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Climate Change Poses Serious Threats to Food Distribution – March 4, 2015

The risks of a highly centralized food system

By now there has been a steady stream of news about climate change’s impacts on food production. Heat waves, drought, and wildfire are damaging harvests in California, Australia and Brazil. Warming and acidifying oceans threaten seafood stocks. Rising temperatures are causing declines in crops as different as wheat and cherries, while extreme precipitation and floods have destroyed crops across the US and Europe. Increasing temperatures and CO2 levels are reducing the nutritional value of grasses and increasing heat stress, in the process impairing animals’ ability to produce eggs, meat, and milk.

BJ�s Wholesale Club, Merritt Island FLphoto by more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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Thirty Years Later, Victims of Bhopal Gas Disaster Are Still Waiting for Justice – December 3, 2014

Meanwhile, millions of Americans too, remain at risk from toxic chemicals

Around midnight on the eve of December 3, 1984, a toxic gas called methyl isocyanate (MIC) that’s used in chemical manufacturing began leaking from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. There were no alarm systems in place. Devices that that might have curtailed or stopped the chemical leak were not running and more than 40 tons of the deadly gas quickly spread over the city, exposing half a million or more people. At least 8,000 people were killed immediately by the gas, which causes pulmonary edema and other acute respiratory effects. Some 20,000 have died since as a result of this chemical exposure, making Bhopal what’s considered the worst… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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Re-Reading Silent Spring – June 22, 2012

Fifty Years after its Publication, Rachel Carson’s Book Remains All-Too-Relevant

Fifty years ago this week, The New Yorker began publishing Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. A series of three articles — excerpts from the book that would be published that September — appeared on June 16, 23, and 30, 1962 under the banner of “A Reporter at Large.” Carson’s account of environmental peril resulting from the overabundant use of petrochemical-based pesticides unfolded between cartoons and genteel ads for airlines, tasteful upscale merchandise, hotels, and restaurants. It’s impossible for anyone who was not then an adult to imagine what it would have been like to read these pieces in 1962, a time when such chemicals were generally regarded as a modern miracle for… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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“Welcome to Shale Country” – December 14, 2010

Is the debate over the merits of shale gas being bought?

On December 11, New York Governor David Paterson issued an executive order that prohibits hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method being used to extract natural gas from the state's Marcellus shale, until at least July 1, 2011. Hydraulic fracturing – hydrofracking as it's called for short – pumps water and chemicals at high pressure to crack rock and release natural gas from deep underground shale formations. The environmental impacts of hydrofracking, especially to groundwater, have raised serious concerns and prompted opposition in communities where this drilling is underway or contemplated. They've also prompted the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ongoing review of the drilling method. Among the concerns is that gas… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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Where’s the Deepwater Horizon Oil? – August 25, 2010

Microbes are busy, and oil is dispersed but far from gone

The BP/Deepwater Horizon well is now capped but it will be sometime before we understand where the nearly 5 million barrels of oil that gushed from the ruptured well have gone. On August 2nd, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its "BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget," the agency's assessment of what's happened to the oil. But the report came under stiff questioning last week at the August 17th House Energy and Commerce, Energy and the Environment Subcommittee Hearing on "The BP Oil SPill: Accounting for the Spilled Oil and ensuring the Safety of Seafood From the Gulf." Since then two scientific studies of the underwater… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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