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Halloween Edition: Attack of the Oil Blob, Hellish Poultry Factories, Ghosts of NYC, Porky Gets a Pumpkin
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

River of evil: When 17,000 gallons of viscous liquid suddenly start spewing out of the ground, you’d do well to assume you’re dealing with the forces of darkness. But in the United States of Petroleum, it’s just another day and another oil spill. This week it’s Texas. ThinkProgress

Witch's brew: The San Francisco Bay is on its way to becoming a chemical soup of pesticides, stain repellents, detergents, and flame retardants. (All that’s missing is the eye of newt.) A new 100-page report from the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality says the pollutants have just one more level of severity to go before they become an immediate threat to wildlife and currently lists them as “contaminants of emerging concern.” According to the research, we know what contanminants are there, we just have to figure out what to do about them. Treehugger

Dead end: The U.S. Treasury Department announced this week that it’s officially cutting the cord on funding any new coal-fired power plant projects around the world, whether through the World Bank or other international development banks. While some argue the move is largely symbolic—the World Bank’s spokesperson says they’re doing “four times more in renewable energy and energy efficiency” than they are in coal—others worry that the decision is unfair to developing countries that can't afford other options. (Where’s the Halloween tie-in? Well, isn’t the threat of climate change scary enough?) New York Times

Serial killer 2.0: A former Italian mob boss has come clean but not out of remorse for the 50 some murders he personally performed, but because of his environmental conscience. Carmine Schiavone knew he had to turn witness when it became clear that the toxic waste he’d illegally dumped years before began giving locals cancer at a horrifying rate. Now the former badfella goes by mafia pentito—“a penitent one.” BBC

Do you believe in ghosts?: Rational though we may be, we all probably have a story about that one time something weird happened that just can’t be explained by logic, science, or hearty Internet-age skepticism. And when you live in a Dutch Colonial farmhouse not unlike the setting of The Conjuring, well … everything seems like a ghost. OnEarth senior editor Melissa Mahony is back with a Halloween Edition of her column about life (and death) in New York City’s oldest, and spookiest, farmhouse. OnEarth

Burning, at stake: Residents of Irwindale, California, have all come down with itchy eyes, irritated throats, and headaches. So, did someone put a spell on them? Nah, they think it’s just the Sriracha hot sauce factory up the street. The company has been ordered to prevent production until they deal with the noxious fumes. Let’s hope they get this figured out soon though, because the rest of the country won’t react well to a Sriracha shortage. Los Angeles Times

Factory from hell: New regulations from the USDA would allow poultry factories to speed up their production lines in order to reduce pathogen exposure, but many worry that making the lines faster will increase mistreatment of the birds. At the current pace, something like a million chickens and turkeys get boiled alive each year because the swift-moving process fails to kill the animals before they drop into scalding water. Washington Post

DAILY DISTRACTION

Costume ideas: With the advent of Pinterest, it’s tough coming up with costumes each year that’ll pass snuff with your friends. (Even the trees are showing us up!) That’s why we put together a list of the Top 10 Eco-Unfriendly Halloween Costumes guaranteed to induce groans at your next party. This list is back from the dead (from last year), but from the sopping Arctic Sea Ice to the cylindrical Keystone XL, each one is just as relevant today as it was then (unfortunately). OnEarth

Porcupine pumpkin party: Aside from the costumes we force upon our pets, it’s tough to know what animals think about this holiday. But there’s little mystery as to whether this porcupine likes his pumpkin treat. (Happy Halloween, everyone!) Huffington Post

OTHER HEADLINES

Judge Directs EPA to Cough Up a Timeline for Finalizing Coal Ash Rules Huffington Post

Should We Use Geoengineering to Cool the Planet? Washington Post

Obama Heckled by Anti-Keystone Protesters Huffington Post

Consol Energy to Sell 5 Coal Mines to Murray New York Times

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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