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Sierra Club Launches Safe Sushi App

Sierra Club

Successfully eating with chopsticks will once again be the most nerve-racking part of eating sushi, thanks to a new app that informs and educates consumers about mercury levels in fish. The Sierra Club, the largest and most effective grassroots environmental advocacy group, announced the availability of the Safe Sushi app Dec. 8.

Safe Sushi is an app for people who love to eat sushi and want to be informed about which fish have high levels of mercury. The app can be used in two ways—sushi novices can search by mercury level (high, moderate and low) and sushi connoisseurs can search by the name of the fish.

Safe Sushi is free to download in the Android Market and will be available for free in iTunes Dec. 16.

Mercury is especially threatening to pregnant women and young children. Alarmingly, as many as one in six American women have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk and more than 300,000 babies are born each year at risk of mercury poisoning. Safe Sushi is a practical tool for women of child-bearing age who want to educate themselves about the types of fish they should or should not consume.

Mercury comes primarily from coal-fired power plants, where it rains down into our rivers and streams and then gets into the fish. When we eat contaminated fish (such as certain types of tuna), it gets into our bodies. Safe Sushi includes a tutorial that illustrates how mercury is absorbed into the atmosphere and moves through the food chain.

The Sierra Club will celebrate Mercury Awareness Week Dec. 5 —11, as President Barack Obama is expected to issue the first nationwide protections against toxic mercury from coal plants Dec. 16. The mercury protections that President Obama is poised to approve would cut 90 percent of toxic mercury from coal-fired power plants, and thereby reduce the amount of toxic mercury in many fish—protecting women and children.

For more information about the Sierra Club, the Safe Sushi app and Mercury Awareness Week, click here.

For more information, click here.

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The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and supporters nationwide. The Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying and litigation. For more information, click here.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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