Feb 12 – 19
The Environment: Last week in short:
Last week researches published a study stating that we are changing the climate 170 times faster than natural forces. An unprecedented heatwave in Australia may be a hint of the extreme weather trends we can expect moving forward… and air pollution has become so bad in some cities that he health benefits of exercising outdoors are trumped by the negative impact of the pollution.
Oh ya, we’ve also reached the lowest lows – pollutants have been discovered in one of the most remote places on Earth: in the Marianas trench.
As our impact has reached a new high, politics continues to dip lower. This week Scott Pruitt was officially voted in by the senate to be the head of the EPA… Pruitt has a long history of suing the EPA and is expected to roll back the EPA’s enforcement efforts, further
Environmental highlights from last week:
Researchers quantified the impact humans have on the earth. It’s 170 times faster than natural forces.
Natural astronomical and geophysical forces such as Earth’s orbit around the sun, gravitational interactions with other planets, the sun’s heat output, colliding continents, volcanoes, and evolution, have driven a rate of change of 0.01 degrees Celsius per century.
Greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans over the past 45 years have increased the rate of temperature rise to 1.7 degrees Celsius per century, dwarfing the natural background rate. [Read More]
Australia’s heat wave has set new records (47 C, 116 F) for the Sydney suburb Penrith. Almost every Australian capital city experienced higher-than-average temperatures this January. Meanwhile, the Australian politician Scott Morrison brandished a lump of coal at parliamentary question time, declaring coal to be the future of Australian energy. [Read More]
Air pollution has reached a new high. New research suggests that in at least 15 cities, air pollution has now become so bad that the danger to health of just 30 minutes of cycling each way outweighs the benefits of exercise altogether. [Read More]
As Trump plans to pull the US out of the global climate agreement, Sweden vows to eliminate greenhouse gasses by 2045.
The law is expected to take effect in 2018. It would require the domestic transport sector to decrease its emissions by 70 percent by 2030. Domestic emissions are to be slashed by 85 percent, with the government setting new climate goals every four years. Any remaining emissions would be negated by investing in sustainable development projects abroad or planting trees to sequester carbon within the country. [Read More]
‘Extraordinary’ levels of pollutants were discovered in the Marinas trench. This 10km deep trench in the pacific ocean is considered to be one of the most remote places on earth… but not untouched. Scientists recently discovered the presence of manmade pollutants in crustaceans during an expedition. This discovery is important because it shows the extent of dispersal of known toxic chemicals. [Read More]
Things I didn’t know were a problem but are being solved…
Synthetic textiles, such as fleece jackets, send tiny plastic fibers into wastewater after washing. These bits eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and our oceans, where they pose health threats to plants and animals.
Two dudes came up with a solution: a mesh laundry bag, that goes into the washing machine. The bag captures shedding fibers as clothes are tossed and spun, preventing the fibers from escaping. [Read More]
Chemicals in sunscreen can damage coral reefs, and one Hawaiian senator has proposed a bill to ban sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in Hawaii. [Read More]
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