tagged w/ environmentalists
My friend Roy Gardner, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, wrote a great, accessible book about the crossroads of the law and environmentalism. http://www.mrmedia.com/?p=1209My friend Roy Gardner, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, wrote a... more
We're taking a daily look at some of the most popular stories from the Current community, and we've rounded up some highlights to share. Check them out and add your two cents:
Amazon defenders and environmentalists murderedSubmitted by JanforGore
An anti-logging activist and his wife were murdered in Brazil on Tuesday, shortly before the country's Chamber of Deputies voted to allow more destruction of the Amazon.
The 410-63 vote defangs the 75-year-old Código Florestal (Forest Code), which has long required that farmers who own a piece of the Amazon preserve 80% of the land they own and farm only on the remainder. The new bill exempts small-scale farmers from the Forest Code and opens environmentally sensitive patches of land – such as hilltops, slopes, and watersides – to cultivation. It also grants amnesty to small-scale farmers who violated the law before July, 2008.
Possible Pyramids Discovered From Space : NPRSubmitted by kennymotown
Infrared images from NASA may have located pyramids from the ancient city of Tanis, Egypt. Tombstones and other structures were also revealed using the technology.
"What these satellites do is they record light radiation that's reflected off the surface of the Earth in different parts of the light spectrum," Parcak explains to NPR's Rachel Martin. "We use false color imaging to try to tease out these very subtle differences on the ground."
Those subtle differences are an archaeologist's clues to what might lie under a rice paddy or a city street. "You just pull back for hundreds of miles using the satellite imagery, and all of a sudden this invisible world become visible," Parcak says. "You're actually able to see settlements and tombs — and even things like buried pyramids — that you might not otherwise be able to see."
How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory | Rolling Stone PoliticsSubmitted by kennymotown
Former Nixon operative Roger Ailes is the driving force behind Fox News. Rolling Stones takes a look at how he built the network.
The key to decoding Fox News isn’t Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity. It isn’t even News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch. To understand what drives Fox News, and what its true purpose is, you must first understand Chairman Ailes. “He is Fox News,” says Jane Hall, a decade-long Fox commentator who defected over Ailes’ embrace of the fear-mongering Glenn Beck. “It’s his vision. It’s a reflection of him.”
Join the discussion -- or head over to the News group for more popular stories from the community.We're taking a daily look at some of the most popular stories from the... more
Wake up people! We can be enjoying much lower gas prices if we all come together!
'The Science Guy' says: 'Save the Earth'
By Bill Nye, Special to CNN
April 22, 2010 2:35 p.m. EDT
Editor's note: Bill Nye is an Emmy-winning TV host as well as a scientist, engineer, comedian, author and inventor. He is best known to television audiences as "Bill Nye the Science Guy."
Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- There were several speeches at the first Earth Day -- back in 1970, before the disco era -- on the National Mall. Back then, it was about pollution -- fighting pollution. Now, it's about not just trash and crazy unnatural chemicals, it's about climate change. It's not just that there's more trouble; it's more of a desperate situation.
I rode to the Washington Monument that day on my bicycle wearing a sign that read "Pedals Don't Pollute." I rendered the "o" in Pollute as the original Earth symbol from that early era. It has an equator and is reminiscent of the Greek letter theta. Even if I wasn't as cool and thoughtful as I hoped to appear, the first Earth Day's message was good then, and it's better today: We have to take care of the Earth. Or the Earth, in hit-man style, will see to it that a great many of us are "taken care of."
When we think of Earth Day, many of us think of good ol' hippies bent on living off the electrical grid, drinking spring water from somewhere and recycling everything -- bottles, shoes and lint maybe. Their battle cry: "Save the Earth."
Well, saving the Earth might be a reasonable pursuit. But the Earth is going to be fine. It's been here 4.5 billion years. What we want to do, and Earth Day reminds us of this, is save the Earth for us ... for you and me. We want to keep the Earth in about the same shape we found it, so that most of us can keep living here.
I'm talking about billions and billions of us. My father and I were disappointed to arrive at the 1965 New York World's Fair after the scoreboard-style lighted display on the Earth's population changed from 2,999,999,999 people to a bit over 3 billion. To watch all those numbers change would have been wondrous, like the joy one gets when the car odometer flips over to 100,000 miles or kilometers.
Well, now my friends, 40-plus years later, we have more than doubled that population number to 6.8 billion. People. On Earth.
There is no question that if each of us on the planet tries to live the way people do in the parts that are considered the developed world, we won't make it. The Earth does not have enough clean water, good pasture land or even livable space along coasts to have everyone in, say, the poorer areas of western China and central India living and driving the way we do in, say, northern Virginia.
In response to this clear but astonishing state of affairs, we could try just doing less. Drive less; use less clean water and wear dirty clothes. In fact, how about if humans, like you, just don't eat?! For me, this self-denial approach would be more in keeping with your old, or early, Earth Day.
But no. Instead, what we have to come up with are ways to do more with less. This is what Earth Day has become.
We need to be conservationists to be sure, preserving wetlands, forests, open spaces and coastlines. We need to reduce our waste -- plastic trash and the like. But what we really need is big, new ideas: new ways to distribute and store energy for electric power, new ways to conserve and distribute clean water for farming and gulping, and new ways get ourselves and our cargo around, so that we don't change the Earth's climates too much as we burn our fossil fuels.
I used to believe that all we had to do was become efficient, or less inefficient. I used to think that if we just stopped squandering water, forests and electrical power, we'd improve the environment and preserve our environments around the world.
Nowadays though, I'm thinking that we are going to need extraordinary measures soon. For one thing, we're going to need to cool the planet somehow, probably by reflecting some sunlight back into space. How about if we turned that giant island of plastic trash floating in the Pacific Ocean Gyre into a mirror or shade, or something?
Climate change is going to challenge us like nothing else in human history. It's going to take big ideas that work, and big ideas that allow regulations to be enforced in harmony.
Look at a picture of our world from space. The atmosphere is often not even visible. If you could drive straight up into outer space, you'd be there in less than an hour. Our atmosphere is so very thin, and we're changing its mixture of gases with our activities. We're trapping heat and warming our world.
This Earth Day, keep in mind that each of us affects everyone else on Earth, because we all share the land, the ocean and especially the air on what is proving to be a pretty small planet. Let's take care of it.
Happy Earth Day.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bill Nye.'The Science Guy' says: 'Save the Earth'
By Bill Nye, Special to... more
A coal ship is in danger of leaking nearly 1000 tons of fuel oil onto the coral reefs of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Chinese ship struck the Douglas Shoal at full speed on Saturday and though an initial oil spill has been cleaned up, the danger of further contamination looms.
Environmentalists have warned that with the high number of ships taking this route, the delicate reef's waters have turned into a "coal highway".
Maritime authorities downplayed the chances of the Shen Neng 1 breaking up and spilling its load of fuel oil and coal onto the reef, although salvage experts remained concerned about a possible environmental catastrophe if the weather worsened.A coal ship is in danger of leaking nearly 1000 tons of fuel oil onto the coral reefs... more
By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger
President Barack Obama announced this week that his administration would open areas from Delaware to Florida and in Alaska to offshore drilling for gas and oil. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation also released new guidelines for auto emissions to cut carbon emissions, and the EPA said new benchmarks for issuing mountaintop mining permits would prevent damage to waterways in Appalachia. The environmental community welcomed these last two announcements but both were overshadowed by the off-shore drilling decision, which green groups largely condemned.
Off-putting off-shore drilling decision
Although as a candidate President Obama began by opposing off-shore drilling, by the end of the campaign he said he would support an expansion of drilling areas. Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard explains the series of decisions that made this week’s announcement possible:
“In October 2008, amidst calls of “drill, baby, drill” from conservatives, Congress failed to renew the long-standing moratorium on offshore drilling. Months earlier, George W. Bush had lifted an 18-year-old executive ban on offshore drilling, which had originally been imposed by his father in 1990. Obama, of course, could have issued his own order, but didn’t.”
The administration had been considering the decision to go ahead with drilling for about a year but kept deliberations quiet. Key senators, however, knew the decision was coming, and it’s pushing Democrats like Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) to warm towards energy legislation, TPMDC reports.
Cars’ carbon emission
The EPA’s announcement on auto emissions, on the other hand, comes as no surprise. It marks the first big step the Obama administration has taken to limit carbon emissions through regulation. Auto regulations are a relatively easy sell. A chunk of Congress wants to keep the EPA from taking these sorts of actions, but in this case, the auto industry supports the federal regulations. At the Washington Independent, Aaron Wiener notes that “the guidelines drew immediate praise from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which has long advocated national emissions and efficiency regulations rather than patchwork state-by-state rules.”
Mountaintop removal mining
The coal industry will be less happy about the EPA’s announcement on mountaintop removal mining. The agency admitted that the practice causes significant damage to streams and said its new guidelines would lead to significantly less harm.
The new policies, Jeff Biggers writes at AlterNet, will “effectively bring an end to the process of valley fills (and the dumping of toxic coal mining waste into the valleys and waterways).” It could be, he says, “the beginning of the end of mountaintop removal.”
One sign that mountaintop removal’s doomsday is nigh? Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), one of coal’s staunchest and most powerful advocates on the Hill, praised the EPA’s decision, reports Mike Lillis at the Washington Independent.
Green groups groan
Green groups are lauding the EPA’s two announcements. (The Sierra Club called the mining announcement “the most significant administrative action ever taken to address mountaintop removal coal mining,” for instance.) But the push for off-shore drilling has environmental advocates squirming.
“As the president extends olive branches to his critics, he’s alienating allies in the environmental community, who say his policies are reminding them more and more of those of his predecessor, George W. Bush,” says Mother Jones’ Sheppard. “Some enviros are even likening Obama to Alaska’s oil-loving ex-governor, Sarah Palin.”
On Democracy Now!, Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity, called the decision “horribly disappointing” and said, “Obama is essentially embracing wholeheartedly the policy of: we can drill our way to energy independence.”
The Obama administration’s energy and environmental policy is creeping ever further towards the center. Ken Salazar, Secretary for the Interior, said this week that “Cap-and-trade is not in the lexicon anymore,” TPMDC reports. It’s no wonder that progressive members of Congress are starting to feel uncomfortable with the direction their climate bill is taking, as Sheppard reports. The president may be using up his reserves of political support from his allies as he stretches to meet conservatives and centrist Democrats on some shaky middle ground.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger
President Barack Obama announced this... more
Mariana van Zeller and I just returned from our first trip to China. We’ve covered a lot of ground since joining Vanguard, but somehow never made it there before. Not that China hasn’t been on our radar. Its been difficult to miss China’s growing power and influence across the globe, an issue we highlighted in "Chinatown, Africa". (In fact, we’ll be talking about China’s influence in Africa this weekend at an MIT/USC event, if you’re around). In many year-end roundups, it was commented that in the last decade we witnessed China’s coming out party on the world stage. But just as many were giving the country its due for its explosive growth over the last several years, others began predicting dire days ahead for the emerging power. On the way back from China, I was reading about how renowned Wall Street short-seller James Chanos, a man infamous for betting and winning large on the collapse of Enron, is now looking to put his chips on a China crash. “China is Dubai times 1,000,” he says in the New York Times article. The piece on Chanos was followed up with a series of stories on the overheated real estate market in Beijing and other signs of bubbles in the Chinese economy. So is China teetering on the brink of collapse? After a little over a week in China, I feel the only thing I can say for sure is: I have no idea. But fortunately, I was in the region at the same time as some one who might and was thinking about the same things, but actually works on real deadlines. In today’s Times, Tom Friedman takes on the Chanos story. But I would add just one thing that if I were looking to invest in China I’d be watching for this year. While in China we met with several environmentalists who like many environmentalists around the world were deflated after the disappointment that was COP 15. So, we asked, what’s on the agenda for the year ahead? The answer was more or less the same from everyone. Last year, with the anticipation of COP 15, Chinese environmentalists were thinking globally. This year, they're acting locally. And 2010 will be a critical time in China. This is the year that the central government begins to formulate its next 5-year plan. And many in China are seizing the opportunity to push for China’s 12th 5-year plan to include a transition to a low-carbon economy. Anyone who’s been to Beijing -- and tried to breath there -- knows that what’s currently fueling China’s economic growth is unsustainable. Not unsustainable in the way crunchy granolas here speak of it, but in a gas-mask-is-the-new-Beijing-fashion sort of way. So if China’s political class are as smart as Tom Friedman often gives them credit for, then China’s next 5-year plan could be a game changer, building the critical mass for cleaner fuels and greener technology. And then you can bet that’s where the smart money will be. Mariana van Zeller and I just returned from our first trip to China. ... more
By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger
Image courtesy of Flickr user tellytom, under Creative Commons license.Climate legislation is returning to the Senate’s docket, and leaders on Capitol Hill are hoping that this version, a compromise bill spearheaded by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), can pass without getting caught in the morass of money and politics that has delayed action so far.
A long, long time ago…
Remember, there was a time when Congress was going to pass climate legislation before the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. President Barack Obama was going to show up with a bill in hand and lead the world towards a better climate future. After the House passed its climate bill in June 2009, the Senate began discussing climate change, and a first stab by Sen. Kerry and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) went nowhere. Now, Kerry has turned to less liberal colleagues to draft an alternative that would appeal to moderates and even Republicans.
Now the Massachusetts senator is promising that climate change isn’t dead. A new bill is coming—more information may be in the offing as early as today, as Kate Sheppard reports at Mother Jones.
Third time’s the charm
Sen. Kerry is trying a new tactic to pass climate legislation. He’s waiting to release his plan until he knows the bill has the 60 supporters it needs to circumvent a filibuster. The details have not been hammered out yet, and even the Senators who’ve been in talks with Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman don’t seem to have a clear sense of what will be in the version that will emerge.
In the House, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released an ambitious draft of the legislation, let lobbyists and members of Congress fight over it, and passed a much-changed edition months later. Sen. Kerry tried a similar plan on his side of Capitol Hill (that was the Kerry-Boxer bill), but it did not work.
With this piece of legislature, Sens. Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman are working out the compromises before they release the legislation. Both reporting and speculation about their bill say that it will abandon the cap-and-trade system passed in the House. Cap-and-trade restricts carbon emissions across the economy; a variation on that policy that the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill may favor will limit the system to a few sectors.
Will it work?
Kerry’s expected bill may be a much weaker plan than any proposed so far, yet it is still not certain that the Senate will support it. The lead authors of the bill have been meeting with conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans, as Sheppard reports, but those targets have not promised support yet. Coming out of a meeting, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) told reporters: “There were some interesting things that were discussed in there and like everything else in the United States Senate, the devil is in the details.”
From a distance, banner-day climate legislation still seems possible. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Foundation, and the National Resources Defense Council believe that they will see a bill this year that caps carbon. These green groups would be able to live with the incentives handed to industry groups so far, according to Campus Progress’ Tristan Fowler.
“There are compromises [that can go] too far. Fortunately, I don’t think we’re getting near that territory at the moment,” Josh Dorner, a spokesman for the Sierra Club, told Fowler.
Before getting too excited about stamping a green seal of approval on Congress’ legislation, consider Johann Hari’s testimony in The Nation about the relationships between environmental groups and the industries that they oppose.
Hari has reported on climate change issues for years, and at first, he “imagined that American green groups were on these people’s side in the corridors of Capitol Hill, trying to stop the Weather of Mass Destruction. But it is now clear that many were on a different path—one that began in the 1980s, with a financial donation.”
Hari argues that as environmental groups began to reach out to polluters, handing them awards for green behavior and accepting support from their deep pockets, they learned to compromise too readily and accept political excuses for delaying action on climate change. While in other realms these compromises might fly, when the stakes are as high as they are on environmental issues, that behavior turns the stomach.
“You can’t stand at the edge of a rising sea and say, ‘Sorry, the swing states don’t want you to happen today. Come back in fifty years,’” Hari writes.
The green future
When Kerry, Lieberman and Graham do release the compromised bill, watch for a tsunami of money and influence that could pack the bill with prizes for specific industries—or derail it altogether. Just this week, the natural gas industry’s lobbyists told The Hill, a D.C.-based newspaper, that they were ready to fight with the coal industry over incentives in the Senate bill. At AlterNet, Harvey Wasserman writes that the nuclear industry spent $645 million in the past decade to get back into the energy game, according to a new report from American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop. (Hint: that $645 million is working in their favor.)
In the Senate, the influence of oil companies will play an important role, according to David Roberts at Grist.
“While coal has a lot of power in the House, oil has enormous power in the Senate, particularly over the conservadems and Republicans needed to put the bill over the top,” Roberts explains.
No matter what legislation passes and what incentives it contains, environmentalists need to continue putting pressure on their representatives in Congress and on national environmental groups to push back against polluting industries and work to fix the world’s climate.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.http://www.themediaconsortium.org/2010/03/05/weekly-mulch-new-bills-and-old-money/... more
Dry composting toilets are all the rage these days, and Chicago is no exception. In fact, a group of West Side poop savers are at the forefront of the humanure movement.Dry composting toilets are all the rage these days, and Chicago is no exception. In... more
We used to hear so much about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, but lately not a word. So what happened—did we save it or not?
We didn't save it, but we haven't stopped trying. Environmentalists fret over the fate of the Amazon for good reason: It contains more than half of the planet's remaining tropical rainforest, one-fifth of our global freshwater, and as much as one-third of the world's biodiversity. Saving all this was once a rallying cry for green activists, and a few early triumphs made that goal seem likely. But attention soon shifted away from the rainforest to issues like climate change and organic agriculture, and now the Amazon is disappearing at about the same rate it was in the 1980s.
The good news is that interest in the Amazon has begun to take off again in recent years. That's mainly because of the role that forests play in staving off climate change: Scientists estimate that the Amazon itself has between 85 billion and 100 billion tons of CO2 stored in its trees and shrubs, or about 11 years' worth of U.S. carbon emissions. The dangers aren't limited to Brazil, of course—deforestation rates in Asia and parts of Africa now rival those seen the Americas. In 2009, the Guinness World Records named Indonesia as the country with the most rapidly disappearing forests—it's losing about 2 percent per year—although Brazil remains the leader in absolute terms.
http://www.slate.com/id/2234319/We used to hear so much about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, but lately not... more
Holdren, who served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006, holds views that are seriously out of touch with reality and totally out of synch with actual climate data. ...Holdren, who served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of... more
Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and hot-air-fluffed.
The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra — which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm.
But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.
fer shame on you Mr. Whipple.Americans like their toilet tissue soft: exotic confections that are silken, thick and... more
4 years ago
Good news for the environment.
The Bush administration said Wednesday that it was abandoning its pursuit of two proposed regulations relaxing air-pollution standards for power plants, surprising both industry and environmentalists by ending its pursuit of one of the last remaining goals set out by Vice President Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force in 2001.Good news for the environment.
The Bush administration said Wednesday that it... more