Politics

Something for everyone in the nuclear debate

A good argument

Via Brad Plumer, this might be the most honest, good-faith argument about nuclear power I've read in the last, oh, year or so. You can read Max Schulz's pro-nuclear argument here, and then read the anti-nuclear side by Bruce Smith and Arjun Makhijani. No surprise, I come down on the anti-nuclear side myself, but at least Schulz doesn't simply ignore or refuse to acknowledge the real risks of nuclear power (waste, proliferation, costs). And in his reply at the bottom of Smith and Makhijani's piece, he makes a reasonable argument that Smith and Makhijani are soft-pedaling the costs associated with wind's intermittency.

Grassroots good

Paul Hawken on the remaking of the world

Paul Hawken's new book Blessed Unrest is a much-needed analysis of the movement that's poised to change the world as we know it. It's a must read, (excerpted here in Orion magazine) even if you're not a self-described grassroots activist. In it, he states that "the movement to restore people and planet is now composed of over one million organizations" working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. Maybe two million. And that: By conventional definition, this is not a movement. Movements have leaders and ideologies. You join movements, study tracts, and identify yourself with a group. You read the biography of the founder(s) or listen to them perorate on tape or in person. Movements have followers, but this movement doesn't work that way. It is dispersed, inchoate, and fiercely independent. There is no manifesto or doctrine, no authority to check with. Like we witnessed with the success of Step It Up 2007, the movement can't be divided because it is composed of many small pieces, forming, gathering, and disbanding quickly as need be. The media and politicians may dismiss it as powerless, but "it has been known to bring down governments, companies, and leaders through witnessing, informing, and massing." This is one of his main conclusions:

Immediate worries, roadblocks, and model campaigns: Plan of action

What to do now

((brightlines_include)) How climate change is handled in few key areas within the year -- particularly congressional action in 2008 and 2009 and the 2008 presidential election -- will likely set the terms of the U.S. political debate, which for all practical purposes, within the constraints of Hansen's standard and timeframe for action, will determine the outcome. Therefore, a Bright Lines plan of action must accomplish three things: polarize debate in Congress and the presidential election; strengthen the narrative now being advanced by climate scientists; and, build a climate action core and financial base. Six campaigns and programs are outlined for the critical 14 month period from April 2007- May 2008. 1. Climate Civil Defense Preparedness. The story told by congressional action in 2007-2009 will be that climate change must and can be addressed by vigorous action to cap carbon emissions and win U.S. energy independence, tempered by the necessity of not over-burdening the U.S. auto (Rep. Dingell), oil (Sen. Bingaman), and coal (Sen. Byrd) industries. There is little room to challenge this narrative, but it may be possible to add to it.

The sweet smell of an organic coffee victory

It’s safe, for now

Organic coffee is safe, for now. In a victory for organic farmers in the developing world and organic coffee drinkers here, the USDA's National Organic Program has backed down and said that there will be no immediate change in the way these farmers are certified.

Hey, Seattleites: Chat about climate with Jay Inslee and friends

Catch a climate symposium at Town Hall on May 9

Rep. Jay Inslee, Democrat from Washington’s 1st congressional district and a clean-energy champion, will be discussing climate change with other local eco-experts (and with the audience) at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 9. Additional smart folks at the Symposium on Climate Policy, presented by the Thomas C. Wales Foundation, will include Denis Hayes, national coordinator of the first Earth Day and president of the Bullitt Foundation; K.C. Golden of Climate Solutions; Ben Packard of Starbucks; Eric Markell of Puget Sound Energy; and Steve Nicholas of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment. Ross Reynolds of KUOW will moderate. Tickets are $15 …

Food Chain Radio: great edible audio

I'd like to recommend Food Chain Radio to all you people who like to eat. This podcast/broadcast is freely available and fascinating, delving into the implications of our appetites: everything from factory farming and CAFOs to irradiation and poisoned pet food. The most interesting recent show available at the link above is called Grandma's Wartime Kitchen, which discusses a time of rationing when oddities like knuckle of pork and stuffed beef heart became culinary treats by necessity (WWII), and asks, "What will we eat if times get tough again?" More vegetables, hopefully, but it's an interesting topic as we contemplate the possibly big planetary changes ahead.