Fossil Fuel Air Pollution Kills One in Five

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

Summary by Mel Barnard

EcoRing is passionate about being outdoors and appreciating the natural beauty around us. Part of eco-tourism is keeping the air outdoors clean and healthy. New research from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows that air pollution from fossil fuels is responsible for nearly one in five deaths worldwide. Burning fossil fuels causes human exposure to fine particulate matter. This fine matter killed about 8.7 million deaths globally in 2018, about the same number of people living in New York City — making it more lethal than HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Not included in that number is the deaths caused by long-term exposure to smog.

The highest toll of deaths from air pollution come from China and India, but we see hard-hit areas in high urban areas in the US Northeast and Midwest. Air pollution can be a silent killer, and one we don’t think about that often. It is important to reduce our harm by decreasing our fossil fuel emissions and its subsequent particulate dispersal so our outdoors stay clean.

Read more here.

Ad Agencies Step Away From Oil and Gas

Photo by Charlie Hang on Unsplash

Summary by Mel Barnard

Oil and Gas advertisements are becoming more and more untenable to the public. Literal weeks after Chevron released a commercial that boasted about their ‘ever-cleaner energy’, a refinery of theirs leaked 600 gallons of petroleum and water into the San Francisco Bay. Greenpeace USA and other environmental groups filed a complaint against Chevron with the Federal Trade Commission. According to the complaint, Chevron has consistently misrepresented its image to appear, “climate-friendly and racial justice-oriented, while its business operations overwhelmingly rely on climate-polluting fossil fuels, which disproportionately harm communities of color.”

As a result of these complaints and similar critiques across the industry, ad agencies are being forced to step away from fossil fuel clientele. This is from pressure from environmental advocates all over the world, from pushback against team sponsorships to putting climate warning labels on street ads. Democratic officials have filed lawsuits over the past 18 months in 6 different states to accuse Exxon of deceiving the public about climate change.

Oil and gas companies still wield a tremendous amount of power and the allure of a good paycheck keeps many advertisers on their side. However, there is hope that the moral pulse of environmental advocacy will move advertisers away from fossil fuel completely.

Catch rain-what now?

Photo by Pedro Ramos on Unsplash

BlueBarrel is hosting the Sonoma-Marin Eco-Friendly Garden Tour online this year. The virtual trip begins Saturday, May 15 at 10am PST and will teach a number of water-conversation tips. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Rainwater Catchment Systems
  • Greywater Systems
  • Smart Irrigation Controllers
  • Drip Irrigation Systems
  • Lawn Conversions
  • Sheet Mulching
  • Water-Wise Plant Selection

BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment Systems provides user-friendly DIY kits for multi-barrel rainwater collection systems using recycled products. Having a system to catch rainwater allows for more sustainable living— protects your local watershed, makes your garden more resilient in the face of natural disasters, recharges groundwater, reduces carbon footprint, maintains healthy soils, and more.

Sign up for the free virtual garden tour here:

Looking Back at Women’s History…

By Mel Barnard

Bicycles were invented in the early 19th century and designed with men in mind. The bike garnered attention as a masculine activity because women couldn’t ride bikes sidesaddle, as they did in the proper feminine way of horse-riding. However, the invention of the “safety bicycle” made for an easier time riding. Some women were able to take advantage of this change and used bicycles as a way to transport themselves around without a chaperone, exercise freely in public, and get places quick. This led to changes in clothing since dresses got caught in the gears, which further fueled bicycles as a symbol of feminist action, particularly the suffragette movement.

Since then, however, the bicycle has remained a largely male-dominated activity. The numbers vary based on location, but in San Francisco, twice as many men commuted by bike compared to women. Surveys into the phenomenon generally agree: cycling, particularly on roads, feels intimidating and unsafe. Women are more generally more risk averse and are driven away from the activity because of that danger.

Want to learn what we can do to change this? View our most recent newsletter here, and sign up to get them in the future on the main page of our site!

Bikes and Bills—Stay Up to Date on Legislation!

By Mel Barnard

The Marin County Bicycle Coalition has put together a legislative round-up on state and federal level bills that would directly affect current and future bicyclists if passed.

  • AB 117 is a state level bill that would set aside $10 million for electric bicycle subsidies. Likely some of this funding would be targeted at low and moderate income families.
  • AB 122 is another state level bill that will allow bicyclists to treat stop signs more as a “yield”, to reflect practical biking concerns. Similar laws in other states have led to no increase in bike rider involved crashes.
  • AB 550 would work on the state level to introduce automated tolling for speeding. This would bypass expensive and flawed police officer enforcement. It would also include provisions to ban facial recognition, cap fines, etc. to avoid abuse.
  • The E-Bike Act would be enacted on the federal level to subsidize e-bikes by creating a refundable tax credit of up to 30% of their bike’s purchase price.

Learn more and how to take action on the Marin County Bicycle Coalition’s site! If you are looking for a way to get involved, advocating for this legislation is an excellent way to push for positive change.