Grist staff

Idle Trucks Are the Devil’s Playthings

New gadgetry at truck stops could help slash pollution from idling big rigs. Most truck drivers across the U.S. leave their vehicles’ engines running all night while they’re parked at truck stops because it’s the only way to keep the heating or air conditioning on while they get some shuteye. Between 840 million and 2 billion gallons of gasoline are burned each year in the U.S. by these idling trucks, according to an estimate from the South Coast Air Quality Management District in southern California, and that results in a lot of dangerous diesel exhaust that can damage lungs and …

And other words from readers

  Re: Mobil-ized Dear Editor: Sometimes being anal pays off. I’ve been using Quicken since 1996 to track all my expenses, and I see here that I’ve spent $6,178.56 on gasoline over the past seven years. Of that total, $1,339.41 went to Mobil, $747.09 went to Exxon, and the rest to BP, Shell, and assorted other gas companies. In late 2001, I decided to stop buying gasoline from Mobil and Exxon due to their efforts to derail action on climate change and to hamper the effectiveness of key research bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the …

The Mahogany and the Ecstasy

Brazil clamped down on the logging of mahogany in the Amazon Rainforest last week, putting in place new rules that require loggers to present plans showing how harvesting will be done sustainably. Brazil produces about half of the world’s supply of mahogany, a highly prized — and highly endangered — wood sought for the making of furniture and instruments. The move by the Brazilian government came less than a week after the U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected nine shipments of Brazilian mahogany on suspicion that the wood was logged illegally. The shipments had been held for more than a year …

The Price Pump Is Right

A growing number of California businesses are taking steps to become more eco-friendly, and are saving money in the process, according to a new survey conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. One example is the Price Pump Co. in Sonoma, which has switched to more environmentally conscious packaging, using brown boxes instead of bleached-white ones and eliminating use of nonbiodegradable foam packing material — moves that are cutting costs by about $40,000 a month. “My motivation is to stay in business and make money,” said Bob Piazza, president of Price Pump. “If I can do that and be …

And other words from readers

  Re: Greening the Elephant Dear Editor: The story about Martha Marks’s efforts to build Republicans for Environmental Protection is a good reminder of why some of us oldies wax nostalgic for the Good Old Days. She is right that the real Republicans used to be wonderful conservationists, with a string of landmark laws to their credit. But your article makes it seem as if somehow it is the conservationists who are to blame for the shift. Your summary of the article read: “As long as the environmental community reflexively backs one party and aggressively demonizes the other, responsible environmental …

The Endangered Endangered Species Act

The federal Endangered Species Act is so cash-strapped that it is effectively “broken,” the Interior Department announced yesterday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service blamed the financial trouble on the act’s “critical habitat” provision, which requires federal agencies to consult with the USFWS before embarking on any activity in areas set aside for wildlife recovery. The agency claims critical habitat designations are redundant, unnecessary, and lead to expensive lawsuits (often by environmentalists) that siphon money away from more important aspects of species protection. According to USFWS Assistant Secretary Craig Manson, critical habitat funds will run dry in July, but the …

Raising the Zanzibar

The island of Zanzibar, located just off the coast of Tanzania, is set to get its first national park. The island, which is independently governed, plans to convert the 12,355-acre Jozani Forest Reserve into a national park to promote better conservation, management, and natural-resource use, according to Mussa Ame Silima, Zanzibar’s minister of agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. The region is home to mangrove forests and the red colobus monkey, which has all but succumbed to extinction due to increased farming and logging. Some human rights and environmental organizations question how the government will ensure that local villagers benefit …

Turtle Wane

Having depleted their own nation’s once-plentiful turtle populations, Chinese buyers are now offering top dollar for turtles from the southern U.S. In the last three years, there’s been a dramatic upswing in the number of turtles exported to China, where the animals’ meat is considered a delicacy and their shells are ground up to make virility powders. In 2002, 23,000 turtles were extracted from the waterways of North Carolina, up from just a few thousand in 1999. So troubling is this trend that North Carolina is poised to impose a moratorium on turtle fishing. South Carolina is also considering a …

And other words from readers

  Re: Administrophic Dear Editor: Thanks for the link [to a log of the Bush administration's environment-related activities], and I really mean that, even though I am a registered Republican. The only thing I did not like about this column was that a hated Democrat was using your forum to dig up dirt on Republicans. Instead, I would challenge her to find the positive in her party before attacking another party. And for the record, I despise that same tactic when employed by Republicans. I am much more interested in what a political group has done for me than what …

Welcome to the new Grist. Tell us what you think, or if it's your first time learn about us. Grist is celebrating 15 years. ×