Research Shows ‘Linking Climate Policy to Social and Economic Justice Makes It More Popular’


Research Shows ‘Linking Climate Policy to Social and Economic Justice Makes It More Popular’

“The public wants a Green New Deal. The public wants green stimulus. The public wants to address inequality.”

Amid persistent calls for a green and just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against systemic racism and injustice, researchers on Friday detailed recent studies showing “policy packages that address the climate crisis alongside income inequality, racial injustice, and the economic crisis are more popular among voters.”

Earth’s carbon dioxide levels hit record high, despite coronavirus-related emissions drop


Source: Washington Post: Earth’s carbon dioxide levels hit record high, despite coronavirus-related emissions drop

There probably is more carbon dioxide in the air now than at anytime in 3 million years

The coronavirus pandemic’s economic downturn may have set off a sudden plunge in global greenhouse gas emissions, but another crucial metric for determining the severity of global warming — the amount of greenhouse gases actually in the air — just hit a record high.

According to readings from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the amount of CO2 in the air in May 2020 hit an average of slightly greater than 417 parts per million (ppm). This is the highest monthly average value ever recorded, and is up from 414.7 ppm in May of last year.

Seed Activism

Source: Keeping Seeds In Our Hands: The Rise of Seed Activism (The Journal of Peasant Studies)

Every seed makes a political statement.

— Moudgil (2017)

Semantic innovations like seed commons, peasant seeds and seed sovereignty are a powerful expression of what may be termed as seed activism. In this opening paper of the JPS Special Forum on Seed Activism, we explore the surge of mobilizations the world over in response to processes of seed enclosures and loss of agrobiodiversity. A historical overview of the evolution of seed activism over the past three decades traces a paradigm shift from farmers’ rights to seed sovereignty. Some of the main threats to peasant seed systems – from seed and intellectual property laws to biopiracy, corporate concentration and new genome editing technologies – are analyzed along with strategies by peasants and other activists to counter these developments.

Search “Seed Activism” on Google

Guerrilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to cultivate, such as abandoned sites, areas that are not being cared for, or private property. (source)



Traffic Is Way Down Because Of Lockdown, But Air Pollution? Not So Much


“In some cities, the amount of one pollutant, ozone, has barely decreased compared with levels over the past five years, despite traffic reductions of more than 40%. Ground-level ozone, or smog, occurs when the chemicals emitted by cars, trucks, factories and other sources react with sunlight and heat.”

Tropospheric Ozone Pollution


Health Effects of Tropospheric Ozone Pollution

“NPR analyzed more than half a million air pollution measurements reported to the EPA from more than 900 air monitoring sites around the country. We compared the median ozone levels detected this spring with levels found during the comparable period over the past five years.”

“Our analysis revealed that, in the vast majority of places, ozone pollution decreased by 15% or less, a clear indication that improving air quality will take much more than cleaning up tailpipes of passenger cars.”

“In cities such as Los Angeles, stubbornly poor air quality during the coronavirus lockdown underscored how vast fleets of trucks are a dominant source of pollution. In industrial cities like Houston, refineries and petrochemical plants spew considerable air pollution. And in Pittsburgh and across a swath of the eastern U.S., much of the air pollution still comes from burning coal.”


Pandemic Drones & Other “Remote” Uses of Drones for Environmental Data Collection

Talk about social distancing: drones are a means of remote sensing – in essence, gathering information (visible energy, non-visible energy, temperature, sound, computer vision and facial and body recognition, and so on) remotely, without being in contact with the object. Technological distancing.

Some of this is very advanced – but much of it can be done with a drone and camera purchased in a store or online.

Source: HIT Consultants: ‘Pandemic Drone’ Could Detect Virus Symptoms Like COVID-19 in Crowds

The ‘pandemic drone’ will be equipped with a sensor and computer vision system that can monitor temperature, heart and respiratory rates, as well to detect:

  • people sneezing and coughing in crowds
  • offices
  • airports
  • cruise ships
  • aged care homes
  • other places where large groups congregate

Professor Chahl and his research team achieved global recognition in 2017 when they demonstrated image-processing algorithms that could extract a human’s heart rate from drone video. Since then they have demonstrated that heart rate and breathing rate can be measured with high accuracy within 5-10 meters of people, using drones and at distances of up to 50 meters with fixed cameras. They have also developed algorithms that can interpret human actions such as sneezing and coughing.

The research has previously looked at using drones to monitor and react to elderly falls, look for signs of life in war zones or following a natural disaster and monitoring the heart rate of babies in neonatal incubators.

(source of above graphic here)

Drones are among a range of devices for collecting environmental data: including handheld devices to airplanes and satellites.

More applications of drone remote sensing are summarized in this graphic, from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for Remote Sensing Applications — A Review (Huang Yao, Rongjun Qin, and Xiaoyu Chen, Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1443)


One Way to Potentially Track Covid-19? Sewage Surveillance

As part of a strategy of testing for Covid-19…

…passive forms of disease surveillance, like monitoring our sewers, could get us that information sooner.

The approach holds promise because a number of studies have shown high levels of viral shedding in fecal samples from Covid-19 patients. Since that shedding happens early in the disease’s progression, well before patients show any symptoms, there’s reason to suspect evidence of the virus might show up in a city’s wastewater, even before the residents of that city have been tested.

Last week, researchers at the KWR Water Research Institute in the Netherlands were the first to publicly report they had detected SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples. The group started testing in early February in cities across the country, before the Netherlands had identified any Covid-19 cases. As the first cases emerged and then spread in early March, the researchers found the viral concentration in sewer water went up in tandem.

Source: Wired: One Way to Potentially Track Covid-19? Sewage Surveillance

Google Sewage Surveillance

U.S. Cities Disregarding Flood Rules: The Cost: $1 Billion

Source: New York Times: Cities are Flouting Flood Rules. The Cot: $1 Billion

Tax-subsidized insurance is paying for buildings built illegally in flood zones.

It’s a simple rule, designed to protect both homeowners and taxpayers: If you want publicly subsidized flood insurance, you can’t build a home that’s likely to flood.

But local governments around the country, which are responsible for enforcing the rule, have flouted the requirements, accounting for as many as a quarter-million insurance policies in violation, according to data provided to The New York Times by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the flood insurance program. Those structures accounted for more than $1 billion in flood claims during the past decade, the data show.

That toll is likely to increase as climate change makes flooding more frequent and intense.

Local governments are responsible for enforcing the requirements, but almost none have been penalized for failing to do so. “There’s no negative consequences for violating the rules,” said Rob Moore, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Cats as Coronavirus Fomites. Fomites?

CNN via  Boing Boing: Limit the spread of coronavirus by keeping your cat indoors

From CNN:

Cat owners who are self-isolating or have Covid-19 symptoms should consider keeping their pets indoors to stop them carrying the virus on their fur, a veterinary body has advised.

The British Veterinary Association said animals “can act as fomites” (objects that can become contaminated with infectious organisms) and could hold the virus on their fur if they are petted by someone who has contracted it.
“For pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating we are recommending that you keep your cat indoors if possible, during that time,” the BVA said in a statement. “The virus could be on their fur in the same way it is on other surfaces, such as tables and doorknobs.”
The body said, however, that its main advice to pet owners was to practice good hand hygiene.

A Fashionable Call for Sustainability

Source: The Business of Fashion: In Crisis, Don’t Ditch Sustainability

Under severe economic pressure, it’s tempting to see social responsibility as dispensable, but it’s as essential as ever to long-term strategy.

In tough times, sustainability can easily be sidelined. After all, it’s a luxury, right? A nice-to-have when you aren’t busy navigating shuttered stores, a crash in consumer demand and supply chain disruption? Wrong. Something I keep hearing: sustainable businesses that uphold their responsibilities to employees, suppliers, society and the planet will not only survive this but be better positioned to win when the coronavirus crisis eventually ends.

From environmental pollution to the exploitation of factory workers, fashion is one of the most destructive industries in the world and tolerance for these failures is wearing thin. Last month, a mountain of textile waste turned up on the cover of National Geographic. Governments are increasingly turning their attention to the topic, even if legislation has been slow coming. And on the flip side, a new generation of consumers is increasingly attracted to brands with firm values and a clear social mission. Same with employees. These are long-term trends that will endure coronavirus and its economic impact. And companies which keep them in focus will emerge from this crisis in a far stronger position.