Each week, we’ll share some of our staff’s recommended local, national, and international stories.
Check these articles out for news and context related to sustainability, human health, climate, environmental justice, and the economy. Follow the Punchlist to connect the dots between the built environment, the natural environment, and quality of life!
As severe weather events are becoming increasingly dangerous around the world, Pittsburgh is preparing for a sharp increase in flooding risks. The amount of annual rainfall has increased by 10 inches since 1840, from 30in to 40in. This creates a higher chance of flooding, but many Pittsburgh homes are not prepared for intense flood events. Organizations have been helping residents learn more about the risk of floods and what they can do to prevent devastating damage to their homes and community.
The United States set a goal to cut their emissions by 50% by 2030, but this is an extremely hard to reach goal. A new study outlined exactly what measures need to be taken to reach our goal while saving money and protecting American lives. The main change is for the US’s electricity grid to run on 80% renewable energy, currently we’re at 40%. Electric cars will also significantly limit emissions and will save owners’ money in the long run. According to the study, the transition would save over 200,000 premature deaths, and would take the burden off of communities of color and low-income areas.
Hope for Cancer Alley
Residents of Cancer Alley, located along the Mississippi River in Louisiana, are 50% more likely to get cancer than the national average. A Japanese rubber plant, Denka, is believed to be the cause behind this staggering number. The residents of Reserve, Louisiana, located near the Denka plant, have reached a proposed deal with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would force the organization to review their air quality guidelines to reduce harmful toxins being released by petrochemical plants.
Landfill to Light
Around the country, landfills collect all of the trash that Americans throw away, but once they have reached their capacity, they are covered in grass, known as a brownfield. Many brownfields are converted to recreational areas, but many areas are converting the fields to solar farms. Brownfields are the perfect location for solar farms because they have the necessary infrastructure, and the brownfield doesn’t need to be changed for human access. In 2021, these solar farms created 207 megawatts of electricity from 21 projects. This transition increases the availability of clean energy while also utilizing hazardous space in safe way.