Grist staff

Giving the Devil His DU

As many people wonder about the long-term environmental effects of the war in Iraq, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the ongoing pollution problems posed by depleted uranium (DU) ammunition used by NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. The report, published by the U.N. Environment Programme, found DU contamination in groundwater and drinking water; in some locations, the air was also contaminated, suggesting that wind or human activity can disturb DU dust long after weapons are fired. DU is a heavy metal used primarily for penetrating tanks and other armored targets. It is suspected of causing cancer and …

And other words from readers

  Re: Oakless Creek Canyon Dear Editor: The Flagstaff, Ariz., project to protect expensive homes by removing possible (natural) fire hazards sounds to me like building on a floodplain. The folks who bought the homes can sell them if they don’t want the expense of insuring the risk. The nation should not sacrifice its natural resources to the whims of the wealthy. Richard Romoser Cleveland, Ohio   Re: The Hunger! The Hunger! Dear Editor: I got fired up over Grist’s statement that, “The ‘next green revolution’ can’t rely wholly on organic farming, which won’t produce enough to feed the world …

And other words from readers

  Re: Oakless Creek Canyon Dear Editor: You missed the point. The project the U.S. Forest Service is contemplating is in the final stages of two years’ worth of environmental analysis and planning. How could it “shape up to be a test case” for efforts to ease environmental review? I have an exhaustive, 300-page document on my desk that discloses in detail the environmental effects of thinning predominantly small trees out of a choked forest and conducting associated prescribed fires to reintroduce fire into this ecosystem. Absolutely no old-growth pine trees are going to be thinned in this project. As …

And other words from readers

  Re: Hydra-gen Dear Editor: If you truly would like to see a hydrogen-based economy in your lifetime, then you should embrace President Bush’s plan like your favorite teddy bear. Do not deride the plan because it focuses on using fossil fuels to produce the hydrogen, thereby creating pollution and greenhouse gases and negating the emission-free aspect of hydrogen; be a little open-minded and far-sighted. Reality check: The use of fossil fuels for energy will continue for at least the next 100 years. Like it or not (which I do not), this is the case — so let us work …

When Nature Emails

Ah, wilderness — the chirping of birds, the burbling of creeks, the melodic chime announcing that new mail has just arrived in your inbox. Yep, that’s right — or it will be if the Colorado Department of Natural Resources has its way. In an effort to boost revenue in the middle of a massive budget shortfall, the DNR plans to make electrical outlets and Internet access available at parks around the state. (The state would make money by charging more for wired campgrounds or cabins.) The plan met with reactions ranging from amusement to disbelief when it was unveiled by …

Pain in the Tongass

Moderate Republicans, as well as Democrats and environmentalists, are up in arms over eleventh-hour language added by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to a huge $395 billion spending bill that would boost logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. The provision would exempt nearly 2 million acres in the Tongass from a rule approved by former President Clinton that bans road-building on 58.5 million acres of remote national forestland across the country. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (N.Y.) and seven other GOPers in the House have protested the plan (which contains additional anti-enviro elements), arguing in a letter to their colleagues that it was …

And other words from readers

  Re: Always a Big Turn-off Dear Editor: I just read Umbra’s responses to the lighting questions and must tell you that I have heard significantly different answers. I was informed that it does indeed take more energy to turn on a florescent light and that if you were going to be returning to a room in 30 minutes or less you should leave the fluorescents on. If it was a standard light bulb, the time period was five minutes (not too far off from Umbra’s). Regarding full-spectrum lighting, I have read a number of studies on school children that …

Order in the Court

With a staunchly anti-environmental White House and a Republican-dominated Congress, environmentalists are turning to the third branch of government to fight their cause. Happily, the courts have presented a relatively safe haven for greens, upholding strict clean air standards the Bush administration sought to water down, blocking oil and gas exploration in the West, limiting mountaintop mining and dumping in Appalachia, and — in the biggest victory for environmentalists — protecting millions of acres of national forest from logging and road building. “The courts are being viewed as the last line of defense,” said Buck Parker, executive director of Earthjustice, …

And other words from readers

  Re: This Is Your Brain on SUVs Dear Editor: I think all these anti-SUV ads are great at educating the public on the environmental atrocities of these gas-guzzling vehicles, but I question their overall effectiveness. They may prevent a small number of people from buying SUVs and make some current SUV owners feel guilty, but many people believe they need SUVs for their lifestyles. Guilt isn’t a major factor in the marketing world; it tends to make people very defensive. I think a supplemental campaign should be launched to fight for SUVs that get better gas mileage. This campaign …

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