The Climate Crisis Will Be Just as Shockingly Abrupt


The coronavirus isn’t a reason to put climate policy on hold. It’s a warning of the calamities ahead.

As governments around the globe debate how to respond both to the coronavirus itself and the economic chaos it has unleashed, a theme that’s come up over and over is how to prioritize what makes it into spending packages. In the United States, right-left fault lines have emerged over the question of bailing out emissions-heavy industries versus a greener stimulus. On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a large-scale rollback of environmental regulations as a response to the pandemic—allowing many emitters to police themselves when it comes to pollution.

While some argue that the oxygen in the climate debate should be taken up by the pandemic instead, the two issues aren’t mutually exclusive, experts say. In a warming climate, more diseases are likely to emerge and spread, making climate change action an important part of addressing future health crises. Moreover, the perception that climate change isn’t as urgent as other crises may rely on misunderstandings about how climate-related changes will happen. The rate isn’t constant: Instead, there’s reason to believe everything from Arctic melt to Amazon deforestation might experience what’s known as “tipping points,” where small changes in nature shift into rapid and irreversible damage.

Source: The New Republic (also PDF)

EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Laws

Source: The Hill: EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak.

The temporary policy, for which the EPA has set no end date, would allow any number of industries to skirt environmental laws, with the agency saying it will not “seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations.”

Cynthia Giles, who headed the EPA’s Office of Enforcement during the Obama administration, called it a moratorium on enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and an abdication of the agency’s duty.

The coronavirus has made many routine activities impossible, or nearly impossible.

Thus it’s understandable that enforcement of environmental laws is difficult if not possible during the crisis.

But is the suspension of EPA enforcement an inevitable outcome of the virus, or an attempt to take advantage of the situation for industry to skirt what are often costly environmental laws? Laws that limit emissions of toxins into air, water and on land, or exposure to toxins by employees or the public, or the destruction of wetlands, waterways and other environmental features?

Part of the goal of the #OWUENVS project is to make sure that, amid the virus crisis (visis?), we don’t open the door to unnecessary environmental destruction.

Our Monoculture Food Supply Is A Potential Coronavirus Calamity

Our Monoculture Food Supply Is A Potential Coronavirus Calamity (The American Conservative)

As I’ve talked to farmers and local food advocates over the years, there’s always been an argument out there that local-food sovereignty and diversity are not just important for our health, for the environment, or for the soil—but that they are also important to national security. Diverse, strong, and local food sources are integral to the support of the communities that live there, in case global (or even national) crises threaten the normal food distribution systems that so many rely on. The thousands of miles that lie between cities and their food supply represent a danger we need to reckon with.


Less Office Paper (due to COVID19) = Less for Recycling into Commercial Toilet Paper

…this is the special TP you find in offices, stores, and on campus. Missing it, now that you are home?

Not all TP created equal, but all is in short supply because of coronavirus (Columbus Dispatch)

With more employees working from home, the supply of scrap office paper could soon dry up. The problem? It’s used to make commercial-grade toilet paper, and less supply means less TP.

With hordes of shoppers snatching up toilet paper at retailers across the country, tissue mills continue to run nonstop to produce more.

One link in that supply chain is Royal Paper Stock, a Columbus company that buys recycled material, such as scrap office paper, in bulk and sells it to tissue mills to make toilet paper and paper towels for commercial users such as hospitals.

This isn’t the quilted, lush paper that people buy for their homes; that is made from tree pulp. The thinner, utilitarian paper that most businesses and government agencies use is made from recycled paper, which Royal Paper provides.

Source: Not all TP created equal, but all is in short supply because of coronavirus (Columbus Dispatch)



Research: Connectedness to Nature: Its Impact on Sustainable Behaviors and Happiness in Children

Previous research on adults suggests, in an isolated manner, the relationship between connectedness to nature, the development of behaviors in favor of the environment, and positive results derived from them, such as happiness and well-being. In the present research, connectedness to nature was considered as a determinant of sustainable behaviors, and happiness was considered as a positive consequence of the latter. This research aimed to demonstrate the relationship between these variables in children. Two hundred and ninety-six children with an average age of 10.42 years old participated in the study, in which they responded to a research instrument that measured connectedness to nature, sustainable behaviors (pro-ecological behavior, frugality, altruism, and equity), and happiness. To analyze the relationships between these variables, a model of structural equations was specified and tested. The results revealed a significant relationship between connectedness to nature and sustainable behaviors, which, in turn, impact happiness. This suggests that children who perceive themselves as more connected to nature tend to perform more sustainable behaviors; also, the more pro-ecological, frugal, altruistic, and equitable the children are, the greater their perceived happiness will be. The implications for studying and promoting sustainable behaviors are discussed within the framework of positive psychology.

Source: Connectedness to Nature: Its Impact on Sustainable Behaviors and Happiness in Children