Russ Walker

Russ Walker is a former editor.

A preview of Obama's first year: Harry and Louise v. climate legislation

Next president needs a constituency pressing for climate change action

If you listen real hard, you can hear Harry and Louise revving up their SUV, preparing to drive right over any effort to “kill economic growth” or “raise costs on the consumer” with “job-killing” carbon taxes. Green groups still have time to slit the SUV’s tires … but not much time. Barack Obama is poised win the presidential election in less than three weeks, but environmental organizations don’t have time to celebrate the Democrat’s expected victory. Instead, several leading climate change activists say, enviros need to start organizing now to build a constituency that will support an Obama administration’s efforts …

Ace reporter joins Environmental Health News

Marla Cone to lead expanded news operation

Award-winning environment reporter Marla Cone is leaving the Los Angeles Times to join the ranks of nonprofit journalism, becoming the top editor of Environmental Health News starting today. Cone, whose work at the L.A. Times includes a series of articles highlighting the environmental threat posed by brominated flame retardants and investigations into the health of ocean ecosystems, will spearhead an expanded news operation dedicated to producing original, investigative journalism on environmental health issues. For too long, environmental health issues have received little attention from major media organizations, Cone said. “It’s a very complex, very nuanced beat requiring deep understanding of …

Slow Food Nation: The plus-side of high gas prices

One farmer says ‘peak oil’ prompted energy-saving steps

Admit it, climate change is the kind of problem that leaves you wondering, “What the heck can any one person do about it?” That’s exactly how Patrick Holden said he felt about it during the “Climate Change and Food” panel discussion last week at the Slow Food Nation conference in San Francisco. Holden has been an organic farmer for 30 years, and in his spare time runs Britain’s Soil Association, which makes and enforces organic standards in the U.K. Holden’s feeling about global warming changed, he said, when the concrete reality of high energy prices came crashing down on his …

Slow Food Nation: A slow food preamble

Wendell Berry’s statement of facts

Poet, essayist, novelist and “local-ist” Wendell Berry kicked off the final panel of the Slow Food Nation “Food for Thought” series on Saturday by reading a short statement describing the current food crisis. For too long, humans have been spared, mainly by the cheapness of the fossil fuels, from the universal necessity of local adaptation. It is ultimately an inescapable biological imperative that human land use economies should correspond as closely as possible to the ecological mosaic. To this, we no longer have even the illusion of a second choice. The increasing cost of energy and the vulnerability of long …

Slow Food Nation: Revolutionary diet

Slow foodies unveil declaration of sustainability

Copies of the Slow Food Declaration at San Francisco City Hall. Some of the leading voices in the movement for a sustainable agriculture system stood together Thursday to unveil the “Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture,” a 12-point set of principles for reorienting American food away from corporate farms and long-haul delivery to local producers and land stewardship. The luminaries, including movement bigwigs like Alice Waters, Dan Imhoff, and Marion Nestle, stood together inside San Francisco City Hall to read the declaration. The event was held on the eve of Slow Food Nation, a three-day gathering that promises to showcase …

Pelosi to nation: Dems support drilling too!

Speaker’s radio address aimed at blunting GOP message on energy

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took up the “drill more, drill now” refrain Saturday in the Democrats’ weekly radio address, offering up a list of policy proposals intended to show that Democrats do indeed care about high gas and energy prices. Here’s the YouTube version (text can be found here): Pelosi bashes the Bush administration for failing to deal with energy issues for the past eight years, and she offers up all the obligatory slams against Big Oil. It’s not just about drilling, she reminds listeners, outlining proposals to invest in mass transit, tighten mileage standards, and fund clean energy …

Gas squeeze

Investigative report details threat gas drilling poses to N.Y.’s freshwater resources

Investigative news startup ProPublica this week blew some fresh air into Albany, N.Y., with a report on state regulators’ and lawmakers’ headlong rush to open up more areas to natural-gas exploration. In partnership with WNYC, ProPublica called into question the state’s conclusion that freshwater sources in the state would not be contaminated by the expanded drilling. To the contrary, the news partners “found that this type of drilling has caused significant environmental harm in other states and could affect the watershed that supplies New York City’s drinking water.” At issue is a proposal to expand exploration of natural gas in …

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