Jeff Shaw

Jeff Shaw is an award-winning environmental journalist. His work has appeared in publications including The Nation, In These Times, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

A new resort complex threatens a Japanese paradise

The elusive and endangered yamaneko. Photo: Makoto Yokotsuka. The Iriomote cat is a survivor. For centuries, it employed the surest survival technique of all — avoiding humans — before being scientifically described for the first time in 1967 by Dr. Yoshimori Imaizumi of Tokyo’s National Science Museum. Its home, Iriomote Island, is one of the southernmost points in Japan. Located more than 1,200 miles from Tokyo, Iriomote is often called Japan’s last true wilderness. With 90 percent of its land still undeveloped, this sparsely populated tropical ecosystem has been the perfect hiding place for the yamaneko (literally “mountain cat”). Favoring …

Wood-labeling program less green than it appears

If you’ve got plans to undertake a woodworking project — building a deck, say, or a fancy new china cabinet — you’re probably not going to figure a plane ticket to Burma or Humboldt County, Calif., into the budget, even if you’d like to be sure that the wood you’ll use has been harvested sustainably. Hence, the rise of green labeling: a convenient way for consumers to put their money where their values are. But can you trust a label just because it says “sustainable” and sports a fetching graphic of a tree? Where the timber industry’s “Sustainable Forestry Initiative” …

Okinawan sea life likely to suffer under Navy sonar deal

Every year, scuba divers make tens of thousands of excursions into the waters off Okinawa, Japan, drawn by the spectacular array of sea life on display. Soon, though, that sea life may be blasted out of the water by an unwelcome sonic barrage. The Okinawan coast is not clear. Photo: Jeff Shaw. Almost everywhere in the world except in this patch of ocean, denizens of the deep won a reprieve this month, when a court agreement between environmental organizations and the U.S. Navy limited the military’s use of low-frequency active sonar (LFAS). Experts contend that the sonar, which uses high-intensity …