Published July 13, 2021

Photo by Christopher Harley/University of British Columbia

Skyrocketing global temperatures take a deadly toll. An innovative social justice initiative comes to New Jersey. And an already shaken industry faces an employee exodus.

The recent heat wave in British Columbia, Canada, may have killed as many as one billion sea creatures, reports NPR. Malin Pinsky, an associate professor of marine biology at Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, says extreme heat is contributing to a massive reorganization of ocean life. “Species are shifting towards the poles of the Earth at about 60 kilometers [37 miles] per decade, and it doesn’t happen slowly, bit by bit,” Pinsky says. “It often happens in these extreme events, where a large population of something like mussels can die.”

NPR | Heat wave killed an estimated 1 billion sea creatures, and scientists fear even worse

NJ Spotlight News talks with Anthony Broccoli, distinguished professor of atmospheric science and codirector of the Rutgers Climate Institute, on how climate change is affecting heat waves. Broccoli explains that climate change affects the severity of heat waves and the frequency of hot days. “Since 1970 we’ve been warming at about twice the rate that we would calculate if we looked back over the last century or a little bit more,” says Broccoli. “The question is: What will happen in the future? And what happens in the future depends in large part on how much more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases go into the atmosphere.”

NJ Spotlight | How climate change is fueling more extreme heat in summer

Rutgers University–Camden recently launched the New Jersey Innocence Project, which aims to help exonerate wrongly convicted people and provide them with services to re-enter society. Jill Friedman, a cofounder of the New Jersey Innocence Project and associate dean for pro bono and public interest at Rutgers Law School in Camden, explains that people of color are disproportionately targeted when it comes to wrongful convictions. “The ultimate horror, being locked away for something you didn’t do, falls more heavily on people of color than on other people,” Friedman tells the Burlington County Times.

Burlighton County Times | Rutgers-Camden launches New Jersey Innocence Project

As restaurants reopen and customers begin to dine in once again, workers in the industry are quitting their jobs in record numbers. KCBS Radio speaks with Yana Rodgers, a professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations, about the dilemma confronting eatery owners and managers. “I think in the longer term, the only option is for restaurants to increase their pay,” says Rodgers. “Many are still paying sub-minimum wages. Workers are having to rely on tips. But even for those earning the regular minimum wage, it’s not enough. We need to move out of this low-wage setting that we’re in now.”

KCBS Radio | Restaurant workers are choosing to quit their jobs for better opportunities

Think America could never engage in genocide or elect a fascist dictator? Think again, says Alex Hinton, director of Rutgers’ Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights and author of the new book It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide in the U.S. Hinton tells Salon that “I spend a lot of time in the book addressing the fallacy of ‘bad apples’ and ‘the hater’—the isolated villain. The danger of these concepts is that if we allow people to believe that ‘not us’ and ‘not me,’ they will soon think, ‘Well, then it’s not my problem.’” | Could genocide really happen here? Leading scholar says America is on “high alert”

The Star-Ledger reports that New Jersey governor Phil Murphy has signed laws to boost solar energy and electric vehicle usage in the state. Stating that the New Jersey Department of Agriculture is working closely with Rutgers to ensure optimal outcomes, the story also notes that the state’s $46.4 billion budget includes $2 million for a Rutgers-operated solar energy and agricultural production demonstration project. The legislation will “drive significant economic growth and create good-paying union jobs across the state,” says Murphy. | Murphy signs laws to spur solar energy, electric vehicles in N.J.’s climate change fight

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