Environment

5 Ways to Make Grocery Shopping More Zero-Waste

February 14, 2019 by Source

By Mukta Patil / Sierra Club Magazine / Feb 4 2019

Shopping for groceries can be overwhelming. Once you get past the sheer volume of products staring down from the aisles, you’ve got to reckon with their ingredients, prices, and the way the food is packed. For environmentally conscious shoppers, the latter—excessive packaging and the resulting pollution—is especially irksome. Enter the zero-waste grocery store.

These small-but-budding enterprises are increasingly popping up, and they’re promising plastic-free, packaging-free products ranging from grains and produce to detergent and shampoo.

The original zero-waste grocery story was the late in.gredients in Austin, Texas, which unfortunately shut down last April after five years of selling exclusively (un)packaged and locally sourced food.

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A Green New Deal Builds Local Support as the Right Goes Bonkers

February 13, 2019 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / Words & Deeds / February 12, 2019

Socialism, Flintstone cars, and cow farts. Oh. my! *

The introduction of HR 109, Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal supporting the vision of a more just and sustainable path for the country has shifted the conversation about climate change simply by pointing out the need for a comprehensive approach.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria announced introduction of Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR 7) urging Congress to pass a Green New Deal. If passed by the California State Legislature, this will put California officially on the record in support of the recently introduced federal legislation.

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council was first in the nation among its type of local coalitions to pass a resolution supporting a “Green New Deal with strong labor provisions in concert with our environmental and community partners.”

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Labor Council in San Diego On Board With the Green New Deal

February 4, 2019 by Jim Miller

The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Passes Resolution in Support of a Green New Deal

Sometimes the unexpected happens. Last year, during one of her first visits to the Capitol as a newly elected member of the House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines by joining a group of young activists from the Sunrise Movement protesting outside Nancy Pelosi’s office and calling for a Green New Deal. Since that time, Pelosi has formed a committee to address the idea, but, even more importantly, a Green New Deal has emerged as one of the key progressive talking points in the early days of the Democratic presidential race, forcing even some reluctant candidates to at least give it a nod.

Not surprisingly, probable candidate Bernie Sanders is at the front of the line, but he has been joined by Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and even some less likely suspects who despite their “centrism” seemed to feel it necessary to voice qualified if grudging support to some form of a Green New Deal.

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Target to Pay $7.4 Million for Improperly Disposing Hazardous Waste in Calif. Landfills – Again

February 1, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Good ol’ Target. As the giant mega-company was readying the former antique mall for its new Ocean Beach store, over on the environmental side, it was “disposing of batteries, light bulbs, medical waste and other environmentally hazardous materials improperly in landfills across the state” of California.

And it got busted – and now it has agreed to pay a $7.4 million settlement to California. It appears the Minnesota-based company violated a $22.5 million stipulated judgment from 2011 over similar allegations of improper disposal of hazardous retail waste.

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What Happens When the Owner of a Nuclear Plant Goes Bankrupt?

January 31, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News January 2019

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world.

The January 16 San Francisco Chronicle headlined, “PG&E bankruptcy coming this month.” A followup story on January 18 described Pacific Gas & Electric as “the state’s largest investor-owned utility.”

The Jan 16 lead article reported that the company was facing “$30 billion in potential wildfire liability,” had “$4.4 billion market value” as of 1-14, had lost $25 billion since last year’s Camp fire destroyed almost 19,000 structures and took 80-some lives in the Northern California town of Paradise, and had $1.5 billion in cash as of Jan. 11.”

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2018 Was the Hottest Year Ever Recorded for the Planet’s Oceans

January 30, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

Do you remember how hot the ocean got this past August at the beach? During the first week of that month, Scripps Pier recorded 3 days of warm water that set records. On Wednesday, August 1, Scripps Pier recorded the highest ocean surface water temperature in its 102 history of taking measurements.

The water temperature was 78.6 degrees. According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, the “normal” August average water surface temperature at the pier is 68 degrees.

Then, that Friday – and for the second time in the week – the ocean temperature reached an all-time high at Scripps Pier in La Jolla, hitting 78.8 degrees. On Sunday, the sea surface temperature hit 79.4 degrees.

Scientists at Scripps have been taking daily measurements at the pier since 1916.

And now we find out 2018 was the hottest year for the planet’s oceans. It was no surprise to those keeping track of such things. See this report from EcoWatch:

The year 2018 was the hottest year for the planet’s oceans ever since record-keeping began in 1958, according to a worrisome new study from international scientists.

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50 Years after the Santa Barbara Oil Spill

January 24, 2019 by Source

By David Helvarg / San Francisco Chronicle / Jan. 23, 2019

Fifty years after a California oil spill launched the modern environmental movement, we may finally be moving beyond the age of oil, and none too soon.

In October, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, made up of the world’s leading climate scientists, warned global carbon emissions would have to be cut by 45 percent by 2030 if there’s any hope of keeping planetary warming at a dangerous but less than catastrophic level.

Luckily, job-generating renewable energy now has become competitive with or cheaper than most forms of fossil fuel. Progressive democrats are also calling for a Green New Deal that aims to transition the U.S. economy to clean energy, addressing both climate change and inequality.

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‘It’s Time to Call in the Marines’ and the Rest of the U.S. Military to Deal With Natural Disasters

January 3, 2019 by Source

By David Helvarg / San Francisco Chronicle / Jan. 2, 2019

It’s time to call in the Marines, and also the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to respond to the growing number of climate-linked natural disasters.

When it comes to national security, no threat compares to our changing climate and its intensification of hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves and other natural disasters. If the rise of Nazi Germany and the nuclear balance of terror with the Soviet Union were the major strategic threats to overcome in the last century, climate change is the major challenge of this one.

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Nuclear Shutdown News December 2018: 99 Nuke Plants to Go

December 28, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the US nuclear industry and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world.

99 To Go

Two nuclear power plants closed permanently in 2018. Fort Calhoun in Nebraska closed for good in in October, after clanking on for 43 years. And previously, the nation’s oldest nuke plant, New Jersey’s Oyster Creek ceased running after 49 years in September.

US commercial nuclear plants were designed to operate for 40 years. These two nuke plant closures brought the remaining number of the nation’s nuclear plants still (sometimes) running to 99.

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Microplastics Are Everywhere – In Us Too

December 17, 2018 by Source

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko

What do beer, oysters, table salt, air & tap water have in common? They’re all ways humans are ingesting microplastics, tiny bits of plastic waste ubiquitous in oceans, lakes and rivers and even soil and air.

Wildlife as diverse as whales, seabirds, fish and zooplankton are polluted by ingesting plastic debris. It’s naïve to assume that humans, sharing the same global environment and eating at the top of the food chain, are magically spared contamination from plastics.

Though no one has yet measured how much plastic pollution humans actually carry around, there’s plenty of evidence we’re taking the stuff in, by eating, drinking and just breathing.

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The Climate Crisis and the Ocean

December 14, 2018 by Source

By David Helvarg / Blue Frontier Campaign / December 10, 2018

Between the devastation of Mexico Beach, Florida and Paradise California plus the 4th National Climate Assessment Report, the year 2018 may become known as the point of no denial, an acknowledgement of what Governor Jerry Brown calls, “the new abnormal.” At this point climate deniers are being recognized as little more than the willing tools of the fossil fuel industry such as the coal lobbyist now running the EPA.

The best available science reflected in the federal report prepared by 13 government agencies including NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation, suggests the worst possible scenarios if we continue on our present course (which we appear to be with 16 of the 17 hottest years on record occurring since 2001).

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The Highway to Climate Hell vs the Green New Deal

December 7, 2018 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The path away from planetary hell got a little steeper with release of a trio of scientific papers produced by 76 scientists from 57 research institutions in 15 countries associated with the Global Carbon Project on the eve of the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference in Poland.

Emissions are heading in the opposite direction from the deep cuts urgently needed, say scientists, to fight climate change. After a few years of hopeful plateauing, CO2 emissions will rise by 2.7% in 2018.

Earlier this year, a different scientific panel said nations have barely a decade to take “unprecedented” actions and cut their emissions in half by 2030 to prevent the worst consequences of climate change.

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America Is an Oligarchy : Billionaires Are Undermining Our Democracy and Killing the Planet

November 26, 2018 by Jim Miller

We live under oligarchy. Yes, we have elections, but the interests of a tiny opulent minority are far better represented in our government than the concerns of the vast majority of Americans.

That conclusion was the central takeaway of a Benjamin Page and Martin Giles study published a few years ago that grimly observed, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”

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Was The Election Good for the Fish?

November 16, 2018 by Source

By David Helvarg /Blue Frontier Campaign/ Blue Notes

Was this election good for the fish?

Mostly the answer is yes, also for democracy and government checks and balances.

Still, it’s hard to argue that the ocean and climate played a significant role in most campaigns, even if these are issues of survival impacting our food security, jobs, health, where we live and the quality of our lives.

The policy and PAC group Ocean Champions claimed that early results showed 52 of 58 candidates they endorsed had won their House and Senate races,

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Nuclear Shutdown News October 2018: Millstone and Oyster Creek Nukes

November 13, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our October 2018 report.

Twenty Years On

This month marks the 20th year since my book Millstone and Me: Sex, Lies and Radiation first appeared in the 10th month of 1998.

This work was inspired by Dr. Ernest Sternglass, whose groundbreaking early 1980s book Secret Fallout: From Hiroshima to Three Mile Island exposed the dangers of so-called “low level” radiation to human health.

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Was There a Near-Fukushima Event on the Atlantic During Hurricane Florence?

October 10, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News for September 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future. Here is our September 2018 report.

A Near-Fukushima on the Atlantic?

On September 17 the Raleigh News & Observer reported, “Floods limit access to Duke’s Brunswick nuclear plant: crews us partopotties, cots.”

Did the Atlantic coast have a near-Fukushima event when during September Hurricane Florence made landfall?

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UN Climate Report Warns of Grim Consequences, Shrinking Time Frame for Action

October 9, 2018 by Source

Global Warming

By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos

A decade, maybe a little more, is all the time we have left for acting to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial era, U.N. scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced Monday. That’s 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the dawn of the industrial age, global warming has boosted temperatures 1.0-1.2 degrees Celsius.

The good news from the scientists is that the 1.5-degree goal may still be attainable. That’s unlike what most scientists thought when the 2015 Paris climate agreement included 1.5 degrees as an “aspirational” goal.

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The San Francisco Climate Action Summit: Is It ‘Better Late than Never’?

September 19, 2018 by Source

After the Climate Action Summit, Commitments Emerge Amidst Growing Disaster

Corporate execs, career politicians, and environmental activists converged on San Francisco for the Climate Action Summit.

by David Helvarg / The Progressive / September 17, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco September 12 through 14 felt both urgent (as Hurricane Florence began to soak the Carolinas and Typhoon Mangkhut battered the Philippines), and hopeful. More than 500 commitments were made to speed up the transition to carbon neutrality and to remediate the growing impacts of climate change.

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China Doesn’t Want Our Trash Anymore and Now We Have a California Recycling Crisis

September 14, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

It’s a sad fact of our Californian recycling world – China no longer wants our trash.

China used to be California’s — and the world’s — largest overseas market for recyclables, but in January, China began not accepting “contaminated” material it once brought to its shores. For China, now, if the recycled material is one-half of 1% contaminated, it’s too impure for recycling.

An official for Recology, a curbside hauler that does San Francisco Bay Area trash for recycling, stated:

“There’s no market for a lot of stuff in the blue bin. What we can’t recycle we take to a landfill.”

Back in 2017, Recology was getting $100 a ton for newsprint. Now they are averaging about $5 a ton.

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Will the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Meet Its Match? Floating Trash Collector Just Left San Francisco on a Mission

September 11, 2018 by Source

Will the Great Pacific Garbage Patch soon meet its match? We may soon know as a giant, floating trash-collector steamed out of San Francisco on a mission Saturday, September 8, to clean it up.

And some see the effort as a turning point in the campaign to rid the world’s oceans of plastic trash. Amid the accolades for the project – the creation of Boyan Slat, a 24-year-old Dutch college dropout who raised more than $30 million on a five-year quest to build an ocean-cleaning machine – are also some harsh criticisms. In the meantime the floating garbage collector with a nearly a 2,000-foot boom

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Rise for Climate March – San Diego: Sat. Sept. 8

September 6, 2018 by Source

By Jake Johnson / Common Dreams

Change only happens when people rise up to demand it. That is one of the principal

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August Has Been a Cruel Month for San Onofre Nuke Plant

August 28, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg/ Blackrain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and abroad, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world. Here is our August 2018 report.

More Scandals Rock San Onofre

The eighth month of the year saw additional scandals erupt at Southern California’s San Onofre nuclear plant, which has been shut down since 2013.

Another potentially catastrophic accident occurred, a previously unknown whistleblower spoke out,

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‘Brown’s Last Chance’ Could Be Our Last Chance To Avert Climate Change Apocalypse

August 24, 2018 by Source

By Stephanie Corkran / SanDiego350

Brown’s Last Chance is a campaign demanding Governor Jerry Brown halt the development of unsustainable, polluting, fossil fuel infrastructure and begin an immediate phase-out of fossil fuels in California.

If he’s unwilling to do so, a multitude of organizations (environmental, health, justice, community, consumer) are prepared to protest the upcoming Global Climate Action Summit.

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‘We Can’t Talk Ocean Conservation Without Addressing Climate’

August 9, 2018 by Source

The Climate 1970-2100

By David Helvarg / Blue Notes / August 8, 2018

Wildfires are burning across California (and much of the world) this summer amidst record-breaking heat. Meanwhile I took a weekend off to go bodysurfing in Ocean Beach (where I used to live) and the water was surprisingly warm. Now Scripps Institution of Oceanography reports it’s actually the warmest ocean water recorded in 100 years of record keeping.

Given the threats posed by offshore drilling, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, plastic (petrochemical) pollution, rising seas and much more it seems pointless to discuss ocean conservation without addressing climate. The ocean is the driver of climate and weather but is also impacted by human caused climate change

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Should San Diego Ban Styrofoam?

July 27, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

Councilman Chris Ward appeared before the Ocean Beach Town Council last Wednesday night and urged OBceans to support his efforts to ban styrofoam.

He explained his proposal passed the Council’s Rules Committee unanimously on July 11 and is heading to the full Council sometime this fall.

And if San Diego does pass it, the city will become the 4th city in San Diego County to ban food and beverage containers made of styrofoam – also called polystyrene; others include Solana Beach, Encinitas and Imperial Beach.

Our city would become the largest city in California to enact the ban, joining a list of 116 other cities across the state, which include San Jose, San Francisco and Long Beach (while Los Angeles is discussing it).

So, just what is Councilman Ward’s proposal?

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The Taboo on Talking Climate Change

July 18, 2018 by Source

By Sarah “Steve” Mosko / Boogie Green

Man doing headstand on beach with head buried in the sand

How often do we talk about climate change to family, friends or coworkers? Probably next to never if we’re like most people.

Yale’s national polling reveals that the majority of Americans accept that global warming is happening (73 percent) and are worried about it (63 percent). Even more want carbon dioxide, or CO2, regulated as a pollutant (81 percent).

Given these stats and the warning of scientists that the time window to prevent the worst impacts of climate change is closing fast, what keeps us from openly discussing it?

The answer is complex.

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Activists Rally in Mission Trails Park to Oppose SDG&E Gas Pipeline

June 19, 2018 by Source

By Colleen Cochran

This past Father’s Day, many San Diegans celebrated their dads amidst the green, rolling hills of Mission Trails Regional Park. One group, holding colorful signs, gathered for more than celebration; they were there to protect this 7,000-acre wilderness area.

SDG&E and SoCalGas would like to install a new gas pipeline to run approximately 47 miles through San Diego County. These utility companies are considering several potential routes for this pipeline, one of which cuts through the park.

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Cape Cod: Colonial Folly To Nuclear Demise

June 4, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News May 2018

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free future. Here is our May 2018 report.

Cape Cod: Colonial Folly To Nuclear Demise

US history indoctrination begins early in our lives. Before formal education even begins we are taught to look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, an annual celebration that upon sober reflection really celebrates gluttony, greed and genocide.

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Trump Wants to Expand Oil Drilling to 90 Percent of Our Seas. We’re Marching on June 9 to Stop Him.

May 25, 2018 by Source

The March for the Ocean is promoting a rapid transition from drilling and spilling to clean, job-generating renewable energy.

By David Helvarg and Bill McKibben / The Nation

Summer beckons—and with it, the season’s first trip to the beach, which remains the number-one outdoor recreational activity for Americans of all classes and ideologies. It may be one of the last truly nonpartisan activities we do together.

But thousands will come out of the water on June 9 for the first ever March for the Ocean—and that should be nonpartisan too.

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To Save Coral Reefs, Hawaii on Verge of Banning Sunscreen

May 9, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

In order to save the coral reefs and other marine life that surrounds Hawaii, state legislators there just passed a measure banning sunscreen. In particular they want to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate by 2021. The governor has yet to sign the bill, making it law.

Scientists have determined oxybenzone and octinoxate can be toxic to coral – a vital part of the ocean ecosystem. Only with a medical prescription, would people be able to purchase sunscreen with the chemicals. Plus the measure itself doesn’t ban online purchases or does it ban tourists from bringing their own to Hawaii.

But sunscreen makers would be forced to change their formulas or be banned from selling the lotions in Hawaii.

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