Millions of Americans Flood Into Mexico for Health Care — the Human Caravan You Haven’t Heard About

The US-Mexico border crossing at Tijuana, Mexico. The US's "dental refugees" flock to Mexico in the thousands every day, seeking affordable care.
The US-Mexico border crossing at Tijuana, Mexico. The US’s “dental refugees” flock to Mexico in the thousands every day, seeking affordable care.PHILIPPE TURPIN / PHOTONONSTOP / GETTY IMAGES

The Trump administration is trying to convey panic that there’s an immediate crisis on the southern border, pointing to caravans of desperate people who have traveled thousands of miles.

It’s true that Latin and Central Americans are coming to the US fleeing violence and poverty, much of it caused by destructive US trade policy over the course of decades. But there’s another massive “border crossing” phenomenon afoot — and Trump has not said a word about it. We’re talking about thousands of US citizens crossing the border each day in search of affordable health care.

At just one checkpoint in Yuma, Arizona, up to 6,000 Americans cross the border every day and enter the bustling Mexican town of Los Algodones, seeking heath care.

Unlike the Trump administration that seeks to build a wall between the countries, Los Algodones welcomes Americans seeking dental care with open arms.

Los Algodones has to be seen to believed. There are more dentists per capita than anywhere else in the world. It seems like every square foot of public space wall is covered with advertisements promising quality and affordable dental care, vision care and prescription drugs. The community’s economy is built to serve the flood of “dental refugees” — mostly senior citizens from the US and Canada seeking major dental care they cannot afford in their own countries, even with insurance. MORE

Will there be a market for the coming explosion of electric cars?

EVs will become as cheap to own as gas-powered vehicles in 2022, even with no tax breaks or subsidies. But can we count on car buyers make the rational choice?

[Source Image: Volkswagen]

Electric vehicles still make up only a tiny fraction of total car sales. But in 2017, the industry reached a new milestone, selling more than 1 million cars. In 2018, sales may have more than doubled. By 2022, according to a recent report from Deloitte, electric cars will reach a tipping point: owning an electric vehicle will be as cheap as owning one that runs on fossil fuels, and sales will grow much more quickly.

“By 2022, we believe EVs will reach cost parity with gasoline or diesel vehicles regardless of subsidies,” says Jamie Hamilton, the U.K. automotive strategy lead at Deloitte. In some markets, because of subsidies, electric cars have already reached that point. The numbers consider the total cost of ownership–that is, not just the sticker price, but how much less it costs to charge an electric car each year instead of buying gas or diesel, and how much less the vehicles cost to maintain.

If you live in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, or Norway, an electric car is already a better deal, according to another recent report from the International Council for Clean Transportation. MORE

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Becoming Greta: ‘Invisible Girl’ to Global Climate Activist, With Bumps Along the Way


Greta Thunberg, center, skips school on Fridays to demonstrate for climate action at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. Credit Credit Elisabeth Ubbe for The New York Times

STOCKHOLM — It’s complicated being Greta.

Small, shy, survivor of crippling depression, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish girl skipping school to shame the world into addressing climate change, drew a parade of fans one Friday in February on a frozen square in Stockholm.

Six Swiss students had traveled 26 hours by train to seek her support for their petition for a tougher Swiss carbon emissions law. An Italian scientist told her she reminded him of his younger, activist self. A television news crew hovered around her. Women from an antismoking group came to give her a T-shirt.

Greta nodded, whispered, “Thanks,” posed for pictures. Made exactly zero small talk.

All this attention, she said out of earshot of the others, is great. It means “people are listening.” But then, a knife-blade flash of rage revealed itself.

“It’s sometimes annoying when people say, ‘Oh you children, you young people are the hope. You will save the world’” she said, after several grown-ups had told her just that. “I think it would be helpful if you could help us just a little bit.” MORE

Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests

New findings suggest trees are ‘our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change’, says scientist

high-angle photography of green trees
Norvan Falls Trail, North Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Spencer Watson/unsplash

Replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.

Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.

Combining data from ground-based surveys and satellites, Dr Crowther and his colleagues arrived at a figure of three trillion – over seven times more than a previous Nasa estimate. The same approach, using machine learning and AI to analyse the enormous data set, allowed the researchers to predict the number of trees that could feasibly be planted in empty patches around the world.

Dr Crowther said undervaluing trees means scientists have also been massively underestimating the potential for forests to combat climate change. MORE

Moving Along: Updates to Ontario’s Environment Plan

Joanna RosengartenAs reported in a previous blog post, in late 2018 the Ontario government released the Environment Plan: Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations. This Plan outlined the government’s intended actions and policies for addressing many environment-related issues in Ontario, including the pollution of air, land, and water, the reduction of litter and waste, and the emission of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”). The government is moving ahead with its Plan and has posted two proposals for a 45-day comment period: (1) a proposal related to emission performance standards; and (2) a proposal to increase the renewable content of gasoline.

The government’s proposal for industrial Emission Performance Standards (EPS) indicates that this program is being developed as an alternative to the federal government’s Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS) (see our earlier blog posts for an overview of the OPBS). The EPS approach would establish industry-specific greenhouse gas emission performance standards that facilities would be required to meet….

The government is also proposing to increase the renewable fuel content of gasoline from 10% to 15% as early as 2025. Ontario’s current regulations require an average of 5% ethanol (renewable fuel) content in gasoline. In 2020, the renewable fuel content would increase to 10% and then to 15% by 2025. MORE

 

Virtual fences, robot workers, stacked crops: farming in 2040

Population growth and climate change mean we need hi-tech to boost crops, says a new report


 An AI-powered platform called Dick that can spray chemicals and fertilisers exactly where they are needed. Photograph: NFU/Small Robot Company

It is 2040 and Britain’s green and pleasant countryside is populated by robots. We have vertical farms of leafy salads, fruit and vegetables, and livestock is protected by virtual fencing. Changing diets have seen a decline in meat consumption while new biotech production techniques not only help preserve crops but also make them more nutritious.

This is the picture painted in a report from the National Farmers Union which attempts to sketch out what British food and farming will look like in 20 years’ time.

“The Future of Food 2040 report is a catalyst to encourage us all to start the debate about our food and our future so we can plan ahead,” said Andrea Graham, NFU’s head of policy services and author of the report, who interviewed 50 experts across Britain’s food chain to gauge their views. “It is also a reminder for government, at a critical time in British history, to make domestic food production a strategic priority in all policy making.” MORE

Life Without Plastic Is Possible. It’s Just Very Hard.

Going plastic free starts with cloth bags and straws. Suddenly, you’re … making your own toothpaste?

For Beth Terry, the epiphany came when she read an article about how albatross chicks are being killed by discarded plastics. It was time to banish plastic from her life.

First, she focused on her kitchen and got rid of the shopping bags, microwaveable Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese, Clif energy bars and the prewashed salads in plastic tubs.

Then she turned to her bathroom, where she switched to shampoo bars instead of bottles and made her own hair conditioner from apple cider vinegar. Toothpaste without plastic packaging was exceptionally hard to find, so she started making her own with baking soda.

Sometimes her personal war on plastic created awkward moments. During a vacation to Disneyland in California to run a half-marathon, Ms. Terry and her husband left their reusable cloth bags in the hotel, soon discovering that the local supermarket only had plastic bags. How to carry a bunch of apples, oranges, avocados and melons? MORE

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Three New Solar Electricity Facilities in Alberta Contracted At Lower Cost than Natural Gas

Image result for sun energy

  • the contract price of 4.8 cents/kWh CAD to be paid by Alberta Infrastructure for this solar electricity represents a lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) than the average annual wholesale price paid by the power pool to combined-cycle and single-cycle natural gas-fired electricity generation which was 7.1 cents/kWh and 11.2 cents/kWh respectively from 2008 – 2018.
  • Alberta receives more hours of sunshine than Miami, Florida in the summer months. Alberta’s electricity supply is most strained in summer when high temperatures increase the resistance of the distribution and transmission systems, and reduce the efficiency of cooling thermal power plants. For this reason, solar facilities sited near to electricity demand improves overall grid efficiency. Supply shortages are atypical in Alberta in winter when solar energy is least available. When they do occur, imports are increased and large loads are decreased.
  • In 2018, Alberta’s solar electricity generation exceeded 50 MW. While representing much less than 1% of the province’s electricity supply today, the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) forecasts that solar energy could supply as much as 3 per cent of the province’s electricity by 2030. A recent supply chain study of the solar electricity sector in Alberta by Solas Energy Consulting Inc. found a potential of $4.1 billion in market value and a labour force rising to 10,000 in 2030.
To learn more about solar energy and the best way for consumers to go solar, please visit the Canadian Solar Industries Association at www.CanSIA.ca.