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“Government’s Lack Of Transparency And Nonchalance To Climate Change Is Appalling”

The Green Connection - Wed, 01/24/2024 - 23:23
The Green Connection Comment – PetroSA and Equator Holdings: The Green Connection is appalled by the actions of government and […]
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Хранители завтрашнего дня Земли: Проект TreeBox

Global Forest Coalition - Wed, 01/24/2024 - 23:09

Проект TreeBox – это вторая часть новой серии фотоочерков “Хранители завтрашнего дня Земли”, подготовленной Глобальной лесной коалицией. Современная агропродовольственная система, характеризующаяся капитализмом и патриархатом, не справляется со своей основной миссией – питать мир. Одновременно она наносит вред почве, воде, воздуху и людям, серьезно нарушая биоразнообразие. Однако в мире есть примеры и проблески надежды – свидетельства будущего, в котором производство продуктов питания служит средством оздоровления планеты и укрепления позитивных отношений между различными человеческими группами.

С помощью серии фотоэссе под названием “Хранители завтрашнего дня Земли”, подготовленных в сотрудничестве с организациями, которые активно создают утопии сегодня, мы хотим напомнить, что не все потеряно. Мы приглашаем вас изучить эти инициативы и поделиться ими, присоединившись к нам в путешествии к столь необходимой надежде в эти кризисные времена.

Проект TreeBox – это уникальная инициатива НПО “Армянские леса”, которая сочетает в себе устойчивое сельское хозяйство, защиту окружающей среды и гендерную справедливость. Он позволяет людям посадить лес в Армении, просто заказав коробку здоровой веганской еды.

Для получения дополнительной информации посетите сайт: https://www.facebook.com/TreeBoxArmenia.

TreeBox стремится к расширению своей деятельности. Чтобы поддержать их, свяжитесь с ними через Facebook, по телефону [+374 41 900799] или по электронной почте [forest@treebox.am].

Все фотографии в этом очерке были сделаны в разных областях Армении общественной организацией “Армянские леса”.

Видеоролик о TreeBox можно посмотреть здесь: https://www.facebook.com/TreeBoxArmenia/videos/2034198713436325.

Нажмите на ссылки, чтобы скачать фоторепортаж на английском и русском языках.

Нажмите здесь, чтобы просмотреть интерактивную онлайн-версию на английском языке.

Или продолжайте прокручивать страницу, чтобы просмотреть ее прямо здесь, на сайте GFC.

 

The post Хранители завтрашнего дня Земли: Проект TreeBox appeared first on Global Forest Coalition.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Guardians of Earth’s Tomorrow: The TreeBox Project

Global Forest Coalition - Wed, 01/24/2024 - 23:08
Click here to read this page in Russian.

 

Guardians of Earth’s Tomorrow
A photo essay series – Part II

 

The TreeBox Project is part two of Guardians of Earth’s Tomorrow, a new series of photo essays from the Global Forest Coalition. The current agrifood system, characterized by capitalism and patriarchy, is failing in its basic mission to nourish the world. Simultaneously, it is causing harm to the soil, water, air, and people, severely impacting biodiversity. However, there are examples and glimpses of hope worldwide—indications of a future where food production serves as a means to heal the planet and foster positive relationships among diverse human groups.

Through our series of photo essays entitled “Guardians of the Earth’s Tomorrow,” in collaboration with organizations that are actively creating utopias today, we aim to remind us that not all is lost. We invite you to explore and share these initiatives, joining us on a journey towards much-needed hope during these times of crisis.

 

The TreeBox Project is a unique initiative by Armenian Forests NGO that combines sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, and gender justice. It allows people to plant a forest in Armenia simply by ordering a box of healthy vegan food.

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/TreeBoxArmenia

TreeBox is looking to expand their operations. To support them, reach out via Facebook , phone [+374 41 900799] or email [forest@treebox.am]

All photos in this essay were taken in different provinces in Armenia, by Armenian Forests NGO.

You can watch a video on TreeBox here: https://www.facebook.com/TreeBoxArmenia/videos/2034198713436325

 

Click on the links to Download the photo essay in English and Russian.

Click here to view the interactive online version in English.

Or continue scrolling to view it right here on the GFC Website.

 

The post Guardians of Earth’s Tomorrow: The TreeBox Project appeared first on Global Forest Coalition.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Pucker up for less: Lipsticks that won’t break the bank this Valentine’s Day

Environmental Working Group - Wed, 01/24/2024 - 08:56
Pucker up for less: Lipsticks that won’t break the bank this Valentine’s Day Iris Myers January 24, 2024

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The right lipstick could be the cherry on top of your Valentine’s Day celebration. Whether you’re getting ready for a dinner date or looking for the perfect gift for your partner, lipstick may be the finishing touch that adds just a little pop and pizazz. 

American consumers spent almost $200 on average for Valentine's Day last year, and if trends continue, that number could grow. 

Not everyone is looking to spend that much.  

To help you track down the perfect lipstick for your special day – without hurting your wallet – we’ve put together a list of lipsticks that cost $20 or less. Most are available on Amazon or from big box stores like Target, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. 

We’ve found some great Valentine’s Day recommendations using our Skin Deep®, which rates personal care products based on hazard and ingredient data availability. All products on this list have a green rating, meaning they’re low hazard. Or, they bear the EWG VERIFIED® mark, which means they’ve been reviewed by our scientists and have met our rigorous standards for health and transparency. 

EWG VERIFIED Honest Beauty Liquid Lipstick, Off-Duty

Available online at Walmart, $20.12; Amazon, $12.49.

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

VIEW DETAILS Honest Beauty Lip Crayon Demi-Matte Marsala, Fig

Available online at Walgreens, $13.49; Amazon, $17.87.

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

VIEW DETAILS Honest Beauty Cream Cheek and Lip Color, Rose Pink, Fire Coral

Available in-store at Target, $17.99-$19.99; Amazon, $19.99.

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

VIEW DETAILS Well People Optimist Lipstick, Brave

Available in store at Target, $16.00; Amazon, $16.00.

PURCHASE ON AMAZON

VIEW DETAILS EWG's Quick Tips for Choosing Safer Personal Care Products Rated green on Skin Deep Gabriel Cosmetics Lipstick Eve, Mauve

Available in-store at Walmart, $19.35; Amazon, $19.35.

BUY HERE Flower Beauty Scribble Stick, Razzleberry, Plumsicle, Espresso, Mauvelous, Sherbet, Tickle Me Pink Available in-store and online at Walmart, $8.40-9.77, available in-store and online at CVS, $11.29; Amazon, $8.10. BUY HERE ZuZu Luxe Lipstick, Starlet, Dollhouse Pink

Available online at Target $20.49; Walmart, $20.

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Diamond Last Lip Cream, Rose Quartz, Topaz Taupe

Available in-store and online at Target, $7.99; Walgreens, $8.99; Walmart, $7.98; Amazon, $5.75.

BUY HERE MadHippie Cheek and Lip Tint, Poppy, Fig, Plumb

Available online at Walmart, $20.92; Amazon, $19.99.

BUY HERE Hemp Organics Colorganics Lipstick, Red Earth

Available online at Walmart, $20.94; Amazon, $20.

BUY HERE Pacifica Glow Stick Lip Oil, Rosy Glow

Available in-store and online at Target, $10.99; Walmart, $14.47; Amazon $11

BUY HERE Kokie Cosmetics Kissable Liquid Lipsticks, Nuance.

Available online at Walmart, $12.25; Amazon, $7.99.

BUY HERE Luna Magic Liquid Lipstick, BonBon

Available online at Walmart $6.39.

Areas of Focus Personal Care Products Cosmetics Household & Consumer Products Disqus Comments Authors JR Culpepper January 25, 2024
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Sarah Evans

Environmental Working Group - Mon, 01/22/2024 - 12:52
Sarah Evans rcoleman January 22, 2024 Sarah Evans Senior Director, Social Media

A native of England, Sarah moved to California, in 2007, in search of adventure and opportunity. Fascinated by the way people communicate, she has spent over 14 years developing social media programs that educate, entertain and inspire, to help brands build meaningful connections with their audiences. With a passion for humanizing content and making it accessible, Sarah has led campaigns in industries from mapping and mobility to wine and travel, for brands such as Toyota, Esri, HERE Technologies, TUI and Esurance. She’s a firm believer that the brands that do best on social are the ones that have empathy and add value. Outside of work you’ll find Sarah hiking by the ocean, snapping sunset photos and enjoying a glass of pinot noir.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Email your State Treasurer: Support Climate Action Now!

Stop the Money Pipeline - Mon, 01/22/2024 - 12:51
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The post Email your State Treasurer: Support Climate Action Now! appeared first on Stop the Money Pipeline.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Inside Climate News: Costco Members Welcome New CEO With a Party

Stop the Money Pipeline - Mon, 01/22/2024 - 12:41
Costco Members Welcome New CEO With a Party—and a Demand to Drop Citibank Activists pressing the retailer to stop partnering its credit card with the world’s second-biggest fossil fuel financier test whether big companies can push banks to divest from oil, gas and coal. By Keerti Gopal for Inside Climate News January 18, 2024

The post Inside Climate News: Costco Members Welcome New CEO With a Party appeared first on Stop the Money Pipeline.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Tell Washington legislators to pass this critical climate bill!

Stop the Money Pipeline - Mon, 01/22/2024 - 12:19
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The post Tell Washington legislators to pass this critical climate bill! appeared first on Stop the Money Pipeline.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Safeguarding South Africa’s Coasts: A Call to Preserve Tradition, Turquoise, and Tomorrow

The Green Connection - Mon, 01/22/2024 - 04:31
In the dance between land and sea, South Africa’s coastal story unfolds—a narrative that now stands at the crossroads. Beyond […]
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Unpacking Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Why It Might Not Be the Climate Savior We Hoped For

350.org - Mon, 01/22/2024 - 02:48

Climate change is a global challenge that demands innovative solutions. One proposed solution that’s been gaining attention is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). But is it really the silver bullet to combat climate change, or could it be a false promise? In this blog post, we’ll break down CCS in simple terms and explore why some experts believe it might not be the ultimate solution we need.

 

Understanding CCS: The Basics

 

Carbon Capture and Storage is like a vacuum cleaner for carbon dioxide (CO2). Imagine your favorite power plant or factory is a giant CO2 factory, churning out tons of the greenhouse gas into the air. CCS steps in to capture that CO2 before it escapes into the atmosphere.

  • Capture:
    • Imagine capturing CO2 is like catching butterflies. There are different ways to do it, like putting a net after the butterflies (post-combustion), catching them before they fly (pre-combustion), or creating an environment where they can’t escape (oxy-fuel combustion). 
  • Transportation:
    • Once we’ve caught the CO2 butterflies, we need to take them to a safe place. This involves transporting the captured CO2, usually through pipelines or ships, to storage sites. 
  • Storage:
    • Think of storage sites as giant butterfly gardens, but underground. We carefully release the CO2 butterflies into these gardens, making sure they stay put and don’t escape back into the air.

Why Some Skepticism?

 

While CCS sounds promising, there are some concerns that make experts skeptical about its effectiveness as a long-term solution.

  • Cost Concerns:
    • Building and maintaining the CO2-catching vacuum cleaner can be expensive. Some argue that the money spent on CCS might be better used for more affordable and proven green technologies. 
  • Delaying the Switch to Green Energy:
    • Critics worry that focusing too much on CCS might slow down our transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power. It’s like fixing a leaky faucet instead of installing a more efficient water-saving system. 
  • Butterfly Escapes:
    • There’s always a risk that some CO2 butterflies might escape from storage sites. If that happens, we’re back to square one with greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. 
  • Energy Hog:
    • The process of capturing and storing CO2 requires energy itself. It’s like using a lot of energy to catch those butterflies, making the whole operation less efficient.

In the grand scheme of things, CCS isn’t a simple superhero swooping in to save the day. It’s more like a sidekick – potentially helpful but not without its challenges. While it might play a role in reducing CO2 emissions, it’s crucial not to rely on CCS alone.

 

To truly tackle climate change, we need a mix of strategies. This includes investing, and tripling renewable energy capacities by 2030 as promised at COP28, improving energy efficiency, and phasing out fossil fuels. So, while CCS might be part of the solution, let’s not forget the bigger picture and work towards a greener and more sustainable future.

The post Unpacking Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): Why It Might Not Be the Climate Savior We Hoped For appeared first on 350.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Dogwood Alliance is Hiring a North Carolina State Manager

Dogwood Alliance - Sun, 01/21/2024 - 22:00

Dogwood Alliance has a new job opportunity: NC State Manager. We’re seeking qualified applicants. We value and respect all types of diversity. We strongly encourage applicants from marginalized groups to apply. Job Title: North Carolina State Manager Reports to: Organizing Director Location: Remote, based in North Carolina (preferably near Raleigh or east of Raleigh). NC […]

The post Dogwood Alliance is Hiring a North Carolina State Manager first appeared on Dogwood Alliance.
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

HB 133 “Changes to the Oil and Gas Act” would provide communities needed space, climate gains 

Western Environmental Law Center - Sat, 01/20/2024 - 08:53

Next week, the New Mexico House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee will consider HB 133 (fact sheet here), a governor-initiated bill crafted with the involvement of climate, environmental, and community groups as well as the oil and gas industry. The Western Environmental Law supports this bill as a positive step forward for New Mexico.

HB 133 would provide much needed updates to the 1935 Oil and Gas Act. According to Sidney Hill of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, “[t]he act no longer contains all the tools necessary to oversee the current industry and ensure robust environment protection.”

HB 133 would amend the Oil and Gas Act to better protect human health and the environment from oil and gas operations, better ensure that oil and gas companies properly clean up and reclaim oil and gas infrastructure, deter violations of the act by increasing civil penalties, and codify a 98% methane waste requirement into law to ensure the long-term viability of the state’s nationally leading methane rules promulgated in 2021.

“Representatives in EMNRD and bill sponsors Rep. Ortez and Rep. McQueen deserve kudos for running such an inclusive process with nearly 50 stakeholders to develop HB 133 into an eminently reasonable bill that would create a more just oil and gas program in the state,” said Tannis Fox, senior attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center.

The science tells us that the closer one lives to oil and gas operations, the greater the health risks from emissions of hazardous and toxic pollutants. In New Mexico, a disproportionate number of persons of color, low-income persons, children, and seniors live near oil and gas wells. HB 133 would help reduce risks to frontline communities by establishing minimum “setbacks” for new wells. Oil and gas operations also present risks to New Mexico streams, wetlands, acequias, and habitat through spills.

This risk has intensified as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s extreme attacks on bedrock federal environmental laws, including laws that protect New Mexico’s rivers, streams, and wetlands from industry pollution. These setbacks would not apply to existing oil and gas infrastructure or Tribal lands and Tribal allotted lands, respecting their sovereign authority to make their own decisions regarding use of their resources.

In addition, the amendments would significantly improve bonding rates to reduce the taxpayer burden for cleanup of orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells, of which there are currently 1,700 in New Mexico. HB 133 would direct the Oil Conservation Division to promulgate rules providing for an increase of “blanket bond” levels from $250,000 to $10,000,000, better reflecting the true cost of well clean up and reclamation in New Mexico. The State Land Office, in 2021, determined that “New Mexico’s oil and gas industry is inadequately bonded to the tune of $8.1 billion.”

Across New Mexico, approximately 1,700 orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells threaten our air, land, and water. Oil and gas operators provide the state bonds as financial assurance to fund plugging and cleanup of wells if a company goes out of business or abandons a site. The average cost to plug a single well is over $100,000, rendering the Oil and Gas Act’s existing maximum “blanket bond” cap of $250,000—which is applied even if a company owns hundreds of wells–wildly inadequate. This inadequate bonding level means that state taxpayers are left to fund cleanups of orphaned and abandoned wells.

Additionally, HB 133 protects against the growing orphaned and abandoned well problem by providing new authority for the state to block the transfer of oil and gas assets, when a company has a “significant history of noncompliance with the Oil and Gas Act or its rules” or the transferee seeking to acquire the assets “lacks sufficient financial capacity to manage liabilities associated with oil and gas wells or facilities.”

HB 133 would also increase civil penalties for violations from $2,500 per day to $10,000 per day, and increase the penalties for violations that threaten human health and the environment from $10,000 per day to $25,000 per day, and eliminate the $200,000 cap on total, cumulative civil penalties. The bill would update administrative fees for the 21st century and allow future adjustments for inflation.

“We support this bill,” said Fox. “But make no mistake, oil and gas lobbyists and their legislator friends are actively trying to kill or weaken this bill in the hustle and bustle of a short legislative session. They’ve put corporate profits over the interests of New Mexicans who have suffered serious public health burdens from oil and gas pollution and harm to their lands and waters. The least they can do is provide assurances that they’ll clean up their mess without burdening taxpayers and be a good neighbor to people and communities. The time for action is now.”

Contact:

Tannis Fox, Western Environmental Law Center, 505-629-0732, fox@westernlaw.org

Erik Schlenker-Goodrich, Western Environmental Law Center, 575-751-0351, eriksg@westernlaw.org

The post HB 133 “Changes to the Oil and Gas Act” would provide communities needed space, climate gains  appeared first on Western Environmental Law Center.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

IAEA finally allowed access to reactor at embattled Zaporizhzhia plant.

Bellona.org - Fri, 01/19/2024 - 09:04

After several days of wrangling with Russian official, experts from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday were given access to the sixth and final reactor unit at the embattled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Situated on the front lines of fighting as Ukraine struggles to repel Moscow’s invasion, the plant has been held by Russian troops since the early days of the war, now reaching its second year.

The IAEA experts on the site of the plant — which is the largest nuclear power station in both Ukraine and Europe —regularly cross the frontlines of the war to maintain a presence at the facility.

In about mid-December, according to an IAEA, the experts had requested access to the reactor halls of Units 1, 2 and 6. But Renat Kharchaa, a Ukraine-based official with Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, denied access, saying the reactors were “sealed.”

This explanation, however, strained credulity, given that the team has visited reactor Unit 3, which was likewise hermetically sealed, as recently as December 15, according to an earlier IAEA statement

In a subsequent statement, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi noted that the denial of access to the Unit 6 reactor hall constituted the first time Russian officials had been rebuffed in their attempts to inspect any unit that, like Unit 6, was in cold shutdown.

On Monday, the IAEA released a statement saying that their “experts were yesterday granted access to the reactor hall of unit 6 of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after previously having not been given access.”

“While in the reactor hall, the team observed main components of the reactor, confirming the cold shutdown state of the reactor,” the statement added.

The statement continued, however, to note that the Agency’s inspectors were denied a view of some segments of the sixth unit’s turbine halls, adding that their visits to the halls have been prevented since October of last year.

“For the first time, under far-fetched pretexts, IAEA inspectors were rebuffed from entry into the reactor halls of power units in a state of cold shutdown — and in the end, with a delay of a couple of weeks, they were allowed into only one of them.,” says Dmitry Gorchakov, a nuclear expert with Bellona.

“But the problem is much deeper,” he continues. “After all, such delays and restrictions in access are systemic problem. IAEA inspectors are not allowed or are allowed with huge delays into requested Zaporizhzhia NPP locations while almost the entire time they are present at the plant. As Rafael Grossi said on his very first visit to the plant on September 1, 2022, ‘If we are not allowed somewhere, we will say  so.’ And since then, regularly in numerous IAEA information messages on Zaporizhzhia NPP you can see that inspectors are waiting until they are allowed access to numerous plant facilities and they have been waiting for this for months. And no meetings between the head of Rosatom Likhachev and Grossi, as a matter of principle, can solve this problem. This is an obvious obstruction of the IAEA’s work at the site. Under one pretext or another.”

Grossi has warned numerous times that, should outside power be cut to the plant, cooling apparatus could be interrupted, risking a nuclear accident.

The IAEA teams at the Zaporizhzhia site also inspect for the presence of weapons and troops onsite, which would further put the six-reactor plant at risk of bombardment and attack.

All of the plant’s reactors have been in some state of shutdown since September of last year, a measure that would lessen the radioactive consequences should they get caught in the crossfire of warring troops.

The IAEA has lobbied both Moscow and Kyiv to implement a non-military zone around the plant to prevent it from coming under fire, but those efforts have proven unsuccessful.

Bellona has closely monitored events at the plant and last year published an exhaustive report on the dangers the plant — and the world — face as a result of its seizure. For the first time ever, the report notes, a nuclear plant has been made hostage to a raging military conflict.

At present, IAEA experts at the plant are still waiting on access to the roofs of the reactors — an inspection that was scheduled for December 19, but which was scotched by Russian officials over what they described as security concerns, the Ukrainian national newswire Ukrainska Pravda reported.

The IAEA team likewise has yet to receive 2024 reactor maintenance schedules from the Russian occupiers, Ukrainska Pravda said.

 

 

The post IAEA finally allowed access to reactor at embattled Zaporizhzhia plant. appeared first on Bellona.org.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Dogwood Alliance is Hiring a Campaigns Director

Dogwood Alliance - Fri, 01/19/2024 - 06:59

Dogwood Alliance has a new job opportunity: Campaigns Director. We’re seeking qualified applicants. We value and respect all types of diversity. We strongly encourage applicants from marginalized groups to apply. About the Campaigns Director Role The Campaigns Director will handle our federal campaigns. This role involves: leading campaign activities with partners and coalitions at the […]

The post Dogwood Alliance is Hiring a Campaigns Director first appeared on Dogwood Alliance.
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

7 reasons to add more plants to your diet

Environmental Working Group - Thu, 01/18/2024 - 07:20
7 reasons to add more plants to your diet rcoleman January 18, 2024

You probably know plant-based and plant-forward diets have considerable benefits. But you might not know the exact benefits.. Do they help your health? The environment? 

Yes to both … and more. 

Even adjusting your diet just slightly by consuming less meat and dairy and increasing the amount of plants you eat has a big, positive effect on your health, animals’ health and our ability to reach our climate goals.

By understanding the impact of your individual dietary choices, you may feel better able to make more informed decisions. Below are seven great reasons to eat less meat.

Personal health

Tweaking your diet to make plant-based proteins a priority has immediate and long-lasting health benefits. 

1. Heart health

The American Heart Association has found that eating a plant-forward diet lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke later in life. The more red meat you eat, including beef, pork, lamb and goat, the higher your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

2. Cancer prevention

Eating large amounts of processed and red meat can increase your risk of colon cancer. 

3. Foodborne illness

Meat and dairy products are responsible for nearly half of all illnesses and deaths caused by foodborne pathogens. Animal waste from livestock farms and feedlots harms nearby produce farms, too. 

Water and dust contaminated with animal waste that hosts strains of E. coli are sprayed on, or drift over to, produce farms. In recent years, this contamination has also caused many illnesses and deaths from people eating leafy greens. 

4. Antibiotic resistance

The gratuitous use of antibiotics in overcrowded livestock facilities builds dangerous resistance in pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. That makes them much more difficult to treat should a human contract any of these bacterial infections. 

Climate

In addition to the personal health benefits of reducing animal protein consumption, it’s also a critical tool in the fight against the climate crisis.

5. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and carbon dioxide, are the most significant factor driving global climate change. Emissions from fertilizers, animal waste and animal feed in the U.S. represent 10 percent of our total emissions

Beef production alone produces more emissions than air travel. By cutting back on your consumption of animal protein, especially beef, you’re helping create a more sustainable food system. 

6. Curb water pollution

Runoff from animal waste and fertilizer often contaminates nearby water supplies and is difficult to filter out. Polluted drinking water has been linked to certain types of cancer and severe gastrointestinal illnesses. 

Rural communities and communities of color are most harmed by this pollution. The pollution can also create toxic algae blooms, with negative impacts ranging from inconveniences like beach closures to the death of household pets and wildlife. 

Animal welfare

7. More humane treatment of animals

Most U.S. livestock is raised in what are called factory farms. 

Along with their dire environmental harms, industrial farm conditions for animals like chickens, pigs and cows are inhumane. Cramped by the hundreds or thousands along with vermin and insects, animals in this type of environment require excessive antibiotics to avoid getting sick. 

The sheer amount of waste produced in even small factory farms is often more than the surrounding soil can absorb. This waste – brimming with antibiotics, cleaning chemicals and hormones – can seep into groundwater and run off farm fields into nearby streams and rivers. 

Whether you remove animal protein from your diet entirely or replace it with plant-based protein a couple of times a week, your choices will benefit your own health and the health of the environment. Understanding those benefits may also help make these decisions easier.

Areas of Focus Food & Water Food Farming & Agriculture Meat and Dairy Alternatives Family Health Disqus Comments Guest Authors Kady Ruth Ashcraft January 18, 2024
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

EWG comments to the FDA on brominated vegetable oil in food

Environmental Working Group - Thu, 01/18/2024 - 06:44
EWG comments to the FDA on brominated vegetable oil in food rcoleman January 18, 2024

Attached are EWG's comments in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule to revoke the authorization for the use of brominated vegetable oil in food.

File Download Document EWG Comments FDA-2023-N-0937 BVO revocation.pdf Areas of Focus Food & Water Food Toxic Chemicals Food Chemicals Disqus Comments January 17, 2024
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Public Participation Obstructed In Rubber Stamp Review Hearing of Phillips 66 Biofuels Refinery Project in California

Biofuel Watch - Wed, 01/17/2024 - 12:03

The saga of the repurposing of two of the refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area to manufacturing liquid biofuels from high deforestation risk commodities like soy took another anti-democratic twist this week. Local authorities sped through a hearing on January 16, 2024 on the revised environmental review of the massive Phillips 66 biofuel refinery project in the unincorporated community of Rodeo on the northern shores of the Bay, rushing to keep the $1 billion investment moving forward while taking measures to curtail public participation in the process.

As background, in May 2022 the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors had previously hosted back to back hearings on both the Phillips 66 biofuel refinery project in Rodeo and the Marathon-Neste joint venture biofuel refinery project in Martinez. That day-long session of hearings was held only because community, environmental and climate justice organizations had appealed the County Planning Commission approvals of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) environmental reviews of the refinery conversion projects earlier that year.

On that day in early May 2022 the Contra Costa County Supervisors unanimously denied the appeals and wholeheartedly green lighted both of the biofuel refinery projects. Following those decisions by local elected officials, the Center for Biological Diversity, in partnership with Communities for a Better Environment, and with the legal and technical expertise of the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, filed parallel lawsuits challenging the simultaneous approval of the environmental review of both unprecedented refinery conversion projects. The court case on the Marathon/Neste joint venture at the Martinez refinery resulted in a partial decision exposing flaws with the environmental review, focusing singularly on the flawed odor management plan, an unsatisfactory result for climate justice advocates. That lawsuit has already been sent on to the state appeals court, and will be heard in the coming year.

The Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo has been getting lucrative incentives for making biofuels even though the environmental review of the project was found deficient by a judge.

However, in the case of the Phillips 66 biofuel refinery project, the same judge ruled that the original environmental review of the biofuels project was illegal and had failed to address serious questions of cumulative impacts, while embarking on the illegal tactic of piecemealing — the illegal breaking up of the entirety of a project into discrete pieces, thus averting the legally required review of the project as a whole.

This court ruling prompted county authorities to rush forward with a Draft Revised Environmental Impact Report, which was released and opened to public comment in the autumn of 2023. Biofuelwatch reported extensively on the dynamics around this public comment period in our previous post Court Orders, Refinery Fires and Deforestation Drivers: California Push for Liquid Biofuels Ignores Red Flag Warnings.

Despite being presented with more evidence about the dangers of characterizing the conversion of the more than century old Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery to making biofuels as a climate solution, the county proceeded with great haste to finalize the revised environmental review during the holiday. Precisely four weeks after the close in early December 2023 of written public comment on the draft the county announced the January 16 public hearing to approve the final revised version.

The newest final version of the project review once again roundly dismissed all the evidence and information provided by community members and the organizations that engaged on the public comment. Despite the requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act to assess how new information can influence the veracity of the entirety of the environmental review, the county discarded new factual information provided in the public comment that in essence further substantiated the record of evidence that had resulted in the court of law ruling that the original environmental review was illegal in the first place.

Neither the Board of Supervisors nor County Staff expressed any sort of contrition nor leadership self reflection when faced with the fact that they had previously rubber stamped an environmental review that the court had later found deficient.

Kerry Guerin is an attorney with Communities for a Better Environment who attended the January 2024 hearing on the Phillips 66 project.

Of the evidence presented to the county by community members regarding the safety concerns with the processing of feedstocks like soy was the existence of the most recent draft of what is known as a Flare Minimization Plan (FMP), presented by Phillips 66 on an annual basis for the Rodeo refinery to the local Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). The FMP is an annual requirement, the review of which is buried in the opaque processes of BAAQMD staff and not easily accessible to the public. The late 2023 version of the FMP for the Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery apparently still remains confidential. However, the 2022 ‘nonconfidential’ version of the FMP was shared with Biofuelwatch.

Remarkably, despite the fact that Phillips 66 has been making liquid biofuels at their Rodeo refinery since April 2021, more than a year before receiving final approval for their project from the County in May 2022, an anomaly that the court saw as being relevant to the illegal piecemealing of the environmental review of the project, their most recent ‘nonconfidential’ version of their Flare Minimization Plan from October 2022 does not even mention biofuels. As a matter of fact, scrutiny of the 2022 FMP document reveals absolutely no mention of the refinery conversion project at all.

In essence, Phillips 66 has received lucrative Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits from the California Air Resources Board for producing ‘renewable diesel’ from feedstocks like soy and canola with a hydrogen intensive ‘hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids’ hydro cracker technology at their Rodeo refinery, but the most recent publicly available version of the FMP for that same refinery regulated by the local air district BAAQMD does not even mention the words biofuels, renewable diesel, hydrotreated vegetable oils, HEFA, soy, canola, animal tallow or any of the terms that are directly associated with making these products. As far as the BAAQMD supervised Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery Flare Minimization Plan goes the biofuel project apparently does not even exist.

Notably absent from the recent county supervisors hearing on the revised environmental review were any representatives from BAAQMD, neither to provide comment or to be available to answer questions from decision makers, once again raising questions about to what extent the local air district is fulfilling their responsibility to implement regulatory activities within the context of current and future operations.

This incongruence of biofuel production not even existing in a recent Phillips 66 FMP was brushed aside by county authorities, who also appeared completely unconcerned about the recent devastating fire at the Marathon-Neste biofuel refinery in Martinez. At the same time, the County was obligated in their documentation to recognize that there exist numerable ‘significant and unavoidable environmental impacts‘ from the project. Those impacts were dismissed because of the economic significance of the refinery project.

Tyson Bagley is the United Steelworkers Health and Safety Representative for the Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery who attended the January 2024 hearing and spoke in strong support of the Phillips 66 biofuels project.

Notably, and not surprisingly, labor organizations representing workers at the Phillips 66 refinery came out in strong force in support of approval of the project, celebrating the opportunity to keep the refinery operating into the foreseeable future to make ‘renewable’ fuels with ‘renewable’ feedstocks to provide the state with the ‘low carbon’ energy sources that are central to aspirations to achieve ‘decarbonization.’

Adding a particularly grotesque dynamic of inequity to the proceedings was the manner in which the local authorities conducted the review hearing.

After having spent two hours celebrating the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr in commemoration of the treasured annual federal holiday, the Board of Supervisors reconvened to hear the agenda item on the Phillips 66 biofuel refinery environmental review. Remarkably, after an abbreviated 15 minute staff presentation that reasserted the urgency of approving the project again, the chair of the Board stated that public comment would be restricted to 1 minute. Though the audience in attendance was predominantly labor and company representatives in Phillips 66 uniform, there were hoots of disbelief from advocates that instead of the traditional 3 minute time allowed for public comment at most public hearings, in this instance an individual speaker would get only one minute. That an individual public comment on an issue of such magnitude and technical complexity would be limited to 1 minute is unheard of with such a small audience.

That the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors would come out of a ceremony dedicated to elevating the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr to immediately open an agenda item on the permitting of a controversial polluting industrial facility owned and operated by a company worth ~$60 billion dollars, and with a long legacy of conflict with affected communities, and tell concerned community members that their time to address the board would be abbreviated in this manner was roundly seen as outrageous — to put it in polite terms.

Even county staff knew, after all they had done to ram the project through, that limiting public comment at the hearing was simply a ‘very bad look.’ The clear obstruction of the public right to meaningful participation that was manifested by the limitation on public comment at the hearing on the Phillips 66 biofuels project clearly accentuates the corporate impunity facilitated by the irregular and industry friendly governance of not only the biofuel refinery issue specifically but of the energy sector in the state more broadly.

It made no difference to the acquiescent and beholden to industry Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, who rapidly moved to approve the Phillips 66 project with a unanimous 5-0 vote.

For more media inquiries contact Gary Hughes (garyhughes.bfw@gmail.com), who is the Americas Program Coordinator with Biofuelwatch.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Hundreds of chemicals in everyday consumer products may increase breast cancer risk

Environmental Working Group - Wed, 01/17/2024 - 07:44
Hundreds of chemicals in everyday consumer products may increase breast cancer risk rcoleman January 17, 2024

More than 900 chemicals found in cosmetics, drinking water, food and cleaning supplies used by millions of Americans every day may cause biological changes linked to risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study published this month.

Hundreds of these chemicals are legally allowed for use in making these products in the U.S. but that approval doesn’t mean they’re safe for people exposed to them.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, identified 921 commonly used chemicals that are linked to breast cancer risk. The paper identified chemicals that have been either linked to mammary gland tumors or increase certain hormonal activities that may result in forming tumors, or both. 

How chemicals cause cancer

Chemicals can cause cancer in many ways, but the typical outcome tracked in studies is the formation of tumors.

The new study expands what we know about chemicals and their potential cancer risk, because the researchers from the Silent Spring Institute and University of California, Berkeley, looked not only at chemicals that cause tumors but also those that create biological changes. This expanded the list of chemicals reviewed in the study from 279 to 921.

Environmental exposures, such as to chemicals in cosmetics and other products used everyday and covered by the study, are linked to breast cancer.

Many of the 921 chemicals are also endocrine disruptors, which can harm reproduction and development of the nervous system. The study also found 92 percent of the chemicals can harm or change our DNA. 

EWG looks at all possible toxicological data like this for our scientific approach to reviewing chemical ingredients, including their cancer risk, in our Skin Deep® guide to safer personal care products. We score products based on their chemical ingredients’ potential for human or environmental harm, using the findings in the new study as well as other available toxicological data and peer-reviewed scientific studies.

EWG's Top 5 Chemicals to Avoid for Cancer Prevention

Download your free copy now:

Legal doesn’t always mean safe

Just because a chemical is approved for use in a product doesn’t mean it won’t harm you. Almost none of the 921 chemicals were tested for safety before they were used on the market.

The chemicals include phthalates, solvents like trichloroethylene and bisphenols, including BPA.

They also include chlorotriazine herbicides, like atrazine, which are pesticides and drinking water contaminants. The Environmental Protection Agency dismissed some of these herbicides as not harmful to humans, despite studies showing they caused mammary gland tumors in rats.

The chemicals named in the study are used in almost all everyday products. They’re found in cosmetics and labeled as “fragrance,” cleaning products, clothing, and even children’s toys. 

Our regulatory system is broken. When chemicals are proven to harm people, they may be phased out of use, but they’re often replaced with substances equally as harmful. When the government doesn’t test these chemicals before allowing them to be used in products, it’s failing to sufficiently protect human health.

These chemicals may be combined in products yet they are rarely assessed for safety as chemical mixtures. As mixtures, chemicals can interact with each other in the body, potentially making them more toxic. Chemicals should be assessed for safety as mixtures and evaluated across all the products that might contain them, using a cumulative risk assessments framework.

Reducing your exposure

Eliminating your exposure to the 921 chemicals in the study might not be possible, since they’re used in so many products. But you can reduce your exposure, and potentially lower your risk of suffering the harms linked to these chemicals: 

Areas of Focus Personal Care Products Cosmetics Household & Consumer Products Family Health Reproductive Health Toxic Chemicals Disqus Comments Authors Alexa Friedman, Ph.D. January 17, 2024
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

International Rights of Nature Tribunal rules impacts caused by current forestry model as ecocide

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund - Wed, 01/17/2024 - 07:20
Press release · 11th Local Rights of Nature Tribunal Biobío, Concepción, Chile International Rights of Nature Tribunal rules impacts caused by current forestry model as ecocide

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal held its 11th Local Tribunal in the Biobío region in Chile on Friday, January 12, focusing its attention on the violations of the Rights of Nature arising from the forestry model and the devastating forest fires of 2023.

Chaired by prominent environmental lawyer Enrique Viale and with the support of Earth Prosecutor Ricardo Frez, the Tribunal set out to investigate the responsibilities of public and private entities in implementing a destructive forestry model. The Tribunal had a panel of distinguished judges: Claudio Donoso (Chile), Antonio Elizalde (Chile), Jacqueline Arriagada (Chile), Lucio Cuenca (Chile), and Karina Riquelme (Chile).

On Thursday 11, the Tribunal was able to hold an in situ visit to the territory and toured Agua Amarilla, Coroney, Cerro Neuque, Bosque de Queules, in the commune of Tomé; and Patagual, Quetra, la Quebrada and the commune of Santa Juana, to talk with affected people, communities and neighborhood councils, learning about the monoculture tree plantations and seeing first-hand the impacts of the forestry model and the fires on the lives of people and Nature. They also visited a Queule reserve, where they could appreciate the resilience of this and other native trees such as the Quillay, which resisted the fire, as well as examples of sustainable forest management that protects small refuges of life.

During the session, the judges had the opportunity to hear moving testimonies and compelling evidence from experts, affected communities, and activists, reflecting the catastrophic impact of the forestry model on communities and the ecosystem. It was highlighted that the mega-fires of 2023 burned through more than 479,000 hectares, severely affecting 61% of the forest area and 9.4% of the total area of the region. These fires had a significant human cost, with more than 7,000 people affected, 26 fatalities, and the loss of 33,000 domestic animals.

The technical voice of representatives and researchers from EULA, NGO Conciencia Sur, and Earth Law Center was heard. In addition, members of communities and local organizations from Tomé, Patagual, Nacimiento, San Ramón-Quillón, and Santa Juana gave their testimonies, and the day closed with representatives of the Pewenche Indigenous Community of Alto Biobío, who recounted the pain and despair they feel at seeing their ancestral lands devastated, and how water contamination, loss of biodiversity, and territorial displacement have significantly affected their life systems, culturally affecting their roots and spirituality. 

Experts in ecology and environmental sciences presented alarming data on the degradation of ecosystems due to forestry operations in the territory. They described evidence of the loss and contamination of water, affectation and critical loss of relevant species of flora and fauna, and, in general, the direct consequences of intensive forestry exploitation. At the same time, the imperative need to reevaluate the use of agrochemicals, deforestation, and monoculture practices was addressed.

After an exhaustive analysis, the judges issued strong statements. Forestry companies such as Arauco and CMPC, Chile’s largest, were singled out as responsible for such environmental destruction, and for compromising the fundamental rights of local communities. The Secretariat of the Tribunal invited the following institutions and companies to make an appearance before the Tribunal: CORMA, CONAF, ARAUCO (owner of the M.A.P.A. project), and CMPC (owner of the Santa Fe Plant project), who did not attend the hearing. An important presentation was made by the Mayoress of Santa Juana, who spoke of the suffering of the inhabitants of her commune, the history of the installation of the Forestry model, and the complete abandonment of the central government to mitigate and prevent these disasters.

In addition, an urgent call was made to reform insufficient environmental legislation and establish policies prioritizing environmental and community justice, urging the Chilean authorities to recognize the intrinsic rights of Nature as set out in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. 

The historical consequences of the implementation of Decree-Law No. 701 were denounced and a proposal was made to modify Article 19 of Law No. 20,283, on “Native Forest Recovery and Forestry Promotion”, and that community science should contribute to understanding and protecting the affected territories and, in this way, promoting a system of restoration that respects local ecosystems.

Claudio Donoso, one of the Tribunal’s judges, said: “The intervention of the mountains and mountain ranges has seriously affected the water supply, creating an alarming shortage. We are observing an accelerated deterioration of the territory which, in turn, is causing serious impacts on local communities”.

Lucio Cuenca, for his part, denounced the influence of large forestry companies on politics and institutions, alleging that “there is a kind of capture by groups such as Arauco and CMPC, which have molded politics according to their interests”.

The Tribunal stressed the urgent need to rethink forestry policies in Chile, highlighting the demands of Indigenous and local communities who have directly suffered the devastating consequences of this model. Karina Riquelme, another critical voice of the Tribunal, said: “The communities have made complaints that have been ignored for years. It is time to act and deeply recognize their pain, which we have seen has had vital consequences”.

The judges of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal issued an oral verdict on Friday afternoon, January 12, in which they declared:

  1. That the current Chilean forestry model has provoked ecocide in the territory and against all living beings that inhabit it, human and non-human;
  2. That the forestry model violates the Rights of Nature and even the weak environmental protection regulations existing in the country;
  3.  It has verified the absence of the Chilean State in the regulation and control of the existing regulations, which they also declared to be completely insufficient;
  4. That the actions of the large forestry companies violate the Rights of Nature;
  5. The State of Chile is urged to recognize the Rights of Nature in its internal regulations, as the only way for the survival of humanity and biodiversity, and to promote a plan to overcome the current forestry model;
  6. A plan of restoration and integral regeneration is urgently demanded, worked on with the communities and in the local territory;
  7. The declaration of a moratorium or prohibition of the establishment of invasive and pyrophyte species in the territory is demanded;
  8. It considers Queule, the Nahuelbuta mountain range, the Cayumanqui hill, and the Biobío river, among other elements of Nature, as subjects of inherent rights that are recognized and protected by the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, which must be recognized, guaranteed and respected by the State of Chile.

The initiative of the XI Local Tribunal in the Biobío case against the Forestry Model was organized by the International Rights of Nature Tribunal and convened at the local level by the Alliance for the Rights of Nature of Biobío, composed of various organizations, including Red por la Superación del Modelo Forestal, Entramas por el Biobío, NGO We Kimün and NGO Defensa Ambiental; and, at the international level, by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN).

 You can find more information about the session by clicking here.

 To access the hearing, click here.

 To access the reading of the verdict, click here.

Download the press release with quotes from the judges on the verdict here.

The post International Rights of Nature Tribunal rules impacts caused by current forestry model as ecocide appeared first on CELDF.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

140-plus state and local officials urge Congress to protect pesticide safety laws

Environmental Working Group - Wed, 01/17/2024 - 06:03
140-plus state and local officials urge Congress to protect pesticide safety laws rcoleman January 17, 2024

WASHINGTON – Over 140 mayors, lawmakers and other officials from more than 30 states are joining forces in urging Congress to reject legislation that would limit longstanding state and local pesticide safety rules.

The officials sent a letter on January 10 to top members of the Senate and House Agriculture committees warning that the proposed legislation would impede the safety ordinances that help protect communities from the potential health harms of pesticides. 

They say the proposals would block them from pursuing pesticide limits that are stricter than the federal government’s, even if such policies are needed for a state or local area’s unique circumstances.

As Congress deliberates the next farm bill and Fiscal Year 2024 spending bills, the signatories urge lawmakers to preserve the right of state and local governments to decide which pesticide limits best suit their needs.

The officials expressed concern over legislation such as H.R. 4288, the Agricultural Labeling Uniformity Act, which, if enacted, would ban states from passing and enforcing additional requirements for warnings or information related to pesticides.

The letter underscores the significant pesticide oversight role for states and localities set out in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The law establishes the Environmental Protection Agency's baseline authority over pesticides in the U.S. but gives state and local governments the power to enact additional pesticide measures. 

“It is imperative state and local governments continue to have the authority to adopt more health-protective safeguards when necessary to shield their communities from exposure to toxic pesticides,” said Geoff Horsfield, government affairs manager at the Environmental Working Group, who helped organize the letter. 

“Big agriculture operations should not be able to spray pesticides wherever and whenever they’d like and put the well-being of nearby communities at even greater risk,” he said.

The state and local leaders highlight the Supreme Court's recognition of the power held by democratically elected local governments, pointing out that state and local entities are often better positioned to respond swiftly to emerging risks within their communities than the federal government.

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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Areas of Focus Farm Pollution Disqus Comments Press Contact Alex Formuzis alex@ewg.org (202) 667-6982 January 17, 2024
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

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