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We should listen to a renowned scientist’s warning on climate change

Cascade Institute - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 07:58

Thomas Homer-Dixon

The Version of Record of this op-ed was published in the The Globe and Mail.

Human beings have a natural optimism bias. For most of our species’ history, this bias has served us well, helping us persevere in the face of overwhelming odds. But when it comes to the climate crisis, our natural optimism could be our undoing. Our collective response to the crisis has been marked by denial, delay and delusion – denial of the problem’s seriousness, delay in doing anything significant about it and delusion about the efficacy of those things we’ve finally gotten around to doing.

One person who has railed against these tendencies is the renowned climate scientist James Hansen. Throughout his long career, Dr. Hansen has developed a reputation for being consistently ahead of the scientific curve in his assessment of climate change and its implications, most famously in the summer of 1988 when, as director of the NASA Goddard Institute, he brought public attention to global warming in testimony to the United States Senate. Now retired from NASA and based at Columbia University, he’s still vigorously engaged in climate science and policy advocacy.

In recent years, Dr. Hansen has argued that the scientific consensus, as reflected in the voluminous reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greatly underestimates the rate and magnitude of future warming. Earlier this month, he and 17 colleagues forcefully stated their case in a peer-reviewed paper, Global Warming in the Pipeline, published by a University of Oxford journal. I’d rank it as the most important scientific article I’ve read in the past decade.

If Dr. Hansen and his colleagues are right, the received wisdom of today’s supposedly informed climate cognoscenti – people such as David Wallace-Wells of The New York Times – is substantially wrong. Mr. Wallace-Wells and others tell us, with evident relief, that warming will likely peak somewhere around 2 to 3 C. The rapid decline in the cost of wind and solar power means we won’t burn all the world’s coal to get an an eventual rise in temperature of 4 C or even more. But Global Warming in the Pipeline shows that we don’t need to burn all our coal to get a 4 C rise in climate or hotter.

The paper makes two vital arguments undergirded by one striking empirical observation. The first argument is that Earth’s climate is much more sensitive to humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions than conventionally estimated. Taking into account feedbacks involving clouds, water vapour, snow cover and sea ice, “equilibrium climate sensitivity” – the eventual warming produced by a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere – is likely around 4.8 C, rather than the IPCC’s best estimate of 3 C.

Greater climate sensitivity means that far more warming is “in the pipeline” than conventional models predict. Indeed, Dr. Hansen and his colleagues estimate that the atmosphere’s current concentrations of greenhouse gases are already producing a radiative effect (what scientists call “forcing”) equivalent to a doubling of CO2 and that this effect, if not reduced, could readily double or triple the 1.2°C the planet is already experiencing.

The article’s second key argument is that until recently a significant portion of human-caused greenhouse warming has been offset by our aerosol emissions – fine particles in the air that reflect sunlight and cool the planet. This effect is now declining, as key sources of pollution are cleaned up. The authors call aerosol cooling a “Faustian bargain,” because payment in greater global warming is coming due as we reduce pollution from shipping, vehicles, industry and power plants.

Finally, the striking empirical observation is that Earth’s energy imbalance (EEI) has recently soared. This imbalance arises as our planet receives more energy from the sun than it radiates as heat back to space, because our greenhouse gases are trapping heat in the atmosphere. The authors estimate that between 2005 and 2015, EEI averaged about 0.7 watts per square metre across Earth’s surface. From early 2020 to the middle of this year, they argue, it reached 1.36 watts per square metre, likely in part because lower aerosol emissions allowed more solar energy to reach Earth’s surface.

A 1.36-watt imbalance may seem trivial, but when added up across the planet’s entire surface, the total amounts to nearly a million Hiroshima bombs of extra energy injected into Earth’s atmospheric-ocean system – over and over, each and every day. Currently, most of this excess energy is melting the world’s glaciers and ice caps and heating the oceans, but it’s also supercharging the droughts, storms and heat waves now afflicting every corner of our world.

As Earth’s energy imbalance increases by about half a watt each decade, the authors argue, it’s accelerating Earth’s warming – from about 0.18 degrees C per decade between 1970 and 2010 to at least 0.27 degrees C per decade now. In a more recent commentary, Dr. Hansen and his colleagues go on to estimate that the world will at least temporarily cross the 1.5-degree C ceiling this coming year, in part because of the influence of El Nino, reaching about 1.7 degrees C of warming by 2030 and 2 degrees C “by the late 2030s.”

Now, to be clear, some prominent climate scientists vehemently disagree with Dr. Hansen and his team, especially with their claim that warming is accelerating – Michael Mann at the University of Pennsylvania being one. Ultimately, the dispute will be adjudicated by nature itself, as the warming rate is revealed in coming years.

But betting against Dr. Hansen would seem foolish, even if our optimism bias inclines us to do so, given his track record and the worldwide evidence of a spiralling climate crisis we’ve seen this past year.

So, it’s worth unpacking the broader implications of the paper. I believe there are four.

First, if Dr. Hansen and his colleagues are correct, warming will melt the world’s great ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland much faster than the IPCC currently predicts, possibly entailing a rise of multiple metres in sea levels within the expected lifespan of coastal infrastructure being built now – that is, within the next century. Coastal communities should start planning for this change now.

Second, heating this century is likely to overwhelm many nature-based solutions to climate change. Fires and droughts will kill tree plantations intended to absorb carbon, while heating will weaken biological processes that practices such as regenerative agriculture must exploit to sequester carbon in soil.

Third, the most dangerous aspect of the climate problem is the long lag between emissions and full climate response. This lag facilitates denial, delay and delusion, and so increases the likelihood that some nations will ultimately attempt to “geoengineer” the atmosphere under emergency conditions – perhaps by using fleets of large aircraft to dump huge quantities of reflective sulfate particles into the stratosphere – with potentially catastrophic side-effects.

Lastly and most fundamentally, if James Hansen and his team are right, humanity’s responses to the climate crisis must be far more radical than currently planned. Incrementalism is now a waste of resources – and of time.

Read Article in The Globe and Mail

The post We should listen to a renowned scientist’s warning on climate change appeared first on Cascade Institute.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

What are quats?

Environmental Working Group - Wed, 11/22/2023 - 10:21
What are quats? rcoleman November 22, 2023

To protect your health, it’s essential to know what’s in your cleaning products, especially if you have kids, who are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals. 

One class of chemicals can lead to exposures throughout the home: quaternary ammonium compounds. Also referred to as quats or QACs, these chemicals are often used in cleaners because of their antiviral and antibacterial properties. 

But despite their widespread use in sprays, wipes and aerosols, they’re not entirely harmless. Prolonged or chronic exposure to quats like benzalkonium chloride and dialkyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, or DDAC, has been linked to significant health harms like skin, eye and respiratory irritation, and can even lead to the development of asthma in otherwise healthy people. DDAC-based quats are also linked to reproductive toxicity and birth defects in laboratory animals

Many people started using cleaners with quats during the COVID-19 pandemic, to try to reduce exposure from the virus on surfaces. But their use led to health hazards linked to the most toxic substances in this family of chemicals, because a cleaning product that contains quats used on your countertops and tables can leave a residue. Even if you use these products only infrequently, you can continue to be exposed.

Access to accurate product labels and awareness of the chemicals you are spraying and wiping to clean surfaces is essential to maintaining a healthy home.

Household harms

Studies have shown that the toxic chemicals in household cleaning products can contribute significantly to indoor air pollution. Another recent study found frequent use of cleaning products can increase the risk of childhood asthma.

In another recent study by EWG we found that common cleaning products, like glass and multipurpose cleaners, contain hundreds of volatile organic compounds linked to cancer and other health harms. 

Thanks to a law California approved in 2017, many of these chemicals must be disclosed on the package or through a company’s website. This law took effect in 2020, and it’s given U.S. consumers more access to information about the chemicals in their cleaning products.

The DARK Act

But a new bill introduced in Congress on behalf of leading household cleaning product producers would deny consumers peace of mind and block California's law. This federal preemption bill is supported by various household cleaning product companies, like S.C. Johnson and Reckitt, which previously pledged to oppose federal preemption of laws like the California measure.

But some of these companies are no longer honoring their pledge to oppose a federal preemption. 

Other companies, including Clorox, Henkel and Seventh Generation, are opposing the new bill so far and have pledged to honor their initial agreement. 

The industry bill, called the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK, Act by consumer advocates, would not only seek to preempt state law, but would also lead to an endless regulatory process that would produce far weaker disclosure requirements. If passed, far fewer chemicals would wind up being disclosed, and that’s bad for consumers’ right to know.

Areas of Focus Household & Consumer Products Disqus Comments Guest Authors Kendall Rozen, Communications Intern November 22, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Safer storage: Avoiding microplastic concerns while managing holiday leftovers

Environmental Working Group - Wed, 11/22/2023 - 09:36
Safer storage: Avoiding microplastic concerns while managing holiday leftovers rcoleman November 22, 2023

As the holidays approach, our kitchens are warming with festive feasts for friends and loved ones. The joy of preparing and indulging in holiday delicacies is often followed by the challenge of managing all those leftovers.

In the spirit of healthy living, it’s essential to steer clear of the pitfalls of plastic restaurant takeout containers and consider healthier alternatives for holiday dinner leftovers and beyond.

Plastic takeout and delivery food containers

Since the pandemic, more people have been making use of takeout and food delivery services. Many households have accumulated the standard plastic containers preferred by restaurants and food trucks for their convenience, price and stacking capabilities.

While reuse of these containers seems like a good choice, especially for storing leftovers, it raises concerns about potential health hazards. These containers are made with chemical additives, and a lack of transparency in their composition raises doubts about their long-term safety.

Microplastics from food containers

One serious pitfall is microplastics, tiny particles of plastic, that can leach from food containers, especially when they’re reheated or washed.

Studies show people are exposed to microplastics  from cutting boards and from twisting the caps of plastic bottles.

People also are likely exposed to microplastics while storing food in plastic containers. One study found microplastics in all reusable plastic takeout containers from restaurants. Storage of hot food in takeout containers accelerates the rate of leaching of microplastics and other potentially hazardous substances.

Effect on our health Another paper reviewed multiple studies that found microplastics in human organ, like the heart, placenta, testes, as well as various body fluids. The researchers emphasized the urgent need to understand the interaction of microplastics with cellular processes, especially their ability to adsorb and release toxic chemicals. 

High doses of microplastics can harm the kidneys. Microplastic particles from food containers have been found to be associated with altered gut and oral microbiota, as well as other health issues. People who consume takeout food over a long period of time face a greater risk of these health hazards. 

The disposal of widely used plastic containers also pollutes the environment. Safer food storage containers for holiday leftovers include glass, stainless steel and ceramic.

Glass containers

For storing leftovers, glass outshines plastic in durability, longevity and environmental impact. If well-maintained, glass can outlast plastic alternatives in the kitchen, offering a safe and recyclable solution for leftovers. Because of its non-porous surface, glass doesn’t absorb odors the way plastic does, making it ideal for storing a variety of foods without compromising flavors. 

These containers are dishwasher-safe, resistant to melting or warping, and can endure higher temperatures. They’re also good for storing food in the fridge or freezer. Glass containers are leakproof and easy to clean, a reliable way to store and preserve your favorite holiday dishes.

For safety reasons, glass should be replaced if it becomes chipped or cracked.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel has become a popular option for storing leftovers, a non-breakable, lightweight alternative to plastic. Lids are easy to secure and open with user-friendly latches. There is no plastic, eliminating concerns about chemical leaching.

These containers are odor-resistant and highly durable, as well as dishwasher-safe. And, with proper care, they can be used for years.

Although stainless steel containers come with a higher price tag, their longevity and durability can justify the investment. Another downside of stainless steel is you can’t see what is inside the container. They’re also not microwave-friendly.


Ceramic stands out for its heat resistance and surpasses plastic in durability. These containers can withstand high temperatures while resisting scratches and chipping. Beyond their durability, ceramic food containers boast a wide variety of designs and colors, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of any kitchen.

Their versatility shines through, since they are safe for use in the oven, microwave and freezer, making them good for reheating and storing leftovers.

Areas of Focus Food & Water Disqus Comments Authors Monica Amarelo November 22, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

7 holiday cleaning tips for a healthy home

Environmental Working Group - Tue, 11/21/2023 - 13:57
7 holiday cleaning tips for a healthy home rcoleman November 21, 2023

’Tis the season of joy and celebration – but with all the cooking and entertaining, our homes can quickly become a mess. Many of us may feel inspired to engage in a bit of seasonal cleaning – decluttering and scrubbing our living spaces from top to bottom – before guests arrive. Yet keeping our homes spick and span during the festivities poses its own set of challenges.

Conventional cleaning products may harbor harmful chemicals that can jeopardize our well-being. For young children, who crawl and explore with their hands, these substances pose a particular threat – fumes they can breathe and the possibility of skin contact or ingestion. 

Cleaning chemicals have been linked to health issues such as skin irritation, asthma, fertility disorders and, in severe cases, cancer. Many cleaning products contain substances that can exacerbate existing asthma, or trigger it in individuals previously unaffected. Respiratory irritants found in these products include some quaternary ammonium compounds, ethanolamines, glutaral and sodium hypochlorite, or chlorine bleach.

It's important to read ingredient labels carefully and follow instructions. By steering clear of excessive use of harsh chemicals, you can ensure your home stays sparkling and safe throughout the festive season.

Here are seven cleaning tips to ensure a healthy home during the holidays.

1. Dust

Dust is more than just particles; it can contain harmful chemicals, allergens and even lead. It is a complex blend of dead skin, outdoor soil, fungal spores and chemicals from household items, some of which may be harmful. Dust itself is an allergen.

The origin of harmful chemicals in dust is twofold. Indoor items like furniture, electronics, shoes, plastics and fabrics can release chemicals, and outdoor pollutants can enter the home through shoes, windows and doors. 

Because of their developing bodies, children face heightened health risks from dust. 

Clean surfaces regularly to avoid dust buildup. Avoid dry mopping, which can stir up settled dust. Instead, you can “wet wipe” with a damp rag or sponge to clean surfaces and prevent dust accumulation. And use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture small particles. Make sure to change the filter regularly to maintain optimal functionality.

Encourage guests to remove shoes to minimize indoor pollutants.

2. Glass surfaces

Clean glass surfaces with a simple mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, consider using ammonia-free glass cleaners, available at your local grocery store. 

Cleaners containing ammonia or ammonia compounds, which are commonly found in all-purpose and glass cleaners, can pose serious risks to human health. Exposure to ammonia can lead to allergic reactions and worsen asthma symptoms. It can also irritate and burn the skin, eyes and lungs.  

And it’s associated with aquatic toxicity, posing a threat to the environment.

To make your health a priority and minimize environmental impact, choose glass-cleaning alternatives that do not contain harmful substances like ammonia.

3. Bathroom deep-clean

Ensure your bathroom is ready for guests with a thorough cleaning that puts health and safety first. Choose a solution of warm water and natural soap for wiping surfaces, and use a baking soda and dish soap paste to clean the tub, ensuring a powerful yet non-toxic clean.

Ditch the chemical drain cleaners and choose a drain snake as a safer alternative.

Thiourea, commonly found in metal polishes and tarnish removers, has been linked to cancer.

Antibacterial or antimicrobial cleaners can be detrimental to health and contribute to microbial resistance. Instead, opt for plain soap and water along with wet microfiber cloths for everyday cleaning. 

Beware chemicals linked to an elevated cancer risk, such as crystalline silica, which is found in some powdered cleaning scrubs. Inhalation of this substance is linked to respiratory diseases.

Making it a point to use these safe and effective cleaning practices not only ensures a welcoming bathroom for guests but also safeguards your health and well-being as you clean. 

4. Kitchen prep

Prepare your kitchen for the holiday bustle with a deep clean, especially in areas like the oven, refrigerator, appliances and sink.

Instead of using conventional oven cleaners with harmful chemicals like sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and oxalic acid, for a safer alternative choose a baking soda paste. Sprinkle baking soda over the oven's bottom, mist it with water to form a damp paste, and let it harden overnight. The next morning, a simple wipe with a sponge will reveal a clean oven without the release of harmful chemicals.

Beware other kitchen cleaning products, such as hard water stain removers and drain cleaners, which often contain high concentrations of corrosive chemicals. Inhaling or splashing these products onto the skin or into eyes can result in severe and permanent damage.

With these precautions, your kitchen will shine during the festive season.

5. Guest room ready

Create a clean and welcoming environment for your guests without exposing them to harmful chemicals. 

To let in natural light, wash windows with a mixture of water and white vinegar, an effective, chemical-free solution that’s gentle on the environment and your health. 

Vacuum window screens using a HEPA vacuum and upholstery attachment to help maintain a fresh, allergen-free environment without the need for harsh chemicals.

Using a microfiber or cotton cloth dampened with a solution of water and a mild detergent, wipe down baseboards, removing dust and dirt naturally.

And before guests arrive, launder bedspreads and linens using detergent free from borates and ethoxylates with the lowest possible levels of contaminants like 1,4-dioxane.

Look for the EWG VERIFIED® mark on laundry products to ensure they meet our highest health standards.

And avoid harmful chemicals in fabric softeners by using 100 percent wool dryer balls. These eco-friendly alternatives are safe for sensitive skin and reduce drying time.  

6. Pleasant smells 

Create a fresh and inviting atmosphere for the holidays while avoiding potential pitfalls related to some fragrance chemicals. 

Weather permitting, open windows and doors during and after cleaning to promote proper ventilation, eliminate lingering odors and ensure good indoor air quality.

Household cleaning products are significant sources of indoor air pollution, studies show. One study found frequent use of cleaning products increased the risk of childhood asthma.

Another recent EWG study found common cleaning products contain hundreds of volatile organic compounds linked to cancer and other health harms. The study, published in Chemosphere, analyzed 30 cleaning products, including air fresheners and more.

Consider simmering natural elements like citrus peels, vanilla or cinnamon sticks in water over low heat to naturally freshen indoor air. Other natural air fresheners include bowls of baking soda or fresh flowers. 

7. Cleaning after a meal

After your festive holiday meal, clean up promptly to prevent bacteria and stain buildup.

For soiled aprons, napkins and tablecloths, scrape off excess food using a table knife or a dry brush. For smaller areas, pretreat by rubbing diluted detergent directly into the fabric and rinsing. A helpful tip is to treat the reverse side to force the stain off the fabric, not through it.

Soak the linens in warm to hot water for at least 10 minutes and as many as a few hours. Wring out excess water and promptly launder, using stain removers like hydrogen peroxide or baking soda.

Avoid nonstick cookware to reduce your exposure to the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. Choose cast iron or stainless steel. 

To clean pots and pans, rinse cast iron skillets with hot tap water and use a stiff brush or scraper to remove burned or baked-on food. Wash thoroughly with soapy water, rinse and dry completely. To preserve the seasoning, apply a thin layer of cooking oil.

When it comes to copper, steer clear of tarnish removers containing carcinogenic compounds like thiourea. Instead, polish copper by rubbing it with a lemon dipped in kosher or coarse salt until it gleams.

Consult EWG resources

Use resources like EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning and the Healthy Living app to find the top-rated products for transparency and health. Look for the EWG VERIFIED mark on products, indicating that they meet EWG’s strictest standards and are made without potentially harmful chemicals.

By following these cleaning tips, you can ensure a healthy and sparkling home for memorable holiday celebrations with family and friends. Make your well-being a priority by choosing products that won’t compromise your health.

Areas of Focus Household & Consumer Products Disqus Comments Authors Monica Amarelo Samara Geller November 21, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

What is sodium hypochlorite?

Environmental Working Group - Tue, 11/21/2023 - 09:37
What is sodium hypochlorite? rcoleman November 21, 2023

Before you start any kind of home cleaning, think twice about what products you’re using. Many cleaners use toxic chemicals that can cause health harms. One of the most common is also one of the most toxic – sodium hypochlorite.

Also known as chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite is an active ingredient in over 300 disinfectants and cleaners and laundry detergents, among other household products. Although it’s a powerful agent to eliminate bacteria and stains, this efficiency comes at a cost. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to sodium hypochlorite is linked to respiratory irritation, asthma and other health harms. Mild reactions to the substance include irritation and burning of the skin, nose and eyes. It also can irritate the respiratory tract. Its fumes can cause dizziness, headaches and nausea. Exposure to sodium hypochlorite is one of the most frequent reasons for calls to poison control centers

When used improperly, the effects can be deadly. Mixing sodium hypochlorite with acids or other cleaning products can produce toxic chlorine gas. A single, high-level exposure to chlorine gas has the potential to cause long-lasting effects like asthma. A mixture of sodium hypochlorite and ammonia can lead to potentially fatal chloramine poisoning.

Household harms

Sodium hypochlorite isn’t the only chemical that you may be exposed to while cleaning your home.

Studies show many household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals and are significant sources of indoor air pollution. One study found that the frequent use of cleaning products increases the risk of childhood asthma. 

Another recent EWG study found that common cleaning products contain hundreds of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, linked to cancer and other health harms. The study was published in Chemosphere and analyzed 30 cleaning products, including multipurpose and glass cleaners, air fresheners and more.

Thanks to a state law passed by California’s legislature in 2017, many of these toxic chemicals must now be disclosed, either on the package or through a website. The size of California's economy has forced brands to provide consumers across the U.S. with access to more information about chemicals in cleaning products.

The DARK Act

But a new bill introduced in Congress on behalf of leading household cleaning product manufacturers would block the California law, and prevent other states from pursuing similar measures. If enacted, it would deny consumers the right to know about toxic chemicals in cleaning products. The bill is supported by numerous companies, including S.C. Johnson and Reckitt, that had pledged to oppose federal blocking.

By supporting the new bill, introduced by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), these companies, through their trade association, are no longer honoring their pledge to oppose federal preemption and are working to prevent their consumers from informing themselves. 

Only Clorox, Henkel and Seventh Generation have so far opposed the new bill and pledged to honor their original agreement.

Consumer advocates have labeled the industry bill the Deny Americans the Right to Know, or DARK, Act. This legislation not only seeks to override state laws but establishes an endless rulemaking process that, at best, would yield a far weaker chemical disclosure system. The enactment of this bill would, without a doubt, result in a significantly reduced disclosure of chemicals, and significantly less informed consumers.

Areas of Focus Household & Consumer Products Disqus Comments Guest Authors Shavonne Strelevitz, Communications Intern November 21, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Mixing up healthier holiday cocktails

Environmental Working Group - Tue, 11/21/2023 - 09:34
Mixing up healthier holiday cocktails rcoleman November 21, 2023

Holiday party season is upon us, which means savory appetizers, festive desserts and seasonal cocktails and mocktails. 

But before you crack open that bottle of margarita mix or pre-made piña colada, you may want to check its ingredients to ensure you’re not unknowingly pouring potentially harmful food additives into your glass.

Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are frequently found in pre-made cocktail mixers. And though they may be appealing as a lower calorie replacement for sugar, they could come with unwanted side effects. 

Few non-sugar sweeteners have ever been reviewed for safety by the Food and Drug Administration. And most of those that have been reviewed by the FDA were assessed decades ago.

In March, the World Health Organization found that long-term use of artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and hypertension.

Sucralose, a common sweetener found in cocktail mixes such as Great Value Cocktail Mixer, Peach Bellini and Cascade Ice Sparkling Cocktail Mixer, Pina Colada, has been connected to damaging changes to the gut microbiome

Two other common sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame potassium, have been linked to an increased cancer risk. Aspartame can be found in mixers like Margaritaville Low Calorie Drink Mix, Strawberry Daiquiri. Acesulfame potassium is in products like Cascade Ice Diet Tonic Water Shinny Cocktails and Great Value Cocktail Mixer Rose Wine Drink Enhancer, Rosé Wine.

Sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame potassium have all been linked to cardiovascular disease.

Non-sugar sweeteners may also harm the nervous system. Since sugar substitutes, particularly artificial sweeteners, can be hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, despite containing fewer calories, they can cause taste receptors to signal the brain to expect a large influx of calories. The result is the body may experience confusion and stronger sugar cravings, creating a vicious cycle that can lead a person to consume even more sweetener. 

Synthetic dyes

Many cocktail mixers use synthetic dyes to achieve their festive colors.

Synthetic dyes like Red Dye No. 40, which is found in Bacardi Strawberry Daiquiri Non Alcoholic Frozen Mixer, Frankford Tequila Sunrise and Jero Old Fashioned Cocktail Mix, have been linked to an array of health harms. We already know these dyes can harm children in products they consume: increased vulnerability to inattentiveness and behavioral and learning difficulties. 

Synthetic food dyes can also harm adult health. They have been linked to allergies and asthma, and a recent study in mice linked Red Dye No. 40 to inflammatory bowel disease.

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has noted that current legal levels for synthetic food dyes, set decades ago by the FDA, do not take recent research into account. 

In fact, the FDA has not established limits for FD&C food dyes. Instead, food colors may be used at levels that adhere to “good manufacturing practice.” Specific limits apply to just two food dyes, Orange B and Citrus Red 2.

Avoiding artificial sweeteners and dyes

If you’re serving cocktails or mocktails this holiday season and plan to use a mix, here are some tips to avoid harmful synthetic food dyes and artificial sweeteners:

  • Check labels. In general, artificial dyes and sweeteners must be listed among the ingredients of packaged foods, so study labels to avoid products that contain them. 
  • Consult EWG’s Food Scores database to find alternative products that don’t contain harmful food dyes and artificial sweeteners. When you’re on the go, use our Healthy Living app to find products without toxic chemicals.
  • Choose packaged foods that are certified organic whenever possible – they must meet strong standards that protect consumers from exposure to most potentially harmful food additives.
Areas of Focus Food & Water Disqus Comments Authors Iris Myers November 21, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Industrial pollution in the Russian Arctic is an environmental nightmare: A list of the dirtiest companies - Tue, 11/21/2023 - 08:13

Several large industries have been operating in the Russian Arctic for decades — many of them dating back to Soviet times — and are having an unprecedentedly destructive impact on the region’s environment. The environmental problems associated with their work in many cases have not been resolved, despite various initiatives to reduce emissions and eliminate accumulated damage.

Against this background, over the past few years, the Arctic zone of Russia (AZRF) has been experiencing a new industrial boom. Industrial projects are being implemented, primarily in the field of natural resource extracion, some of which, due to their scale and enormous capacity, are proudly called megaprojects in Russian government documents.

The Northern Sea Route (NSR) is under development and is the main transport artery via which these megaproject enterprises will operate and export their products. Freight traffic along the NSR is planned to increase from the current 34 million tons per year to 150 and even 216.45 million tons per year in 2030.

On the whole, this concerns the production of oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and non-ferrous metals. By 2035, coal production and transportation volumes should also increase sharply. International sanctions have not yet significantly affected the scale of this activity.

This, in turn, raises concerns that — given current policies of the Russian state in the Arctic that have failed to address environmental problems for decades — the implementation of new large-scale projects for its industrial development could lead to the emergence of new environmental hot spots in one of the world’s most vulnerable regions.

In this article we address the current state of the four most problematic industrial clusters in the Russian Arctic from an environmental point of view: the Norilsk Nickel sites in Norilsk and the Murmansk region, as well as mining operations in Vorkuta and the Usinsk region of the Komi Republic, which in 1994 experienced the world’s worst land-based oil spill.

These industries present a bleak example of the consequences we can expect from the commissioning of new mining and processing facilities if Russian environmental policy does not undergo fundamental changes.


Norilsk is a city beyond the Arctic Circle in the Krasnoyarsk region. It finds its origins in the discovery of the Norilsk copper-nickel ore deposit in 1910-20. In 1935, the construction of the city-forming enterprise, the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine and the village attached to it, began with the labor of Gulag prisoners. In 1953, Norilsk was elevated to the status of a cit. A powerful impetus for its development was the discovery in 1960 of two more large deposits of copper-nickel ores — the Talnakh and Oktyabrsky deposits.

Since 1989, the Norilsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine, as a Polar Branch, became part of Norilsk Nickel joint stock company. Now the plant produces about 85% of Russian nickel and cobalt, about 70% of copper and more than 95% of platinum group metals, as well as silver, selenium, tellurium, and sulfur. At the same time, throughout its history it has been a powerful source of negative impacts for the environment.

Norilsk, Russia. Credit:

Atmospheric emissions

In the spring, Rosprirodnadzor, Russia’s environmental oversight agency, published statistics on air pollution in Russia for 2022. Norilsk took first place among the country’s cities with its emissions of 1,787,000 tons of pollutants into the air, or 10.5% of atmospheric emissions from all stationary sources in the Russian Federation.

According to a Norilsk Nickel report, 1,779,000 tons of emissions were produced by numerous industrial sites at the company’s Polar Division, the vast majority of them being sulfur dioxide, or SO2. According to Rosprirodnadzor, SO2 emissions in Norilsk in 2022 were 1,765,000 tons. Greenpeace emphasizes that the Polar Branch is the world’s largest man-made source of sulfur dioxide pollution.

SO2 is a substance of hazard class 3, according to Russia’s classification system. It persists in the atmosphere from several hours to several days. Its presence in the atmosphere can lead to the formation of other sulfur compounds, which are also harmful to human health, as well as plants and animals.

Among other things, high concentrations of SO2 causes acid rain — as well as fog, snow, hail and other types of precipitation — which burns vegetation and acidifies the soil, which in turn degrades vegetation.

Of the remaining emissions from the Polar Division, heavy metals have the most negative impact on the environment. Specifically, these are nickel and copper, as well as cobalt, arsenic, etc.

From: "Norilsk Nickel: The Soviet Legacy of Industrial Pollution," by Bellona, 2010.

Liquid waste

Wastewater from non-ferrous metallurgy also leads to acidification of water bodies. In 2022, these discharges at Norilsk Nickel enterprises amounted to 168 million tons, most of which came from the Polar Division.

In addition, liquid waste can enter the environment during accidental spills. The largest such spill at Norilsk Nickel enterprises occurred on May 29, 2020 on the territory of CHPP-3 in Norilsk. As a result, about 20,000 tons of oil products ended up in the Bezymianny stream and the Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers. The latter flows into the large lake Pyasino, connected to the Kara Sea. Rosprirodnadzor estimated the damage from this accident at 147.8 billion rubles.

Four years earlier, in 2016, another major spill occurred in Norilsk, albeit on a smaller scale. Contaminated water from the tailings pond of the Nadezhda Metallurgical Plant, owned by the Polar Division, ended up in the Daldykan River. Norilsk Nickel first denied the the accident, admitting to it only a week later.

The Ambarnaya River after a diesel oil spill. Credit: ilya_torgonskyi

Lunar landscapes

As a consequence of the industrial activities of the Polar Branch, man-made wastelands, often called lunar landscapes in the media, have become the norm in the vicinity of Norilsk.

Specialists from the Central Siberian Botanical Garden (CSBS, Novosibirsk) determined that the diversity of plant communities in the Norilsk industrial region is 70-80% less than in unpolluted areas of the forest-tundra.

However, according to another study conducted by an international group of scientists from six countries, including Russia, and published in 2020 in the journal Ecology Letters, since the 1960s, when there was a sharp increase in industrial production in Norilsk, about 24 thousand square meters — equivalent to about 3,400 football fields — of boreal forest were destroyed thanks to associated emissions

Not surprisingly, the Polar Branch of Norilsk Nickel was included in the list of enterprises that cause the greatest harm to the environment, compiled in April 2018 by the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, which placed the enterprise in the highest hazard class. According to a 2012 study by the Blacksmith Institute (later renamed Pure Earth), Norilsk was included in the top 10 most polluted places on the planet in 2012.

“Within a radius of 30 kilometers from the city there is not a single living piece of grass or shrub,” said the organization’s founder, Richard Fuller, on the inclusion of Norilsk in the rating. “[Heavy metal] contamination was detected more than 60 kilometers [from the city].”

Emission reduction programs

At the same time, Norilsk Nickel regularly announces the implementation of environmental programs at its production facilities. Thus, in 2017, a program was launched to reduce harmful emissions at all the company’s industrial sites. Emssiosn were to decrease by 75% by 2023 compared to the 2015 level. In 2018, the company announced the imminent launch of another program, as a result of which sulfur dioxide emissions from the Polar Division were to be reduced by 45% by 2023 and by 90% by 2025, also compared to 2015 levels. It was planned to spend about $6 billion on both programs.

“My dream is that Norilsk will become not only a metallurgical, but also a tourist center,” said company president Vladimir Potanin at the time.

However, at the moment, the difference in emissions of the entire Norilsk Nickel between 2022 and the starting year of 2015, when they amounted to 2,063,500 tons, is 244,500 tons — that is less than 12%. As for the program to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at the Polar Division, the so-called. Sulfur program — it started only recently, on October 25, 2023.

Norilsk Nickel in the Murmansk region

Correspondingly, at the second large industrial site of Norilsk Nickel, the Kola MMC in the Murmansk region, it was still possible to significantly reduce emissions — from 117,000 tons in 2018 to 16,000 tons in 2022. The vast majority of these emissions also consists of sulfur dioxide. However, due to their insignificance compared to the Polar Division, this did not affect the overall statistics of Norilsk Nickel. But this does not mean that the Kola MMC is harmless to the environment.

The Kola MMC spralws two production sites. These are “Pechenganikel” in the village of Nikel and the city of Zapolyarny in the north-west of the region and “Severonikel” in Monchegorsk, 100 km south of Murmansk. In relation to all three settlements of its presence, the company is a city-forming enterprise.

The production facilities of the Kola MMC belong to Pechenganikel and are located in a 25-kilometer strip between the village of Nikel and the city of Zapolyarny. The largest of them is the Severny mine. In addition to that, there is another mine and two quarries. Pechenganikel also includes processing plants, the most famous of which until recently was the smelting shop in the village of Nikel, which was closed in 2020. The plant mines sulfide copper-nickel ores, enriches them and carries out metallurgical processing into matte, an intermediate product, from which nickel, copper, sulfuric acid, and cobalt can then be obtained.

The enterprise in Monchegorsk processes imported high-grade matte. The main products are copper concentrate, nickel anodes, nickel tube furnace powder and sulfuric acid.

The village of Nikel in the Murmansk Region before the closure of the smelter. Credit: Nik Gaffney

Atmospheric emissions

The total peak of emissions from both enterprises occurred in the 80s of the last century, when Pechenganikel alone emitted about 400,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per year into the atmosphere. This led to mass protests by residents of the Norwegian commune of Sør-Varanger, from where the village of Nikel is 30 km in a straight line.

With a general decline in production in the 1990s, emissions from Pechenganikel also decreased and in 2000-2010 stabilized within the range of 100,000-160,000 tons of pollutants per year. However, even then, sulfur dioxide emissions from the site were five to eight times higher than the total SO2 emissions from all sources in Norway, and Pechenganickel continued to be the largest air polluter in the border commune of Sør-Varanger. Other toxic substances released from the site include heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic and lead.

The latest reduction in emissions from the Kola MMC is also largely due to the closure of production. If from 2018 to 2020 the company’s emissions decreased from 117 to 83 thousand tons, then in 2021 after the closure of the smelting shop in the village of Nikel on December 23, 2020 and the metallurgical shop in Monchegorsk in March 2021, they sharply decreased to 20,000 tons.

In Monchegorsk, the main pollutants emitted into the atmosphere are also sulfur dioxide, nickel and copper.

Manmade wastelands and ‘extremely dirty’ rivers

As in the case of Pechenganickel and the Polar Division, a man-made wasteland has formed and is expanding around the production of Severonickel. Forests in the Monchegorsk region are completely or partially burned as far away as 40 km south of the plant along the Priimandrovskaya Plain, and the soil is poisoned with heavy metals.

A similar situation is observed with water sources. Despite the closure of the smelter in Nikel, the Kola MMC, according to Roshydromet, Russia’s meteorological agency, is still one of the two main polluters in the Pechenga River basin. At the same time, the level of pollution of the Hauki-lampi-joki river in the Pechenga basin in 2022 increased from the level of “dirty” to “extremely dirty” due to the high content of nickel and manganese compounds within the range of 17-28 and 7-13 times the maximum permissible concentrations.

According to Russian legislation, this maximum concentration limit equates to the maximum concentration of chemical elements and their compounds in the environment that does not cause pathological changes or diseases in the human body when exposed to everyday life for a long time. At the same time, the state of plants and animals may be affected by concentrations significantly below the MPC.

In addition, in the Pechenga basin, excess concentrations of copper, mercury, zinc and sulfates are recorded. The content of cresyl dithiophosphate (used in the beneficiation of non-ferrous metal ores) in recent years has reached up to 3-6 MPC.

The water of the Nyuduay River in Monchegorsk from 2017 to 2022 is also assessed by Roshydromet as “dirty”. The main pollutants: nickel and copper compounds, the average annual concentrations of which in the long-term plan varied within the range of 21-54 MPC and 49-96 MPC, and the maximum concentrations were at the level of 31-124 and 93-299 MPC, respectively. There was also an excess of the maximum permissible concentration for the content of compounds of iron, mercury, manganese and sulfates.


Vorkuta is located 150 km north of the Arctic Circle and 180 km from the coast of the Arctic Ocean. The city owes its appearance to the Pechora coal basin. Coal mining began here in 1931. This was done by the labor of Gulag prisoners. The city itself was founded in 1936.

A whole scattering of mines and settlements appeared around it, the most distant of which is the now-shutteredHalmer-Yu, located approximately 90 km along the highway from the city. All of them are administratively part of the Vorkuta urban district with an area of 24.2 thousand sq. km.

Now there are four coal mines, including the world’s first coal mine beyond the Arctic Circle, Yunyaginsky. At the beginning of the 1990s, there were 13 operating mines.

The Vorkuta urban district is a single-industry town. All operating mines and open-pit mines belong to the city-forming enterprise, the Vorkutaugol joint stock company, the largest mining enterprise in the Russian Federation. Since December 2021, it has been part of Russian Energy Group LLC. In addition, Vorkutaugol includes a central processing plant for the production of coal concentrate, a mechanical plant, a transport enterprise and a number of other production facilities.

Industrial wastelands near Monchegorsk.(Poteryaev Sergey)

Methane emissions

The list of enterprises of hazard class 1, published by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2018, included all 5 mines in the Vorkuta region operating at that time, as well as the CHPP-2 power plant.

However, one of these mines, Severnaya, was closed and flooded back in 2016 after two accidents with the release and explosion of methane, which led to the death of 36 people. One of the city’s main air pollutants, CHPP-2, whose high emissions were caused by the combustion of coal, was switched to gas in 2021, as was the entire city’s energy system.

Despite this, Vorkuta, based on the results of 2022, took 8th place in the list of Russian cities with the most polluted air with total emissions of 168 thousand tons.

The vast majority of them — 151 thousand tons — are hydrocarbons without volatile organic compounds. According to this indicator, Vorkuta took fourth place in the country, behind only three districts located in the main coal-mining region of the country — Kuzbass. In one of them, the Mezhdurechensky district, is the largest coal mine in Russia.

These statistics are explained by the fact that coal mining is characterized by high emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The Pechora coal basin, which includes the mines of the Vorkuta district (as well as the neighboring urban district of Inta), is characterized by high methane content of coal seams, which varies from 12 to 38 cubic meters per ton. For comparison, the average methane content of coal seams in Poland, the USA and India is 8-13, 7-14 and 5-8 cubic meters per ton respectively.

However, even closed mines produce methane. Thus, in 2019 in the United States, about 200 closed coal mines (with more than 500 operating) produced 8% of the total methane emissions in the country, or about 1% of the total greenhouse gases.

Other negative impacts

Underground coal mining is further characterized by pollution and disturbance of aquifers. Due to the constant pumping of water in mines, it reaches into the deep layers of the rock.

In addition, heavy metals — mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, as well as formaldehyde, sulfur, silicon dioxide — enter the atmosphere from mines, coal quarries and dumps. During fires, emissions of volatile organic compounds, soot, ash, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide are added to this.

Mines, dumps and cuts disrupt the natural profile of the soil, leading to disturbance of the topography and degradation of the vegetation cover. In addition, coal mines easily erode, becoming sources of dust pollution, and are capable of spontaneous combustion.

The Komi government, concerned about the problem of coal dumps around Vorkuta and Inta (another city located in the north of the republic), which began to form in the 1930s, is trying to get them included in the state register of objects of accumulated harm, which may give hope for their reclamation.

Socioeconomic crisis

The adverse environmental consequences of coal mining in the Vorkuta region are accompanied by an acute socio-economic situation. The outflow of residents from here began in 1991, which marked the peak of the city’s population of 117,000 residents. As of 2021, the number of residents had decreased to 57,000people. According to Rosstat, Russia’s statistics bureau, Vorkuta is the fastest dying city in Russia.

Abandoned houses, neighborhoods and villages have become a kind of calling card of the Vorkuta region. On the territory of Vorkuta alone there are about 100 abandoned buildings, 80 of which are apartment buildings. Thus, they smoothly move into the category of objects of accumulated environmental damage.

Another side of this process is the lack of funds to maintain urban infrastructure in proper condition. So it was in 2022, on New Year’s Eve, the city’s wastewater treatment plants collapsed. They were put into operation in 1976 and have never been overhauled since then, and the Vorkuta Vodokanal was declared bankrupt back in 2016. As a result, the contents of the sewer were dumped into a nearby stream for almost three weeks, from where it flowed along the Vorkuta and Usa rivers into the Pechora River, which flows into the Barents Sea.

Vorkuta. (Photo: Nikolai Maniakhin)

Usinsk district

The Municipal district of Usinsk with an area of 30.5 thousand square kilometers is also located in the northern part of the Komi Republic. About a third of its territory is located beyond the Arctic Circle. However, the entire district is located in the Pechora basin. In July 2020, it was included in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation.

The Usinsk region is the center of oil production in the region. About 70% of all oil in the republic is produced here. It was for this reason that it became infamous in 1994, when it suffered the largest onshore oil spill in world history.

Up to 200 thousand tons of oil spilled from the emergency pipeline. To eliminate the consequences of the accident, Russia had to borrow about $100 million from the World Bank. Work to collect oil that reached the Barents Sea and remediate spill sites was completed only in 2010. According to environmentalists, it will take at least 100 years for the territory to regenerate itself.

However, oil spills have occurred here regularly before. They still occur regularly, although there have been none of comparable scale.

Accident volumes at KomiNeft. Credit: The Social Ecological Union

The last major spill was recorded on July 2. A forest area with a total area of over 1.2 thousand hectares was damaged. Oil-containing liquid entered the Kolva River. Cleaning up the consequences of the spill took several weeks.

Controversial statistics

What complicates the situation is that statistics on oil spills vary greatly. Thus, according to the report of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Komi, in 2019, 22 accidents involving environmental pollution with oil products occurred in the republic, and in 2020, 38 accidents occurred, as a result of which 13.6 hectares of land were contaminated.

At the same time, the Federal Ministry of Natural Resources reports 17,000 accidents with oil spills in Russia in 2019 — equaling 46.5 accidents per day. Of these, 10,500 occurred on oil pipelines. These figures are based on statistics collected by the Central Dispatch Directorate of the Fuel and Energy Complex of Russia, which registers such accidents. For comparison, Rosprirodnadzor recorded only 819 oil spills across the country in the same year. In the covid year of 2020, according to the Central Dispatch Department of the Fuel and Energy Complex, the number of oil spills on pipelines was 8,600 thousand.

At the same time, Lukoil, which owns most of the fields in Komi, is the second largest oil spilling company in Russia with 1,508 oil spills in 2018 alone.

Considering the above, as well as the fact that in 2019-2020, 2.5-2.6% of Russian oil was produced in the region, the data from the Komi Ministry of Natural Resources look greatly underestimated.

Oil spills are profitable

According to estimates by the Central Dispatch Department of the Fuel and Energy Complex, 90% of Russia’s oil spills at pipelines occur due to pipe corrosion.

“We have an unspoken agreement that oil companies do not invest money in accident prevention, infrastructure, or liquidation of consequences — and thus reduce the cost of oil. And it is becoming more competitive in the international market,” says Ivan Ivanov, chairman of the Committee for the Rescue of Pechora, adding that such tactics are beneficial to the state.

In addition to this, information about oil production and its logistics in Russia is becoming harder to obtain. On February 22, 2023, a law was passed allowing the government to suppress any official statistics.

The 2017 oil spill at Usinsk. Credit:


Since March 2023, Rosstat has stopped publishing oil production data in its official report. Also, beginning March 2023, the publication of monthly data on oil production (including gas condensate) in physical terms ceased. The secrecy of such information further limits the assessment of environmental risks in the Russian oil production sector.

In the meantime, according to the Komi Ministry of Natural Resources, more than 90% of the entire oil-contaminated territory of the region is located in the Usinsk region.

According to Roshydromet, in 2022 the water quality of the rivers in the river basin. Pechora continued to be assessed across a wide range from “slightly polluted” to “dirty”. The highest pollution of river water with oil products was recorded in 2022 at the mouth of the Pechora River above the city of Naryan-Mar (i.e. downstream of the main oil production facilities) in the amount of up to 4 MAC. Considering the situation with oil spill statistics, the question arises how different they are from the real state of affairs.

What’s next?

This is not a complete list of long-standing environmental hot spots in the Russian Arctic. Areas of severe pollution and disturbance of the natural environment are located in four more settlements in the Murmansk region, in the area of Arkhangelsk and Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk region, around the Deputatsky tin deposit in Yakutia, and so on. In particular, the neighboring Ukhta district in the Komi Republic and a number of territories of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug adjacent to both of them suffer from severe pollution with oil products.

Even though territories with a heavily disturbed and polluted environment are more often found in the European part of the Russian Arctic due to its greater development, they exist in every Arctic region of the country.

At the same time, emissions into the atmosphere from the Arctic sites of Norilsk Nickel and Gazprom alone are greater than those of the entire industry of Alaska and the Arctic zone of Canada combined.

However, the cessation of operation of a particular production does not mean that it automatically ceases to threaten the environment, and that nature around it is instantly restored. Thus, the tailings dump of the Deputatsky deposit, which ceased operation back in 1997, is still a serious source of contamination of nearby areas with iron and manganese.

Several new ones may soon be added to this list of environmental hot spots, including the Syradasaysky coal mine in Taimyr, which began operations this year. It is planned that when it reaches full capacity, 12 million tons of coal per year will be shipped from it.

Another candidate is the Vostok Oil project, unprecedented in terms of oil production volumes, owned by Rosneft — the company that, according to Greenpeace, holds the record for oil spills in Russia (4,253 pipeline spills in 2018). When reaching full capacity, Vostok Oil would ship 100 million tons of oil per year.

Considering the current strategy for the development of the Russian Arctic, based on the exploitation of natural resources, but not on environmental protection, there may be much more such installations.


The post Industrial pollution in the Russian Arctic is an environmental nightmare: A list of the dirtiest companies appeared first on

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Press release: Parliament given strong negotiating mandates on CRCF and NZIA - Tue, 11/21/2023 - 04:04

In November 2022, the European Commission proposed a Certification Framework for Carbon Removals. This proposal seeks to develop a framework for the development of methodologies which can quantify the climate benefit of various types of activities, with a focus on carbon dioxide removal. Carbon dioxide removal is necessary to counterbalance residual emissions and achieve net-zero emissions. However, the ability to monitor, report and verify how much CO2 is being removed by such activities is currently lacking and there is a risk of overestimating their climate benefit. 

Today the European Parliament voted in plenary on a variety of crucial climate files, including the Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) and the Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA). These votes send strong signals on the need for coherent climate policy which supports and manages the deployment of Carbon Dioxide Removal and Carbon Capture and Storage in an environmentally robust way.  

Read our press release on the Parliament’s negotiating mandates on CRCF and NZIA: 

PRESS RELEASE – Parliament given strong negotiating mandates on CRCF and NZIA

The post Press release: Parliament given strong negotiating mandates on CRCF and NZIA appeared first on

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Press Release: Bellona’s presence at COP28 – Storytelling for Action Pavilion - Tue, 11/21/2023 - 00:15

We’re excited to share that we will be present at COP28! The Bellona Foundation will be hosting the Storytelling for Action Pavilion in the Blue Zone alongside BAFTA albert, Futerra and Think-Film Impact Production.  

This pavilion will set the stage for meaningful conversations between the entertainment and climate policy communities. 

Learn more in our press release: COP28 Storytelling For Action Pavilion.


The post Press Release: Bellona’s presence at COP28 – Storytelling for Action Pavilion appeared first on

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Navigating the Polycrisis: From Understanding to Action

Cascade Institute - Mon, 11/20/2023 - 09:18

How can individuals from across the globe and a variety of sectors – civil society, governance, academia, grassroots movements, business, journalism, etc. – better understand and respond to the polycrisis?

The Cascade Institute's Dr. Thomas-Homer Dixon joined Ruth Richardson, Executive Director of the Accelerator for Systemic Risk Assessment (ASRA) at the United Nations Foundation, and Ayan Mahamoud, head of the Socioeconomic, Policy, Research and Marketing Department for the Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa, to discuss how to support scholars, practitioners, vitally, those on the frontlines of the polycrisis, in this 90-minute webinar hosted by Asher Miller from the Post Carbon Institute, and supported by the Omega Resilience Awards and The Liminality Network.

Recording below:

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The post Navigating the Polycrisis: From Understanding to Action appeared first on Cascade Institute.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

EWG’s 2023 gift guide

Environmental Working Group - Mon, 11/20/2023 - 08:41
EWG’s 2023 gift guide rcoleman November 20, 2023

Choosing a gift for someone is challenging enough without the added worry of whether the item is full of potentially harmful chemicals.

EWG is here to help. We polled our staff to find out what they'll be giving their friends and family this year. Our 2023 gift guide contains their best ideas for presents that are good for your loved ones and the planet.

Organic chocolate

Looking for a gift for the chocoholic in your life? Consider a selection of certified organic chocolate for a sweet present that’s better for their health. Organic packaged foods must meet strong standards that protect consumers from exposure to potentially harmful food additives.

These Pure Cacao & Strawberry & Coconut bars and 100% cacao bars from Raaka are certified organic and score well in EWG’s Food Scores database, which rates items based on ingredient, nutrition and processing concerns.

A cookbook

For the culinary creative, a new cookbook may be just the thing. Cooking from the Spirit: Easy, Delicious by Tabitha Brown boasts simple, family-friendly recipes. Bonus: They’re all plant-based.

Reusable travel silverware set

If you have a friend or family member who’s always on the go and constantly hungry, consider a set of reusable, travel-friendly silverware. 

This pack from W&P includes a sturdy stainless steel fork, spoon and knife that won’t break the way flimsy, single-use plastic utensils do. And they come in a cute carrying case. 

EWG VERIFIED® fragrance 

Who doesn’t love a good scent? But many people don’t realize the “fragrance” in many of these products is a mix of potentially thousands of undisclosed chemicals, including phthalates, that could be linked to health harms.

If you want to give a gift of scent, consider the first EWG VERIFIED fine fragrance collection, Henry Rose. The brand’s products are free from EWG’s chemicals of concern and meet our strictest standards for your health.

Not sure what fragrance to pick? Check out The Playground, a set of nine different scents so you don’t have to choose!

For someone more interested in scent for the home, the new Henry Rose votive candle gift set is a great choice for a healthier option.

Or look for other EWG VERIFIED products here.

Base layer

If you’re shopping for a friend who seems to have mastered the art of layering clothes, or one who’s experimenting with the concept, a wool undershirt may make the perfect present. 

Look for options made from organic materials, like this merino wool undershirt for men or women.

Dryer balls

It’s great to have clothes that are soft and clean fresh from the dryer. But dryer sheets often contain potentially hormone-disrupting fragrance and other chemicals, which can trigger asthma and skin irritation. 

Wool dryer balls are a great solution: They help soften your laundry without harsh chemicals and last for thousands of loads. Look for a version made of organic wool.

A good read

For the fashionista in your life, a book may not be the most obvious gift choice. But this one will will change the way they view the clothing industry. 

“To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick – And How We Can Fight Back,” by Alden Wicker, which calls itself “a ‘Silent Spring’ for your wardrobe,” discusses the toxic and often unregulated chemicals found in most clothing. 

Low-profile wallet

For the gift recipient who never seems to have enough pocket space, a slim card holder is the perfect solution. 

This sustainable solution from Pela is stylish and sleek – plus it comes in a bunch of colors.

Rechargeable hand warmer

If you’re buying a gift for someone who lives in a cold climate, or is just always chilly, consider a rechargeable hand warmer, which helps reduce waste by replacing disposable hand-warming options. 

Reusable food wraps

Help make plastic wrap a thing of the past by giving reusable food wraps. Look for products made of organic materials, like these fun ones from Bee’s Wrap. 

A worthy cause

Instead of giving an object, consider making a donation in someone’s name or donating EWG’s 2023 Holiday Gift Box. This year’s box contains an assortment of fantastic products to live more sustainably.

For a tax-deductible donation of $135, you support a worthy organization and we are able to continue our groundbreaking research and advocacy. It’s a win-win!

Areas of Focus Personal Care Products Household & Consumer Products Family Health Disqus Comments Authors Iris Myers November 20, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Season 4 of Woods & Wilds: The Podcast Is Out Now!

Dogwood Alliance - Mon, 11/20/2023 - 05:29

Season 3 of Woods & Wilds: The Podcast is out NOW!These seven episodes were recorded live at our annual Woods & Wilds Storytelling event

The post Season 4 of Woods & Wilds: The Podcast Is Out Now! first appeared on Dogwood Alliance.
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Riverkeeper statement on proposed Hudson River Protection Act

River Keeper - Fri, 11/17/2023 - 07:28

Congressmen Pat Ryan and Marc Molinaro have introduced the Hudson River Protection Act. Riverkeeper Staff Attorney Drew Gamils has the following statement:

“Riverkeeper commends Congressmen Ryan and Molinaro for introducing the Hudson River Protection Act to permanently protect the Hudson River from additional anchoring areas. The Coast Guard attempted to unlawfully sidestep the restrictions Congress set forth in the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act with MSIB 2023-001. While we are happy the Coast Guard recently suspended its ill-conceived policy with the release of MSIB 2023-003, more needs to be done to establish long-lasting protections for the Hudson River and limit the creation of new anchoring areas. The Hudson River Protection Act can help achieve this goal. Riverkeeper strongly supports prohibiting large commercial vessels from anchoring on the Hudson River outside federally designated anchorage grounds, except in cases of great emergency.”

The post Riverkeeper statement on proposed Hudson River Protection Act appeared first on Riverkeeper.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Become an MP Outreach Volunteer

Biofuel Watch - Fri, 11/17/2023 - 04:47

Do you want to create political change and are you passionate about stopping the disastrous subsidy regime that is using UK energy bills to fund dirty tree-burning power stations like Drax in Yorkshire and Lynemouth in Northumberland? We are looking for a number of MP Outreach Volunteers who will work on our campaign team to get MPs to sign our Pledge to take a stand against all subsidies for burning wood in power stations. 

As an MP Outreach Volunteer you will have the chance to contact and meet with your MP to talk to them about how they can help to stop subsidies for tree burning in power stations and to transfer this funding to genuine climate solutions like home insulation and actual renewables such as wind and solar power. Through building a relationship and influencing your MP to sign the pledge, you will play a key role in helping to protect forests, wildlife, communities and the climate. 

You will be supported by Biofuelwatch UK campaigners with a range of resources including campaign resources, recordings of online training and a welcome call at 6.30pm on the 7th of December where you can ask any further questions, to register for this please sign up here.

If you are interested, you can find out more through this resource pack here and complete the google form which can be found through this link here

Register for our welcome call MP Outreach resource pack If you are interested complete this google form

Please feel free to email us at with the subject ‘Become an MP Outreach Volunteer’  if you have any questions about the role or if you would like further information. 

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

While TotalEnergies Continues To Risk People, The Environment And The Climate, Civil Society Remains Resolved To Oppose Offshore Oil And Gas

The Green Connection - Fri, 11/17/2023 - 00:36
The past two weeks, The Green Connection and Natural Justice – with support from affected small-scale fishers – have been […]
Categories: G1. Progressive Green


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