Mental health experts based in the San Francisco Bay Area are exploring the ensuing physical, mental and emotional effects of climate change, particularly on the lives of older adults.
The number of Californians over 60 is expected to climb by 166% between 2010 and 2060, according to data from the California Department of Aging. In that time period, department data projects that San Francisco’s over-60 population is expected to grow by 159% and Alameda County’s by 195%. Against this backdrop and with extreme weather events on the rise, physician-researchers like Dr. Andrew Chang, an attending physician specializing in cardiology at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and postdoctoral research fellow at the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, are investigating how the biological mechanisms of aging and a warming world will affect the health of older adults.
Years of Lobbying Helped Transportation Fuels Industry Win Exemptions From California’s Climate Rules
For four years oil companies, airlines and ground transportation industry groups have petitioned California for exemptions from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas market, saying consumers would take the hit through higher prices at the pump and in stores. And in court they are still arguing that the state lacks the regulatory authority to compel participation. To a degree, they have succeeded. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
California’s effort to ensure that the state receives low carbon electricity could end up increasing greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the country, thanks to a practice known as contract reshuffling.Importing low-carbon electricity from out-of-state suppliers of renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower is one way California’s electric utilities can decrease their carbon emissions.
This story is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
Sequestration isn’t just some Washington abstraction. It’s hitting home. The automatic federal budget cuts that rolled out on Friday — known as the sequester — are going to hurt the University of California, San Francisco. The world-class teaching hospital and research center receives funding from the National Institutes of Health. According to KQED’s “California Report,” the university’s vice chancellor for research, Keith Yamamoto, said that some laboratories have already instituted hiring freezes.
Proposition 37, the state ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified food, has revived a long-simmering debate about whether genetically modified food harms human health or the environment. But it’s the claim by opponents that food prices would increase that is riling proponents.
Scientists have devised an intricate network of carbon dioxide sensors in the Bay Area that could offer objective measurements to evaluate which climate change initiatives are effective in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The sensors provide real-time local data on how much carbon dioxide is being emitted, said lead researcher Ronald Cohen, a professor of chemistry and of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.
Some who flee captive labor conditions end up with low-wage jobs, insecure housing
People trafficked into the country receive temporary government and nonprofit social service benefits after rescue or flight from captivity: shelter, health care, counseling, employment and legal help. But once these benefits term out, counter-trafficking specialists worry that victims, who generally have little work experience and weak social and family networks, could fall back into labor conditions as exploitative as the ones they fled. As a victim of international labor trafficking, Lili Samad received government help to stay in the U.S. But she is among hundreds of trafficking survivors each year who end up, months after getting help trying to build a new life, living in marginal housing and working in low-wage jobs.
Chance for permanent residency, access to federal benefits hinge on cooperating with law enforcement
This special report appeared in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
A special visa created 12 years ago to save thousands of victims of human trafficking and curb international human trafficking has been vastly underutilized. Attorneys for rescued victims seeking residency protection say law enforcement agencies are often unwilling or slow to “certify” victims’ claims of having been brought to the U.S. to work by force, fraud or coercion. Legal experts and social service providers in high-trafficking regions, including the San Francisco Bay Area, suggest that victims are placed in a dangerous dilemma: Promising to cooperate with an investigation could possibly help their visa cases, but it could also expose them and their families back home to retaliation.
Public Press writer Rick Jurgens reported on San Francisco’s payday loan industry in our Winter 2011 print edition. He found that large corporations like Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse are among the biggest backers of these profitable low-finance firms. A subsequent whirl around the world of social media has revealed that payday loans are a fact of financial life for many, and some alternatives do exist.