Climate Change, Air Pollution and Mental Health

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

No. 42, Aug. 23, 2018

Hello Revelator readers,

Greetings from the smoky Pacific Northwest, where air pollution this week reached perilously unhealthy levels due to the hundreds of wildfires in California, British Columbia and other places. Everyone knows smoke like this is bad for the lungs (cough, cough), but you may not realize that air pollution is also a mental-health issue. Over time, exposure to ozone and particulate matter can also increase the risk of depression and even suicide. And of course, as we wrote this week, climate change is only going to make things worse.

(If that link gets you too worked up, check out our recent interview with the founder of the Climate Anxiety Project. It may help.)

In other news, the Christmas Island flea has just been declared extinct. Now, you may not think the extinction of a flea matters in the grand scheme of things, but parasites actually play several important ecological roles, and they may even offer clues to treatment of human medical conditions. Sadly, this flea may not be alone. As we discuss in the article, parasites are at much greater risk of extinction than their host species, and conservation efforts may not be doing enough to protect them.

Finally this week, we take a look at the Trump administration's plans to boost mining and energy development on public lands. That may actually hurt local economies, as experts and local business owners tell us that tourism to national monuments is essential for the financial well-being of nearby communities.

In case you missed it:

This week the Trump administration unveiled the details of what it's calling the "Affordable Clean Energy rule," which gives states the ability to keep coal-fired energy plants online longer than previous Obama-era regulations. That's a huge problem since — as our very first op-ed showed more than a year ago — many states aren't up to the task of regulating environmental pollutants.

Send us your tips:

What stories should we cover in the future? We welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We have a lot more coming your way over the new few weeks, including pieces on whooping cranes, Venus flytraps and carbon taxes. Look for all our newest links in next week's newsletter, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest headlines as they go live. And while you're on social media, we hope you'll share our stories with your friends.

Feel free to forward this newsletter, too — every new reader makes a difference.

That's it for this week. As always, thanks for reading.

John Platt

John R. Platt
Editor, The Revelator

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