Renewable Natural 

Resources Foundation


Food that is good for you and the planet too


Our world is facing an unprecedented challenge

By 2050 the world population is predicted to increase to almost ten billion people whom we must nourish on a planet of finite resources. It is well-documented that to do this we need to transform our global food system – from the way we farm and fish to what we choose to eat. It is a complex task, and if we are to deliver nutritious food to all, everyone needs to play a part in making the food system more sustainable. Large scale, practical solutions are essential to make the required changes.

Globally we rely on a small range of foods. This negatively impacts our health and the health of the planet. Seventy-five percent of the global food supply comes from only 12 plant and five animal species. Just three (rice, maize, wheat) make up nearly 60 percent of calories from plants in the entire human diet1...

Read more on RNRF's blog, the Renewable Resources Report, by clicking here.

Deadly frog fungus has wiped out 90 species and threatens hundreds more


It started off as an enigma. Biologists at field sites around the world reported that frogs had simply disappeared. Costa Rica, 1987: the golden toad, missing. Australia, 1979: the gastric brooding frog, gone. In Ecuador, Arthur’s stubfoot toad was last seen in 1988.

By 1990, cases of unexplained frog declines were piling up. These were not isolated incidents; it was a global pattern – one that we now know was due to chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease that was infecting and killing a huge range of frogs, toads and salamanders.

Our research, published today in Science, reveals the global number of amphibian species affected. At least 501 species have declined due to chytrid, and 90 of them are confirmed or believed extinct.

When biologists first began to investigate the mysterious species disappearances, they were at a loss to explain them. In many cases, species declined rapidly in seemingly pristine habitat.

Species declines typically have obvious causes, such as habitat loss or introduced species like rats. But this was different...

Read more on RNRF's blog, the Renewable Resources Report, by clicking here.

Harvard University's Environmental Policy Initiative is tracking the Trump Administration's environmental rollbacks.  Click here to learn more.


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Richard Denison Speaks at RNRF Round Table on Threats to TSCA Implementation


Dr. Richard Denison, Lead Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, during an RNRF Washington Round Table on Public Policy, discussed threats to the implementation of the reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) enacted in 2016. The event was held on April 16, 2019 at EDF’s Washington, D.C. office.

Denison began the lecture by highlighting problems with the original TSCA enacted in 1976. Existing chemicals were presumed to be safe without review, information about them was granted excessive trade secret allowances, and even where the EPA sought to regulate such a chemical, its authority was limited – the EPA had to prove that benefits exceeded cost for every possible use of a substance in order to impose restrictions. Over the 40 years after passage and before reform, EPA was able to require testing of fewer than 300 of the 62,000 chemicals grandfathered in under the original TSCA. Only five of those 62,000 had been regulated in any way.

New chemicals faced similarly lax regulation. Roughly 1,000 new chemicals subject to TSCA are developed each year. Under the 1976 TSCA, no up-front testing requirement applied and few companies provided sufficient health and environmental data, forcing the EPA to rely on prediction tools, which have limited accuracy and applicability. The EPA had little choice but to allow chemicals with insufficient information onto the market.

State and local governments began enacting their own, stricter, toxic substance laws and companies that make and sell products began to develop their own policies restricting some chemicals. In response, chemical industry players shifted from longstanding opposition to support updating the law to establish a stronger national standard to create easier geographic compliance. They joined other stakeholders in working with lawmakers, which eventually yielded the first bipartisan TSCA reform legislation in 2013. That legislation, while flawed, served as the starting point for the resulting Lautenberg Act, which became law in the summer of 2016.

The Lautenberg Act made several major improvements to the original law. These improvements include: requiring a safety finding for new chemicals before they can enter the market, mandating a safety review of chemicals in active commerce, eliminating the cost-benefit evaluation requirement for determining whether a chemical presents risks warranting regulation, limiting corporations’ ability to claim information submitted to EPA as confidential, and establishing fees to defray costs of EPA’s implementation of the enhanced chemical safety program.  

The EPA is performing risk evaluations of the first ten chemicals (out of more than 40,000 chemicals in active commerce), and must identify 20 more for risk evaluation by the end of 2019. Evaluations are to be completed within three years.

While these improvements in the law were encouraging, Denison notes that there have been many threats to implementation that still put people’s health at risk. Under its so-called “framework rules,” the EPA has refused to evaluate ‘legacy’ uses of chemicals, and asserts authority to exclude exposures falling under the jurisdiction of other agencies, even if those agencies have not or cannot adequately review risks. The EPA has additionally allowed inappropriate confidentiality claims to continue to be asserted that do not meet the requirements of the new law. Several lawsuits have been filed to challenge the departures of these rules from the law’s requirements...

Read more on RNRF's news page here.

What's new . . .

LATEST ISSUE - Renewable Resources Journal - Climate Change and Alien Worlds,
the Plastic Global Health Crisis, Loss of America's Largest Aquifer.
Free download click here.

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Nominations for RNRF's 2019 Awards Program are now being accepted. Click here for more information.

The American Meteorological Society is hosting a workshop, "New Minds for New Science: The Forecast for Work in Weather, Water, and Climate" at the AAAS Building in Washington, DC on April 29-30. For more information click here.

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