News-in-Transition

9 February 2017

 - Two ‘vertical forest’ towers, with thousands of trees and other plants growing on their sides and roofs, will be built in the Chinese city of Nanjing. The buildings will help to clean the air in the city of over 8 million.

A vertical-forest building is covered in terraces that contain hundreds, or even thousands, of plants, forming a compact forest in the middle of urban areas, that help to clean dirty city air. Some 3,600 plants will cover the two buildings, the brainchild of Italian architect Stefano Boeri.

The two towers will eat enough carbon dioxide to make 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of oxygen every day. The average person consumes about 140 liters (about.2 kilograms) of oxygen a day. Thus, the two buildings will offset the pollution created by an estimated 300 people.

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7 January 2017

 - The aviation industry hangs its hat on air travel being "the safest way to travel." The truth, however, is that it has harbored a dark secret since its inception: it's poisoning its passengers and crew due to deeply flawed aircraft design, de-prioritizing safety in favor of profit.

In flight, every crew member and passenger relies on an air supply. The assumption, of course, is that this air is filtered if not fresh. Perhaps you have sensed (and promptly dismissed) that there may be quality control issues around cabin air. The problem goes further than that, however, and astoundingly, this is not by accident but by design.  

What’s more concerning is the fact that the industry has known about this completely preventable health hazard for at least 40 years, but no attempts have been made to filter this cocktail of hundreds of chemicals (including organophosphates in the same category as toxic nerve agents like Sarin) out of the cabin air before travelers are forced to breath them in. Nor has the root cause of the problem -- unsafe aircraft design and the deprioritization of human safety -- been effectively addressed.

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9 November 2016

 - Reuters reported in January 2003 that the Navy confirmed its use of DU shells in arms tests off the Washington State coast, at which time the Navy claimed, "The DU rounds dissolve so slowly that they would not contribute to naturally occurring (radiation) levels ... and do not pose a significant risk."

Meanwhile, ample scientific reports demonstrate the deleterious health impacts caused by DU.

When those bullets and bombs explode, dangerous nanoparticles of metals, including uranium nanoparticles, are released into the environment. Laboratory research has already established that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of uranium has negative impacts on fish embryogenesis, and on the reproductive success of fish.

Naval documents show that as much as 34 tons of DU could be present on the seabed just 12 miles from the outer coast of Washington State.

Even more distressing, the Navy's own documents reveal that the extent of its use of DU off the coast of the US is far more pervasive than it admits to the public.

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2 October 2016

amazon-forest - Some 90% of the world’s media is controlled by a mere six corporations. The business model of this industry is dependent on advertising revenue, which means that the content they produce must serve well the bottom lines of advertisers, or more significantly, content cannot be of detriment to the profits of corporate advertisers.

This is the reason why so much of the most important news in our times goes un-noticed and under-reported on, most notably environmental news, for if our attention was sufficiently directed to these issues then we would certainly change our attitudes, priorities and behaviors, potentially harming the income streams of the biggest environmental destroyers on the planet, and the biggest advertisers.

Of particular note is the destruction being done to the Amazon, the ‘lungs of the earth’ as it is known by those who understand the value of life and the need to protect the world’s ecosystems from corporate greed. While indigenous people continue to rally around in support of Amazonian conservation, consumerism in ‘first-world’ parts of the world continues to demand resources that are increasingly being harvested from the most bio-diverse regions of the planet.

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27 May 2016

 - Peru’s government has declared a two-month state of emergency across 11 Amazon jungle districts due to mercury contamination caused by widespread illegal gold mining activities.

The South American country, home to 13 percent of the iconic Amazon rainforest, is the sixth largest gold producer in the world. Covert mining for the luxury metal, however, has been a major cost to the environment and human health.

“Gold has a dirty underbelly, whether the horrific mercury poisoning in the Peruvian Amazon from small-scale mining, or the human rights abuses in northern Peru perpetuated by multinational mining companies,” Earthworks mining program director Payal Sampat told EcoWatch.

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24 March 2016

 - If you have a sweet tooth, you may have read studies talking about the health benefits associated with eating moderate amounts of chocolate. But our research has found a potential health risk in popular chocolate products that’s been flying under the radar – some chocolate contains toxic metals like lead and cadmium.

As You Sow has conducted independent laboratory testing of 50 chocolate products for lead and cadmium. We found that 35 of the chocolate products contain lead and/or cadmium. Many of those chocolates had levels of lead and/or cadmium above the safe harbor threshold of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).

Based on these results, we have filed notices with 18 manufacturers, including Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s, Green and Black’s, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See’s Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange,  Ghirardelli, Earth Circle Organics, and more, for failing to provide the legally required warning to consumers that the products contain cadmium or lead, or both.

 

No level of lead is safe for children. Lead exposure has been a significant public health issue for decades. Lead is linked to a variety of neurological impairments, including learning disabilities, seizures, and a lower IQ. Developing fetuses and children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure because their brains are in critical growth and development stages.

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12 March 2016

 - Monsanto says it has nothing to do with the clause that our corrupt Congress just passed in a piece of legislation exempting the St. Louis-based company from ALL financial liability involved with lawsuits and financial settlements related to PCB contamination and cleanup sites.

We’re supposed to assume that a company responsible for almost 1.25 billion pounds of carcinogenic PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, sold in the US between the 1930’s and 1970’s had absolutely nothing to do with a provision giving Monsanto a free pass for polluting the waterways, fields, and air. The EPA even admits that these chemicals are carcinogenic and harmful to reproductive health, the immune system, the endocrine system, and the nervous system?

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1 February 2016

 - The ongoing natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon, California is no ordinary leak. The Aliso Canyon gas leak (also called Porter Ranch gas leak) is a massive, uncontrolled, ongoing leak from a natural gas well connected to the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility near Porter Ranch, Los Angeles, California since October 23, 2015.

Just like the BP Gulf oil spill, this disaster has made the nation aware that gas leaks are far more common than otherwise known.

In fact, natural gas leakage is expected for a high percentage of fracking and other drilling sites. It's actually unavoidable in some circumstances because of the various technologies and techniques which are used to extract natural gas around the USA.

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28 September 2015

 - Royal Dutch Shell will cease exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska's coast after disappointing results from an exploratory well backed by billions in investment and years of work.

The announcement was a huge blow to Shell, which was counting on offshore drilling in Alaska to help it drive future revenue.

Environmentalists, however, had tried repeatedly to block the project and welcomed the news.

Shell has spent upward of $7billion (£4.6bn) on Arctic offshore exploration, including $2.1billion in 2008 for leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, where an exploratory well about 80 miles off shore was drilled to 6,800 feet but yielded disappointing results.

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22 August 2015

 - Researchers have just completed a comprehensive analysis of roughly 275,000 water samples from 62,000 locations across the United States. These samples were mostly derived from two massive underground aquifers that supply drinking water for millions of people, and what they reveal about the safety of drinking water in America is absolutely horrifying.

They found that the parts of the High Plains Aquifer (also often referred to as the Ogallala) is saturated with uranium at a level that is 89 times higher than the EPA’s safe limit. The southern half of California’s Central Valley was even worse, with a uranium concentration that is 180 times higher than the EPA’s “maximum contaminant level.”

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20 August 2015

 - We all heard about the EPA’s disastrous early August spill where the agency sent some 3 million gallons of highly toxic mine waste water down the Animas River in Colorado.

But little does the public know, the EPA caused a serious spill in Georgia only months before contaminating the Animas.

Still reeling from a disaster it created at a Colorado gold mine, the EPA has so far avoided criticism for a similar toxic waste spill in Georgia.

In Greensboro, EPA-funded contractors grading a toxic 19th-century cotton mill site struck a water main, sending the deadly sediment into a nearby creek. Though that accident took place five months ago, the hazard continues as heavy storms — one hit the area Tuesday — wash more soil into the creek.

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10 October 2014

 - After California state regulators shut down 11 fracking wastewater injection wells last July over concerns that the wastewater might have contaminated aquifers used for drinking water and farm irrigation, the EPA ordered a report within 60 days.

It was revealed yesterday that the California State Water Resources Board has sent a letter to the EPA confirming that at least nine of those sites were in fact dumping wastewater contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants into aquifers protected by state law and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, reveals that nearly 3 billion gallons of wastewater were illegally injected into central California aquifers and that half of the water samples collected at the 8 water supply wells tested near the injection sites have high levels of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, a known carcinogen that can also weaken the human immune system, and thallium, a toxin used in rat poison.

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1 June 2014

 - In 2007, Ecuador, a country already heavily invested in oil development, surprised the world by announcing the Yasuní ITT Initiative which aimed to indefinitely refrain from exploiting the oil reserves contained within one of the most biologically diverse regions of the Yasuní National Park, situated in the upper Ecuadorian Amazon.

Rather than issuing drilling permits to increase economic development by selling off the natural resources of this sacred and untouched area, the Ecuadorian government planned to petition the world to donate funds for the protection of this land. A bold and unique program that advertised the Yasuní National Park as a world treasure that should not be touched by industrial development. A plan, Ecuador said, that was in the best interest of all the people of the earth.

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