Grist staff

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 …

Bjorn Loser

In 2001, Danish author Bjorn Lomborg rocketed into the spotlight with the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist, which claimed to debunk virtually all environmental concerns, from global warming to species extinction, and sought to assure the public that there was nothing much to worry about, ecologically speaking. Now, a division of the Danish Research Agency has condemned Lomborg for “scientific dishonesty,” deeming the book “clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice” and systematically one-sided. The Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty conducted a six-month review of the book after several scientists filed complaints; despite the damning conclusions it reached, …

Jeff Reifman, Antarctic traveler

Jeff Reifman, a recent traveler to Antarctica, is a technologist in Seattle. Click here to view Jeff’s Antarctica photo album. Monday, 6 Jan 2003 SEATTLE, Wash. Somehow I knew the Antarctic would be unique and amazing — and it was, despite the 15,000 pounds of C02 emissions created by my journey there and back. Paradise Harbor on the Antarctic Peninsula. I returned last week from a 10-day eco-tour of the Antarctic Peninsula. The majority of Antarctic tours take place on the peninsula, as it is the most geographically accessible hotspot for wildlife activity during the brief Antarctic summer. The peninsula juts out …

And other words from readers

  Re: Point. Click. Ignore. Dear Editor: I was appalled that the U.S. Department of Interior is ignoring email appeals now. However, email filtering can be defeated: If the criteria for tossing an email were that it looks just like 80,000 other emails with the exception of the signature, then one can write software to produce email appeals that are relatively unique. The trick is finding out which criteria different filters are using. Ultimately, the fact that filtering is used at all would seem to me to be against the rights of citizens to voice their opinions and gain access …

Milling for the Grist

Green-leaning former Vice President Al Gore has decided against running for president in 2004 — but never fear, Grist Magazine is keeping its hat in the ring. No, we’re not running Umbra Fisk as a write-in candidate for ’04; we do plan, however, to be around to tell it like it is on the environment through the next presidential election and far beyond. You can help make that happen by sending us a tax-deductible donation of any size as an end-of-the-year thank you (come on, we must’ve made you laugh at least once on a boring Monday this year) and …

Share the Magic

If you have a little money squirreled away somewhere, maybe it’s time to take out stock in … an auto company. Thanks to a dedicated coalition of environmentalists who did just that, both General Motors and Ford Motors will be voting on global warming resolutions at their next shareholders meetings. Shareholder resolutions like the ones that will be considered by the car companies have been promoted by the Center for Environmentally Responsible Economies. CERES seeks to foster environmental accountability in U.S. businesses and believes that the failure to develop responsible global warming policies creates a huge potential for financial liability …

Texan’s Chainsaw Massacre

Disregarding opposition in both houses of Congress, President Bush announced a plan yesterday to expedite the cutting of trees and brush in national forests by streamlining environmental reviews and judicial oversight. Bush says the plan will help reduce fire danger, but critics say last summer’s wildfires merely provided the pretext for permitting more logging on public lands, including commercially valuable old-growth trees. The proposed plan would reduce the ability of opponents to delay logging projects and would decrease the amount of environmental impact information needed to approve clear-cutting projects — in some cases, from 200 pages to as little as …

You’re Out of the Club?

A Utah chapter of the Sierra Club has been threatened with disbandment because of its decision to speak out against the possibility of a U.S. war against Iraq. The development may bring to a head a discussion that has been going on within the club throughout the fall. In October, 13 former national board members called on the organization to pass a resolution urging the Bush administration to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict. But some current members feel the issue is outside the scope of the Sierra Club’s mission, while others say not all club members are in …

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