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Category Archives:

Pollution

US & EU Pledge to Reduce Methane Emissions

In a bid to tackle climate change, the U.S. and the European Union pledged to reduce methane emissions by a third over the next decade and are urging other countries to follow suit.

Deservedly, carbon dioxide gets a lot of bad publicity because it is the most abundant man-made greenhouse gas but methane, the main component of natural gas, is responsible for about a third of the 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in global average temperature the world has suffered since the start of the industrial revolution.

Since then, concentrations of methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere, have more than doubled.

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Mussels Could Help Solve Our Microplastics Problem

Instead of shelling out for a water filtration plant, mussels’ constant filter feeding is being tested as a potential wide-scale application for microplastic clean-up in our oceans.
Belying their humble evolutionary stature, the mussel can do something that humanity could only achieve by spending millions on equipment, and that is cleaning microplastics smaller than 5mm out of the ocean.

A voracious filter feeder, mussels absorb microplastics and than excrete them, while doing no harm to the organism.

Microplastics are devilish pollutants that can come from tire wear, fracture off long-floating plastic debris, or get pulled off artificial textiles and end up in the ocean via sewage. They’re so small that often the required fineness of a net in order to collect them ensures that any marine life, even tiny ones, will be collected as well.

A trial near the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England is looking to see how many mussels it would take to make a meaningful impact on microplastic pollution.

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Study Finds Link Between Wildfire Smoke and Covid Risk

In a new study published on Friday, a team of researchers at Harvard University found evidence that exposure to elevated levels of fine particle pollution found in wildfire smoke may have led to thousands more cases of covid-19 and more deaths among those who tested positive for the coronavirus.

In some counties in California and Washington state hit particularly hard by wildfires last year, the study, published in the journal Science Advances, concluded that nearly 20 percent of the covid-19 cases were linked to elevated levels of wildfire smoke. The researchers also found that an even higher percentage of deaths could be linked to wildfire smoke in certain counties.

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West Coast Wildfire Smoke Spreads All the Way to NYC

Wildfire smoke from Canada and the Western United States stretched across the continent this week, covering skies in a thick haze and triggering health alerts from Toronto to Philadelphia. Air quality remained in the unhealthy range across much of the East Coast on Wednesday morning as the haze pushed southward.

In recent weeks, a series of near-relentless heat waves and deepening drought linked to climate change have helped to fuel exploding wildfires. In southern Oregon, the Bootleg Fire grew so large and hot that it created its own weather, triggering lightning and releasing enormous amounts of smoke. But more than 80 large fires are currently burning across 13 American states, and many more are active across Canada.

Now, the effects are being felt thousands of miles from the flames.

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Solar One Announces Retirement of Executive Director

Press Release

Founding Executive Director, Christopher J. Collins will retire December 2021 after 17 years leading the organization.

The organizational leadership team, the Board of Directors, and all staff are grateful for his leadership and hard work over the years and note that he leaves them and the organization well-positioned to carry his legacy and the charitable mission forward, building on the solid foundations he put in place.

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After 60+ Years, Cities Are Reconsidering Urban Highways

In the years after World War II, car ownership boomed in the United States, and so did the development of urban freeways. In many cases, making it easy for people to drive from suburban areas to downtown business districts came at a severe cost to low income neighborhoods, and especially to places with high concentrations of Black and brown residents.

Today, ambitious climate goals and new considerations of environmental justice are causing some cities to reconsider those long-ago decisions in urban planning, especially since many of those highways are deteriorating and nearing the end of their useful lives.

But plans to remove highways, while potentially offering benefits like cleaner air, less noise and more walkable neighborhoods, also raise new questions about development, open space and exactly who will benefit from these changes.

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