What’s new in the environment? Four things you may not know are happening…


The Yarnery on Instagram: @theyarnery

The Yarnery in St. Paul sells the Weather or Knot kits to create a timeline of weather events in a wearable accessory to spread awareness about environmental data protection.

The environment is always developing, and there many ways in which the way humans interact with it have been changing recently. Here are just four of some of the most recent happenings:

1. Microplastics

This week, a group of five-dozen microplastics researchers across the U.S. West is gathering in Bremerton, Washington to decide the next steps in researching the consequences of microplastics on the oceans and on humans. The main goal is to create a risk assessment stemmed from math for microplastic pollution similar to predictions for earthquakes. The number one concern of most scientists is how the microplastics affect the health of ocean creatures, but they’re also concerned about the health of humans. Plastic is made from fossil fuels and contains hydrocarbons, and therefore attracts pollutants into the water. Portland State University published a study that found an average of 11 micro-plastic pieces from synthetic clothing (such as fleece) per oyster and nine per razor clam on the Oregon coast. San Francisco Estuary Institute found black, rubbery crumbs, most likely from car tires in the storm runoff into the San Francisco Bay.

2. Prioritizing climate change

For the first-ever, the majority of Americans, almost two-thirds, voted for climate change to be the main priority for the president and Congress, a 14 percent raise from four years ago. But there’s still a huge partisan divide. Over 75% of Democrats say the environment is the top priority, whereas less than 25% of Republicans agree, the largest partisan divide in all of the issues surveyed by the Pew Research Center.

3. Pollution deaths

In a study published by Nature on Feb. 12, Minnesota had 2 combustion emission-related deaths per ten-thousand residents in 2018, the majority of which coming from in-state pollutants. This is the first study that has put a headcount to the number of deaths caused by pollutants coming from in-state and out-of-state. States in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest emitted pollutants that caused the earliest deaths for other states. The pollution is carried east to states such as New York and Delaware.

4. Temperature scarves

Knitters across the country are working together to preserve data pertaining to climate change as a way to fight against President Trump purging climate information from government databases. Justin Connelly and Emily McNeill created a kit to accommodate what is named the Tempestry Project. Using colors corresponding with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to knit everything from scarves to tapestries and blankets. Labeled “temperature scarves”, they’re being knitted on behalf of national parks and for large company executives to wear to global conferences. They’re simply a way to start a conversation. Knitters knit one row for each day, the color of which represents the daily temperature recorded by the NOAA. Even though day-to-day weather isn’t an equivalent measure of climate change, one scarf is a representation of an entire year, a measurement of how temperatures changed from Jan. to Dec. Kits can be found at The Yarnery in St. Paul, MN, whose owner began selling the kits because of how the market for American wool is crashing due to climate change.

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