Week in Review: Environmental News for Oct. 20-27 | Earth Day Network

Here’s our week-in-review roundup of the top environmental stories of the week, with reports on climate impacts and action, threats to public health and species, progress in the fight to end plastic pollution, and more.

The European parliament has approved a ban on single-use plastics to include plastic straws, disposable plastic plates and utensils by 2021. (Arthur Neslen, Guardian)

Described by the European commission as a clampdown on “the top 10 plastic products that most often end up in the ocean”, the proposed legislation passed 571 votes to 53…. More…


U.S. state leaders are standing together in releasing statements to to oppose the Trump administration’s rollbacks of federal rules designed to cut climate-changing emissions with local actions. (Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post)

“We certainly will be doing all we can to make the claim that we have to act quickly and we cannot backslide,” [California Attorney General Xavier] Becerra said. He added, “It’s not just an issue of climate change; it’s about the health of families and the future we leave for our kids….” More…


New York state is suing Exxon Mobil for deceiving shareholders about the dangers of burning fossil fuels. (John Schwartz, New York Times)

The litigation, which follows more than three years of investigation, represents the most significant legal effort yet to establish that a fossil fuel company misled the public on climate change and to hold it responsible. Not only does it pose a financial threat to Exxon that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars or more, but it could also strike a blow to the reputation of a company that has worked to rehabilitate its image, framing itself as a leader on global warming…. More…


A former executive at Monsanto is President Trump’s choice to head the Fish and Wildlife Service. (Matthew Daly, AP)

The agency moved recently to end a longstanding practice that automatically gave the same protections to threatened species as it gives to more critically endangered species. The proposal also limits habitat safeguards meant to shield recovering species from harm and requires consideration of the economic impacts of protecting an imperiled species. The changes have alarmed wildlife advocates who fear a weakening of the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law that has been used to save species as diverse as the bald eagle and the American alligator…. More…


An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is set to become the worst offshore drilling disasters in U.S. history, after it has remained unplugged since 2004 and leaked millions of barrels Louisiana coast. (Darryl Fears, Washington Post)

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever…. More…


In a study, microplastic particles were found in human stool samples. (Laura Parker, National Geographic)

“I’d say microplastics in poop are not surprising,” says Chelsea Rochman, an ecologist at the University of Toronto, who studies the effects of microplastics on fish. “For me, it shows we are eating our waste—mismanagement has come back to us on our dinner plates. And yes, we need to study how it may affect humans….” More…


Global leaders met in Krakow to prepare for December’s COP24 meetings, where the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement will be set. (UNFCC)


Look at the cute baby octopus! A post about a cute creature is really a story about plastic pollution. (Catie Keck, Earther)

When asked about the what the images of these octopus babies can tell us about the state of plastic pollution in the area, Beavers told Earther that the amount of plastic waste (including microplastics) that washes ashore in the park has “dramatically increased” in the 17 years she’s worked there…. More…


In a letter to Americans, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor shared wise insights about the need to advance civic learning and engagement.