Category Archives: Environment

Nuclear State, Nuclear Waste

Nuclear State, Nuclear Waste: Emily Simmonds on Canada as a nuclear nation & ongoing colonialism through uranium mining.

Waste colonialism

Waste colonialism refers to how waste and pollution are part of the domination of one group in their homeland by another group. The concept has been gaining traction since the 1990s to explain patterns of power in wasting and pollution.

What the world misses about recycling

Recycling was never just a solution to a disposal crisis, and it did not uniformly reduce total waste management costs. Rather, it addresses a range of other concerns which are equally valid but nearly impossible to quantify.

These chemicals are bad for babies and whales: Why haven’t they been banned in Canada?

Canadian regulators are all over the map with respect to flame retardants. On PBDEs, Canada infamously refused to take meaningful regulatory action. The government found most PBDEs to be toxic substances in 2006, but it declined to ban or restrict them in consumer products in 2008 or in 2016.

Moving the Circular Economy Beyond Alchemy

This review of a special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology titled, “Exploring the Circular Economy” is a virtual tour of circular economy definitions and current directions. The authors discuss and derive new definitions of “circularity.” They cover fundamental determinants of material lifespan, such as economic demand, thermodynamics, product design, and durability.

Urban noise pollution is worst in poor and minority neighborhoods and segregated cities

Neighborhoods with median annual incomes below US$25,000 were nearly 2 decibels louder than neighborhoods with incomes above $100,000 per year. And nationwide, communities with 75 percent black residents had median nighttime noise levels of 46.3 decibels – 4 decibels louder than communities with no black residents. A 10-decibel increase represents a doubling in loudness of a sound, so these are big differences.

Benzene, PCBs, and industrial chemistry: A narrative bibliography

How the Benzene Tree Polluted the World in The Atlantic by Rebecca Altman, is a narrative exploration of the rise of organic chemistry, and the industrialization of the branch of chemistry based on the benzene ring. The piece focuses on the geopolitical forces shaping the production and global distribution of PCBs, a class of industrial chemicals that, though […]
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Virtual Waste: Flowing from a data center near you

Thinking with virtual data demonstrates that reduction of material waste alone does not mean a reduction of an overall environmental footprint on this planet.

Review of Richard S. Newman’s “Love Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present”

Newman’s activists press for environmental change imbedded with critiques of capitalism and industrialization, racial injustice, and its global implications. This view distorts the complexity of historical events within the environmental movement.

Toxins or Toxicants? Why the difference matters

When we accidentally call toxicants “toxins,” we are also accidentally naturalizing industrially-produced chemicals and their politics.