Who's a Climate Champion and Who's a Climate Disaster?
By Khalid Pitts, Sierra Club Political Committee
This is it. This is the homestretch. It's just under 50 days until the election, which means it's time to put up or shut up—and the Sierra Club is doubling down.
It's hard to look at the stakes in this election and not want to jump in the fight with everything you've got. There's just too much on the line for our environment and the climate, and the contrast is so clear.
Sierra Club Political Committee
That's why we've just officially released our first ever #ClimateVoter web guide, ClimateVoter2016.org, which makes the choice between "Climate Champions" and "Climate Disasters" clear for voters up and down the ballot. One area where that contrast couldn't be clearer is the presidential race.
For the last year, Donald Trump's campaign has laid waste to common sense and decency across the country. His toxic rhetoric has targeted Latinos, Muslims, women, immigrants, the disabled, African-Americans, and basically anyone who respects our nation for what it is and what it stands for. And we know his policy will be just as toxic if and when he steps into office—and so would our air and water.
Trump has promised that he will eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if he wins, which means we can kiss the best, most important parts of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act goodbye, along with almost every other federal clean air and water safeguard.
And if you want even more evidence that Trump's extremism will mean havoc for our nation and our planet, look no further than his stance on the climate crisis: he has called it a hoax created "by and for the Chinese."
Trump Chooses Climate Skeptic as New Energy Adviser https://t.co/zHdwzx481g @HuffPostGreen @greenpeaceusa— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1463442312.0
That's right. If elected, Donald Trump would be the only world leader who denies the science of climate change. He even says he wants to tear up the historic Paris climate agreement, when nearly 200 countries came to the table to finally act together to tackle the climate crisis. His position would be a national embarrassment that would erode our ability to operate on the international stage and threaten U.S. national security.
Thankfully, there's a choice. Secretary Hillary Clinton doesn't just know the climate is changing, she is listening to the scientists and has a strong plan to do something about it.
Clinton is running on the strongest environmental and climate action platform of any nominee in history. She wants to implement the Paris agreement and more, with a plan to install half a billion new solar panels and generate enough clean, renewable energy to power every home in the country. She rejects the toxic Trans-Pacific Partnership, and would put an end to dangerous drilling in the Arctic, the Atlantic and on our public lands.
Sanders Touts Fracking Ban as Clinton Pushes Renewables Plan Just Days Before California Primary https://t.co/PeZtqT1pbP @frack_off— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1465005309.0
Beyond the presidential race, there are profound choices to make up-and-down the ballot between climate disasters and climate champions, and voters deserve to know the difference there too.
Take North Carolina, for example. Republican Sen. Richard Burr is another climate denier, claiming falsely that he doesn't "think science can prove" climate change.
Burr, we have a few hundred scientific studies you should take a look. Or you could just refer to NASA, which the Republican Party went out of their way to celebrate at their most recent convention. Frankly, it's no surprise that a denier like Burr also has no interest in a landmark policy like the Clean Power Plan—the EPA's first ever effort to cut carbon pollution from power plants while growing our clean energy economy.
On the other hand, Burr's opponent Deborah Ross strongly supported legislation that spurred the growth of clean energy jobs in North Carolina, while opposing environmentally harmful fracking. She's supported policies to protect clean air and clean water while opposing tax breaks for polluters. So it's clear all around that right now Congress desperately needs more climate and environmental champions like Deborah Ross in the Senate, and fewer climate deniers like Richard Burr.
The same story repeats itself in top Senate races in the country, where climate champions like Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jason Kander (D-Mo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) face climate disasters like Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Darryl Glenn (R-Colo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
So if you're all revved up and ready to go, you're in just the right place because you can learn far more about each of these races by viewing checking out our #ClimateVoter web guide today.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A herdsman in the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia was diagnosed with the bubonic plague Sunday, The New York Times reported.
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By Matt Kasson, Brian Lovett and Carolee Bull
Home gardening is having a boom year across the U.S. Whether they're growing their own food in response to pandemic shortages or just looking for a diversion, numerous aspiring gardeners have constructed their first raised beds, and seeds are flying off suppliers' shelves. Now that gardens are largely planted, much of the work for the next several months revolves around keeping them healthy.
Start With Prevention<p>Just as preventive steps like maintaining a balanced diet help keep humans healthy, home growers can take many actions to help their gardens thrive.</p><p>One key step is assessing soil fertility – the ability of soil to sustain plant growth – which can vary widely depending on your location and soil type. Low soil fertility limits food production and predisposes plants to disease and pests. University extension <a href="https://soiltesting.wvu.edu/" target="_blank">soil testing labs</a> can help evaluate the quality of garden soil and identify nutrient deficiencies and acidic soils, often at no charge.</p>
Using weed barrier landscape cloth for planting rows and mulching between rows is an effective way to suppress weeds. Matt Kasson, CC BY-ND
Diagnosing Problems<p>Common plant pathogens include <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/viral/introduction/Pages/PlantViruses.aspx" target="_blank">viruses</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/prokaryote/intro/Pages/Bacteria.aspx" target="_blank">bacteria</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/nematode/intro/Pages/IntroNematodes.aspx" target="_blank">nematodes</a>, <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/oomycete/introduction/Pages/IntroOomycetes.aspx#:%7E:text=The%20oomycetes%2C%20also%20known%20as,foliar%20blights%20and%20downy%20mildews." target="_blank">oomycetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/disandpath/fungalasco/intro/Pages/IntroFungi.aspx" target="_blank">fungi</a>. All of these microorganisms, especially at an early stage of infection, are too small to see. But when they proliferate, they cause changes in plants that we can recognize.</p><p>Unlike insects, which move around on six legs or on wings through the air, pathogens can move unseen and unchecked from leaf to leaf on the wind, through the soil or in droplets of water. Some microbes have even formed intimate relationships with insects and use them as vehicles to move from plant to plant, which makes these pathogens even more challenging to manage. Unfortunately, by the time some pathogens make their presence known, the damage is already done.</p><p>We recently conducted a <a href="https://twitter.com/kasson_wvu/status/1265989041725624323" target="_blank">Twitter poll</a> of gardeners nationwide to find out which culprits plagued their gardens. People named <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/aphids" target="_blank">aphids</a>, <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/squash-vine-borer" target="_blank">squash vine borers</a>, <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/squash-bug" target="_blank">squash bugs</a> and <a href="https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/flea-beetle" target="_blank">flea beetles</a> as the most problematic insect pests. Their most troublesome pathogens included <a href="https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/plant-disease/fruit-vegetable-diseases/powdery-mildew" target="_blank">powdery mildew</a>, <a href="https://plantpath.ifas.ufl.edu/rsol/Trainingmodules/BWTomato_Module.html" target="_blank">tomato bacterial wilt</a> and <a href="https://extension.wvu.edu/lawn-gardening-pests/plant-disease/fruit-vegetable-diseases/downy-mildew" target="_blank">cucurbit downy mildew</a>.</p><p>To manage such perennial challenges, the first step is to spend time closely looking at your plants. Do you notice any insects consistently hanging around, or molds colonizing leaves or other plant parts? How about symptoms such as blight, stunting, or leaves that are yellowing, browning or wilting?</p>
This white fungal growth is an early sign of powdery mildew on a leaf of susceptible summer squash. Matt Kasson, CC BY-ND
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By Emma Charlton
The effects of climate change may more far-reaching than you think.
Hotter temperatures have been linked to a rise in energy poverty, with more people struggling to meet their energy bills from their household income, according to a new study published on ScienceDirect by researchers from Italy's Ca' Foscari University.
Value of air conditioning imports in selected OECD countries. ScienceDirect
The ‘Golden Thread’<p>The <a href="https://www.endenergypoverty.org/reports" target="_blank">Global Commission to End Energy Poverty</a> calls access to energy the "golden thread" that weaves together economic growth, human development, and environmental sustainability. And one of the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/archive/sdg-07-affordable-and-clean-energy" target="_blank">United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals</a> is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.</p><p>Sustainability also has a large role to play in the future of energy and failing to embed green policies in COVID-19 stimulus packages and underinvesting in green infrastructure are current risks, according to the <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_COVID_19_Risks_Outlook_Special_Edition_Pages.pdf" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</p><p>In its vision for a 'Great Reset' – building a better world after the pandemic – the Forum and the IMF jointly backed the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/end-fossil-fuel-subsidies-economy-imf-georgieva-great-reset-climate/" target="_blank">transition to a green economy</a> and called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies.</p>
As if the surging cases of coronavirus weren't enough for Floridians to handle, now the state's Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed that a person in the Tampa area tested positive for a rare brain-eating amoeba, according to CBS News. The Florida DOH posted a warning to residents to remind them of the dangers of the rare single-celled amoeba that attacks brain tissue.
Scientists are urging the WHO to revisit their coronavirus guidance to focus more on airborne transmission and less on hand sanitizer and hygiene. John Lund / Photodisc / Getty Images
The World Health Organization (WHO) is holding the line on its stance that the respiratory droplets of the coronavirus fall quickly to the floor and are not infectious. Now, a group of 239 scientists is challenging that assertion, arguing that the virus is lingering in the air of indoor environments, infecting people nearby, as The New York Times reported.
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Scores of people remained stranded in southern Japan on Sunday after heavy rain the day before caused deep flooding and mudslides that left at least 34 people confirmed or presumed dead.
Care Home Inundated<p>Altogether 16 residents at an elderly care home in Kuma Village are presumed dead after the facility was flooded by water and mud.</p><p>Fifty-one other residents have been rescued by boats and taken to hospitals for treatment, officials said.</p><p>Eighteen other people elsewhere have been confirmed dead, while more than a dozen others were still missing as of Sunday afternoon.</p><p>The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said many others were still waiting to be rescued from other inundated areas.</p><p>Hitoyoshi City was also badly affected by flooding, as rains in the prefecture exceeded 100 millimeters (4 inches) per hour at their height.</p>
More Rain Forecast<p>The disaster in the Kumamoto prefecture on Kyushu island is the worst natural catastrophe since Typhoon Hagibis in October last year, which cost the lives of 90 people.</p><p>Although residents in Kumamoto prefecture were advised to evacuate their homes following the downpours on Friday evening into Saturday, many people chose not to leave for fear of contracting the coronavirus.</p><p>Officials say, however, that measures are in place at shelters to prevent the transmission of the disease.</p><p>More rain is predicted in the region, and the Japan Meteorological Agency has warned of the danger of further mudslides.</p>
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