After an 18-month buildup, a one-day U.N. Food Systems Summit earlier this fall generated hundreds of commitments to end global hunger and a dizzying array of alliances dedicated to the cause. Despite controversies surrounding the summit, this groundbreaking event highlighted opportunities for reporting on food and food systems. Award-winning agriculture journalist Chris Clayton shares his insights.
"In pollution hotspots like western Pennsylvania — where petrochemical facilities are proliferating — local residents, distrustful of companies and government, are taking advantage of low-cost technologies to do their own monitoring of air, water, and noise pollution."
"For young children, any amount of lead exposure is bad. The element can damage children’s brains, stunt growth and cause developmental problems. Now, a new definition of lead poisoning will increase the number of U.S. children found to have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood."
"For years, a dangerous salmonella strain has sickened thousands and continues to spread through the chicken industry. The USDA knows about it. So do the companies. And yet, contaminated meat continues to be sold to consumers."
Plastic waste, already the subject of preliminary international talks, could be increasingly targeted after UN meetings in early 2022. Meanwhile, this ubiquitous product is polluting land, ocean and air in its various forms, as well as through little-understood microplastic particles. The latest TipSheet has the backstory on efforts to forge an international plastics treaty, as well as ideas for how to cover plastic pollution locally.
"The Biden administration moved Monday to regulate a group of long-lasting, human-made chemicals that pose health risks to millions of Americans, even as they continue to be used in an array of products such as cosmetics, dental floss, food packaging, clothing and cleaning supplies."
A profound tightening of companies’ environmental risk disclosure requirements may be ahead, thanks to efforts by the Biden administration’s Securities and Exchange Commission. And the new WatchDog Opinion column argues that as fossil fuel firms position themselves as part of an environmentally sound future, journalists must act too — demanding full disclosure of corporate financial risks related to climate.
"The cost of federal flood insurance is rising for millions of homeowners, threatening to make homes in coastal areas unaffordable for many. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says its new rates better reflect flood risk in a warming climate."
"Almost 90% of the 180 recognized RNA viruses that can harm humans are zoonotic in origin. But disease biosurveillance of the world’s wildlife markets and legal trade is largely absent, putting humanity at significant risk."
"The state of Michigan has told a majority-Black city not to use tap water for drinking, bathing, or cooking “out of an abundance of caution” because of lead contamination. Residents of Benton Harbor, three hours west of Detroit, have been dealing with poisoned water for at least three years, and experts say that state and local officials have not done enough to help...."