By Steve Trent
Joe Biden's election is a huge positive in a year that has been extremely difficult across the globe. I speak for a vast number of people who watched anxiously from outside the United States when I heartily thank those who mobilized, campaigned and voted to make it happen. Your hard work affects us all.
But we're not at the end of the line. Far from it.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Isabella Garcia
September in Portland, Oregon, usually brings a slight chill to the air and an orange tinge to the leaves. This year, it brought smoke so thick it burned your throat and made your eyes strain to see more than 20 feet in front of you.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Jeannette Cwienk
Shubham Mani Tripathi, newspaper reporter, India: shot dead in June 2020 for exposing illegal sand mining. Maria Efigenia Vasquez Astudillo, radio reporter, Colombia: struck and killed by a projectile in October 2017 while covering clashes between the Indigenous community and local police. Joseph Oduha, journalist, South Sudan: fled the country in 2019 after imprisonment and torture for uncovering environmental destruction by international oil companies.
Indigenous Communities Threatened<p>Environmental journalists in Europe also face intimidation and harassment, said RSF spokesperson Christoph Dreyer, pointing to cases connected to the destruction of the Hambach Forest in northwestern Germany or unsustainable agriculture practices in Brittany, France. But most of these attacks, more than 65%, are recorded in Asia and the Americas.</p><p><span></span>"These cases exist in places where raw materials are being mined or where land is being seized for agriculture, in countries where the government is on the side of industry," said Dreyer.</p><p>It's in these areas, where Indigenous communities often live amid untapped natural resources and unspoiled forest, where local journalists are usually the first to report on the conflicts. Often, they're the only ones on the scene."</p><p>In some Latin American countries, the dominant traditional media are heavily controlled by the economic and political elites," said Dreyer. "They often hold back from critical reporting on environmental issues, because it clashes with their interests." As a result, when local media decide to take a closer look they're put under extreme pressure, he added.</p>
Local Journalists Under Pressure<p>The work of local journalists is extremely important for Indigenous communities, said Kathrin Wessendorf, head of the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). "Each Indigenous community has its own language, and only community reporters can report in that language," she told DW. "They also know how best to approach the community to spread the message."</p><p>Patricia Gualinga, who fights for Indigenous rights in Ecuador, told DW that large national media networks are often slow to report on environmental and human rights issues. "It's really very difficult to get coverage on TV. And if an issue isn't reported by the media, it doesn't exist," she said.</p>
Media Coverage Provides Protection<p>Journalism is needed to bring such crimes to light, said Wessendorf, adding that international media have a particularly important responsibility.</p><p>"Journalists can bring the human rights violations often associated with environmental destruction to the attention of the wider public," she said. "This, in turn, can lead to international solidarity and put pressure on governments or companies."</p>
Documenting Violence and Intimidation Across Borders<p>Gualinga and other media workers from Latin America discussed the role of journalism in the fight for environmental protection and human rights during a <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/gmf-digital-session-tierra-de-resistentes-defending-the-planet/a-55397748" target="_blank">a recent panel discussion</a>at DW's Global Media Forum. Also taking part was Andres Bermudez Lievano, a Colombian journalist and one of the editors of <a href="https://tierraderesistentes.com/en/" target="_blank"><em>Tierra de Resistentes ("Land of Resistants"</em>)</a>. The investigative data journalism project, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, was launched by Colombian Journalists' Association, Consejo de Redaccion, with the support of the DW Akademie.</p><p>In the project, journalists from 10 different countries documented the fates of hundreds of environmental activists in Latin America who have been threatened and killed for their work. Nearly 2,400 cases have been compiled to date, with some now taken up by UN organizations.</p>
By John R. Platt
Well, that was interesting … and hair-raising. At press time the harrowing presidential race of 2020 remains too close to call, as do a few key congressional and Senate seats. The Senate may not even settle out until January, when Georgia will hold runoff elections and we'll find out which party controls that house of government.
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By Kenny Stancil
Amid the Global Week of Action for Debt Cancellation and one month ahead of the Finance in Common Summit, climate justice advocates on Monday urged public banks around the world to treat government responses to the coronavirus crisis as opportunities to coordinate just recoveries from the ongoing public health and economic calamities and to simultaneously facilitate just transitions from dirty to clean energy, thereby beginning to "build the world we want."
<div id="65c39" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ac51e8b5bddbfd63c853f644d08e44dc"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1315656759781064706" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">As we launch the #WorldWeWant campaign on climate impacts, @UN Secretary-General @antonioguterres echoes our call f… https://t.co/5ytx9JD3hh</div> — Climate Action Network - International (CAN) (@Climate Action Network - International (CAN))<a href="https://twitter.com/CANIntl/statuses/1315656759781064706">1602511989.0</a></blockquote></div>
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By Rasheena Fountain
The topic of energy rarely came up during Alexis Cureton's childhood, split between Tulsa, Oklahoma, Duluth, Georgia, and Indianapolis. Nevertheless, Cureton can still recall his mother's reminders to turn off the lights and not to overuse the dishwasher. Those pleas gave him an awareness of the scarcity, necessity, and costs of energy—heightened during those cold-weather stretches when his family's finances did not allow them to pay the electric bill. Along the way, two questions formed in his head: "How is energy helping to create comfort and, in its absence, how am I uncomfortable?" Today, these questions shape Cureton's lens at NRDC, where he advocates for California's low-income communities of color to be at the energy decision-making table and for their access to clean energy.
Alexis Cureton with Dr. Robert Bullard at an event honoring the professor as the Stephen Schneider Award winner for outstanding climate science communication at Climate One in San Francisco. Alexis Cureton
Cureton speaking at an event for the Greenlining Institute. Alexis Cureton
By Sharon Zhang
Back in March, when the pandemic had just planted its roots in the U.S., President Donald Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do something devastating: The agency was to indefinitely and cruelly suspend environmental rule enforcement. The EPA complied, and for just under half a year, it provided over 3,000 waivers that granted facilities clemency from state-level environmental rule compliance.
By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (EPA) Andrew Wheeler gave a speech Thursday where he accused Democratic efforts to stop the climate crisis as actions that have hurt poor and vulnerable communities. He also laid out a vision for a second Trump term, saying it would bring a new wave of deregulation and support for economic development, according to Reuters.
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A Look at Why Environmentalism Is So Homogeneous — and How Organizations Might Cultivate Genuine Diversity
By Ambika Chawla
As a child growing up in Los Angeles, Erynn Castellanos would spend hours exploring her grandmother's backyard garden, an oasis of greenery filled with oranges, sugarcane, yerba buena, guava and herbs.
Underrepresented<p>In 2014, Dorceta Taylor, a professor of environmental justice and food systems and the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability, published a landmark <a href="https://www.diversegreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/ExecutiveSummary_Green2.0_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">study</a> of racial diversity in green NGOs, government agencies and foundations. She reported that 16% or fewer of staff in these organizations were people of color and less than 12% occupied leadership positions.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.diversegreen.org/leaking-talent/" target="_blank">follow-up study</a> published in 2019 by Stefanie K. Johnson, associate professor of Management at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, reviewed 40 green NGOs and foundations and found that green organizations were still overwhelmingly white, with only 20% of NGO staff identifying as people of color. In fact, the study found that from 2017 to 2018, the percent of senior staff positions at green foundations held by people of color fell from 33% to 4%.</p><p>And a <a href="https://www.mediamatters.org/broadcast-networks/how-broadcast-tv-networks-covered-climate-change-2019" target="_blank">recent study</a> by Media Matters for America found that people of color comprised only 10% of people interviewed or featured in media coverage on climate change.</p>
Root Causes<p>What's behind the lack of proportional representation of communities of color in the environmental workforce?</p><p>Peggy Shepard, co-founder and director of <a href="https://www.weact.org/" target="_blank">WE ACT for Environmental Justice</a>, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes underrepresented communities around environmental justice education, energy efficiency, toxins in consumer products, climate justice, clean air and more, says it's part of a far larger societal malaise. WE ACT also engages in policy advocacy at the city, state and federal levels.</p><p>"I see the fight for environmental justice, housing justice, Black Lives Matter, prison reform — all of those are linked by the underlying systemic racism that really mandates that we have organizations to safeguard our lives from the police, and to safeguard our environment," she says. "All of those issues that are about protecting rights, and justice is what really links us all."</p><p>Castellanos says that, in addition to not seeing people like them already engaged, some members of the <a href="https://ensia.com/articles/latinos-care-about-the-environment-so-why-arent-green-groups-engaging-them-more/" target="_blank">Latino community</a> view environmental problems as less pressing than other issues. "Immigration is number one, with people being detained," she says. "How can you tell your students to care about the environment when they are afraid that their parents won't be home?"</p><p>Virginia Palacios, a climate change consultant for <a href="http://www.greenlatinos.org/" target="_blank">GreenLatinos</a><u>,</u> says that people of color may have fewer opportunities to engage in environment-oriented activities that require financial resources when they are growing up, such as summer camps. As a result, they may not have a background that predisposes them to moving into green careers or being active in environmental groups.</p><p>"People who are low income are more likely to be people of color," Palacios says. "When you are coming from that background, you are not going to have the same opportunities as a person who is more affluent had in their life. You might not have been able to go to the summer camp that prepared you to go to college. You probably didn't get to do all the extra stuff that people use to stack up their resume."</p><p>One of the findings in Taylor's 2014 report was that in addition to overt discrimination, unconscious bias often perpetuates workplaces that lack diversity in hiring and promotion practices.</p><p>"Homogeneous workplaces arise because of adherence to particular cultural norms, filtering, network structure, and recruitment practices. These are forms of unconscious or inadvertent biases that can lead to or perpetuate institutional homogeneity," states the report.</p><p>Palacios contends that implicit bias often occurs as part of the hiring practices of green groups. "People tend to hire people who look like them or who went to the same schools as they did. Or, they get a good feeling from this person because they are like them."</p>
Strategies for Change<p>Palacios says she believes training workshops on implicit bias can be an effective strategy for increasing diversity.</p><p>"Organizations that want to improve diversity have to know that they have unconscious bias. They will have to go through a process of unlearning habits," she says. "One of the things that has been the most successful in my experience are being able to go through an in-person training with your peers and then being able to have a conversation, to process things verbally. I think unconscious bias trainings are one of the first things that white folks can do to understand how they have been programmed."</p><p>The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has begun such trainings, according to senior vice president and chief human resources officer Sean Cook, in addition to other initiatives to promote diversity in the environmental workforce, such as fellowships and partnerships with universities.</p><p>"One of the initiatives that we have recently undertaken is unconscious bias training. Last year, we worked with an outside firm called Kaleidoscope to help us roll out this training initiative, which included increasing our knowledge of race and equity, leading inclusively, leveraging differences, and building a diverse team. Individual trainers from Kaleidoscope went to our offices in New York, San Francisco, Sacramento and Washington D.C. and trained all managers on these subjects. We began these trainings at the ground level of our organization and went all of the way up to the board of directors," says Cook.</p><p>According to Cook, staff gave the conscious inclusion training high marks. In follow-up surveys, 95% agreed or strongly agreed that "cultural competence can improve my experience in the work environment," and 89% agreed or strongly agreed that "the material in the session felt relevant to our workplace."</p><p>Cook says EDF is also working to ensure that during the hiring process, applicants are not judged unfairly based upon their educational background. "We want to make sure that we are inclusive of all, whether you went to an Ivy League school, whether you were self-educated, whether you attended a community college, a liberal arts school or a state university."</p><p>Palacios also recommends that organizations create guidelines for the skills that are critical for a job position, and that hiring managers should "really have a rubric in mind of how you are going to be judging the person in front of you. That can help to reduce bias when you are having an interview with someone, so you don't ask, 'Did they go to the same school that I did? Did they play the same sports that I did?'"</p>
Genuine Diversity<p>Hodan Barreh, a youth environmental advocate passionate about bringing diversity to the environmental movement in her hometown of Austin, Texas — which <a href="https://www.statesman.com/business/20160924/report-austin-most-economically-segregated-major-metro-area-in-us" target="_blank">studies show</a> is one of the most economically segregated cities in the country — cautions green groups to avoid tokenization of people of color if they want to bring genuine diversity to the environmental movement.</p><p>"They bring in that one Latinx person, that one Indigenous person, that one person of color, and they think that's enough. They think that one perspective speaks for all of the community," Barreh says. "That's very problematic, because not one person can give you the full perspective of what a community entails."</p><p><span></span>Shepard points out that it's important to remember that the environmental movement is more than large green groups: It also includes a constellation of community-based groups advocating for environmental justice within their localities. The problem, she says, is that the media and decision-makers are often deaf to their voices.</p><p><span></span>"When elected officials and policymakers want to know about environmental justice, they don't necessarily call environmental justice groups, they'll call [the Natural Resources Defense Council] or Sierra Club," she says. "It's the devaluing that we have expertise, that we're knowledgeable about our own issues and about the places where we are living."</p><p><span></span><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://ensia.com/features/environmental-workforce-diversity-systemic-racism/" target="_blank">Ensia</a>. </em></p>
The state of Michigan has reached a settlement with the victims of the Flint water crisis. Michigan agreed to pay $600 million, which will primarily benefit the city's children since they were most affected by the lead-tainted water, The Washington Post reported.
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Transitioning to renewable energy can help reduce global warming, and Jennie Stephens of Northeastern University says it can also drive social change.
For example, she says that locally owned businesses can lead the local clean energy economy and create new jobs in underserved communities.
"We really need to think about … connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about," she says, "whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health and well-being."
To maximize that potential, she says the energy sector must have more women and people of color in positions of influence. Research shows that leadership in the solar industry, for example, is currently dominated by white men.
"I think that a more inclusive, diverse leadership is essential to be able to effectively make these connections," Stephens says. "Diversity is not just about who people are and their identity, but the ideas and the priorities and the approaches and the lens that they bring to the world."
So she says by elevating diverse voices, organizations can better connect the climate benefits of clean energy with social and economic transformation.
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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