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The Daley Planet

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (D) last week made an unusual deal with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create new habitats in the city for migratory birds. In exchange for a $100,000 grant, Chicago will restore marshes south of the city, develop wildlife gardens along the shore of Lake Michigan, and take such simple steps as building birdhouses. Chicago and New Orleans are the first cities to sign on to a USFWS pilot program that aims to create urban habitat for birds. The agency hopes to extend to the program to as many as a dozen other cities by …

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Out With the Blades of Glory

The cost of wind power in Scandinavia is dropping as technology improves and competition mounts, but a new challenge may be overcoming public objections that modern windmills are eyesores. Denmark, which generates about 10 percent of its electricity from wind and aims to raise that percentage to 50 by 2030, plans to build all of its new windmills off-shore because the public is starting to oppose the sight of windmills in the countryside. Norwegian energy expert Atle Midtun: "This is likely to be the main obstacle for wind power -- to make people accept living close to the rotating blades …

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Strife of the Party

Germany's Green Party has abandoned its goal of immediate closure for all the nation's nuclear power plants, agreeing to a compromise deal under which Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats plan to phase out the nation's 19 nuclear reactors by 2018. The Greens' decision came at the urging of its most influential member, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who argues that the Greens need to be more realistic in order to remain a part of the coalition government with the Social Democrats. Fischer: "We cannot be pure Green in government." But many Greens are angry about the compromises the party has made …

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The Naked Truth

Nude protestors crashed the opening session of an international water conference underway today at the Hague, Netherlands. The inaugural speaker, Egyptian water resources minister Mahmoud Abu Zeid, looked on in stunned silence as a man and woman climbed up on stage in front of him, disrobed, and revealed to the audience their backs and buttocks, on which were painted the name of a controversial Spanish dam project, the Itoiz. The activists were protesting what they said was the conference's sidestepping of controversial environmental issues. The conference aims to draw up a plan for the next 25 years to provide enough …

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Make Mine Manure-Covered

Re: Food for Thought Dear Editor: As a fan of organic produce and a local newspaper editor, I appreciated Donella Meadows's article. She does a great job of rounding up and then refuting the stale critique of organic produce offered by Dennis Avery and his ilk. We need more articles like this in the mainstream press, articles that go one step beyond the "balance" that lets lies like those disseminated by Mr. Avery go unchallenged. Make mine manure-covered! Denis Devine Long Beach, N.Y.   Re: Food for Thought Dear Editor: Thank you for a strong and knowledgeable defense of organic …

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The Horror, the Horror

Poachers are wiping out endangered gorillas in the war-ravaged eastern section of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Only 70 gorillas remain in the highlands of Kahuzi-Biega National Park, compared with 258 several years ago. Kahuzi-Biega has been officially closed to tourists since August 1998, when military conflict in the region escalated. Unarmed park guards patrol the small highland area of the park, but 95 percent of the park, which encompasses lowland areas, has been largely off-limits to park officials for three years because it is occupied in part by militiamen. Officials say that about 8,000 gorillas were believed to …

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