By Sarah Chasis
June 8 is World Oceans Day, dedicated to celebrating our beautiful, mysterious, and life-giving oceans.
As our oceans make up more than 70 percent of the earth's surface, their health drives the future of our planet. Oceans give us every other breath we take, provide a critical source of protein and a way of life for billions of people, contribute trillions of dollars to the world economy, and are home to 50 percent to 80 percent of this planet's life.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Courtney Lindwall
Growing your own juicy tomatoes or crisp peppers sounds idyllic. But in practice, backyard farming can be daunting. Many gardeners dealing with pests, weeds and unpredictable weather quickly find themselves questioning whether they are working with nature or against it.
John and Molly Chester
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- It's Time to Get Rid of Your Lawn! - EcoWatch ›
After a decade of delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally proposed a limit for levels of the toxic chemical perchlorate (a component of rocket fuel) in drinking water — except the newly proposed standard of 56 parts per billion is 10 to 50 times higher than what scientists recommend.
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- Trump EPA Won’t Regulate Toxic Drinking Water Chemical That Harms Children’s Development - EcoWatch ›
By Jodi Helmer
When it comes to meal preparation, I thought I was a pro: I make shopping lists, eat leftovers and bake overripe produce into breads or simmer them into jams. My husband, Jerry, and I even have a compost bin — but we still end up tossing plenty of food into the trash can. And every time we dump another spoiled yogurt or fuzzy zucchini, we tell ourselves, "We need to do better."
Jerry and I agreed to test Meal Prep Mate, a new tool from NRDC's Save the Food initiative, to see if the planning tools, recipes and storage tips could reduce our food waste. Entering information into the site's calculator on what proteins, produce and grains we planned to cook, plus how many people we were feeding and how many meals each person needed, helped us create a smarter shopping list, gave us suggestions for supplemental recipes using some of the same ingredients, and offered new ideas for spicing up our leftovers.
- Food Waste Set to Increase by 33 Percent Within 10 Years - EcoWatch ›
- Austin Bans Restaurants From Throwing Food Waste Into Landfills ... ›
- 20 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste - EcoWatch ›
59 Craft Breweries Tell EPA Dirty Water Proposal Threatens Key Ingredient 'on Which Our Livelihoods Depend'
By Becky Hammer
Thursday a group of 59 craft breweries sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the agencies' "Dirty Water Rule" proposal to slash clean water protections for waterways around the country.
Here's what they said ...<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTI1ODA0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTQ4OTczMX0.R300UoeKWQdlBKwfFP8wMAYYppwpWIYV6CiASGoDUII/img.jpg?width=980" id="f53ac" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ec7768dbcc538620d7c1758f2c761133" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Pexels<p>Mr. Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency<br></p><p>Mr. R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, U.S. Department of the Army</p><p>Dear Administrator Wheeler and Assistant Secretary James:</p><p>We oppose your proposal to substantially limit the number of waterways receiving protection under the Clean Water Act. This rule would endanger critical wetlands and streams across the country — waterways that our craft breweries depend on to provide the clean water we use to brew our beer.</p><p>Beer is mostly water, so the quality of our source water significantly affects our finished product. Compounds present in brewing water can affect pH, color, aroma, and taste. Sulfates make hops taste astringent, while chlorine can create a medicinal off-flavor. The presence of bacteria can spoil a batch of beer. Even small chemical disruptions in our water supply can influence factors like shelf life and foam pattern.</p><p>Unexpected changes in water quality — due to pollution in our source water, or a change in the treatment process at our local drinking water plant — can threaten our brewing process and our bottom line. We need reliable sources of clean water to consistently produce the great beer that is key to our success. It is thanks in part to this important natural resource that the craft brewing industry contributes about $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy each year, along with more than 500,000 jobs.</p><p>For years, craft brewers have been asking for more clean water protections, not fewer. We supported the 2015 Clean Water Rule because it helped protect the sources of drinking water for 117 million Americans from pollution and destruction, providing certainty that we would continue to have access to the clean water on which our livelihoods depend. Importantly, that rule was based on sound science. The record showed that the waters it protected had biological, chemical, and physical connections to larger downstream waterways.</p><p>This proposed rule, to the contrary, ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence that protecting small streams and wetlands is essential to ensuring the quality of America's water sources. It would prohibit applying federal pollution-control safeguards to rain-dependent streams and exclude wetlands that do not have a surface connection to other protected waters. It also invites polluters to ask for even greater rollbacks, such as eliminating protections for seasonally-flowing streams.</p><p>We strongly oppose these proposed changes, which would affect millions of miles of streams and most of the nation's wetlands. Science shows that protecting these waters is important to downstream water quality. We must maintain clear protections for the vulnerable waterways that provide our most important ingredient.</p><p>We are depending on you not to roll back the safeguards established under the Clean Water Act. Protecting clean water is central to our long-term business success. Moreover, it is vital to the health and the economy of the communities where we live and work.</p><p>Thank you for considering our views on this important matter.</p><p>Sincerely,</p><p>Allagash Brewing Company (Maine)</p><p>Alliance Brewing Company (Tennessee)</p><p>Andersonville Brewing (Illinois)</p><p>Asheville Brewing Company (North Carolina)</p><p>Avery Brewing Company (Colorado)</p><p>Bang Brewing (Minnesota)</p><p>Blue Point Brewing Company (New York)</p><p>Brewery Techne (Pennsylvania)</p><p>Brewery Vivant (Michigan)</p><p>Brooklyn Brewery (New York)</p><p>Bull City Burger and Brewery (North Carolina)</p><p>Clinch River Brewing (Tennessee)</p><p>Corridor Brewery & Provisions (Illinois)</p><p>Cypress and Grove Brewing Company (Florida)</p><p>DryHop Brewers (Illinois)</p><p>Earth Bread + Brewery (Pennsylvania)</p><p>Engrained Brewery & Restaurant (Illinois)</p><p>Fiddlin' Fish Brewing Company (North Carolina)</p><p>Flossmoor Station Brewing Company (Illinois)</p><p>Forest City Brewery (Ohio)</p><p>Founders Brewing Company (Michigan)</p><p>Fremont Brewing (Washington)</p><p>Grand Rapids Brewing Company (Michigan)</p><p>Great Lakes Brewing Company (Ohio)</p><p>Greenstar Organic Brewing (Illinois)</p><p>Half Acre Beer (Illinois)</p><p>Half Moon Bay Brewing Company (California)</p><p>HopCat (Michigan)</p><p>Horse & Dragon Brewing Company (Colorado)</p><p>Lakefront Brewery (Wisconsin)</p><p>Land-Grant Brewing Company (Ohio)</p><p>Lost Rhino Brewing Company (Virginia)</p><p>Maine Beer Company (Maine)</p><p>Maui Brewing Company (Hawaii)</p><p>Naked River Brewing Company (Tennessee)</p><p>New Belgium Brewing (Colorado)</p><p>Odell Brewing Company (Colorado)</p><p>Old Bust Head Brewing Company (Virginia)</p><p>One World Brewing (North Carolina)</p><p>Revolution Brewing (Illinois)</p><p>Right Brain Brewery (Michigan)</p><p>Rising Tide Brewing Company (Maine)</p><p>Rolling Meadows Farm Brewery (Illinois)</p><p>Sailfish Brewing Company (Florida)</p><p>Saltwater Brewery (Florida)</p><p>Sanctuary Brewing Company (North Carolina)</p><p>Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (California)</p><p>Sleepy Dog Brewery (Arizona)</p><p>Smartmouth Brewing Company (Virginia)</p><p>Starr Hill Brewery (Virginia)</p><p>SweetWater Brewing Company (Georgia)</p><p>Temperance Beer Co. (Illinois)</p><p>Two Brothers Brewing Company (Illinois)</p><p>Upslope Brewing Company (Colorado)</p><p>Wild Onion Brewery (Illinois)</p><p>Wild Wolf Brewing Company (Virginia)</p><p>Wolf Hills Brewing Company (Virginia)</p><p>Wrightsville Beach Brewery (North Carolina)</p><p><br></p>
By Jennifer Skene and Shelley Vinyard
For most people, toilet paper only becomes an issue when it unexpectedly runs out. Otherwise, it's cheap and it's convenient, something we don't need to think twice about. But toilet paper's ubiquity and low sticker price belie a much, much higher cost: it is taking a dramatic and irreversible toll on the Canadian boreal forest, and our global climate. As a new report from NRDC and Stand.earth outlines, when you flush that toilet paper, chances are you are flushing away part of a majestic, old-growth tree ripped from the ground, and destined for the drain. This is why NRDC is calling on Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Charmin, to end this wasteful and destructive practice by changing the way it makes its toilet paper through solutions that other companies have already embraced.
By Rhea Suh
Wednesday marked a watershed moment in the national fight against the growing dangers of climate change, with two governors—a southern Democrat and a northeastern Republican—kicking off the first of a raft of hearings on the central environmental challenge of our time.
Appearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina and Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts laid out the stakes, for the people of their states and for the country, in standing up to this global scourge, in a hearing aptly titled "Climate Change: Impacts and the Need to Act."
By Jennifer Sass
Yet again, our government scientists—the oft neglected but so important brain trust of our nation—bring the public some very important new data. Pesticide water monitoring experts at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) paired up with scientists from the University of Iowa in a federally funded collaboration to track neonicotinoid pesticides or " neonics" in tap water, including the potential to form chlorinated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) from the pesticides and their metabolites that may be more toxic than the original compounds. And the news isn't good.
'Absolutely Unconscionable': Trump EPA Refuses to Limit Toxic Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water
By Jessica Corbett
In a decision deemed by critics unsurprising but also "absolutely unconscionable," the Trump administration's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reportedly plans to refrain from regulating a pair of toxic chemicals linked to kidney and testicular cancer, even though they are contaminating millions of Americans' drinking water.
Sources familiar with an unreleased draft plan approved last month by acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Politico that the chemicals PFOA and PFOS will remain unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, meaning that "utilities will face no federal requirements for testing for and removing the chemicals from drinking water supplies, although several states have pursued or are pursuing their own limits."
By Jason Bittel
On January 2, a snail named George shriveled up and died in his tank at the University of Hawaii. He was 14 years old, which for a land snail is pretty long in the tooth (or in George's case, radula). But in all of his years, George never sired any offspring. There were simply no mating partners to be found. In fact, George was the last known member of his species, Achatinella apexfulva. And the moment he slimed off this mortal coil, 2019 experienced its first documented extinction.
While George's death came as a bit of a surprise (it's tough to tell when a snail is ill), the extinction of his species has been a long time coming.
By Rhea Suh
One month on, the longest and most senseless U.S. government shutdown in history is taking a grave and growing toll on the environment and public health.
Food inspectors have been idled or are working without pay, increasing the risk we'll get sick from eating produce, meat and poultry that isn't properly checked. National parks and public wilderness lands are overrun by vandals, overtaken by off-road joyriders, and overflowing with trash. Federal testing of air and water quality, as well as monitoring of pollution levels from factories, incinerators and other sources, is on hold or sharply curtailed. Citizen input on critical environmental issues is being hindered. Vital research and data collection are being sidelined.
By Ana Unruh Cohen
As the longest government shut down in history drags on, and the experts protecting our air and water remain off the job, the Senate is barreling forward to put Andrew Wheeler at the wheel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He is unfit for this public trust.
In his seven-month tenure as the acting administrator at EPA, Wheeler's relentlessly pushed to advance the pro-polluter agenda launched by Scott Pruitt, the worst administrator in the agency's storied 48-year history. Wheeler may lack Pruitt's scandals, but he's no improvement.
By Rhea Suh
Minutes after opening the 116th Congress last week, incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a stirring call to national action on what she called "the existential threat of our time: the climate crisis."
In Pelosi we have a leader who is listening to the science—and to the American people across the country as they rally around the urgent need for effective action to stem this global scourge.