Riots Over Pollution, Debates Over Global Warming
Streets Get Greened & a Meal Gets Freed
Are green rights becoming clearer? These six 2012 articles on the environment are from: (1) National Public Radio, Jly 17, on BPA by J. Hamilton; (2) BBC, Jly 18, on green streets by M. Kinver; (3) AP, Jly 25, on a lobster; (4) AFP, Jly 28, on China by P. Parks; (5) AP, Jly 17, on icebergs by S. Borenstein; and (6) BBC News, Jly 19, on Greenland by J. Palmer.
by Jon Hamilton, by Mark Kinver, by Associated Press, by Peter Parks, by Seth Borenstein, and by Jason PalmerJJS: First the good news.
FDA Bans Chemical BPA From Sippy Cups And Baby Bottles
It's been years since manufacturers voluntarily stopped using the plastic additive BPA (Bisphenol A) in sippy cups and baby bottles. But now they have no choice. The FDA announced it has formally banned BPA from these products.
To read more
Green streets can cut pollution, says study
The creation of "green walls" in urban areas could cut pollution by up to 30%, scientists have suggested.
To read more
Man frees 17-pound lobster from Conn. Restaurant
Don MacKenzie of Niantic says he knew the lobster, nicknamed "Lucky Larry" by local children, would have to be about 80-years-old to reach his current size and felt it deserved to live.
"It takes seven years for him to even become a lobster big enough to keep," MacKenzie said. "For a lobster to live this long and avoid lobster traps, nets, lobster pots ... he doesn't deserve a bib and butter."
MacKenzie received a send-off from a group of children chanting "Let Larry Live" and the lobster was given a salute from the Niantic River Bridge operator who sounded the lift bridge's siren as the boat carrying it headed to sea.
Mackenzie kept a memento of the experience, the two thick rubber bands that had been wrapped around Larry's claws to keep him from pinching anyone.
MacKenzie won't say how much he paid The Dock restaurant to take Larry off the menu. "Let's just say that it's the most expensive lobster I never ate."
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JJS: If that attitude toward life and nature could only spread! Now for the so-so news.
Pollution protestors clash with police in China
Thousands of people (50k-100k) demonstrating over fears of pollution from a sewage pipeline at a paper factory in the coastal city of Qidong, near Shanghai in east China, clashed with police Saturday, the latest in a series of environmental protests.
Searches including "Qidong" were blocked Saturday on Sina Weibo, which has more than 250 million subscribers.
Similar incidents are reported regularly around China, many over environmental concerns that locals say are linked to corruption, but authorities typically quash the protests and push ahead with the projects.
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JJS: It’s good that people protest injustice but it’s sad that people get hurt, windows get broken, and nothing gets better. Now for the news that the media has not made up its mind about; who knows what goes on behind closed door (besides money changing hands)?
Glacier in north Greenland breaks off huge iceberg
For several years, scientists had been watching a long crack near the tip of the northerly Petermann Glacier. On Monday, NASA satellites showed it had broken completely, freeing an iceberg measuring 46 square miles.
A massive ice sheet covers about four-fifths of Greenland. Petermann Glacier is mostly on land, but a segment sticks out over water like a frozen tongue, and that's where the break occurred.
The same glacier spawned an iceberg twice that size two years ago. Together, the breaks made a large change that's got the attention of researchers.
"It's dramatic. It's disturbing," said University of Delaware professor Andreas Muenchow, who was one of the first researchers to notice the break. "We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before."
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JJS: “And now for a word from our sponsor”?
Petermann glacier in Greenland: Is it serious?
It is important to keep in mind that this is a natural and periodic process that has been going on since long before we were here to snap satellite photos. What is at issue is whether or not the frequency of the events is changing, and why.
In the debate surrounding those questions, there are facts, educated guesses, and worrying trends.
One fact is that the Petermann glacier's margins have now retreated to a point not seen in the last 150 years.
Another is that Greenland has over the last two decades experienced a significantly higher atmospheric warming than the global average.
Yet another is that over that same period, the south of Greenland has seen "mass loss" -- both the kind of calving seen at Petermann and simple melting of surface ice -- increasing year on year.
And levels of Arctic sea ice cover -- which can literally shore up some of Greenland's ice sheet -- are on track to be among the lowest ever recorded.
But from there, it becomes educated guesses.
Estimates of the speed of mass loss, for example, have gone back and forth among groups of scientists (and the 2011 edition of the revered Times Atlas got it wrong altogether).
To read more
JJS: One thing for certain: climate is changing, thanks to our species. But what’s unknown is, will the minuses outweigh the plusses? Of course, we would not even have to find out the answer first hand if we had environmental justice, if we agreed that nobody has anything like a right to pollute others for profit. However, our right to a healthy Earth is but one half of our Earth rights; we’re also entitled to a share of Earth, of a parcel to call home and to a share of the value of all the land and natural resources in our region. Put those two rights together, put them on the law books, and make sure they get enforced, and then all the “green” news will be good.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .
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