"Knowing what I do, there would be no future peace for me if I kept silent... It is, in the deepest sense, a privilege as well as a duty to speak out to many thousands of people..." —Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson

The Rachel Carson Council, founded in 1965, is the national environmental organization envisioned by
Rachel Carson to carry on her work after her death. We promote Carson's ecological ethic that combines scientific concern for the environment and human health with a sense of wonder and reverence for all
forms of life in order to build a sustainable, just, and peaceful future.

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Poor, Minorities Carry the Burden of
Frack Waste in South Texas

US EIA

Poor and minority neighborhoods bear a disproportionate
share of fracking wastewater wells in South Texas;
Eagle Ford, according to a new study.

The findings add to growing evidence that politically marginalized black, Hispanic and poor communities carry more than their share of the nation's energy wast burden. Fracking wastewater contains potentially harmful chemicals and metals, and has been linked to surgace and groundwater contamination and earthquake spikes ...Full article

Climate Change is Already
Changing Bird Migration

The birds are on the move

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin have looked at how North American birds are adapting to climate change, and while it's no surprise that birds are changing their migratory patterns, what is surprising is how quickly they're doing it.

The study shows that: First, birds are moving faster than we think, and second, they're going places where we don't suspect. Previous estimates had breeding ranges shifting by an average of .4 miles a year, but this report proves some species are moving at twice that speed, up to as much 3 miles a year ...Full article

What Do Racism and Poverty Have to do with Pollution and Climate Change?

We already know that pollution and climate change negatively affect people's health and quality of life. But we're not always clear about which people are mose exposed and impacted.

The harm that comes with rising seas and contaminated water systems isn't evenly distributed. Those who are already disadvantaged by race, wealth, and income are usually the most affect by environmental disasters. If you've never heard the term "environmental justice" before, or if you just want to know more about it... Full article

Old Nuclear Fallout Proves Useful
for Sea Turtle Clues

Sea turtles drift in mysterious currents. How long do they live? How fast do they grow?

Answers to these and other basic questions elude researchers, stymieing efforts to better understand and protect the world's seven marine turtle species, all but one of which are endangered. Now scientists in Hawaii may have resolved some of the unknowns by turning to an unlikely environmental marker: nuclear fallout.

Researchers are using bomb radiocarbon, which winds up in the turtle's shells through their diet, to estimate birth dates and growth rates of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles ...Full article

2015 Was Hottest Year in Historical Record, Scientists Say

Clockwise from top left: A family sleeping on the roof of a house in New Delhi last May; people navigating a flooded street in a canoe in Arnold, MO, on Dec. 31; tourists in a haze-shrouded Singapore last September; the drought-stricken Molatedi Dam in South Africa in November.

Clockwise from top left: Tsering Topgyal/Associated Press, Jeff Roberson/Associated Press, Edgar Su/Reuters, Stuart Graham/Associated Press

Scientists reported that 2015 was the hottest year in the historical record by far, breaking a mark set only the year before—a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the contiguous United States the year was the second warmest on record with one result being a way of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed. "The whole system is warming up relentlessly," said Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO ...Full article

The Racial Justice Issue That Americans
Must Stop Ignoring: Pollution

Environmental degradation is ravaging minority communities. One example from the NY/NJ area looms large

It is easy for Martin Luther King Day to be co-opted into a pat on the back for the United States with the first African-American in the White House serving his last year of his second term. And yet, if the celebration is to mean anything, it must be an occasion for us to call out examples where racism still forecloses on the future of young people of color, sometimes even before they area born.

Case in point, the decision earlier this month by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — of Bridgegate infamy — to reverese itself on a pledge it made in 2010 to ban all diesel trucks that were older than 2007 when federalo truck engine regulations kicked in, which would have require a major reduction in hightly toxic diesel emissions.

It is the poor working class neighborhoods of color in and arouond the Port's sprawling cargo facilities in Newark and Elizabeth that bare the brunt of these deadly emissions ...Full article

Proof That A Price on Carbon Works

Lawmakers whoe oppose taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions by putting aprice on carbon often argue that doing so would hurt businesses and consumers. But the energy policies adopted by some American states and Canadian provinces demonstrate that those arguements are simply unfounded.

Around the world, nearly 40 nations, including the 28-member European Union, and many smaller jurisdictions are engaged in some form of carbon pricing ...Full article

NY Times Sunday Review

Cancer and
Climate Change

I'm a climate scientist who has just been told I have Stage 4 pancreatic cancer

This diagnosis puts me in an interesting position. I've spent much of my professional life thinking about the science of climate change, which is vbest viewd through a multidecadal lens. At some level I was sure that, even at my present age of 60, I would live to see the most critical part of the problem, and its possible solutions, play out in my lifetime. Now that my personal horizon has been steeply foreshortened, I was forced to decide how to spend my remaining time ...Full article

Interactive Map:
The Most Polluted States in America

Nebraska is on the list of most polluted states in America.
See how it "stacks" up with those even more polluted and what the statistics show about pollution in your state

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HealthGrove analyzed average daily fine particulate matter (ug/m3) from 2003 to 2011. The 25 most polluted states are ranked based on PM2.5 particle levels. For each state, we list the most polluted county as well as the rate of cancer and heart disease deaths — both of which are correlated to air pollutant levels ...Full article and map

Banning Fracking Isn't Enough:
How We Fight to Stop Pipelines,
Compressor Stations and Gas Plants

Hundreds of climate activists and renewable energy advocates gathered for a State of the Climate rally and march outside of Gov. Cuomo's State of the State address in Albany recently. Shortly after, from the top of a stairway in the Capitol building, fracking infrastructure opponents unscrolled a 40-foot petition, bearing 1,000 signatures, that urgently calls on the governor to oppose the storage of dangerous, explosive LPG (propane and butane) in abandoned salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake. Along with the petition scroll, the groups also delivered more than 500 letters to Gov. Cuomo's office ...Full article

Ashes: A Community's Toxic Inheritance

An Alabama community inherited the worst coal ash spill in U.S. history—four million cubic yards of toxic ash

In the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 2008, a dam at the TVA Kingston Power Plant collapsed, releasing over a billion gallons of toxic goal ash onto the community of Harriman, TN. Harriman would not be the only community poisoned by this man-made disaster.

Two years after the spill, only a small percentage of the coal ash has been cleaned up, and residents of Harriman were losing patience. Trains brought much of the spilled coal ask 5 hours south—from the predominantly white and middle class area of Harriman, TN to the Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County, Alabama that is 68% AFrican-Ameican and one of the lowest-income countys in Alabama. Trash liners were used to hold the coal ash in place on the train, however as the coal ask arrived in Perry County, the liner was removed.  The uncovered coal ash pile started blowing through the air ...Full article

Spotlight Hits Coal Ask Impact on Poor and Minority Communities

Federal civil right probe seeks to understand why the poor bear so much of a burden for our coal-fired energy waste.

Too often toxic coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power, ends up in poor, minority communities. U.S. civil rights officials are launching a deeper look at federal environmental policy to find out why.

Depending on exposure, such contaminants can cause cander and harm most human organs, and kill or sikcen wildlife. Coal ash is the second largest source of industrial waste in the country, after mining, according to a joint report from the nonprofit environmental law organization, Earthjustice, and the Physicians for Social Responsibilty ...Full article

Annual 2015 U.S. Climate Report

The 2015 annual average U.S. temperature was 54.4ºF, 2.4º above the 20th century average, the second warmest year on record. This is the 19th consecutuve year the annual average temperature exceeded the 20th century average. The first part of the year was marked by extreme warmth in the West and cold in the East, but by the end of 2015, record warmth spanned the East with near-average temperatures across the West.

In 2015, there were 10 weather and climate disasters events in the U.S. each with losses exceeding $1 billion. These events included a drought, two floods, five severe storms, a wildfire event, and a winter storm ...Full article

Oregon Utilities Agree to
Phase Out Coal-Fired Power

EPA regulations are leading to more coal plant closures. Photo: Cassandra Profita

Oregon utilites have agree to support a bill that would phase out coal-fired power in Oregon by 2030. The proposed legislation would only affect Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, which together serve about 70% of Oregon's electricity. It also call for doubling the amount of renewable energy the utilities generate by 2040. The deal will ultimately need approval from the Oregon legislature. Pacificorp owns more than a dozen coal-fired plants mostly in the Rocky Mountain region. A spokesman for Pacific Power, said the agreement is a rare example of utilities and environmental groups working together ...Full article

Fracking Fluid Contains A Stew of Known Toxic Chemicals, and That May Not Be the Worst of It

New research reveals fracking involves hundreds of toxins that may pose serious ills and many more that remain unstudied

Arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, lead and mercury are among more than 200 toxins found in fracking fluids and wastewater that may pose serious risks to reproductive and developmental health, according to a paper published recently. And that list may just be the tip of the iceberg, said Nicole Deziel, an environmental health expert at the Yale School of Public Health and senior author of the new study.

In their study, Deziel and her team investigated more than 1,000 chemicals used in and created by the controversial drilling process, which shoots a mix of pressurized water, sand and chemicals into shale rock to unlock hydrocarbon reserves. Many of these chemicals remain unstudied and other substances involved in oil and gas production remain undisclosed by fracking companies ...Full article

What One Magnificent Predator Can Show Us About the Arctic's Future

Scientists are scaling the cliffs of Alaska's Seward Peninsula to stop the mighty Gyrfalcon from losing more ground to climate change.

As tough as these birds may be, they survive at the delicate nexus between the frozen and unfrozen world. Gyrfalcons range across the entire Arctic and the species's future is clouded by climate change and a shifting Arctic landscape. Warming temperatures threaten to mix up the timing of prey availability for the raptors, potentially making it harder for the birds to successfully reproduce. As Arctic seas open, shore-based freight faciities could imperil remote habitats ...Full article

Health Advocates Blast North Carolina's Power Plan

Industrial smokestacks directly emit particle pollution, but they also emit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, which react in the atmosphere to form fine particle pollution. Photo: USEPA

At a recent hearing in Raleigh, NC, residents called on state officials to adopt a strong response to climate change and argued that such a response would have large benefits for North Carolinian's health. The hearing allowed residents to comment on NC's response to the federal Clean Power Plan which seeks to limit the U.S.'s contribution to climage change.

Under the plan, each state can craft its own plan in order to meet minimum federal requirements. NC's Department of Environmental Quality has done just that ...Full article

Walking in Rachel Carson's Footsteps

Part 1 of 2

The ability to weave together poetry and science is today something of a lost art. Yet there was a time when the two were nearly inextricable from each other. By the 20th century, this union between poetry and science as in its death throes. Modernization was compartmentalizing all aspects of life. Art and science were collateral damage.

None of this was lost to a young Rachel Carson as she swung her feet over the side of the small wooden skiff and into the shallows at the foot of Bird Shoal off Beaufort for the first time. The year was 1938 ...Full article

Rachel Carson and the Great Awakening

Part 2 of 2

Rachel Carson was delighted by the variety of shorebirds that she saw in the salt marshes around Beaufort. Photo by Jared Lloyd

Take a moment to consider this. If it was inexhaustible natural capital that was a driving force for the creation of America's colonies, and the ambition to exploit and profit from such resources fueling the motivations of those who risked everything to travel oceans to reach these shores, then what does this say about the ideological seeds from which our culture and civilization grew? Making money was the ideological underpinning from which natural resources were exploited and profits were made. Then along came Rachel Carson ...Full article

Atrazine: The Latest Pesticide on Trial

With California working to list atrazine as toxic to the reproductive system, three of the United State's most-widely used pesticides are under fire for adverse health effects.

Atrazine is the second most-widely used pesticide in the U.S. California has been working to list Atrazine as toxic to the reproductive system under state Proposition 65, which requires public warnings to be posted when and where such chemicals are used. A court decision coming as soon as January will determine how the state will move forward with the listing. This is a big deal ...Full article

Oklahoma Earthquakes: Bombshell Doc Reveals Big Oil's Tight Grip on Politicians and Scientists

In August, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin finally admitted that there was a "direct correlation between the increase of earthquakes that we've seen in Oklahoma [and] disposal wells" after denying the link for several years. Fallin is said to be weighing the pros and cons of fracking in her state which is one of the top natural gas-producig states in the nation. However, as state official voice intentios to reduce seismicity, Oklahoma has cut the budgets of the two agencies dealing with the earthquake pandemic ...Full article

Beekeepers Hope Legislators Will Act on
Pesticide to Protect Hives

Sondra Novo, a beekeeper from Harford County, holds a honey-filled bear which she and other beekeepers delivered to legislators' offices. (Photo by Rebecca Lessner for MarylandReporter.com)

Maryland beekeepers are again hoping that the state's legislature passes a bill in 2016 to label a class of pesticides, neonicotinoids, as harmful to bees and restrict sales of the chemicals to commercial and agricultureal applicators.

The Maryland Pesticide Network pushed for the Pollinator Protection Act in 2015 after nearly a decade of concern about bee deaths as reported last year. Many beekeepers and scientists believe that the use of neonicotinoids is killing bee populations in Maryland and elsewhere ...Full article

Farm to Fork:
Uncovering Hazards in Our Food Systems

These articles look at the complicated networks of labor, trade and regulation that carry meat, produce and other products to our tables.

Segment 1: The fowl business of salmonella
Segment 2: From the battlefields to the strawberry fields
Segment 3: When working condition are ripe for change

In the U.S., even chicken that has passed all federal food safety requirements still can make people sick. This proved true in 2013 after a massive salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms sickened hundreds of people in 29 states. But even with reforms in the works, the U.S. government still allows companies to sell chicken that is infected with salmonella. So how do you avoid it? ...Full articles

Pesticides as Bad for Kid's Lungs as Cigarette Smoke, Study Says

Chronic exposure to pesticides can damage children's lung function by about as much as secondhand cigarette smoke does, according to a study of farmworker children in the Sallinas Valley, California.

The long-term study of 279 children from farmworker families is the first to suggest that even being one step removed from pesticides can bring harm to children's lungs. Previous studies examined effect on adults who spray chemical or work in fields where the pesticides are applied. The children have been followed since birth as part of a broader study that began about 15 years ago with pregnant women in the Salinas Valley ...Full article

 

Does Monsanto's Glyphosate Cause Cancer?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected the International Agency for Research on Cancer's (IARC) classificatio of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen, declaring that the active ingredient in Monsanto's widely used weedkiller Roundup™, is "unlikely to pose a carcinogentic hazard to humans."

However, the EFSA has made a very important admission in their report as noted by Sustainable Pulse. Unlike the IARC, the Italy-based EFSA examined glyphosate alone, not glyphosate formulations ...Full article

DDT's Long Shadow: Long-banned Chemicals Linked to Abnormal Sperm

A Study of men from the Faroe Islands finds that high
DDT and PCB exposure during adolescence and adulthood
is associated with abnormal chromosomes in sperm

Researchers report that organochlorine chemicals—specifically DDT and PCB's—may affect how male reproductive orgrans mature and function. "These chemicals continue to persist in our environment. Levels are going down over the past 30 years, but all of us still have levels in our bodies," said lead author Melissa Perry, a professor and researcher at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Both DDT and PCBs are known to disrupt the endocrine system and sperm production is a "very hormone dependent" process, Perry said ...Full article

Labor Conditions Are Awful at Chicken Plants, According to Big Report

We've long known that the chicken industry is pretty awful for chickens, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that conditions for workers aren't much better.

Lives on the Line, a new mulitmedia report from Oxfam America, details the harsh conditions chicken workers face in the U.S. Oxfam interviewed poultry workers in North Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi, and found they typically processed 2,000 chickens an hour and 14,000 chickens in a workday in shifts sometimes as long as 12 hours ...Full article

Is Grass-Fed Beef Better for You?

Grass-fed beef tends to be high in some nutrients, and studies suggest it may contain fewer bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Conventionally raised cattle are typically fed primarily corn and soy, which causes them to fatten more quickly. Earlier this month Consumer Reports tested 300 samples of beef purchased at stores across the United States and determined that beef from conventionally raised cattle was 3 times as likely as grass-fed beef to contain bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics, posing a food poisoning threat ...Full article

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