When it rains, it pours: The climate change crisis has reached its peak in Bangladesh after heavy rains earlier this week caused several landslides in the highlands of the southeastern region. At least 156 people have died from a combination of landslides and floods, and national officials are expecting the death toll to rise as rescuers search for the missing. To make matters worse, the dense infrastructure in Bangladesh isn't capable of handling this extreme weather.
The rainy season has historically caused damage, but researchers have linked climate change to the severe storms. Before the torrent of landslides, the country was recuperating from a cyclone a few weeks ago that destroyed tens of thousands of homes and killed seven people. Right now the Bengali government says that it doesn't require outside assistance but the American Red Cross does humanitarian work within the country, here's how you can support their efforts.
Advocacy groups raise flags about Whole Foods sale: Today's news about omnipresent retail giant Amazon purchasing bougie food market Whole Foods is raising red flags in various advocacy circles. This morning, corporate watchdogs Food and Water Watch put out a statement calling for the FTC to stop the merger in order to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices and higher prices of retail grocery monopolies. Amazon's head Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post, and human spaceflight company Blue Origin.
This is what equality looks like: Oregon has made history as the first state to legally acknowledge the gender identity of gender non-conforming, agender and intersex people. There are many identities that are encapsulated under the T of the LGBTQ umbrella, which includes gender non-conforming people whose gender expression does not match social expectations for the gender they were assigned at birth, agender people who do not identify with any gender and intersex people who are born with a sexual anatomy that is not entirely male or female.
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The state transportation commission passed a rule that offers more than two genders on ID documentation, residents can choose M, F and now X for anyone who identifies as non-binary. Oregon's decision is huge in legitimizing the identities of trans and non-binary people, particularly in light of a transphobic political climate that has discriminated against trans students and adults. Also, given that this is LGBTQ Pride month, the timing couldn't have been any better. Here's hoping that other states quickly follow suit.
You can take action in support of trans students in your state here.
Cooked Goose: Remember back in May when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to visit Washington and a huge fight erupted outside the embassy after Erdogan's security personnel attacked peaceful protesters? Someone shouted Worldstar and a brawl ensued that left nine people hospitalized and two members of Erdogan's security team were briefly detained. On Wednesday, DC police announced that they had arrested two men for their role in the beatdown that happened outside the embassy. Law enforcement hasn't released many details but the men have both been charged with aggravated assault. This really isn't good for US-Turkish relations, as the NATO allies have conflicting ideas over dealing with the Syrian Civil War.
Keeping the arts alive: There irrefutable evidence that the arts play a huge role in brain development, but teaching kids how to be creative isn't at the top of the agenda in the American education system. Hip-Hop legend and music industry icon, Dr. Dre believes in the importance of art education and is putting his money where his mouth is. The music mogul has donated $10 million for a performing arts center at a high school in his hometown of Compton, California. "The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future," Dre said in a statement. The school isn't in operation yet, but once completed is expected to serve up to 2,500 kids. It's clear these kids will never forget about Dre.
WTF America? Countries that are actually doing something positive for the environment have implemented carbon pricing, which makes polluters pay per unit of carbon that they emit. Since 1990, 40 countries have enacted this practice to curb emissions, and the number of countries jumping on the carbon pricing bandwagon has increased over time. In Canada, our northern neighbors have been experimenting with different approaches in a few provinces, and are putting a federal pricing system in place next year.
Mexico also plans to put a national price on carbon — yet again isolating the United States as the problem child who refuses to do its part in fighting climate change. Even China, which emits 29.5 percent of the world's carbon, is launching a carbon pricing initiative in 2018. It's sad that America is such a large polluter, but it's even more embarrassing that the Trump Administration has decided to kick back and do nothing while other countries contribute to the global effort against Climate Change. One group is organizing support for carbon pricing in the US — learn more about Put a Price On it here.
A win on DAPL: The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) could be getting shut down for good. The controversial $3.8 billion oil pipeline has been a hot topic for political debate. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and activists from all over the world have been battling the developing of DAPL since 2014 to protect their cultural lands and ensure the safety of their drinking water. Although the energy company says that they're using the most leak-proof material, environmentalists say that even the best pipes can leak or spill.
According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, since 2010 there have been more than 3,300 cases where pipelines got fucked up and ruptured. During the final months of his presidency, Obama stalled the construction of the DAPL only to have President Trump revive it with one of his executive orders just days after his inauguration. Now, Federal Judge James Boasberg is calling for an environmental review of the DAPL because of negligence from the US Army Corp of Engineers. The Sioux tribe and US Army Corp of Engineers have both been ordered to appear before Judge Boasberg next week to decide the fate of the DAPL.