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Stuff I missed

There are a gazillion things I missed over vacation, or meant to post about before vacation, that I'll never have time to return to. Thus: a link post! I missed the MoveOn town hall on climate and energy. You can watch the candidate presentations here. Bill Scher has a pretty good rundown of who said what, here. Our guide to the candidates on these issues is here. FYI, MoveOn members voted John Edwards the winner. I doubt I'll have a chance to read Chris Mooney's new book Storm World any time soon (and -- sssshhh -- I must confess that …

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Leo, I’ve Got a Feeling We’re Not in Hollywood Anymore

DiCaprio-produced series will rebuild tornado-ravaged Kansas town It's official: Nine months after the rumors began, Leonardo DiCaprio has confirmed that he and a partner will give birth to ... a reality series on green building. DiCaprio will executive produce the 13-part Eco-Town on the Discovery Channel's Planet Green arm, launching in 2008. The original notion was to upgrade Anywhere, USA, for a show called E-topia, but the new series will focus on rebuilding a Kansas town that was hit by a tornado in May. The tornado caused 10 deaths, displaced almost all of the town's roughly 1,500 residents, and leveled …

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No Rush Hour

New York hems and haws over Manhattan congestion fees Today is a make-or-break, do-or-die, fish-or-cut-bait, poo-or-get-off-the-pot, we-wish-we-could-think-of-more-hyphenated-clichés day for New York, as state legislators, Governor Eliot Spitzer, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrestle over Bloomberg's proposal to enact traffic congestion fees. Following the lead of cities like London and Singapore, the Big Apple would charge a fee for vehicles entering or exiting Manhattan below 86th Street at peak hours. Supporters say the plan will reduce air pollution and associated health problems while boosting public transportation; opponents fear it will increase parking and pollution in the outer boroughs. While …

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How legislators can help the rural

In a recent trip through the small town of Walthill, Nebraska, the phrase "rural revitalization" took on a whole new meaning. In this case, it was the lack of any kind of prosperity that made it obvious to me why rural communities are in need of revitalization. Main Street looked painfully deserted, with two recent arsons adding fresh scars to the once-active storefronts. As we drove around the residential area, most houses looked to be in some state of disrepair -- so much so that it was difficult to really tell which were homes and which had already been abandoned. …

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The connection between congestion pricing and carbon taxes

I wrote this piece linking NYC Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal with a carbon tax, in June. I shopped it around but none of the big papers took it. Now, NY Times columnist Tom Friedman -- perhaps the second-most visible supporter of carbon taxes (after Al Gore) -- has written a column backing the Bloomberg pricing plan. "Crunch time" for the plan may come as early as the next day or two. So it's time the piece saw the light of day. Every so often there arises an environmental controversy that tests the capacity of Americans to face reality. One …

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A smorgasbord of campaigns in various states

There's something energizing about midsummer. If it's not the camping trips, or the afternoon concerts in the park, it must be the flurry of property rights campaigns gearing up for the fall election. Here's the latest: In Oregon, the "Yes on 49" campaign kicked off yesterday. (Measure 49 is the state legislature's referendum that will trim back some portions of Measure 37.) I can't find a website for the "No on 49" campaign, so no link today. But if you want the low-down on Oregon's property rights politics, check out landusewatch, where Peter Bray dishes the dirt with a keen …

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All 21 of them, from Worldchanging

A while back, Worldchanging did a great series of posts on the core principles of a bright green future. I kept meaning to link to it. Now I finally am! Here they are: Principle 1: The Backstory Principle 2: Ecological Footprints and One Planet Thinking Principle 3: Cradle to Cradle and Closing the Loop Principle 4: Life Cycle Analysis, Embodied Energy and Virtual Water Principle 5: Ecosystem Services and Ecological Economics Principle 6: Transparency Principle 7: Strategic Consumption Principle 8: Leapfrogging Principle 9: Social Entrepreneurship/Base Of the Pyramid Principle 10: Collaborative Innovation and Creative Commons Principle 11: Socially Responsible Investment, …

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Trees should play a bigger role

After reading the recent posts by Romm, Stein, and Roberts, I have concluded that carbon offsets are a pretty good idea if properly implemented. Once government regulations have been established (and enforced), consumers should be able to buy with greater confidence. As it stands today, you are taking a small risk that your purchase may not actually result in CO2 reductions. So, if you are going to buy them, do your homework first. I also don't see why an individual should do everything reasonably possible to offset carbon emissions that are under their direct control before buying offsets from a …

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A perspective from Eric Mann

A Latina woman addresses the board of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). She is part of a crowd of 1,500 people opposing the agency's proposed bus-fare increases. She holds her 3-year-old child up to the board and says, "What would you like me to do? Take the clothes off his back or the food out of his mouth?" L.A., with 10 million people and 7 million cars on the road, is the freeway capital of the U.S. For more than 14 years, the MTA on one side and the Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union (BRU) on the …

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Quick, do nothing!

In April, Grist profiled Tracey Smith in our InterActivist column. She answered questions from Grist editors and from readers during National Downshifting Week in Britain. She just sent me a note to let me know that this very week is National Downshifting Week USA. Quick! Do nothing!

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