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Nursery Time

Alan Hipólito of Verde Native Plant Nursery answers readers’ questions

What can the well-off do to help low-income people? Alan Hipólito, this week's InterActivist, shares some ideas. He also answers questions about getting his nonprofit off the ground, replicating the concept of a local garden nursery, staving off discouragement, and painting his toenails. To find out what color, you'll have to read the whole thing. new in InterActivist: Nursery Time

Blogging resumes

So yeah, I'm a bad blogger -- been almost totally AWOL this week. I have, however, been keeping myself busy. On Monday, I sat down for a longish discussion with Rabbi Michael Lerner, who's leading the call for a spiritual movement from the "left hand of God" (yes, as opposed to the Right). On Tuesday, I had a shortish chat with water experts Peter Gleick (head of the Pacific Institute) and ex-EPA head Bill Reilly about the state of play on global water issues. On Wednesday, I had lunch with Richard Louv, whose new book about "nature-deficit disorder" is making waves. All these will be on the site in coming weeks -- along with the long-rumored interview with Lester Brown, which is running Monday (a firm date!). I shall now return to regular blogging, barring the appearance of more smart people in the Seattle area.

Evolution: a new perspective!

Chuck Norris strikes yet again.

And while I'm at it: There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals Chuck Norris allows to live. Ah, minutes of entertainment.

Melts in Your South, Not in Your Plans

Antarctica ice sheets melting faster than expected Another day, another round of studies showing the world’s ice sheets melting faster than expected, another outbreak of indifference from the public, another resigned sigh from enviros, another bout of empty rhetoric from legislators. K, see you tomorrow! Oh, what, you want details? All right: The lucky ice sheets featured in these particular studies are in Antarctica. New research shows they’re melting faster than they can be replenished by new snow. So, sea levels could rise faster than anticipated in coming centuries. The result was confirmed in two independent studies, one in the …

Harp seals vs. Maritimers

Here is another poverty-related issue, from the Maritime Provinces of Canada -- especially the poorest of all provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador. The infamous slaughter of baby harp seals is set to begin again a bit later this month, on the ice off the Atlantic coast. Such organizations as Greenpeace [well, it looks as though GP's involvement is uncertain; you decide what that means; so let us leave them out of this for now] and the Humane Society of the United States are already in place to protest. Another pair of celebrity-protesters are Paul McCartney and his wife Heather, great activists for animal rights. They arrived yesterday in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, with a retinue of helicopters, with the intention of observing the seals as closely as they can on the ice. The story on their visit, in yesterday's Globe and Mail, prompted a large number of comments from readers, the great majority of them very unfriendly indeed. Among the recurring themes were: Foreigners have no right to tell Canadians what to do; vegetarians are hypocrites; celebrity activists are hypocrites; Sir Paul is a hypocrite; the seal-slaughter is traditional; it is not inhumane; it is good for North Atlantic ecosystems.

Laid to Waste

Portraits of loss in the wake of Katrina

It's impossible to forget the images of a hurricane-wrecked New Orleans and its victims that were beamed around the world in the immediate aftermath of the storm. But what did it look like when the TV crews left? Well, um, still bad. Seattle-area photographer Chris Jordan took his camera south this winter to see what the storm had wrought. The message he brings back with his photo essay: our choices matter more than we think. new in Main Dish: Laid to Waste see also, in Grist: Poverty & the Environment, a special series

Interior Wreckorating

Interior official says big oil-royalty giveaway was likely a mistake Remember that $7 billion to $9 billion in royalty payments that oil and gas companies won’t be sending to American taxpayers for leases on public land? Turns out it’s the result of an Interior Department mistake. Oopsie! According to testimony yesterday before a House subcommittee, in 1998 and 1999 Interior “inadvertently” dropped restrictions on royalty relief from leases for Gulf of Mexico drilling sites. There was no “affirmative policy decision” to that effect. Just a bit of a goof. A $9 billion goof. Can we say that again? A $9 …

Our posterity

A guest essay by Arthur Coulston

Posted below is an essay from guest author Arthur Coulston. He is the co-founder of Energy Action, a coalition of over 30 leading youth climate, energy, and environmental organizations. (The essay represents Coulston's opinion alone, and does not constitute an official statement from Energy Action.) ----- For over a year now, various rabble-rousers have been ringing the death knell for environmentalism, creating an uproar and prompting a series of rebuttals and hallelujahs that taken together raise the important question: "What were we talking about?" But just in case the water was not muddy enough, I offer my own contribution. This is not a riposte to either the initial "Death of Environmentalism" or any of the specific responses made since. Rather, it is my own answer to what I believe is the central question in this important debate: "Why has environmentalism struggled to address the issue of climate change, and how might we become more effective?" Our posterity: An open letter to environmentalists It is self-evident that in a democratic political system the short-term interests of the present generation can pose a threat to the long-term interests of their posterity. Without a systematic or constitutional means of balancing these potentially conflicting interests, posterity is represented only as a tenuous secondary interest of a handful of citizens who must balance and blend their representation of future interests with their own present interests.

great illustration

This is a powerful and effective use of a graphic image to make an extremely important point. Congratulations to Keri. The perception I have -- and correct me please if I am wrong -- is that the great majority of us North American environmentalists are rather well off, comparatively, with more wealth and education and leisure and comfort than the majority of our fellow citizens. That is certainly the impression given by such mainline environmental organizations as Sierra Club and Audubon (which I admire greatly, and of which I am a member). Is it not logical to assume therefore that we are somewhat out of touch with our underprivileged brothers and sisters? I am very grateful for this Grist series on poverty, because it suggests important ethical questions: Are our environmental goals meant to help the poor and underprivileged as well as ourselves? Have we truly taken their particular interests into account? Is well-intentioned environmental activism frustrated by the lack of cooperation from low-income people, who feel that their interests have not been addressed?

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