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Tree slammed into overhead power line in Miami, Florida. Mike Biddle/Twitter

EPA Grants Florida Utilities Blanket Pollution Waiver After Irma

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted all Florida power plants a "no action assurance" on Monday as the state tries to turn the lights back on post-Hurricane Irma.

The waiver, given at the request of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and effective through Sept. 26, allows the utilities "to operate without meeting all pollution controls in order to maintain the supply of electricity to customers and critical facilities across the state as a result of Hurricane Irma," EPA said.

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A bean farmer checks her crop in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Neil Palmer / CIAT

Now Is the Time to Solve Climate Change for 2050

By Paula Caballero

The reality of daily life is that we try to fix the problems that are staring us in the face. In many ways, the desire for short-term results defines the rhythm of both public and private life. So the idea that decisions today will define where we end up in a couple of decades is difficult to grasp, and may even appear outlandish.

Yet the unprecedented, deadly tropical cyclones in the Caribbean today and around the world foreshadow a perilous tomorrow if we don't tackle climate change now. We are at an historic crossroads that requires us to factor in the future. Because in a very real sense, 2050 is now.

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Steve Johnson / Flickr

You're Probably Drinking Plastic in Your Tap Water

We know that plastics clog our oceans, lakes and the stomachs of marine animals, but a first-of-its-kind investigation from Orb Media found the pervasive material in tap water supplies around the world, too.

Orb, a digital media nonprofit, worked with researchers at the State University of New York and the University of Minnesota and analyzed 159 drinking water samples across five continents over a ten-month period. The results indicated that plastics are just about everywhere—83 percent of the samples tested positive for the presence of tiny plastic particles, aka microplastics.

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Spiros Vathis / Flickr

Hudson River Dumps 300 Million Microfibers Into Atlantic Ocean Daily

A new study highlights how our laundry contributes to major oceanic pollution.

The Hudson River could be dumping about 300 million clothing fibers into the Atlantic Ocean per day, according to new research published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin.

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Water stress levels are rising. Flickr / Asian Development Bank

7 Reasons We Face a Global Water Crisis

By Leah Schleifer

Droughts in Somalia. Water rationing in Rome. Flooding in Jakarta. It doesn't take a hydrologist to realize that there is a growing global water crisis. Each August, water experts, industry innovators and researchers gather in Stockholm for World Water Week to tackle the planet's most pressing water issues.

What are they up against this year? Here's a quick rundown on the growing global water crisis.

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A fracking operation. Lock the Gate Alliance / Flickr

Fracking Debate Ramps Up Again in Illinois With First Permit Application Under New Rules

By Kari Lydersen

Four years ago, the Illinois legislature passed a law to regulate high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after months of contentious negotiations between oil industry interests, environmental watchdogs and community groups.

Leading up to the law's passage, companies had secured hundreds of leases to potentially frack in Southern Illinois.

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Business

Good News for Craft Beer Lovers

By Jeremy Deaton

Henry David Thoreau once said that a glass of beer would "naturalize a man at once—which would make him see green, and, if he slept, dream that he heard the wind sough among the pines."

That quote might as well be emblazoned on every IPA in America. Craft brewers across the country are finding innovative ways to guard the water, soil, air and climate on which their businesses depend.

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Meet the Brothers Kayaking Down the World's Most Polluted River

By Gary Bencheghib and Sam Bencheghib

We have all heard about the accumulation of plastic pollution in our ocean and the devastating effects it is having on marine life, but very little has been done to stop the plastic from its source.

With more than 80 percent of plastic pollution in the ocean originating from rivers and streams, we have decided to create a shocking visual of the world's most polluted river, the Citarum in Indonesia, by kayaking down it on two plastic bottle kayaks made from repurposed trash.

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Hine's Emerald Dragonfly. Missouri Department of Conservation

Escalating Use of Pesticides Harms Already Imperiled Aquatic Invertebrates

A new analysis published this month by U.S. Geological Survey scientists found pesticides at high enough concentrations to harm already imperiled aquatic invertebrates in more than half of 100 streams studied in the Midwest and Great Plains. The pesticide levels threaten species like the Hine's emerald dragonfly and the sheepnose mussel.

The U.S. Geological Survey study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found an average of 54 pesticides in each stream in both agricultural and urban areas, spotlighting the ever-broadening contamination of waterways caused by the nation's escalating use of pesticides.

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