House Destroyed, Homes Evacuated After PA Pipeline Explosion |

globaljusticeecology.org
House Destroyed, Homes Evacuated After PA Pipeline Explosion |
Posted on September 11, 2018 by GJEP staff Leave a Comment
2 minutes

A gas pipeline explosion “sent flames shooting into the sky” in Center Township, Pa. on Monday morning, according to WPXI News.

“A massive gas explosion shook parts of Beaver County early Monday, destroying a house, garages and multiple vehicles and bringing down six high-tension electric towers” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Energy Transfer Partners pipeline, according to industry news source Natural Gas Intelligence, had only been placed into service last week and exploded due to “torrential rain and saturated ground.”
One resident stated that their “house started shaking. The sky was pure red from the flames shooting.”
Someone else told reporters that “It sounded like a jet was taking off.”
Appalachians Against Pipelines Facebook

According the the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “Energy Transfer’s reputation in Pennsylvania over the past few years has been dominated by its Mariner East 2 project, which involves laying a pair of pipelines across the southern part of the state to ferry natural gas liquids from Ohio to refineries and export terminals near Philadelphia. The effort has yielded dozens of environmental violations, drilling mud spills into creeks and streams, and a series of construction stops ordered by regulators that have delayed the pipelines’ in-service dates.”

https://globaljusticeecology.org/house-destroyed-homes-evacuated-after-pa-pipeline-explosion/#comments

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Petition: 8 Years after BP’s Gulf Disaster, Sick Workers Are Still Not Being Cared For. Demand Their Day in Court!

by: LT. General Russel L. Honoré, US Army (Ret)
recipient: BP, Judge Carl Barbier and The Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC), BP Medical Claims Administrator

85,911 SUPPORTERS – 90,000 GOAL

Do you remember what happened on April 20, 2010?

Too many people are still suffering in the aftermath of the BP drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, while a big corporation and powerful attorneys walk away with barges of cash, ignoring the victims left behind.

This was a devastating and shameful event caused by the greed of a corporation as well as the negligence and greed of politicians, powerful attorneys and so-called administrators for those impacted by the largest single oil spill in America’s history.

Here are the facts that demand our action:

Recently released health studies confirmed that those closest to the BP disaster were made sick by their exposure to oil and dispersants. Many cleanup workers and spill-impact-zone residents are developing cancer, blood diseases, and neurologic problems, conditions that have been proven to follow previous oil spills, caused by exposure to these toxic chemicals.
Cleanup workers were not provided with or required to wear the safety equipment that would have protected them from illness, such as respirators, gloves, boots, Tyvek suits and similar protective gear.
80% of those who submitted a health claim were either denied or only given the bare minimum compensation – only 40 claims (out of 37,226) for compensation for a chronic condition were paid.
Many people who are sick with chronic conditions are being forced to file an individual lawsuit against BP and pay a $400 filing fee to do so. 8 years after the spill, none of these claimants have been able to present their evidence to a jury. Those who opted out of the settlement have fared no better, because Judge Carl Barbier has allowed these cases to be stayed indefinitely.

It is frightfully unamerican for a person who was injured by BP, a big corporation who was admittedly negligent, to be denied their day in Court, while the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee and the Claims Administrators walk off with hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Plaintiff Steering Committee walked away with $700 million; the Claims Administrator, in charge of processing the first round of payments to victims, walked away with $155 million dollars. The total paid to all victims? A single lump sum of $60 million…even while those paid from the $60 million are only a small fraction of the injured people who helped in the cleanup or lived in the designated zones.

My anger is focused on this miscarriage of justice and will not end until the victims are compensated. The suffering and silence has gone on long enough. Please join me in letting BP, the Court, and the Plaintiff Steering Committee know that we won’t put up with it any longer. Let’s make our voices heard. Join me as we speak for our families, friends, and neighbors who are victims of this tragedy.
Update #14 months ago
We’re closing in on 60K signatures demanding the courts and BP take care of the workers they’ve left behind. Thank you for supporting this effort. Please share the petition to generate more pressure and attention.
For more information, read this powerful story of our event outside the federal courthouse last week. As I said to the press: It’s a crying damn shame.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/854/037/331/?z00m=30804706&redirectID=2729624498

 

Petition · Florida: Stop The State-Sanctioned Poisoning Of Our Lakes And Rivers! · Change.org

Jim Abernethy started this petition to Florida Governor and 11 others

Our recent investigation has uncovered a shocking correlation and overlooked contributor to Florida’s devastating Red Tide epidemic.

The FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), a government-run agency, is spraying poison into all of our rivers, canals, and lakes, including Lake Okeechobee to kill an invasive aquatic plant called hydrilla. Hundreds of permitted contractors all over the state are still to this day spraying poison into our aquifer, Monday thru Friday, 40 hours a week for the last 40 years.

The active ingredient of the poison being sprayed is called Glyphosate!

Glyphosate is an herbicide that kills plants; the dead plant matter provides nutrients to blue-green algae, which in turn feeds the red algae blooms. The targeted plant hydrilla is an invasive species, but there are mechanical means to remove this aquatic plant that do not harm the environment in any way.

Monsanto, a company that uses glyphosate as an active ingredient in their products recently lost a court case that resulted in a settlement reaching nearly 300 million dollars. Monsanto lost because glyphosate is a known carcinogen. This carcinogen is polluting our waters and decimating our ocean life.

It is time to hold our government accountable for spraying poison into our waters that has resulted in an abundance of nutrients in our water that in turn fuels the growth of algae.

Help protect the water, wildlife, and people of Florida!

Sign and share our petition and demand that our government stops polluting our waters with glyphosate and other chemicals.

https://www.change.org/p/florida-stop-the-state-sanctioned-poisoning-of-our-lakes-and-rivers/sign?utm_medium=email&utm_source=aa_sign_human&utm_campaign=411120&utm_content=&sfmc_tk=Y65ELrEVwnOSO7%2bDYTtOcTSWSFyASfqPeJCb6JbEjU4LT6PLv9gqiqPLOuQ8uUpI&j=411120&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=65181102&mid=7233053&jb=789

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

Why recycling won’t save the planet

treehugger.com
Why recycling won’t save the planet
Katherine Martinko feistyredhair

We blame ourselves for not recycling more plastics, and yet our efforts are like “hammering a nail to halt a falling skyscraper.” It’s time we got to the root of the problem.

“People need to get better at recycling” is a comment I often hear as soon as the topic of plastic waste comes up. It’s a misleading assumption, however, to think that tossing more items in the recycling bin and fewer in the trash can make that much of a difference in dealing with the catastrophic level of plastic contamination that our planet currently faces. In fact, it’s pretty much pointless.

Before you think I’ve given up and gone all anti-TreeHugger, please realize that this is an issue we discuss every single year on America Recycles Day, an annual event sponsored by Keep American Beautiful and the plastics industry that has taught us to pick up our garbage. Matt Wilkins explains in Scientific American that we need to rethink the way we deal with trash, saying that individual consumers cannot sole this problem because individual consumers are not the problem. We have taken it on as our problem because of some very astute, corporate-driven psychological misdirection in the form of campaigns like Keep America Beautiful.

Huh? you might be thinking. Isn’t Keep America Beautiful a good thing? Well, Wilkins has a different view. Keep America Beautiful was founded by major beverage companies and tobacco giant Philip Morris in the 1950s as a way to encourage environmental stewardship in the public. Later it joined forces with the Ad Council, at which point, “one of their first and most lasting impacts was bringing ‘litterbug’ into the American lexicon.” This was followed by the ‘Crying Indian’ public service announcement and the more recent ‘I Want To Be Recycled’ campaign.

While these PSAs appear admirable, they are little more than corporate greenwashing. For decades Keep America Beautiful has actively campaigned against beverage laws that would mandate refillable containers and bottle deposits. Why? Because these would hurt the profits of the companies that founded and support Keep America Beautiful. Meanwhile, the organization has been tremendously successful at transferring the blame for plastic pollution onto consumers, rather than forcing the industry to shoulder responsibility.

Wilkins writes:

“The greatest success of Keep America Beautiful has been to shift the onus of environmental responsibility onto the public while simultaneously becoming a trusted name in the environmental movement. This psychological misdirect has built public support for a legal framework that punishes individual litterers with hefty fines or jail time, while imposing almost no responsibility on plastic manufacturers for the numerous environmental, economic and health hazards imposed by their products.”

If we are serious about tackling plastic pollution, then corporations’ actions are where we should start. They are the real litterbugs in this situation. The focus should be on the source of the plastic, not its near-impossible disposal.

Reading Wilkins’ article felt disorienting for me, in light of all the zero-waste, pro-recycling, plastic-free articles I write for this website. One line in particular made a big impression:

“Effectively, we have accepted individual responsibility for a problem we have little control over.”

I see where he’s coming from, but cannot agree entirely. First, I think that people have to feel like they can do something in the face of great difficulty. So, even if it’s not the most effective method, putting bottles in the blue bin is at least some kind of beneficial action. Second, I believe in the collective power of people: that’s how movements start. Governments won’t force corporations to change their ways unless the public is crying for it — and that begins ever so humbly, with individual households putting their blue bins out each week.

So, how does one even start shifting the blame for plastic pollution to where it’s supposed to be? Wilkins calls on people first to reject the lie:

“Litterbugs are not responsible for the global ecological disaster of plastic… Our huge problem with plastic is the result of a permissive legal framework that has allowed the uncontrolled rise of plastic pollution, despite clear evidence of the harm it causes to local communities and the world’s oceans.”

Then start fighting. Talk about the plastic problem with everyone you know. Contact local and federal representatives. Think beyond zero waste and recycling initiatives to cradle-to-cradle models, “where waste is minimized by planning in advance how materials can be reused and recycled at a product’s end of life rather than trying to figure that out after the fact.” Support bans on single-use plastics or, at the very least, opt-in policies where customers have to request straws or disposable coffee cups, instead of getting them automatically. Support bag taxes and bottle deposits. Fight the preemptive laws in some states that prevent municipal plastic regulation.

As Wilkins concludes, “There are now too many humans and too much plastic on this pale blue dot to continue planning our industrial expansions on a quarterly basis.” We need a better approach, and it has to get at the real root of the problem.

https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/why-recycling-wont-save-planet.html

When You Refuse A Straw, You Refuse Oil. And Vice Versa.

Written by Sami Grover

When I first started writing for TreeHugger more than a decade ago, I spent a good deal of time worrying about which environmental problems were actually worth worrying about. When a rap video about banning plastic bags went viral, I gently made the case that we might have bigger things to worry about:
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On a case-by-case basis I have no problem with banning the single use plastic bag. But, given all the environmental challenges ahead of us—from peak oil to climate change to clean water issues—and given the uphill struggle we face getting any kind of action in Government, I do think it is worth asking how much political capital we want to spend on laws that address one of the most visible symptoms, but not the root problem of excessive fossil fuel use.

Since then, the issue of single-use plastics seems to have blown up in the public consciousness. And from hotel chains banning straws to plastic bag taxes drastically cutting the amount of bags being found in the ocean, there’s very real progress being made against the problem of ocean plastic pollution.

This success alone has caused me to rethink the musings of my younger, more opinionated self. After all, even if global climate change is the most pressing overarching problem we face, there’s little doubt that ocean ecosystems will be better able to adapt if they are not simultaneously inundated by a sea (sorry!) of plastic trash.

But even this backtracking misses the more important reason that I was wrong. And that’s the fact that by refusing or restricting single-use plastics, consumers and organizations are directly undermining the fossil fuel economy too. As Lloyd noted before, thanks to fracking, fossil fuel companies are now awash with feedstocks for plastics and they are busy expanding the production pipeline massively. So every time you refuse a plastic straw or bag and—more importantly—push for corporate and/or government action to limit plastic consumption, then you are not just making a contribution to trash-free seas. You are also striking a small blow against oil demand and thus helping to mitigate the climate crisis too.

Of course, the opposite is true also. Every time you ride a bike, or choose transit, or opt for electrified transportation, you are not only cutting back on carbon emissions, but you’re disrupting the economy that’s flooding us with plastic too. BP has just admitted that plastic bans might curb demand growth, and it’s also keeping an eye on vehicle electrification and its impact on future profits. Accelerating the adoption of both simultaneously seems like an excellent way to send Big Oil a message.

https://www.care2.com/causes/when-you-refuse-a-straw-you-refuse-oil-and-vice-versa.html

Related:

How to Tackle the Plastic Straw Problem Without Ignoring Disabled People
The Starbucks Plastic Straw Ban Isn’t as Great as It Seems

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger

Quote

image77via Hormesis Advocates Dodge Scientific Rigor With Special Pleadings; Ties To Tobacco Industry-Koch Brothers Exposed By CHP Emeritus – US EPA Comment Deadline August 16th 11.59 PM Eastern Time

Hormesis Advocates Dodge Scientific Rigor With Special Pleadings; Ties To Tobacco Industry-Koch Brothers Exposed By CHP Emeritus – US EPA Comment Deadline August 16th 11.59 PM Eastern Time

Petition:Science Transparency Advocacy | Ocean Conservancy

img_20180528_13115494816219.jpgtakeaction.oceanconservancy.org
Science Transparency Advocacy | Ocean Conservancy
2 minutes

Don’t be Fooled. Help Take Action for Science

Last spring, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed new regulations and told us they would help “strengthen transparency in regulatory science.” Sounds good, right? Wrong! Take a closer look and you’ll see that this is just a play on words. Instead of helping science—it would actually create rules that would make it harder to share important science and needlessly slow down scientific advancements.

You can help! There is an open public comment period on the EPA’s proposal, but we’re running out of time. We only have three days to speak up before the comment period closes. Will you speak up for science and the health of the ocean by taking action today?

If enacted, the proposed rule would prohibit the use of confidential data—like health studies—in EPA’s rulemaking processes unless that private information is made public. The rule uses the language of “scientific transparency” to prohibit the agency from consulting a wide swath of peer-reviewed scientific research.

If adopted, the policy would essentially bar the EPA from consulting most large-scale medical studies when creating rules about air pollution, toxic chemicals, and water contaminants. The proposal could also force the agency to revoke decades of clean-air protections.

https://takeaction.oceanconservancy.org/page/28233/action/1?_ga=2.87828625.842113781.1534225633-641794172.1534225633&ea.tracking.id=18KPHPEAXX

Speak up today!

Plastics aren’t just polluting our oceans — they’re releasing greenhouse gases

by Emily Hunter

I’m a French-Canadian postdoctoral scholar at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and part of the School of Ocean and Earth Science & Technology (SOEST). As part of our team’s research, we found that, as plastic decomposes, it is producing a new source of greenhouse gas pollution not included in previous climate models. These emissions are only expected to increase — especially as more plastic is produced and accumulated in the environment and degrades over time.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii, Manoa have discovered startling new evidence that the plastics on land and in the ocean release greenhouse gases as they break down. In this article, scientist Sarah-Jeanne Royer tells us about what she found in the field and why it’s now even more important to break free from plastic. © Sarah-Jeanne Royer

Greenhouse gases have a direct impact on climate change — affecting sea level rise, global temperatures, ecosystem health on land and in the ocean, and storms, increasing flooding, drought, and erosion. Most plastic is created from natural gases, so the release of greenhouse gases from plastic waste might not seem surprising. Even so, the University of Hawaii is actually the first group publishing data about the link between greenhouse gases and plastic in the environment.

Of particular concern is a type of plastic called low-density polyethylene, which is the highest emitter of climate-wrecking greenhouse gases. It’s commonly found in the most produced, used, and discarded single-use plastics making their way into our oceans and waterways today. Our research shows that as this plastic breaks down in the ocean, the greenhouse emissions increase dramatically — up to 488 times morethan in pellet form, the term used to describe ‘raw’ plastic before it’s been made into an end product like a bag or water bottle.

Unfortunately, that’s not all. Plastics exposed directly to sunlight in the air — like on land at beaches, coastlines, fields, and playgrounds — make an even greater contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. So while we urgently need to keep plastics out of the ocean to stop the negative impacts of pollution on marine life and coastal communities, that’s not enough. On land, discarded plastics still release greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change even while no one is watching.

 

This research has big implications for waste management as well as potential climate change impacts. Plastic pollution is already reaching crisis levels, and this new information only makes the problem more urgent to address — and fast. Considering the amounts of plastic washing ashore on our coastlines, along with the amount of plastic exposed to environmental conditions, to protect our planet against climate change, we need to stop plastic production at the source.

Greenpeace UK Oceans campaigner Tisha Brown holds up plastic straws collected during a beach cleanup activity on Freedom Island, Philippines.

Sarah-Jeanne Royer is a French-Canadian postdoctoral scholar at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and part of the School of Ocean and Earth Science & Technology (SOEST). To learn more about her research on plastics and greenhouse gas emissions, read the full published report here

https://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/story/plastics-arent-just-polluting-our-oceans-theyre-releasing-greenhouse-gases/

Petition · Rick Scott: Ban styrofoam in Florida · Change.org

Cynthia Woscek started this petition to Governor Rick Scott

Containers made of polystyrene foam (styrofoam) never fully break down. Every single piece of polystyrene ever manufactured is still out there today, harming wildlife and our environment. Whether or not you live in Florida, this affects us all. With 1,350 miles of coastline, it is our duty to protect the ocean we all enjoy so much. Tell the governor to support a statewide ban on polystyrene.
Start a petition of your own
This petition starter stood up and took action. Will you do the same?

https://www.change.org/p/rick-scott-ban-styrofoam-in-florida/sign?utm_medium=email&utm_source=aa_sign_human&utm_campaign=388303&utm_content=&sfmc_tk=Y65ELrEVwnOSO7%2bDYTtOcdy1At8uHQXvvgqogry3gW1sLwjavpY3%2fTctlYJ4xvhX&j=388303&sfmc_sub=61374949&l=32_HTML&u=64804260&mid=7233053&jb=867

 

© 2018, Change.org, Inc.Certified B Corporation

Petition: Whataburger, stop using polystyrene foam cups!

by: Environment Texas
target: Whataburger, Preston Atkinson, CEO

40,920 SUPPORTERS – 45,000 GOAL

We love Whataburger, but we hate their polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam) cups and containers!

Polystyrene is one of the worst and most common types of plastic, but Whataburger still uses it. According to the EPA, Americans throw out 70 million polystyrene foam cups every day, and that doesn’t include bowls and takeout containers. Of these, about one third end up in waterways: rivers, lakes, and especially oceans.

For a bird or fish or turtle, it’s easy to mistake a small piece of polystyrene for food. When animals ingest plastic waste, it can block their digestive tracts. As a result, they starve.

Nothing we use for a few minutes should be allowed to pollute our oceans and rivers and threaten wildlife for centuries. McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts have stopped using polystyrene cups and containers. Whataburger says they’re investigating alternatives, but they need to hear from customers that we want them to act now. If they don’t, what a waste.

Photo is of non-recyclable polystyrene foam cups littering Corpus Christi Bay beach. If you look closely, you’ll notice Whataburger’s familiar colors and logo.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/775/643/317/whataburger-stop-using-polystyrene-foam-cups/

 

Hurricane season starts today, and Trump still hasn’t learned from his deadliest blunder — Hurricane Maria

grist.org
By Justine Calma on Jun 1, 2018

It wasn’t until five days after Hurricane Maria made landfall that President Trump tweeted about the devastation. FEMA administrator Brock Long arrived in Puerto Rico that same day — he was among the first Trump officials to get to the battered U.S. territory.

This week, a Harvard study revealed that the September 2017 storm is likely the deadliest disaster in modern U.S. history — with more casualties than Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks combined. The analysis places Puerto Rico’s death toll at somewhere between 4,645 and 5,740 people, 90 times more dead than the government’s widely disputed official death toll.

The president has yet to offer any public condolences on the death count in the new study. He has, however, tweeted vigorously in the wake of Roseanne Barr being fired to Disney CEO Bob Iger demanding an apology for “HORRIBLE” statements made about him on ABC.

“What if 5,000 people in any US state died because of a natural disaster? It would be 24/7 news. Well, that happened in #PuertoRico as a result of #HurricaneMaría, and we are now talking about a mediocre sitcom being cancelled,” tweeted journalist Julio Ricardo Varela.

Writing in an opinion piece for NBC news, Varela continued: “Puerto Ricans are not suddenly shocked by the Harvard study … because the proof was already there months ago. But almost nobody else wanted to look for it.”

Trump’s only visit to the island after the storm — when he said that Maria wasn’t a “real” tragedy like Hurricane Katrina — Varela writes, “served to highlight the late response and federal neglect to Puerto Rico’s catastrophe.”

The president’s inattention, critics argue, contributed to a disaster response that was slow, meager, and ripe with allegations of misconduct and corruption. And rather than drive compassion for fellow Americans, his priorities have helped shift attention elsewhere. Cable news dedicated more than 16 times more airtime to the Roseanne controversy than it did to the Puerto Rico death toll.

Because of the silence, Refinery 29 journalist Andrea González-Ramírez has started a viral thread on Twitter in an effort to remember and name the dead:

“This should be a day of collective mourning in Puerto Rico. Thousands dead because of administrations that could not get the job done,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tweeted on Tuesday. “These deaths & the negligence that contributed to them cannot be forgotten. This was, & continues to be, a violation of our human rights.”

And with Hurricane Season 2018 beginning today, there’s still uncertainty about how prepared this administration is for another storm. Puerto Rico’s power authority announced yesterday that it may take another two months to get power back completely on the island, and officials say it’s likely that the electrical grid will crash again with the next hurricane.

On top of that, FEMA is going through a “reorganization,” Bloomberg reported last week, and several key leadership roles are still vacant or temporarily filled.

“What the impacts from the 2017 disasters show is that there is also still work to do in order to build a culture of preparedness across the country at all levels of government, including improved resilience among our critical infrastructure,” FEMA wrote to Grist in an email.

https://grist.org/news/hurricane-season-starts-today-and-trump-still-hasnt-learned-from-his-deadliest-blunder-hurricane-maria/

End Plastic Pollution | Earth Day Network

From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.

In response, Earth Day 2018 will focus on fundamentally changing human attitude and behavior about plastics and catalyzing a significant reduction in plastic pollution.

Our strategy to End Plastic Pollution will:

Lead and support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution
Educate and mobilize citizens across the globe to demand action from governments and corporations to control and diminish plastic pollution
Inform and activate citizens to take personal responsibility for the plastic pollution that each one of us generates by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics
Work with universities, school teachers and students to End Plastic Pollution
Work with other organizations and networks and make Earth Day 2018 a platform to End Plastic Pollution by developing resources that others can use and build partnerships.
Promote the work that cities and local governments are doing to tackle plastic pollution
Empower journalists across the globe to report on the problem and its emerging solutions.

Earth Day Network will leverage the platform of Earth Day, April 22, 2018 and the growing excitement around the 50thAnniversary of Earth Day in 2020. We will work with key constituencies and influencers to build a world of educated consumers of all ages who understand the environmental, climate and health consequences of using plastics.

We will engage and activate our global network of NGO’s and grassroots organizations, campus youth, mayors and other local elected leaders, faith leaders, artists and athletes, and primary and secondary students and teachers.

We will organize events in all continents of the world, build a global following and activate citizens to join our End Plastic Pollution advocacy campaigns.

In sum, we will use the power of Earth Day to elevate the issue of plastic pollution in the global agenda and inspire and demand effective action to reduce and control it.

Sign the End Plastic Pollution Petition

Make a pledge to reduce your use of plastic

Send your ideas or propose a partnership to plastic@earthday.org

https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/plastics-campaign/

What is palm oil? | SPOTT.org

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil. It comes from the fruit of the African oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis).

Native to West Africa, oil palm has been traditionally grown as a subsistence crop in small-scale farming systems for thousands of years.

Oil palms were introduced to Southeast Asia by European traders in the early 19th century, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia, where the climate is more humid, and therefore even more conducive to oil palm growth. Palm oil trees can grow to over 20 metres tall, and unlike some other vegetable oil crops, the fruit can be harvested all year round.

Large-scale production on monocultural oil palm plantations has become highly prevalent over the last forty years in response to ever-increasing global demand.

Palm oil comes from oil palm fruits

The fruit of the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is crushed to extract palm oil. (Image: oneVillage Initiative)

Palm oil production in Ghana
Oil palm fruit harvest, Malaysia

Oilpalmfruitharvest,Malaysia

Oil palm fruit is harvested with peak production occurring between ages seven and 18. (Image: Craig Morey)

Oil palm fruit harvest, Malaysia
Crude palm oil is refined for manufacturing

Unrefined red palm oil is sent to refineries for processing. (Image: oneVillage Initiative)
Crude palm oil is refined for manufacturing
Oil palms use less land than other oilseeds

Oil palms yield up to 10 times more oil per hectare than alternative vegetable oil crops. (Image: Craig Wikimedia)

Oil palms use less land than other oilseeds
Monocultures support fewer species

Oil palm plantations provide far less plant and animal diversity than forests. (Image: Achmad Rabin Taim)

Monocultures support fewer species

Why is palm oil so widely used?

Palm oil is very versatile and widely used in food products, detergents, and cosmetics. At least 50% of the packaged products sold in most supermarkets contain palm oil. It is also increasingly used as a biofuel.

Palm oil has the potential to be a more economically viable and sustainable vegetable oil than the alternatives:

using up to 10 times less land than other major vegetable oils such as rapeseed or sunflower;
producing higher yields per hectare – one hectare of land can produce 4,000kg palm oil, or 500kg of kernel oil;
requiring less fertiliser, fewer pesticides, and storing more carbon than other oil crops.

Despite these potential benefits, business as usual is not sustainable. Industry expansion cannot continue if this is at the cost of Indonesia’s natural ecosystems, as well as forests in many other countries throughout the tropics.
Problems associated with irresponsible palm oil production:

There are many negative environmental impacts associated with unsustainable palm oil production. Oil palms are typically grown in regions that contain high levels of biodiversity (Indonesia and Malaysia together produce about 85% of the world’s palm oil) on land that was previously occupied by tropical rainforests and peatlands.
This land is often cleared illegally, destroying some of the world’s most diverse habitats and increasing pollution and carbon emissions through slash and burn agriculture.
In many areas, local communities are not respected and employees are treated poorly.

Oil palm plantation in Cigudeg by Achmad Rabin Taim from Jakarta, Indonesia

Palm oil plantation in Cigudeg by Achmad Rabin Taim from Jakarta, Indonesia
Why can’t we just stop buying palm oil?

Over 50 million tonnes of palm oil is consumed every year, around one third of all vegetable oil.
If we stop buying palm oil, palm oil producing companies will sell palm oil to markets that do not value the environment.
Other vegetable oils will be grown in its place which require up to ten times more land to produce the same amount of oil, increasing deforestation.
Palm oil production provides an income for 4.5 million people in Indonesia and Malaysia alone, taking them out of poverty, and accounts for 4.5% of Indonesian GDP.

What is sustainable palm oil?

To develop a sustainable palm oil industry, companies must:

Stop clearing rainforests and developing on peatlands.
Manage their plantations responsibly according to best practice guidelines.
Trace their supply of palm oil back to the refinery and plantations where it was farmed.
Establish safe and fair working conditions for employees.
Properly consult local communities on new developments.

What you can do to support sustainable palm oil:

Explore more about the issue through the Guardian’s excellent interactive: from rainforest to your cupboard – the story of palm oil.
Support companies that have made commitments to using only certified sustainable palm oil.
Don’t just avoid the problem by boycotting palm oil altogether, instead be part of the solution by supporting Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) as a minimum. Look out for products bearing the RSPO Trademark, which show that they contain a minimum 95% of CSPO.
Ask retailers to source certified sustainable palm oil, not only in their own-brand products but in all the products they sell. You can do this by contacting their customer service departments.
Ask manufacturers to source certified sustainable palm oil.
Lobby your parliamentary or government representative to improve national legislation.
Join or support organisations that are actively campaigning for better standards.
Increase your own awareness of what is in your food.
See how some of the most famous products you buy have performed on Oxfam’s Behind the Brands ethical scorecard.
Read through the Union for Concerned Scientists’ palm oil scorecard, and their global warming factsheet.
Learn more about the work of other organisations promoting better management practices in the Palm Oil Innovation Group.

https://www.spott.org/palm-oil-resource-archive/what-is-palm-oil/

Massive Oil Spill In Borneo, Indonesia, Claims The Lives Of 5 People & An Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin – World Animal News

BREAKING NEWS
By Lauren Lewis –
April 4, 2018

A dead Irrawaddy dolphin was found washed up on the shore near the oil spill. Photo courtesy of the Rare Aquatic Species Indonesia (RASI).
The Indonesian government issued a state of emergency yesterday following a major oil spill that occurred over the weekend in Borneo, Indonesia.
Tragically, five fishermen and one endangered dolphin have been confirmed dead so far as a result of the spill that occurred on Saturday morning in the Balikpapan Bay, in East Kalimantan province.
This morning, as per an AFP report on Yahoo7, Indonesia’s national oil company Pertamina, which originally denied responsibility, declared that the spill was, in fact, caused by a ruptured pipe that was used for transporting crude oil approximately 25 meters below the sea surface.
The Irrawaddy dolphin, which is listed as endangered on the ICUN Red List, was discovered on the shore near the spill on Sunday evening.
Distributed across the coastal Indian Ocean from India to Indonesia, the Irrawaddy dolphin’s relatively small size, mobile ‘expressive’ head, and ability to spit water when instructed have contributed to the recent rise in their captivity.

u.s.whales.org, Dipani Sutaria
While the toxic spill is believed to be the cause of the dolphin’s death, according to Mongabay, Danielle Kreb, a marine biologist with the non-profit organization Rare Aquatic Species Indonesia (RASI) explained that it would take up to a week before they receive the results of the samples they took from the animal.
A protected species under Indonesian law, killing an Irrawaddy dolphin carries fines and a possible jail sentence.
WAN prays there are no more deaths of people or animals affected by this tragic oil spill.

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TAGS:Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,animal welfare organizations,
Dolphin,Endangered Species,Indonesia

http://worldanimalnews.com/massive-oil-spill-in-borneo-indonesia-claims-the-lives-of-5-people-an-endangered-irrawaddy-dolphin/

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Demand Protection Against Rising Sea Levels

Sea levels are rising so quickly, Miami will be flooding every single day by 2100. Demand action to ensure the protection of coastal communities.

Source: Demand Protection Against Rising Sea Levels

Analysis: 60 Million Acres of Monarch Habitat to Be Doused With Toxic Weed Killer | Global Justice Ecology Project

https://globaljusticeecology.org/analysis-60-million-acres-of-monarch-habitat-to-be-doused-with-toxic-weed-killer/#comments

Posted on March 2, 2018 by GJEP staff

PORTLAND, Ore.— Within the next two years, more than 60 million acres of monarch habitat will be sprayed with a pesticide that’s extremely harmful to milkweed, the only food for monarch caterpillars, according to a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Monarch populations have already fallen by 80 percent in the past two decades due to escalating pesticide use and other human activities. Now the Center’s report A Menace to Monarchs shows that the butterfly faces a dangerous new threat from accelerating use of the notoriously drift-prone and highly toxic weed killer dicamba across an area larger than the state of Minnesota.

“America’s monarchs are already in serious trouble, and this will push them into absolute crisis,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center. “It’s appalling that the EPA approved this spraying without bothering to consider the permanent damage it will do to these butterflies and their migration routes.”

Today’s report found that by 2019, use of dicamba will increase by nearly 100-fold on cotton and soybean fields within the monarch’s migratory habitat across the heart of the United States.

Other key findings include:

Accelerating harm: In addition to 61 million acres of monarch habitat being directly sprayed with dicamba, an additional 9 million acres could be harmed by drift of the pesticide.
Deadly timing: The timing and geographical distribution of dicamba use coincides precisely with the presence of monarch eggs and larva on milkweed.
Double trouble: Dicamba degrades monarch habitat both by harming flowering of plants that provide nectar for adults as they travel south for the winter and by harming milkweed that provides an essential resource for reproduction.
Greater menace to milkweed: Research has shown that just 1 percent of the minimum dicamba application rate is sufficient to reduce the size of milkweed by 50 percent, indicating it may have a greater impact on milkweed growth than the already widely used pesticide glyphosate.

The Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 approved new dicamba products for use on genetically engineered cotton and soybeans. In 2017 there were reports of at least 3.6 million acres of off-target, dicamba-induced damage to agricultural crops and an unknown amount of damage to native plants and habitats, including forests. The EPA has refused to take necessary action to address the harms caused by the chemical.

“There’s no question that use of dicamba across tens of millions of acres will deepen risks to our dangerously imperiled monarch populations,” said Donley. “When dicamba’s use on GE cotton and soybeans comes up for reapproval later this year, the only responsible thing for the EPA to do is allow that approval to expire.”

Background
For this analysis the Center examined monarch habitat and projected usage rates for dicamba, with a particular emphasis on examining the effects of increased use of dicamba in the coming years, which is expected to reach about 57 million pounds annually.

The decline in monarchs in recent decades has coincided with the surge in use of glyphosate, which is sprayed on crops genetically altered to survive being sprayed by the pesticide. Around 300 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed in fields each year in the United States. The massive overuse of glyphosate triggered the large-scale decline of milkweed and the proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds across millions of acres. In response to the proliferation of resistant weeds, farmers have turned to dicamba — compounding the danger to monarchs and their habitat.

Via Center for Biological Diversity
Category: Climate Justice, Featured, Social Media News Tags: Butterfly, Center for Biological Diversity, monarch, Monarch Butterfly, neonic
Copyright © 2018 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project

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Protect Marine Environment From Gold Mining on Sea Floor

Marine ecosystems could be devastated by a new industry called “deep sea mining.” The plan is to use oil and gas technology to conduct heavy mining operations on the seafloor. This will destroy marine life and the environment, and must be stopped.

Source: Protect Marine Environment From Gold Mining on Sea Floor

Stop the sugar industry’s assault on Uganda’s chimpanzee forest! – Rainforest Rescue

The habitat of 500 chimpanzees in Uganda’s Bugoma Forest Reserve is in danger. Conservationists and local residents are fighting to stop a company, that has begun clearing trees in the protected area for a sugar plantation. Please call Ugandan government to keep precious land out of the hands of such dubious investors.

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1092/stop-the-sugar-industrys-assault-on-ugandas-chimpanzee-forest

Tell the EU to drop biofuels! – Rainforest Rescue

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1111/tell-the-eu-to-drop-biofuels

Keep loggers and the palm oil industry out of the Peruvian Amazon! – Rainforest Rescue

https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/1121/keep-loggers-and-the-palm-oil-industry-out-of-the-peruvian-amazon

Don’t Bring Back Toxic Sulfide Mining

Sulfide mines produce pollutants that cause brain damage to humans and are deadly to aquatic ecosystems. Sign this petition to denounce recent efforts to expand these dangerous and deadly mines.

Source: Don’t Bring Back Toxic Sulfide Mining

Petition: Tell the Utah Government To Address The Deadly Air Quality

The deadly fog hanging over the Wasatch Front that is filled with fine particulate pollution, or PM2.5 is an environmental emergency.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/968/192/996/

Petition · Marsh Swine Farm: Stop a Factory Farm from Coming to Montague · Change.org

KwsWBPqkUIVQxxp-800x450-noPad.jpg

It happens to lie on the flower Creek Watershed, that feeds directly into Lake Michigan. Due to the location of our community our water sources are extremely sensitive to pollution such as Farm sewage runoff, antibiotic-resistant bacteria,high nitrate levels, increased ammonia levels etc; all which have been tracked back to CAFO’s. The  shear increase of waste being introduced into our community by 8,000 pigs total annually, is what will have the most impact. Each pig averages 3 gallons of manure a day for a total of over 1 million gallons of manure per year.

https://www.change.org/p/marsh-swine-farm-stop-a-factory-farm-from-coming-to-montague?source_location=petition_footer&algorithm=promoted&grid_position=7&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uAAd6wwAAAAAAWiL2LbbLAMMwZTA3YjMzYw%3D%3D

Petition: STOP NEW OFFSHORE DRILLING


https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=23529&utm_source=salsa&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EAC4-FCNS:DRILLING:OFFSHORE-1017&utm_content=EM9:00C:0HH-LLP&uid=1220798

Footage of Greek Oil Spill Shows Massive Scale of Damage

 

Petition: We Need the Chemical Disaster Rule


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/294/832/561/

Seeking Shelter from the Storm

Flamingos shelter in Key West laundry room as Parrots seek refuge at Miami hotel window — boldcorsicanflame’s Blog A family staying at a Miami Marriott hotel found two parrots pressed right u…

Source: Seeking Shelter from the Storm

A Vegan Guide for Preparing for a Hurricane

For those of us living in the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas, the threat of Irma is all too real. I think it goes without saying that if you live in Southern Florida then you need to evacuate.

Source: A Vegan Guide for Preparing for a Hurricane

Petition: Stand with John Oliver Against Big Coal!


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/609/715/070/

Study Links Most Amazon Deforestation to 128 Slaughterhouses

Jul. 28, 2017 08:58AM EST
Beef cattle awaiting slaughter in a corral. Fabio Nascimento
Study Links Most Amazon Deforestation to 128 Slaughterhouses

By Eduardo Pegurier, Translated by Bruno Moraes

Satellites are mechanical reporters of the Amazon deforestation process. By documenting the degradation and gaps created by the clear-cutting process over the years, they deliver the verdict: Two-thirds of the Amazon’s deforested area has been turned into pastures.

From the ground, the cattle count reveals that the Amazon is home to more cattle than people. By 2016, the region’s cattle numbers amounted to 85 million head, compared to a human population of 25 million—more than three cows per person. In the city of São Félix do Xingu, which contains the largest herd in Brazil, this proportion reaches 18 cows to 1 person.

The Brazilian Amazon covers 61 percent of the nation’s territory and harbors 40 percent of the national herd. Cattle are kept on about 400,000 farms and ranches there, ranging in size from a few to tens of thousands of hectares.

So it was that when the NGO Imazon finished a new and detailed survey on the region’s slaughterhouses, they received a major surprise: finding that a small number, just 128 active slaughterhouses belonging to 99 companies, are responsible for 93 percent of the annual slaughter—close to 12 million head.

The fact that slaughterhouses represent a bottleneck in the livestock breeding chain was already known. But Imazon’s survey breaks new ground because it clearly reveals the geography of livestock production in the Brazilian Amazon, documenting the area of influence—the amount of pasture required to fulfill the supply demands of each of the 128 slaughterhouses.

To put things in perspective, fulfilling the annual processing capacity of a single large meat processing plant requires almost 600 thousand hectares (2,317 square miles) of pasture, an area more than seven times larger than New York City. The set of slaughterhouses analyzed in the study, operating at full capacity, would require a pasture area of 68 million hectares (262,559 square miles, or roughly the size of Texas). Importantly, this amount exceeds the total pasture area available in the region today, indicating that in the near future cattle ranching will generate more Amazon deforestation.

Imazon’s study results reinforce the correctness of the satellite record, documenting an ongoing Amazon deforestation process linked to the cattle industry.

With this reality in mind, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the independent federal prosecutor’s office, has pressured the region’s slaughterhouses to sign the so-called Beef Agreement since 2009, starting in the state of Pará. This contract, made between the MPF and each signing slaughterhouse, commits the firms to inspections of the pasture land where acquired animals originated, in order to ban cattle pasture expansions resulting in deforestation.

Paulo Barreto, the Imazon study lead researcher, explains the practicality of the processing plant contracts: “It was like having two options to address this issue: gathering managers for each of these 100 slaughterhouse firms in a conference room or, alternatively, filling five huge soccer stadiums with all the farmers involved in cattle ranching.”

Fulfilling the annual processing capacity of a single large meat processing plant in the Amazon requires almost 600 thousand hectares (2,317 square miles) of pasture, an area more than seven times larger than New York City. The need for so much pasture has resulted in significant deforestation.

The analysis detailing the influence of so few slaughterhouses on almost the entire Amazon cattle industry involved detective work and geo-processing technology.
The first step was to obtain the addresses of every large meatpacking plant and certify them by using high-definition satellite images to look for typical facilities, such as corrals and wastewater treatment systems. From there, researchers wanted to answer two questions: What was the potential cattle supply range for each slaughterhouse? And, how do these potential pasture supply zones relate to already deforested areas and to those that are at higher risk of deforestation in the near future?

The researchers determined the maximum distance between each slaughterhouse and its suppliers by interviewing local managers by phone, then crossing data. There were extreme cases at both ends of the spectrum, including one plant in the state of Acre which did not buy cattle raised any farther away than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from their door. On the other extreme, a slaughterhouse in the state of Amazonas acquired animals from more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away to compensate for a local livestock shortage during the dry season.

The study dealt with two slaughterhouse categories: those with a state license, which allows them to sell meat within their states; and those with a federal license, allowing the firms to sell country-wide and for export. On average, meatpacking plants with state licenses have the capacity to slaughter 180 animals per day, and buy from farms that can be up to 153 kilometers (95 miles) away. Plants with national licenses can slaughter 700 animals per day, brought from up to 360 kilometers (223 miles) away.

The next step in the analysis process, based on the maximum pasture to meat processing plant distances, was to establish the potential area that supplied each slaughterhouse—a goal accomplished with geospatial technology.

Satellite image of the JBS slaughterhouse in Santana do Araguaia, in the state of Pará, Brazil.
Google Earth

“Imazon has an extensive database of formal and informal roads in the Amazon, which has been updated since 2008,” said Amintas Brandão Jr., a study co-author. “We ran a spatial analysis in which you insert the coordinates of the slaughterhouse in the software and its maximum buying distance, say 100 kilometers. Then the software automatically goes through all the roads and navigable rivers accessible to that slaughterhouse up to those 100 kilometers distant. Thus, we have been able to delineate a potential supply zone.” According to Brandão, this was the study’s novelty: it establishes each slaughterhouse’s area of influence using the infrastructure network—the systems of roads and navigable rivers through which cattle can be transported.

Importantly, the total pasture zone of influence corresponding to all 128 analyzed slaughterhouses covers almost the entirety of areas embargoed due to deforestation by Ibama, the federal agency that polices environmental offenses. It also matches 88 percent of all deforestation that occurred in the Amazon between 2010 and 2015.

Also importantly, the study generated a forecast of the most likely future deforested areas in the Brazilian Amazon.

Again, the researchers utilized geospatial analysis software. They divided the entire region into a grid of 1 kilometer-wide squares. The probability of future deforestation was estimated for each square based on the presence of factors that stimulate forest destruction, such as available roads or rivers for transportation, distance to markets and land production potential. Using this data, they created a map of deforestation probability for the entire Brazilian Amazon. Then the researchers used the deforested area for the three previous years—1.7 million hectares (17,000 square kilometers; 6,564 square miles)—as an estimate of total forest loss that can happen in the three year period between 2016 to 2018. Based on this probability map, they determined the areas under higher risk of new deforestation. The last step was to overlap these projections and the slaughterhouses’ zones of potential supply. The match between the two was 90 percent.

In other words, if the current deforestation rates are repeated between 2016 and 2018, 90 percent of new forest loss will occur within the estimated cattle supply zone of 128 slaughterhouses.

If the Amazon’s current deforestation rate is repeated between 2016 and 2018, then 90 percent of new forest loss will occur within the estimated cattle supply zone of the 128 slaughterhouses.

Consequences and Solutions
“From the surveillance point of view, this work can help control deforestation by showing where its hot spots are,” said Brandão.

According to Barreto, “it is impressive how small is the number of slaughterhouse firms that sit at the end of a [cattle supply] chain that involves almost 400,000 ranchers.” For him, this confirms that the best way to reduce forest loss due to livestock is to involve the slaughterhouses in the deforestation surveillance, as the MPF agreements require.

But Barreto also points out problems with this approach: 30 percent of the slaughters are done by meat processing firms that have not signed the Beef Agreement. That means that these firms do not inspect the place of origin of their cattle. Worse, these slaughterhouses are located in the same area of activity as those who have signed the agreement, thus becoming alternatives for the sale of cattle raised in illegally opened pastures.

Imazon’s study created a detailed picture of the influence that slaughterhouses can have on deforestation. “We already have a map, and the technologies are available to trace cattle from the ranches where they are bred all the way to intermediate fattening ranches, and to the slaughter sites,” said Barreto. “Now, we need consistent legal pressure and punishment for breeders and meatpackers who condone environmental crimes.”

The new study forecasts that serious Amazon deforestation will likely continue to occur unless effective enforcement policies are adopted to monitor and control the pasture usage of the region’s slaughterhouses.

This sort of pressure, he said, came from the market itself in the case of foot-and-mouth disease, when the cattle industry realized that it would lose global markets if an effective vaccination program wasn’t implemented. The pinch from the market led farmers to organize themselves and to partner with the government to effectively control foot-and-mouth disease, which was quite a feat.
Likewise, if the government and slaughterhouses have the will, he says, then they can work together to end ranching activities that bring down forests. For Barreto, a good starting point for reducing deforestation would be the creation of a new round of beef sector law enforcement pressure administered by the MPF and Ibama. Such a move would be a huge step toward achieving zero deforestation in the Amazon.

 

This article was originally published in Portuguese by ((o))eco and can be found at their site or it can be viewed at Mongabay.com which edited this version of the story for English speakers.