Grist staff

Sh*tting By the Dock of the Bay

Ten years ago, delegates attending the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro wrinkled their noses upon encountering the putrid smells emanating from the heavily polluted Guanabara Bay. The summit cast a spotlight on the plight of Rio’s bay and led to the creation of an internationally funded cleanup project. Now, with the follow-up Earth Summit beginning next week in Johannesburg, South Africa, the bay is as filthy as ever. Despite $800 million from the Inter-American Development Bank and Japan’s Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, some 470 tons of raw sewage are still dumped into the bay every day, along with …

And other words from readers

Responding to “Power Shift,” our special edition on local initiatives to combat global warming in the absence of federal leadership, Grist readers waxed pretty warm, themselves. Ross Gelbspan’s piece on the failure of big-name national environmental groups to take the lead on climate change drew praise from local activists — and criticism from some of the big-name groups in question. Those letters and Gelbspan’s response are below — plus thoughts on corporate climate (ir)responsibility, college activism, and the general attitude of Americans toward environmental issues. Re: The Big-Name Game Dear Editor: Ross Gelbspan is absolutely right that environmental advocates at …

Rubber the Right Way

In other news from the halls of justice, a different federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the U.S. government must foot the bill for cleaning up hazardous waste stemming from a World War II effort to produce synthetic rubber. During the war, most of the natural-rubber exporters were under Japanese control, so demand was high for synthetics to manufacture tires, life rafts, gas masks, medical supplies, and other military necessities. In the 1940s, Dow Chemical agreed to operate a synthetic rubber plant in California “at the expense and risk” of the federal government. Waste from the plant polluted the ground …

Kristin Casper, Greenpeace Clean Energy Now!

Kristin Casper is a campaigner for Greenpeace Clean Energy Now!. She works with schools, cities, and the state of California to invest in clean energy and protect the climate and future generations from global warming. Monday, 29 Jul 2002 SAN FRANCISCO, Calif I like Monday mornings. As a Clean Energy Now! campaigner for Greenpeace, I spend most of my weekends recruiting new volunteers, getting people to sign postcards, or even powering concerts with our solar/bio-diesel truck, The Rolling Sunlight. The truck has a solar array powerful enough to provide juice for three energy-efficient homes for an entire day. Compared to …

Look for the Onion Label?

It’s not quite like a pie in the face or mashed potatoes on the cafeteria ceiling, but Oregonians can still expect a food fight come November. The state seems poised to be the first in the nation to vote on a labeling law for genetically modified foods, now that the backers of the initiative, Oregon Concerned Citizens for Safe Foods, have turned in enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot. If the measure is approved by voters, few food growers and makers would be left unaffected. The group says the initiative is a consumer-rights measure. Opponents, including the …

And other words from readers

  Re: Alternative Energy Crisis Dear Editor: The author takes the position that the Bush Energy Plan is solely focused on “Big Oil” and “King Coal,” particularly with respect to tax breaks lavished on various forms of energy. Here are the facts: Value of the tax incentives for oil and gas proposed in the Bush Energy Plan: $0 Value of the tax incentives for renewable and alternative energy in the Bush Energy Plan: $5.3 billion Value of having an administration with an Energy Plan: Priceless.   David Garman Assistant Secretary Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Washington, …

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