What About Pollution

What are YOU going to Do!

Environmental Justice’

Burden of the Boom: Who Will Pay the Price for Fracking in California?

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, Scientist, San Francisco From polluted skies to contaminated drinking water and hazardous waste, communities of color in California get way more than their fair share.  If the oil and gas industry gets their way, drilling – and the environmental and health threats from fracking, acidizing, and other technologies – will be piled onto communities already staggering under smoggy skies and unsafe water. In our new analysis of the more than 84,000 oil and gas wells in California, we found that 5.4 million people live within a mile of one or more of these wells. And more than a third (or 1.8 million) also live in communities ranked as the most threatened by pollution by the California Environmental… Read More

USAID Needs to Bring Together Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation with Fresh Water Conservation and Climate Resilience in Development Assistance

Elizabeth Shope, Advocate, Washington, D.C. It’s surprising that in the 21st Century, nearly 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people –more than one-third of the world’s population—don’t have an adequate place to go the bathroom. This is so, despite decades of work and dedicating substantial resources to reduce severe poverty, including the lack of safe drinking water and safe sanitation faced by billions of people. I am the author of an issue brief published by the Natural Resources Defense Council today, Connecting Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene with Fresh Water Conservation and Climate Resilience: The Need to Facilitate Integration in Development Assistance, making the case that development projects intended to help these vulnerable populations… Read More

Reading, Writing, and …Toxic Pesticides?

Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, Scientist, San Francisco Parents worry about plenty of things when they send their kids to school: first- day jitters, making friends, bullying … But exposure to toxic chemicals isn’t usually on the list of “back to school” worries. Perhaps it should be, though. Each year thousands of California kids are exposed to a pesticide that can make it harder to learn. In fact, more than 430 schools are in harm’s way, according to data compiled by the California Department of Public Health. These schools are located right next to fields sprayed with chlorpyrifos (try teaching your kids to spell and pronounce that one!) – a pesticide that’s known to be highly toxic to the nervous system and… Read More

California Misses Opportunity to Swap a Full Nuclear Plant for Clean Energy

Sierra Martinez, Legal Director, California Energy Projects, San Francisco Ever since California’s giant nuclear plant shut down two years ago due to malfunctions and poor economics of revival, state regulators and politicians have been wrestling with the question of: How much clean energy can we use to replace that old nuclear plant? Unfortunately, a decision issued today indicates the answer will be: Not as much as those breathing the polluted air in Southern California need. Earlier this year, the state commission that deals with this exact issue released a plan showing that potentially the whole San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station could be changed out and replaced with clean energy alternatives – like the pollution-free energy from solar panels or wind… Read More

The Human Being as Unwitting Research Object for Industrial Chemistry

Jennifer Sass, Senior Scientist, Washington, D.C. There are a few excellent movies that are well-worth viewing if you are interested in the connection between environmental pollution and human health. I’ve written a blog about Unacceptable Levels highlighting its excellent use of scientific experts and knowledgeable professionals to document the overwhelming amount of toxic and untested industrial chemicals in our air, water, and consumer products. I hope you get a chance to see it! Another movie – The Human Experiment – tells a similar story, emphasizing the power of community citizens groups and health impacted communities to identify critical links between pollution and health, and bring them to the public and political consciousness. I found it to be a very… Read More

One in five Americans Living in High Traffic Pollution Areas

Diane Bailey, Senior Scientist, San Francisco A new study came out showing that 19 percent of people in the U.S. live close to high traffic roadways and likely face elevated air pollution levels—and the public health problems that come with that–as a result. According to the study, 60 million people could face greater risk of asthma, cancer and other health hazards because they live within roughly 1500 feet, or a quarter mile,of a busy road.  In California up to 40% of people face these elevated risks.  The paper also confirms our longstanding concerns about environmental injustice: Communities of color and low income communities continue to bear a disproportionately large burden of air pollution, especially from diesel trucks and traffic.… Read More

Protecting the Environment By Reducing Regulatory Burden

David Goldstein, Energy Program Co-Director, San Francisco Protecting the environment often requires reforming how business is regulated by government. In some cases, this requires increased regulation. But this blog describes a major example of how it can go the other way. We all want smarter land use and transportation planning that can provide more affordable housing, offer choices in transportation and housing that are not widely available today, and reduce the costs and environmental impacts of transportation. NRDC wants to minimize the need to rely on cars by offering options for walking, transit, and biking that are convenient and affordable. Consumers would prefer the option to live in places where personal transportation costs a lot less than its current level… Read More