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Speaking Out in Support of Strong Carbon Pollution Standards
Here's a slideshow of photos from the press event and Citron-Fink's testimony that she presented to the U.S. EPA last week:
I’ve traveled from New York to speak as a mom, a teacher and a representative of Moms Clean Air Force.
I was inspired to testify today because a special family friend passed away last week, Pete Seeger. As I joined his family and friends at memorials to celebrate his life and legacy, I heard over and over again about Pete’s unwavering love of protecting the air, water and land.
Pete was known for his passionate concern for ordinary people. From fighting for social justice to cleaning up the river that’s just a stone’s throw away from my Hudson Valley home, Pete believed change would come when ordinary people sang out and spoke out. So I’m here to do that. But I promise not to sing.
When asked recently about the most important issue of our time, Pete said:
“The oceans rising may be the wake-up call to the whole human race.” He hoped in the future, “…the people from the oil industry were still living so that they can see what a mistake they made.”
We have the opportunity to avoid this mistake right now.
We know human activities are causing the climate crisis.
We know carbon pollution is warming our planet, contributing to extreme weather events.
We know dirty energy, the pollution from fossil fuels, is the single biggest contributing factor to climate change.
And we know the biggest, dirtiest energy source is coal. Not only does carbon-intensive coal fuel the climate crisis, but pollution from dirty coal-fired power plants gets into the air our families breathe. Our youngest children are most vulnerable because their respiratory systems are so tiny, and they are still developing.
Coal is no longer the answer to power our children’s future. To further its use is a big mistake. This is why we need to assure that no new coal-fired power plants are built, and support the EPA’s strong carbon pollution standards.
I remember Pete singing to the children of my son’s kindergarten class 20 years ago. When he was packing up his banjo, my son asked how he could learn to play and sing like him. Pete told him to “Help others, take care of the planet, and when you sing for what is right, others will join.” It’s time for us to sing out against anything that pollutes our family’s health and contributes to climate change. Our children and grandchildren cannot afford this mistake. Thank you.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.