Current talk of the Green New Deal or the GOP alternative Green Real Deal notwithstanding, the political contrast between the first Earth Day in 1970 and this year’s Earth Day is stark. While some still debate Nixon’s environmental record, there is no ambiguity in president Trump’s. He is sounding the retreat, not leading the charge.
In a new report, scientists warn of a precipitous drop in the world’s insect population. We need to pay close attention, as over time, this could be just as catastrophic to humans as it is to insects. Special attention must be paid to the principal drivers of this insect decline, because while climate change is adding to the problem, food production is a much larger contributor.
Call it “The Great Stall.” Hurricane Florence lingered over the Carolinas for four days, dumping some 30 inches of rain. Flood waters are still rising, even as Typhoon Mangkhut, a superstorm 500 miles across, rakes the Philippines, Hong Kong and crashes into China. Florence is just the latest in a long series of catastrophic events generated by stalled weather patterns -- slow-moving systems which occur when one of the jet streams that flow around the Earth pinches off a massive section of air from normal wind flows for an prolonged period of time. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has compiled a long list of severe weather events in the US, and most of them are linked, in one way or another, to stalled weather systems.
Demographic, Social and Economic Changes May Pose an Even Greater Threat to Humanity Than Climate Change
It’s not just California that is suffering from devastating wildfires. Fueled by prolonged drought, unseasonably high temperatures and strong winds from Hurricane Ophelia, more than 100 blazes erupted in Portugal this weekend, and according to Monday morning press reports, at least 27 people died in the fires. Wildfires are becoming increasingly common in Portugal, where 64 people died from a conflagration this past June.
Even while Congress is in recess and President Trump is on vacation, the war on birth control is being waged in earnest. The administration is pressuring Congress to defund the Teen Pregnancy Prevention program, but it is not taking any chances. Recent news reports indicate that the Department of Health and Human Services is already informing existing grantees that they need not apply for any additional funding, as the program will be terminated in July 2018.
The ability to space or prevent a pregnancy can make all the difference in the world to girls and women. That does not require much explanation. Reproductive choice, however, is also a potential game changer for developing countries. That’s because rapid population growth is a challenge multiplier that can impede efforts to reduce poverty, alleviate hunger, boost educational attainment, manage water scarcity, improve basic services, and prevent environmental degradation.