Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

Trump Rollback of Key EPA Water Protection Rule Denounced as ‘Callous’ and ‘Immoral’ Giveaway to Big Polluters

“This is shameful and dangerous.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-12-2019

As the Trump administration repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule Thursday, one critic warned that “the EPA’s callous decision endangers communities and threatens our environment.” (Photo: Varanos/Flickr/cc)

Environmental and public health advocates blasted the Trump administration Thursday for finalizing its rollback of an Obama-era regulation designed to curb the pollution of waterways nationwide.

“Fifty years after the Cuyahoga River fire that inspired the Clean Water Act, President Trump’s administration wants to turn back the clock to the days of poisoned flammable water,” declared Abigail Dillen, president of the non-profit legal group Earthjustice. “This is shameful and dangerous.” Continue reading

Share

Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics

“Another reason to not build nuclear power plants.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-10-2019

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior sailing past the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, five years after the plant’s accident. (Photo: Christian Åslund/Greenpeace)

The far-reaching dangers of nuclear power were on full display Tuesday as Japan’s environmental minister recommended releasing more than one million tons of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi plant into the Pacific Ocean nearly a decade after a tsunami caused a meltdown at the coastal facility.

“There are no other options” other than dumping the water into the ocean and diluting it, Yoshiaki Harada said at a news conference in Tokyo. Continue reading

Share

Because ‘Everything Is on Fire,’ Nearly 1,000 Amazon Workers Pledge to Walk Out and Join Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20

“We understand the threat of the climate crisis and want to work for a company that makes climate a priority.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2019

More than 940 Amazon employees have pledged to take part in the global climate strike on Sept. 20. (Photo: Amazon Employees for Climate Justice/Twitter)

To protest the retail behemoth’s contributions to the climate crisis and persistent refusal to change course, nearly 1,000 Amazon workers have pledged to walk off the job on Sept. 20 in solidarity with the millions of people across the world expected to take part in this month’s global climate strike.

Wired reported Monday that the demonstration “will mark the first time in Amazon’s 25-year history that workers at its Seattle headquarters have walked off the job.” Continue reading

Share

How climate change is driving emigration from Central America

A farmer carries firewood during the dry season in Nicaragua, one of the Central American countries affected by a recent drought. Neil Palmer for CIAT/flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Miranda Cady Hallett, University of Dayton

Clouds of dust rose behind the wheels of the pickup truck as we hurtled over the back road in Palo Verde, El Salvador. When we got to the stone-paved part of the road, the driver slowed as the truck heaved up and down with the uneven terrain. Riding in the back bed of the truck, Ruben (not his real name) and I talked while we held on tight, sitting on sacks of dried beans that he was taking to market.

“It doesn’t come out right,” he said, “it just doesn’t pay anymore to work the land. I take out a loan for seed, and then I can’t count on making it back to pay off my debt.” Continue reading

Share

Washington Supreme Court Establishes ‘Very Important Precedent’ for Climate Necessity Defense in Case of Valve-Turner Ken Ward

The court’s decision, explained one attorney, “creates a strong legal basis for climate protesters to justify their actions in a court of law.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-6-2019

As part of a multi-state action in 2016, valve-turner Ken Ward temporarily shut down the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline. (Photo: shutitdown.today)

In a decision that could profoundly impact future litigation involving climate activists, the Washington Supreme Court this week refused to review a lower court’s ruling to allow valve-
turner Ken Ward to present a “necessity defense” for charges related to a 2016 multi-state action that temporarily shut down tar sands pipelines.

On Wednesday, a three judge panel from the state’s highest court unanimously denied (pdf) a petition from the State of Washington to review a state appeals court ruling (pdf) in April that overturned Ward’s conviction for disabling the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline as part of the “Shut It Down” action on Oct. 11, 2016. The pipeline transports Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in Washington’s Skagit County. Continue reading

Share

Tipping Point: UN Biodiversity Chief Warns Burning of Amazon Could Lead to ‘Cascading Collapse of Natural Systems’

“If we don’t work together, we are going to die together.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-30-2019

The fires engulfing the Amazon rain forest are a sign that the Earth is approaching an environmental and ecological “tipping point” that all of humanity must work together to avoid, the U.N.’s top biodiversity expert said Friday. (Photo: ©Victor Moriyama/Greenpeace)

Unless world governments, consumers, and businesses all work together to address the root causes of the current burning of the Amazon rain forest, the Arctic, and forests in the Congo and Angola, the planet will continue careening toward a point of no return, the U.N.’s top biodiversity expert said Friday.

Cristiana Paşca Palmer, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, called the fires that have torn through more than 1,300 square miles of the Amazon this year “extraordinarily concerning.” Continue reading

Share

Greta Thunberg Comes to America: Celebrations as Teen Climate Activist Arrives at Coney Island

“Your journey is a symbolic reminder of the ways we need to work together across every ocean!” tweeted 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2019

Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City by boat to attend a U.N. summit. (Photo: Jen Edney/Team Malizia via Boris Herrmann/Twitter)

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived Wednesday in New York City ahead of a United Nations summit after two weeks of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a fossil fuel-free vessel, the Malizia II.

The 16-year-old tweeted Wednesday morning that the Malizia II had anchored off of Coney Island and that those aboard—including Thunberg’s father, a documentary filmmaker, and sailors Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann—would come ashore as early as mid-afternoon once they cleared customs and immigration. Continue reading

Share

As New Fires Rage in Amazon, Global Calls for Urgent Action to Avert ‘Astronomical’ Impacts to ‘Life on Earth’

Pope Francis urges protection of “that lung of forests” and French President Macron says G7 nations pledged help at summit

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-25-2019

The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in the country this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of those are in the massive Amazon basin. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. Photo: @capnfrenchie/Twitter

Brazil’s army on Sunday deployed aircraft to battle the raging fires in the Amazon as global concern and outrage over the potential consequences—and the destructive causes—of the disaster grow.

The military operations involving C-130 aircraft to put out fires came after Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro triggered global protests over his government’s policies and failure to take swift action to combat the flames. Continue reading

Share

While “The World Is on Fire,’ DNC Kills Resolution for Climate Forum

Party had been reminded of its platform asserting it will combat the ‘global climate emergency’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2019

DNC chairman Tom Perez. Screenshot: MSNBC

Update: The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to strike down a resolution that would have allowed for a multi-candidate climate forum.

“Tom Perez just killed the #ClimateDebate,” the youth-led Sunrise Movement said on its Facebook page, referring to the DNC chair. Continue reading

Share

Protests Break Out After DNC Committee Votes Against Holding 2020 #ClimateDebate

Outraged members of the Sunrise Movement stood on chairs singing the union protest song “Which Side Are You On?

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-22-2019

Members of the youth-led Sunrise Movement protested at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting after the Resolutions Committee voted against holding a climate-specific 2020 debate. (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

Sparking immediate protests at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in San Francisco Thursday, the organization’s Resolutions Committee voted down a resolution that called for a climate-focused debate among 2020 presidential primary candidates.

The committee’s 8-17 vote on the resolution outraged members of the youth-led Sunrise Movement in attendance, who stood on their seats and sang the union protest song “Which Side Are You On?” before walking out. Continue reading

Share