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Despite an uptick in its use during the pandemic, Virginia will soon ban the use of styrofoam containers for food products — Governor Ralph Northam signed the new law on Tuesday — with the bans set to go into effect next year. Large food sellers (those with 20 or more locations) will not be allowed […]
The idyllic island of St. Croix, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a Caribbean paradise — and also the site of one of America’s largest oil refineries. The Limetree Bay oil refinery caused one of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history and violated the Clean Air Act, and until early this year had been idled since 2012.
Why this Matters: The refinery provides jobs on the island that had been hurt by two hurricanes in 2017. But it also raises numerous troubling issues, not the least of which is that the majority of people living near the refinery are Black and nearly a third identify as Hispanic or Latino, and many are poor.
Gas flaring was responsible for Texas’s recent increase in oil refinery pollution, but it’s hardly a new problem. We’re less than a decade away from the UN’s goal of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, but refineries still flare 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, releasing 400 million tons of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
Why This Matters: Companies have historically practiced gas flaring as a convenient and inexpensive way to “dispose of ” gas that was extracted alongside oil, as opposed to storing paying to store it.
New scientific research sheds light on a growing problem — ocean noise pollution — but the good news is that this one is solvable. The problem is that much of ocean life depends on sound for survival and when anthropogenic noise increases, it drowns out the soundscapes that guide ocean life, The New York Times reports.
When you leave your front door, what can you reach in 15 minutes by foot or bike? A grocery store? A school? A park? That’s the question that many urban planners are using to shape plans for how cities operate in the future. The 15-minute city means designing neighborhoods where everything people need, from housing to dining to cultural institutions, is within that 15-minute radius.
Why this Matters: It’s a good idea to create neighborhoods that fulfill people’s basic needs so that they won’t have to travel as far to manage their daily lives – especially post-pandemic when more people are likely to work from home.
Why This Matters: Rising seas and rising temperatures are public health issues. More extreme heat worldwide means that people with pre-existing conditions, people who work outdoors, and the elderly all face a higher risk of heat-related death.
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