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Is This What Rumsfeld Meant by “Messy”?

Air pollution poses yet another crisis for Iraq As if Iraq didn't have enough troubles, air pollution has hit alarming levels in the nation, exacerbating respiratory ailments among its citizens. War damage to the power grid has made state-produced electricity unpredictable, and reconstruction promises by the occu- uh, liberating forces have not panned out. Still, summer temperatures above 120 degrees render air conditioning a near-necessity, so tens of thousands of Iraqis run private home generators or plug in to neighborhood electric stations. Since the start of the war, the number of small gasoline-powered generators has increased 50-fold in Baghdad, where …

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Sustainability as economic advantage

Everything Nathan Newman says here about national healthcare transfers straightforwardly to environmental health. I'll say more about this when it's not so far past my bedtime.

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Depressingly beautiful — and vice versa — pictures

If Sprol isn't fulfilling your daily visual depression requirement, check out these amazing photos by Edward Burtynsky, now on display at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center. (See also Burtynsky's homepage, where he's showing off some recent pictures of Chinese industrialization.)

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Young biodiversivists

I just spent six days in a tent with my family. This was part of an annual event where we gather at a lake resort on the dry side of the mountains with several other families for a week of communing with nature (bullshitting and lounging around). An unusual amount of rain has created an explosion of flowers, quail, and voles. The voles are feeding a lot of other creatures, like owls, coyotes, and snakes. I videotaped four snake species (rubber boa, garter, racer, bull), two of which were in the process of eating voles. I love kids and kids …

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The Terror of Our Ways

Conflating environmentalists and terrorists is all the rage

Gristmill has commented before on what seems a fairly coordinated push by the feds -- assisted by far-right media types -- to hype "eco-terrorism" as the next big domestic threat. This serves three overlapping goals: It stokes fear and anxiety about terrorism generally, which can only serve the interests of the executive branch of government. Classifying acts as terrorism rather than simple crime (arson, theft, vandalism) substantially expands the police powers that can be brought to bear, in terms of surveillance, search and seizure, etc. It demonizes a political force that has sought, and in many cases successfully secured, legal …

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Appleseed the movie

Planting the seeds of sustainability in pop culture.

Okay. It is Friday and the last day of Grist's summer publishing break -- which means a little diversion from the more serious posts. Now, the images below are not conceptual renderings of DestiNY part deux, but pics of Olympus, a fictional "utopian" city featured in the anime movie Appleseed. While I won't go on and rave about this movie as I did with Sky Blue, I did want to mention that Olympus had a few interesting qualities. One, a million solar roofs that would make Arnold envious. (Okay, so I'm not sure how many there were, but it seemed …

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More SCOTUS rumor

Rehnquist to announce retirement later today? Update [2005-7-8 16:57:47 by Dave Roberts]: And still more juicy speculation: The White House may be holding Rehnquist's resignation letter over the weekend, allowing the focus to stay on terrorism. Deliciously dastardly!

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G8 to warming planet: We’ll change. We promise.

As expected, U.S. obstructionism has led to a G8 communique on global warming that's long on aspirational phrases and short on solid commitments to changing our carbon-loading ways. Among other watered-down statements, the leaders of the developed world promise to: ... raise awareness of climate change and our other multiple challenges, and the means of dealing with them ... work with developing countries on building capacity to help them improve their resilience and integrate adaptation goals into sustainable development strategies ... make available the information which business and consumers need to make better use of energy and reduce emissions ... …

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G8 aid to Africa update

Prime Minister Tony Blair just read off the G8's statement on aid to Africa. The BBC reports that they've -- we've, if you're a citizen of a G8 nation -- committed an extra $50 billion in anti-poverty aid. This is below the United Nations' target of an immediate 0.7% of GDP, although the G8 have pledged to reach 0.56% by 2010, and 0.7% by 2015. As Simon Jeffrey notes on The Guardian's G8 Newsblog: It was not -- as campaigners wanted -- a deal to make poverty history. Gordon Brown, a politician who has supported the campaign more this weekend, …

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G8 climate communiques are out

Full text of the G8 climate communiques are now available here and here.

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