California struck a secret deal with automakers to thwart Trump’s attempt to reduce fuel-efficiency standards

States' rights in action.

via Corey Thompson / Flickr

One of the United States' greatest weapons against tyranny are states rights.

While they've typically been championed by conservatives who don't want to abide by federal dictates, the left-leaning state of California has been using its rights to push back against Trump's harmful environmental policies.

While the Trump Administration has been rolling back federal climate regulations, the state of California has created its own aiming to get 100% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by mid-century.

"What we're seeing is a tale of two climate nations," said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, told the New York Times. "The split has become much more pronounced in recent years."


The most populated state in the nation struck another blow to Trump's environmental policies by signing a deal with four major auto companies to reduce their emissions.

During the Obama Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency set new car emissions standards where auto manufacturers would have to raise their fleet average to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The Trump Administration has announced that it intends to roll back the Obama-era standard to about 37 miles per gallon. It has justified the decision by saying that the dirtier cars will be safer.

Calironia Governor Gavin Newsomvia JD Lasica / Flickr

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"The Trump administration is hell bent on rolling [emissions standards] back. They are in complete denial about climate change," California Governor Gavin Newsom told reporters. "I don't know if they're sincere about that, but for whatever reason, politically, they think it's advantageous."

"The standards the Trump administration is trying to roll back are the biggest single step that any nation has taken to tackle global warming," Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, told NPR.

"They would save six billion tons of carbon dioxide, if not weakened. So this is an enormous threat to the planet if the president's rollback goes forward," he added.

The state of California, with its nearly 40 million residents, million holds considerable sway with auto manufacturers. So it secretly negotiated with Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and BMW to reach a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, undermining Trump's planned rollbacks.

The four manufacturers represent about 30% of the total U.S. car market.

The Trump Administration is expected to challenge the state's ability to set its own fuel standards. But Califonia has vowed to fight the challenge all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Planet
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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Well Being
via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

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Nature
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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