A Surge in Toxic Insecticides

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator

No. 97, Sept. 12, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

Scientists are warning about a second "Silent Spring" after a new study found that U.S. agriculture is 48 times more toxic to insects than it was 20 years ago, mostly due to neonicotinoid insecticides. That's bad news for bees and so many other insects — not to mention humans. Read more about this toxic threat, including one way we could solve it.

The Trump administration continues its deregulatory agenda, going so far lately that even affected industries disagree with some of what's being deregulated.

Forest-conservation techniques often fail to incorporate knowledge from native peoples. Our latest essay explores why understanding subsistence hunting in the Amazon and other regions may be essential to forest management.

A lot of people get their news from YouTube these days, but many online videos contain disinformation about climate science. Scientists can help fix that.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five additional stories we're watching this week.

1. The fallout continues from Trump's doctoring of Hurricane Dorian maps, with the acting chief scientist at the NOAA now investigating whether the agency's response — defending the president's false claim — violated policies and ethics.

2. A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute finds that 90 percent of proposed natural-gas plants are likely to be more expensive to run by 2035 than renewables and batteries.

3. Scientists tracking a marine heat wave in the Pacific Ocean, which stretches from Alaska to Southern California, warn that it could disrupt the ocean ecosystem. It's reminiscent of "the blob" five years ago that caused massive die-offs of sea lions, salmon and other ocean life.

4. The healthcare sector has a carbon footprint that would make it the 5th biggest worldwide if it were a country. The nonprofit Health Care Without Harm has called on the industry to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Shocking news: Scientists have described two new species of electric eel, with one of them now claiming the highest electrical discharge of any animal.

In case you missed it:

Here's a call to action. "If we are to meet the urgency of climate action, we must be training brigades of climate storytellers to astonish, inspire and organize our communities." Read more.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world, so we always welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We're hard at work on a new batch of articles and essays, covering everything from grizzlies and sharks to fracking and water conservation. Also coming soon: an exclusive interview with activist and author Naomi Klein.

Look for our latest links in next week's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We share other news there, too, so please join us and keep the discussion going.

As always, thank you for reading.

John Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator


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