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Hundreds arrested at anti-Keystone protest in front of White House

Keystone protest
XL Dissent

Nearly 400 anti-Keystone protestors were arrested on Sunday after zip-tying themselves to a fence in front of the White House. Activist group 350.org characterized the action as the "largest youth civil disobedience at the White House in a generation."

Those arrested were part of a larger student-led protest coordinated by XL Dissent. Organizers estimated that 1,200 people total participated in the march and rally that called on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Here are some photos and tweets from the scene:

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Tempeh-rature rising: Here’s a tasty spin on vegan chili

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: A New Kind of Vegan ChiliNew Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw gives us a recipe for vegan chili with a classic texture, minus the meat. 

tempeh_chili
Food52

Editor's note: Did you miss National Chili Day on Feb. 27? Have no fear. This vegan chili is delicious any day of the year. Plus, if you perfect this recipe now, you'll be a shoo-in at your local Environmentally Friendly Chili Cook Off 2014!

Whether you knew it or not, there’s a good chance you’ve had meatless chili before. Chilis made with beans (for example, black bean and sweet potato chili) are fairly ubiquitous, and most of us have crossed paths with them at some point or another. But tempeh chili? Well, that’s another story.

Unlike fellow soy product, tofu, tempeh remains a somewhat exotic ingredient in American kitchens. This is a shame, because tempeh is versatile, nutritious, and satisfying in ways that some other meat substitutes are not; it has a dense, chewy texture and a nutty taste. And when you grate it on a box grater, it takes on a texture that is not unlike ground beef. Could anything be more perfect for a pot of vegan chili?

Read more: Food, Living

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Low-lying islands are going to drown, so should we even bother trying to save their ecosystems?

a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean
Shutterstock

Islands are hot spots of biodiversity, often home to rich and unique ecosystems. Despite covering just 5 percent of the Earth's land, the planet's 180,000-odd islands contain a fifth of its plant and animal species. Around half of recorded extinctions have occurred on islands.

Unfortunately, many islands have been infested in recent centuries with ecosystem-wrecking rats and other invasive species. So scientists the world over have clamored to remove the destructive pests and protect the original inhabitants. More than 900 islands have been cleansed of rats and other animal invaders so far, often through the controversial use of poisoned baits.

But a new paper published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution asks an unsettling question: When it comes to low-lying islands that will eventually be swallowed by sea-level rise, why bother?

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Five dumb bills just passed by the House would screw the environment

U.S. Capitol
Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock

In an atmosphere of gridlock and partisan polarization, politicians in both parties produce legislative proposals while fully aware that they are wasting their time. Such was the case with the House of Representatives' latest flurry of activity this week.

To celebrate what they called "Stop Government Abuse Week," the Republican majority in the House passed a series of bills Thursday to muck up the regulatory process. Collectively, these bills would have an enormous negative impact on the EPA. Among all the other environmental regulations they would inhibit, they would prevent the forthcoming CO2 rules for power plants from being anywhere near as strong as they otherwise could and should be. Republicans don’t want to go on record voting to repeal the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, as that would be unpopular, so instead they would render the laws meaningless. Environmental groups such as Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council are horrified. Before the bills even passed, they signed a letter of protest in coalition with labor unions such as the AFL-CIO and consumer advocate groups like Public Citizen.

Here is a brief summary of what each of the bills would do to impede agencies from enforcing laws Congress has already passed:

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Celery’s an aphrodisiac — too bad no one told Steve Buscemi

Heirloom tomatoes: hot. Kale: hip. Brussels sprouts: dead sexy, especially with parmesan. But celery? Not so. In this characteristically bizarre yet amusing Portlandia sketch, a teaser for the new season, watch Steve Buscemi struggle to make celery the new “it” food -- OR LOSE EVERYTHING:

Celery, as Carrie Brownstein’s character points out, is kind of a hard sell. “It’s full of soluble AND insoluble fiber! You don’t understand -- that’s very hard on the digestive system,” she tells Buscemi. On the plus side, it’s also rich in vitamins K and A, which can help keep skin, eyes, and bones healthy.

Too bad Buscemi didn’t know that celery’s an aphrodisiac -- or at least the ancient Romans thought so. “It contains the pheromone androsterone, released by men’s sweat glands to attract females,” attests the U.K. Express. Adds food writer Amy Reiley:

Read more: Food, Living

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Organic eggs are so expensive because the chickens eat fancy imported food

organic eggs
Elle_Ann

There are lots of reasons to pony up a few extra dollars for organic eggs -- they have those rich, deep yellow yolks, for instance, and you get the satisfaction of knowing the chickens who laid them lived better lives than the chickens who laid the sad non-organic eggs. But man, they are spendy.

One reason, Dan Charles reports at NPR, that organic eggs are expensive is that the chickens eat fancy imported food. American farmers aren't growing enough organic feed to feed the chickens that produce organic eggs:

Most chickens eat feed made from ground-up corn and soybeans, but America's farmers are not growing enough organic corn and soybeans — especially soybeans — to feed the country's organic animals. ...

Read more: Food, Living

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Get an up-close, face-to-face view of a rescued pelican learning to fly

pelican copy
Screenshot

Bigbird the Pelican was a foundling. He swam in off Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika one day, alone and unable to fly, and he was adopted by a safari company, Greystoke Mahale, that makes its camp on the lake's banks.

And he grew up, and he learned how to fly, and his rescuers strapped a GoPro camera to his beak while he did it so you could get a bird’s-nose view of the whole thing. This video of Bigbird winging over the lake may essentially be a commercial for GoPro, but it's also pretty awesome. Look how big Bigbird's wings are!

Read more: Living

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Most big countries have climate laws

earth
Shutterstock

It's easy to get depressed about the lack of global progress in fighting climate change. But most large nations are at least taking some action.

GLOBE International, a London-based legislators' group, surveyed climate- and energy-related laws and policies in 66 big countries, which together produce 88 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. It found that that 62 of the countries have a flagship climate law or regulation, 61 have laws promoting clean energy, and 54 have energy-efficiency laws. In all, there are 487 climate change–related laws or policies in the 66 countries -- a sharp increase from decades past:

Click to embiggen.
GLOBE International
Click to embiggen.

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Slope & change: The ski industry struggles to get its act together on global warming

melted-snow-ski-snowboard-resort-cropped
Shutterstock

Good news for you snow lovers out there: The ski industry finally seems to be serious about fighting climate change. In the past, I've written that the biz has been slow to respond to the threat, which could decimate U.S. ski resorts by the end of the century. Industry leaders have been busy dealing with more immediate threats, like the decline in ticket sales that are so important for covering the ever-rising costs of snowmaking, grooming, and high-speed lifts. And besides, ski resorts haven't traditionally been pumped to stump for global warming -- the more warm weather makes headlines, the less inclined people are to visit increasingly slushy slopes.

But when I referred to the industry as global warming's "reluctant poster child" in a recent phone conversation with Geraldine Link, public policy director for the National Ski Areas Association, she replied, "I strenuously disagree."

Link pointed out that her group, which represents 325 ski resorts and almost 500 ski equipment suppliers, adopted an official climate change policy in 2002. The policy called on resorts to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, educate skiers and boarders about the issue, and advocate for climate action. "It was cutting edge for the time," Link said. The policy, plus the association’s Sustainable Slopes program and recently launched Climate Challenge, have led many resorts to reduce their energy use, buy renewable energy “offsets,” and install a handful of flashy slopeside wind turbines and solar panels.

In the context of global climate change, these local efforts are a bit like throwing snowballs at an oncoming train. (“That doesn't stop climate change -- it just stops environmentalists from criticizing you,” says longtime industry critic Auden Schendler, Aspen Ski Co.’s sustainability chief.) To have a real impact, the biz will need to throw its full financial weight around in Washington, D.C., where more substantive change can be had.

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Millions of dolphins could be hurt as oil industry blasts along East Coast

Atlantic spotted dolphin
Simon du Vintage

The Obama administration tentatively gave its environmental blessing to oil industry plans to look for new deposits in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast. Recommendations outlined Thursday in a long-awaited environmental report by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management came as music to the ears of drilling companies.

But the air guns that the industry plans to use in its hunt for underwater oil fields won't sound so sweet to the staggering numbers of dolphins and whales that could end up being maimed.

The oil industry wants to drill along the East Coast, but the last surveys of oil deposits in coastal Atlantic areas were conducted in the 1970s and 1980s using technology that's now obsolete. So now industry wants to survey with more modern techniques, which McClatchy news service describes this way: "The seismic tests involve vessels towing an array of air guns that blast compressed air underwater, sending intense sound waves to the bottom of the ocean. The booms are repeated every 10 seconds or so for days or weeks."

Thirty-four marine mammal species, which use sound to navigate, could be harmed by the seismic testing, and some of the animals could be killed. "By failing to consider relevant science, the Obama administration’s decision could be a death sentence for many marine mammals, needlessly turning the Atlantic Ocean into a blast zone," said Jacqueline Savitz with the nonprofit Oceana. "In its rush to finalize this proposal, the Obama administration is failing to consider the cumulative impacts that these repeated dynamite-like blasts will have on vital behaviors like mating, feeding, breathing, communicating and navigating."