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RCC Releases Major New Report
Pork and Pollution:
An Introduction to Research and Action on Industrial Hog Production
"The modern world worships the gods of speed and quantity, and of the quick and easy profit, and out of this idolatry monstrous evils have arisen."
—Rachel Carson, foreword to Animal Machines
This new report reflects Rachel Carson's concern with animal welfare and her wiriting about factory farms in the Foreword to the 1964 pioneering expose by Ruth Harrison called Animal Machines. This report also reflects our organizing work in North Carolina and draws on collaboration with a number of national and North Carolina groups and environmental health experts. Free PDF download.
"Bad News for the Planet," Says the World Meteorological Organization
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that
2015 will set a variety of worrisome climate records
due to manmade carbon pollution.
- 2011-2015 "have been the warmest 5-year period on record, with many extreme weather events..."
- 2015 is set to be the hottest year on record by far
- It's "probable" that total global warming since the industrial revolution will cross the 1ºC mark
- The 3-month average of Northern Hemispherre CO2 levels "crossed the 400 ppm barrier for the first time."
There Was No Global Warming 'Hiatus'
40-Study Review Concludes
The new findings cast additional doubt on studies that found a pause in climate change
Another scientific analysis has debunked the theory that globla warming stalled 15 years ago. A similar finding by U.S. government scientists is at the center of a months-long probe led by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House science committee.
There is no evidence of a recent pause or 'hiatus' in global wamring according to an analysis of 40 peer-reviewed studies on the subject published in the Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed journal of the Nature Publishing Group. Researchers found that the studies positing a hiatus didn't examine a long enough period to time to support such a conclusion ...Full article
The Earth is on Track to End 2015
With an Average 1º C Warming
It's all but certain that 2015 will end up as the hottest year on record. That would make 2015 the first year to crack the halfway mark of 2º C warming, the benchmark that's been targeted as "safe" climage change and what nations are working toward meeting ahead of climate talks in Paris in December. This 1º C of warming shows how humans are reshaping the climate in the here and now and not some distant future ...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
and Hawk Mountain
Essay and photos by RCC President Robert K. Musil
RCC President Robert K. Musil recently hiked up the stony paths of Hawk Mountain to the very spot where Rachel Carson sat 70 years ago amongst the rocks searching for hawks with her good friend and colleague Shirley Briggs.
Rachel Carson was able to make her way to the North Lookout in 1945 where she wrote field notes later published by her biographer, Linda Lear, in Lost Woods: the Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson. Carson is clearly moved by the hawks who first appear in the distance like leaves blown in the wind before they sweep into full view ...More
As Gulf of Maine Warms, Puffins Recast as Canaries in a Coal Mine
On a late June day, adult puffins are landing on the rocky shore of this 7-acre bird sanctuary in flights of 3 or 4, their bright red and yellow beaks stuffed with tiny haddock, white hake and sometimes a herring or two. They look about and then duck into the rocky hideaways where their hungry chick are waiting.
Puffins were virtually wiped out in Maine in the mid-19th century by hungry fisherman, who threw nets over their hideaways to catch them by the 1000s. Restored to midcoasts islands by scientists, they have a threatened status in Maine and were recently listed as endangered in Europe.
A new threat from rising ocean temperatures now threatens much of the prey they rely on ...Full article
This is part 2 of a series. To read the full series click here
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
Study Links Fracking to Premature Births, High-Risk Pregnancies
A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has linked hydraulic fracturing, commonly know as fracking, to premature births and high-risk Pregnancies.
Preterm births were 40% higher among women who live in areas of intense drilling and fracking operations, and these women's pregnancies were 30% more likely to be considered "high-risk".
Being born premature is linked to breathing probmems, cerebral palsy, and hearing and visions impairments. In addition, preterm-related causes of death are the single leading cause of infant deaths, the CDC reports, accounting for 35% of infant deaths in 2010 ...Full article
Montgomery County, Maryland Becomes First Major Locality to Ban Cosmetic Pesticides From Lawns
Montgomery County, MD became the country's first major locality to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides on private lawns, concluding that the time-honored right of suburganites to maintain pristine, weed-free yards was superceded by a body of scientific evidence linking the widely-used chemical pesticides to cancer.
The County Council voted 6-to-3 to impose the ban on the chemicals even though they are deemed safe by the EPA when used appropriately—effective at the beginning of 2018 ...Full article
Using the Legal System to Fight Factory Farms
In her powerful TedXManhattan talk about fighting factory farms through the legal system, Food & Justice co-director Michele Merkel says: "Even a loss, if you pick the right fight, can catalyze great change." We believe in this sentiment, and that's why we are partnering with organizations in North Carolina to take action against the spread of hog "CAFOs," concentrated animal feeding operations. Stay tune for reports and other resources designed to empower students, university leaders, and community members to understand the connections between CAFOs, human health, the environment, social justice, and climate change. Watch the video here
Bees and Flowers Have A Special Relationship, and Climate Change is Screwing it Up
As if neonics and other pesticides weren't enough to deal with, a recent study demonstrated that global warming has fueled drastic bee habitat loss, leading to a 200-mile reduction in their natural environments. A new video (see link below), produced by High Country News, explores a curious new coupling between climate change and bee ecosystems. Because bees depend on flowers for food and flowers depend on bees for pollination, the two groups of organisms tend to synch up ...Full article
In Appalachia, the coal industry is in collapse,
but the mountains aren't coming back
In Appalachia, explosions have leveled the mountaintops, where barren expanses of dirt stretch for miles. This is a process known as "mountaintop removal", in which coal companies use explosives to blast away hundreds of feet of rock in order to unearth seams of coal, leaving a permanently damaged landscape. In the first half of this year, at least 6 coal domestic coal companies have filed for bankruptcy but their legacy of damage will remain ...Full article
Fracking Fight Heats Up in Ohio
Enivronmentalists sue Ohio's secretary of state after he strips communities of the right to vote on fracking intrastructure projects
With the oil and gas industry already reveling in a recent Ohio Supreme Court decision stripping local control on fracking and other extraction activities away from communities, the Secretary of State has now handed the industry another victory, opening the door for fracking infrastructure projects to spread even faster across Ohio ...Full article
More Evidence of Roundup's
Link to Kidney, Liver Damage
Scientists report worrisome changes to live and kidney genes in rats, adding to evidence that a popular herbicide may be toxic.
Long-term exposure to tiny amounts of Roundup™—thousands of time lower than what is permitted in U.S. drinking water—may lead to serious prolems in the liver and kidneys, according to a new study.
The study looked at the function of genes in these organs and bolsters a controverisal 2012 study that found rats exposed to small aconts of the herbicide Roundup™ in their drinking water had liver and kidney damage. It is the first to examine the impacts of chronic, low exposure of Roundup™ on genes in livers and kidneys and suggest another potential health impact for people and animals from the widely used weed killer ...Full article
RCC Special Report: What's in Your Food?
According to the Environmental Working Group's 2015 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues.
Find out what the top 5 most widely used pesticides in America are as well as 12 common foods that are contaminated with high numbers of pesticides including tomatoes, apples, spinach, grapes and more ...Full report
Rachel Carson's Cottage at the Edge of the Sea
Rachel Carson's summer cottage in Southport, Maine sits amidst pruce and pine atop a rocky bluff overlooking tidal pools and gulls and lobster boats. Like Carson, the cottage seems reserved, a bit old-fashioned, occasionally lonely. But to enter this pine-paneled stretch of rooms with its picture windows to the sea and sunsets is to discover Rachel Carson's sense of wonder ...more
Monsanto, glyphosate, and the war on invasive species
A thousand people gathered for the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose, settling down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosed topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California's ecology and history. The address did not go well. In the eyes of those gathered the eucalyptus qualified as "invasive," "exoctic," "alien" — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with hones native species ...Full article
Pollinator Power: Benefits of an Ecosystem Service
The dramatic losses of cultivated honey bees due to colony collapse disorder as well as declines of native pollinator species across the globe has scientists calculating the extent to which food crops depend on animal pollinators.
On study has assigned an economic value to the "ecosystem service" provided by pollinators at approximately $167 billion. "It's really well known that pollination changes the yields of crops and the economics of farming." says Taylor Ricketts, director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont. It's becomming better know, he says, that pollination also affects the nutritional value of foods ...Full article
What Are We Doing to Ourselves? 84,000 Chemicals and Only 1% Have Been Tested
Woman are particularly at rish because they use more personal care products than men.
There are around 84,000 chemicals on the market, and we come into contact with many of them every single day. And if that isn't enough to cause concern, the shocking fact is that only 1% of them have been studied for safety.
In 2010, at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health, Lisa Jackson, then the administrator of the EPS, put our current hyper-toxic era into sharp perspective: "A child born in America today will grow up exposed to more chemicals than and other generation in our history." ...Full article
Big Food and Chemical Corporations Spend Millions to Attack Organic
Report exposes growth in front groups and PR spin to win over skeptical consumers
In response to skyrocketing growth in organic and non-GMO food sales, food and agrochemical companies have spent millions of dollars over the past several years on stealth communication campaigns designed to defend industrial agriculture, sway opinion leaders and win over skeptical consumers, according to a report released by Friends of the Earth.
The report, "Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Food," documents unprecedented levels of spending from front groups, trade associations, anti-GMO labeling campaigns, federal check-off programs and vast corporate marketing budgets aimed at defusing public concern about the risks of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture ...Full article
Startling Link Between Pregnant Mother's Exposure to DDT and Daughter's Risk of Breast Cancer
Banned by the US in 1972, the insecticide DDT is best know as the impetus for the modern environmental movement. Since Rachel Carson's bestseller Silent Spring sounded the alarm about the poisonous effects of the chemical on wildlife, the environment and human health, numerous studies have linked it to birth defects, miscarriage and reduced fertility.
The EPA classifies DDT as a "probable" carcinogen. A new study pubished in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloogy and Metabolism found a startling link between preganat women exposed to DDT and the breast cancer risk to their daughters ...Full article
Looking Ahead... News and Events
- 05/21/15: Rachel Carson Council President Events
RCC President Upcoming Events
Rachel Carson's Legacy in North Carolina
RCC President Dr. Robert K. Musil will be lecturing and book signing in the following locations:
Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Bull's Head Bookstore
UNC Student Stores
NC Botanical Gardens
100 Old Mason Farm Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27517