The Last Mountain
"One of the most significant mountaintop-removal document-
aries ever made", Bill Haney's "The Last Mountain", has just premiered. An official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, the movie was made with the support and participation of Robert Kennedy Jr., whose book "Crimes Against Nature" inspired the film. (movie website)
Laura Paskus reports on the rollback of environmental regulations in the Land of Enchantment following Republican victories in state offices last year.
Biochar / Terra Preta Recently scientists discovered that ancient inhabitants of the Amazon, once apparently densely populated, enriched their soils with 'terra preta', aka 'biochar', and that this simple procedure continues to support rich soils while sequestering carbon millennia later.
Here's a video playlist on the benefits of biochar, and how you can make it yourself. (playlist: Biochar / Terra Preta)
Agriculture Industry Pushes To Make Undercover Filming Of Farm Animal Abuse Illegal
Under pressure from the Iowa 'agriculture industry', farm committees in the Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill that would prohibit recordings of animal abuse in factory farms- and proposes penalties of up to five years in prison.
(story) Here's an example of what they don't want you to see: viewer warning: cruelty.
Ecoversity / StumbleUpon We see a lot of articles and sites of interest which we don't always get into the news and links page. . . you can find many of these at Ecoversity StumbleUpon.
Diego Mulligan interviewed James Lovelock, originator of Gaia Theory, about the state of the planet now. He's not optimistic. But at 90 something, he's going into low orbit on Richard Branson's Spaceship 2 this fall from New Mexico to have a look. (podcast)
The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change Conference at the British Medical Association in London. (website)
The Tar Sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline Update Oct 20: Here is a graphic Map of Influence in regard to TransCanada, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the State Department.
Update Sept 8:
The two-week long campaign of non-violent civil disobedience which began Saturday, August 20 opposite the White House, to encourage President Obama not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline has ended, with over 1,000 arrests. This decision is up to the President now- Congress is not involved, he alone decides. In a call to action signed by environmental activist Bill McKibben, the NASA climate scientist James Hansen, and author and journalist Naomi Klein, the activists write: "The Keystone Pipeline would be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous." And it would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, with over a million barrels of toxic tar-sands oil (more like bitumen) going through every day.
(read more on this at TarSandsAction.org) September 8:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and seven other Nobel Peace Laureates have just written a letter to President Obama urging him to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and to begin building a clean energy future immediately.
"We urge you to say no" to the pipeline and "turn your attention back to supporting renewable sources of energy and clean transportation solutions," the letter says. "This will be your legacy to Americans and the global community: energy that sustains the lives and livelihoods of future generations." (ref: TarSandsAction.org)
Update Aug 26: 381 arrests so far. "The U.S. State Department's final report on the Keystone XL today is an insult to anyone who expects government to work for the interests of the American people," said the Sierra Club in a press release this morning. "The Sierra Club and our 1.4 million members and supporters are looking to President Obama for bold action and we urge him to reject this abomination."
Climate Week NYC 2011: New York City, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are hosting government figures and green business leaders to launch a new campaign called the "Clean Revolution", at the start of NYC's Climate Week 2011. Above: SwissRe's Michel Liés. (See more videos from the conference)
National Research Council: Urgent to Limit Greenhouse Emissions
The National Research Council issued a stark warning to the American public in a report congressionally ordered by Congress: Not only is global warming real, but the effects are already becoming serious and the need has become "pressing" for a strong national policy to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases.
America's Climate Choices: "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. Emissions continue to increase, which will result in further change and greater risks. Responding to these risks is a crucial challenge facing the United States and the world today and for many decades to come."
(Download the report, "America's Climate Choices" pdf)
Related: Climate Change Makes Extreme Weather Normal
"Across the nation and the planet, unprecedented extreme weather events are on the rise . . . Munich Re, one of the largest reinsurers in the world has said, 'The only possible explanation for the rise in weather-related catastrophes is climate change.'"
(Bob Doppelt, The Register-Guard)
Entire State of Texas Declared a Natural Disaster due to wildfires and droughts. 213 counties in the state have lost 30% of their crops or more. (story)
Nuclear Power in a Post-Fukushima World Amory Lovins presents the report done for the Worldwatch Institute and the European Greens (Greens-EFA). (article)
World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2011 (download report- PDF)
The Unrenewed Debate Over Renewable Energy Surveying the post-Fukushima landscape of alternative energy(CommonDreams.org)
POGO: Nuclear Regulators' Actions Are Too Slow, Not Well-Tracked
Project on Government Oversight report on poor NRC regulation: (report)
Population Rising, How Far Can We Go?
A week ago, the 7 billionth human joined the living on Earth. We reached 6 billion only 12 years ago, in 1999.
A new UN report forecasts human population rising to 10.1 billion by 2099. Original estimate was 9 billion. The New York Times ran a forum of discussion in May on the question "Can the Planet Support 10 Billion People?" Read the debate here.
Making Sense of a Toxic World
"Body-burden tests, for measuring exposure to chemicals, reveal flame retardants, plasticizers, pesticides and perfluorinated chemicals in the blood of almost every person studied. We see rising rates of some cancers, autoimmune disorders, reproductive illnesses, autism and learning disabilities. Meanwhile, our consumption of synthetic chemicals, a majority of which haven't been tested for human health impacts, has skyrocketed." -NYT book review by Elizabeth Royte of "What's Gotten Into Us? -Staying Healthy in a Toxic World" by MacKay Jenkins Related: Studies Link Low IQ To Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Tracking organophosphates used on fruits and vegetables, "researchers found that every tenfold increase in measures of organophosphates detected during a mother's pregnancy corresponded to a 5.5 drop in overall IQ in the seven-year-olds." (story)
The Pesticides and Politics of America's Eco-War
"A war on invasive species is being waged across the country. Non-native mangrove trees in Hawaii are being poisoned with Monsanto's Roundup® herbicide. Tamarisk trees in the Southwest are being poisoned, mowed down and treated with tree-killing beetles. Purple loosestrife is pulled up and poisoned in wetlands across the Midwest. Most conservationists agree that invasions should be prevented, but once established, these invaders must be decimated in order for the purely native species to flourish.
"Science is always changing, and every species and ecosystem is different. Some biologists and conservationists are now questioning the idea that every species deemed "invasive" is actually bad for ecosystems. Others flat out say that the invasion biology "greenwashing" myth was created by the land management industry to sell pesticides and generate an endless stream of government contracts."
(read the full article)
Roundup® and Birth Defects
"Concerns about the best-selling herbicide Roundup® are running at an all-time high. Scientific research published in 2010 showed that Roundup® and the chemical on which it is based, glyphosate, cause birth defects in frog and chicken embryos at dilutions much lower than those used in agricultural and garden spraying. . . " An Earth Open Source report: (download PDF)
Monsanto was moved to post a response to this report on their website.
See Lucia Graves' excellent in-depth review of this story here.
Related: ENS reports: "As the Arctic warms, the rush to claim natural resources in the region is fueling military tension among Arctic nations, according to previously unpublished U.S. embassy cables just revealed by Wikileaks" (story) Case Focus: Arctic Melting
The New-Economy Movement
"The idea that we need a "new economy"- that the entire economic system must be radically restructured if critical social and environmental goals are to be met- runs directly counter to the American creed that capitalism as we know it is the best, and only possible, option. Over the past few decades, however, a deepening sense of the profound ecological challenges facing the planet and growing despair at the inability of traditional politics to address economic failings have fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders. . . "
-An extensive report on the many institutions, groups and efforts now involved in imagining and experimenting with "new economies". (Gar Alperovitz, The Nation)
Yale Environment 360
A great new website from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, reporting on and exploring issues across the spectrum of ecology and sustainability.
Oceans: Mass Extinction Ahead "The scientific panel concluded that degeneration in the oceans is happening much faster than has been predicted, and that the combination of factors currently distressing the marine environment is contributing to the precise conditions that have been associated with all major extinctions in the Earth's history."
IPSO Report: "The findings are shocking. This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children's and generations beyond that." - Dr. Alex Rogers, IPSO scientific director (story)(report PDF)
The Dirty Dozen Fruits & Veggies
Environmental Working Group has released the seventh edition of its Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce with updated information on 53 fruits and vegetables and their total pesticide loads. EWG highlights the worst offenders with its "Dirty Dozen" list and the cleanest conventional produce with its "Clean 15" list.
(See the list)
Santa Fe Institute Videos
The Santa Fe Institute is now presenting SFI video lectures on their website. Recently posted: The Architecture of Biodiversity with Jordi Bascompte, and The Decline of Classic Maya Civilization: A Systems Perspective, with Jeremy Sabloff (view listings)
National Academies Press
Starting June 2nd, the National Academies Press is offering all National Academies books online for free download in PDF format. (NAP.edu)
2012 Edible Gardens Project
2012 Edible Albuquerque Gardens is now ready to launch. Help us inspire others with your efforts to grow even a small portion of your own food! (website and registration)
Under the direction of James Hansen, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies is focussing on understanding the complexities of Earth's atmosphere and climate, and the effects of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and other 'forcings'. The website is a rich resource for those who want to look a bit deeper into the science of atmosphere and climate.
Ecoversity: Recent Press
Transitions Radio Interview 5/12/10: Ecoversity's Jeff Harbour with Alan Hutner for Transitions Radio (to be broadcast on KBAC 98.1FM) (listen)
KSFR: Diego Mulligan Interviews:
- 3/24/09 Diego interviews Andrew Fikiforuk, author of Tar Sands,
and Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zone
with Ecoversity's RP Harbour accompanying. (download mp3)
StopDodo is a "global portal for environmental jobs and resumes"