January 2023 -- I used to have a page about the environment but was too busy to maintain it. The environment is one of the greatest challenges of our time. So I'll try to put links to good articles I come across on this page.
Also See EMF-crisis Page and Links Page
Compiled by Reza Ganjavi
What You Should Know About Residential Wood Smoke Pollution
Smoke from wood burning stoves and fireplaces is a major contributor to wintertime air pollution in the Bay Area. It’s hazardous to human health and damaging to the environment. To be a good neighbor—and to be environmentally responsible—consider eliminating wood burning. Here are some things you may not know about wood smoke pollution.
Wood smoke produces particulate pollution: Scientific studies have now linked particle pollution to a litany of health problems that include asthma attacks, diminished lung function, respiratory ailments, heart attacks, and stroke. The fine particles generated by wood are too small to be filtered out by the nose and upper respiratory system, so they end up deep in the lungs. Fireplaces produce 30–50 grams of particulate matter per hour, and old wood stoves produce up to 50 grams of particulate per hour. For comparison, a new 300 HP diesel truck, running full throttle, produces about 18 grams of particulates per hour. Wood smoke gets around the neighborhood: During the winter heating season, inversion layers trap air pollution near the ground. Wood smoke particles are so tiny that they seep into houses-- even through closed doors and windows. In fact, wood smoke pollution indoors can reach up to 70 percent of the outside pollution levels even in homes that do not burn wood. Neighbors of wood burners unwittingly breathe smoky air, even if they do not burn wood indoors themselves. The regional overall air quality can be good, but if your neighbor is burning wood and you can smell smoke, you’re breathing pollution. Scientific studies show that wood smoke pollution is harmful to human health: Wood smoke reduces lung function, especially in children; increases the severity of existing lung diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis; aggravates heart disease and stroke; increases susceptibility to lower respiratory diseases; irritates the eyes, lungs, throat, and sinuses; and triggers headaches and allergies. Long-term exposure can lead to chronic obstructive lung disease and chronic bronchitis. Animal studies show that it increases the risk of cancer and genetic mutations.
Wood smoke contains toxic compounds: The chemicals in wood smoke include benzene, benzo(a)pyrene and dibenz(a,h)anthracene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, organic gases (including aldehyde gases and other respiratory irritants), nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and dioxin. All of these are toxic.
Wood smoke vs. cigarette smoke: EPA estimates suggest that a single fireplace operating for an hour and burning 10 pounds of wood generates 4,300 times more carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons than 30 cigarettes. The components of wood smoke and cigarette smoke are quite similar, and many components of both are carcinogenic. EPA researchers estimate the lifetime cancer risk from wood smoke to be 12 times greater than from a similar amount of cigarette smoke.
Wood smoke contains black carbon which is implicated in global warming: Studies by NASA, NOAA, and the EPA show, according to Stanford environmental engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, “Soot, or black carbon, may be responsible for 15 to 30 percent of global warming.”
For more information, visit FamiliesForCleanAir.org
Temperatures on Greenland haven’t been this warm in at least 1,000 years, scientists report
The report’s authors said human-caused climate change played a significant role in the dramatic rise in temperatures in the critical Arctic region, where melting ice has a considerable global impact.
Mountaineers testify to warming's effect
Climbers are witnessing firsthand the effects of global warming on mountains and glaciers around the world. They are seeing disappearing ice and snow, melting glaciers, and unstable rock faces. Climbers believe they have a role to play in raising awareness about climate change by sharing their personal experiences and stories. Scientists and diplomats predict that global warming will cause more glacial lakes and rock avalanches, leading to an increased risk of floods. Classic climbing routes are being lost, and new lines are becoming impossible as mountains melt. Climbers are concerned about the future of mountains and glaciers, particularly in the Himalayas, Patagonia, and Alaska.
Damage from climate change may cost Alaska $10 bln
The article discusses the impact of climate change on Alaska, the northernmost state in the US. According to a study led by Peter Larsen, a resource economist at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the temperature in Alaska has risen by more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit (around 2 degrees Celsius) over the past five decades. This rise in temperature has led to the melting of permafrost, which covers nearly two-thirds of the state, causing buildings, pipelines, roads, and bridges to crumble. The study estimates that there is between $5 and $10 billion of public infrastructure in Alaska that is vulnerable to climate change. An analysis of close to 20 types of public works in Alaska, from schools to municipal buildings, showed that flooding and erosion will increase the burden on state finances. Regular upkeep until 2080 would cost Alaska between $32 and $56 billion without the extra stresses, according to Larsen. The rising temperature in Alaska is accentuated in high-latitude regions like Alaska because of thinner atmospheres in the polar region, concentrating greenhouse gases, and the nature of atmospheric currents.
Ants, plants mutually benefit each other
Researchers studying the decline in large animals in Africa have found that African acacia trees that depend on aggressive biting ants for protection are suffering due to the lack of animals eating their leaves. Without animals eating their leaves, the trees no longer bother to take care of their ants by reducing nectar production and making fewer swollen thorns that the ants can live in. The protective ants either began damaging the plant or were replaced by other insects that ate holes in the bark. The researchers found that the human-induced decline of big herbivores in Africa can have non-intuitive consequences for the communities in which these large mammals live.