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Gregory Dicum's Posts

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Fed up with breast-milk contamination, mothers form a national activist group

Mary Brune looked worried. "I don't know what the problem is," she said, peering at the generator in the grass. Attached to it was a blower that was, in turn, attached to a puddle of yellow nylon. The next morning, that puddle was supposed to inflate to become a giant rubber ducky, the centerpiece of a protest Brune was leading at a Target store near her home in the San Francisco Bay area. Mary Brune speaks up for concerned mothers everywhere. Photos: Gregory Dicum For Brune, the golden ducky represented much more than a call to remove PVC from Target's …

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In B.C., a landmark rainforest-protection agreement was just the beginning

It took 10 years of work to protect British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest. Photos: Gregory Dicum The Great Bear Rainforest, stretching from Vancouver Island to the Alaska Panhandle on the wild, rugged coast of British Columbia, is that rarest of things: an unvarnished environmental victory. But as the groundbreaking agreement signed to protect it comes into force, new challenges are surfacing. The numbers are stunning: at 15.5 million acres, this rainforest is the size of Switzerland. A third of it, about the size of New Jersey, is now entirely protected from logging (selective cutting is permitted on the rest). The …

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A weekend at Bioneers

This weekend the eco/new-agey/NoCal faithful gathered in Marin for the annual Bioneers conference. I've gone several times in the past, and it's always an interesting experience, and not for the obvious reasons ... Rather than describe Bioneers in detail here, allow me to point you to something I wrote about last year's conference. The basic gist is that it's a forum that draws together leading thinkers and actors in a number of different disciplines that are profoundly related, and yet aren't always thought of in that way. Hard-core anti-corporate, local-sovereignty litigation of the sort pursued by Thomas Linzey, for example, …

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Polluting my bathroom

You know that little rubber duckie in your bathroom? I always thought the little fella was sorta cute, nestled there between the shampoo and the loofa. Well, it turns out the little ducky's not so rubber after all -- it's plastic, namely the dreaded PVC. And it further turns out the bathroom is full of the stuff. Today, the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice is launching a campaign to get Target to remove PVC from their stores. The background is, Target (apt name, eh?) has been dragging their heels, while others -- even Wal*Mart -- are actually beginning to …

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San Francisco visualizes rising seas

I love living in San Francisco, where not only do we have a City Department of the Environment, but it's teamed up with the Sierra Club on an environmental art/advocacy project that is all at once simple, creative, thought-provoking, cheap, and replicable. Today, they launched FutureSeaLevel.org to bring the climate crisis home. It's an ingeniously simple idea: Participants tape up public spaces with a line of blue tape that marks the new sea level after unchecked global warming. In a coastal city like San Francsico, it's a disturbing sight indeed -- the blue line cuts the urban landscape mercilessly, and …

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Frank Scura’s green ideas are sick

Xtremely green demo at a Whole Foods in San Mateo, Calif. Photo: Courtesy ASEC  With the recent profusion of green takes on everything from diapers to caskets, Frank Scura's proposition might sound like more of the same: "We're about greening the planet, one skateboard at a time." But Scura, founder of the Bay Area-based Action Sports Environmental Coalition, isn't your average environmentalist. And action sports -- that heavily marketed package of adrenaline-infused competition undertaken on oceans of plywood -- is a little different too. For one thing, it has a cool factor so appealing that mass-marketers can't keep their TV …

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Green-burial movement gets more ambitious

Resting in peace at Ramsey Creek. Photo: Memorial Ecosystems. "I'd prefer to be put in the ground, under a tree," says Joe Sehee, contemplating his inevitable demise. "But I don't want to go in the ground with anything, I just want to be buried in a simple pine box or shroud, and that's it." If Sehee has given his preferences a lot of thought lately, it's not that he's planning to shuffle off this mortal coil any more imminently than the rest of us -- it's just that, as executive director of the Green Burial Council, it's his job. The …

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Free as a jailbird

When I spoke to Jeff Luers by phone from Oregon State Prison, our wide-ranging talk covered more than just his political views. Having never spent time in prison -- and hoping never to do so -- I was curious about what his day-to-day life is like there. Here's part of that discussion ... Q: So you're working in prison? A: I'm a clerk. I do inventory for the prison food warehouse. But I don't even get paid by the hour. I get paid by what they call a "point scale." I think right now I make like 50 bucks a …

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An interview with jailed “eco-terrorist” Jeffrey Luers

In 2000, 21-year-old Jeff Luers and an accomplice set fire to three pickup trucks at a dealership in Eugene, Ore., to bring attention to gas-guzzlers' contribution to global warming. They were promptly arrested. Luers, who refused to plea bargain, was sentenced to 22 years, eight months in prison. It is the longest term ever handed down for environmentally motivated sabotage in America -- and far longer than sentences given to arsonists in Oregon who have destroyed more property and endangered peoples' lives. Freefreenow.orgJeff “Free” Luers, Oregon State Penitentiary, 2005. But Luers' sentence may be surpassed if any of the upcoming …

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Meet Robert Bullard, the father of environmental justice

Robert Bullard says he was "drafted" into environmental justice while working as an environmental sociologist in Houston in the late 1970s. His work there on the siting of garbage dumps in black neighborhoods identified systematic patterns of injustice. The book that Bullard eventually wrote about that work, 1990's Dumping in Dixie, is widely regarded as the first to fully articulate the concept of environmental justice. Since then, Bullard, who is as much activist as academic, has been one of the leading voices of environmental-justice advocacy. He was one of the planners of the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership …

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