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Todd Hymas Samkara's Posts

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Leave no trace. Seriously, don't.

Mountaineering teams organize to clean up the world’s highest mountain peaks

A few months ago, gutsy French test pilot Didier Delsalle landed a helicopter on top of Mount Everest in 75 mph hour winds -- no, not crashed -- quite obviously the highest landing place on earth. He was the first to successfully summit Everest by copter. And just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, he did it twice. The previous highest helicopter landing was some 9,035 feet lower, at about 20,000 feet, the record set in 1996 by Nepalese pilot Madan Khatri Chhetri while rescuing climbers. And that's one of the great things about this: the tangible -- though …

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Green acres, and acres, and acres ...

Massive planned Vegas complex claims to be sustainable

If you're going to build a gigantically humongous casino/hotel/condo/shopping center megaplex in the middle of Las Vegas, you may as well do it green ... or as green as a project of this size could be in the middle of the desert during a drought. Brought to you by MGM Mirage, the 18-million-square-foot, $5 billion project will reportedly seek an unspecified level of LEED certification and, The Globe and Mail reports, will be bigger than Times Square, Soho, and Rockefeller Center -- combined. MGM's claims of "sustainability" are likely more hype than reality, at least in the classic sense of …

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The Old Apollo Project

Bush hopes to send Americans to the moon … again

So, many enviros are familiar with The New Apollo Project, based on Prez Kennedy's original Apollo moon missions but instead aiming to harness that good ol' 'Merican ingenuity and know-how to jumpstart a massive clean-energy program in the U.S. while simultaneously creating a whole slew of new jobs. Good idea? Sure it is. But like most good ideas in the U.S., it's going exactly nowhere in the halls of government. But now, sensing the public's urgent, even palpable need for space travel (oh, it's there!), the ever with-it Bush admin has a plan that takes the new Apollo Project in …

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Could Katrina kill the SUV?

Despite falling sales figures, it’s not bloody likely

... asked the title of an Agence France-Presse story in TerraDaily on Sunday. Uh, not bloody likely. The story cited falling SUV sales figures for August, combined with the even higher-than-usual gas-price spikes wrought by the hurricane's effect on refining capacity, and concluded, via an economist or two, "Potentially, Katrina could signal the death knell of the SUV in as much as consumers are going to find themselves once burned, twice shy to buy such vehicles."   But that's assuming a lot, not the least of which is that consumers make their vehicle-buying -- and especially SUV-buying -- decisions based …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Wasted!

Dead radioactive birds piling up at British nuclear plant

One more reason to oppose nuclear: the radioactive birds.   Make that the dead, frozen, expanding pile of radioactive birds. At a nuclear plant in Britain, concerned about birds potentially spreading radiation from the site, managers hired snipers -- yes, snipers -- to assassinate birds that land in the area, mostly pigeons and seagulls. Which they've been doing for a while now. Well, problem solved then, right? Not exactly. Now, instead of live radioactive birds that could fly away and contaminate things, there are dead radioactive birds, deemed low-level radioactive waste, that aren't going anywhere. Hundreds of them, actually, the …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Nudity. Cycling. What's not to like?

Heck, I’d cycle nude even if it wasn’t for a good cause

Speaking of naked protests: This weekend, hundreds of cyclists across the world rode in what is by far my favorite protest -- the World Naked Bike Ride. Riding against oil dependence, for cyclists' rights, or just to feel the breeze on all their parts while surrounded by a bunch of naked friends and/or strangers, protestors bared all in some 50 cities in 17 countries, including London, Chicago, Seattle, and Madrid. And what could be better? Naked cycling protests combine the energy and exhilaration of three already pretty exhilarating activities: public nudity, protesting in the streets, and cycling. Seriously, if you've …

Read more: Cities, Living

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Stats on how far we’ve come (or haven’t) since the first Earth Day

3.7 billion -- world population in 19701 6.4 billion -- world population in 20051 1,535 billion -- kilowatt-hours of electricity used in the U.S. in 19702 3,837 billion -- kilowatt-hours of electricity expected to be used in the U.S. in 20053 6.0 -- percentage of electricity in U.S. consumed in 1970 produced from renewable sources4 6.7 -- percentage of electricity in U.S. expected to be consumed in 2005 produced from renewable sources3 14.7 million -- barrels of petroleum consumed per day in the U.S. in 19705 20.9 million -- barrels of petroleum expected to be consumed per day in the …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

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Free the radicals

Dave's recent essay falsely equates being "radical" with being "violent." Violence and radicalism are not the same. Being a "radical" just means you want to see significant, fundamental changes to society -- say, a real, true shift to sustainability or an economy that actually values people and the environment over monetary profit. These are changes, I am willing to bet, that a large number of environmentalists would love to see. They are also radical. They would require a fundamental change to society. But does that shift have to include violence? Absolutely not.I agree with Dave that "environmentalism is ultimately a …

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