Balance/Sustainability – Tesla factory reopens as Shanghai lockdown persists
Tesla’s factory in Shanghai is one of 666 factories Beijing allows to reopen on Tuesday as it tries to walk a tightrope between fighting the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak and keeping its workers healthy. most crucial industries, Reuters reported.
The lockdown is necessary in part because as of April 15, only 62% of Shanghai residents over the age of 60 were fully vaccinated, according to Reuters.
Under the “closed loop” system, in which employees live and work in factories to avoid possible contagion, Tesla provides them with sleeping bags and mattresses and, in the absence of designated dormitories, forces them to sleep on the floor, Bloomberg reported. .
Before the shutdowns, Tesla was on track to produce around 683,000 vehicles a year from the Shanghai plant, the company said.
welcome to balance, a newsletter that follows the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. We are Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin. Send us tips and feedback. A friend sent you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Today we’re going to look at bird flu, which is ravaging American flocks after ravaging Europe and the Middle East. Then we turn our attention to the UK, where dozens of people were arrested over the weekend amid ongoing protests against government fuel investments.
Bird flu is spreading out of control
The “highly pathogenic bird flu” killed 36 bald eagles and 27 million domestic turkeys and chickens on Monday, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The virulent disease is driving up the prices of eggs and chicken meat as migrating waterfowl carry the disease across the United States, where it kills everything from turkeys to great horned owls.
Top row: The bird flu outbreak, the first serious outbreak in the United States since 2015, is part of a global epidemic that devastated flocks in Europe to the Middle East last year, according to Wired.
With outbreaks this weekend in Pennsylvania, Idaho and Utah, the disease is now present in 30 states. And experts say it’s far from contained.
A ruthless killer: “Highly pathogenic bird flu” – so called because it spreads so easily – is rare in humans but kills virtually all infected birds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tragic and symbolic deaths: The virus has caused the death – by contagion or euthanasia – of 36 bald eagles in 14 states, according to USA Today.
A nest of great horned owls also had to be euthanized, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
Dismantle bird feeders: With many other foods available at this time of year, birds don’t need bird feeders, which can be vectors for spreading the virus, Victoria Hall of the Minnesota Raptor Center told MPR.
With warm June weather, dense flocks of birds will start to disperse, “and we’ll see those numbers go down,” Hall said.
But this is small consolation for farmers: The first US domestic case appeared in a game bird in January in South Carolina, followed in February by an outbreak in a turkey farm in Indiana, according to the USDA.
Since then, nearly 27 million birds have died or been euthanized, and farmers are struggling to find an effective way to protect their flocks and investments, The Washington Post reported.
This is particularly relevant given the damage caused by the disease in Europe and Asia, resulting in the destruction of 12 million chickens in France alone, according to Reuters.
PROTECTION IS COMPLICATED
According to Wired, a common method of spread appears to be infected droppings falling as birds fly overhead – landing in farmyards or even getting mixed in dust and blown away by the wind.
Farmers enforce strict biosecurity protocols and even attempt to deter wild birds with lasers, according to the Post.
Compound of disturbances: But none of this has been enough to prevent the disease from worsening disruptions in egg and poultry markets – adding to supply chain disruptions, fuel price hikes and other factors driving prices up, the Post reported.
A strange epidemic: Experts were alarmed that this outbreak didn’t behave like it did in 2015 — they haven’t been able to figure out what’s spreading it, the Post reported.
A difficult solution: The USDA is looking into poultry vaccination programs, according to news station KSL.
It’s a step the agency has historically avoided, in part because of fears from foreign buyers that vaccinated chickens may be difficult to distinguish from sick ones, and – as in humans vaccinated against the coronavirus – may still be able to to transmit the virus, Wired reported. .
Things may now be bad enough to warrant it: “We’ve now been two months into the outbreak, and safety protocols haven’t worked,” Gro Intelligence’s Grady Ferguson told The Post.
“I don’t want to be a Chicken Little, but I think it’s going to be worse than added Ferguson.
Dozens arrested amid climate protests in London
Six people, including two Olympic athletes, were arrested in London on Saturday for climbing and sticking to an oil tanker, while dozens more were arrested for scaling the city’s Marble Arch during a protest weekend weather, the BBC reported.
The incidents were the latest in a string of protests linked to the global movement Extinction Rebellion, a group “calling for mass civil disobedience to provoke immediate action to avert the worst of the climate crisis”, as described by the New York Magazine.
What happened this weekend in London? On Saturday, Olympic gold medalist canoeist Etienne Stott and sailor Laura Baldwin were among those who rode a Shell tanker, standing above a sign that read “love in action”, according to the BBC.
Activists gathered in Hyde Park then marched through the British capital, waving flags, setting off flares and dancing in the streets, the BBC reported.
Eight activists also locked themselves in a car on the road, while two others then glued themselves to the roof of the vehicle, according to the report.
Why now? UK campaigners have spent the past few weeks urging their government to halt all fossil fuel investment, The Guardian reported.
“I am taking action to try to disrupt the toxic fossil fuel industry that is destroying everything we hold dear,” Stott told reporters, according to The Guardian.
The weekend rise follows the move by several companies – including ExxonMobil – to seek injunctions that would prevent protesters from blocking their operations, The Guardian reported.
Peaceful protest or disruption? The companies won the injunctions to stop protests that the government says have caused widespread chaos over the past month, Reuters reported.
“While we value the right to protest peacefully, it is crucial that it does not disrupt people’s daily lives,” British Energy Minister Greg Hands told Reuters on Friday ahead of the weekend’s events.
“That’s why I’m delighted to see oil companies taking steps to obtain injunctions at their sites, working with local police forces to arrest those who break the law and ensure fuel deliveries can continue as normal. “Hands added.
The industry is following the lead of the government: The opposition Labor Party has also called for such injunctions, pointing out that the protests have led to shortages at petrol stations, according to Reuters.
Police have arrested around 600 people since the protests began earlier this month – not including additional detentions over the weekend, according to Reuters.
EXTINCTION REBELLION IS NOT LIMITED TO ENGLAND IN ANY WAY
While the movement originated in the UK, Extinction Rebellion has a global presence and describes itself as “a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement” which uses “non-violent direct action and civil disobedience” to incite the government to act on the climate. issues.
Post-pandemic return: Extinction Rebellion’s roots lie in British activist Gail Bradbrook’s 2016 visit to a psychedelic retreat in Costa Rica – after which she teamed up with farmer activist Roger Hallam and a group of academics to form the movement, according to New York Magazine.
While the group lost momentum during the early coronavirus lockdowns, activists are now resurfacing with vigor.
About 100 people from as far away as Vermont and Pennsylvania recently gathered at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn Heights to train “in nonviolent resistance to save the planet,” New York Magazine reported.
“Spring Rebellion”: These individuals are planning to take part in the largest American campaign ever organized by Extinction Rebellion: 11 days of demonstrations aimed at disrupting the city, dubbed “Spring Rebellion”, according to New York Magazine.
“Civil disobedience is the only thing I think I can do,” Karen Bixler, an 80-year-old retiree who participated in the training, told New York Magazine.
“Sometimes there’s a call for all old people to come forward because maybe people will feel differently about beating up their grandma than beating up punk kids,” she added.
Container ship released, jets flying without fuel and preparations underway for massive power surges.
Container ship stuck in the Chesapeake finally freed
- The Ever Forward, a container ship stuck in the Chesapeake Bay for more than a month, was finally freed Sunday morning by two barges and five tugs – after two failed attempts to dislodge it, CBS News reported.
Hedging bets on an aircraft without the need for jet fuel
- Construction is underway on a Vermont-based aircraft that The New York Times has described as “a flying battery” – a fuelless plane that could take off and land without a runway and recharge quietly like a drone. Alia, built by Beta Technologies, is already attracting investors including UPS, Amazon, the US military, according to the Times.
Utilities gear up for clean energy with massive scaling of power infrastructure
One more thing… Check out TheHill.com tonight to find out which American river has been deemed the nation’s “most endangered” waterway.
Please visit The Hill’s Sustainability section online for the web version of this newsletter and more stories. Well see you tomorrow.
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