In the Contra Costa County town of Oakley, the restored Dutch Slough wetlands are bordered by housing developments and dairy farms, with Mount Diablo towering in the distance. When completed, the $63 million restoration will be the largest of its kind in California, creating habitat for endangered salmon and other wildlife in a blueprint for how the state can become more resilient to climate change.
The state Department of Water Resources, which leads the Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project, hopes it will be a model for many other restorations, with a goal to restore 30,000 acres of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s original 360,000 acres of wetlands long lost to farms and housing.
At a time when worldwide greenhouse emission-reduction targets aren’t being met, scientists are looking at ways to adapt to global warming; wetland restoration in San Francisco Bay and the sprawling delta holds a key strategy. Wetlands lessen destruction from flooding caused by storms and sea level rise, and also can recharge drought-starved aquifers, since they hold and release water gradually.
They also perform a key role in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it long term.
“You can put carbon in forests, where it can get burned,” said Dennis Baldocchi, professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. “But if you put it in wetlands, it can stay a very long time. The limitation is we have a limited amount of land area we can convert.”
Plastics are of particularly high concern, they said, along with 350,000 synthetic chemicals including pesticides, industrial compounds and antibiotics. Plastic pollution is now found from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, and some toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, are long-lasting and widespread.
In a highly unusual move, Texas’s governor, Greg Abbott, has written to the all-Republican court – half of whose members he appointed – in support of Exxon. He accused the California litigants of attempting “to suppress the speech of eighteen Texas-based energy companies on the subject of climate and energy policies”.
Although Peru’s anchovetas are at risk of being overfished, and the fishery was on the verge of collapse in the early 1970s, the companies responsible face few sanctions.
Climate change has made the region poorer, with almost 50% living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Cyclones have increased migration, whether for seasonal labour or longer-term resettlement.
During the pandemic, women were especially economically hard-hit because many work in industries with disproportionate job losses; others were forced to leave work to care for children and elders. Women collectively lost $800 billion in earnings in 2020, and there are 13 million fewer women in the workforce now than in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit people of color disproportionately hard, the report noted: Through November 2021, in the U.S, Black and Latinx people were about twice as likely to die from the virus than white people. Similarly, during England’s second wave of the pandemic, Bangladeshi people were five times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white Brits. In Brazil, Black people were 1.5 times more likely to die than white people. In the U.S, Black and Latinx people also work disproportionately in industries like the service or domestic sectors, which faced significant job loss, as well as in health care or agriculture, where workers deemed “essential” continued to work on the front lines as others stayed safely home. Millions of Americans received increased unemployment aid and three stimulus checks from the federal government during the pandemic, but undocumented immigrants were barred from this support. “There is no shortage of money... There is only a shortage of courage and imagination needed to break free from the failed, deadly straitjacket of extreme neoliberalism,” Oxfam International’s executive director Gabriela Bucher said in a news release. “Governments would be wise to listen to the movements — the young climate strikers, Black Lives Matter activists, #NiUnaMenos feminists, Indian farmers and others — who are demanding justice and equality.”
“The idea of forcing people to work just 5 days after symptoms start is sociopathic and 100% informed by a culture that accepts sacrificing human lives for profit margins as a fair trade,” the lawmaker wrote. She encouraged followers to lean on and support their communities, and to make decisions not only to protect themselves but those around them.
Good news doesn’t get any more in-your-face than this. One thousand fin whales, one of the world’s biggest animals, were seen last week swimming in the same seas in which they were driven to near-extinction last century due to whaling. It’s like humans never happened.
The resulting slick killed seaweed crops, destroyed fishing grounds and polluted waters over more than 90,000 sq km, an area larger than Tasmania.In March 2021, the federal court ordered the Australian subsidiary PTTEP Australasia (PTTEPAA) to pay Sanda a little over A$34,000 in damages.
Officials feared the potential risk of toxic fumes on workers and residents near the fire, so nearby streets were closed and some residents were evacuated in Passaic, which has a population of about 70,000. Some chlorine tablets had burned by late Friday night, but the fire had not yet reached the main chlorine storage section, said Passaic Mayor Hector Lora. “If the fire were to hit the main chemical plant, it would obviously create issues beyond what our immediate resources would be able to resolve.”
“From the very beginning, from preconception, through early childhood into adolescence, we’re starting to see important impacts of climate hazards on health,” said Prof Gregory Wellenius, who edited the issue with Amelia Wesselink, both at the Boston University school of public health, in the US.“This is a problem that affects everybody, everywhere."
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