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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
The Revelator

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.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An ocean inlet in Misty Fjords National Monument, part of the Tongass National Forest. Arabani / Flickr

By Julia Conley

Conservation and climate action groups on Thursday applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's announcement of far-reaching new protections for Alaska's Tongass National Forest as well as a restoration of a key rule that former President Donald Trump rescinded three months before leaving office in a bid to open millions of acres to industrial logging.

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Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

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A farm of more than 300 cows in Galicia, Spain in 2007. Xurxo Lobato / Cover / Getty Images

What Is Factory Farming?

Factory farming is a type of farming in which animals are raised and crowded together in close quarters. The animals are referred to as livestock and the farms are also called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

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Trending
Temperature difference from normal Sunday predicted by American (GFS) model. TropicalTidBits.com

Seattle and Portland set record temperatures on Saturday as a dome of extremely hot air settled over the US Pacific Northwest.

All of Washington and Oregon, and parts of Idaho, Wyoming and California, are under an excessive heat warning.

Temperatures are set to soar 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average throughout the region during the weekend and into next week, the US National Weather Service (NWS) said.

"This event will likely be one of the most extreme and prolonged heat waves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest," the NWS added.

The Inland Northwest is a sparsely populated region comprising eastern Washington, and parts of Idaho and northeast Oregon.

heat wave map TropicalTidBits.com

Record Temperatures in Seattle and Portland

Portland, Oregon recorded its hottest day ever on Saturday, topping 108 Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) by the afternoon.

The previous record for Oregon's largest city was 107 F (41.7 degrees Celsius), a mark hit in 1965 and 1981.

Seattle reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) by mid-afternoon on Saturday, making it the hottest June day ever recorded in the city. It was only the fourth time in recorded history that Seattle has topped 100 degrees, according to the NWS.

Authorities Tell Residents to Stay Cool

Residents in the temperate Pacific Northwest are not generally equipped to deal with the heat, and many homes do not have air conditioning. There were reports of stores across the region running out of fans and air conditioners.

In Seattle, officials told the city's 725,000 residents to hydrate, keep blinds closed, use fans and to go to a city "cooling center" if needed.

Officials in Multnomah County, Oregon, which encompasses Portland, warned that there could be public transportation delays, strains on emergency medical services and power outages as a result of the extreme heat.

County officials also said they would be providing cooling centers for people to escape the heat.

In a short video posted online, the county's health officer, Jennifer Vines, urged residents to go to a cooling center if they do not have air conditioning, warning that the area is in for "life-threatening" heat.

Agriculture and wildlife conservation across the Pacific Northwest has also been impacted.

Berry farmers scrambled to pick crops before they rotted on the vine. Fisheries managers working to keep endangered sockeye salmon safe from warming river water,

State, tribal and federal officials began releasing the water from Idaho's Dworshak Reservoir earlier this week into the lower Snake River in a bid to lower the water temperature.

Officials fear a repeat of 2015, when water temperatures in Columbia and Snake river reservoirs reached lethal levels for the salmon.

How Long Will It Last?

The unusually hot weather is expected to extend into next week for much of the region, as a "heat dome" persists caused by an area of stalled high pressure.

The NWS was also expected to issue new red flag warnings in California and elsewhere, advising that the hot, dry and breezy conditions raise the risk of wildfires.

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

A toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie, resulting from runoff. David J. Ruck

With #PlasticFreeJuly upon us, there has been a necessary, global focus on curbing plastic pollution and other trash that comes from land and often ends up in the sea. Now, in partnership with Plastic Oceans International, EcoWatch is highlighting the dangers of another land-based source of ecological harm: runoff.

Read More Show Less
A lone blue rockfish swims past the graceful sweep of the blades of a bull kelp plant. The large air-filled sphere at right called a pneumatocyst buoys up the entire plant. Fish abundance and diversity have declined noticeably in areas where kelp once thrived. Photo courtesy of Brandon Cole

By YCC Team

Until recently, giant seaweed called bull kelp formed lush underwater forests in northern California's coastal waters. These kelp forests have long provided critical habitat for many species like salmon, crabs, and jellyfish.

Read More Show Less
Dry conditions across the West follow a hot, dry year of record-setting wildfires in 2020. Communities were left with scenes like this, from California's Creek Fire. Amir AghaKouchak / University of California Irvine

By Mojtaba Sadegh, Amir AghaKouchak and John Abatzoglou

Just about every indicator of drought is flashing red across the western U.S. after a dry winter and warm early spring. The snowpack is at less than half of normal in much of the region. Reservoirs are being drawn down, river levels are dropping and soils are drying out.

Read More Show Less
Trending
The John C. Boyle Dam is one of four dams on the Klamath River to be removed. Bobjgalindo / CC BY-SA 3.0

In a historic move to resurrect the largest dam removal project in the U.S., Oregon, California, the Yurok Tribe and the Karuk Tribe signed an agreement on Tuesday to push forward on dam removal.

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Residents evacuate from the Blue Ridge Fire in Chino, California on Oct. 27, 2020. ROBYN BECK / AFP via Getty Images

At the opening of the 2020 wildfire season, 3% of California was in extreme or exceptional drought and more than 4% burned. This year, more than 73% of the state faces similar drought conditions.

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Trending
A trickle of water flows into Lake Mendocino as the overall water level dropped to 29% capacity on June 2, 2021, near Ukiah, California. George Rose / Getty Images

By Dana Nuccitelli

California, along with much of the rest of the western United States, is once again mired in drought. In fact, California has experienced significant drought conditions in 13 of the 22 years (60%) since the turn of the century.

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Lower Granite Dam is obstructing salmon along the Snake River in Washington. Greg Vaughn / VW PICS / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Climate change, activities that contribute to it, and dams pose grave threats to America's rivers, according to American Rivers.

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One type of algae in the Great Lakes, Cladophora, readily tangles up with plastic microfiber. Brenda Lafrancois / National Park Service

By Andrew Blok

Great Lakes algae is catching huge amounts of microplastics.

Researchers found that one type of algae, which has greatly expanded its range within the Great Lakes and is one of the most abundant algae by weight there, could catch up to one trillion pieces of microplastic in the Great Lakes.

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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
The Revelator

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.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An ocean inlet in Misty Fjords National Monument, part of the Tongass National Forest. Arabani / Flickr

By Julia Conley

Conservation and climate action groups on Thursday applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's announcement of far-reaching new protections for Alaska's Tongass National Forest as well as a restoration of a key rule that former President Donald Trump rescinded three months before leaving office in a bid to open millions of acres to industrial logging.

Read More Show Less
Frederic Stevens/ Getty Images News / Getty Images

For nearly as long as solar panels have been gracing rooftops and barren land, creative people have been searching out additional surfaces that can be tiled with energy-generating photovoltaic (PV) panels. The idea has been pretty straightforward: if solar panels generate energy simply by facing the sun, then humans could collectively reduce our reliance on coal, oil, gas and other polluting fuels by maximizing our aggregate solar surface area.

So, what kind of unobstructed surfaces are built in every community and in between every major city across the globe? Highways and streets. With this in mind, the futuristic vision of laying thousands, or even millions, of solar panels on top of the asphalt of interstates and main streets was born.

While the concept art looked like a still from a sci-fi film, many inventors, businesses and investors saw these panels as a golden path toward clean energy and profit. Ultimately, though, the technology and economics ended up letting down those working behind each solar roadway project — from initial concepts in the early 2000s to the first solar roadway actually opened in France in 2016, they all flopped.

In the years since the concept of solar roadways went viral, solar PV has continued to improve in technology and drop in price. So, with a 2021 lens, is it time to re-run the numbers and see if a solar roadway could potentially deliver on that early promise? We dig in to find out.

Read More Show Less
A farm of more than 300 cows in Galicia, Spain in 2007. Xurxo Lobato / Cover / Getty Images

What Is Factory Farming?

Factory farming is a type of farming in which animals are raised and crowded together in close quarters. The animals are referred to as livestock and the farms are also called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Read More Show Less
Trending
Temperature difference from normal Sunday predicted by American (GFS) model. TropicalTidBits.com

Seattle and Portland set record temperatures on Saturday as a dome of extremely hot air settled over the US Pacific Northwest.

All of Washington and Oregon, and parts of Idaho, Wyoming and California, are under an excessive heat warning.

Temperatures are set to soar 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average throughout the region during the weekend and into next week, the US National Weather Service (NWS) said.

"This event will likely be one of the most extreme and prolonged heat waves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest," the NWS added.

The Inland Northwest is a sparsely populated region comprising eastern Washington, and parts of Idaho and northeast Oregon.

heat wave map TropicalTidBits.com

Record Temperatures in Seattle and Portland

Portland, Oregon recorded its hottest day ever on Saturday, topping 108 Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) by the afternoon.

The previous record for Oregon's largest city was 107 F (41.7 degrees Celsius), a mark hit in 1965 and 1981.

Seattle reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit (42.2 degrees Celsius) by mid-afternoon on Saturday, making it the hottest June day ever recorded in the city. It was only the fourth time in recorded history that Seattle has topped 100 degrees, according to the NWS.

Authorities Tell Residents to Stay Cool

Residents in the temperate Pacific Northwest are not generally equipped to deal with the heat, and many homes do not have air conditioning. There were reports of stores across the region running out of fans and air conditioners.

In Seattle, officials told the city's 725,000 residents to hydrate, keep blinds closed, use fans and to go to a city "cooling center" if needed.

Officials in Multnomah County, Oregon, which encompasses Portland, warned that there could be public transportation delays, strains on emergency medical services and power outages as a result of the extreme heat.

County officials also said they would be providing cooling centers for people to escape the heat.

In a short video posted online, the county's health officer, Jennifer Vines, urged residents to go to a cooling center if they do not have air conditioning, warning that the area is in for "life-threatening" heat.

Agriculture and wildlife conservation across the Pacific Northwest has also been impacted.

Berry farmers scrambled to pick crops before they rotted on the vine. Fisheries managers working to keep endangered sockeye salmon safe from warming river water,

State, tribal and federal officials began releasing the water from Idaho's Dworshak Reservoir earlier this week into the lower Snake River in a bid to lower the water temperature.

Officials fear a repeat of 2015, when water temperatures in Columbia and Snake river reservoirs reached lethal levels for the salmon.

How Long Will It Last?

The unusually hot weather is expected to extend into next week for much of the region, as a "heat dome" persists caused by an area of stalled high pressure.

The NWS was also expected to issue new red flag warnings in California and elsewhere, advising that the hot, dry and breezy conditions raise the risk of wildfires.

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

A toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie, resulting from runoff. David J. Ruck

With #PlasticFreeJuly upon us, there has been a necessary, global focus on curbing plastic pollution and other trash that comes from land and often ends up in the sea. Now, in partnership with Plastic Oceans International, EcoWatch is highlighting the dangers of another land-based source of ecological harm: runoff.

Read More Show Less
A lone blue rockfish swims past the graceful sweep of the blades of a bull kelp plant. The large air-filled sphere at right called a pneumatocyst buoys up the entire plant. Fish abundance and diversity have declined noticeably in areas where kelp once thrived. Photo courtesy of Brandon Cole

By YCC Team

Until recently, giant seaweed called bull kelp formed lush underwater forests in northern California's coastal waters. These kelp forests have long provided critical habitat for many species like salmon, crabs, and jellyfish.

Read More Show Less
Dry conditions across the West follow a hot, dry year of record-setting wildfires in 2020. Communities were left with scenes like this, from California's Creek Fire. Amir AghaKouchak / University of California Irvine

By Mojtaba Sadegh, Amir AghaKouchak and John Abatzoglou

Just about every indicator of drought is flashing red across the western U.S. after a dry winter and warm early spring. The snowpack is at less than half of normal in much of the region. Reservoirs are being drawn down, river levels are dropping and soils are drying out.

Read More Show Less
Trending