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Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| September 15, 2023 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact.

A recent sampling:

The planet is tilting from too much water being removed from the ground, according to a report in New Scientist. Underground stores lost two million tons of water from 1993 and 2010.

This nation uses seven billion gallons of water per day on lawns. But using low-growing clovers instead uses less water, plus the clovers fix nitrogen into the soil, according to Optimist Daily.

Himalayan glaciers are melting faster than ever, research reported in The WEEK says. Expected fallout includes flooding, avalanches and water shortages, impacting hundreds of millions of people.

Utah officials are being sued by community and environmental groups for failure to save the Great Salt Lake, which has lost 73% of its water from irrigation diversions, industrial uses and global heating. The shrinking lake could expose a toxic lakebed, The Guardian reported.

Fatal: Two Americans seeking a refreshing dip this summer paid with their lives, the Washington Post reported. Both swam in natural bodies of water hosting the brain-eating bacteria, Naegleria fowleri, which apparently proliferated due to climate change. The CDC says it should be assumed the bacteria is in any warm freshwater (but not chlorinated or saltwater), and to avoid water in the nose. The bacteria travels to the brain after entering the nose.

Symptoms, five days after exposure, include fever, nausea, severe headache and vomiting. Death may occur five days later.

Numerous school children across the nation are experiencing record classroom and playground heat upon return to school this year, various media have reported. This recent summer “might be the coolest one for the rest of our lives as global warming intensifies,” cautions pediatrician Dr. Lisa Patel, Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. She says kids are at high risk for exhaustion and heatstroke. Parents can teach their children warning signs: headache, feeling faint, fever, intense thirst, nausea or vomiting, muscle aches or spasms and lack or urination for hours signal a need to cool down. Emergency treatment may be required. Going to school with cool water and high-mineral foods, such as nuts, sunflower/pumpkin seeds and dried apricots, along with other veggies and fruits, will replace electrolytes lost from dehydration. Clothing: light-colored, loose-fitting, from breathable fabrics like cotton.

Libya recently had eight months worth of rain in one event, with 10,000 people missing, CNN reported. The deluge caused two dams to collapse and washed neighborhoods into the sea. Mediterranean Ocean temps were “well above average,” worsening the rainfall and causing more “ferocious” storms, according to scientists. Lack of study, resulting in lack of evacuations, is being blamed for lack of preparedness.

Deadly flooding elsewhere: Southern Europe and Hong Kong.

More details on Project 2025, from The Guardian: The right-wing proposal, crafted by the climate-denying Heritage Foundation, has ties to fossil fuel billionaire Charles Koch. The plan would deconstruct the federal government, including climate policy. According to a Harvard history of science professor, the Heritage Foundation has a “long history” of efforts to undermine the environment, despite that being at odds with the health and well-being of people and the planet. Components of the plan include eliminating agencies essential for transitioning to clean fuels and gutting the EPA.

House Republicans are putting “poison pills” aimed at environmental spending into this month’s must-pass budget plans. The Guardian said that may trigger a veto and a government shutdown. Critics say the poison pills are linked to corporate wish lists and ignore climate issues like unprecedented “hot tub” temps in Florida’s coastal waters and record-breaking triple-digit temps.

Aided by Artificial Intelligence, the IRS will be collecting back taxes from 1,600 millionaires, ABC says.

At the recent G-20 meeting leaders announced plans for a sustainable growth/clean energy rail and shipping corridor to connect India and Europe through the Middle East.

The Biden Administration has authorized cancelling $72 million in student loans for 2,300 borrowers who say they were cheated by the former for-profit Ashford University, AP reported.

In Washington state a 7% capital gains tax on profits over $250,000 from the sales of stocks, bonds and other financial assets, was passed in the legislature last year. According to Civic Ventures, initial predictions were for the state to gain $250 million in revenue this year. Now reports say the actual amount collected so far is $859 million. Those paying are the top 10% of the wealthiest 1%.

Forty-one other states collect capital gains taxes. The revenue will go to the state’s education fund.

Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the Jan 6 2021 Capitol attack, numerous media reported. It was the longest sentence for any of the Jan. 6 rioters.

A 19-year-old citizen of China, who first noticed cognition problems at age 17, has been diagnosed with dementia, the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease wrote.

Blast from the past: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln, 16th president, 1809-1865.