Mother of injured Capitol officer has a message for Trump: ‘Where is your courage?’

Mother of injured Capitol officer has a message for Trump: ‘Where is your courage?’


The mother of a Capitol police officer who was badly injured during the attack on the Capitol on January 6 appeared on CNN Tonight With Don Lemon Monday where she responded to former President Donald Trump and his congressional allies spreading misinformation about the events of that day. Terry Fanone’s son, Michael, was pulled into the crowd by the violent mob where he was tased multiple times and beaten, suffering a heart attack and a concussion. Officer Fanone is still dealing with a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. But in an interview with Fox News last week, Trump claimed that the rioters posed “zero threat,” and that they were “hugging and kissing the police.”

Asked if there was anything she’d like to say to Trump or others who continue to push misinformation about the day her son could have lost his life, Fanone simply answered, “Where’s your courage?”

But Fanone’s biggest problem isn’t with Trump, it’s with the members of Congress who were there that day, yet still try to pretend it was something different than what it was.

“For me to say anything to Trump would be—it wouldn’t matter because he just can’t hear. It’s all the other people that are so complicit in this. That’s who I would speak to,” Fanone said. “How dare you? How dare you? How dare you take advantage of these people who were defending and fighting for their lives that day, to save these people, preserve democracy, civility, to restore the Capitol to what it’s supposed to be? Where are you? With all of these officers stood with you, why don’t you stand with them?”

Electric Cars Powered by Tidal Energy Are Driving Scotland Toward Net Zero Emissions

EcoWatch – Electric Vehicles


Tiffany Duong                      March 25, 2021


Electric Cars Powered by Tidal Energy Are Driving Scotland Toward Net Zero Emissions
A new EV charging point in Scotland’s Shetland Islands runs on tidal energy. Nova Innovation.


The future of electric vehicle charging is already in Scotland, and it’s helping push the country toward net-zero carbon emissions.

Cars on the island of Yell, located in the Shetland Islands in Scotland’s northernmost region, can now be fueled entirely by tidal energy from Nova Innovation‘s tidal turbines. Tidal turbines are large, revolving machines anchored to the seafloor. Besides fueling electric vehicles, the company explained that Nova Innovation‘s tidal turbines don’t visually impact the landscape or pose a navigation hazard. They also offer long-term and accurate predictability when it comes to powering Shetland’s grid.

The company tidal array has been powering local homes and businesses on Yell for more than five years, a company spokesperson told EcoWatch. Now, that same technology feeds into an electric vehicle charge point on the island fueled entirely by the sea.

Nova Innovation’s CEO Simon Forrest said, “We now have the reality of tidal powered cars, which demonstrates the huge steps forward we are making in tackling the climate emergency and achieving net-zero by working in harmony with our natural environment.”

The new technology is a first for the UK, and can be deployed around the world, Forrest said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch. Several different tidal energy technologies in Scotland work to capitalize on the country’s many islands and tidal currents. The goal is to reduce reliance on traditional combustion engine vehicles, which are responsible for around one-fifth of all carbon emissions in the UK, Maritime Journal reported.

Fiona Nicholson, a local electric car driver and fan of Nova Innovation’s technology, said, “[I]t is exciting to have this on my doorstep… Most people in Shetland live close to the sea — to be able to harness the power of the tide in this way is a great way to use this resource.”

Nicholson has been following Nova Innovation since it built its test model, and believes there will be continued interest in the technology and how different businesses could potentially use it, the company statement said.

Scotland has been a global leader in renewable energy sourcing for years, particularly tidal energy innovations. In 2013, the country set a goal of being 100 percent renewable by 2020. In 2018, the country’s record-breaking wind power output was enough to power five million homes; by 2019, wind power produced enough to power two Scotlands. In 2016, the world’s largest tidal energy farm launched in Scotland, and in 2020, the country boasted the world’s largest tidal array of underwater turbines.

By the start of 2020, the country was on track to meet its ambitious goal. As of November, Scotland had surpassed 90 percent renewables, BBC reported. More recent calculations could show that Scotland has met its target.

In its push toward net-zero, the Scottish government also banned selling new cars powered solely by gas or diesel by 2032, spurring the domestic need to develop new sources of clean energy to power vehicles, Maritime Journal reported. The government backed many of these innovations, including Nova’s project, as part of its clean energy transition and fight against the climate crisis.

Scotland will also host the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 this November in Glasgow.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said, “It’s fantastic to see that Nova Innovation is demonstrating yet again that Scotland remains at the forefront of developments in zero-emission transport solutions… This type of innovation is key in responding to the global climate emergency and highlights the opportunities that can be realized here in Scotland as we transition to a net-zero economy.”

Later stage cancer cases indicate skipped screenings, missed diagnoses

Tribune Publishing

Kaitlin Schroeder, Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio     March 25, 2021


Mar. 25—Local physicians said they are seeing patients being diagnosed with cancer at later stages in a sign that some cases were missed in a disrupted pandemic year.

Elective procedures, including preventative screenings for common cancers like breast, colon and lung cancers, were suspended in Ohio early in the pandemic in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment.

“We actually closed down our breast centers for about six weeks for for screening exams, based on the mandate from the governor,” said Dr. Meghan Musser with the Kettering Breast Evaluation Center. “So that put off thousands of mammograms for women that we attempted to reschedule throughout the rest of 2020.”

But coupled with fear from patients about potential exposure to COVID, Musser said that led to an additional level of delay for patients to come in.

“There’s a segment of the population that is really just still trying to stay away from us,” said Dr. James Ouellette, surgical oncologist with Premier Surgical Oncology and physician lead for the oncology service line for Premier Health.

As vaccination distribution spreads, Ouellette said that will help things continue to improve.

One national analysis published in July 2020 indicated preventative screenings had plummeted.

Epic Health Research Network found 285,000 breast cancer screenings, 95,000 colon cancer screenings and 40,000 cervical screenings were missed between March 15 and June 16, which represent deficits of 63%, 64%, and 67% relative to screenings expected based on the historical average.

Data for the study was pooled from 60 organizations and 9.8 million patients.

“Even in the summer and fall, I felt like we were seeing more advanced cancers show up,” Ouellette said.

He said some of the problem was also fear leading people with cancer delaying hospitalization until there was no other option.

Some people associate elective procedures with things like cosmetic surgeries, Ouellette said, but that term also includes cancer screenings, which are still important for a person’s health.

“Public understanding and the health care understanding of words like elective didn’t match. I think it took us a little bit of time to to really realize that, and I don’t know if we’ve corrected all that communication,” he said.

Generally breast cancer screenings are recommended for women ages 40 and older, though some women may qualify for earlier screenings.

Musser said that the hospital’s centers have taken many steps to keep centers as safe as possible during the pandemic and people are welcome to call with questions if they aren’t sure about coming in.

“The appointments are only 15 minutes, we get you in and out of our breast center as quickly as possible,” Musser said.

Organic farming must grow to reach green goals, EU says

Organic farming must grow to reach green goals, EU says

Kate Abnett                             March 25, 2021


European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday said it would expand financial and policy support to help achieve a goal for a quarter of Europe’s farmland to be organic by 2030.

Agriculture produces roughly 10% of EU greenhouse gas emissions and is on the front line of climate change impacts, with record heat-waves and prolonged droughts reducing some European crop yields.

Organic farmland, which restricts chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified organisms, has expanded by more than 60% over the last decade in the European Union, to nearly 9% of the bloc’s agricultural area.

The Commission on Thursday outlined plans to speed up this expansion and stir demand for organic products, which it said would help the EU reach its goal to eliminate net emissions by 2050. Reaching a 25% organic share of farmland this decade would also protect bees and biodiversity, the Commission said.

Agriculture emits nitrous oxide from the use of artificial fertilizers, while livestock produces potent planet-warming methane.

By curbing fertilizers, organic farming can cut emissions, although it does not necessarily tackle emissions from livestock, and lower crop yields associated with organic farming can mean more land is required, denting potential emissions savings.

The EU will spend 49 million euros ($57.94 million) on promoting organic products this year, 27% of its total budget for promoting EU agricultural products at home and abroad.

The Commission said the EU’s farming subsidy program, which is being reformed, will offer farmers 38-58 billion euros over 2023-2027 for eco-schemes, including organic production.

Organic food and farming organization IFOAM welcomed the EU plan as “a new era for the transformation of our food systems”.

Farmers’ association Copa-Cogeca said in a statement further policies and product innovation would be needed to ensure organic farmers can fend off weeds and pests.

The EU is developing mandatory sustainability requirements for the public procurement of food, which could integrate organic products into school meals or public canteens.

Brussels said national measures, such as removing reduced tax rates on pesticides, could also make organic food less expensive relative to non-organic food.

($1 = 0.8457 euros)

(Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by Barbara Lewis)

Do Your Vaccine Side Effects Predict How You’d React To COVID-19?

Do Your Vaccine Side Effects Predict How You’d React To COVID-19?

Seraphina Seow, On Assignment For HuffPost             
People have had varying reactions to the COVID-19 shot, which experts say is normal. (Photo: aquaArts studio via Getty Images)
People have had varying reactions to the COVID-19 shot, which experts say is normal. (Photo: aquaArts studio via Getty Images)


We’re more familiar now with the possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine interacting with our immune system. Experts stress post-shot issues like fatigue and fever mean the vaccine is working (as long as they aren’t indicative of an allergic reaction).

So, what does this mean for those of us who have no side effects?

We asked vaccine experts to give us the rundown on what side effects mean and whether their severity predicts how effective your immune response will be to the COVID-19 virus.

First, a recap on what causes COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

COVID-19 vaccine side effects are either a physical manifestation of your body’s immune response ― which is the case for most people ― or an allergic reaction, said Jesse Erasmus, acting assistant professor in the department of microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Erasmus said the side effects you have from a shot typically depend on the type of vaccine technology that’s used to create the immunization (for example, messenger RNA, or mRNA, is the type of technology the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots use) and how those components interact with your immune system.

In terms of the coronavirus shots, “all the vaccines that are currently in emergency use authorization have very similar side effect profiles,” said Colleen Kelley, an associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine and principal investigator for Moderna and Novavax Phase 3 vaccine clinical trials at the Ponce de Leon Center clinical research site in Atlanta.

Scroll back up to restore default view.


Kelley thinks the COVID-19 shot side effects mainly stem from the body responding to the spike protein the vaccine introduces to the immune system, which helps it recognize (and then fight off) the spike protein on the coronavirus should it enter the body.

When it comes to allergic reactions to the vaccine, which are rare, a hypothesis for mRNA vaccines is that people may be allergic to a component called polyethylene glycol, a common food additive, Erasmus said.

Why do some people have worse side effects than others?

Based on people’s experiences, it appears that some have worse reactions to the shot than others. But scientifically there aren’t any confirmed reasons for this yet.

“There aren’t really any distinguishing factors that would predispose one individual having more side effects versus the other,” said Richard Dang, a pharmacist and assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of Southern California. “The only thing we’ve seen in the clinical data so far is that younger individuals seem to experience side effects at higher rates than older individuals, and we see that in the real world as well.”

There have been reported cases in which those who previously had the virus endured harsher side effects after they received their vaccines.

“Anecdotally, it does appear that people who may have had COVID-19 before their vaccine do tend to have those longer duration of symptoms,” Kelley added. “But we’re still gathering additional scientific data to really support this.”

Does the severity of side effects have anything to do with how well your body will fight COVID-19 if exposed?

Though it is a valid question, more studies need to be conducted to unpack what the severity of side effects actually mean, said Anna Wald, an infectious diseases physician and researcher in COVID-19 vaccine trials at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

But Erasmus, Kelley and Wald all say the effectiveness of the vaccine is unlikely to be determined by how severe your side effects are.

“Remember that most people have mild or no side effects in the clinical trials [for the mRNA vaccines], and yet the vaccine was still found to have 95% effectiveness at protecting them from illness,” Wald noted.

Make sure to rest and take fever reducers if your COVID-19 vaccine side effects are bothering you. (Photo: Westend61 via Getty Images)
Make sure to rest and take fever reducers if your COVID-19 vaccine side effects are bothering you. (Photo: Westend61 via Getty Images)
Whether you develop mild or severe side effects, it’s important to know what to do.

Bottom line, the benefits of the vaccines outweigh the side effects. Getting the shot means protecting yourself against severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

If you do encounter side effects, there are a few things you can do. At the time of the vaccination, ask the person vaccinating you who best to contact (and how) for follow-up care should you need it, Dang said. You should also wait 15 to 30 minutes at the vaccine site after you receive the shot to make sure you don’t have any severe allergic reactions.

Usually, if you’re experiencing the immune system-related side effects, like fatigue, headache or fever, Kelley said, you can take a pain or fever reducer, such as Tylenol, then take a nap if you’re able. Make sure to stay hydrated and take it easy when you’re feeling off as well.

These issues will likely resolve in one to four days at the most, Kelley said. Anything lasting longer warrants a check-in with your doctor or at the place where you received your vaccine. You should seek emergency care or call 911 if you’re having difficulty breathing or significant swelling.

You can also register and report some of your side effects on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s V-safe program, Dang said. V-safe sends you daily, then weekly, text messages to see how you’re doing and if you’re experiencing any reactions. If you report severe reactions, it flags the CDC to check up on you further.

Remember that side effects are typically a very normal part of getting the COVID-19 vaccine ― and we’ll be in a lot better place on the other side of the shots.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19. The information in this story is what was known or available as of publication, but guidance can change as scientists discover more about the virus. Please check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the most updated recommendations.

Matt Damon: Climate change will most impact ‘the poorest people’

Yahoo – Finance


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday called climate change a “crisis multiplier” that will exacerbate “droughts and flooding” and spur global migration, as the military alliance announced efforts to incorporate climate change mitigation into its mission.

In a new interview, Oscar-winning actor and water equity philanthropist Matt Damon said the link between climate change and water scarcity will deepen over the coming years and predominantly impact the world’s most impoverished communities.

When asked about the connection between climate change and water scarcity, Damon pointed to low-income people in developing countries. Currently, 2.2 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water.

“Those are the people that we’re dealing with, those are the people that we’re trying to reach, and those are the people who are going to feel the effects of [climate change] more than anybody,” says Damon, who co-founded the nonprofit organization in 2009 and WaterEquity in 2017.

“It’s always going to fall to the poorest people on Earth to bear the brunt of these things more than anybody,” he adds. “That’s the connection.”

Climate observers expect water scarcity to worsen significantly over the coming decades. In the early to mid-2010s, 1.9 billion people, or 27% of the global population, lived in areas at risk of a severe water shortage, according to a United Nations report released last year. By 2050, that figure will increase to somewhere between 2.7 billion and 3.2 billion people.

“Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change,” The United Nations says on its website.

‘You’ve got to move to where the water is’

Water scarcity will also exacerbate global food insecurity, which last year worsened severely and caused “unprecedented” migration, the United Nations said in November. That trend will continue in the coming years as drought diminishes arable land and reduces crop yields, according to a report released two years ago by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Influencers with Andy Serwer: Matt Damon & Gary White

On an all new episode of Influencers, Andy Serwer sits down with co-founder and actor Matt Damon as well as co-founder Gary White to discuss World Water Day and the ongoing global water crisis.

“As we look at water stress, as we look at climate change, a lot of those people are going to be driven into poverty because of the tenuous access that they have to water now,” says Gary White, CEO and co-founder of both and WaterEquity.

“If you are not able to get water because of a drought that’s caused by climate change, you’ve got to move,” he adds. “You’ve got to move to where the water is.”

Damon and White spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.

Damon kicked off his water philanthropy with the launch of H2O Africa in 2006, while working on a documentary called “Running the Sahara,” which profiled three men who attempted to traverse the Sahara Desert.

At a Clinton Global Initiative meeting two years later, Damon met White, who nearly two decades earlier had founded WaterPartners International, an organization that sought to alleviate the water crisis in Latin America, Barron’s reported. The two began to discuss the possibility of a partnership and founded a year later.

Actor Matt Damon speaks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on
Actor Matt Damon speaks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer on “Influencers with Andy Serwer.”


Global climate migration is already underway and will increase dramatically over the rest of this century, according to an investigation released last year by The New York Times. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, more than 140 million people will move within their countries’ borders due to climate change by 2050, the World Bank found.

Speaking with Yahoo Finance, White said that water scarcity plays a central role in migration that observers ultimately attribute to climate change.

“Water is the root of so much of what needs to happen for people to maintain their income and their lifestyle and their home,” White says.

“When we talk about climate refugees, we are talking about water refugees, most of the time,” he adds.

Viagra may help men to live longer and reduce their risk of heart disease, study finds

Viagra may help men to live longer and reduce their risk of heart disease, study finds

Kelsie Sandoval                     March 24, 2021

  • Male heart attack survivors who took Viagra had a low risk of having another heart attack.
  • The more frequent the Viagra doses, the more protection it offered against heart issues.
  • Avoid tobacco and get moving every day to prevent erectile dysfunction and heart issues.

Taking Viagra isn’t just good for your sex life – it may be linked to a longer lifespan in men.

A new study found that men who took the little blue pill after a heart attack lived for years after, without suffering further heart complications.

Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) or high blood pressure in the lungs by relaxing muscles and arteries so blood can flow better. For ED, that better blood flow in the penis helps men to have an erection.

In the study, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden sought to study how Viagra affected men with coronary artery disease, and compared the results to men taking another ED pill, alprostadil.

According to the study, published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology, Viagra worked better than alprostadil at extending lifespan and lowering the risk of another heart attack.

It was particularly effective when administered frequently.

The study had some limitations

The researchers gathered data from 16,548 Swedish men who had experienced both ED and a heart condition in the last six months. Of those, under 2,000 received alprostadil and the rest received Viagra.

The study was observational, meaning researchers did not control the experiment but rather gleaned trends from data.

A limitation to the comparison was that the majority of the men studied took Viagra.

If you have erectile dysfunction and coronary heart disease, talk to your doctor

ED, which affects a third of all men, can be an early sign of cardiovascular disease. The risk factors go hand in hand: physical inactivity, obesity, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome.

For both, the Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding tobacco and getting 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Read the original article on Insider

John Oliver Takes on the Plastics Industry

John Oliver Takes on the Plastics Industry

Olivia Rosane                        March 23, 2021


John Oliver Takes on the Plastics Industry
John Oliver attends NRDC’s “Night of Comedy” Benefit on April 30, 2019 in New York City. Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for NRDC.


In his latest deep dive for Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver took on plastic pollution and, specifically, the myth that if we all just recycled enough, the problem would go away.

Instead, Oliver argued, this is a narrative that has been intentionally pushed by the plastics industry for decades. He cited the ionic 1970 Keep America Beautiful ad, which showed a Native American man (really an Italian American actor) crying as a hand tossed litter from a car window. Keep America Beautiful, Oliver pointed out, was partly funded by plastics-industry trade group SPI.

“Which might seem odd until you realize that the underlying message there is, ‘It’s up to you, the consumer, to stop pollution,'” Oliver said. “And that has been a major through line in the recycling movement, a movement often bankrolled by companies that wanted to drill home the message that it is your responsibility to deal with the environmental impact of their products.”

Oliver pointed out several problems with contemporary recycling programs. He cited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) statistic that only 8.7 percent of the plastics produced in the U.S. are actually recycled, and investigated why this is.

For one thing, most municipalities do not actually have the capacity to recycle most of the numbers inside the “chasing arrows” symbols on the back of plastic packaging. Numbers 1 and 2, representing PETE and HDPE, are more commonly recycled, but that leaves numbers 3 through 7, which include things like plastic bags and cups. We have the capacity to recycle less than five percent of these, Oliver said.

“Out of the seven numbers, only two are really much good, and that is a pretty bad ratio for a group of seven,” Oliver said.

In fact, it is cheaper for companies to produce virgin plastics than to recycle existing ones. Despite this, they have lobbied for the “chasing arrows” symbols to appear on their products, as well as for the existence of curbside recycling programs.

If anything needs to change in consumer behavior, it is in our willingness to believe this myth.

“Lies go down easier when you want them to be true,” Oliver said.

He even showed a clip of a recycling plant director who coined a new term for the consumer habit of putting non-recyclable items in the recycling bin: wish-cycling.

“Here’s an umbrella,” Martin Borque, the director, said, lifting the item out of the materials he had to sort. “I wish it was recyclable. It’s not.”

Removing these items causes extra work for recycling plants, and can even end up contaminating plastics that could otherwise be recycled and reused.

Oliver said that consumers shouldn’t stop recycling, though they should be sure to only blue-bin items their local plant can actually process. However, the major change needs to come from industry and policy, he said.

He spoke out in favor of Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, which puts the burden of dealing with waste back on the company that makes it. The U.S. is one of the only wealthy countries without an EPR law on the books, though legislators have been trying to change that with the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act, which was introduced last year and is set to be introduced again in 2021.

“The real behavior change has to come from plastics manufacturers themselves,” Oliver concluded. “Without that, nothing significant is going to happen.”

Oliver’s segment won approval from activists working to pass EPR legislation in the U.S. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group thanked the TV host on Twitter for calling attention to the issue.

“Makers of single-use plastics shouldn’t escape the costs to our planet and public health,” the group wrote.

Experts Urge World Leaders to ‘Put Marine Ecosystems at the Heart of Climate Policy’


Experts Urge World Leaders to ‘Put Marine Ecosystems at the Heart of Climate Policy’


Ocean reef
By Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams 


As global weather experts warned Monday that the world’s oceans are “under threat like never before,” more than 3,000 scientists, politicians, and other public figures had endorsed an open letter urging national governments to “recognize the critical importance of our ocean and blue carbon in the fight against the climate emergency.”

Led by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and backed by 66 partner groups, the letter (pdf) calling on world leaders to “put marine ecosystems at the heart of climate policy” is now open to public signature and will be presented to governments before November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

“Nature-based solutions like restoration and protection of marine habitats will both help us meet global de-carbonization goals and prevent the worst impacts of global heating while also protecting the lives and livelihoods of the three billion people who depend on marine biodiversity around the world,” said Steve Trent, executive director of the London-based EJF. “Our political leaders must recognize the urgency of the climate crisis and take truly bold, transformative action to reach a global zero carbon economy.”

“Our ocean gives us ​every second breath​. It absorbs around a third of the CO2 we pump out, and has taken in over a ​nuclear bomb’s worth​ of heat​ every second for the past 150 years,” the letter says. “It underpins our climate system and keeps our planet habitable: It is the ​blue beating heart of our planet.”

“Yet, when it comes to inclusion in climate policies, marine habitats are often neglected. ​​A healthy ocean, teeming with life, is a vital tool in the bid to tackle global heating: more than half of biological carbon capture​ is stored by marine wildlife,” the groups note, highlighting the power of mangrove forestsseagrass meadows, and the wildlife of the open sea.

“The COP26 climate talks and COP15 biodiversity talks this year will be the most important meetings for generations. They will set us on the road to either a sustainable future for humanity or conflict, suffering, and mass extinctions,” the letter continues, urging world leaders to take three specific actions:

  • Include specific, legally binding targets to protect and restore blue carbon environments in their updated Nationally Determined Contribution implementation plans;
  • Commit to the 30×30 ocean protection plan and designate 30% of the ocean as ecologically representative​ marine protected areas by 2030; and
  • Agree an international moratorium on deep sea mining to protect the deep sea from irreversible, large-scale harm.

The letter comes about a month after a U.N. report warned that Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) pledges—or plans to reduce planet-heating emissions—that parties to the Paris climate agreement have unveiled so far ahead of COP26 are dramatically inadequate on the whole. As Common Dreams reportedU.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called the findings “a red alert for our planet.”

Letter signatory Richard Unsworth, a marine scientist and co-founder of Project Seagrass, said Monday that “there is real hope: protection and restoration of habitats like seagrass meadows can be a key part of the solution in tackling climate change. But the missing piece has been the fundamental long-term support from the government.”

“If we’re going to fight climate change and face up to the associated problems of food security,” he said, “then we need to restore our oceans, and that involves real government support as part of a genuine green deal for the environment.”

Other signatories include including Pavel Kabat, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports lead author and inaugural research director of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO); human rights barrister Baroness Helena Kennedy; University of Exeter marine conservation professor Brendan Godley; wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan; actor Joanna Lumley; and politicians from the United Kingdom, Germany, Indonesia, Taiwan, and beyond.

British Green MP Caroline Lucas emphasized that policies and action reflecting the importance of marine ecosystems “to both people and planet” must be “additional to—and not instead of—decarbonization on land.”

Echoing recent messages from fellow youth climate campaigners across the globe, 13-year-old Finlay Pringle, another signatory, said that “talking and doing nothing is not acceptable anymore. We don’t want more empty promises from our politicians, we need them to face the climate emergency and take action now, rather than continuing to pass the responsibility on to future generations.”

The letter was released as the WMO prepared for World Meteorological Day, which on Tuesday will celebrate “the ocean, our climate, and weather” while raising awareness about scientific findings regarding growing threats, including a landmark IPCC report on the world’s seas and frozen regions.

“Ocean heat is at record levels because of greenhouse gas emissions, and ocean acidification continues unabated. The impact of this will be felt for hundreds of years because the ocean has a long memory,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement Monday. “Ice is melting, with profound repercussions for the rest of the globe, through changing weather patterns and accelerating sea level rise.”

“In 2020, the annual Arctic sea ice minimum was among the lowest on record, exposing Polar communities to abnormal coastal flooding, and stakeholders such as shipping and fisheries, to sea ice hazards,” he added, also noting that “warm ocean temperatures helped fuel a record Atlantic hurricane season, and intense tropical cyclones in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans.”

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. It has been republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

John Oliver Shares Horrific Truths About Recycling Plastics

John Oliver Shares Horrific Truths About Recycling Plastics

M. Arbeiter                          March 22, 2021


John Oliver. Purveyor of laughs, purveyor of doom. By now, you likely know the drill when you tune into Last Week Tonight. You’ll get some pretty horrifying information about a facet of our society you maybe haven’t paid too much attention to. But you’ll also get a few dozen jokes about funny-looking animals! So you take your medicine with a spoonful of sugar. This week’s episode, concerning the recyclability (or lack thereof) of plastics, provides all of the above.

We learn about the deeply convoluted nature of the recycling institution. John touches on how so few plastics are actually recycled. As you’ll learn in the above video, such a small percentage of plastic products are recycle-friendly. And that’s before the concern of recyclable plastics becoming contaminated or just tossed out. And that’s not even factoring how many of those recyclable plastics end up recycling into non-recyclable plastics. I told you it was convoluted!

Another interesting piece of John’s latest lesson involves the marketing of recycling. The video highlights how major corporations have long put the onus on the consumer alone to “save the environment.” Meanwhile, with so many non-recyclable plastics in production, it’s practically out of the everyday person’s hands to manage this issue whatsoever.

A man roots through a landfill.
A man roots through a landfill. HBO


Of course, John closes out the segment with encouragement to keep recycling, albeit more mindfully. Following this, an appropriate castigation of the major corporations producing plastics; they’re the ones that need to change behavior in order to get the planet into better shape.

Some harrowing statistics in this video really drive this point home. Half the plastics ever produced have come into being since 2005; additionally, so much plastic litters the ocean, that by 2050, the mass of plastic should outnumber the mass of fish.

Yeah, harrowing! But John Oliver tosses in a talking blobfish and a demonic goat-man to make it all a bit more palatable.

John Oliver stares at a man wearing a goat head mask.
John Oliver stares at a man wearing a goat head mask.