Each week, we 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.
Pittsburgh Sculpture Garden
Hartwood Acres revealed a new garden that connects long-standing sculptures located around the property. Originally placed in the late 1970s, the sculptures were nameless, and they started to weather without proper care. Allegheny County Parks Foundation decided to make the artwork more cohesive and create a space that people could use recreationally. They restored the original sculptures and added a new commission from local artist Dee Briggs.
SCOTUS Ruling on Climate Change
The Supreme Court released an extremely important decision about the EPA’s ability to curb climate change through the regulation of power plants. SCOTUS ruled 6-3 that the Clean Air Act doesn’t allow for any rules that enforce power plants to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy. This makes it extremely difficult for the EPA to work towards preventing climate change, but according to the article, the EPA has a few other pathways that they can explore. These include updating EPA rules to restrict carbon emissions from power plants, encouraging the use of natural gas and hydrogen, and passing the power of emissions reductions to state governments.
Net Zero Communities
People around the world have committed to building net zero communities, which eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in a community's design and operations. The five approaches outlined in the article include electrifying energy in the home and public infrastructure, zoning and creating building codes to encourage net-zero emissions, creating a positive return on investment through green buildings, tax credits, etc., encouraging net-zero mobility through walkable neighborhoods and public transportation, and lastly, creating a circular economy by taking waste back into the economy in new forms.
Climate Anxiety Policies
It is very common to feel panic about the state of our world and whether or not we are doing enough to prevent climate change. In 2016, 6 school-aged climate activists along with environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the “Norwegian government over 10 licenses for oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters off Norway’s coast.” The case was subsequently thrown out, but the activists were not deterred and took the case to the European Court of Human Rights. One of their many arguments is that climate change is causing severe anxiety and mental illness among young people. The European court system protects citizens’ right to respect for a private and family life as well as the “human right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.” Climate activists using these rights in their cases is an important step forward to protecting young people from the consequences of climate change in the future.