Let’s Not Ignore the Climate Crisis
Recently the Trump administration weakened regulations that release mercury and other toxic metals from oil and coal-fired power plants. This was reported in The New York Times on April 17th. Here is the full article https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/climate/epa-mercury-coal.html.
While we are all practicing social distancing and staying safe, I want to remind everyone that we still need to pay attention to the climate crisis, even though it’s been relegated to the back pages of all news reporting. We may think it’s not an immediate threat, and unlike the coronavirus, climate issues aren’t overwhelming our health systems. However, serious climate changes are still affecting everyone in more subtle ways, and it is just as deadly. The climate crisis has and will continue to adversely impact us through:
- Devastating weather events (more hurricanes, tornados, typhoons),
- Melting ice caps causing sea level rise (major seacoast cities with larger populations will be impacted),
- Shortages of food and water (disruption with supply chain, contaminated water), and
- Diseases caused by pollutants in the air (more cancer diagnoses).
In my April blog I mentioned that our earth is warming at an alarming rate. I also spoke about the devastating fires impacting every inhabitant on earth. This month, I want to recommend some environmental information websites, that can help us to stay informed and learn how to become more active in the fight to save our earth. I know we are all consumed with the immediate coronavirus danger. However, we can’t ignore that another more dangerous and devastating threat is on the horizon. It’s urgent that we stay focused on this growing crisis because governments and fossil-fuel companies are disregarding the serious negative impact their actions will have on our environment.
Some of the websites I visit regularly for information are:
- Food & Water Watch - https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/
- Environmental Integrity Project - https://environmentalintegrity.org/
- Environmental Energy Law Program - https://eelp.law.harvard.edu/
- 350 - https://350.org/
Food & Water Watch addresses concerns about how the environment impacts our drinking water and food supply. Their website calls attention to several specific areas, such as the proliferation and impact of factory farms, corporate control over elections and policy, how corporate-backed schemes are falsifying and confusing data about GMOs, fracking and trade deals. Food and Water Watch is currently addressing two immediate issues during this pandemic and they want us to add our names in support of:
- Putting a wide moratorium on water shutoffs now during the coronavirus, and
- For a Factory Reform Act that will make us less vulnerable to future pandemics. See https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/covid-19-pandemic-shows-banning-factory-farms-more-important-ever
I strongly urge you check this out and add your name in support of these issues.
The Environmental Integrity Project has, in collaboration with the United Church of Christ, produced a report regarding the 2018 top 100 plants responsible for 39% of toxic air emissions within populated areas within the United States. (See https://environmentalintegrity.org/news/100-super-polluters-across-the-country/.) Included in this report is a dynamic map of the offending companies and their locations. I urge you to read this report. It is very eye opening.
The Environmental Energy Law Program website has an EPA mission tracker. Within this website page it states, “The Trump EPA is undermining the agency’s capacity to develop, implement, and enforce effective programs that reduce pollution and serve vital public needs. These efforts will leave behind a regime that delivers fewer reductions in harmful pollutants and an agency that lacks the institutional tools to protect public health and the environment.” This EPA mission tracker follows adverse changes being made in four key areas:
- Public health,
- Accountability, and
- Enforcement and Compliance.
I urge you to review the tracker and the underlying EPA polices (or lack thereof) that will hurt our environment and make us less safe. The EPA mission tracker is at: https://eelp.law.harvard.edu/epa-mission-tracker/.
And finally, the 350.org website is a good source for information on how we can build a better and safer future. To have a better world to live in, for ourselves and for our future generations, we must all find a way to stay informed and become active in the fight against the destructive forces doing harm to our environment and its inhabitants.