Heat can hurt, warned UCLA Assistant Professor of Public Policy Dr. R. Jisung Park in a Twitter thread last month. “In unexpected ways, even indoors,” Park emphasized along with images highlighting the data that supported his assertions. Millions of Americans suffered through a scorching heat wave that punished the Pacific Northwest from late June to mid July, 2021. The staggering temperature highs jolted mayors and governors across five states. “Hotter temperature increases workplace injuries significantly,” Park stated point blank in one tweet.Continue reading “Top Tips for Staying Alive While Working In the Heat”
With the world in the grip of a pandemic, everyone wants something to make life less troublesome. Plastic bags make carrying things much easier. More items can be carried, which means you can avoid going back to your car in the rain or marching through the snow to retrieve that one last item. If only it were so simple. If only we did not have to worry about the environment.
On March 1, 2020, New York state’s ban on plastic bags became law. This means any entity authorized to collect sales taxes cannot distribute plastic bags. Failure to follow this law subjects the entity to up to a fine of up to five-hundred dollars per incident. The State of New York created the ban for good reason. Prior to the ban, New York State produced on average twenty-three billion bags per year, which filled already overflowing landfills, snagged recycling sorters, and wreaked havoc with birds to name just a few problems.
New York is not the only state that passed such a ban. Eight other states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Vermont) have passed similar laws.
Of course, not all states have such rules, and these states still produce millions of plastic bags. It does raise the question: can lawsuits force other states to ban plastic bags?
Maybe. It is probably a state by state process unless Congress passes a statute under, for example, the Interstate Commerce Clause, that says plastic bags somehow affect interstate commerce. That may sound far fetched, but it is not. The Interstate Commerce Clause allowed Congress to pass much of the civil rights legislation, and it is quite a big stick to bludgeon states into submission. Whether Congress wants to take this up remains doubtful.
In states that have the plastic bans, the bans are not absolute. New York has some restrictions. Most notably restaurants that offer takeout food, which in the age of COVID-19, can create many plastic bags, are exempt. Although it is likely not “an exception that swallows the rule,” this limitation still creates a problem when so many more people are getting takeout and likely will for the foreseeable future as virus numbers explode.
But what about other plastic or rubber?
Rubber glove use during the pandemic harms the environment, and there is no end in sight. While banning plastic bags everywhere will help, it will not solve all issues. It should still be done, however.
More needs to be done because bags are not the only problem:
While plastic bags certainly make things easier to carry, their burdens to the environment certainly outweigh their benefits. The extent to which lawsuits or Congressional action will limit their use remains unknown. People should count on neither. It really is about personal choices, which must also be made with respect to other items people use. Over time it can all add up to pollution, death, and, as we have seen with COVID-19, a pandemic.
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Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 4, 2020
by Noreen Wise
There was a glimmer of hope on Friday when Bloomberg News reported that fossil fuels have been hammered by covid-19 and are experiencing a projected 9% decline in 2020, while renewable energies are surging ahead, tracking at an increase of 1% this year, despite the economy being rocked by 30 million layoffs. Covid-19 has resulted in quick transformations in key areas of our lives — education and work from home to name two. Let’s not stop there. Covid is the ideal opportunity to take advantage of the change momentum and leap into renewable energy solutions for municipalities, homes and businesses.
In addition to wind and solar, wave energy is an emerging renewable solution. Wave energy has proven to be an excellent way to flip around the disadvantages of rising sea levels and the devastating impact on coastal communities, and harness this powerful force by turning it into a renewable alternative. According to Smart Energy International, China just launched the largest wind energy turbine in the world in Wuhan, during covid-19 no less.
In the United States, Oregon is out in front on wave energy. According to Oregon Public broadcasting, a Portland industrial company, Vigor, created the very first “wave energy convertor, called the OE35 buoy” that will be tested in Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii for 12 months. Vigor has been involved in wave energy for a decade, so let’s keep our eyes on them in the upcoming months.
The American coastline is massive, it’s one of our greatest natural resources. In fact, it’s estimated that 64% of America’s energy can be powered by ocean waves.
A quick search on Twitter indicates there isn’t much conversation about the exciting potential of wave power. But if China is jumping in this boldly and aggressively, America should definitely take note. Besides, there’s something comforting about turning a negative into a positive, and harnessing these big giant blue waves. Waves that have been crushing us ever since Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, and use their powerful force to destroy carbon instead, dramatically curbing global warming and calming the raging forces of climate change. 🌊
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