R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…

I photographed this little guy in a small village in Costa Rica. He spent much of his day, ball in hand, staring wistfully out the front window of his tiny home, which also served as a used clothing store. Most homes in this village did double or even triple duty. Our friends stayed with another family in their guestroom, which was above their living room, which also served as the village motorcycle repair shop. David Horsey wrote a refreshing and hopeful piece yesterday titled Liberating women from macho culture frees all. In it, he describes how the women of an impoverished village in Mexico have improved their lives and the lives of their children.

Jesus ready to bolt?

Amy Sullivan has a piece in Washington Monthly called "When Would Jesus Bolt?" It's about growing strain between the evangelical Christian community and the Republican Party for which it has so long been a loyal foot soldier. There's lots of juicy stuff in the piece, but Gristies will be particularly intrigued to hear some of the backstory surrounding last month's climate declaration by evangelicals:

González in 60 Seconds

Tomasita González, enviro-justice organizer, answers Grist’s questions

As a community organizer, Tomasita González of the SouthWest Organizing Project empowers and -- what else? -- organizes her community in Albuquerque, N.M., to battle environmental and economic injustice. As this week's InterActivist, González shares her thoughts about challenging mainstream green groups, being called crazy, and fighting back against polluters. Send her a question of your own by noon PST on Wednesday; we'll publish her answers to selected questions on Friday. new in InterActivist: González in 60 Seconds

South Central urban farm faces eviction

350 families have tended the 14-acre plot for 13 years

Several readers have independently sent in word about this: "L.A. South Central Farm Receives 3-Day Eviction Notice." Over 13 years, 350 families have been growing organic produce in a 14-acre garden plot in South Central Los Angeles. But now: Two days ago the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department unceremoniously posted an eviction notice on the farm's gate calling for the farm to be vacated by March 6th (next Monday). That would leave current crops in the ground to be plowed under by a developer's bulldozers. The intended replacement for the farm is a warehouse intended to serve (primarily) Wal-Mart. The linked story has information on how you can help, if you so choose. You can also check out the South Central Farmers website. I believe protests are ongoing -- if anybody in the area has an update, let me know.

You’ve flung a long way, baby

I thoroughly enjoyed this short piece by a writer recently hit by a carelessly tossed cigarette butt. Here's a taste (emphasis mine): What I failed to appreciate is that as a smoker, you are, by nature, a rebel. You laugh in the face of polyps and emphysema. Yes, it's a hacking laugh that ends in a series of frightening coughs, but you do laugh. And unlike the rest of us scared little non-smoking hamsters who docilely put our garbage in garbage cans, you, brave puffer of toxic chemical additives, are not bound by something so arbitrary and frivolous as a trash receptacle. The world is your trash can. You defiantly blow plumes of noxious gas into its air. You nonchalantly toss crumpled cigarette packs into its waters. And, as you showed me, you disdainfully throw your used-up smokes onto its ground, even if they must first bounce off another human being before reaching land. Ha. Good reading, but sadly, so true.

He's baaack!

RenewAmerica Fred Hutchison writes a column about a Gristmill convo

Long, long ago (November) and far, far away right here in Gristmill, I facilitated a debate between Fred Hutchison, über-conservative RenewAmerica columnist, and atmospheric scientist cum Gristmill reader mihan (mihan, are you out there? You're gonna want to see this). Never one to let things go, Fred has written an "issues analysis" of his Gristmill conversation (it's also about his conversation with another scientist who dared to defend Einstein). Highly entertaining. Check it out. But be aware that Fred warns: As I summarize these debates for our readers, there will be moments that will be embarrassing for the two scientists, if they condescend to read this review. Steel yourselves.

Chew Magna Cum Laude

Village aims to be the greenest in England An English town with the wholly delightful name of Chew Magna is in the running for greenest village of them all. With a population of 1,100, it’s located in a wider community that’s committed itself to achieving zero waste, recycling everything from mobiles (cell phones) to spectacles (glasses). But Chew Magna has gone many steps further: Their Go Zero campaign has produced a local-food guide and a carbon-offset fund. Local energy companies have donated free low-energy light bulbs to residents. Plans are in the works for villagers to be able to ride …

Quad Squad

Umbra on college Earth Day fests Earth Day is fast approaching (April 22, for those hopelessly out of the loop). That has a college student at a conservative school wondering how he can best get the green message out to his not-so-crunchy peers. Advice maven Umbra Fisk has a few ideas. If you have your own, be sure to let us know in Gristmill.

It’s Hard Out Here for a Chinook

Fishing ban considered for Klamath chinook along West Coast With chinook salmon runs in the Klamath River plummeting, federal regulators are considering an unprecedented ocean-fishing ban on chinook along 700 miles of coast, from northern Oregon to just south of Carmel, Calif. A combination of factors on the Klamath River, including warm, low-flowing water and runoff from farming and timber operations, created conditions that allowed a fish-parasite population to explode a few years ago, killing over 80 percent of returning juvenile chinook in spring 2002 and 2003, say scientists. The Pacific Fishery Management Council will consider options to help the …

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