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Erik Hoffner's Posts

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WV activist the second to win the green nobel for fighting MTR

Gunnoe gets Goldman

Proud to say that one of the Orion Grassroots Network's own, Maria Gunnoe, an organizer for Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, has won the "environmental nobel" for her courageous grassroots activism to end mountaintop removal (MTR) in the face of fierce intimidation: Grist's own Ken Ward has the story in today's Charleston (WV) Gazette. Maria Gunnoe is one of seven recipients of the 2009 Goldman Environmental PrizePhoto: Tom DusenberyGunnoe was forced to hire a guard dog and install surveillance cameras around the perimiter of her home to fend off coal company goons. Judy Bonds of Coal River Mountain Watch in WV …

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Documentary touches the heart of ocean acidification

A Sea Change on film

Ocean acidification is an issue that may not be on everyone's lips, but its causes, solutions, and dire impacts if gone unaddressed are the same as climate change. A Sea Change (check the trailer below the fold) is a new documentary on the subject that follows retired educator Sven Huseby on a mission to Norway and Alaska to investigate the problem of too much atmospheric carbon and its detrimental acidifying effect on the marine food chain, through the lens of his sweet relationship with an ocean-loving grandson. The film won acclaim from the audience at its DC Environmental Film Festival …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Heirloom tomato debate

It shouldn't surprise anyone that George Will keeps repeating his half truths to deny the degraded state of the climate, but what exactly Scientific American was thinking with this article about how heirloom tomatoes are "hardly diverse and are no more "natural" than grocery-store varieties" is a mystery to me. Except that sacred cows make the best hamburger, maybe. Open pollinated tomatoes are definitely more diverse than their hybrid descendants thanks to traits bred for or discovered over generations (the 10 extra special genes mentioned right in the article itself), and having been developed this way via selective breeding rather than hybridizing technologies, …

Read more: Food

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Hot climate? Try on some sizzling shorts

The makers of the film "Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy" (one of whom, Randy Olson, I interviewed for Grist, here) are holding a video contest among students at three universities that hosted screenings of Sizzle last month (Cal State Fullerton, Univ. of Missouri, and SUNY Stony Brook). Their assignment was to make 60 second videos that were both silly and serious, ie similar to "Sizzle," and relating to climate change. From among 34 submissions, the 7 finalists are now posted at http://www.sizzlingshortscontest.com where you can view them and cast your votes. The top three voter getters will be announced on …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Why it will be very hard to save sharks from extinction

Here's a video from a restaurant in Hong Kong which illustrates how much trouble the world's sharks are in. If this woman's reaction to the kitchen being 'all out' of shark fin soup is representative of the expectations of people in just Hong Kong, then sharks are in for a lot more senseless finning in the years ahead.

Read more: Food

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Coal ash on CounterSpin

FAIR's podcast CounterSpin has a great interview with Kristen Lombardi of the Center for Public Integrity. She's the author of an important new coal ash expose featured in the March 6 show. "Coal Ash: The Hidden Story," and its map of just the known slurry dumps -- not including all the ones coal companies won't tell anyone about -- are great.

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Plum good

Clustered housing and green space combine to good effect

Located just outside Austin, Plum Creek in Kyle, Tex. is this region's first traditional neighborhood development -- a community of 8,700 residential units, several hundred acres of green space, over 600 acres of commercial, employment, and mixed-use property, a 70-acre town center, and a commuter rail station, all built on the principles of "new urbanism." View full stats and project history at Terrain.org, which has an absorbing file of such "UnSprawl Case Studies" (and other great literary and visual content on place, both natural and built) viewable in the dropdown in the top right corner. Plum Creek may not look …

Read more: Cities

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Urban buzz

Movement for metro pollinators spreading

Let loose the bees! Like the surging movement for backyard chickens, bees also have urban anthropic allies, and Denver is the newest metropolis to allow beehives in town. Led by the intrepid Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) crew, bees will now be invited to pollinate mile-high metro-veggies, just like in Seattle, Minneapolis, and San Francisco. Enjoy the ordinance's entertaining rules on how hives are to be kept at DUG's site, but consider that native bees are also to be encouraged. Check out this article on Sacramento's Urban Bee Project, which tries to bolster biodiversity and urban pollination through the planting of …

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From war to peace

Two projects uniting veterans and green jobs

Two grassroots projects recently came to my attention aimed at finding green employment for vets, too many of whom return to no jobs, many bills, and much debt, creating an awful lot of strain on them and their families. Veterans Green Jobs was conceived to create "solutions for three of the most urgent issues of our time: the rebuilding of a sustainable green economy, reversing deteriorating environmental conditions and climate change threats, and the need to reintegrate over a million military service veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who are in need of healing and meaningful new careers." And …

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Nukes and native people

Seventy percent of world's uranium lies under native lands

"Nuclear Caribou" by Mark Dowie, in the new issue of Orion magazine, explains the drama playing out on a crucial caribou calving ground in Nunavut, in northern Canada. It is emblematic of a worldwide challenge to the sovereignty of indigenous communities in Africa, Asia, Australia, and North and South America. As uranium mining companies rush to fill an expected spike in demand, they often are staking claims on native-owned lands. That's because, and I knew the number was high, but not this high: roughly 70 percent of the world's uranium resources are located under these communities, and about two-thirds of …