#science
Frontline Communities Lacking Clean Water Can’t Fight Coronavirus Effectively

Frontline Communities Lacking Clean Water Can’t Fight Coronavirus Effectively

Shocking as it may be, there are 2 million Americans living in such poverty that they lack running water, and tens of millions of others may have water in their homes but it is hardly safe to bathe in, much less drink, The Washington Post reports.  These extreme conditions are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in minority communities in the deep south and Navajo Country

Why This Matters:  With some states reopening despite Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning today that we are not yet ready, we are all only as safe from the virus as the most vulnerable among us.

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Saving Northern Minnesota’s Forests Through Affirmative Adaptation

Saving Northern Minnesota’s Forests Through Affirmative Adaptation

The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series on climate change highlighting the places where temperatures have already warmed more than 2 degrees has a new installment, this one focusing on how to retain tree cover in Northern Minnesota so it doesn’t become a prairie, which scientists believe is a real risk. 

Why This Matters:  If Minnesota’s residents want to keep their forests, humans must limit greenhouse gas emissions, but even so, scientists are looking for ways to help the state’s forest adapt by changing it from spruce and fir trees to maples and oaks.

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April Ties Record, 2020 Could Be Warmest Year and CO2 Levels Highest in 3 Million Years

April Ties Record, 2020 Could Be Warmest Year and CO2 Levels Highest in 3 Million Years

April’s global average temperatures tied for the warmest on record, with NOAA predicting there is a 75% chance that this year will be the warmest since temperatures records began in 1880 due to much warmer than average temperatures in northern Asia, especially Siberia, across northern and coastal central Greenland, for parts of Antarctica, areas of Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. 

Why This Matters:  As carbon dioxide levels keep going up it is easier and easier to set warmest month records because it stays in the atmosphere for a long time continuing to heat us up.

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Scientist Heroes: Especially the Woman Who Discovered Coronaviruses

Scientist Heroes: Especially the Woman Who Discovered Coronaviruses

Everything we know about COVID-19 and how the virus is mutating is due to the countless teams of scientists and researchers who study infectious diseases. These experts have also helped governments understand the ethics of managing the disease including the issuance of “immunity passports.” There’s a lot of misinformation out there and scientists are leading […]

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Court Voids 287 Oil and Gas Leases  in Montana

Court Voids 287 Oil and Gas Leases in Montana

Cutting corners is the Trump Administration’s calling card — and oops, they did it again — and as a result, a federal judge late last week threw out hundreds of oil and gas leases covering nearly 150,000 acres of federal land in Montana.

Why This Matters:  What can we say.  It’s good that they are so bad at being awful.

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EPA Grants Experimental Mosquito Permit, Studies Show Insect Populations Declining

EPA Grants Experimental Mosquito Permit, Studies Show Insect Populations Declining

The Environmental Protection Agency granted an experimental permit to Oxitec, a company with close ties to President Trump, that allows them to release in the Houston and Florida Keys areas genetically altered mosquitoes intended to help curb the spread of harmful diseases like Zika, chikungunya, and dengue.

Why This Matters:  Preventing the spread of harmful diseases is a good thing.  But it is hard to trust whether experimental permits like this one are in the public’s best interest when big donors to the President appear to get favorable treatment by government agencies.

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One Fun Thing: Birding on the Rise

COVID-19 has made us stop and notice the natural world we live in — and its been for the birds – literally!  The National Audubon Society has seen downloads of its bird identification app in March and April doubled over numbers since the same time period last year, and visits to its website are also […]

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Right Whale Protections Amped Up in New England

Right Whale Protections Amped Up in New England

A federal judge in Boston ruled late Thursday that Massachusetts is violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by granting permits to lobster fishers to use vertical buoy lines, the ropes that connect lobster traps on the seafloor to buoys at the surface, without federal permission because the fishing lines are the leading cause of death of highly endangered right whales over the past decade.

Why This Matters:  The Boston court ruling will likely disrupt the lobster industry in the short run.

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Will COVID-19 Lead to A Global “Hunger Games”?

Will COVID-19 Lead to A Global “Hunger Games”?

Global leaders are warning that breaks in the global supply chain for food imports to the U.S. could have devastating impacts in developing countries.

Why This Matters:  Thanks to the President ordering meat plants to re-open, we are focused on food supply chains here at home, but there many people around the world supplying us necessary food items (like fresh fruits and vegetables and seafood that can’t be grown here now) as well.

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One Cool Thing: Lizards Adapt to Better Survive Climate Change (shameless plus here)

One Cool Thing: Lizards Adapt to Better Survive Climate Change (shameless plus here)

In a groundbreaking new study, scientists examined lizards on Caribbean Islands and across Central and South America and found that in the places that had been hit repeatedly by hurricanes, the lizards had developed larger toe pads.  The New York Times explains that until now, “the strongest evidence for how evolution can be shaped by […]

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Exclusive Earth Week Interview With John Podesta, Center for American Progress

Exclusive Earth Week Interview With John Podesta, Center for American Progress

John is an original Friend of the Planet, and the Founder of the Center for American Progress, a member of its Board of Directors, and a law professor at Georgetown University’s Law School.  Not to mention a hero of ours! ODP:  Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  What will it take to recreate […]

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Trump Earth Day Announcements: Watered Down Clean Water Rule and Parks to Re-Open

On the eve of Earth Day, the Trump Administration published its final rule greatly narrowing the scope of the landmark Clean Water Act (CWA), known as the “waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS rule. Environmental groups immediately announced their intention to challenge it in court and thereby limit its impact. 

Why This Matters: The new rule puts in place an interpretation of the CWA first articulated by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, even though it is not clear that Congress intended it to have such a limited scope.

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