Grist staff

Readers stump for their candidates of choice, and more

  Re: Go, Wes, Young Man Dear Editor: Many of us are concerned that Wesley Clark lacks an understanding of environmental issues. Aside from all the nice things Clark has to say about urinating turtles, he has virtually nothing serious to contribute on the topic Equally troubling is his support of former President Reagan, who was a great impediment to environmental progress in this country (James Watt, anyone?) — not to mention all the complimentary things he’s had to say about the current Bush administration (er, that is until he “switched” parties in order to run for president). In a …

It’s What’s on the Outside That Counts

Cadbury to Use Biodegradable Packaging for Chocolates Earth-loving chocoholics, take heart: British chocolate giant Cadbury Schweppes announced yesterday that it will begin using biodegradable candy trays that look like plastic but dissolve in water. At first, the new packaging will only be available in Australia, but the company is talking about using the technology more widely in the future. The biodegradable material, developed by Plantic Technologies Ltd. in Australia, is made of a water-soluble cornstarch polymer and is said to be comparable or superior to petrochemical plastic products.

I’m on the Hunt, I’m After You

Bush Angers Hunters and Anglers by Promoting Resource Extraction The Bush administration is ticking off many traditionally Republican hunters and anglers with its plans to encourage logging and oil and gas drilling in natural areas throughout the Western U.S. Last week, 450 U.S. gun clubs sent a petition to the U.S. Forest Service objecting to plans to remove protections from the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska, which contains prime habitat for big game and salmon. And many hunters in Montana are irate about administration plans to encourage gas drilling in the Rocky Mountain Front, which is home to bears, …

Hollow Weenies

EPA Won’t Restrict Use of Potentially Harmful Weed Killer Talk about scary stuff: On Oct. 31, as people across the U.S. were getting ready to don costumes and pass out Halloween candy, the Bush administration announced that it would not impose new restrictions on the commonly used herbicide atrazine, which has been associated with low sperm counts and prostate cancer in men and sex-organ deformities in frogs. The European Union recently decided to ban atrazine, but the U.S. EPA said on Friday that it saw no grounds for restricting the chemical’s use. The agency did announce a new plan for …

The Ghost of Climate Change Future

Defeat on Climate Change Bill Masks Subtle Victory, Supporters Say As expected, a proposal to establish mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions was rejected yesterday by the U.S. Senate in a 55-43 vote. Still, supporters of the bill, which was sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), were generally pleased with the outcome: Crossing party lines, six Republicans backed the bill, as did several Democrats from major industrial and coal-producing states, who typically oppose such caps. The vote represented the first time that members of Congress have been called upon to take a position on global warming …

A new consumer revolution could change the way we label food

There’s a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign going on in New York City right now regarding smoking in public places. The ads feature slogans like, “If they ban smoking in airports, people will never fly again,” and “If they ban smoking in bathrooms, people will never gossip again.” I thought of this campaign when I stumbled across a Reuters article on Tuesday describing opposition to a new law requiring that meat, seafood, produce, and peanuts be labeled with their countries of origin. Critics of the law quoted in the article foresaw disasters of nigh-biblical proportions: U.S. exports plunging, thousands of farmers pitched …

Fighting Fire With Hot Air

California Wildfires Put Pressure on Senate to Pass Bush’s Forest Plan The wildfires raging through Southern California are turning up the heat on senators to pass President Bush’s “Healthy Forests” plan, which would limit environmental and judicial reviews of many logging projects in national forests with the stated aim of reducing the risk of fire. But enviros say the legislation would open up remote old-growth areas to logging while doing far too little to eliminate fire risks near communities; they argue the bill would do little or nothing to stymie fires like the ones now burning in Southern California, which …

The Whole Shebang

Fix Whole Ecosystem, Not Bits and Pieces, Klamath Water Report Says Both environmentalists and farmers were vindicated by a report released yesterday by the National Research Council on the contested waters of Oregon’s Klamath Basin. The report, the final and most comprehensive one in an ongoing battle over the region’s water sources, recommended sweeping repairs to a damaged landscape, including removing dams that inhibit fish migration, restoring wetlands, and returning water to rivers and lakes. “If there’s one central theme, it’s that the failures of the past are the result of not taking an ecosystem approach,” said Jeffrey Mount, a …

Kerry the Day

Kerry Bashes Bush on Environment and Outlines Eco-Plan Senator and presidential contender John Kerry (D-Mass.) came out swinging on the environment yesterday, urging the public to rise up against President Bush’s policies on water, land, air, and energy. “George Bush is the kind of politician who would cut down a tree and then climb on the stump that remains and give a speech about conservation,” Kerry said. Speaking at the University of New Hampshire, he outlined a six-point environmental plan that includes reducing reliance on foreign oil, playing a leadership role in international climate change negotiations, cleaning up air and …

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