In today's On the News segment: The President announces plans to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030; despite silence from the corporate media, Fukushima is still a disaster; according to the National Institute of Health, most Americans spend about eight hours a day sitting down; and more.
Thom Hartmann here - on the best of the rest of....science & green news.....
You need to know this. Last week, the President announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. That plan could be one of the strongest actions our nation has ever taken to fight climate change, and it will put us on track to meet environmental targets established in a 2009 United Nations accord. In addition to fighting global warming, this plan will protect millions of people from harmful pollution, and it can create a ton of new American jobs. According to research from the Natural Resources Defense Council and ICF International, by 2020, higher carbon standards could spur the creation of 274,000 jobs, and save homes and business almost $40 billion dollars on their electric bills. Investments in energy efficiency alone could save our nation $13 billion dollars a year, which works out to more than $100 dollars per household. According to this report, most of the new jobs would occur in the construction industry, thanks to demand for more roofers, carpenters, electricians, insulation workers, and heating and air condition installers. The founder of NextGen, Tom Steyer, said, "The Administration's plan to end this carbon pollution loophole will establish a level playing field for advanced energy solutions that are cleaner, affordable, and more secure. Now, more than ever, the United States must be a global leader in addressing climate change." The President's plan is a great step toward being that global leader. Our nation has the power to reduce pollution, fight global warming, and create a heck of a lot of jobs in the process. Big oil and the Republicans are going to fight this plan tooth and nail, but we must fight even harder to protect our planet.
Despite silence from the corporate media, Fukushima is still a disaster. The situation at that crippled nuclear power plant in Japan is still extremely volatile, and officials at the plant appear to be guessing about how to get radiation under control. According to an article by Harvey Wasserman over at TruthDig, Tepco has finally won approval to build a giant underground ice wall to contain radiation. However, no one has ever constructed a similar project, it may take as long as two years to complete, and there is widespread skepticism on whether this idea will even make a difference. In the meantime, young people living around Fukushima are being diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 40 times the normal rate, and health experts say that is "just the beginning." The 2011 disaster woke up the people of Japan, and so far they've demanded that every commercial nuclear reactor remain shut down. However, here in the United States, we're not only ignoring the ongoing disaster in Japan, we're going to build new nuclear plants. It's time to wake up, demand the truth about Fukushima, and time to say "No Nukes!" once and for all.
According to the National Institute of Health, most Americans spend about eight hours a day sitting down. All that time engaged in what scientists call "sedentary behavior" is a serious risk to our health. The experts explained that sitting down all day can increase our risk of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and other issues. While a fair amount of this time is spent stuck in a car or on a couch at home, most of these hours are spent at the office, behind a desk. When we're at home, we can easily walk around, but when we're at work, it's not always easy to get up and move. Many Americans are opting for stand-up desks to avoid long hours without much movement. By moving even small amounts throughout the day, we can burn more calories, decrease health risks, and keep our blood circulation flowing. Whether it's standing up or taking short breaks to walk around, the important point is that we keep moving. So, in the words of First Lady Michelle Obama – Let's move.
Activists, environmental groups, and various communities have fought hard against Canadian tar sands. However, they're also bringing that fight to a strip mine right here in the United States. The new tar sands project is expected to begin soon in Book Cliffs, Utah, and local members of the community are trying desperately to stop it. Last week, local activists set up a permanent protest vigil within the boundaries of the planned strip mine site, and they've vowed to stay put until construction of the tar sands project is halted completely. The tar sands development in Canada has poisoned drinking water, devastated the surrounding environment, and it releases more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than any oil and gas project on Earth. Utah residents don't want more than 30,000 acres of their state to have the same fate. This project also poses a major threat to the Colorado River Basin, which supplies drinking water to 20 million people. We should all hope that these brave protesters succeed in their efforts to block the Utah tar sands.
And finally... Today's movie-goers are pretty demanding. They want believable story lines, even when it comes to their monster movies. So, the creators of the latest Godzilla movie had to come up with a way to explain where the giant, radiation-breathing lizard could hide out from humans – and they used science to come up with a location for his hiding spot. With the help of geologists at the University of New Hampshire, the movie's creators determined that the giant lizard would have plenty of room to live in the world's deepest ocean trench without ever being detected. The Mariana Trench is almost seven miles deep, which means the monster could hide out there with no problem. However, with pressure of eight tons per square inch and near-freezing temperatures, Godzilla would have to be pretty tough to make the Mariana Trench his home. Considering that scientists have explored most of the Mariana Trench, we're probably safe from giant, radioactive monsters. However, the cold, choppy seas in the Kuril Trench near Russia have prevented much exploration, so who knows what may be hiding out over there.