The Keeling Curve

The Keeling Curve since 1958
The Keeling Curve: A daily record of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958 from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

We need a new Earth Day Movement

When millions of people went to the streets to protest the destruction of the environment in 1970, they pushed Nixon's republican government to found the EPA and constitute the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Since then, many people assume that the environment is well guarded but even before Trump, the EPA was often a tiger without teeth and claws. This is due to the insufficient funding of the EPA but most importantly caused by the lack of regulatory laws and the endurance of old, outdated laws like the right of way and public domain of the utility and energy industry taking precedence over all other considerations. In our own backyard, on May 29, 2015, the EPA found that Savoy Energy LP, the Traverse City company running the oil wells in Lenawee County violated the Clean Air Act (previous blog post). On January 28, 2016, the EPA returned to the site and found that the same leaks were still present and that the company obviously did not intend to comply with the Clean Air Act (previous blog post). As of today, the legal procedure to fine Savoy and force the company to comply with the Clean Air Act are still not finalized or effective. One can only imagine how ineffective the EPA will become now under the Trump administration with the industry's liaison Scott Pruitt (Mother Jones FEB. 22, 2017) and several laws, executive orders and memos securing the prevalence of fossil fuels over environmental justice.
However, a new powerful Earth Day movement is desperately needed because of entirely new dangers to the environment and public health not anticipated or protected against by the almost 50 years old legislation. Climate change with all its manifold consequences is driving hundreds if not thousands of species to extinction, displacing millions of people, causing famine and mass migration, and will cause wide spread social and political breakdown. These cataclysms will create a highly undesirably world for decades if not centuries to stay.
Since the 1970s, the amount of new synthetic chemicals released every year with little to no supervision increased into the thousands. Many of these chemicals are effective in unbelievably low concentrations and have profound consequences like endocrine disruption causing generations of human beings growing up with biological, developmental, social and psychological deficits leading to an increasingly selfish and uncompassionate society (http://endocrinedisruption.org). Furthermore, biological pollution through genetically modified organisms is an entirely new form of pollution that will not dilute in the environment but spread over time, potentially eradicating natural non-engineered organisms. As our understanding of whole genome gene balance, lateral gene transfer in nature, and the migration of genes into the germ line are embarrassingly rudimentary, we are playing with a fire storm that we cannot control.
We need a strong environmental justice movement, larger, more persistent, and more daring than anything we saw in the 1970s. Only then we might have a chance to slow down or even reverse some of the worst consequences of climate change, chemical and biological pollution and reduce the duration of the dark years that inevitably lie in front of us.

“We Will Never Stop”: An EPA Employee Blasts the Trump Administration

As we embark on month two of Donald Trump's presidency, it's hard to imagine a group of federal
employees facing more uncertainty than the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency. Industry ally
and new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt can be viewed only as an agent of profound change, and he's
already faced intense opposition from Senate Democrats and from the staff he inherits.
A career EPA employee contacted me through a secure chat program and began to express
profound concern over the threat now posed to their life’s work.

Read the full story here