Charge your iPod, kill a polar bear? The choice might not be quite that stark, but an energy watchdog is alarmed about the threat to the environment from the soaring electricity needs of gadgets like MP3 players, mobile phones and flat screen TVs.
The Obama administration will retain a Bush-era rule for polar bears, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Friday, in a move that angered activists who noted the rule limits what can be done to protect the species from global warming.
The species law that affords protection for plants, animals and fish that face possible extinction became entangled with the need to reduce pollution linked to global warming more than a year ago. The Interior Department during the Bush administration declared the polar bear a threatened species, citing the decline of Arctic sea ice due to global warming.
People in 34 states who live near 210 coal ash lagoons or landfills with inadequate lining have a higher risk of cancer and other diseases from contaminants in their drinking water, two environmental groups reported on Thursday.
Twenty-one states have five or more of the high-risk disposal sites near coal-fired power plants. The groups -- the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice -- said that a 2002 Environmental Protection Agency document that the agency didn't release until March of this year adds information about toxic releases from these facilities to nearby water systems and data on how some contaminants accumulate in fish and deer and can harm the health of people who hunt and fish.
The US has the fastest growing population of any industrial nation, and one of the world's highest consumption rates. Water, topsoil, forests, fish, petroleum...the more of us, the more pressure we exert on our environment. Many discuss our personal consumption patterns, but few dare talk about the underlying crisis of population growth.
While pharmaceuticals may often be lifesavers, they are also the product of a massive global industry that manufactures compounds that can interfere, in myriad and unintended ways, with complex biological functions. They are often designed to break down slowly and have yet-unknown consequences to the environment. As a new Government report points out, they also contribute significantly to global warming: NHS drug-purchasing alone is responsible for millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre of the world's oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. Worse still, there seems to be nothing we can do to clean it up. So how do we turn the tide?
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