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Scott Dodd's Posts

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VIDEO: Is Gulf seafood safe to eat after oil spill?

New Orleans is world-famous for its seafood, but the Gulf Coast oil spill has left the future of the industry and those who rely on it for their livelihoods in jeopardy as fishing grounds close and diners fear for the safety of their meals. In this video, OnEarth magazine examines the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the New Orleans seafood scene and local culture.

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Unnatural Habitat

What do coyotes want in Manhattan? Real estate

Early Sunday morning, a campus security officer at Columbia University saw three unusual animals hanging out in front of Lewisohn Hall, one of the school's classroom buildings. The officer called NYPD, and according to a memo from the school's public safety chief, the responding officers spotted one of the animals before it slinked away. They recognized it as a coyote. A second sighting was also reported by school employees on Sunday, the memo said, although police couldn't confirm that one. I'm a graduate of Columbia's journalism school (just two buildings south of Lewisohn Hall) and an adjunct professor there, so …

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Buffalo or bison: What's in a name?

Hillary Rosner's recent OnEarth story about a quarantined bison herd that needs a good home has stirred up quite a debate on the Facebook page of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Interestingly, the debate has nothing to do with relocating the wild bison to Ted Turner's private Montana ranch, which is the tension at the heart of Hillary's story. Instead, it's about what we should call these majestic animals. Are they bison, buffalo or both? I'm a word nerd, so I decided to look into it. From a scientific standpoint, the question is an easy one. Their scientific name is …

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Green Acres

How smart is your city?

Last week, Time magazine asked, "Why Are Southerners So Fat?" There's no simple answer, of course. Poverty, culture and climate all play a role in the South's high obesity rates. But one factor that's increasingly blamed by everyone from medical journals to the CDC is how Southern cities are built. "The South doesn't have many bus stops," Time writes. "Public transportation is paltry, and for most people, the best way to get around is by car. ... States like Mississippi and Tennessee also have a surprising lack of sidewalks, discouraging even the most eager pedestrians. Many roads are narrower than …

Read more: Cities

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Hawkarazzi

Urban hawks take flight on New York’s Upper West Side

Photo: Ralph HockensReason No. 137 that I love commuting by bike in New York City: I get to watch baby hawks go to flight school. Last year, I was fascinated and then heartbroken by a pair of red-tail hawks that built a precarious-looking nest over the West Side Highway, produced a trio of hatchlings, then lost their offspring before they got a chance to take flight, apparently to rat poison. So I was happy -- but concerned -- this year when the hawks returned to Riverside Park and took up in a new tree, this time just off the West …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Putting the economy in the green

New studies tout the economic benefits of green jobs

Investments in clean energy -- such as those encouraged by the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- would produce several times as many jobs as the same amount of money spent on traditional fossil fuels, according to new studies released Thursday by a coalition of environmental groups and research institutes. Lower-income Americans in particular would benefit, according to a report from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which was commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Green for All. Upgrading the U.S. economy to rely less on fossil fuels would create a surge …

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Good Fish, Bad Fish

Is your favorite seafood unhealthy for the planet?

When I was growing up, my family lived in New Orleans for several years, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. One of my father's friends had a boat, and he liked to take it out shrimping. My dad and I would often join him and his son. I loved those early morning boat trips (except for the time that I got very seasick -- probably my fault for snacking on Fritos -- and the trip that I'm about to tell you about). The lake was so big that you could barely see the shoreline. On one occasion, our nets …

Read more: Food, Living