For years, Diane Wilson has tried to get Formosa Plastics Corp. to stop discharging plastic pellets from its sprawling petrochemical complex on the Central Texas coast. This week, she’s getting her day in court. Read more ...
Month: March 2019
Harris County has sued Intercontinental Terminals Co. for failing to prevent a massive chemical fire that burned for more than 60 hours last week and spewed an unknown volume of hazardous chemicals into the air and nearby waterways. Read more …
Why? Recent national studies show that flood buyout monies benefit whiter communities. Other reports reveal that federal disaster recovery dollars benefit higher-income people and how, after a disaster, income inequality is exacerbated and the gaps between the haves and the have-nots grows wider. Read more.
Urban Heat Island Effect
By: Lauren Maranto
Have you ever noticed that when you leave the city, the air feels more fresh and cool? It’s no surprise these days that the air is filled with pollution; We see cars and trucks everywhere, releasing greenhouse gasses and toxic fumes into the atmosphere, while fuel is burned in factories and residential areas. That being said, what many people don’t think of when they imagine air pollution is a phenomenon called the Urban Heat Island Effect.
Urban Heat Islands (UHI) are urban areas that have higher average temperatures than their surrounding rural areas due to the reduction of greenspaces and higher prevalence of impermeable and dark surfaces such as pavement. These dark spaces, along with heat absorbent building materials, absorb solar radiation and trap more heat surrounding the urban area, increasing the average temperature. Additionally, heat from industrial processes and human activities (driving a car, heating your home, etc.) is constantly released into the city, further contributing to UHI. Nighttime temperatures remain higher as the trapped heat is slowly released from buildings.
So, why does this matter? UHI not only creates an uncomfortable heat blanket over the city, it also contributes to air pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to human health issues and climate change. The high temperatures during the summer cause people to increase their air conditioning use, which burns more fuels and releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It also encourages more people to drive to work to avoid the heat, which increases emissions from cars. The best way to reduce UHI is by promoting green spaces in cities and decreasing our energy use. By decreasing the burning of fuels, we can simultaneously reduce the heat emitted in the process while also decreasing air pollution and the negative health and environmental implications that come along with it. By increasing green space, the plants will help regulate air temperatures while also cleaning up the air by absorbing CO2.
Alabama industrial facilities released more than 82 million pounds of toxic material into the air, land and water in 2017. Read more.
Pollution, much like wealth, is not distributed equally in the United States. Read more
More States Crack Down on Protesters
In anticipation of upcoming protests, the state of South Dakota has recently passed a bill threatening protesters. South Dakota also has a large population of Sioux tribal members culturally related to the Standing Rock tribe and the pipeline is planned to pass through South Dakota as well. Read more.
A massive fire at a fuels storage company along the Houston Ship Channel may burn for two more days, an official said on Monday as the blaze spread a plume of black smoke across the city, shutting schools in two nearby communities. Read more
An examination of monitoring data available for the first time concludes that 91 percent of U.S. coal-fired power plants with monitoring data are contaminating groundwater with unsafe levels of toxic pollutants. Read more here
I don’t mean wearing more green clothing or drinking green beer, but rather thinking and acting greener than you have most every other day. It doesn’t need to be Earth Day to raise the important issues that are fundamentally about our own survival. There are things you can do every day including St. Patrick’s Day to protect public health and the environment. For example:
- You can ask your federal legislators, state elected representatives, your friends and neighbors to support the New Green Deal. Start a conversation about the pro’s and con’s of the legislation. Let’s get more of the conversation happening so we can find common ground.
- Spring is around the corner so maybe you can start some seedlings to plant, when the warmer temperatures arrive, in your garden.
- Go zero waste today and bring your own glass or cup to your local pub where you’ll purchase your green beer or beverage of choice.
- Take part in a local parade or other festivity and use the gathering to educate people about how important it is to take care of our planet, beginning in your own backyard.
- Share words of wisdom and motivation for this ‘Green Day.’ “Going back to a simpler life is not a step backward; and to do good, you actually have to do something,” said Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia).
Here is a fun St. Patrick’s Day Trivia link see how you do so you’re ready on Sunday. (AARP)
As a proud Irish woman, I leave you with this Irish blessing.
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and rain fall upon your fields.
And until we meet again.
May God hold you in the hollow of His Hands.