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Sarah Laskow's Posts

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Tea Party: Don't build public transit, because the terrorists might attack it

Apparently public transit is now helping the terrorists win. That's according to a Tea Party group in Georgia, at least. The group wants to 86 a light rail project because "when they [THE TERRORISTS!!] blow up a rail, that just brings the system to a grinding halt." So we should not build rail in the first place, because in the event of terrorism it would cease to work. Makes sense! To be fair, the dude who said that also seemed to be ok with a bus system, because in his words "if the terrorist blow up a single bus, we …

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You want a war on cars? Fine, here's your war on cars

The Stranger, Seattle's alt-weekly, has had it with the nasty attacks from car-loving, carbon-spewing, anti-bike crazies. The city's bike advocates have been accused of waging a "war on cars," and after too many hours trying to defend itself, the Stranger got angry: For cars we have paved our forests, spanned our lakes, and burrowed under our cities. Yet drivers throw tantrums at the painting of a mere bicycle lane on the street. ... No more! We demand that car drivers pay their own way, bearing the full cost of the automobile-petroleum-industrial complex that has depleted our environment, strangled our cities, …

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Critical List: Climate change kills jobs; making a bridge out of live trees

Climate change kills jobs: A new study says California's economy could take a hit in the hundreds of millions of dollars as climate change takes it toll. So really, any program that fights climate change should be considered a job-saving program. Job creation may be a different story. Loan guarantees for green energy projects aren't creating as many jobs as the Obama administration promised. Green groups in Texas are growing, which means staffing up. (Now green is good for jobs again!) How to understand climate change? Ask the robots. This bridge in India is made of living roots and branches, …

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Indigenous Alaskans have no doubt the climate is changing

The U.S. Geological Survey had a novel idea about how to better understand climate change and its impacts: ask the people most likely to be experiencing it. These researchers asked a group of people from Alaska's indigenous communities what their observations of climate change had been. Their basic response: Everything's all messed up. More specifically, they noticed more variability in temperatures … "Those old people noticed it first. … They used to tell me, 'What’s going on with this weather?' They noticed, sometimes it’s too hot, sometimes it’s too cold." … changes in weather patterns … “[August is the] month …

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Critical List: Congress holds Solyndra hearing; Bill Gates pushes for more clean energy funding

Lawmakers want to talk about Solyndra, its federal funding, and its bankruptcy. Solyndra execs realized that if they don't come to Washington, they don't have to talk about any of that. For good measure they may build a pillow fort to hide in. Congress is still going to talk about it, of course. And probably use some strongly worded language. A day before this hearing, Bill Gates and a bunch of other rich guys urged Congress to invest more in clean energy. #badtiming More than 250 of the world’s largest companies say they “put climate change central to their business.” …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Google gets carbon offsets from hog poo

In its recent report on the company's carbon footprint, Google said that it offsets its emissions with high-quality offsets. We are happy as a pig in shit about that. Which is appropriate, because here's one example of what that means: energy powered by pig poop. The company has invested in a North Carolina project which collects the methane from the waste of 9,000 hogs. A power plant burns the methane to create power for 35 homes a year. This isn't an energy solution that will power the entire country (too many hogs required), but it does keep the methane, a …

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Return of the Monster Tar Balls!!

The scariest horror movies end with a hint that the killer or monster, though defeated, isn't dead and will rise again. With tropical storms sweeping through the Gulf, coastal residents are finding that zombie residues of the BP oil spill are coming out of their lairs to re-terrorize beach-goers, boaters, and the fishing industry. Tides hustled up by tropical storms are bringing oily residues, tar mats, and tar balls onto the beach. It's as bad as it sounds. Check out these pictures that NRDC collected — if you want to brave the sight of oozy, giant, black tar creatures. NRDC …

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Critical List: Coal companies lavish cash on Boehner; how to stick it to hungry deer

Boehner's got his hands all sooty with coal money. Uh, guys? Maybe we should check up on the safety of  nuclear plants? Kthx. XOXO, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. California chose solar PV projects over solar thermal projects because the latter use more water. If Cuba’s new drilling project is possibly going to spill oil into the Gulf of Mexico, just by existing, can't we just get permission to go on vacation there and call it sorta kinda even? The Fish and Wildlife Service is protecting parts of the Florida Everglades' headwaters by buying away development rights from landowners. Stick it …

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Republicans risk $1 billion in revenue to squash a trickle of funding for biking and walking

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is threatening to hold up the passage of the transportation bill over a tiny portion of its funding, which (of course!) happens to be the portion dedicated to forms of transportation other than cars and highways. Streetsblog explains what's at stake here: Sen. Coburn, and possibly other members of Congress, are declaring their willingness to throw the entire transportation industry, as well as commuters, under the bus while they quibble about the pennies spent on bike paths. According to the White House, if the bill is delayed just 10 days, the country would lose over $1 …

Read more: Politics

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Kiss your snorkeling trip goodbye: We're wiping out coral

Environmentalists are always looking for allies who can blast away treehugger stereotypes. They should consider reaching out to the community of anyone who's ever gone snorkeling in a coral reef. (You remember that part of your Cancun vacation, don't you? It happened sometime between the margaritas and the … margaritas.) According to a new book called Our Dying Planet, humanity is on track to wipe out all coral reefs. No more bright, awesome fish and crazy plants. Ever. The book, written by Peter Sale, a former professor at the University of Sydney who’s now at the United Nations University, says …

Read more: Animals