In today's On the News segment: The next report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due at the end of March, and we shouldn't expect good news; there's a new reason to put down that soft drink; the so-called mainstream media is finally reporting on radiation from Fukushima hitting the North American coast; and more.
Jim Javinsky here – in for Thom Hartmann - on the best of the rest of....science & green News.....
You need to know this. The next report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due at the end of March, and according to the Associated Press, we shouldn't expect good news. The AP summarized a draft version of the IPCC's "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability" report, and they boiled it down to the fact that we are not prepared. The AP said that the report warned that "starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war, and disease [are] likely to worsen as the world warms from man-made climate change." Chris Field, a co-chair of the working group drafting the IPCC report, said that we are simply not ready for the extreme weather we will experience. He said, "I think if you look around the world at the damages that have been sustained in a wide range of climate-related events, it's very clear [that] we're not prepared for the kinds of events we're already seeing." In other words, we are not even ready for the extreme droughts, floods, and super storms that are already occurring, and we're not doing enough to prepare for the fact that these events will only get worse. The last report from the IPCC warned that our window for impacting climate change is rapidly closing, but it has not shut yet. Our world must prepare for the extreme events of today and of the future. And, we have to act fast, and fight hard, to prevent our planet from getting even hotter.
There's a new reason to put down that soft drink. In addition to causing weight gain and other health issues, canned beverages may be exposing your baby to cancer. A new study by doctors at the University of Illinois found that fetal exposure to a chemical called BPA makes men more susceptible to prostate cancer. That chemical acts like estrogen in the body, and it's commonly found in plastics and canned food and drinks. This is not the first study to document the dangers of BPA, and many plastic companies have already removed it from their products. However, the chemical is still being used to make food cans, beverage cans, paper receipts, and even dental sealants. So, you may want to think twice before picking up that next can of soda.
The so-called mainstream media is finally reporting on radiation from Fukushima hitting the North American coast. Well, according to RadCast.org, this is not new news, and we're still not being given complete information. High levels of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 started leaking into the ocean in March of 2011, and those leaks have never completely stopped. Despite the obvious danger to human health and our environment, no government agencies have been assigned to monitor radiation levels in our oceans. Officials maintain that radiation levels in ocean water are still well below what is considered safe, but they are not warning the public that radiation can accumulate to much higher levels in the fish and seaweed that we eat. Over a year ago, scientists at Stoney Brook University and Stanford found high levels of radiation in Bluefin Tuna off the coast of California. By now, our seafood is likely even more contaminated. This radiation has been in our water, and in our food, but our media and our government has simply pretended that it isn't. Check out RadCast.org for the real news about nuclear.
Pesticides are killing farmers around the world. A new study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health says there's a connection between Monsanto's Roundup weed killer and a fatal chronic kidney disease epidemic. GreenMedInfo is reporting that this illness has affected many poor farming areas across the planet. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last five years, this kidney disease has killed more people just in El Salvador and Nicaragua than diabetes, AIDS and leukemia combined. The disease was first seen at rice paddy farms in Northern Central Province of Sri Lanka in the mid-1990s, however, it has rapidly spread to farming areas throughout the world. According to this study, kidney disease is responsible for at least 20,000 deaths in Sri Lanka, which means the world-wide impact of this poison could be astronomical. If we know that Monsanto's poisonous chemical is killing people, why aren't we doing something to stop it? And, why are we even considering allowing the use even stronger pesticides?
And finally... California is standing up for our right to know what's in our food. State Senator Noreen Evans has introduced a GMO labeling bill in her state, and she hopes that her effort will bring new life to this important issue. Senator Evans says her bill is more simple than Prop 37, an earlier effort to require GMO labeling. Voters blocked that measure back in 2012, although many labeling advocates point to outside spending as the reason for Prop 37's defeat. This new legislation would require genetically engineered foods to be labeled, however it would allow food using GMO ingredients to specify that they are only "partially produced with Genetic Engineering." In addition, Senator Evans' bill would protect retailers who sell items that may be mislabeled. Everyone should have a right to know what they are really eating. Hopefully voters won't be swayed by outside groups this time around.
I'm Jim Javinsky – in for Thom Hartmann, and that's the way it is in Science & Green News for the week of March 3, 2014.