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Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Man, Nature, and Climate Change
By Elizabeth Kolbert
On the burgeoning shelf of cautionary but occasionally alarmist books warning about the consequences of dramatic climate change, Kolbert's calmly persuasive reporting stands out for its sobering clarity. Expanding on a three-part series for the New Yorker, Kolbert (The Prophet of Love) lets facts rather than polemics tell the story: in essence, it's that Earth is now nearly as warm as it has been at any time in the last 420,000 years and is on the precipice of an unprecedented "climate regime, one with which modern humans have had no prior experience." An inexorable increase in the world's average temperature means that butterflies, which typically restrict themselves to well-defined climate zones, are now flitting where they've never been found before; that nearly every major glacier in the world is melting rapidly; and that the prescient Dutch are already preparing to let rising oceans reclaim some of their land. In her most pointed chapter, Kolbert chides the U.S. for refusing to sign on to the Kyoto Accord. In her most upbeat chapter, Kolbert singles out Burlington, Vt., for its impressive energy-saving campaign, which ought to be a model for the rest of the nation—just as this unbiased overview is a model for writing about an urgent environmental crisis. (Mar. 14)
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Toxic Chemicals in Our Food System
What chemicals are in the food we eat? Chemicals are used in every step of the process that puts food on our table: production, harvesting, processing, packing, transport, marketing and consumption and can be dangerous to our health. Read more »
Fracking: Harm on the Farm
Chemical exposures that harm farm animals and wild animals raise concern about health risks for people living near fracking sites, as the animals use the same water and breathe the same air as humans. Another, indirect concern for human health also exists: in multiple known cases of chemical exposure, cows continued to produce dairy and meat for human consumption, although it remained untested for chemical contaminants. Read more »
Fracking and Water Contamination
Hydraulic fracturing combines water with an array of chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic, endocrine-disruptive, or otherwise toxic. The result is the contamination of huge quantities of water, with potential immediate and long-term threats to health. Read more »
In the Spotlight
June 19, 2014
Webinar: Health and Hydraulic Fracturing
Thursday, June 19th at 8 pm ET, join us for part 3: Health Impacts Reported by Families Residing near Hydro Fracking Operations with Poune Saberi, MD, MPH.