Many low income or minority groups have learned to raise their voices and stand up against the discriminatory locating of hazardous waste sites, polluting factories and other sources of bad air quality and compromised waterways and soils. Pictured: an environmental justice rally in the Rogers-Eubanks community of North Carolina.
Dear EarthTalk: I understand that the “environmental justice” movement seeks to protect the poor and non-white communities from being unfairly targeted to host activities like sewage treatment plants, landfills and polluting factories. Have there been notable victories? -- P. Silver, Peekskill, NY
Some studies show organic foods to be no healthier and only marginally safer with regard to individual exposure to pesticides than non-organic foods. Nonetheless, choosing organic is a wise "better safe than sorry" strategy which also reduces pollution and conserves water and soil quality.
Many of the world’s fisheries are in crisis today due to years of overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, some of the most popular fish -- including cod (pictured here), snapper and tuna, are dangerously depleted yet continue to be overfished.
Dear EarthTalk: I understand that many of the world’s fisheries are on the brink of collapse, “fished out,” to put it bluntly. How did this happen and what is being done about it?-- Mariel LaPlante, New Orleans, LA
Dear EarthTalk: What is “biomass” and why is it controversial as a potential source of energy?-- Edward White, New Bedford, MA
Biomass is plant matter that is burned as a source of energy. Fallen or cut wood that is burned for heat is one primary form of biomass, but another includes plant or animal matter that is converted into biofuels.
Pets ingest pollutants and pesticide residues and breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants just like children do -- and since they develop and age seven or more times faster than children, pets develop health problems from exposures much faster.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that CO2 emitted by jets can survive in the atmosphere for upwards of 100 years, and that its combination with other gas and particulate emissions could have double or four times the warming effect as CO2 emissions alone.
For nearly a decade, New Hampshire has been seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from oil companies over the chemical additive MTBE, which the state says caused contamination in the state’s groundwater. The legal proceedings originally involved 26 oil companies; as trial began this week, there were just two left, ExxonMobil and Citgo, and now there may be just one.