U.S. Senators to Hold All-Night Session on Climate Change
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Nearly 30 U.S. senators all have the same plans for tonight—discussing climate change.
At least 28 senators, all democrats or independents, agreed to stay on the Senate floor for an all-night session allowing the legislators to discuss the issue and ideas on what to do about it. The session has been in the works for months and was organized by the Senate Climate Action Task Force.
The participating senators say they will be tweeting throughout the night, using the hashtag #Up4Climate.
“So many Senators coming together for an all-night session shows our commitment to wake up Congress to the dangers of climate change," California Sen. Barbara Boxer said. "All you have to do is look at China to see what happens to your country when you throw the environment under the bus.”
According to a statement from Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, here are the senators expected to participate:
Senators expected to participate include:
- Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV
- Dick Durbin, D-IL
- Charles Schumer, D-NY
- Patty Murray, D-WA
- Brian Schatz, D-HI
- Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI
- Barbara Boxer, D-CA
- Dianne Feinstein, D-CA
- Ron Wyden, D-OR
- Bill Nelson, D-FL
- Maria Cantwell, D-WA
- Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD
- Bernard Sanders, I-VT
- Amy Klobuchar, D-MN
- Mark Udall, D-CO
- Tom Udall, D-NM
- Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH
- Jeff Merkley, D-OR
- Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY
- Al Franken, D-MN
- Richard Blumenthal, D-CT
- Chris Murphy, D-CT
- Martin Heinrich, D-NM
- Angus King, I-ME
- Tim Kaine, D-VA
- Elizabeth Warren, D-MA
- Edward J. Markey, D-MA
- Cory Booker, D-NJ
The Washington Post compared the strategy to that of Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led late-night, double-digit-hour exchanges in the past year regarding drones and the government shutdown, respectively.
"The cost of Congress' inaction on climate change is too high for our communities, our kids and grandkids, and our economy,” Whitehouse said. “On Monday we’ll be sending a clear message: it’s time for Congress to wake up and get serious about addressing this issue.”
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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