For years, Americans have heard warnings and and expressed worries about what’s in their food, from artificial ingredients to antibiotics. Increasingly, the food industry is taking notice and making changes. What do consumers need to keep in mind about a flurry of recent announcements? Gwen Ifill talks to Michael Moss, author of “Sugar, Salt, Fat,” and Allison Aubrey of NPR.
Probably the last thing you’d expect to find when browsing the website of Boston University’s Trustees is a comment section where top university scientists debate right-wing policy advocates about the reality of human-caused climate change.
But if you look hard enough, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
At a bottom of a recently-released document discussing fossil fuel divestment at BU, at least four men affiliated with the conservative Heartland Institute are arguing about climate change with three professors — evolutionary ecologist Les Kaufman, molecular biologist Edward Loechler, and Department of Earth & Environment associate professor Ian Sue Wing.
On April 1, California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a field in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, beige grass stretching out across an area that should have been covered with five feet of snow. The Sierra’s snowpack — the frozen well that feeds California’s reservoirs and supplies a third of its water — was just eight percent of its yearly average. That’s a historic low for a state that has become accustomed to breaking drought records.
In the middle of the snowless field, Brown took an unprecedented step, mandating that urban agencies curtail their water use by 25 percent, a move that would save some 500 billion gallons of water by February of 2016 — a seemingly huge amount, until you consider that California’s almond industry, for example, uses more than twice that much water annually. Yet Brown’s mandatory cuts did not touch the state’s agriculture industry.
Agriculture requires water, and large-scale agriculture, like that in California, requires large amounts of water. So when Governor Brown came under fire for exempting farmers from the mandatory cuts — farmers use 80 percent of the state’s available water — he was unmoved.
“They’re not watering their lawn or taking long showers,” he told ABC’s “The Week” the Sunday after he announced the restrictions. “They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America to a significant part of the world
BOSTON — Officials at Boston Logan International Airport have announced a broad multimillion-dollar plan to make the airport, which is almost surrounded by water, more environmentally sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change.
The plan calls for investment in measures like flood doors and the relocation of generators to higher floors to make the facility better able to withstand higher sea levels and increased storm surges. It was released last month by the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport.
“Over time, there’s reason to believe that we would experience some kind of a storm system that would create that kind of flooding,” said Thomas P. Glynn, the chief executive of Massport, who said $9 million had been budgeted to make a quarter of the airport’s “critical assets” more resilient in the next five years. The report says the rest of those assets should be made more resilient over the next 10 years.
The plan also sets efficiency targets for Massport’s operations at the airport, like cutting energy consumption by a quarter by 2020, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the same year. The plan curbs water usage, increases composting and seeks to reduce waste generated per passenger by 2 percent a year through 2030.
Logan is one of 44 airports that have received grants from the Federal Aviation Administration to create these plans to manage sustainability. Airport officials here and other experts say the Boston plan is among the first to incorporate resiliency planning, although the F.A.A. was unable to immediately confirm whether this was the case.
Inside a new art installation called “Solarium,” visitors immerse themselves in the amazing sights and sounds of the sun. Using data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, data visualization experts and highly skilled video editors and graphic artists have created a large-scale video that gives a whole new look at the life-giving star we call the sun. “Solarium” is currently installed throughout the United States, but this unique visual experience is on permanent exhibition at the visitor’s center at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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