Environment & Sustainability
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Environment & Sustainability
Sustainable design, climate news & emergent technologies for a cleaner, greener world.
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Curated by youthrage
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Why a Climate Deal Is the Best Hope for Peace - The New Yorker

Why a Climate Deal Is the Best Hope for Peace - The New Yorker | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

We are finally starting to recognize that climate change leads to wars and economic ruin. It’s time to recognize that intelligent climate policy is fundamental to lasting peace and economic justice.

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Germany’s First Waste-Free Supermarket About To Open Its Doors -

Germany’s First Waste-Free Supermarket About To Open Its Doors - | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

Everyone wants to contribute a smaller carbon footprint, but it’s quite difficult when 80% of stock sold in supermarkets is wrapped in toxic packaging. In effect, Americans still produce near 3 pounds of trash every day, and this is a big problem. So what could be an intelligent solution? How about a zero-waste grocery store.

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Harvard study links industrial chemicals, pesticides to growing brain disorders in children

Harvard study links industrial chemicals, pesticides to growing brain disorders in children | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

Toxic industrial chemicals and pesticides may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children—such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia—according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The researchers say a new global prevention strategy to control the use of these substances is urgently needed.

The study systematically reviews 5 industrial chemicals (lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic and toluene) and 6 additional developmental neurotoxicants (manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene and polybrominated diphenyl ethers), noting that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered.

The authors assert that untested chemicals SHOULD NOT BE PRESUMED TO BE SAFE to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must be tested for developmental neurotoxicity.

Article: http://bit.ly/1ftA44v
Study: http://bit.ly/1moQ4xC
2012 Harvard study confirming the adverse effect of fluoride on cognitive development: http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1104912/

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Europe's 'greenest city' tests limits of sustainable living

Europe's 'greenest city' tests limits of sustainable living | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

In the 1990s, before global warming was grabbing headlines, the city of Vaexjoe, Sweden announced plans to abandon fossil fuels by 2030 and to halve carbon emissions in less than two decades (among a host of "green goals" that also encourage local farmers to go organic and everyone to reduce paper consumption and to use bicycles or public transport).

 

Today, Vaexjoe's CO2 emissions are indeed almost half what they were in 1993—one of the lowest levels in Europe at 2.7 tonnes per person—and almost half of Sweden's already low average.

The city-owned energy company went on to pioneer a changeover from oil to biomass—incinerating leftovers from the forestry industry. Today almost 90 percent of the city's 60,000 inhabitants get their heat and hot water from the plant, which also supplies about 40 percent of electricity needs. Thanks to a series of filters, the plant's emissions are almost negligible—one-twentieth of the national limit.

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Greenpeace study finds hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing from many major brands

Greenpeace study finds hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing from many major brands | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

A new investigation by Greenpeace has found a broad range of hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing and footwear across a number of major clothing brands, including fast fashion, sportswear and luxury brands such as Disney, Gap, H&M, American Apparel, Burberry, Nike, Adidas & Puma.


Click here to sign the Greenpeace Detox Manifesto demanding toxic-free fashion: http://bit.ly/1ef8as8

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Call for Comments on USDA Approval of Agent Orange Corn

Call for Comments on USDA Approval of Agent Orange Corn | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The Obama administration announced last week that it expects to approve corn and soybeans that have been genetically engineered by Dow Chemical company to tolerate the toxic herbicide 2,4-D (one of the primary ingredients in Agent Orange).

They are pushing through this approval through despite the fact that use of this herbicide is associated with increased rates of deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, birth defects, neurological damage and reproductive problems. Convinced by such research, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and parts of Canada have banned 2,4-D.

Weed ecologists are unanimous in warning that approval of these crops will lead to vast increases in the use of this poisonous chemical. Researchers at Penn State say that in soybeans alone, planting of crops resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of 2,4-D sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year — 4x the current level. The researchers predict a cascade of negative environmental impacts, and add that the increasing use of the herbicide would actually worsen the epidemic of superweeds, by causing weeds to become resistant to multiple herbicides.

A coalition of 144 farming, fishery, environmental and public health groups have asked the USDA not to approve the 2,4-D resistant crops. Citing studies that predict dire consequences to both human and environmental health, they add the concern among farmers that 2,4-D would drift onto their property and kill their crops, causing serious economic damage in rural communities: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/24-d-organizational-signon-letter-final-1_19569.pdf

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

1) For the next 45 days, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comments. Submit your comment here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=APHIS-2013-0042-0050

2) The primary use of genetically engineered corn and soy are as livestock feed in factory farms. You can help reduce the demand by avoiding factory farmed meat.

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Harper government cutting more than $100 million related to protection of water

Harper government cutting more than $100 million related to protection of water | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

More than $100 million in cuts are underway at the federal department in charge of protecting Canada’s water and oceans, despite recommendations from top bureaucrats that it needs to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons.

 

According to internal federal briefing notes obtained by Postmedia News, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is eliminating about 500 jobs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans related to Coast Guard services, patrols to stop illegal fishing activities as well as scientific research to promote conservation, protect endangered species, and prevent industrial water pollution.

 

The cuts, part of the federal government’s efforts to eliminate its deficit, cover 26 different areas of the department which has a workforce of about 10,000 employees. The downsizing also includes the shutdown of federal libraries and millions of dollars in reductions to climate change adaptation programs. In total, the department estimates it will cut about $80 million per year from its budget by 2014-15, and over $100 million per year in the following fiscal year.

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'Every little helps' is a dangerous mantra for climate change

'Every little helps' is a dangerous mantra for climate change | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

"Nudging, tweaking, or cajoling people into piecemeal behavioural changes like re-using plastic bags is not a proportionate response to climate change. Engaging the public through their personal carbon footprints is really only a means to an end – and that end is a political and economic system that has sustainability as its central organising principle.

Clearly, economic systems do not overhaul themselves – and in a democracy, majority support is a prerequisite for any significant societal shift. Politicians do not take risks if they don't think the electorate will support them. And civil society cannot function without a diverse supporter-base.

This means that public engagement still lies at the heart of the challenge of climate change, but it is a form of public engagement that goes way beyond plastic bags. And any public campaign that treats minor behavioural change as a valid goal in itself is also taking a radical stance: complicity in a dangerously warmer world."

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Demand Climate Action Now! - Green Party of Canada [Petition]

Demand Climate Action Now! - Green Party of Canada [Petition] | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

Green Party of Canada: Tell Stephen Harper to listen to the warnings of science and the will of Canadians, and implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce GHG while transitioning Canada to a clean energy economy. Demand climate action now! www.greenparty.ca/climate-action-now

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FUNDED: The Plastic Bank - Harvesting Waste Plastic to Reduce Poverty

FUNDED: The Plastic Bank - Harvesting Waste Plastic to Reduce Poverty | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The Plastic Bank helps people ascend from poverty by rewarding them for removing plastic waste from the land, oceans and waterways. The Plastic Bank empowers people to harvest plastics as a currency they can exchange for various things including tools, household items, parts and 3D printed goods.

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Climate science settled: Earth is warming, climate stability is a thing of the past, and humans are responsible. Canada: No comment.

Climate science settled: Earth is warming, climate stability is a thing of the past, and humans are responsible. Canada: No comment. | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all 900 pages – will be officially tabled on Monday.  Meanwhile, the key chapters and the Summary for Policy Makers were released on Friday.

In response, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “The heat is on.  We must act.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “This is yet another wakeup call: Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire …. the response must be all hands on deck. It’s not about one country making a demand of another. It’s the science itself, demanding action from all of us.”

President Obama’s science adviser, Dr. John P. Holdren, said the report proves “that the kinds of harm already being experienced from climate change will continue to worsen unless and until comprehensive and vigorous action to reduce emissions is undertaken worldwide.”

And, in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s science advisor said, …… Oooops. Harper eliminated that post. So no comment from that corner.

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Canada Silences Scientists, Targets Environmentalists in Tar Sands Push

Canada Silences Scientists, Targets Environmentalists in Tar Sands Push | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

Five years ago this month, the firm TransCanada submitted a permit request to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project has sparked one of the nation’s most contentious environmental battles in decades. The Obama administration initially appeared ready to approve Keystone XL, but an unprecedented wave of activism from environmentalists and residents of the states along its path has forced several delays. Among those pressuring Obama for Keystone XL’s approval is the Canadian government, which recently offered a greater pledge of reduced carbon emissions if the pipeline is built. 

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Garry Rogers's curator insight, September 29, 2013 7:50 PM

Greed takes Canada.

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Quake kills 45 in Pakistan, creates new island in Arabian sea

Quake kills 45 in Pakistan, creates new island in Arabian sea | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

A major earthquake hit a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 45 people and prompting a new island to rise from the sea just off the country's southern coast.

 

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Elon Musk Takes on Climate Change With Big Bets on Solar, Battery Tech

Elon Musk Takes on Climate Change With Big Bets on Solar, Battery Tech | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The energy world is not keeping up with Elon Musk, so he's trying to take matters into his own hands. Musk, chairman of the solar installer SolarCity, announced Tuesday that the company would acquire solar panel maker Silevo, and is also currently in talks to build one of the world’s largest solar panel production plants in New York.

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The Next Black - A film about the Future of Clothing

The Next Black - A film about the Future of Clothing | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

'The Next Black' is a documentary film that explores the future of clothing. Watch as we meet with some of the most innovative companies on the planet to get their opinion on clothing and its future, including: heroes of sustainability, Patagonia; tech-clothing giants, Studio XO; sportswear icon, adidas; and Biocouture, a consultancy exploring living organisms to grow clothing and accessories.

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A little story about a fashionable lie

A little story about a fashionable lie | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The latest investigation from Greenpeace International reveals hazardous chemicals in children's clothes made by luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana and Dior: http://bit.ly/1f6j5u4

 

This follows closely on the heels of a Greenpeace East Asia study which found contaminants in other children's sportswear and luxury brands such as Disney, Gap, H&M, American Apparel, Burberry, Nike, Adidas & Puma: http://bit.ly/1dW7dZE

 

They haven't examined adult clothing yet, but let's be real here. >_<


TAKE ACTION:

- Tell Louis Vuitton, Versace, Dolce&Gabbana and Dior to detoxify their clothing: http://bit.ly/1f6hhBm
- Sign the Detox Fashion Manifesto: http://bit.ly/1ef8as8

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There’s still time: Stop Enbridge’s Risky Pipeline

There’s still time: Stop Enbridge’s Risky Pipeline | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The Conservative party has 143 days to decide whether they will accept the National Energy Board’s proposal on the Northern Gateway pipeline.

That means there is STILL TIME to speak up for a forward-thinking resource development plan that promotes energy security and protects our land & water from needlessly reckless development.

But, this is our last chance. Please sign + share this petition to let the Harper Administration know that this risky pipeline and tanker scheme is not in our economic or environmental interest: http://greenparty.ca/stop-the-pipeline

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New labeling system guides people through how to recycle.

New labeling system guides people through how to recycle. | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

Think every piece of food and product packaging that bears the chasing arrows recycling symbol can be tossed in the blue bin? It’s a common misconception.

 

While these items are technically recyclable, they may not be accepted in every recycling program. This can cause confusion and frustration among consumers and may even lead some to skip recycling altogether.

 

To clear up the chasing arrows confusion once and for all, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition — an industry working group dedicated to environmentally friendly packaging — developed its How2Recycle Label, a straightforward label that gives consumers detailed information about the packaging materials and their proper disposal.

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Debating the Costs of Stopping Asian Carp (and the risk to the Great Lakes)

Debating the Costs of Stopping Asian Carp (and the risk to the Great Lakes) | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has just released a report detailing different options for preventing an infestation of Asian carp in the Great Lakes. This invasive species has the potential to completely disrupt the Great Lakes ecosystem, posing a massive threat to Canada's fishing, boating and touring economy.

 

Asian carp have no natural predators, a huge appetite, and the ability to reproduce quickly, meaning they can out-compete native species for food. In some parts of the Illinois River, Asian carp already make up 95% of the biomass.

 

Right now, the only thing keeping Asian carp out of Great Lakes is a massive electric net that costs $50M a year in upkeep. The report outlines 8 other solutions, which range from doing nothing to permanently sealing off the carp-infested waters of the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes (estimated cost of $18.4 billion; 25 years to complete).

 

The report is open for public comment until March 3.

 

Read the report: http://1.usa.gov/Kc9kwF
Add your comments: http://1.usa.gov/1h8Qa6Z

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Petition: Implement Paul Stamet's Plan for Mycological Remediation of Fukushima

Petition: Implement Paul Stamet's Plan for Mycological Remediation of Fukushima | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

Currently, radiation from Fukushima continues to leak unabated into the Pacific Ocean and Japan's groundwater, estimated at some 300 tonnes per day since 2011. Additional leaks were discovered this week on Dec. 21, 22 and 26 at reactors No. 1 and No. 2. Due to TEPCO's ongoing struggles to control the leaks, the decontamination cleanup (originally scheduled for completion in March 2014) has been extended to 2017. Long-term mitigation efforts are still years away.

 

Meanwhile, mycologist Paul Stamets has developed a practical solution that uses fast-growing mycelium (ie: the vegetative part of fungus) to isolate and absorb huge amounts of radioactive material for proper disposal. Stamets is currently collaborating with a team including Defense Department scientists to develop and implement a plan for mycological remediation at Fukushima.

 

Read more about the methodology: 

http://discovermagazine.com/2013/julyaug/13-mushrooms-clean-up-oil-spills-nuclear-meltdowns-and-human-health#.Ur2spyOXSnc

 

Let TEPCO know you want to see this happen:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/implement-paul-stamets

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Pembina Institute responds to Federal approval of Shell Jackpine mine expansion

Pembina Institute responds to Federal approval of Shell Jackpine mine expansion | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

“For the first time, the federal government has acknowledged that an oilsands project would have significant and unmitigated environmental impacts. Yet the government has decided those effects are justified, and has approved the project to proceed.

 

“Despite global concern about the climate impacts of oilsands development, the decision statement makes no mention of — and provides no conditions to require — mitigating the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project.

 

“The federal government’s decision also ignores many of the 88 recommendations made to governments by its own Joint Review Panel to address the significant environmental impacts of planned oilsands development in the region.

 

“As long as governments continue to approve oilsands projects while delaying or avoiding development of key regulations — to manage biodiversity, water flows, and tailings, and to reduce greenhouse gases — their message that oilsands expansion is being done responsibly has little grounding in science.”

 

- Jennifer Grant, Director, Pembina Institute Oilsands Program

 

Pembina Institute backgrounder: http://bit.ly/1ktFWxu

Decision of the Joint Review Panel: http://bit.ly/1cltuLE

Federal Government Decision Statement: http://bit.ly/IMy4e6

 

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SAVE THE ARCTIC – FREE OUR ACTIVISTS

SAVE THE ARCTIC – FREE OUR ACTIVISTS | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

28 activists and crew members (including two Canadians, as well as two journalists) have been jailed in Murmansk, Russia and have now been charged with piracy for protesting peacefully to protect the Arctic from reckless oil drilling. Over 800,000 people have written to Russian embassies around the world demanding their release. Email the Russian embassy today and together we can #FreeTheArctic30.

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Enbridge oilsands pipeline plan raises chilling issues for Toronto & GTA

Enbridge oilsands pipeline plan raises chilling issues for Toronto & GTA | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it
Line 9B, which if reversed could carry diluted bitumen, passes within metres of sensitive spots like Finch station, creating the spectre of a disastrous spill.
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Canada Pest Management Calls for Comments on Protecting Bees from Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Canada Pest Management Calls for Comments on Protecting Bees from Neonicotinoid Pesticides | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Federal body responsible for pesticide regulation and compliance in Canada, has issued a Call for Comments to their plans to protect bees from exposure to neonicotinoids. They suggest a number of protective measures, but not a ban as yet. Submit your comments by Dec. 12, 2013 to ensure measures are put into place to protect pollinators, plants, ecosystems and agricultural communities before the 2014 planting season.

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REPORT: Water and the Tar Sands | Environmental Defence

REPORT: Water and the Tar Sands | Environmental Defence | Environment & Sustainability | Scoop.it

In 2011, tar sands companies used approximately 170 million cubic metres of fresh water to extract bitumen -- that’s the same as the residential water usage of 1.7 million Canadians. 95% of the water used in tar sands mining becomes so polluted it has to be stored in toxic sludge pits, tailings "ponds" so big they can be seen from space. Companies are spending millions of dollars on glossy public relations campaigns with the hope that most Canadians won’t notice the devastating impacts of the tar sands on water. A new report from Environmental Defence aims to set the record straight.

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