Scientists at the United Nations’ intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species—but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
Deutsche Wellereported Thursday that partially because the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its report on what it called nature’s “unprecedented” decline on the same day that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their first child, news reports on the study’s grave implications were few and far between.
While some international and progressive outlets—including Common Dreams—published high-profile stories on the report when it was released, just two of Britain’s national newspapers included any reporting about biodiversity on their front pages on May 7, the day after the royal baby was born to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Even before it gets worn once, that new T-shirt you bought is already dirtier than you can imagine. It’s soaked through with toxic waste, factory smog and plastic debris—all of which is likely just a few spin cycles away from an incinerator, or maybe a landfill halfway around the world. Our obsession with style rivals our hunger for oil, making fashion the world’s second-most polluting industry after the oil industry.
A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
“It’s an anti-protest bill, favoring the fossil fuel industry, favoring corporations over people.” — Frankie Orona, executive director of the Society of Native Nations
H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years.
The legislation was authored by Republican state Rep. Chris Paddie. It passed the state House May 7 on a 99 to 45 vote, with two abstentions. The bill is being cosponsored in the state Senate by Republican state Sen. Pat Fallon.
File this one under D for Death by a thousand cuts. The US oil and gas industry is facing a workforce crisis in the next five years or so, and now here comes the red-hot US wind industry to add fuel to the fire. It seems that the offshore wind industry is beginning to steal talent from its fossil fuel cousins, as many offshore energy skills translate almost seamlessly from one resource to another.
The United Nations released a dire assessment of humanity’s impact on the world’s ecosystems and natural resources this week. Up to 1 million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction due to pollution, habitat loss, climate disruption and other consequences of human activity that are wreaking havoc on the planet. Many species could disappear within decades if current development trends continue.
The U.N. assessment comes on the heels of startling climate reports that have alarmed much of the world, but it also illuminates a path forward for humanity: While humans have “significantly altered” about three quarters of land-based environments and two-thirds marine environments, these trends have been less severe or avoided altogether in areas held or managed by Indigenous peoples and “local communities.”
“Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health,” states a blistering 266-page report released today by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility. Drawing on news investigations, government assessments and more than 1,200 peer-reviewed research articles, the study finds that fracking – shooting chemical-laden fluid into deep rock layers to release oil and gas – is poisoning the air, contaminating the water and imperiling the health of Americans across the country. “Fracking is the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” says Dr. Sandra Steingraber, one of the report’s eight co-authors, a biologist who has worked as a public health advocate on issues like breast cancer and toxic incinerators. “Those of us in the public health sector started to realize years ago that there were potential risks, then the industry rolled out faster than we could do our science.” In recent years, the practice has expanded from rural lands to backyards, farms, and within sight of schools and sources of drinking water. “Now we see those risks have turned into human harms and people are getting sick,” says Steingraber. “And we in this field have a moral imperative to raise the alarm.”
“We can put the oil and gas wars to bed.” — K.C. Becker, Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives
On Tuesday, April 17, major Colorado environmental organizations stood at the capital with Governor Jared Polis and representatives of the oil and gas industry to celebrate the signing of Senate Bill 181. The bill was the biggest and most promoted oil and gas issue since the blue wave took majority control of the state legislature this year. Headlines about the legislation have filled the news media for months, driving a debate so fierce that it seemed to be based not on the conflict between Democrats and Republicans but on the conflict between capitalism and the climate.