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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
New U.S. dietary guidelines are a strong win for alcohol and soda industries. Kanawa_Studio / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Sarah Reinhardt

The federal government released new U.S. dietary guidelines Tuesday after three years of preparation, and it served a strong win to both alcohol and soda industries.

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Malcolm Peacey / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Ken Kimmell

2020 is coming to a close, and it can't end fast enough. But as the year winds down, I am buoyed by two big climate victories on the same day, perched atop a clear change in direction mandated by the election.

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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.

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Tyson plants have suffered some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks, yet the company pressed its workers to keep reporting for duty, creating an ideal environment for viral transmission. The Humane League / YouTube

By Karen Perry Stillerman

Tyson Foods is the nation's largest (and world's second largest) meat and poultry producer. It operates 110 processing plants with 121,000 employees in the United States and boasted $42 billion in revenue in 2019, putting the publicly traded, Arkansas-based company at #79 in the Fortune 500. As it seeks to maintain meat industry dominance, Tyson is counting on many of us to put its products — which include Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage and Hillshire Farm hams, as well as the ubiquitous Tyson chicken — on our holiday tables.

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There are signs of climate action hope for 2021. R_Tee / Getty Images

By Kristy Dahl

In early January of this year, fresh off the experience of writing a year-end blog post for 2019, I started a project that I thought would make writing this year's year-end post easier. I created a little 2020 calendar on which I planned to record the one big thing that happened in the climate change space each day. In my mind I called it "The Daily Big Deal," and I could envision myself sitting here, as I am, on December 17, reviewing the year's climate-related events and deftly knitting them together in the blog post equivalent of a beautiful scarf made of reclaimed yarn. Or an ugly sweater. Or whatever.

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Map shows tracks and strength of Atlantic tropical cyclones in 2020. Blues are tropical depressions and tropical storms; yellow through red show hurricanes, darker shades meaning stronger ones. Master0Garfield / Wikimedia Commons

By Astrid Caldas

As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.

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Scientific integrity is key for protecting the field against attacks. sanjeri / Getty Images

By Maria Caffrey

As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.

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U.S. President Donald Trump (L) is seen during an NBC News town hall event in Miami on October 15, 2020, and President-elect Joe Biden (R) participates in an ABC News town hall event in Philadelphia on October 15, 2020. Brendan Smialowski and Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

By Genna Reed

In his first week as president-elect, Joe Biden instituted an advisory board of experts to provide science-based recommendations to respond to COVID-19. This could be a signal that independent science advice under a Biden administration is valued. After four years of watching the norms of science advisory structures eroded and undermined, especially at the EPA, it is hard to visualize the possibilities of a government informed by experts. Once Biden takes office in January, here are the actions I hope his administration will take to shore up the government's fifth arm of external expert advice:

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A memorial project installation of 20,000 American flags on September 22, 2020 in Washington, D.C. represents the more than 200,000 American lives lost to COVID-19. Win McNamee / Getty Images

By Derrick Z. Jackson

Officials at the highest levels are discussing the possibility of caving in on controlling the coronavirus and instead letting it run rampant throughout the United States until we reach "herd immunity," the point where the virus effectively runs out of people to infect. More than 6,200 scientists, health professionals, and research organizations say this is inhumane and have signed a memorandum rejecting herd immunity as a legitimate strategy.

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An example of a dry field in San Joachin Valley, California, during the California drought that lasted from 2012 to 2016. Citizens of the Planet / Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida

The immediate emergency of COVID-19 has been a powerful reminder that the most valuable things in our lives are our families, friends, and the welfare of our communities.

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People gather at Nahant Beach in Nahant, MA on June 4. While few patrons wore their masks on the beach, many of the groups adhered to keeping their towels six feet apart. Blake Nissen / The Boston Globe / Getty Images

By Derrick Z. Jackson

All over America, protesters have taken to the streets to protest the police murders of African Americans George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville and the white vigilante lynching of African American Ahmed Aubrey in Brunswick, Georgia. Part of the news coverage has dwelled on the speculation that the protests will fuel a second wave of COVID-19. One infectious disease scientist, Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, made the rough calculation that the protests could ultimately lead to between 15,000 and 50,000 overall coronavirus infections and between 50 to 500 deaths.

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As a heat wave descends upon the city, people seek refuge from the record high temperatures at the fountains in Flushing Meadows Park on July 21, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty Images

By Juan Declet-Barreto

In early April, when social distancing took hold across many places in the U.S. — with school and workplace closings and public life coming to a halt — it seemed like an inopportune time to talk about climate change.

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By Ken Kimmell

The COVID-19 crisis has upended the world, threatening the health and lives of millions, shattering the global economy, and imposing an unprecedented physical isolation upon us. It has changed so much almost overnight, including how we advocate for action on an even bigger long-term threat — climate change.

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