Bits ‘n’ Pieces

From east, west and beyond

By Lorraine H. Marie
Reader Columnist

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

California’s Sand to Snow National Monument is experiencing a catastrophic environmental scenario: a herd of feral cattle, thought to be descendants of grazers from 100 years ago, shares the public monument lands along with a reported pack of feral pit bulls, High Country News reports.

According to the results of a three-year study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who ate lots of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy — and a minimum of sodium, red meat and processed meats — showed lower risk of hearing loss, compared to those with a less-healthy diet.

Reassessing factory farms: according to research from Carnegie Mellon University, U.S. factory farms have hidden expenses, costing the economy more in health and environmental damage than they contribute to the economy. The biggest offenders are poultry operations.

United States President Donald Trump told Fox News that people with coronavirus can still go to work and recover just fine. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to say that if you have fever, coughing or shortness of breath, stay home, except to seek medical attention. The U.S. reported its first coronavirus death early this month; as of March 10, there were 755 known cases and 26 deaths.

CNN reports than an attendee at a recent Republican convention, which included President Trump, tested positive for coronavirus. Five politicians who had contact with the person are self-quarantining. The Washington Post reported that Trump invited one of them to join him on Air Force One. As the Miami Herald reported, the Trump administration’s acting-chief immigration judge ordered posters removed at immigration courts that explain how to prevent the spread of coronavirus — yet soon after rescinded the order, with the Department of Justice  saying “the signs shouldn’t have been removed.”

Nearly 27,000 lives were saved in the U.S. between 2005 and 2016 due to shifting away from coal for energy production, according to a study published in Nature Sustainability. The decline in coal burning resulted in a 300 million-ton reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide, a 60% drop in nitrogen dioxide and an 80% drop in sulfur dioxide.

More than habitat loss: A body of research is pointing at neonicotinoid insecticides as causing population losses for birds. Migrating songbirds may rest in fields newly planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds; research indicates that exposure can result in lethargy, appetite decline, delays in departing the site, a drop in body mass and interference with breeding capacity. According to the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology, 29% of Canadian and U.S. bird species have been lost since 1970.

Five years after an abortion, 99% of women say they do not regret the procedure, according to a study in the journal Social Science and Medicine. Many who reported emotional discomfort said it stemmed from the stigma associated with abortion.

Locusts overwhelming East Africa can, in one day, destroy enough food to feed 35,000 people, Pesticide Action Network says. Toxic pesticides are being used to quell the swarms, but without regard for how they impact humans, who have been eating the sprayed locusts. The Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control says the spray volume may be up to 1,600 times that recommended by the European Union. The extraordinary number of locusts appears to be linked to a significant increase in the number of cyclones, which foster the spread of the locusts. The cyclones are linked to climate change, PAN says.

Revelations that their corporation was one of eight benefiting from illegally sourced palm oil, taken from a protected forest reserve in Indonesia, prompted Kellogg Company to declare a plan for making amends: the corporation plans to restore the damaged ecosystem, suspend companies engaged in human rights violations, adopt a transparent approach to complaints filed against its suppliers and committed to promoting respect for local community rights, Rainforest Action reports.

When determining the stay-or-go-back status of refugees, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights recently ruled that those fleeing from climate hazards cannot be sent back home.

USDA estimate: Annually, U.S. farms lose 1 billion tons of soil to erosion. Farmers are finding they can head off the loss with cover crops that create richer soils that hold more water.

Blast from the past: In 1890 people dissatisfied with their lot in life, courtesy of current politics, began what became the People’s Party. They called for changes that would shrink the power of the ultra-wealthy. The party lost steam as Democrats began adopting their ideas and, within 20 years, most of the reforms favored by the People’s Party were made into law.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.