Reuters | Raw Story | May 28, 2015
The top U.S. communications regulator on Thursday revealed a plan to expand a government phone subsidy program for low-income Americans to begin covering broadband Internet access.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on June 18 to begin the process of revamping the $1.7 billion program, called Lifeline, which has helped poorer Americans get access to telecommunications technologies since 1985.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to give those receiving the subsidy a choice of using it for phone services, high-speed Internet, or both. The program helps about 12 million U.S. households afford landline and mobile phones, according to agency estimates.
(Plastic pollution. (photo: European Environment Agency)
EcoWatch | Reader Supported News | May 5, 2015
y now, many people know that the ocean is filled with plastic debris.
A recent study estimates that the amount of plastic waste that washes off land into the ocean each year is approximately 8 million metric tons. Jenna Jambeck, the study’s lead author, helps us visualize the magnitude by comparing it to finding five grocery bags full of plastic on every foot of coastline in the 192 countries included in the study.
(photo: Jambeck et al., Science 2015)
The amount of plastic going into in the ocean.
As someone who lives in a highly urbanized coastal city in California, this estimate didn’t shock me. I grew up watching loads of plastic trash spew from river outlets into our ocean. Our beaches are covered with things like plastic bottles, bags, wrappers and straws—all mostly single-use “disposable” items.
For years, I’ve watched polluted water flow beneath the bridge at the end of the San Gabriel River, a channel that drains a 713 square mile watershed in Southern California. This bridge is special … it’s where my fascination with plastic waste began—it’s where our plastic trash becomes plastic marine debris.
Indus River in Hyderabad, India. (photo: AFP)
Samuel Oakford | Vice | Reader Support News | March 21, 2015
ith the world’s population expected to grow to 9.1 billion by mid-century, already depleted groundwater supplies will continue to be gobbled up by agriculture, industry, power generation and personal use, according to the UN’s annual World Water Development Report.
The report, released Friday, says that around 20 percent of groundwater sources are already “overexploited” – a problem that will only grow more dire by 2050, when demand for water is expected to have risen by more than half.
Most alarmingly, the report warns that as early as 2030, the planet could have only 60 percent of the water required to sustain itself if substantial changes are not made to improve management of the resource.
“Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit,” says the report.