Webinar: Stepping Out: Early Childhood Education for Earth Day & Beyond

Mar 7, 2023, 4 pm CST
Register here.

How do you create fun, authentic outdoor learning experiences for the littlest learners in your life? In this webinar, co-hosted by Project Learning Tree, the presenters will explore activities from PLT’s newest resource for parents and educators of young children, Trees & Me.

Two Project Learning Tree facilitators will demonstrate activities from Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children.

Each activity is designed so it’s easy to recreate in your setting, whether you are an experienced nature-based educator or stepping outside with students for the first time. Activities are connected to early learning standards as well as NAEYC and Head Start.

Environmental justice is a growing operational factor. How are federal and state agencies defining it?

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

From the U.S. EPA to the state level, legal language varies around communities considered to be in environmental justice or disadvantaged areas. The concept is universal, but implications can vary.

Republicans in the US ‘battery belt’ embrace Biden’s climate spending

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Georgia, a state once known for its peaches and peanuts, is rapidly becoming a crucible of clean energy technology in the US, leading a pack of Republican-led states enjoying a boom in renewables investment that has been accelerated by Joe Biden’s climate agenda.

Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August, billions of dollars of new clean energy investment has been announced for solar, electric vehicle and battery manufacturing in Georgia, pushing it to the forefront of a swathe of southern states that are becoming a so-called “battery belt” in the economic transition away from fossil fuels…

Georgia is part of a pattern where Republican-headed states have claimed the lion’s share of new renewable energy and electric vehicle activity since the legislation, with Republican-held Congressional districts hosting more than 80% of all utility-scale wind or solar farms and battery projects currently in advanced development, according to an analysis by American Clean Power.

States blessed with plentiful wind and sunshine, along with significant rural and industrial communities, such as those across the Great Plains and the south, appear best positioned to capitalize on the climate bill. Texas, already a bastion of wind power, could see $131bn in IRA-linked investment this decade, Florida may see $62bn and Georgia $16bn, according to an RMI analysis.

EV charging infrastructure is ‘inadequate and plagued with non-functioning stations’: J.D. Power

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

As sales of electric vehicles continue to grow, inoperable and poorly maintained public charging stations increasingly frustrate drivers, according to an ongoing study by J.D. Power, the consumer data analysis firm known for its automobile quality and dependability studies. Charge point unreliability has increased 50% from 2021 to January 2023, according to data provided by Brent Gruber, executive director of J.D Power’s electric vehicle practice, from 14% to 21%. 

Experts weigh in on potential health hazards posed by chemicals in Ohio train derailment

Read the full story at Stat.

It’s been more than two weeks since a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, spilling chemicals onto the ground and into waterways, and releasing them into the air as damaged cars burst into flames. A few days later, on Feb. 6, officials intentionally released vinyl chloride gas from five train cars and burned it in order to avoid an explosion.

Many questions have since been raised about toxic exposures sustained by humans and wildlife — not just in East Palestine, with its 4,700 residents, but along the Ohio River and farther north. The New Republic reported that residents endured burning and itchy eyes, sore throat, rash, and migraines in the aftermath of the train derailment. Around 3,500 fish have reportedly died in local waterways, and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced that chemicals had been found in the Ohio River in the northern panhandle of the state.

Here’s a look at what we know so far about the potential hazards of air, soil, and water contamination stemming from the train derailment, and what experts say about the chemicals’ possible long-term risks to health.

How widespread are these toxic chemicals? They’re everywhere.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Polar bears in the Arctic and plankton in the Pacific. Cardinals in Atlanta and crocodiles in South Africa.

While concern about PFAS compounds, also known as “forever chemicals” because they break down very slowly, has largely focused on people, the pollutants have also been detected in wildlife. Now, a review of research made public on Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization that focuses on environmental safety, shows PFAS turning up in hundreds of wild animal species around the world.

In people, some of these chemicals are linked to cancers, developmental issues, reduced immune function, hormonal interference and heightened cholesterol. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency found there was virtually no safe level in humans for two of the most widely used PFAS chemicals and proposed designating them as hazardous.

To get a sense of contamination in wildlife, researchers at the Environmental Working Group reviewed more than a hundred studies and created a map from their survey.

Biden to require EV chargers to be universal for federal funds, expects Tesla to open some chargers

Read the full story at The Hill.

The Biden administration on Wednesday is announcing new requirements for electric vehicle chargers that receive federal funds, including limiting funds to chargers that can serve electric vehicles regardless of brand.

This requirement is expected to push Tesla in particular away from chargers that only serve its own vehicles. White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu told reporters Tuesday that he expects Tesla to open a portion of its chargers, making at least 7,500 chargers available to all electric vehicles by the end of 2024. 

Landrieu said the new stipulation is part of an effort to build a network of chargers that “will work for everyone, everywhere, no matter what type of car or state they’re in.”

WE ACT addresses inequity for BIPOC communities in Justice40 Initiative memo

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

In a memo to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), WE ACT for Environmental Justice called out a racially disproportionate increase in communities added to the 1.0 version of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST). The screening tool, a searchable geospatial map of U.S. states and territories, will help federal agencies identify disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution.

This information is crucial to fulfilling the promise of the Justice40 Initiative, a commitment to environmental justice made by the Biden administration. According to the EPA, the definition of environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the environment. In particular, fair treatment requires that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences of commercial or governmental actions.

She grew up under water boil advisories in Jackson. Now she’s bringing environmental justice to the EPA.

Read the full story at the 19th.

In her community outreach role for the EPA, Rosemary Enobakhare is working to prioritize communities in need while “shining a light” on issues affecting them most.

Antibiotic use in farming set to soar despite drug-resistance fears

Read the full story in Nature.

The use of antibiotics in animal farming — a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance — is expected to grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030 despite ongoing efforts to curtail their use, according to an analysis.

Overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is thought to be a major driver of the rise in humans of bacterial infections that cannot be treated with antibiotics. Although antibiotics can be necessary to treat infections in livestock, they are often used to speed up animal growth and prevent diseases among animals in crowded, unsanitary conditions.

Many governments have struggled to make or enforce rules to decrease antibiotic usage. For instance, although a number of countries, including the United States and much of Europe, ban the use of antibiotics that promote growth, manufacturers can just say they are marketing the drugs to prevent disease.