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Can you give us some examples that people are familiar with? There are other diseases which you know, are in people, but they're sort of a first cousin in other species.

A good example of that is something like chicken pox. There are similar viruses. There's monkey pox, there's camel pox. And you can actually have some transmission of those other pox virus into people, but these viruses shared a common ancestor.

And of the diseases that people commonly get, you know, there are lots of these zoonotic diseases. You know, there's plenty of examples around the world, whether it's rabies, or Lyme disease, West Nile virus in the United States.

And so it's really more the rule, as you point out, than the exception. And so we shouldn't be terribly surprised that when we're changing life on Earth at such a rapid rate today, that we're sort of stirring the pot of the common germ pool, so to speak, and that these diseases, particularly viruses, tend to pop out into people.

What are some of those suggestions? And the question was, well, how much would we have to spend to do what we know we need to do to prevent these viruses from spilling over into people.

A good chunk of these emerging diseases come from deforestation, and not necessarily the cutting down of trees, per se, but all the activities that come with that.

So building of roads, the establishment of settlements in forests, the likelihood that people are going into the forest, not just to chop down trees, but perhaps to gather wildlife.

And so we looked at how much it would cost to reduce deforestation in places that are particularly high risk.

We know another chunk of emerging infections come from wildlife trade, we see this with, you know, the pet trade, where people import pets from various corners of the Earth and the places and the pets are carrying pathogens.

The part of the wildlife trade that we were most concerned with is actually not at the buyer end, it's at the procurer end.

It's that there are people who are going out into wilderness and harvesting animals, for pets, for medicines, for furs, for all kinds of stuff.

And those contexts are the high risk ones. And we know that because what little work we've done to understand what viruses in particular may be in wildlife shows that there are lots of viruses.

And so as people go into the wilderness, you know, bats are often captured as food, but they're also captured for other reasons.

So we focus on what it would take to really address the risks. And the third big area we try and tackle is surveillance. So you know, it's not, I think practical to stop the wildlife trade, it's not going to, we think it's impractical to end all tropical deforestation, as much as I think many people would like to see that.

So what we need to do is we need to have much better surveillance of wildlife and people who are at high risk for spillover.

And so we try and think through which organizations and what the budget would be to do that, and those are the three big areas. What evidence is there that any of these methods, though, that you suggested would actually help prevent the spread of disease?

Deforestation and the side ventures that go along with it, such as roadbuilding and logging, increase the likelihood of animal contact resulting in zoonotic disease spillover.

So there have been very small scale interventions along the lines we described that have definitely prevented us spillover. A good example of this is Nipah virus in Bangladesh.

Nipah virus first emerged in Malaysia in the 90s. And there have been subsequent outbreaks in Bangladesh. And in Bangladesh, the virus is transmitted from bats to people, it turns out through date palm sap.

In Bangladesh, palm trees are tapped like maple trees are tapped here in New England for their sap, and there are buckets put on the trees. And the bats like the syrup, so they would defecate into the palm sap.

And a very easy way of dealing with that is by covering the buckets. That's a pretty low-cost, low-tech, highly-effective way to prevent spillover.

That was a 10 year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development that works to do viral discovery in bats.

It is the reason why we know what we know about the prevalence of coronaviruses in bats in Asia.

And looking into those viruses, it gives us a sense of what may be out there. Now, we don't know whether any of those viruses are going to be big problems for people.

We don't have the science to know that yet. But it is certainly helpful. And then of course, with the wildlife trade, we've seen bits and pieces of this.

I think one of the challenges of the wildlife trade is there's really no entity in the world that's charged with monitoring wildlife for diseases.

There's also by the way, work on deforestation showing that protecting forests protects outbreaks, certainly with vector borne diseases, and also other diseases that may come in the forest like Ebola.

So we're really calling for a scaling up of this. And we've talked about in this paper how important it is to really do good science around the efficacy of these interventions as they scale up.

BASCOMB: And obviously if we were able to dramatically reduce deforestation and the wildlife trade, that would have many other knockoff benefits as well.

You know, tropical forests, of course, are a crucial carbon sink, and it would protect biodiversity, which is in crisis.

Can you tell me more about that, please, if you've looked into it? You know, I think many people would rightly be a bit skeptical of how effective the interventions we propose are going to be.

I think we are pretty clear that while we know preventing deforestation and addressing the wildlife trade, and really doing better surveillance, carry the potential to reduce risks of spillover, we can't say with great certainty what the return on investment there is, because we haven't really done it at scale.

And so we need to really understand that. But at the same time, if we have your point, which is that we have a bunch of reasons to be doing these things anyway, particularly preventing deforestation is the clearest example.

You know, we not only have the carbon value that you alluded to, there's huge water value, so, particularly tropical forests are hugely important to local water resources.

There's indigenous rights. But there are other things that protecting forests do, they prevent fires. And so you see, you know, compounding value that occurs when you protect forests.

And now we add another dimension, which is prevention of disease spread. Governments have spent huge sums of money to try and prop up economies.

And on the other side of it, you can put a dollar value to the deaths that have occurred. Economists assign what's called a value of a statistical life.

And you come up with a dollar figure, you multiply that by the number of people who have died, and you're talking another several trillion dollars in value there.

And it becomes clear that salvation comes cheaply. And it's very easy to forget that there's nothing written that this can't happen again.

And there's also nothing written that this is the worst pathogen that might spill over into people. So, you know, I think certainly as a clinician, as a doctor, if I had any capacity to prevent the kind of, you know, disease and suffering that this kind of thing did for essentially the cost difference we see here between the prevention actions we're talking about, and the cost of this one disease, I would be committing malpractice not to use it.

BASCOMB: Well, you know, that sounds like a really good investment, but a tall order, with many world economies struggling because of the pandemic.

Where would this money come from, and where should it go? The money needs to come from richer countries, and it needs to come from them out of self-interest, because, you know, we can clearly see in the United States that we have a huge problem in this country from a virus that emerged somewhere else.

And so we have a direct interest for our own people, for our own economy, in doing things that would prevent the spillover diseases that happen in other parts of the world.

And the money would go to places that we know spillover is more likely. And I think, you know, pretty clearly, we can't afford not to do these things.

And so to not make an investment, which is a rounding error of the massive sums of money that are being spent right now to try and prop up economies, and deal with the virus that's emerged itself is crazy.

We would really be foolish to not spend a few percent of the price tag of this one virus to do anything we can to prevent another pandemic like this one.

He has called climate change a hoax. He favors more mining on indigenous land, which is constitutionally protected.

How have they responded to the new president and his approach to the Amazon? Norway has suspended donations and Germany had planned to donate about 39 million dollars to the fund but Mr.

That really leaves us in a tough spot. And now we have yet another reason to curb deforestation to prevent future outbreaks of diseases like Covid19 as Dr.

Bernstein told you earlier. The idea has been to pay for the ecosystem services that rainforests provide and now we see a standing forest provides yet another service, housing the animals that can transmit deadly diseases if they come in contact with people.

But Mr. Bernstein reached out to us on August 2nd with the following correction: "In the interview I said that chicken pox was a human variety of a pox virus with analogues in other animals eg camel pox.

I should have said small pox, not chicken pox. Chicken pox is a kind of herpes virus which, for the record, are closely related to the pox viruses, and we treat these with the same medications, eg.

Helping boaters race clean, sail green and protect the seas they love. More information at sailors for the sea dot org. Costa Rica successfully regrew much of its lost forest by transitioning from logging to ecotourism.

And now it's time to take a look beyond the headlines with Peter Dykstra. Peter is an editor with Environmental Health News.

That's ehn. On the line now from Atlanta, Georgia - hi there, Peter. What's going on? You ready for little good news amidst all the bad news we always seem to have on this beat?

Costa Rica, like just about any nation in the tropics, saw heavy duty logging. They reversed the damage, supplanting the lost income of logging with income from ecotourism.

DYKSTRA: They did this by showing landowners that the logging money was a one time benefit, whereas ecotourism dollars would come back year after year after year.

And also on federally owned lands, Costa Rica became one of the best creators and managers of national parks, both along its beautiful beaches and inland in the rainforests.

And the forests have bounced back spectacularly. They won't all see the same benefit from ecotourism because that dollar can't be sliced different ways, but they will certainly get the benefit of seeing their land not turn to almost nothing when grazing land is exhausted, and the trees can't grow back quickly either.

Hey, what else do you have for us today? To regulate greenhouse gas emissions from rideshare companies, California wants most Uber and Lyft vehicles to be electric by It involves regulation which some people hate, but the potentially regulated don't seem to mind.

Uber and Lyft, growing in popularity, showing signs that they're not just a passing fad, they're here to stay, but they're also largely unregulated in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

California wants them to be two thirds almost of their rides from electronic vehicles in only a decade, by the year As I understand it, if you drive for Lyft or Uber, you have to buy your own car.

Some Uber and Lyft drivers are using rentals, they find that more cost effective, but they're hoping that in 10 years there will be enough of a market and enough profitability in electric vehicles.

Lyft has already endorsed the idea. Uber says they're open to further discussions. Lyft has agreed to the proposed regulation to limit air pollution in California, while Uber says it is open to discussion.

August 1, was the day that McDonald's, the world's largest purveyor of fast food, and the Environmental Defense Fund came to an agreement that among other things, would drop polystyrene packaging, those legendary clamshell boxes for burgers from their menu, and it was a major breakthrough, but McDonald's didn't completely drop all of their polystyrene Styrofoam packaging until the year Was this more for optics or what practical effect has it had on pollution from this?

I mean, on one hand, you've got all this packaging - McDonald's legitimately reduced its waste stream to landfills, they legitimately used a better form of packaging.

But, it's not like they ended taking some of that rainforest beef with its own baggage on greenhouse gas emissions, and serving it up as billions and billions of burgers every year.

You mentioned the Environmental Defense Fund, but what about people in the public? In , McDonalds stopped using Styrofoam packaging for burgers after pressure from grassroots groups and the Environmental Defense Fund.

But, as much as three years earlier, there was a grassroots campaign - activists like Lois Gibbs, the legendary hellraiser from the Love Canal neighborhood, who launched something called the McToxics campaign three years earlier, in to pressure McDonald's to change its packaging.

One can safely say that three years worth of grassroots hellraising sort of softened the market for EDF to come in, and make the score and make the change with McDonald's.

Peter Dykstra is an editor with Environmental Health News. We'll talk to you again real soon. Can the World Learn from It? People enjoy the park space of the quad at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Photo: Shunya Koide on Unsplash. Communities of color in the U. On a state by state basis the research team combined spatial data with census information on race, family structure, and income.

She joins me now from Washington, D. ROWLAND-SHEA: Nature deprivation is important because there are a number of benefits that come along with being exposed to nature, whether that's air quality, water quality or just the ability to get outside.

I think during these times of coronavirus, people have been especially needing to stretch their legs, be distant from people, be in fresh air, and that's really important.

To what extent is nature deprivation the direct consequences of systemic racism and white supremacy in this country, do you think? The Nature Gap report looked at the lower 48 states and Washington, D.

ROWLAND-SHEA: Yeah, so fundamentally, we hope that this report helps the public understand that disparities across racial and economic groups can't be explained away by luck or randomness or individual choices; that the stark disparities are a result of systemic inequalities and environmental racism, including practices like redlining, prioritizing parks in white neighborhoods, siting factories and energy projects in communities of color, even paving directly through or over diverse communities.

And the data that we found suggests that communities are still living in a nation that hasn't fully reckoned with that past or found a way to live up to its ideals of equity and justice.

And that is certainly I think the underlying cause of why we're seeing this nature deprivation right now, even though it may not be fully obvious.

Things like the dispossession of Native American land certainly is still having an impact on the kinds of resource management decisions that are happening on tribal lands and near Native American communities.

So any solutions to this problem needs to be rooted in that recognition and understanding the underlying problem. The problem is a nearby one, I gather.

Industrial activities add to nature deprivation by hindering access to many of the key benefits of nature, including clean air, clean water, and natural sounds.

Nature deprivation in the report describes places with a higher proportion of natural area lost than the state level medium.

So what counts as nature deprived in a Northeastern state is not going to be the exact same as somewhere in the West, it will vary by state, but functionally, nature deprivation is describing a place that has fewer parks, streams and other natural areas nearby.

I think it has to do primarily with them being states with high populations of white people. And so where the data is coming up as census tracts that are counting as majority minority are going to be mostly in urban areas.

And so that's where those numbers are coming from, I think. But the question is, really, how do you make sure that everyone, including people living in cities, have access to nature and its benefits?

Green space and cityscape mix in Austin, Texas. Photo: Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash. Another finding that I found to be particularly jarring was that communities with a high number of families with children under the age of 18, are almost twice as likely to be nature deprived as families without young children.

And that that disparity is especially apparent for families of color and low-income families with children. And that's not happening for less advantaged families, huh?

ROWLAND-SHEA: It's not at all, and I think that in terms of policy solutions, that has been one of the places that policymakers have been starting, at least now, and the Every Kid in a Park program is a really great example of one federal program that has started to remove the financial barriers to getting kids outdoors, that allows fourth graders and their families to enter all national parks and public lands for free during their fourth grade year of school.

And so that has exposed several new generations to the wonders that are national parks and other public lands.

And another program at the state level, New Mexico's new Outdoor Equity Fund, is just getting going, but it is designed to specifically correct for some of the racial and economic disparities that exist in these natural experiences.

ROWLAND-SHEA: So we looked specifically at the energy development aspect of nature loss and tried to assess which communities were most impacted by that, and did find that when you look at energy development, specifically, Native Americans are disproportionately affected by the impacts of oil, gas and coal development.

We saw this especially happening in the four corners area, areas of northern New Mexico, Northern Arizona, southern Colorado, where there's a lot of federal oil and gas development on public lands, among other development activities.

And you can see that especially affecting Native American populations there. And while it may not be actually covered in this data because some of that new development is so recent, I think we will see that nature deprivation near the Bears Ears area in Utah may have some profound consequences.

This is a goal recommended by many scientists and supported by a number of members of Congress. How do you think "30 by 30" can best help address the nature gap?

Photo: Courtesy of Jenny Rowland-Shea. And pursuing better protections for land and water is an important opportunity to kind of hit that reset button and ensure that conservation over the next decade really reflects the views and the needs of everyone.

Jenny, thanks so much for taking the time with us today. The Kiowa Gourd Dance ceremony usually is performed in a circle with a drum placed at the center.

Men beat the drums and women stand or sit behind them. Both sing and dance in place, raising their feet in synchronicity with the drumbeats and swinging metal rattles from side to side.

The wolf encouraged the warrior to share the song with his people. They also discuss how California is urging Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning to mostly electric cars by Sixty years ago on July 14th, , Jane arrived in what is now Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to begin her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees.

In this extended interview version, Jane Goodall joins Steve Curwood to discuss her career studying chimps, the work her organization is doing now, what we can learn about our relationship with the natural world from the current pandemic, and much more.

LOE's show rundown and exclusive original content in your inbox, sent weekly. Ultimately, if we are going prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we are going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them Donate to Living on Earth!

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Hi Bobby, now you spoke with one of the co-authors of the report, right? Ari Bernstein he is a pediatrician with the Harvard T.

Chan School of Public Health. And I started my conversation with Dr. Bernstein by asking him about zoonotic diseases that move from animals to people.

And that reflects increasing contact between people and wildlife in particular. And of course, the reality that we live in a highly connected world, with many densely populated cities, that those two things together really amplify.

When a disease moves into a person, the chances that it spreads to lots of other people are much higher. I've read that something like six out of 10 diseases in humans actually originate in animals.

Can you give us some examples that people are familiar with? There are other diseases which you know, are in people, but they're sort of a first cousin in other species.

A good example of that is something like chicken pox. There are similar viruses. There's monkey pox, there's camel pox.

And you can actually have some transmission of those other pox virus into people, but these viruses shared a common ancestor. And of the diseases that people commonly get, you know, there are lots of these zoonotic diseases.

You know, there's plenty of examples around the world, whether it's rabies, or Lyme disease, West Nile virus in the United States. And so it's really more the rule, as you point out, than the exception.

And so we shouldn't be terribly surprised that when we're changing life on Earth at such a rapid rate today, that we're sort of stirring the pot of the common germ pool, so to speak, and that these diseases, particularly viruses, tend to pop out into people.

What are some of those suggestions? And the question was, well, how much would we have to spend to do what we know we need to do to prevent these viruses from spilling over into people.

A good chunk of these emerging diseases come from deforestation, and not necessarily the cutting down of trees, per se, but all the activities that come with that.

So building of roads, the establishment of settlements in forests, the likelihood that people are going into the forest, not just to chop down trees, but perhaps to gather wildlife.

And so we looked at how much it would cost to reduce deforestation in places that are particularly high risk.

We know another chunk of emerging infections come from wildlife trade, we see this with, you know, the pet trade, where people import pets from various corners of the Earth and the places and the pets are carrying pathogens.

The part of the wildlife trade that we were most concerned with is actually not at the buyer end, it's at the procurer end.

It's that there are people who are going out into wilderness and harvesting animals, for pets, for medicines, for furs, for all kinds of stuff.

And those contexts are the high risk ones. And we know that because what little work we've done to understand what viruses in particular may be in wildlife shows that there are lots of viruses.

And so as people go into the wilderness, you know, bats are often captured as food, but they're also captured for other reasons.

So we focus on what it would take to really address the risks. And the third big area we try and tackle is surveillance.

So you know, it's not, I think practical to stop the wildlife trade, it's not going to, we think it's impractical to end all tropical deforestation, as much as I think many people would like to see that.

So what we need to do is we need to have much better surveillance of wildlife and people who are at high risk for spillover.

And so we try and think through which organizations and what the budget would be to do that, and those are the three big areas.

What evidence is there that any of these methods, though, that you suggested would actually help prevent the spread of disease? Deforestation and the side ventures that go along with it, such as roadbuilding and logging, increase the likelihood of animal contact resulting in zoonotic disease spillover.

So there have been very small scale interventions along the lines we described that have definitely prevented us spillover.

A good example of this is Nipah virus in Bangladesh. Nipah virus first emerged in Malaysia in the 90s. And there have been subsequent outbreaks in Bangladesh.

And in Bangladesh, the virus is transmitted from bats to people, it turns out through date palm sap. In Bangladesh, palm trees are tapped like maple trees are tapped here in New England for their sap, and there are buckets put on the trees.

And the bats like the syrup, so they would defecate into the palm sap. And a very easy way of dealing with that is by covering the buckets. That's a pretty low-cost, low-tech, highly-effective way to prevent spillover.

That was a 10 year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development that works to do viral discovery in bats.

It is the reason why we know what we know about the prevalence of coronaviruses in bats in Asia. And looking into those viruses, it gives us a sense of what may be out there.

Now, we don't know whether any of those viruses are going to be big problems for people. We don't have the science to know that yet. But it is certainly helpful.

And then of course, with the wildlife trade, we've seen bits and pieces of this. I think one of the challenges of the wildlife trade is there's really no entity in the world that's charged with monitoring wildlife for diseases.

There's also by the way, work on deforestation showing that protecting forests protects outbreaks, certainly with vector borne diseases, and also other diseases that may come in the forest like Ebola.

So we're really calling for a scaling up of this. And we've talked about in this paper how important it is to really do good science around the efficacy of these interventions as they scale up.

BASCOMB: And obviously if we were able to dramatically reduce deforestation and the wildlife trade, that would have many other knockoff benefits as well.

You know, tropical forests, of course, are a crucial carbon sink, and it would protect biodiversity, which is in crisis.

Can you tell me more about that, please, if you've looked into it? You know, I think many people would rightly be a bit skeptical of how effective the interventions we propose are going to be.

I think we are pretty clear that while we know preventing deforestation and addressing the wildlife trade, and really doing better surveillance, carry the potential to reduce risks of spillover, we can't say with great certainty what the return on investment there is, because we haven't really done it at scale.

And so we need to really understand that. But at the same time, if we have your point, which is that we have a bunch of reasons to be doing these things anyway, particularly preventing deforestation is the clearest example.

You know, we not only have the carbon value that you alluded to, there's huge water value, so, particularly tropical forests are hugely important to local water resources.

There's indigenous rights. But there are other things that protecting forests do, they prevent fires. And so you see, you know, compounding value that occurs when you protect forests.

And now we add another dimension, which is prevention of disease spread. Governments have spent huge sums of money to try and prop up economies.

And on the other side of it, you can put a dollar value to the deaths that have occurred. Economists assign what's called a value of a statistical life.

And you come up with a dollar figure, you multiply that by the number of people who have died, and you're talking another several trillion dollars in value there.

And it becomes clear that salvation comes cheaply. And it's very easy to forget that there's nothing written that this can't happen again.

And there's also nothing written that this is the worst pathogen that might spill over into people. So, you know, I think certainly as a clinician, as a doctor, if I had any capacity to prevent the kind of, you know, disease and suffering that this kind of thing did for essentially the cost difference we see here between the prevention actions we're talking about, and the cost of this one disease, I would be committing malpractice not to use it.

BASCOMB: Well, you know, that sounds like a really good investment, but a tall order, with many world economies struggling because of the pandemic.

Where would this money come from, and where should it go? The money needs to come from richer countries, and it needs to come from them out of self-interest, because, you know, we can clearly see in the United States that we have a huge problem in this country from a virus that emerged somewhere else.

And so we have a direct interest for our own people, for our own economy, in doing things that would prevent the spillover diseases that happen in other parts of the world.

And the money would go to places that we know spillover is more likely. And I think, you know, pretty clearly, we can't afford not to do these things.

And so to not make an investment, which is a rounding error of the massive sums of money that are being spent right now to try and prop up economies, and deal with the virus that's emerged itself is crazy.

We would really be foolish to not spend a few percent of the price tag of this one virus to do anything we can to prevent another pandemic like this one.

He has called climate change a hoax. He favors more mining on indigenous land, which is constitutionally protected.

How have they responded to the new president and his approach to the Amazon? Norway has suspended donations and Germany had planned to donate about 39 million dollars to the fund but Mr.

That really leaves us in a tough spot. And now we have yet another reason to curb deforestation to prevent future outbreaks of diseases like Covid19 as Dr.

Bernstein told you earlier. The idea has been to pay for the ecosystem services that rainforests provide and now we see a standing forest provides yet another service, housing the animals that can transmit deadly diseases if they come in contact with people.

But Mr. Bernstein reached out to us on August 2nd with the following correction: "In the interview I said that chicken pox was a human variety of a pox virus with analogues in other animals eg camel pox.

I should have said small pox, not chicken pox. Chicken pox is a kind of herpes virus which, for the record, are closely related to the pox viruses, and we treat these with the same medications, eg.

Helping boaters race clean, sail green and protect the seas they love. More information at sailors for the sea dot org. Costa Rica successfully regrew much of its lost forest by transitioning from logging to ecotourism.

And now it's time to take a look beyond the headlines with Peter Dykstra. Peter is an editor with Environmental Health News. That's ehn.

On the line now from Atlanta, Georgia - hi there, Peter. What's going on? You ready for little good news amidst all the bad news we always seem to have on this beat?

Costa Rica, like just about any nation in the tropics, saw heavy duty logging. They reversed the damage, supplanting the lost income of logging with income from ecotourism.

DYKSTRA: They did this by showing landowners that the logging money was a one time benefit, whereas ecotourism dollars would come back year after year after year.

And also on federally owned lands, Costa Rica became one of the best creators and managers of national parks, both along its beautiful beaches and inland in the rainforests.

And the forests have bounced back spectacularly. They won't all see the same benefit from ecotourism because that dollar can't be sliced different ways, but they will certainly get the benefit of seeing their land not turn to almost nothing when grazing land is exhausted, and the trees can't grow back quickly either.

Hey, what else do you have for us today? To regulate greenhouse gas emissions from rideshare companies, California wants most Uber and Lyft vehicles to be electric by It involves regulation which some people hate, but the potentially regulated don't seem to mind.

Uber and Lyft, growing in popularity, showing signs that they're not just a passing fad, they're here to stay, but they're also largely unregulated in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

California wants them to be two thirds almost of their rides from electronic vehicles in only a decade, by the year As I understand it, if you drive for Lyft or Uber, you have to buy your own car.

Some Uber and Lyft drivers are using rentals, they find that more cost effective, but they're hoping that in 10 years there will be enough of a market and enough profitability in electric vehicles.

Lyft has already endorsed the idea. Uber says they're open to further discussions. Lyft has agreed to the proposed regulation to limit air pollution in California, while Uber says it is open to discussion.

August 1, was the day that McDonald's, the world's largest purveyor of fast food, and the Environmental Defense Fund came to an agreement that among other things, would drop polystyrene packaging, those legendary clamshell boxes for burgers from their menu, and it was a major breakthrough, but McDonald's didn't completely drop all of their polystyrene Styrofoam packaging until the year Was this more for optics or what practical effect has it had on pollution from this?

I mean, on one hand, you've got all this packaging - McDonald's legitimately reduced its waste stream to landfills, they legitimately used a better form of packaging.

But, it's not like they ended taking some of that rainforest beef with its own baggage on greenhouse gas emissions, and serving it up as billions and billions of burgers every year.

You mentioned the Environmental Defense Fund, but what about people in the public? In , McDonalds stopped using Styrofoam packaging for burgers after pressure from grassroots groups and the Environmental Defense Fund.

But, as much as three years earlier, there was a grassroots campaign - activists like Lois Gibbs, the legendary hellraiser from the Love Canal neighborhood, who launched something called the McToxics campaign three years earlier, in to pressure McDonald's to change its packaging.

One can safely say that three years worth of grassroots hellraising sort of softened the market for EDF to come in, and make the score and make the change with McDonald's.

Peter Dykstra is an editor with Environmental Health News. We'll talk to you again real soon. Can the World Learn from It?

People enjoy the park space of the quad at the University of Washington in Seattle. Photo: Shunya Koide on Unsplash.

Communities of color in the U. On a state by state basis the research team combined spatial data with census information on race, family structure, and income.

She joins me now from Washington, D. ROWLAND-SHEA: Nature deprivation is important because there are a number of benefits that come along with being exposed to nature, whether that's air quality, water quality or just the ability to get outside.

I think during these times of coronavirus, people have been especially needing to stretch their legs, be distant from people, be in fresh air, and that's really important.

To what extent is nature deprivation the direct consequences of systemic racism and white supremacy in this country, do you think?

The Nature Gap report looked at the lower 48 states and Washington, D. ROWLAND-SHEA: Yeah, so fundamentally, we hope that this report helps the public understand that disparities across racial and economic groups can't be explained away by luck or randomness or individual choices; that the stark disparities are a result of systemic inequalities and environmental racism, including practices like redlining, prioritizing parks in white neighborhoods, siting factories and energy projects in communities of color, even paving directly through or over diverse communities.

And the data that we found suggests that communities are still living in a nation that hasn't fully reckoned with that past or found a way to live up to its ideals of equity and justice.

And that is certainly I think the underlying cause of why we're seeing this nature deprivation right now, even though it may not be fully obvious.

Things like the dispossession of Native American land certainly is still having an impact on the kinds of resource management decisions that are happening on tribal lands and near Native American communities.

So any solutions to this problem needs to be rooted in that recognition and understanding the underlying problem. The problem is a nearby one, I gather.

Industrial activities add to nature deprivation by hindering access to many of the key benefits of nature, including clean air, clean water, and natural sounds.

Nature deprivation in the report describes places with a higher proportion of natural area lost than the state level medium. So what counts as nature deprived in a Northeastern state is not going to be the exact same as somewhere in the West, it will vary by state, but functionally, nature deprivation is describing a place that has fewer parks, streams and other natural areas nearby.

I think it has to do primarily with them being states with high populations of white people. And so where the data is coming up as census tracts that are counting as majority minority are going to be mostly in urban areas.

And so that's where those numbers are coming from, I think. But the question is, really, how do you make sure that everyone, including people living in cities, have access to nature and its benefits?

Green space and cityscape mix in Austin, Texas. Photo: Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash. Another finding that I found to be particularly jarring was that communities with a high number of families with children under the age of 18, are almost twice as likely to be nature deprived as families without young children.

And that that disparity is especially apparent for families of color and low-income families with children. And that's not happening for less advantaged families, huh?

ROWLAND-SHEA: It's not at all, and I think that in terms of policy solutions, that has been one of the places that policymakers have been starting, at least now, and the Every Kid in a Park program is a really great example of one federal program that has started to remove the financial barriers to getting kids outdoors, that allows fourth graders and their families to enter all national parks and public lands for free during their fourth grade year of school.

And so that has exposed several new generations to the wonders that are national parks and other public lands.

And another program at the state level, New Mexico's new Outdoor Equity Fund, is just getting going, but it is designed to specifically correct for some of the racial and economic disparities that exist in these natural experiences.

ROWLAND-SHEA: So we looked specifically at the energy development aspect of nature loss and tried to assess which communities were most impacted by that, and did find that when you look at energy development, specifically, Native Americans are disproportionately affected by the impacts of oil, gas and coal development.

We saw this especially happening in the four corners area, areas of northern New Mexico, Northern Arizona, southern Colorado, where there's a lot of federal oil and gas development on public lands, among other development activities.

And you can see that especially affecting Native American populations there. And while it may not be actually covered in this data because some of that new development is so recent, I think we will see that nature deprivation near the Bears Ears area in Utah may have some profound consequences.

Sixty years ago on July 14th, , Jane arrived in what is now Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to begin her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees.

In this extended interview version, Jane Goodall joins Steve Curwood to discuss her career studying chimps, the work her organization is doing now, what we can learn about our relationship with the natural world from the current pandemic, and much more.

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