A billboard outside an Exxon Mobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the company’s appeal in a climate change lawsuit from the state of Massachusetts. Julie Dermansky/Corbis/Getty Images
The Supreme Court on Monday issued a significant ruling for ongoing legal battles around climate change by declining to hear oil giant Exxon Mobil’s appeal in its suit with the state of Massachusetts. In the appeal, the company was attempting to block the release of records of its knowledge of how burning fossil fuels changes the climate.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed suit against the company in 2016 alleging that Exxon, the world’s largest investor-owned oil company, violated state consumer protection rules and misled investors about the impacts of fossil fuels on climate change as well as risks of climate change to its business.
A local environmentalist is criticizing Harvard University following a report that the college’s endowment fund is banking on water rights in California’s parched central coast.
The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that Harvard’s endowment fund secretly bought thousands of acres of farmland, focusing on parcels with healthy groundwater deposits. The idea is that in drought-stricken California, the value of that water will only increase.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben, a Harvard graduate, said that strategy looks particularly bad given Harvard’s refusal to divest from fossil fuel companies.
“Refusing to divest from fossil fuel and trying to profit from climate change strikes me as pretty darn cynical,” McKibben said. “Their willingness to stand with the fossil fuel giants exacerbates global warming and the thesis of this investment seems to be that as the planet warms these investments will appreciate in value.”
In March, Kat Taylor, a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, demanded the university get rid of its investments in fossil fuels. Taylor, a cofounder of a community development bank in Oakland and the wife of philanthropist Tom Steyer, was the first member of that board to openly embrace divestment.
At the time, she cited Harvard’s “dismal” financial returns as one reason to divest from fossil fuels.
“But the real reason to do it is a moral one,” Taylor said. “Harvard has a very high public purpose and it should align all of its activities with that high purpose.”
A spokesman for the Harvard Corporation, which oversees the university’s endowment, said it does not comment on specific investments.
https://democracynow.org – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing criticism from some climate activists for failing to back a Green New Deal. Last week Pelosi announced the formation of a new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, headed by long-standing Florida Congressmember Kathy Castor. But the committee is far weaker than what backers of a Green New Deal had envisioned. The committee will not have subpoena power or the power to draft legislation. We speak with Varshini Prakash, founder of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate group that has occupied and lobbied at congressional offices, risking arrest to demand adoption of the Green New Deal and bold climate leadership.
In his acclaimed book Winners Take All, Anand Giridharadas offers a trenchant analysis of a global elite who claim to be in the business of ‘changing the world’ while all the while preserving a status quo that favours their interests and obscures their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. Taking us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, Giridharadas shows how the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can – except ways that threaten the social order and their position at the top. We see how they rebrand themselves as saviours of the poor; how they reward ‘thought leaders’ who redefine ‘change’ in winner-friendly ways; and how they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm.
The Boston Society of Architects/AIA and the BSA Foundation consider the shifting landscape of public remembrance, specifically as Boston considers a new memorial on the Boston Common to commemorate Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King. What role do memorials play in contemporary society? How do we decide what to commemorate? What are the design considerations for this work of public art and how it relates to its site and to the history of race in Boston?
In this companion video to the Independent Lens documentary, Left by the Ship, Robert, a Filipino Amerasian blogger meets with other Amerasians living in Olongapo City, whose fathers were U.S. servicemen once stationed here. Their stories are sadly consistent, telling of rejection and discrimination, along with a hope that they will be reunited with their fathers.
JR, Charlene, Margarita, and Robert are half American; they are among the many children born to U.S. servicemen who were stationed in military bases in the Philippines until 1992. Like most Filipino Amerasians, they were left behind by their biological fathers and largely forgotten. Over the course of two years, they delve into the psychological and social consequences of the U.S. military presence and its legacy.
Premiering Monday, January 7, 2019. Check local listings: http://to.pbs.org/2xYrBIG Between 2011 and 2016, oil drilling in rural North Dakota reached its peak, setting off a modern-day gold rush in the quiet, tight-knit farm town of Trenton, North Dakota, population less than 1000. With billions of dollars to be gained in an industry-friendly state with a “reasonable regulation” climate, small towns like Trenton became overwhelmed by an influx of workers, and countless acres of farmland were repurposed for industrial development. Through the voices of Trenton’s residents, My Country No More challenges the notion of “progress” and questions the long-term human consequences of short-term approaches to land use, decisions that ultimately affect all Americans, rural and urban alike. Learn more about “Independent Lens”: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens
SUGAR AND THE VISUAL IMAGINATION IN THE aTLANTIC WORLD, Circa 1600-1860
This exhibition focuses on the visual imagery of sugar in the Americas, examining how this sweet, powerful, and often destructive commodity was depicted in books, single sheet prints, and maps that are in the collection of the John Carter Brown Library.
Sugarcane seems to have originated in New Guinea and, between the fourth and eighth centuries, was grown in India and the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The peoples of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean introduced sugar to Europeans before the latter began cultivating the plant. In the fourteenth century the Spanish and Portuguese began production of sugar in earnest in the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands. Columbus brought sugarcane from the Cape Verde Islands to the Americas on his second voyage in 1493; it was first grown in Santo Domingo, and the first American exports of sugar to Europe began around 1516.
Sugar is a shape shifter: it can be visualized as a plant, a white crystalline powder, and a liquid; mixed with other materials, it can take fantastic ornamental shapes. In the early modern period, as now, sugar was commonly an unseen presence, lending its invisible sweetening power to tea, coffee, candy, and other confections. But sugar was more than a sweetener: it was the engine driving a large part of the slave trade and colonial commerce of the Americas, especially in the Caribbean and South America. It has profoundly changed human bodies, societies, and eco-systems.
In order to represent this commodity, artists and printmakers reworked genres and conventions established for other commodities and processes with results that suggest the vexed circumstances of sugar production arising from slave labor. Some of the most striking and elaborate representations of sugar appear in rather unexpected places, such as graphic satires and children’s books. In this exhibition, visitors are invited not simply to look “through” the images on display to apprehend their subject matter, but rather to examine the images as representations, which depend upon conventions and genres specific to the realm of visual culture and to the historical moment in which they were produced.
Exhibition may be seen in Reading Room from SEPTEMBER 2013 through
K. Dian Kriz (Professor Emerita of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University), guest curator, with assistance from Susan Danforth (Curator of Maps and Prints); Elena Daniele (JCB Stuart Fellow 2012-13), curatorial assistant.
Devra Davis presents a range of recent and long-suppressed research in this timely bombshell. Cell phone radiation, wifi, and EMFs are a national emergency. Stunningly, the most popular gadget of our age has now been shown to damage DNA, and break down the brain’s defenses while increasing memory loss, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. The growing brains of children make them especially vulnerable. And half of the world’s four billion cell phone users are under twenty.
Devra Davis founded non-profit Environmental Health Trust in 2007 in Teton County, Wyoming to provide basic research and education about environmental health hazards and promote constructive policies locally, nationally and internationally. Currently Visiting Professor of Medicine at The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel, and Ondokuz Mayis University Medical School, Samsun, Turkey, Dr. Davis lectures at University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Harvard, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and major universities in India, Australia, Finland, and elsewhere. She was Founding Director, Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and Professor of Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health (2004-2010). She has also served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the London School of Hygiene (2002-03) and Tropical Medicine, and at the Yeshiva University, New York (1995-96), and as a Visiting Professor at Mt.Sinai School of Medicine (1983-2010), Oberlin College (2000-2001) and Carnegie Mellon University (1999-2004).
An award-winning scientist and writer, Davis’ work has appeared in more than a dozen languages. She was designated a National Book Award Finalist for When Smoke Ran Like Water (2002, Basic Books). Her most recent book, Disconnect, selected by TIME magazine as a top pick in 2010, received the Silver Medal from Nautilus Books for courageous investigation for the paperback edition in 2013, which was identified by Project Censored as “the news that didn’t make the news,” and is the subject of multi-media international policy-making attention–including special editions recently released in India and Australia.
The Secret History of the War on Cancer was a top pick by Newsweek that influenced national cancer policy by the Cancer Association of South Africa and is being used at major schools of public health, including Harvard, Emory, and Tulane University. Her most recent book, Disconnect–the truth about cell phone radiation, forms the foundation for policy changes in Canada, Israel and elsewhere.
Dr. Davis also was the founding director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the U.S. National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences and the only woman to serve as Scholar in Residence, 1983-1993. Among the NAS reports she directed were those advising that tobacco smoke be removed from airplanes and the environments of young children.
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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