The Weekend Reader: Apes, floods and child lead levels

The Weekend Reader: Apes, floods and child lead levels

The news on our environment, health and climate that changed the world for the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 5.


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The week in Trump

Sam Clovis, the non-scientist named to be USDA's top scientist, found himself mired in the middle of the Papadopolous-a-palooza.

He informed President Trump on Wednesday he would no longer seek the post, as the Washington Post reported, "given the controversy surrounding the fact that he was one of the top officials on the Trump campaign who was aware of efforts by foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to broker a relationship between the campaign and Russian officials.

Trump agriculture nominee Sam Clovis confirms he has no hard-science credentials, withdraws over ties to Russia probe (Washington Post)

Donald Trump's unqualified USDA chief scientist withdraws, cites 'political climate' (Salon)

The U.S. Global Change Research Program – sort of a domestic IPCC – released its latest assessment of climate research, and the result was unambiguous: Humans are driving climate change.

The real surprise was how forcefully major media outlets contrasted those findings with Trump and his cabinet's stance on the issue.

Associated Press' Seth Borenstein: "It is the latest example of collisions between Trump's environmental policies and the facts presented by his government's experts."

U.S. scientists contract Trump's climate claims (Associated Press)

Related: Emily Atkin, writing in the New Republic, warns that you cannot end the war on coal without starting a war on public health.

The new coal crisis (New Republic)

The week's top commentary

Five op-eds to keep you engaged:

  1. In Grand Staircase-Escalante, coal and fossils lie side by side. What could be lost as monument opponents push for mining. (Rebecca Worby, High Country News)
  2. What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change? A new study shows that the biological effects of two ecosystem changes can be greater than their individual impacts (John Abraham, The Guardian)
  3. Pruitt is turning his back on transparency at the EPA. The agency should be a fishbowl, not a black box — or it will crumble. (William D. Ruckelshaus, Washington Post)
  4. Reject outrageous fee hike for national parks. There are better ways to fund national parks than an exorbitant fee increase proposed by the Trump administration. (Editorial board of the Seattle Times)
  5. As communities rebuild after disaster, we must keep nature in mind. To minimize future harm, protecting nature and the services it provides should be at the top of our post-disaster to-do list. (Anita van Breda, Ensia)
See all of our curated opinion pieces on EHN.org/opinion.

Top news for Sunday, Nov. 5

Trending on kid's health

Trending news story this week at the journal Environmental Health Perspectives:

What happens next for children with elevated blood lead?

Reporter Charles Schmidt connected with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center pediatrician and medical director Nicholas Newman to chart the future for the half million children identified in the U.S. with elevated blood lead levels.

"When there's a strong family structure to support our efforts, I find the outcomes are better."

Read the full story.

clean energy revolution
Photo by Sungrow EMEA on Unsplash

The clean energy future is arriving faster than you think

The United States is pivoting away from fossil fuels and toward wind, solar and other renewable energy, even in areas dominated by the oil and gas industries.
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Democrats’ climate law set off a wave of energy projects in GOP districts. A backlash followed
Photo by Raze Solar on Unsplash

Democrats’ climate law set off a wave of energy projects in GOP districts. A backlash followed

The IRA is drawing billions of dollars in new private investments to take advantage of the federal stimulus that took effect a year ago this week.
saskatoon lab study insects farming
Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash

This Sask. lab is studying agricultural pests — even before they arrive on the Prairies

Research done in the lab could help prevent future insect pest outbreaks and develop pest-resistant crops.
phoenix heat climate impacts deaths
Photo by Ian Dziuk on Unsplash

‘We can get to zero deaths’: Phoenix heat tsar sees livable future for US’s hottest city

David Hondula, the heat expert leading efforts to make the city more comfortable, says every heat death can be prevented with the right resources.

As Armenian fish farming expands, a pristine aquifer is drying up

In recent decades, aquaculture has proliferated in Armenia’s Ararat Valley. The heightened use of water, combined with a warming climate and increased drought, has led to groundwater reserves shrinking by two-thirds, once-bountiful farms withering, and wells going dry.
Jennifer Balch: Our wildfire problem is growing beyond our ability to tame it
Photo by Ross Stone on Unsplash

Jennifer Balch: Our wildfire problem is growing beyond our ability to tame it

Lahaina proves that the United States is ignoring its fast-spreading wildfire problem.
vancouver island climate impacts
Photo by Lesly Derksen on Unsplash

Sea level rise could squeeze young salmon out of places to live

Climate-caused sea level rise is threatening coastlines in Canada. Caught in the squeeze are juvenile salmon, who depend on estuaries to survive. Now scientists and First Nations on Vancouver Island are trying to find out where baby salmon will live in the not-so-distant future. The question is: will we make room?
From our Newsroom
Marathon Petroleum y una ciudad de Texas muestran una  potencial crisis de comunicaciones sobre sustancias químicas

Marathon Petroleum y una ciudad de Texas muestran una potencial crisis de comunicaciones sobre sustancias químicas

En los últimos tres años, Marathon ha violado repetidamente la ley de Aire Limpio y tuvo tres emergencias en el semestre de febrero a julio de 2023.

WATCH: How Marathon Petroleum and one Texas city show the potential for a chemical communication crisis

WATCH: How Marathon Petroleum and one Texas city show the potential for a chemical communication crisis

Marathon in Texas City has repeatedly violated the Clean Air Act and had three emergencies in the span of a six month period.

air pollution heart attack

ER visits for heart problems plummeted after Pittsburgh coal processor shut down

Levels of one highly-toxic pollutant fell by 90% and ER visits for heart problems decreased by 42% immediately after the shutdown.

fossil fuel protest

Should hospitals be next to divest from fossil fuels?

Universities, foundations and the Church of England already made the move.

health care sustainability

Pittsburgh-area hospitals tackling climate emissions, pollution and waste

“We realized early on that we need to be part of the work, not just make an ask of the system.”

How utilities’ fossil fuel investments are driving up rates for the most vulnerable

How utilities’ fossil fuel investments are driving up rates for the most vulnerable

A proposed rate hike on gas in Chicago highlights a troubling nationwide trend.

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