You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Postcard from Medellín: A Big WUF for Urban Equity—by citisven: "'Is this your first WUF?' is a question commonly asked at the World Urban Forum, a gathering for, by, and about city people that was first convened by UN Habitat in Nairobi in 2002 and descended on Medellín, Colombia last week for its 7th incarnation. While the answer coming out of my mouth was always either “Yes” or “Si” with a few stray 'Ouis' and 'Jas' mixed in, the feeling I had for most of the seven days inside the colorful pavilions spread across the Plaza Mayor Convention and Exhibition Center was one of Déjà vu, if not kinship. After all, the question of how we are going to arrange the two percent of planetary space in which 70 percent of humanity is projected to live by 2050 in a sustainable and dignified fashion has been on my mental drafting board since before the Stone (Temple Pilot) Age. And here I found myself in the presence of 22,000 people of all ages and ethnicities, from every pocket of the world, passionate about co-creating the kinds of urban spaces that can exist in harmony with the little round ball we all call home."
Chart of the Day: Killing eco-activists—by Meteor Blades: "Earlier this week, the London-based Global Witness released its 25-page report—Deadly Environment: The Dramatic Rise in Killings of Environmental and Land Defenders—which makes for grim reading: The issue is notoriously under-reported, but between 2002 and 2013, we have been able to verify that 908 citizens were killed protecting rights to their land and environment. Three times as many people were killed in 2012 than 10 years previously, with the death rate rising in the past four years to an average of two activists a week."
Windfall: Making a Profit from Global Warming
—by James Wells: "When people see change in the world around them, they make adjustments as much as they are able. One type of adjustment is to look for new opportunities for economic gain. The recently published book Windfall, by McKenzie Funk, describes efforts by people, companies, and even entire countries (and potential countries-to-be) to make a profit from changes in the world’s climate. This leads to very serious moral questions, illustrated in Windfall by examples throughout the world. Who profits, and who suffers? [...] The examples in the book illustrate that, in many cases, the potential for profit arises from the need for important and helpful services. Who could fault the Dutch for making a living by exporting their skill in building seawalls? If Israeli inventors have a better snowmaking technology based on their research into desalinization, it’s a great idea for them to find buyers in the Alps, whose ski areas are increasingly starved of snow. The people of Greenland see an opportunity to achieve independent statehood, at long last, partly through new resources revealed by the receding ice."
#CarbonFuelColossus—by Frank Paine: "There is a Carbon Fuel Colossus that powers our civilization and poisons our planet. It is top dog in our modern times and its fall will be tragic for some, joyous for others. We must make sure it does not take down our civilization with it. You can’t just tear down this colossus without taking down our global civilization. It must be replaced with more distributed energy. There is a Carbon Tax proposal at the MIT Climate CoLab that focuses on funding conservation, renewable and alternative energy programs. Renewable energy is locally sourced. Like our water supply, energy is best sourced locally instead of imported."
Whiplashed by weather?—by A Siegel: "As Bill McKibben so eloquently discussed 25 years ago in The End of Nature, due to fossil fuel emissions, humanity's footprint is global. And, as he laid out in Eaarth, we now have changed the earth so much that the "natural world" of the 21st century and beyond is removed from what it was even in my youth some (too many ... sigh) decades ago. We are living in a world of Weather Gone Wild. Amid mounting climate change and increased climate chaos, a term of growing frequency: "weather whiplash": The term 'weather whiplash' describes the rapid transition from one extreme weather event to another opposing extreme event."
NASA Study; Cal. Drought, Polar Vortex, El Nino, Linked To Global Warming—by pollwatcher: "A new NASA sponsored study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is showing a connection between the collapse of the Polar vortex, the California drought, and the rise of the monster El Nino forming in the pacific. This isn't good news for California since it suggests that this is going to be a more common occurrence. [...] This collapse of the polar vortex created some extreme temperature differences known as a dipole. The well worth reading blog at robertscribller says this about the dipole and the new report: But in a world where extremes between hot and cold are becoming more intense, in North America which has just experienced its most extreme dipole anomaly since record keeping began in 1960, it’s also something that’s important to understand as it relates to ongoing human-caused climate change. This clear picture of a climate-change caused event was this week provided through the groundbreaking new research by Dr. Wang and fellows. These top scientists engaged climate models and analyzed past records to find the culprits of the weather extremes we witnessed during this past winter. And what they found was a very high correlation in the models with the extreme dipole over North America and the Arctic, an oncoming El Nino, and climate change driven impacts."
Three Tales of Hope & Renewal—by xaxnar: "It's spring in the northern hemisphere, as good a time as any for tales of hope and renewal—especially after the winter too many of us have had. Here are three stories of humans doing something to make partial amends for damage to the natural world, attempting to renew the built world into a more livable form, and doing good things for other humans to aid them in finding a place in the world: Water In The Delta; Return of the Rails; When Johnny Comes Marching Home."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
Big business, GMO and Food Labeling—by workingwords: "The same kinds of people who would insist on "states rights" when progressive federal legislation was proposed will support efforts to pass federal legislation which forbids states from having GMO labeling laws. Forbidding labeling of products as having meat or GMO's will make consumer choices more difficult. It also begs the question what might be next. Currently, food and some other products have labeling for ingredients and nutritional facts. This labeling is not just about contents which are generally harmful to the average person."
In race to bottom; USDA now hiring part-time contractors for meat inspection—by VL Baker: "We already know about the debacle the USDA calls its "modernization" plan which is a deceptive name for a austerity type of meat inspection system which cuts costs by using fewer employees to man faster inspection lines. To get the information on the part time hires, the Food and Water Watch had to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The response from the USDA continued the deception on food safety and accountability they have been spewing for the last few years."
Dispute over Nebraska pipeline route spurs Obama administration to delay Keystone XL decision—by Meteor Blades: "Some Republicans, ignoring the legalities involved, responded as expected: 'It is crystal clear that the Obama administration is simply not serious about American energy and American jobs,' Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement. He added: 'Here’s the single greatest shovel-ready project in America—one that could create thousands of jobs right away—but the President simply isn’t interested. Apparently radical activists carry more weight than Americans desperate to get back on the job.' If the delay extends beyond the November midterms, as seems highly likely, it could help Democrats. If the president were to approve the pipeline before then, it could hurt Democratic turnout from the party's more liberal and environmentally active members. If he rejected it, the fallout from fossil-fuel state Democrats and union members who support building Keystone could hurt the party's chances. No decision, little impact."
Keystone XL announcement met with predictable oily response—by dturnbull: "This announcement is a good thing, from a climate perspective. Every day that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline remains unbuilt is a day that it is not pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of the dirtiest oil on the planet through our heartland to be shipped abroad. That’s a good thing, to be sure. But what would be even better is if this project was rejected once and for all. Such a decision would show our future won’t be dictated by Big Oil’s bullying, and would reflect a true understanding that we must move quickly in a new direction if we are to avert a true climate catastrophe."
Keystone XL Review Extended, Delaying Final Decision Until After 2014 Elections—by Steve Horn: "'The justification is the need to wait on continued litigation over a Nebraska court decision earlier this year, which threw part of the project’s route in doubt, two sources said today after a call between the State Department and congressional staff,' reported Politico. In the end, the decision came down to politics, according to Politico, though there are no shortage of climate change and ecological concerns for the prospective pipeline. 'A delay past November would spare Obama a politically difficult decision on whether to approve the pipeline, angering his green base and environmentally minded campaign donors—or reject it, endangering pro-pipeline Democrats,' they reported."
'Solar Summit' is Obama's latest attempt to get something done on solar energy despite Congress—by Meteor Blades: "The year before I began working at the Solar Energy Research Institute in 1978, the cost of a single electricity-generating silicon solar cell was $77. In 1981, when I was laid off thanks to Ronald Reagan's gutting of the federal renewables budget, a single cell cost $23. Last year, the price had fallen to around 40 cents per cell. Installation costs have also fallen sharply over the years. Those changes, plus federal, state and local incentives, have driven a rapid increase in solar installations. Solar is now a $14 billion industry employing 143,000 workers. [...] Although President Obama has not made environmental advocates happy with his "all of the above" energy policy that includes more oil and gas drilling leases and support for "clean coal," his has been without question the most solar-friendly administration ever, including Jimmy Carter's. The Obama White House has sought to boost solar installations (along with those of other renewables like wind and geothermal). But, as we all know too well, he faces a Congress brim full of hostile politicians, including many fossil-fuel state Democrats, who have blocked any consideration of a comprehensive energy plan that emphasizes expanding renewables."
Sun shining on and at White House: Honoring Solar #WHChamps—by A Siegel: "Today, there is an all day event at the White House on solar power, both announcing a series of initiatives and honoring 'solar champions' from around the nation (full press releases). These champions are representative of leaders in technological change, drivers for policy change, and people working 'in the grassroots' to get solar on the rooftops of disadvantaged citizens across the country. As to initiatives, they include several interesting ones. [...] Since this is a live, online event, the White House is taking questions via twitter using #WHChamps and #ActOnClimate. My first question refers back to a painful issue: Shouldn't the White House lead by example and put solar pv on the roof (next to Secret Service snipers?) as part of the Capital Solar Challenge?"
"Russia with Love": Alaska Gas Scandal is Out-of-Country, Not Out-of-State—by Steve Horn: "A legal controversy— critics would say scandal—has erupted in Alaska’s statehouse over the future of its natural gas bounty. It’s not so much an issue of the gas itself, but who gets to decide how it gets to market and where he or she resides. The question of who owns Alaska’s natural gas and where they’re from, at least for now, has been off the table. More on that later. At its core, the controversy centers around a public-private entity called the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) created on April 18, 2010 via House Bill 369 for the 'purpose of planning, constructing, and financing in-state natural gas pipeline projects.' AGDC has a $400 million budget funded by taxpayers. AGDC was intially built to facilitate opening up the jointly-owned ExxonMobil-TransCanada Alaska Pipeline Project for business. That project was set to be both a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export pipeline coupled with a pipeline set to bring Alaskan gas to the Lower 48."
Dominion Power buys California solar, and Virginians ask, "Why not us?"—by Ivy Main: "The news broke on April Fools’ Day, making Virginians feel we were the victims of a bad joke: Dominion Power announced it had bought six California solar projects, for a total capacity of 139 megawatts (MW). 'This investment is another important step forward for Dominion as we expand our renewable energy portfolio,' said Dominion Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas F. Farrell II. 'These projects fit well within our portfolio of regulated and long-term contracted assets,' which also include 41 MW of solar in Georgia, Connecticut and Indiana. Here, Dominion owns a grand total of one solar array at a university, all of 132 kilowatts, and a 500-kilowatt array on an industrial building. That brings the grand total to about 70 houses’ worth, if the owners don’t leave the lights on too much. Dominion is supposed to be developing a total of 30 MW of solar under a law passed in 2012, but the glacial pace of deployment is discouraging. Oh, and neither of its first two projects employed Virginia solar companies, further minimizing their impact in the state. Why isn’t Dominion investing in Virginia?"
The Great Outdoors
Sign the petition: Save our bees from toxic pesticides!—by AshleyAllison: "For Bob, a beekeeper from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it was a heartbreaking winter. Nearly 70 percent of Iowa's precious bees were too sick—poisoned by toxic agricultural pesticides produced by Bayer and Monsanto—to survive the frigid temperatures. Bob called it 'the worst year we've probably seen for the bee population.' It's a worldwide catastrophe, and what comes next is even worse. A quarter of everything we eat, from apples to watermelon, depends on bee pollination our food supply is at risk. But we have a chance to stop this looming disaster right in its tracks. Sign the petition and tell your U.S. representative: Pass the "Saving America's Pollinators Act" to protect our bees and food supply!"
I need help from bird people—by FloridaSNMOM: "We found a baby bird in the middle of the street. He was squirming around, and when I picked him up I discovered why, he was covered in ants. So I rinsed him off in warm water, dried him off, and made a little nest in a box with quilt batting scraps and some flannel squares. He doesn't have his eyes open yet, and he makes no sound. He's moving around a bit though. [...] I read online that it should be able to eat soaked puppy kibble and such, but I don't know if we should keep him and try to feed him or if there's someone I can get to come get him who can take better care of him. Any help or advice would be appreciated."
Water & Drought
Phil Isenberg Joins PPIC Board—by Dan Bacher: "On September 11, 2013, Phil Isenberg, then Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, joined the Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). [...] Isenberg has served in leadership roles in both the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called "marine protected areas" in California and planning processes promoting the environmentally destructive peripheral tunnels. 'Phil Isenberg has served since 2010 as chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, which was created by the state legislature to achieve the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem,' the press release stated. 'He was chair of the California Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force and chairman of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, whose recommendations provided much of the structure for the major changes in water policy enacted in 2009.'"
A single pot plant consumes 6 gallons of water a day—by VL Baker: "I don't want to rain on your parade but this news really bowled me over. How can it be that we didn't know this? A single pot plant consumes 6 gallons of water per day! Streams in Northern California's prime marijuana-growing watersheds likely will be sucked dry this year if pot cultivation isn't curtailed, experts say. 'Essentially, marijuana can consume all the water. Every bit of it,' said state Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist Scott Bauer, who specializes in salmon recovery and is working on a study of the issue. California is overdrilling its ground water in the midst of a historic drought. A drought which is exasperated by their water intensive agriculture needs and which are projected to to be more extreme and frequent in the future due to climate change. It becomes paramount that every water use is examined for efficiency."
National Parks & Other Public Lands
An Idahoan shows Bundy what a real Western rancher is—by Joan McCarter: "Being a Westerner and the daughter and granddaughter of cattle ranchers, I think it's about time that the non-crazy Western ranchers get some equal national media time. Because they're not all federal government-hating, 'wise use,' sagebrush rebelling, gun-toting crazies—even in a state like Idaho. One of Idaho's most influential cattle ranchers and conservationists is proof of that. His name was Bud Purdy, and in his 96 years, he became sort of a legend in the state. Unfortunately, he passed away this week, but this remembrance from the Idaho Stateman's Rocky Barker tells the story. < i> [...]Purdy donated a 3,500-acre conservation easement on all of the ranch along Silver Creek in the 1990s to the Nature Conservancy, adjacent to its own Silver Creek Preserve. Purdy didn’t even take the tax break on the easement valued at $7 million. […] Cliven Bundy doesn't represent the West. He doesn't represent cattle ranchers. He represents a minority of right-wing cranks who are good at making a lot of noise through threats of violence. He's also nothing more than a common crook. If you're looking for an emblematic man of the West, it's not Bundy. It's Bud Purdy."
Fox & Lou Dobbs Push The "Harry Reid Stealing Bundy Ranch For Chinese Solar Farm" Conspiracy Theory—by bernardpliers: "Here's Lou Dobbs reporting the pullback of the BLM and then saying this at 1:20. There are reports tonight that Chinese energy giant ENN Energy Group is actively tageting the land in question for a solar plant project with Ro Reid's help. And at 4:09 the reporter mentions [...] Reid's son Rory is a lobbyist for Chinese energy giant ENN which proposed building a solar plant in (dramatic pause) Clark County. What the reporter seems to be dancing around is the fact that the proposed solar energy project was in Laughlin NV, while the Bundy ranch is in Bunkerville, nearly 200 miles away on the other side of Las Vegas and Lake Mead.Oh, and the Chinese project was canceled in 2013 anyway."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
Big Victory for Public Health - Court Upholds Mercury, Toxic Air Pollution Protections—by Mary Anne Hitt: "On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld limits on dangerous emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution from power plants. This was a big victory for clean air, clean water, and the health of our families. The court decision keeps in place the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) standard, which is on track to eliminate as much as 90 percent of the mercury and air toxics currently released into our air by coal-fired power plants."
EPA Bust of Lowe's on Lead Abatement During Renovations—by LakeSuperior: "Corporate-wide Settlement with Lowe’s Protects Public from Lead Pollution During Home Renovations: Lowe’s Home Centers, one of the nation’s largest home improvement retailers, has agreed to implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide compliance program at its over 1,700 stores nationwide to ensure that the contractors it hires to perform work minimize lead dust from home renovation activities, as required by the federal Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The company will also pay a $500,000 civil penalty, which is the largest ever for violations of the RRP Rule. The settlement stems from violations, discovered by EPA inspectors, of the RRP Rule’s recordkeeping and work practice standards at private homes that had been renovated by Lowe’s contractors."
EarthJustice, Citizen Groups Win Major D.C. Circuit Decision Air Case Against Cement Industry—by LakeSuperior: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has struck down an EPA-created loophole that would have made limits on toxic air pollution from cement plants harder to enforce. When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote the cement plant rule, it invented an 'affirmative defense' that allowed plants that violate emission standards to escape having to pay penalties as long as they claimed the violation resulted from a malfunction. 'The court’s decision rightly tells polluters they won’t get a free pass when they spew uncontrolled toxic emissions into the air we breathe,' said Seth Johnson, Earthjustice attorney. 'The communities who have been burdened by excess mercury, particulate matter, and other hazardous air pollution that plants blame on ‘malfunctions’ can now rest assured that plants won’t have a license to emit pollution at will.'"
Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays
Plastic single-use grocery bags as a metaphor for the American oligarchy—by james321: "One of the consequences of the transformation of our nation from a democracy to an oligarchy is that common sense solutions to our biggest problems are no longer possible if they stand to reduce the wealth of the oligarchs by even just parts-of-a-penny on the dollar. Enter the single-use, lightweight plastic shopping bag. These bags are a disaster for the environment: making them is a disgusting petrochemical science experiment that contributes to global warming, using them leads to overflowing landfills and ocean floors covered in plastic garbage, fish and marine life suffer, our planet warms, eventually people suffer, too. Given the aforementioned, the reasonable trend is to reduce—or eliminate—their use whenever possible. The District of Columbia has introduced a bag tax. Seattle and Los Angeles have banned their use—with minor exceptions—entirely. There is now a de facto ban in Hawaii."
Climate Change - Mitigating Ego - Part 2 of 2—by John Crapper: "The world's population recently surpassed seven billion. It is continuing to rise. We need to search for ways to control and ultimately decrease our numbers. Adoption is one of those tools. It gets scant attention. That needs to change. It is a tool we need to increasingly use in our fight to control our numbers and sustain our environment. Let's take a look. There are millions of orphans in the world awaiting a family. There are thousands of families looking to adopt each year. It is tragic that countless children are growing up on the streets and in institutions because of governmental policies that constrict adoption."
Interview: "Big Men" Director Rachel Boynton on Oil, Ghana and Capitalism—by Steve Horn: "The subtitle of the newly released documentary film Big Men is “everyone wants to be big” and to say the film covers a “big” topic is to put it mildly. Executive produced by Brad Pitt and directed by Rachel Boynton, the film cuts to the heart of how the oil and gas industry works and pushes film-watchers to think about why that’s the case. Ghana’s burgeoning offshore fields—in particular, the Jubilee Field discovered in 2007 by Kosmos Energy—serve as the film’s case study. Boynton worked on the film for more than half a decade, beginning the project in 2006 and completing it in 2013. [...] After seeing the film at Madison’s Wisconsin Film Festival, I reached out to Boynton to talk to her about Big Men, what it had in common with her previous film (one of my favorites) Our Brand is Crisis and what other documentary projects she has on the go."
The carbon revolution progresses—by askyron: "Graphene applications are exploding. It's showing potential in batteries, electronics/semiconductors and even network security. But, the really really big thing, is if we start using carbon as a fundamental building component, we're making carbon sequestration integrated into our lifestyle. This coupled with a carbon tax could make the first design team that makes the carbon scrubbers able to produce raw materials for the growing carbon economy (as opposed to the silicon economy) fabulously wealthy."
Even an infamous polluter does not want to be associated with Rush Limbaugh—by steelbeard1: "In Michigan, Enbridge is infamous for a pipeline oil spill in 2010 which fouled the Kalamazoo River. Enbridge is also involved in a controversial pipeline project in Sarnia, Ontario. [...] A fellow anti-Limbaugh activist sent a message to Enbridge and received the following reply: [...] Our team has looked into this and taken action to ensure our ads are no longer heard in conjunction with Mr. Limbaugh’s programming which was not part of our planned media activity. Thanks again for flagging this to us. I wish Enbridge luck in keeping their PSAs off Rush Limbaugh. The spot was aired on Cumulus Media's WWCK in Flint MI. WWCK is still airing PSAs from the American Heart Association, despite the organization's public statement asking stations not to air their PSAs during Rush."
Last Chance; Our Audubon Fundraiser is Tomorrow!—by Senor Unoball: "As some of you know, my wife and I are doing a fundraiser tomorrow for our local Audubon Society, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. This is our last chance to get more donors before the event. [...] As one of the leading environmental organizations in the San Francisco Bay area, SCVAS will put your donations to very good use. But I especially like that one of the biggest uses of the funds goes to bring kids to birds. The Wetlands Discovery Program involves a bit of docent-led classroom training, followed up by a school field trip to learn about birds in nearby wetlands along the shores of the South Bay."