly discovered G. leonardodicaprioi, found in the Maliau Basin of Malaysian Borneo.
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The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says that its vessel, the M/V Farley Mowat, was ambushed on Jan. 31 by a group of poachers posing as fishermen while the ship was conducting maritime conservation patrols in a vaquita refuge in Mexico's Gulf of California. It's the second such attack in less than a month.
The conservation organization says its ship was surrounded by more than 50 assailants on 20 high speed boats, according to a press release shared with EcoWatch.
Sea Shepherd said the side of the Farley Mowat caught fire and its windows shattered because the attackers were hurling molotov cocktails and projectiles such as lead weights and large stones at the vessel.
The group also released dramatic footage of the confrontation:
SEA SHEPHERD SHIP'S WINDOWS SMASHED AND HULL SET ON FIRE BY POACHERS www.youtube.com
Crew onboard the Farley Mowat used high-pressure fire hoses to defend the vessel while Mexican Navy soldiers and federal police stationed aboard opened fire into the air and sea to deter the attackers. Neither the crew nor the security personnel sustained injuries. No arrests have been made.
The Farley Mowat was similarly attacked by roughly 35 fishing boats in the waters on Jan. 9.
"These repeated attacks have made Sea Shepherd's vital conservation efforts within the Vaquita Refuge challenging in recent weeks, casting a doubt on the vaquita's chances of survival," the press release states.
Projectiles, including lead weights and large stones, were hurled by poachers.Sea Shepherd
Sea Shepherd conducts maritime patrols in the upper Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez, to protect the critically endangered vaquita, a porpoise endemic to the waters. Experts say there could be as few as a dozen vaquitas left.
The operations are conducted with the knowledge and cooperation of the Mexican government to help detect illegal fishing activities, the Associated Press noted.
The conservation group retrieves gillnets from the waters to protect the vaquita. The marine mammal is not directly hunted but they become entangled and drown in the illegal nets set for capturing totoaba, a large and critically endangered fish that's prized for its swim bladder as a Chinese delicacy.
The latest confrontation happens as the new Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary Sea of Shadows—which features the plight of the vaquita and Sea Shepherd's work to save it—premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
"Sea Shepherd is 100 percent committed to continuing retrieval operations of illegal ghost nets and active illegal gillnets to protect the vaquita marina from extinction at the hands of poachers and criminal gangs," Locky Maclean, Sea Shepherd's director of ship operations and campaigns, said in the release. "We look forward to working closely with the new government and are grateful in playing a part in the protection and preservation of such a special region of the world, and such an iconic species, the vaquita marina."
THE VAQUITA ~~ New Doc on Nearly Extinct Vaquita Features Sea Shepherd Last year, an international vaquita recovery… https://t.co/hKZjOf75Dm— Wildlife Warriors (@Wildlife Warriors)1525957252.0
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The Seychelles has created two vast new marine protected areas in the Indian Ocean after a groundbreaking finance deal brokered by the Nature Conservancy and other stakeholders, including environmentalist and Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio.
In exchange for writing off a portion of its debt, the island nation agreed to protect a total of 81,000-square-miles of ocean—that's about the size of Great Britain.
Seychelles was able to pay off an outstanding sovereign debt with $21 million raised by the Nature Conservancy. Future debt payments will go into a new trust, the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust, to finance new marine protection and climate adaptation projects
The scheme is understood to be the world's first "debt-for-nature" finance plan designed to protect ocean environments. The agreement will also help the low-lying archipelago prepare for the effects of climate change, including warming and rising waters and ocean acidification, and to protect its vital tourism and $300-million-a-year fishing industry.
"This effort will help the people of Seychelles protect their ocean for future generations, and will serve as a model for future marine conservation projects worldwide," DiCaprio, whose foundation donated $1 million towards the debt, said. "These protections mean that all species living in these waters or migrating through them are now far better shielded from overfishing, pollution, and climate change."
Today, Seychelles announced two new marine protected areas that equal the size of Great Britain. Join me and… https://t.co/aszoTCLj7h— Leonardo DiCaprio (@Leonardo DiCaprio)1519227489.0
Seychelles Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Didier Dogley announced the two new marine protected areas at an event on Wednesday in Victoria, the country's capital.
The first covers the waters around the remote Aldabra Atoll, home to seabirds, hawksbill turtles, giant tortoises and the endangered dugong. The area also includes the world's second-largest raised coral atoll. This area will be fully protected and bans all extractive uses, from fishing to oil exploitation. Only research and regulated tourism is allowed. The second area is centered around the Seychelles' main islands and will only allow limited fishing and tourism.
According to the Guardian, the two parks cover 15 percent of the Seychelles ocean and the government plans to double this by 2021.
New marine protections in Seychelles will further safeguard dugongs, sea turtles, and other endangered species! Hel… https://t.co/9LoArt1zxY— The Nature Conservancy (@The Nature Conservancy)1519244164.0
"Our large ocean brings development opportunities but also responsibility," said Seychelles President Danny Faure. "Our ocean is central to our development and for the future of generations to come."
Faure called the deal a "paradigm shift on how we manage and use our coastal and ocean resources, how we work together as a government and as communities."
Nature Conservancy president Mark Tercek said the Seychelles can be a model for the rest of the world.
"What you see today in Seychelles is what we expect to introduce in the Caribbean and other ocean regions facing the threats of climate change," he said.
To Succeed, Large Ocean Sanctuaries Need to Benefit Both Sea Life and People https://t.co/dptfvEnwg5 @savingoceans @OceanLeadership— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1511563811.0
Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has joined Kingo—a Guatemala-based business that provides low-cost solar energy kits for off-grid communities—as an investor and member of its board of advisors.
"Solar power is key to a future without fossil fuels, and Kingo's technology will help enable broad use of clean energy across the developing world," DiCaprio said in a statement. "I am proud to invest in Kingo as they seek to eradicate energy poverty, and I look forward to serving as an advisor to the company."
Kingo offers a range of pay-as-you-go kits consisting of light bulbs, photovoltaic panels and a battery that can store electricity generated during the day.
Its prices are competitive compared with the cost of buying candles every day, and also eliminate the need for polluting alternatives such as kerosene and diesel. Users do not have to pay installation fees or maintenance costs.
Since its founding in 2013, Kingo has serviced more than 60,000 households around the world and has installed around 7,000 new systems each month, the company touts. Its mission is to help provide clean, affordable energy for the 1.2 billion people worldwide who do not have access to the power grid.
"Seventeen percent of the world's population still lacks access to power. Access to electricity represents one of the biggest restrictions for progress, as it is the base for all productive activity," Kingo founder and CEO Juan Fermín Rodriguez, who grew up in Guatemala, said in an interview last year.
"We aim not only to eradicate the lack of access to electricity, but also to play a spearheading role in the transition from the world's energy consumption in becoming 100 percent renewable."
To date, Kingo has raised $25 million in several equity and debt rounds led by prominent investors and institutions, including the largest utility in Europe (ENGIE Rassembleurs d'Energies), one of the largest utilities in Latin America (FCP), PeopleFund, the Dutch Development Bank, the French Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. DiCaprio's investment amount was not disclosed.
"We are honored to have
Leonardo DiCaprio, someone who is seriously committed to addressing climate and environment-related causes, invest in Kingo and join our board of advisors," said Rodriguez in a statement.
"Leo will help advise Kingo as we work to achieve growth through expanded R&D capabilities and new market entry strategies. We remain committed to developing innovative solutions to the 1.2 billion people who currently live in the dark."
Seychelles Creates Groundbreaking Marine Reserve With Help From Leonardo DiCaprio https://t.co/EdXlLrzu1X… https://t.co/mUAkj11OSl— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1519324409.0
Last year, an international vaquita recovery committee rang alarm bells after reporting that there were just 30 left on the planet, with more recent estimates pegging the tiny porpoise's population at only 12.
Now, the plight of the world's most endangered marine mammal—and the intense conservation efforts to save it—is the subject of a new documentary from Red Bull's Terra Mater Factual Studios, Variety reported Tuesday.
The new film, slated for completion this year, has the working title Vaquita—Sea of Ghosts. The name likely refers to the vaquita being driven to the brink of extinction due to unauthorized gillnet or "ghost net" fishing in the Gulf of California, the critically endangered species' only known habitat. Gillnets, which are used to catch totoaba bass sought by Chinese markets, can entangle and kill marine animals, including the vaquita that get trapped in them.
Terra Mater previously collaborated with actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way on 2016's The Ivory Game that was among the 15 finalists for the best feature documentary Oscar.
According to Variety, the film starts with a meeting between DiCaprio and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Last June, they signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at conserving marine ecosystems in the Gulf of California and saving the vaquita porpoise.
Vaquita—Sea of Ghosts also shows sometimes-heated conflict between Mexican drug cartels and Chinese crime gangs versus the Mexican government, the U.S. Navy, the FBI, Sea Shepherd and other wildlife activist groups, Variety reported.
The film is directed by award-winning Richard Ladkani, who was also behind The Ivory Game. It will premiere internationally in 2018.
First #Vaquita Rescued in Bid to Save the Porpoise From Extinction https://t.co/8gAYe00Pjm @Oceana @VaquitaCPR @WWF @NWF @seashepherd— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1509026587.0
Hawaii passed a reef-harming sunscreen ban this summer, but the state law does not go into effect until 2021. Palau's law, passed this week, will go into effect in 2020. After that time, retailers will be fined $1,000 for selling sunscreens that contain 10 chemicals researchers believe are harmful to coral and other marine life, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are used in the majority of U.S. sunscreens.
#BeatPollution action Palau to ban “reef-toxic” sunscreens in what it claims is a world-first initiative to stop c… https://t.co/ggvgFFWBS3— UN Environment Programme (@UN Environment Programme)1541142067.0
"This short but important bill has the potential to make a lasting impact on the environment here," President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., wrote in a letter introducing the bill.
The sunscreen ban is part of a larger push to reduce the impact of tourism on the archipelago's unique biodiversity. As of last year, all visitors are required to sign a "Palau Pledge" stamped into their passports saying they will protect the environment, The Guardian reported.
Sunscreen containing certain chemicals is a threat because studies have found these chemicals can make coral less resistant to the coral bleaching that accompanies climate change. They can also inhibit the growth of young corals.
"If our most famous tour sites have four boats each hour, [and tourists] need at least one ounce of sunscreen to cover up, that can equate to a gallon every three hours," government spokesman Olkeriil Kazuo told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, according to the Huffington Post. "Any given day, that would equate to three or five gallons of sunscreen into the ocean and Palau's famous dive spots, snorkeling, biodiversity and coral."
Kazuo told NPR that one of the biggest motivators for the law was a 2017 study finding toxins from sunscreens in the country's unique Jellyfish Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous lake was closed for more than a year because the jellyfish were disappearing, the Huffington Post reported.
"It's the first country to ban these chemicals from tourism. I think it's great, they're being proactive," Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Hawaii Executive Director Craig Downs told The Guardian. "They don't want to be like Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, where they've had to shut down beaches. The coral reefs around those beaches have died."
For example, Thailand announced in October that it would have to close Maya Bay, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, indefinitely. Pollution from boats and sunscreen had killed 80 percent of its corals.
For divers who want to protect wildlife while staying sun-safe, you can lather up with sunscreens that use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which do not harm coral reefs. Or you can wear protective gear.
On an industry level, Downs told BBC News that sunscreen makers are responding to bans like Hawaii's and now Palau's with a mix of resistance and enthusiasm.
"The big boys are fighting it. Johnson & Johnson and L'Oreal don't seem to be on board," Downs said. "But much of the rest of the industry have already come out with what they are calling 'Hawaii-compliant sunscreen,' and it is a big marketing boost for them."
It’s Time to Raise the Reefs https://t.co/510CHcGaJ1 @Oceanwire @Seasaver @OceanLeadership— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1517094909.0
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Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, but eating a burger doesn't have to come with a side of guilt.
The company's staple Beyond Burger is made mostly from pea protein. Beet juice gives it a red meat-like color and allows it to "bleed" like a regular beef burger when cooked.
"Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions," DiCaprio said in his investment announcement. "Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate."
"The company's ability to create appealing, healthy meat directly from plants will go a long way in helping everyday consumers take action on climate change," he added.[instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BaWgfKGnBHA/?hl=en&taken-by=leonardodicaprio expand=1]
"I am thrilled to officially welcome Leonardo DiCaprio to the Beyond Meat family," said Ethan Brown, the chief executive of Beyond Meat, in a statement. "His investment and role as an advocate reflects a shared vision that meat made directly from plants, like our Beyond Burger, has enormous benefits for human health, the climate, natural resources, and animal welfare."
"I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we bring delicious, satiating products to a rapidly increasing consumer base."
Beyond Meat has grown immensely since its founding in 2009. Its products can now be found in more than 11,000 stores nationwide, including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Publix and Sprouts as well as eight BurgerFi's locations and six TGI Fridays, Business Insider reported.
Other big-name investors of the Los Angeles-based startup include Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, the meat company Tyson Foods and the Humane Society. Dicaprio's exact investment amount was not disclosed.
DiCaprio, and his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, has long put his philanthropic dollars towards environmental organizations and businesses that protect oceans, land and wildlife, as well as operations that work to fight against climate change. The foundation has offered more than $80 million for such causes since its founding in 1998.
Dicaprio's latest investment doesn't just make environmental sense, but a financial one too. The global market for alternative meats such as tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein, seitan, quorn and other plant based sources is forecasted to garner $5.2 billion by 2020.
Should the bill become law, California has to entirely transition away from fossil fuel electricity in less than three decades. Utilities would also have to get 50 percent of their energy from solar, wind or other specific renewable sources by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030. The legislation requires the state to slowly transition away from natural gas, which is California's top electricity source.
Senate Bill 100, introduced by Sen. Kevin de León, (D-Los Angeles), was approved in the Senate last year. Both chambers now must agree on amendments, but it is expected to be finalized by Friday before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for approval. The Democratic governor is poised to sign it into law, The New York Times reported.
Today #CA took another great stride toward a 100% clean energy future. #SB100 will spur technological innovation, j… https://t.co/UbJ96BzLvx— Kevin de Leόn (@Kevin de Leόn)1535507317.0
"I will always work for the people of California, and the future, [that's] why I authored this bill. And after a grueling year it has finally passed. And our state will remain a climate change leader in the world," de León, who is running for U.S. Senate, tweeted Tuesday.
The passage comes less than two weeks before the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice mobilization in San Francisco on Sept. 8 and the Global Climate Action Summit from Sept. 12-14, where Gov. Brown will serve as co-chairman.
The first state to adopt such an aggressive clean energy standard was Hawaii in 2015, calling for 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.
The Golden State's move is considered groundbreaking because it could inspire other governments and spur Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC, to consider similar pending legislation.
If signed, California will represent the largest global economy and one of the biggest states of any kind in the world to have a goal of moving to 100 percent clean energy, the Sierra Club noted.
"This is a pivotal moment for California, for the country, and the world, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement. "While Donald Trump abandons reality by ignoring the climate crisis and the incredible growth of clean energy, California is stepping up to lead the transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy."
Opponents of the initiative include Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Western States Petroleum Association, Agricultural Council of California and more than two dozen others, The Sacramento Bee reported. Some lawmakers worry the bill could hurt fossil fuel workers and raise utility prices.
"We pass all these goals for renewables, but at the same time our families back home will pay the cost with an increase in the electric bills every year as we try to achieve this," Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, told the publication.
The bill was praised by most Democrats, green organizations and high-profile environmental activists, including Vice President Al Gore, actor and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo.
"With wildfires intensifying and temperatures skyrocketing, the impacts of climate change across the Golden State are impossible to ignore," 350.org executive director May Boeve said in a statement. "Just this week, the state's own climate assessment revealed that climate change will be deadlier, more destructive, and costlier than previously thought. SB 100 is a critical first step toward addressing the worsening climate crisis, but to truly change course, we must end fossil fuel extraction."
California Set to Require Solar on Most New Homes https://t.co/FZwWM5Ujoj @SEIA @greenpeaceusa @EnvDefenseFund… https://t.co/onyTyCbZ3x— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1525700817.0