Category Archives: Agriculture

After Last Version Blocked, Iowa’s New Ag-Gag Bill ‘Gives Middle Finger to Free Speech, Consumer Protection, Food Safety, and Animal Welfare’

“Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals at factory farms are mistreated.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-13-2019

Iowa lawmakers just passed a new “ag-law” law that critics say, like the previous version struck down in federal court, is unconstitutional. (Photo: EPA)

Iowa’s GOP-controlled legislature on Tuesday rushed through a new legally questionable bill that critics say “aims to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms and other agricultural facilities”—just two months after a federal court struck down a similar 2012 law as unconstitutional.

“Without undercover investigations, there are no effective watchdogs protecting animals from egregious cruelty,” Mercy For Animals president Leah Garcés told Common Dreams. “Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced and how animals at factory farms are mistreated.” Continue reading

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‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop

“We face a stark choice [between] radical, disruptive changes to our physical world or radical, disruptive changes to our political and economic systems to avoid those outcomes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-25-2019

A new study warns that if the Earth’s atmospheric carbon hits a certain level, stratocumulus clouds could completely vanish, causing the planet’s temperatures to skyrocket even higher. (Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr/cc)

As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming “environmental breakdown” pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.

Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster. Continue reading

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Scientists Warn Crashing Insect Population Puts ‘Planet’s Ecosystems and Survival of Mankind’ at Risk

“This is the stuff that worries me most. We don’t know what we’re doing, not trying to stop it, [and] with big consequences we don’t really understand.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-11-2019

Photo: Pixnio

The first global scientific review of its kind reaches an ominous conclusion about the state of nature warning that unless humanity drastically and urgently changes its behavior the world’s insects could be extinct within a century.

Presented in exclusive reporting by the Guardian‘s environment editor Damian Carrington, the findings of the new analysis, published in the journal Biological Conservation, found that industrial agricultural techniques—”particularly the heavy use of pesticides”—as well as climate change and urbanization are the key drivers behind the extinction-level decline of insect populations that could herald a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems” if not addressed. Continue reading

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Demanding Lawmakers Forge ‘Path Away From Climate Suicide,’ Groups Kick Off Green New Deal Push

“We have no time to lose in the fight to avoid irrevocable climate chaos.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2019

A coalition of progressive groups has launched a week of action to demand a progressive Green New Deal from federal lawmakers. (Photo: Friends of the Earth/Twitter)

Building on the grassroots momentum that has thrust the Green New Deal onto a national stage, a coalition of progressive groups on Monday launched a week of action to demand climate leadership from federal lawmakers, calling for a plan to fully phase out fossil fuels and rapidly reform industries that produce massive amounts of planet-warming emissions while also promoting economic justice.

“To take action on climate change at the scale of the crisis, we need a Green New Deal,” declared May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s time for all progressive lawmakers to take real climate action and support a massive federal investment to bring health, safety, and justice to people and the planet.” Continue reading

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People Power: 160,000 European Protesters Demand Action on Climate Crisis

Tens of thousands march in France, Belgium over climate crisis

By Common Dreams. Published 1-27-2019

70,000 protesters ignore the rain in Brussels. Photo: Greenpeace EU/Twitter

At least 80,000 people marched in a cold rain in Brussels Sunday in another massive protest demanding that the European Union take urgent and far-reaching action to address the world’s climate crisis.

Sunday’s march was the fourth climate march in the past three weeks—each one significantly bigger than the last—as students across Belgium and other European countries have skipped their high school and college classes in order to shame those in power who refuse to move urgently. Continue reading

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Virginia’s uranium mining battle flips traditional views of federal and state power

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The Supreme Court is likely to rule on the case by June. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Cale Jaffe, University of Virginia

The Supreme Court will decide in 2019 whether a Virginia law that bans uranium mining is preempted by the Atomic Energy Act, the U.S. law governing the processing and enrichment of nuclear material.

The case, Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren, will require the court to interpret laws governing nuclear fuel production. But its most significant, long-term impact might be the glimpse it provides into the court’s view of the proper balance between federal regulatory power and the rights of states in setting their own policies. Continue reading

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As Planet Heats Further, Even Davos Elite Warns Humanity Is ‘Sleepwalking Into Catastrophe’

“Sleepwalking? Nah,” remarked Naomi Klein, decrying the “Davos Class” policies of global deregulation, privatization, unending consumption, and growth-worship. “Pretty sure your eyes were wide open.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-16-2019

Dusk, looking north at the chimney and main buildings of the Fawley Power Station. Photo: Jim Champion/CC

Ahead of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland next week—which convenes the world’s wealthiest and most powerful for a summit that’s been called both the “money Oscars” and a “threat to democracy”—the group published a report declaring, “Of all risks, it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe.”

While WEF has made a habit of recognizing the threat posed by the human-made climate crisis in its Global Risks reports—for which it has garnered some praise—author and activist Naomi Klein was quick to challenge the narrative presented in the latest edition (pdf), pointing out that many of the polices pushed by the very people invited to the exclusive event have driven the global crisis. Continue reading

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As Corporate Power Threatens Americans’ Right to Water, Groups Offer UN Body List of Issues to Raise With US

“Civil and political rights must encompass the human right to water, which is increasingly under threat by corporations that seek to use and abuse our water supplies for profit.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-14-2019

“The more we learn about various issues affecting the human right to water in the U.S., including millions of residents having their water shut off because they can’t pay their bills, the more there is to be deeply concerned about,” said Maude Barlow, board chair of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Detroit Water Brigade)

When it comes to ensuring the human right to clean water, the United States has a long way to go.

That’s the thrust of a new letter (pdf) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as the body gets ready to review how the U.S. is faring in its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty seen as part of the “International Bill of Human Rights.” Continue reading

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10 Costliest Climate-Driven Extreme Weather Events of 2018 Caused at Least $84.8B in Damage: Analysis

“The world’s weather is becoming more extreme before our eyes—the only thing that can stop this destructive trend from escalating is a rapid fall in carbon emissions.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-28-2018

The Camp and Woolsey fires in California cost at least $9-13 billion in damage, according to a Christian Aid report published Thursday. (Photo: U.S. Forest Service)

From heat waves and hurricanes to fires and floods, the 10 costliest extreme weather events of 2018—driven by the global climate crisis—killed thousands of people and caused at least $84.8 billion in damage, according to a new analysis from Christian Aid.

Counting the Cost: A Year of Climate Breakdown(pdf), published Thursday by the London-based group, notes that “extreme weather hit every populated continent in 2018, killing, injuring, and displacing millions, and causing major economic damage.” Continue reading

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Report on President’s Environmental Record So Far ‘Reminds Us That Trump Soap Opera Has Dire Real-World Consequences’

“We are sort of powerless,” a Fort Berthold Indian Reservation resident said of Trump’s rollbacks on pollution rules. “This is our reality now.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-27-2018

On Earth Day in 2017, people worldwide participated in the March for Science to demand evidence-based policymaking. This sign was displayed by participants in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Becker1999/Flickr/cc)

New York Times investigative report on President Donald Trump’s nearly two-year environmental record and how his industry-friendly policies are impacting communities nationwide, published in the Thursday paper, “reminds us that the Trump soap opera has dire real-world consequences.”

That’s according to 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, who added on Twitter that “futures are foreclosed because he’s a tool of dirty energy.” Continue reading

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