Fueling dissent: how the oil industry set out to undercut clean air

On sunny days, when his classmates run out to play, Gabriel Rosales heads to the school nurse for a dose of Albuterol.

The fine mist opens his airways, relaxing the muscles in his chest. Without it, recess could leave the nine-year-old gasping for breath. He gets a second dose at the end of the day before heading home from St John Bosco Elementary School, in San Antonio, Texas.

Over the past year, Gabriel’s asthma has worsened. Visits to the emergency room, shortened trips to the park and reliance on inhalers have become his new norm. “It got to the point where I couldn’t even leave him with anybody,” said his father, Gabe, who works as a consultant to the National Association of Public Employees, a workers’ advocacy group, and a seasonal field director of the Bexar County Democratic Party. “One time he almost looked blue.”

Gabriel’s health is deteriorating alongside air quality in San Antonio, where oil and gas development, a hotter climate and a growing population have combined to spell misery for a city that once boasted clean air compared to other Texas metropolitan areas. Part of the problem lies southeast of the city in the Eagle Ford Shale,a 400-mile-long hub of hydraulic fracturing that unleashes microscopic particles and smog-causing, ground-level ozone.

Read more

The intriguing world of ‘circular design’

We live in a world full of waste but what if the products we used were all repackaged or resold when they needed to be replaced? Welcome to the circular economy.

The circular economy

Waste is a huge problem. In December 2017 plastic in our oceans was dubbed a “planetary crisis” by the UN.

Much of our planet’s waste can be attributed to the abundance of throwaway one-use products. An emerging way for companies to combat waste, and help consumers get the most out of their products, is now referred to as the “circular economy”. Simply put, these are products that stay in use for longer. Then the idea is to “recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life”.

Read more

The Aakar Charitable Trust is a brilliant charity building check dams in a desert area of India

What are check dams?

These structures involve comparatively small masonry constructions and extensive earthen bunds. They are most effective in hilly terrain where the whole hill range can be used catchment for the reservoir. They have all the advantages of the large dams and none of the disadvantages, such as displacement and rehabilitation of people, huge unutilized dead storage of water, water logging, risk of breach causing extensive damage to life and property etc. They are cost effective and bestow tremendous bounty upon the land and its people.

Major Achievements of the Trust 

Details of all other achievements

The Trust has worked tirelessly over the last decade with villages in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to build check dams that have transformed the lives of villagers. Along with this it has worked on building awareness, gardens in Mumbai, and drinking water kunds in villages.

Below are listed some of the most significant achievements of the trust

  • From 2006 to 2011 the Trust has constructed more than 100 medium size check dams at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crores ($500,000) which have given villagers a net income of Rs 51 Crores ($10 million) in one crop.  Their income has increased 2000% and the geography and economy of the areas have been transformed.   From water deficient, they have become water surplus.  These large to medium water harvesting structures consisted of  earthen bunds and cement masonry work acting as still weir in Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
  • Also, constructed are 200 drinking water Kunds in Ramgarh and Churu Collecting 1 crore liters of pure drinking water.
  • Soil & water conservation Awareness Programs
  • Renovated existing water harvesting structures.
  • Developed a herbal garden with water harvesting near Hanging Garden in Mumbai which is widely acclaimed and used for Nature Trails by students.
  • Working for the development of people belonging to the schedule Tribes in Dantevada District.  This is one of the most backward areas of Chhattisgarh.
  • Given Aakar Jal Puraskar of Rs.1,00,000/-  yearly for “Best Water Harvesting Project” to organizations / Individual in Maharashtra for three years.

Visit the website here

This is a huge success story! EU announces €9bn in funding for climate action

EU funds will be focused on clean energy, and sustainable cities and agriculture, with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also pledging $300m towards climate adaptation

The European commission has announced funding of €9bn (£8bn) for action on climate change, one of a flurry of measures from governments, businesses and investors aimed at achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement.

The EU funds will form part of the bloc’s External Investment Plan, and will be focused on sustainable cities, clean energy and sustainable agriculture. The announcement was made at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday, held to mark the second anniversary of the landmark 2015 pact.

French president Emmanuel Macron hailed the progress made at the event and said it was possible to create alternatives to the fossil-fuel driven economy, but that more effort was needed globally.

Read more

Warmer Arctic is the ‘new normal’

A warming, rapidly changing Arctic is the “new normal” and shows no signs of returning to the reliably frozen region of the past.

This is according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic Report Card.

Director of the administration’s Arctic Researcher Program, Dr Jeremy Mathis, said the region did a great service to the planet – acting as a refrigerator.

“We’ve now left that refrigerator door open,” he added.

Dr Mathis was speaking at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans, where Noaa presented its annual summation of Arctic science.

Read more

How big oil is tightening its grip on Donald Trump’s White House

The oil industry has stalled action on climate change from the inside and sold America on fossil fuels – and its influence goes back further than people realize

When Rick Perry was interrupted by climate-change protesters during his address to the National Petroleum Council in late September, the energy secretary was ready with a retort.

“You want to talk about something that saves lives? It’s the access to energy around the globe,” Perry said, countering a woman worried about deadly hurricanes and a man whose hometown is being submerged by the rising Philippine Sea. “I am proud to be a part of this industry. I am proud to be an American.”

‘No shame’: how the Trump administration granted big oil’s wishlist

The EPA has fulfilled almost all major demands made by the American Petroleum Institute within its first year under Trump

The Trump administration’s zeal for environmental rollbacks has enabled it to fulfill almost all of the top priorities in a “wishlist” drawn up by the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading lobby group for US oil and gas companies.


This comes as the Guardian and the Center for Public Integrity publish an investigation into the way the oil lobby has worked for decades to influence US government policy – and is tightening its hold.

Read more