In today’s On the News segment: The world’s largest climate march takes over New York City; the anti-science crowd wants to take well-documented climate information out of kids’ textbooks; Burlington, Vermont has gone renewable; and more.
Thom Hartmann here – on the best of the rest of….science & green news…..
You need to know this. Last Sunday, the world’s largest climate march took over New York City. In addition to the 400,000 people who showed up to demand change in the Big Apple, hundreds of thousands more joined events in at least 156 counties. From London to Rio to Melbourne to New York, people around the world joined together to demand action on climate change. Protesters sang, marched, chanted, and discussed creative solutions for our climate crisis, and they were joined by celebrities, lawmakers, leaders, and scientists. The events were scheduled to take place two days before the United Nation Summit on Climate Change in New York, where world leaders discuss plans to save our environment. Organizers say that Sunday’s massive events marked the beginning of an international push for real action at the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris of 2015. Next year, world leaders will meet at that summit to try to reach a new global agreement to reduce global greenhouse gasses. Hoda Baraka of 350.org described the international movement, saying, “It is, at the end of the day, a global moment. It’s a global issue. All [of] these different constituencies coming together for climate action – that’s a really important and telling turning point for the climate movement.” Many of those who participated at events this Sunday said that the massive crowds show real promise for an even larger event next year. Our lawmakers here in the U.S. may still be sitting on the fence when it comes to saving our planet, but Sunday’s crowds show that Americans are ready for real action on climate change. And, crowds all over the world show that we are not alone. We only have one planet to call home, and the people of the world are demanding that we protect it.
The fight to keep science in our kids’ textbooks used to center on creation vs. evolution. According to EcoWatch.com, the anti-science crowd also wants to cast doubt on well-established climate science. Once a decade, the Texas State Board of Education gets together to review textbook standards, and this year’s review has shed light on some of the proposed changes. The watchdog group Texas Freedom Network reviewed the new standards and found many instances where textbooks put political viewpoints ahead of scholarship. The Texas Freedom Network explained, “One textbook goes so far as to equate arguments from a polluter-funded political advocacy group with real facts from an international science organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.” Basically, textbook publishers are printing talking points from Oil Lobby funded groups, and trying to pass those points off as science. It’s bad enough that the fossil fuel industry controls much of our media and many of our lawmakers. We’ve got to keep them away for our children’s textbooks.
Burlington, Vermont has gone renewable. Last week, Vermont’s largest city announced that 100 percent of their electricity comes from green energy, like biomass, wind, and water. The switch to renewable sources is part of that state’s goal of getting 90 percent of all Vermont’s energy from green sources by 2050. A decade ago, utility officials began considering a switch to renewable energy, and a few short years later they realized that going green could be done. According to Ken Nolan, the manager of power resources at Burlington Electric, by 2008, officials had gone from thinking, “We want to do this” to realizing, “This actually makes economic sense.” Although the city does have to buy some electricity from fossil fuel plants when the wind isn’t blowing and rivers aren’t flowing, they sell far more renewable energy credits than they buy. The commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service said that Burlington’s achievement “shows that we’re able to do it, and we’re able to do it cost effectively in a way that makes Vermonters really positioned well for the future.” Burlington is doing their part to protect our planet, and hopefully, they’ll inspire more cities to do the same.
For years, residents of states like New Mexico and Colorado have said that the fossil fuel industry is responsible for an increase in earthquakes. However, the Oil and Gas Lobby claimed that wasn’t the case. Finally, a team of scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey has found a “direct link” between earthquakes and oil and gas drilling. Last week, a new study was released in the Bulletin of Seismological Society of America. The authors documented “several lines of evidence [that] suggest the earthquakes in the area are directly related to the disposal of wastewater” deep underground. Although numerous recent studies have suggested the connection, this is the first scientific report to explain the direct link. The report states, “These earthquakes are limited to the area of fluid injection, they occur shortly after major fluid injection activities began, and the earthquake rates track the fluid injection rates.” We know that oil and gas drilling destroys our environment, contaminates our water, and sickens our communities. Now we have the proof that it also causes earthquakes. What other evidence do we need to demand that drilling must come to and end?
And finally… Since the creation of 3D printers, the manufacturing technology has been used to make everything from food to weapons. A construction firm in China is now saying that the printers can be used to create low-cost housing. The company used a new 3D printer that uses construction waste to print pieces of houses that easily fit together on site. The process is so effective and affordable, the firm was able to create ten single-story houses within 24 hours, at a cost of only $5,000 per house. And, the new homes are even eco-friendly. The inventor of the new printer explained, “Industrial waste from demolished buildings is damaging our environment, but with 3D-printing, we are able to recycle construction waste and turn it into new building materials.” This new technology could provide low-cost housing and a solution to building waste, and it’s a heck of a lot safer for construction workers. Considering that 3D printing has only been a reality for a few years, we can only imagine the incredible ways this technology will be used in our future.
And that’s the way it is for the week of September 22, 2014 – I’m Thom Hartmann, on Science & Green News.