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Category Archives: Environmental Law

These Animals Are Made Possible by Fallen Leaves

The Humane GardenerYou can have all the native plants you want, but you won’t have nearly as many wild visitors unless you also leave the leaves – “I opened the October issue of Consumer Reports with a feeling of mild dread. Every autumn, the magazine publishes an article extolling the virtues of leaf blowers, mowers, and other tools of destruction.A piece debating the pros and cons of vacuum functionality warned that leaf blowers might damage plants. But not to worry, the writer noted in the online version of the article: You can always switch to the vacuum mode instead! “If you have a small yard and are diligent about keeping up with leaves as they fall, or if you want to surgically suck up leaves from around bushes and flower beds, the vacuum mode on your leaf blower can save you time and effort.” Time, effort, money—these are the shortsighted reasons often cited for deploying weapons against nature. I could list dozens of reasons why leaf blowers and vacuums are counterproductive to all three of those goals…In an era of compounding losses, we need to focus not on saving ourselves from inconvenience but on saving lives instead. As I watch plants go to sleep for the winter, I think of all the animals who are doing so too, especially the ones who’ve been able to make a life here because we have enough leaves to help them through every season. From the luna moth to the wood frog, many of our wild residents need the ground layers that so many of our human neighbors are intent on blowing away. Some of the species featured here were new to our habitat this year—a testament to what can happen when we adopt an ethos of minimal disturbance to the land…”

Strengthening Transparency or Silencing Science? The Future of Science in EPA Rulemaking

National Academies: Committee Member Testifies Before Congress on Reproducibility and Replicability in Science – “David Allison, member of the committee that wrote a 2019 National Academies report on reproducibility and replicability in science, appeared on Nov. 13, 2019 before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on Nov. 13 to discuss the report’s recommendations… Continue Reading

E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules

The New York Times: “The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking. A new draft of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal,… Continue Reading

How Much Would You Pay for a Houseplant?

The New York Times:  Four-figure price tags. Destination auctions. Yearslong wait-lists. Rare plant collectors aren’t messing around. “…Countless articles have attempted to unspool millennial motivations for loving plants: They’re a replacement for kids, a respite from urban cityscapes, a totem of climate anxiety, a life preserver to which one can cling in uncertain times, a… Continue Reading

Study says ‘specific’ weather forecasts can’t be made more than 10 days in advance “Imagine someone telling you the weather forecast for New Year’s Day today, two months in advance, with exact temperature bounds and rainfall to a hundredth of an inch. Sounds too good to be true, yes? A new study in Science says it’s simply not possible. But just how far can we take a day-by-day… Continue Reading

Italy Is Making Climate Change Lessons Compulsory In Schools

HuffPost – All public school students will have 33 hours of mandatory climate change education. “Children studying in Italy’s public schools will soon have climate change lessons on their weekly schedules.  Italy’s education minister, Lorenzo Fioramonti, announced on Tuesday that climate change and sustainability will be a mandatory part of education for students ages 6… Continue Reading

World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency

BioScience: “Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate… Continue Reading

Lumber Salvaged from Baltimore’s Row Houses and City Trees Creates Jobs and Cuts Wood Waste

TheCityFix: “Baltimore, like many post-industrial cities, confronts novel challenges. Once the sixth largest city in the U.S., Baltimore’s population has contracted by more than a third, resulting from a complex suite of factors including job loss, economic decline, and discriminatory policies or housing and lending practices. It’s estimated that at least 16,000 buildings in Baltimore are boarded up; most are slated for demolition. But… Continue Reading

Kentucky among 9 states blocking climate action

“Flash floods have troubled Kentucky for decades. Now, extreme rainstorms are worsening with climate change, increasing the odds of more disasters like the one Bentley’s community endured. For Kentucky’s poorest residents, the people living in flood-prone hollows with surface mines nearby, that means an ever-present threat to both life and hard-won possessions.  But the state… Continue Reading