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Maywa Montenegro's Posts

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Feed your Van Jones crush

Premier episode of a new online film series features Jones and Carl Pope

A new online film series called This Brave Nation premiered its first episode Sunday night: a conversation between Carl Pope and Van Jones. Both are natives of Frisco and both are equally adamant about environmental stewardship, but they have vastly different approaches. Here they chat about melding those tactics towards a common goal. Later this month, on June 15, Pete Seeger and Majora Carter discuss environmentalism, protest music, civil rights, and urban renewal. Should be interesting.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Vertical farms and future cities

Sustainability a big theme at the World Science Festival

What do vertical farms, green roofs, soft cars, breathing walls, and Dongtan, China, have in common? They were all subjects of discussion at Friday's Future Cities event in New York City, part of the four-day 2008 World Science Festival. To a packed house, Columbia University microbiologist Dickson Despommier described his vision for feeding the planet's burgeoning, and increasingly urban, population. The vertical farm takes agriculture and stacks it into the tiers of a modern skyscraper. Instead of stopping at the corner pizzeria for dinner, Despommier suggested, you could pluck a nice head of lettuce, maybe some corn, and some tomatoes …

Read more: Cities, Food

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Market force of nature

Social concerns complicate an issue that, for scientists, is a no-brainer

A couple of months ago, I wrote a piece, now posted at Seed, about a financial mechanism for reducing deforestation and degradation (REDD) and vaster territory it will likely prime for pricing ecosystem services. It's fun to watch the story evolve, as now we're seeing the U.K.-based Canopy Capital sign an agreement to protect a 371,000 hectare chunk of tropical forest in Guyana -- in advance even of a market infrastructure to value all the services provided by this land. For the most part, I see action in this direction as a good thing. Certainly the climate scientists, conservationists, and …

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Virtual water, part 2

Interactive poster from German designer

German designer Timm Kekeritz took the "virtual water" data that Sarah posted about from Waterfootprint.org and created this cool interactive poster. We featured Timm's work in the February issue of Seed (not online, but Treehugger wrote about it), which prompted me to order a giant paper version of the double-sided poster. With one side devoted to "footprints of nations" and the other side showing the water "inside" products, this enormous and graphically riveting wall-hanging makes a very cool, if intimidating, addition to any interior décor.

Read more: Living

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Me, worry?

Most Americans don’t believe global warming will pose a threat to them

A new series of Pew polls shows public concern for climate change is out of sync with the science:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Bottoms up: Pollan on gardening

Growing your own food is fine, but governmental action is needed, and soon

I like Michael Pollan -- really, I do -- which is why it was frustrating to see his wilted-salad-green entreaty to act on climate change in yesterday's paper: The climate-change crisis is at its very bottom a crisis of lifestyle -- of character, even. The Big Problem is nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little everyday choices, most of them made by us (consumer spending represents 70 percent of our economy), and most of the rest of them made in the name of our needs and desires and preferences. For us to wait for legislation or …

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Superfund365

A toxic tour, coming to a city near you

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act -- better known as the Superfund -- was born in 1980, largely in response to the Love Canal disaster. At the time, experts thought the allocated $1.6 billion would more than cover the costs of cleaning up the sites. But today, the fund is exhausted (it officially went broke in 2003), and as of September 2007, there are 1,315 final and proposed sites with thousands more awaiting approval. So it is taxpayers, instead of the polluting companies, that are footing the bill. Still, few people -- except, perhaps, those who live near …

Read more: Politics

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The Van fan club

GOOD magazine’s profile on the black green activist

What Grist readers might have predicted over a year ago, when David interviewed Van Jones, is quickly becoming reality. In October, Thomas Friedman, in a gushing editorial, called Jones a "rare bird" who "exudes enough energy to light a few buildings on his own." Now he's appeared on the Colbert Report where, despite the always-awkward position of Stephen's interviewees, he managed to land "green jobs" in the mental dictionary of millions of young viewers. I had the privilege of speaking to Jones last month as he cabbed it from Capitol Hill back to the airport. The profile appears in this …

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New vision for global agriculture

‘IPCC for agriculture’ has little teeth, but great timbre

Some are calling it a project that will transform global agriculture as we know it. Others are calling it a utopian dream. One thing is for sure, however: When the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAAST) releases the final draft of its report on April 15, sparks will still be flying. Instigated in 2005 by the United Nations and the World Bank, among others, the IAAST was supposed to be an IPCC for agriculture. (Indeed, the project's leader, Robert Watson, was former chair of the IPCC.) Its goals were impressive: How can we reduce hunger and …

Read more: Food

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<em>Vanity</em> is Green

Digging into the relationships between business and environmentalism

Admittedly, this is more of a link dump than a true blog post, but sometimes the green goodness is too good to pass up ... As Sarah and David have mentioned, the May edition of Vanity Fair is their third annual green issue. Featuring, ironically, the material girl on the cover, it's crammed with features that will enlighten, illuminate, and ... disturb. Pulitzer prize-winning journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele investigate Monsanto. ("We've never written about a company where some of its own customers are scared of it," they said.) Donald Trump and Michael Forbes duke it out …