welcome to FERN’s Friday Stream (#FFF), where we share stories from this week that got us thinking.
As the heat rises, who will protect the farm workers?
“Across much of the country, as climate change brings increasingly brutal heat waves, farm workers lack protection,” write Bridget Huber, Nancy Averett and Teresa Cotsirilos. “How they fare will largely depend on whether or not their employers voluntarily decide to provide the access to water, shade and breaks that are essential when working in harsh conditions. There are currently no national regulations that specify what employers must do to protect workers from heat, and while efforts to draft a federal rule have recently begun, it will likely be years before employers standards are in place.
In Bangladesh, climate adaptation gone wrong
FERN and The Guardian
“For generations, Islam’s family has grown rice. But from the 1980s, rising seas and storm surges began pushing salt water across the banks of tidal rivers and ruining their crops. His father, along with millions of other coastal farmers, decided to flood the family rice paddies with brackish water and fill the brackish ponds with black tiger prawn fry,” writes Stephen Robert Miller. “Supported by the Bangladeshi government, which saw prawn and prawn production as a lucrative export opportunity…farmers flooded over 275,000 hectares, mostly in the southwest, for intensive aquaculture…However, the trade-off for a few years of income has been decades of environmental protection. degradation and sometimes violent conflict that show how some adaptations can end up making people more, not less, vulnerable.
Last call in a Nebraska farming town
The New York Times
“Elsie Eiler is the sole resident of Monowi, Neb. In the morning, she walks along the empty main street to open her only remaining business, the Monowi Tavern, which her family has run since 1971…The tavern is one of the last gathering places for the remaining residents of [Boyd County]writes Alyssa Schukar. “About 2,000 people still live in the county, down from a peak of 8,800 in 1910. The decline is part of a trend playing out across the state. Farm size has grown steadily in recent years as larger, more efficient operations have become better suited to survive the industry’s transition to a global market. Small family farms – once the backbone of the local economy – have had to expand or withdraw. Many came out. »
How America Drained the Swamp
the new yorker
“A lot of people vaguely understand that wetlands clean the earth. In fact, they are carbon sinks that absorb CO2, and they are unparalleled in filtering out human waste, matter from rotting carcasses, chemicals and other pollutants. They recharge underground aquifers and maintain regional water resources, buffering the excesses of drought and flooding. Overall, the watery parts of the earth stabilize its climate,” writes Annie Proulx. The land that eventually became the United States was once covered in wetlands. “[S]Scientists have estimated that about two hundred and twenty-one million soggy acres existed in the early 17th century, much of which was swamp… By the 1980s, about half of America’s wetlands had been wiped out.
A community’s quest to document each species on its native island
“For the past six years, the slender 36-year-old with an Olympus macro-lens aim and shoot forever around his wrist has been on a chimerical mission to document all the latest species on Galiano Island, from the single pair from moose that swam ashore one day from another Gulf island, to orb spiders guarding twinkling webs, to oysters clustered under the tides,” writes Marina Wang. “Her project spans animal, plant and , fungi and protozoa, and includes marine life up to a kilometer offshore and down to a reef 120 meters below the surface, as well as all birds that fly overhead.Galiano Biodiversity…is part of the biological inventories most ambitious, comprehensive and popular made anywhere on Earth.