Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Grist staff's Posts

Comments

Bruce on the Loose

Americans can expect to see more areas in the western U.S. protected as national monuments in the coming year, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said yesterday. Such designations can be made without congressional approval; Pres. Clinton angered western politicians in 1996 by creating the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Babbitt spoke at a congressional hearing on a bill by Rep. Bob Stump (R-Ariz.) that seeks to head off creation of the Shivwits Plateau National Monument in Arizona by creating a national conservation area instead, which Babbitt said would give the land even less protection than it has now. Babbitt also …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

I Am the Triax, I Speak for the Cars

General Motors is taking a step forward in the race to produce green cars with an announcement today that it has developed a new concept vehicle, called the Triax, that can operate with a range of power sources, including gasoline, hybrid, and electric systems powered by either batteries or fuel cells. In the meantime, U.S. automakers are planning to install more efficient, cleaner engines in some of their trucks, replacing old V-6 and V-8 systems. They will try to convince consumers that the new engines will still pack a powerful punch. The EPA has proposed new regulations that would force …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

An Offer You Can't Refuse

A review of 'God's Last Offer' by Ed Ayres

God's Last Offer: Negotiating for a Sustainable Future by Ed Ayres Four Walls Eight Windows, 1999, 357 pages In 1998, S. Sailam, a farmer living with his pregnant wife and two children in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, found that the pesticide he was spraying on his cotton crop had ceased to do its job. In desperation, he killed himself by squirting the pesticide down his throat. More than 100 of his fellow farmers in the region took their lives with this same tragic gesture in January and February of last year. They had been pressed by the …

Read more: Food

Comments

Golf Doesn't Attract Drivers and Beetles Don't Have the Juice

The winners on the EPA's annual list of the most fuel-efficient cars and trucks are losers in the marketplace. The most fuel-efficient cars, those getting at least 40 mpg, represent just 0.57 percent of the U.S. market. Light trucks such as the Land Rover Range Rover -- the least efficient SUV on the EPA's list, getting just 12 miles per gallon in the city and 15 on the highway -- account for 48.08 percent of the market. Top marks from the EPA went to the Honda Insight, which will go on sale in the U.S. in December; the two-seater gasoline-electric …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Without a Car in the World

The city of Bremen, Germany, is trying to convince its residents to abandon car ownership by giving them access to an ultra-modern public transport system and a car-sharing program that lets citizens quickly and cheaply rent vehicles at 37 city locations. Bremen officials say the effect of their program, which was launched in 1990, is hard to quantify, but they believe it has enabled one-third of households to dispense with their automobiles. The city has also reduced traffic on its inner city streets by about 500 cars per year. At first, residents who gave up cars thought they were making …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Wake Up and Smell the Biodiversity

El Salvador hopes to protect its wildlife and boost its income by charging a 5 percent premium for "biodiversity-friendly" coffee grown in the shade of native plants. While many other Central and South American countries switched in the 1970s to the pesticide-dependent method of growing coffee in direct sunlight, El Salvador stuck to the more sustainable tradition of growing coffee in the shade of larger plants, providing havens for birds, insects, and smaller flora. Scientists at the UK's Natural History Museum have found some 400 species of birds that thrive on shade-grown coffee farms in El Salvador.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Fright of the Condor

The National Audubon Society yesterday denounced plans for a new wind energy project north of Los Angeles in the historical habitat of the endangered California condor. As part of the California government's plans to promote renewable energy, the state last year awarded $7 million to Enron to help construct the farm. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expressed concerns that the massive wind turbines could imperil the condors, which were reintroduced into the area after nearly going extinct in the late 1980s. The Audubon Society wants Congress to make wind farms within 10 miles of the habitat of endangered …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

In Case You Still Haven't Reached for the Prozac

Costa Rica's golden toad has gone extinct because its natural habitat has dried up, sending a warning that freshwater species and habitats around the world are in serious trouble, according to the World Wildlife Fund's new 1999 Living Planet Report. It found that climate change, pollution, and heavy fishing threaten frogs, alligators, flamingos, and river dolphins, among other species. The report also determined that since 1970, the world has lost 10 percent of its natural forests, equivalent to 150,000 square kilometers a year, an area larger than Greece. Only half the world's original forest cover now remains. And WWF estimates …

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Go with the Flow

After decades of disputes, eight states and 30 Indian tribes along the Missouri River have agreed on a compromise plan to share the river's flow. The plan would, among other things, keep more water in upstream reservoirs in Montana and the Dakotas during dry times to boost recreation and protect fish and wildlife habitat, a shift applauded by the enviro group American Rivers. The plan also recommends that more land in the river watershed be purchased or put under conservation easement. The Army Corps of Engineers will now decide whether to accept the regional plan.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Delhi Order: Hold the Lead

India plans to phase out leaded gas by February 1, 2000, and most state-run refineries will begin producing unleaded gas by October. The move, long urged by environmental groups, is expected to significantly reduce air pollution in India's large cities and cut down on pollution-related diseases.

Read more: Uncategorized