Bits ‘n pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled Lorraine H. Marie
Contributor | March 16, 2020 11:08 AM

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

California’s Sand to Snow National Monument, reported High Country News, is experiencing a post-apocalyptic 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.

Better hearing: Observations of women who ate lots of produce, whole grains, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy as well as a minimum of sodium, red meat and processed meats in a three-year study showed they had lower risk of hearing loss. The group was contrasted with those with a less-healthy diet, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Re-assessing factory farms: According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, U.S. factory farms have hidden expenses. They cost the economy more in health and environmental damage than they contribute. The biggest offenders are poultry operations.

President Donald Trump suggested earlier this month that people with coronavirus could still go to work. The Centers for Disease Control continues to recommend you stay home, except to seek medical attention, if you have fever, coughing or shortness of breath. The U.S. reported its first coronavirus death early this month.

CNN says an attendee at a recent Republican convention, which included the president, tested positive for coronavirus. Five politicians who had contact with the person are self-quarantining. The Washington Post said the president invited one of them to join him on Air Force One. And, the Miami Herald reported, Trump has ordered posters removed at immigration courts that explain how to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Let ‘em sniff: Being “smell blind” denies a dog a vital connection to the world, and can actually amount to sensory deprivation, said animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.

Nearly 27,000 lives were saved in the U.S. between 2005 and 2016 owing to the shift 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 percent drop in nitrogen dioxide and an 80 percent drop in sulfur dioxide.

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

Five years after an abortion, 99 percent of women said 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 said. Toxic pesticides are being used to quell the swarms, but without regard for how they affect humans, who eat the sprayed locusts. The Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control said the spray volume might 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 concluded.

The average temperature in Las Vegas has risen 5.76 degrees since 1970, according to climatecentral.org.

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

When determining the stay-or-go-back status of refugees, the U.N. Human Rights Commission recently ruled that those fleeing from climate hazards could not be sent back home.

Annually, U.S. farms lose one billion tons of soil to erosion, according to the Agriculture Department. 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.