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Trump Guts Key Environmental Protection Law to Speed Up Pipeline Construction | Take Action Tuesday @EarthFoodLife

August 11, 2020
Fossil fuel fanboy: President Trump has significantly rolled back environmental protections in favor of corporations and Big Oil. (Photo credit: White House)

“Revising the 50-year-old law through regulatory reinterpretation is one of the biggest—and most audacious—deregulatory actions of the Trump administration, which to date has moved to roll back 100 rules protecting clean air and water, and others that aim to reduce the threat of human-caused climate change,” writes Lisa Friedman of The New York Times, about Trump’s weakening of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Care2: Since 1970, the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) has protected people and the planet by making sure construction companies can’t just willy-nilly build factories, pipelines, major roadways or drilling sites near where people live. Now President Trump has gutted this key conservation law. Under his new, stripped-down version, corporations will no longer need to consider a project’s contribution to climate change. And people who live near proposed sites will have virtually zero chance for input. This is an egregious attempt to take away the rights of the people and expand the already massive power and wealth of the fossil fuel and construction industries, and at a particularly horrible time. Climate change is already a global emergency, with scientists agreeing that if we have not taken enough steps by 2030 to curb the climb of the world’s temperatures, we will be past the point of no return. NEPA was already insufficient for the task at hand, and now we don’t even have its meager protections.
>>>Demand that the Trump Administration restore NEPA.

Rainforest Rescue: The island of Palawan is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, a certified ecological and cultural treasure in the Philippines. It is home to numerous endemic and threatened species and the ancestral land of Indigenous peoples who have little contact with the outside world, rich oral traditions and a profound knowledge of nature. They have been living in and with the forest for centuries, harvesting forest products in a sustainable manner and planting small community plots of vegetables and mountain rice. But now, the provincial government wants to open up areas of rich biodiversity and indigenous land to industrial plantations. An industrial coconut grower is already destroying Indigenous peoples’ sacred sites and burial grounds. Tribal leaders who have spoken out against the company have reportedly received death threats. Without international pressure, vast swathes of rainforest and Indigenous land could be replaced by a green desert of coconut plantations.
>>>Urge Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez to stop the plundering of rainforest and tribal land in southern Palawan and say no to monocrop plantations.

Environmental Health Strategy Center: Over a million Big Mac boxes are used and discarded each day. And new test results show that those boxes may be contributing to the PFAS “forever chemicals” pollution crisis. Corporations add PFAS forever chemicals to food packaging to make it grease-resistant. The packaging is used once, but toxic PFAS chemicals last forever in the environment. New testing of paper packaging from top fast-food chains—McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s—as well as top health-minded chains—Sweetgreen, Cava, and Freshii—found fluorine levels suggesting PFAS treatment in nearly half of the samples. When people eat food from this packaging, they may end up ingesting some of the chemicals too. In the new study, the Big Mac box tested positive as did a McDonald’s fry bag and cookie bag. And if all this McDonald’s packaging used across the country has PFAS, the company could be responsible for a whole lot of forever chemicals going into landfills and incinerators each day. Sweetgreen, whose bowls tested positive in the study, recently announced that it’s phasing out packaging with PFAS by the end of this year. Chipotle, Taco Bell and Panera Bread have announced action on PFAS too. But McDonald’s has failed to.
>>>Urge McDonald’s to commit to a steadfast policy against PFAS.

Cause for concern…

Wasteland: Debris, much of it plastic waste, covers a beach in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Photo credit: Joleah Lamb/ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies/Flickr)

Unless the world acts, more than 1.3 billion metric tons of plastic will be dumped on land and in the oceans over the period from 2016 to 2040, experts warn in a new study. “This scientific inquiry has for the first time given us a comprehensive insight into the staggering amounts of plastic waste being dumped into the world’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,” said lead author Costas Velis of the University of Leeds. “We now have a much clearer picture of the sources of the pollution and where it eventually ends up.”

Round of applause…

Green eyes not smiling: Members of Gluaiseacht, a network of Irish student groups working on social and environmental issues, protesting at the COP6 climate conference in The Hague together in 2000. (Photo credit: Eoin Dubsky/Flickr)

In one of the few times a court has forced a national government to bolster their climate policy, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that the government’s emission reduction plan fell “well short” of what was required and must be improved. The nation’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act requires an 80% cut to emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Parting thought…

Humans have lost the script: Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth. Nearly all of the harp seals killed are pups under just three months of age. (Photo credit: Humane Society International)

“Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.” —William Wilberforce

Earth | Food | Life (EFL) explores the critical and often interconnected issues facing the climate/environment, food/agriculture and nature/animal rights, and champions action; specifically, how responsible citizens, voters and consumers can help put society on an ethical path of sustainability that respects the rights of all species who call this planet home. EFL emphasizes the idea that everything is connected, so every decision matters.

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