Grist staff

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 …

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 …

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