Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

Because ‘Good Planets Are Hard to Find,’ Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down London Bridges to SaveMother Earth

Day of revolt leads to mass arrests in the UK as protest participants argue too many still don’t “recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis” and almost nobody is doing enough to end humanity’s reckless assault on planet’s living systems

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-17-2018

Demonstrators on the iconic Westminster Bridge in central London on Saturday, November 17. “We are peacefully standing up for the Earth and for humanity,” said Cecelia B of Extinction Rebellion. “People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like.” (Photo: Extinction Rebellion/@ExtinctionR)

Mass arrests resulted on Saturday as thousands of people and members of the ‘Extinction Rebellion‘ movement—for “the first time in living memory”—shut down the five main bridges of central London in the name of saving the planet, and those who live upon it, from destructive over-consumption, runaway greenhouse gas emissions, and the ongoing failure of global leaders to address the compounding and intensifying threats.

“The ‘social contract’ has been broken … [and] it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself,” Gail Bradbrook, an Extinction Rebellion organizer, explained to the Guardian. Continue reading

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Trump Reportedly Wants to Cut Off Federal Relief Funds to Puerto Rico Despite Post-Maria Devastation

The president claims, with no evidence, that local officials want to use recovery money to pay down the U.S. territory’s sizeable debt

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2018

President Donald Trump reportedly wants to cut off federal relief funding to Puerto Rico even though much of the island is still devastated by Hurricane Maria, which hit the isalnd in September of 2017. (Chris Grogan/Air Force Magazine/Flickr)

Although it has been more than a year since Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, in parts of the U.S. territory, “it’s like the hurricane hit yesterday“—yet President Donald Trump wants to cut off recovery money, according to Axios, “because he claims, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.”

The unfounded claims about federal funds being misappropriated come from Trump’s misreading of an October Wall Street Journal article, multiple unnamed sources told Axios‘ Jonathan Swan. Continue reading

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Saying Approval by Trump Ignored Obvious Facts and Threats, Federal Judge Halts Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline

Native tribes and environmentalists celebrated the ruling as “a decisive moment in our fight against the corporate polluters who have rushed to destroy our planet”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2018

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a major victory for the planet and blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up fossil fuel extraction and production in the face of grave climate consequences, a federal judge on Thursday halted all construction of TransCanada’s 1,200-mile long Keystone XL pipeline and tossed out the White House’s fact-free approval of the project.

Issued by Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana, the ruling ripped President Donald Trump’s State Department for blithely tossing out “prior factual findings related to climate change” to rush through the Keystone pipeline and using “outdated information” on the severe threat the tar sands project poses to endangered species, tribal lands, and the water supply. Continue reading

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US Uses Banned White Phosphorus Bombs in Syrian City for the Fourth Time in Two Months

The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-6-2018 by MintPress News

White phosphorus attack. Photo: Human Rights Watch

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria has been accused of using white phosphorus incendiary munitions for the fourth time since mid-September.  White phosphorus is banned internationally when used in areas with civilian populations.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported on a bombing conducted by the U.S.-led coalition that had targeted the small city of Hajin in Syria’s Eastern Deir Ez-Zor province over the weekend. The bombing, allegedly intended to target Daesh (ISIS) terrorists who control the city, killed fifteen civilians – among them women and children – and injured scores more. Civil sources cited by SANA reported that white phosphorus bombs had been used, which – in addition to resulting in several civilian deaths and injuries — caused massive property damage due to the fires resulting from the use of the banned substance. Continue reading

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Landmark Youth Climate Suit Moves Ahead as Supreme Court Rejects Trump Admin. Request to Halt It

“The youth of our nation won an important decision”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-3-2018

Supporters of the youthful plaintiffs in the case rally outside the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 29, 2018. (Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/cc)

The nation’s top court on Friday turned down the Trump administration’s latest attempt to put the brakes on a landmark lawsuit brought by a group of young people who charge that the federal government has violated their constitutional rights by actively causing climate instability.

“The youth of our nation won an important decision,” said Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust and co-counsel for the youth plaintiffs. She said the finding by the U.S. Supreme Court “shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy.” Continue reading

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Humanity ‘Sleepwalking Towards the Edge of a Cliff’: 60% of Earth’s Wildlife Wiped Out Since 1970

“Nature is not a ‘nice to have’—it is our life-support system.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-30-2018

Human activity has wiped out 60 percent of animal populations around the world since 1970 according to a new study by the World Wildlife Fund. (Photo: s.imeon/Flickr/cc)

Scientists from around the world issued a stark warning to humanity Tuesday in a semi-annual report on the Earth’s declining biodiversity, which shows that about 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles have been wiped out by human activity since 1970.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Index details how human’s uncontrolled overconsumption of land, food, and natural resources has eliminated a majority of the wildlife on the planet—threatening human civilization as well as the world’s animals. Continue reading

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Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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Minnesota Police Train at Military Base as Line 3 Pipeline Protests Escalate

Pipeline protests in Standing Rock pitted police against Native Americans and their supporters.

By Andrew Neef. Published 10-25-2018 by Unicorn Riot

Unicorn Riot has uncovered documents showing coordination between state-wide authorities to prepare for anti-pipeline protests. Emails obtained from Minnesota State Patrol under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act show close cooperation between state and local law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Public Safet, pipeline company security staff and a private police foundation.

One such email, dated June 18, 2018, shows discussion about a “table top” exercise located at Camp Ripley, a military base operated by the Minnesota National Guard which also hosts trainings for the Minnesota State Patrol. The email states the exercise “relates to MFF [Mobile Field Force] and the Line 3.”  Line 3 is a controversial pipeline project proposed by Canadian oil giant Enbridge, and has been the focus of years of protests by indigenous tribes and environmental activists. Continue reading

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‘Disaster Waiting to Happen’ as Trump Quietly Approves Massive Oil Drilling Project in Arctic Waters Off Alaska Coast

“This project sets us down a dangerous path of destroying the Arctic. We’ll keep fighting this project and any new ones that follow.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-25-2018

“As the Arctic warms twice as fast as the rest of the planet, it is irresponsible to permit new oil development that will only exacerbate the problem of climate change,” said Dan Ritzman, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands, Water, Wildlife Campaign. Photo: BSEE/flickr

Ignoring once more the existential necessity of keeping fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning to a global energy system powered by renewable sources, the Trump administration on Wednesday delivered another major victory for Big Oil by quietly approving a Texas company’s plan to drill in federal Arctic waters six miles off the coast of Alaska.

Kristen Monsell, ocean legal director with the Center for Biological Diversity, denounced the plan developed by Hilcorp Energy as a “disaster waiting to happen” and vowed to do everything possible to ensure that the project doesn’t move forward. Continue reading

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‘Appalling’: Asbestos Imports Soar 2,000% as Trump Loosens Restrictions on Cancer-Causing Material

“Americans cannot identify or manage the risks of asbestos. The time is now for the EPA to say no to the asbestos industry and finally ban asbestos without exemptions.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-24-2018

Photo: Amazon

As President Donald Trump’s industry-friendly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes steps to loosen restrictions on the commercial use of asbestos—which is known to cause cancer and lung disease—an analysis of federal data published Tuesday found that asbestos imports to the U.S. surged by nearly 2,000 percent between July and August of this year.

Conducted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Environmental Working Group (EWG), the analysis found that “the U.S. imported more than 341 metric tons of asbestos” last year, with imports expected to double in 2018 thanks to the Trump administration’s aggressive and deeply harmful deregulatory agenda. Continue reading

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