ICYMI: Plastic “Recycling,” Picking on E-bikes, Death Valley Gets a Lake & Scientists Discover a Bigger Snake

Environmental news of the week for busy people

illustration of a recycling symbol burning in a trash can

By Paul Rauber

Illustrations by Peter Arkle

February 24, 2024

Two environmental groups find that, according to California’s own data, much of the state’s supposedly recyclable plastic is sent to Mexico, where it is burned or sent to landfills. 

North Atlantic sea surface temperatures are already running far hotter than even last year’s off-the-charts levels

Iran blames Israel for a February 14 attack that caused multiple explosions along a 790-mile Iranian methane gas pipeline. 

The brains of people exposed to high levels of traffic-related air pollution are more likely to have high amounts of the amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Chicago sues oil companies BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell, saying that their lies about their products and about climate change have damaged the city.

After a cyclist in Key Biscayne is killed by a 12-year-old on an e-bike, the village bans e-bikes for 60 days, after which the ban may become permanent. In 2023, 21 cyclists and 97 pedestrians were killed by cars in Miami Dade County, but automobiles have yet to be banned. 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) refuses to permit water-intensive pumped storage hydroelectric projects on the Navajo Nation because they lack tribal support. The agency announces that in the future, projects on tribal lands will need the affected tribe’s consent to go forward. 

Bhutan, Panama, and Suriname are the world’s only carbon-negative countries. All are heavily forested.

Reforestation in the southeastern United States from the last century is helping stall global heating there today. 

Heavy rains in Southern California have created a new 11,000-acre lake in Badwater Basin in Death Valley, the driest spot in North America. 

Air pollution from Canada’s tar sands fields is up to 6,300 percent higher than reported by the industry.

While the US Fish and Wildlife Service ponders the status of gray wolves in the Lower 48 states, the agency offers a $50,000 reward for information about the killing of three wolves from the Gearhart Mountain Pack in Oregon.

newly discovered species of green anaconda in South America is among the world’s largest and longest snakes (video).