Politics

Big balls, bigger wall

Chertoff lies, wildlife dies

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced yesterday that he's going to just waive the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Waste Disposal Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (among many others) in order to plough ahead with building a wall along the Arizona-Mexico border in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. He repeated his rationale that the wall could be good for the environment because migrants leave behind trash: But there are also environmental reasons to stop illegal crossings in the SPRNCA. Illegal entrants leave trash and high concentrations of human waste, which impact wildlife, vegetation and water quality in the habitat. Wildfires caused by campfires have significantly damaged the soil, vegetation, and cultural sites, not to mention threatened human safety. As anyone who's spent any time along the border (or, really, anywhere on the planet) can attest, this statement is a complete lie. A little pile of trash in the wilderness might be unsightly, but it has nowhere near the effect of a giant, honking, double layered concrete wall. (Which, um, is a little more unsightly, if that's the standard we're going by.) Since when is a wall a solution to trash anyway? I think usually, Mr. Chertoff, the way people clean up trash is by picking it up. What jaguars and bobcats and Sonoran pronghorn antelope and ocelots need is not a trash-free wilderness, but a wilderness that doesn't cut them off from the breeding populations on the other side of the border. Increased Bush administration border activity and the climate crisis have already reduced populations of the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope from 500 to below 25.

Energy storage, anyone?

Some good news for wind and solar

For those who have long been frustrated with the pace of progress in energy storage for electricity, we are happy to finally report a bit of good news. Two weeks ago, Jason moderated a panel at "Investing in Energy Storage Technologies," a conference in New York City sponsored by Financial Research Associates, LLC. Unlike most industry conferences on storage (meetings where we all sit around preaching to the already converted), bona-fide, real-life energy tech investors attended this one. Plus -- and here's where it gets exciting -- there were actually two presentations that together could very well signal the increase in interest and investment needed to commercialize energy storage technologies for our electricity grid.

Let's hear it for the boys ... and girls

Annual Brower Youth Awards recognize young greenies

Tonight, the annual Brower Youth Awards ceremony will recognize six youth who have made major environmental contributions in their communities and beyond. This year’s winners include: Jon Warnow, 23, of Burlington, Vt., who helped coordinate …

White House accused of watering down CDC testimony on climate change

The White House is being accused anew this week of improperly interfering with the dissemination of information on climate change. Critics allege that officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget significantly edited …

The latest in Congressional maneuvering

Dems try to advance climate and energy bills; Repubs work to block them

As usual, Darren Samuelsohn is the best source on the maneuvering inside Congress on climate and energy, and as usual, he’s trapped behind a pay wall, so as usual, I do my humble best to …

I read PDFs so you don't have to, part kazillion

A new sustainable development report from an international panel — only sexy and exciting!

The InterAcademy Council, a group representing 150 scientific academies around the world, has just issued a new report: "Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future." I know what you’re thinking: hot damn, a long-ass …

Protecting the Homeland

HSA waives environmental and social laws to keep the Mexicans out

Attentive readers of Grist’s news feed will know that yesterday Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff waived a few laws in order to get going on the 700-mile border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. A …

Chuck Norris fact

Chuck Norris does not endorse a presidential candidate. He refrains from killing one. More Chuck Norris facts.

Transitions

Soviet-induced water crises push Eastern European nations to consider solutions

The following is a guest essay from Eric Pallant, professor of environmental science at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and codirector of the NATO Advanced Study Institute on Integrated Water Resources Management. He is reporting from the National Disasters and Water Security conference in Yerevan, Armenia. ----- October 19, 2007 I have to hand it to NATO for dishing out money to sponsor Advanced Research Workshops on environmental security. And I must congratulate Armenia for organizing Natural Disasters and Water Security: Risk Assessment, Emergency Response, and Environmental Management. It shows recognition on the part of both parties that security involves more than advanced weaponry. Conference Director Dr. Trahel Vardanian, in a wide-wale pinstripe suit, does not speak English -- but he must have realized how valuable it would be to host this international meeting. Armenia is a country in transition. At street level, it seems as if half the city is torn asunder by cranes and bulldozers busily replacing the old Soviet cement-block architecture with sparkling new parks, scalloped stone boulevards, broad-windowed import shops, and new Armenian cement-block high-rises. I see 30-year-old Soviet Ladas and glossy new Nissans side-by-side. Young women in tight jeans and heels, gossiping in Armenian, skitter past old women in babushkas and heavy grey sweaters. Their grandmothers are still selling sunflower seeds on the sidewalk. Yerevan woman selling bread on the street. (Photo: Eric Pallant)

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