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Weekly Environmental Updates
The historic raging wildfires in California have been deadly and challenging to control for multiple reasons. Wind, heat, and drought have all contributed to the spread of the fires. A growing population that built homes in high-risk areas is also a factor.
The President's new nominee to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality is an acknowledged climate change skeptic who would be in charge of promoting improvement of the environment if appointed. Nominee Kathleen Hartnett White told the Washington Post that carbon dioxide cannot harm human health as it has none of the characteristics of a pollutant. She has also written that fossil fuels have not contributed to environmental degradation and has suggested that the sun has may be impacting on the climate.
Ginko trees continue to be popular despite the stench of the berries of the female which permeate the air every fall. Ginkgos, which can can tolerate soil compaction, disease, pests, and reportedly even a nuclear blast, can live for hundreds of years in an urban environment where the average life expectancy for a tree is only ten years. Planting only male trees does not solve the problem of the smelly berries as ginkgos have the ability to spontaneously change sex.
Sustainable alternatives to resource-intensive natural fibers like cotton are on the horizon. Hemp and stinging nettle fibers, fibers made from coffee grounds, a fabric made from pineapple leaves, and fibers made from the stems of banana trees can all be used to produce clothing with less impact on the environment. Commercial viability and the practicality of large scale production have yet to be determined.
A "fatberg"... a massive lump of congealed grease, fat, wet wipes, and other waste that doesn't break down is being blamed for blocking a Baltimore sewer, causing severe overflows. Other major cities, such as London and New York have experienced similar blockages. Residents are being asked not to dispose of fat, grease, sanitary wipes, and other products that cannot be processed by city sewer systems.
Michigan farmers are awash in corn and soybeans to the extent that they don't know where to store it all. Advances in biotechnology that have made the crops more resilient to pests and weather have increased corn stocks by 26 percent and soybean stocks are up 20 perecent. With prices dropping, farmers are trying to hang on to their surplus until prices rise, but can typically only store 30-40 percent of their yields.
Roman Hills