Grist staff

Food for Thought: Britain’s food system

The fixings for a traditional British turkey dinner could travel more than 24,000 miles before they reach the table, according to a report released yesterday by the U.K. lobby group Sustain. On average, food consumed in Britain travels 50 percent more than it did a decade ago, at the expense of human and environmental health. Sustain said that the country’s food system had become “almost completely dependent” on oil, and that internationally, food distribution is a major cause of pollution and climate change. The organization also criticized a food system in which countries essentially swap food. (For example, in 1997, …

Pulling Back the Rains

A single rainstorm can whisk 10,000 tons of dirt and grit and millions of pounds of toxics and nutrient pollution into the Chesapeake Bay. Officials from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the District of Columbia are unveiling plans today to rein in rain-related pollution problems, in the first major restoration effort they’ve announced since pledging well over a year ago to take action on the issue. Runoff is polluting nearly 1,600 miles of streams and wreaking havoc on thousands of acres of habitat for crabs and fish. The officials hope to encourage new construction strategies in the region, so that future …

Plan Nein

In a move that frustrated environmentalists, the U.S. Forest Service said on Friday that it would delay revising management plans for most national forests in the Northwest until 2012. Under a timetable set by Congress, the multi-year plans had been slated to be revamped by 2005; enviro groups had hoped to use the scientific and public review process to gain more protection for old-growth forests and roadless areas. But the Forest Service said budget and staffing shortages had made it impossible to revise all forest management plans on schedule. It opted to postpone review of the Northwest plans, giving priority …

Zed, last of his species, in "Putt-Putting Green"

Grain and Bear It

New policies emerging in China could bode well for that poster child of protection efforts, the panda. In an article published last week in the journal Science, scientists from the World Wildlife Fund and Beijing University praised China’s National Forest Conservation Program and its “Grain-to-Green” policy as likely to preserve habitat crucial to panda survival. The conservation program, which is designed to protect against flooding, will increase forest cover in river basins over the course of 11 years, thereby protecting all of the remaining forests in the panda’s range. The Grain-to-Green policy will restore hillside agriculture land to forest or …

The Throng Song

Throngs of environmental activists are protesting a shipment of nuclear waste making its way by train from France to Germany, and at least 100 have been detained by the police. The six containers of radioactive waste originated at a reprocessing plant in La Hague, in northern France, and will be stored in Gorleben, Germany, 375 miles away. At least 5,000 protesters are staging actions along the length of the route, and between 15,000 and 20,000 German police have been deployed to protect the train. Greenpeace’s Frederic Marillier said the shipment “represents a scandalous risk for the populations along the route.”

An Anti-Globalization Movement by Any Other Name

  Your letters on how environmentalism will regroup in the wake of Sept. 11 made it clear that the movement is still alive and kicking. And other letters — on hybrid vehicles, eco-agriculture, globalization — show that Grist readers, at least, are still thinking about the whole environmental picture.   Re: Visualize Whirled Peace Dear Editor: I want to quietly protest the use of the phrase anti-globalization amidst Grist‘s otherwise admirable production of environmental news. Along with many others in the grassroots globalization movement, we at Grassroots Globalization Network refuse to use Wall Street’s term anti-globalization to describe ourselves and …

Zed, last of his species, in "Consumer-in-Chief"

The Persistence of Mercury

Anyone who’s ever broken an old-style thermometer knows it’s tough to clean up mercury, but the state of Washington is undeterred. The state’s Ecology Department has created the nation’s only program to battle persistent bioaccumulative toxins, or PBTs, and mercury will be the first target. Found in substances ranging from eye makeup to industrial waste to contaminated seafood, mercury can cause neurological problems and birth defects. Nearly 3,700 pounds of mercury from industrial sites are known to have contaminated air, land, and water in Washington last year, and untold additional pounds went unreported.

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