Let's take a deep breath and look at some positive news

Weekend Reader, Sunday March 25

We often hear from readers about the lack of positive news on our pages. Yup. We cover the environment and climate change, and for the most part, the news isn't good. But exceptions to the rule abound.


Here's a parade of upbeat stories from just the past week.

From Science Magazine: Buried in the 2,000+ page omnibus spending bill passed by Congress are some of the biggest increases in funding for scientific research in the past decade. NOAA, USGS, the National Science Foundation, and DOE's Science Office will all see larger budgets.

Another rider buried in the budget bill would prohibit federal funds from being used to build the border wall through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. (NBC News)

And the immense $1.3 trillion spending bill initially included 80 anti-environment riders. But cuts to EPA's budget and DOE's Renewables Office were removed from the bill. (Inside Climate News)

Big Oil's lead attorney in a climate lawsuit brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland acknowledged in court that human-caused climate change is real. The trial continues. (Associated Press)

And in Oregon, another suit brought on behalf of 21 young people against the U.S. Government for climate inaction has cleared a major hurdle. A federal judge denied a government move to dismiss the suit as too broad.

The New York Times has an optimistic report on China's pollution cleanup efforts

Fortune reports that McDonald's is launching an ambitious plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by one-third.

There's a great story about using predators instead of pesticides to protect crops: Cherry orchards in Michigan use kestrels (a small falcon species) to drive off smaller birds who feed on cherries.

Miami TV meteorologist John Morales wrote an eloquent rant in refusing an invitation to moderate a climate "debate" featuring the Heartland Institute. (AGU)

Factcheck.org dissects a recent op-ed by Rep. Lamar Smith, the climate-denying Chair of the House Science Committee. It isn't pretty. Let's hear it for factcheckers.

Octoparole? The Canadian Press reports on the Vancouver Aquarium's release of a giant Pacific octopus into the wild. The female octopus was showing signs of mating behavior, but had no prospects in the Aquarium's tank. Now, it's cruising the Pacific.

As for more good news, please feel free to send us anything you see. Or, like the kids in Washington DC and elsewhere this weekend, feel free to make your own.

Top Weekend News

The New York Times reports on near-record low Arctic ice cover this winter.

Drought and rising temperatures could drastically increase wildfires in the western U.S. (Outside Online)

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher. It's worth six minutes to watch.

From CleanTechnica: New research finds that extreme temperature fluctuations can be linked to a higher rate of heart attacks.

While we were focused on guns, Canada focused on pipelines: Over 100 arrests, including two members of Parliament, took place at a protest of the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Opinions and Editorials

The Jacksonville, FL Times-Union editorializes on the U.S. military's preparedness for climate impacts.

The Montana Standard spanks its home-state cabinet member, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

On PRI's Living On Earth, Peter Dykstra and Steve Curwood talk about an oil company scrubbing the word "oil" from its name; using animals to take the place of farm chemicals; and a crucial court case about DDT.

This Week in Trump's Science/Environment Purge

House Oversight Chair Trey Gowdy, best known for his pursuit of Benghazi, is now seeking answers on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's $139,000 expenditure on new office doors. Dare I say "Door-Gate?"

As the Senate debated the massive $1.3 trillion spending bill, Idaho Senator Jim Risch briefly stalled the proceedings. A rider to the bill called for re-naming an Idaho Wilderness Preserve after the late Cecil Andrus, former Idaho Governor and Risch's political archrival.

EPA may be preparing to side with automakers in lowering fuel efficiency standards. (Auto News)

At Vox, David Roberts warns of another attempt to bail out dirty power plants.

grist.org

Hurricanes disproportionately harm communities of color. TV news ignores that fact.

Zero out of 669 news segments on major networks reported on the disproportionate impact of hurricanes on poor communities and communities of color.

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www.newyorker.com

Bill McKibben: Racism, police violence, and the climate are not separate issues

Having a racist and violent police force in your neighborhood is a lot like having a pollution-emitting factory in your neighborhood.

Air pollution from fracking killed an estimated 20 people in Pennsylvania from 2010-2017: Study

Particulate matter pollution emitted by Pennsylvania's fracking wells killed about 20 people between 2010 and 2017, according to a soon-to-be-published study.

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thenarwhal.ca

‘This is about vulnerability’: Ingrid Waldron on the links between environmental racism and police brutality

Environmental racism and the vulnerabilities that link minority communities through the impacts of climate change, COVID-19 and state violence.

thenarwhal.ca

B.C. finally has rules to enforce clean up of oil and gas wells. But will they be enough to protect taxpayers?

Critics say taxpayers are still not protected as the province readies for a fracking boom to supply the LNG Canada project.

From our Newsroom

Plastic pollution, explained

How plastics damage our lives and the environment—and why recycling is not the answer.

Editorial: Bicycling is having a moment—let’s use it to make riding more safe and inclusive

As we celebrate a World Bicycle Day like no other—let's keep the momentum and attention the coronavirus pandemic has brought to bicycling.

They blinded us with SCIENCE!

From climate change to COVID-19, even the clearest warnings from scientists can misfire with millions of Americans. Pop culture may be a big reason why.

Fracking linked to rare birth defect in horses: Study

The implications for human health are "worrisome," say researchers.

Of water and fever

While we're rightly distracted by fighting a virus, are we ignoring other "just" wars over water?

How an enduring environmental symbol could become COVID-19 buzzkill

The Clearwater has sailed the Hudson River for five decades—teaching children and cleaning up the contaminated river. Much more work remains and the Clearwater is out of action due to COVID-19.

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