Author Archives: chesco14

Climate refugees are already on the move

from “Mothering on the Borders” by Yifat Susskind, Madre Speaks, winter 2018-19, p. 3, excerpt:

…As families shared their stories, one other, often overlooked, reason for leaving home stood out: climate change. “We could no longer grow food,” said Magdalena, a young mother from Guatemala. Shifting her four-year-old, Bibi, on her lap, she described the gathering panic of watching corn wither on the stalk. “Every morning it’s a little worse until you realize all is lost.” The parents in the circle nodded grimly. “After my daughter was born, we had less to eat every year.”

In fact, since Bibi’s birth in 2014, when the “child migrant crisis” on the southern US border began making headlines, a creeping “Dry Corridor” has cut through the four Central American countries with the highest rates of migration: Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala…. many migrants from Guatemala are, like Magdalena and Bibi, fleeing the drought that’s been intensified by a century of US carbon pollution….

read the whole article at Madre Speaks, winter 2018-19

From the linked article in The Nation:

“…According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the “impact and threat of climate-related hazards” displaced an average of 21.5 million people annually between 2008 and 2015….”

10 Animals Threatened by Climate Change

from Earth Day Network. [N.b. endangered species are the national theme for this year’s Earth Day observance in late April. For Earth Day events in Chester County, see the CCEA calendar.]

Every species worldwide is impacted by climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels, less rain and more droughts. By 2100, an estimated 50% of all the world’s species could go extinct because of climate change.

Bumblebees are impacted by climate change in two related ways: Rising temperatures force populations northward to remain in cool climates and spring flowers bloom earlier than normal, leaving less time for bees to pollinate.

Whales rely on specific ocean temperatures for their migration, feeding, and reproductive habits. As sea temperatures rise, these changes disrupt habits necessary for whale survival.

Asian elephant habitat is negatively impacted by both lower rainfall and higher temperatures. Together, these threats have decreased the reproductive capacity of an already endangered species.

Giraffes have seen their population decline by 40% in the last 30 years. In addition to illegal poaching, two the most pressing dangers shrinking habitat and fewer acacia trees (their main food source) due to climate change.

Insects stand to suffer drastically from climate change. At the current rate of warming (2°C), roughly 18% of all insect species would be lost by 2100; if the planet were to warm by 3.2°C, that number would rise to 49%.

Oceanic bird species are directly threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change. Rising waters can submerge their coastal habitats and nests completely.

Sharks have difficulty hunting and a higher embryo mortality rate as ocean temperature and acidity rise worldwide. In the Pacific Ocean, rising temperatures force sharks northward by an average of 30 kilometers annually, disrupting ecosystems that depend on sharks.

Coral reefs are endangered due to rising sea temperatures. In the last three years alone, 72% of the world’s coral reefs protected by UNESCO experienced severe heat stress. Sustained heat stress causes coral bleaching, an often deadly occurrence in which coral starves from a loss of nutrition.

Monarch butterfly populations in California have fallen by as much as 95% since the 1980s due to habitat loss, increasing use of pesticides and loss of milkweed populations, all related to climate change caused by humans.

Great apes of Southeast Asia, perhaps the most endangered ape species, are in jeopardy of extinction due to deforestation caused by climate change with nearly 75% of forest cover at risk of deforestation.

See Earth Day Network for links and background info.

Petition to Protect the Delaware River

Protect one of PA’s greatest natural treasures: the Delaware River

Over the past few decades we’ve made real headway working to restore the Delaware River.

But that progress is at risk as the Trump administration is working to overturn key protections for our waterways.

We need our leaders at the state-level to step up and protect the Delaware River–and all of our waterways–when federal officials won’t. Ask Governor Wolf to join this crucial effort to make sure we can have a clean and healthy Delaware River for our kids and future generations.

sign the petition at PennEnvironment

New Sinkhole Opens Up Along Mariner East 1 In Chester County

By Justin Heinze, Patch, Jan 21, 2019

A new sinkhole has opened up along the Mariner East 1 pipeline in Chesco, in the same area that lawmakers noted safety concerns last year.

CHESTER COUNTY, PA — Yet another sinkhole has opened up along the Mariner East 1 pipeline funneling natural gas through Chester County, causing it to shut down. The sinkhole is in the same area that lawmakers noted safety concerns last summer, before the pipeline was allowed to continue operations.

This episode occurred on Sunday in West Whiteland Township on Lisa Drive.

Its the latest incident connected to the controversial pipeline, which, along with Sunoco’s other constrction that runs through Chester County, has led to bipartisan calls for greater oversight and fueled a criminal investigation into Sunoco. …

keep reading at Patch

Help Get Neurotoxic Pesticide Out of Agriculture

Beyond Pesticides letter to our elected representative in Congress. Sign on here.

Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Nydia Velásquez (D-NY) introduced The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act, H.R.230 which bans the insecticide chlorpyrifos from commerce.

Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. As a result of a revised human health risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a regulation to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has taken steps to reverse the regulation.

“It’s unconscionable for EPA to turn a blind eye as children and workers are exposed to this poison,” Velázquez said. “If the EPA won’t do its job when it comes to chlorpyrifos, then Congress needs to act – and do so quickly.”

>> Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which is Damaging Children’s Brains.

Chlorypyrifos is a widely used pesticide. Agriculture companies annually spray 6 million pounds of the substance on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries. In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. With very high exposures (accidents or spills), it can cause respiratory paralysis and even death. When applying the chemical to fields, workers must wear protective garments such as respirators. Workers are then blocked from entering the fields from 24 hours up to 5 days after application due to the chemical exposure risk.

In August, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement its previous proposed ban of the chemical in the U.S. However, the Administration is appealing the ruling, seeking to prevent implementation of the Obama-era ban.

Rep. Valázaquez states, “As long as there are efforts underway in the courts or administratively to undo the ban on this toxic pesticide, I’ll be working to see chlorypyrifos removed from commerce through the legislative process.”

There is a strong recent history of action of introducing legislation to remove chlorpyrifos from use. The same legislation being proposed by Valazquez was introduced in the last Congress as H.R. 3380, Pesticide Protection Act (2017). In the closing days of the 115th Congress, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) introduced a bill to ban chlorpyrifos. The Prohibit Chlorpyrifos Poisoning Students Act (S. 3764) would elevate Hawai’i’s state ban to the national level, banning the use of the chemical near (within 300 feet of) schools in 2019 and banning its sale and distribution altogether the following year. The legislation follows a 2017 bill introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act, S. 1624, that deems any food with chlorpyrifos residues to be adulterated and therefore illegal.

EPA negotiated a cancellation of all residential uses (with the exception of golf courses and disease-carrying mosquitoes) in 2000 after finding significant neurotoxic effects on children. In June, 2018, Hawai’i became the first state to ban chlorpyrifos, effective 2022.

Given the abundant research demonstrating deleterious effects of chlorpyrifos on human health –including a 2016 EPA human risk assessment that found the agency’s exposure threshold is exceeded for children, and citing concerns about chlorpyrifos levels in the air in schools, homes, and communities — it is critical to support a complete ban on the chemical.

H.R. 230 has 56 house representative co-sponsors. If your representative has already signed on, you will be prompted to send them a thank you note that encourages them to keep advocating for human and environmental health.

>> Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which is Damaging Children’s Brains. .

Against single-use plastic bags

from Sierra Club., Mass. chapter:

“Regulating the Use of Plastic Checkout Bags:
Background information on laws and bylaws proposing a ban on checkout bags.”

Download pdf here: plastic_bags_massachusetts_2018

Noteworthy quotes:

“…the environmental expense of plastic bags far exceeds the cost retailers are currently paying to provide them….”

“The over 100 billion plastic shopping bags used each year in the United States are made from the estimated equivalent of 439 million gallons of oil….”

Uphold PA’s Environmental Rights Amendment & Act on Climate

Petition at MoveOn. (See similarly from Delaware Riverkeeper Network here. See also
See also The Lorax Project in the Classroom) and Send the Lorax to PA.

To be delivered to Gubernatorial and Legislative Winners of 2018 PA Midterm Election

You will serve during the period climate scientists agree is the last chance we have to act if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. You will also be charged with taking on threats to our water, air, and environment that have harmed our communities and natural resources, in some cases, for years.

Pennsylvania’s constitution contains the strongest environmental rights amendment in the country. Article 1, Section 27 says “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

We call on every newly-elected official and every elected official who returns to Harrisburg in 2019 to fulfill their Constitutional obligation to uphold Article 1, Section 27 by taking aggressive action to address the urgent environmental and climate challenges that confront us and establishing policies that prevent new sources of pollution from entering the Commonwealth.

2,427 signatures. NEW goal – We need 3,000! Sign at at MoveOn