by Lindsay E. Brown
How Silent Spring Became the First Shot in the War Over the Environment
Ecologist Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, was published 50 years ago this month. The book helped launch the environmental movement and led the U.S. to ban the pesticide DDT. Critics at the time harshly critiqued what’s now considered a masterpiece of environmental nonfiction. And now, 50 years later, there’s a small group waging an attack on the late author and her legendary book. This group argues that Silent Spring led the world to phase out the insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT.
And their point?
Climate Change is Already Damaging Global Economy, Report Finds
Climate change has already contributed to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and has cost the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6 percent annually from global GDP, according to a new study. The study found that the impacts have mostly been felt in developing countries. The 331-page study, “Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet” also notes that air pollution, caused by the use of fossil fuels, has contributed to the deaths of at least 4.5 million people a year.
Your Dust Bunnies Are Likely Toxic, Report Finds
Dust bunnies happen to the best of us. But a new study by the Silent Spring Institute has found 66 hormone-disrupting chemicals, including flame retardants, home-use pesticides and phthalates, in household dust. And an EPA study found that pesticides can be tracked into residences on shoes.
The Environmental Working Group devised the following dust action plan:
- Vacuum frequently with a machine with a high efficiency particulate air filter.
- Remove your shoes by the front door. Always!
- Wet mop uncarpeted floors frequently to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating.
- Wipe furniture with a microfiber or damp cotton cloth.
- Caulk and seal cracks and crevices to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating in hard-to-reach places.
- Pay special attention to places where the little ones crawl, sit and play.
- Equip a forced-air heating or cooling system with high-quality filters and change frequently.
A handful of pesticide and processed food companies have poured some $25 million into opposing the the GMO labeling bill that will be up for vote in California in November. Grist compiled an awesome list of the celebrities who support prop 37, that will require GMO labeling if passed.
Power, Pollution and the Internet
A yearlong examination of massive data centers by the New York Times has found that they take a huge toll on our environment. Vast data centers that information technology companies like Google and Yahoo use to house their servers “consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner,” according to NYT.
Photo credit: Radio Green Earth