Right before my very eyes: Ethiopia

The vista of Ethiopia's ancient Rift Valley, speckled with shimmering lakes, stretches before me as our motorized caravan heads south from Lake Langano, part of a study tour on population-health-environment issues organized by the Packard Foundation. Sadly, the country's unrelenting poverty and insecurity are as breathtaking as the view -- Ethiopia currently ranks 170 out of 177 countries on the UN Development Programme's Human Development Index.

A note about sources

Where to find green news

Lately I’ve been feeling guilty about the fact that I frequently fail to cite where I find the links and articles I blog about. (Adding a "via so and so" or "hat tip: such and such" is good blog etiquette.) It’s not deliberate, it’s just that by the time I get around to blogging on an article that’s been sitting in my browser as an open tab, I often can’t remember what tipped me off to it. So let me just put in a generic plug for three aggregators I can’t live without: Energy Bulletin The daily Drum Beat posts …

April Fools joke?

With the Bush administration, you never can tell: The White House has renominated three people for top jobs affecting the environment who were previously blocked in Congress because of their pro-industry views. According to industry lobbyists and Republican aides in Congress, Bush intends to skirt the Senate approval process if necessary by making recess appointments to put the three nominees in the posts. All three have ties to industries that face costly Environmental Protection Agency restrictions, and all three have previously bypassed or questioned the EPA’s scientific process. They are William Wehrum, who would head the air office of the …

Party hopping

Global warming is a hot potato

Last week I reported on the wide and growing partisan divide in U.S. public opinion over global warming: self-identified Democrats are 39 percentage points more likely than their Republican counterparts to rate climate change a serious problem. But what puzzled me most was the 13-point drop in concern among Republicans since 1999. Call me naïve, but with all the scientific evidence that's been piling up on the issue -- accompanied by increasing media attention -- I guess I expected slow (though perhaps reluctant) increases in concern all across the political spectrum. Years of rising global temperatures, melting sea ice, and solidifying scientific consensus ought to have converted at least some honest skeptics, right? A big report released last week by Pew, charting two decades of American political values and core attitudes, provides some clues about what's going on. Typical Republicans, circa 1999, haven't necessarily found their belief in global warming shaken over the years. Instead, for whatever combination of reasons, people who believe in global warming are drifting away from the Party.

A great piece by Andrew Dobson on the politics of climate chaos

It’s the society, stupid

Andrew Dobson posted a thoughtful and useful piece in yesterday's issue of OpenDemocracy.org:

The 'best test'

Both sides hating a bill doesn’t mean the bill is good

There’s not much new in this story about Dingell — yeah, yeah, he’s going to move slowly and deliberately on climate change — but I really hate this way of framing things: Speaking with reporters, Dingell said that he expects the end result to elicit complaints from both environmentalists and industrialists. “I seriously doubt if anybody is going to be happy with what we do, and that may be the best test of whether we have written a good bill,” he said. The "best test," really? First of all, no. Memo to Dingell: it’s entirely possible that if both environmentalists …

The Bush administration: Bringing you third-party scientific reviews from online roleplaying pals

You have to read this to believe it

On Wednesday, the Inspector General’s office at the Department of Interior released a report showing that a Bush appointee who lacked any background in natural science had "bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change documents and alter biological reporting regarding the Endangered Species Program." She had been "heavily involved with editing, commenting on, and reshaping … scientific reports from the field." This all sounds familiar, of course. Shades of Philip Cooney. Shades of Steven Griles. Hack Bush appointees corrupting the scientific process for ideological ends. This is a particularly ham-handed …

Bill Clinton on energy -- five years ago

So correct it hurts

Via Hugg, here’s a remarkable video of Bill Clinton — on 9/11/02 — sharing a message on energy that’s so damn right it makes me want to cry:

Equal opportunity organic

Sustainable food meets social justice

Grassroots organic is alive and well, even in the concrete jungles of New Haven and Boston. Today I spent an hour and a half at a talk called "Food Policy: Addressing Social Justice in the Sustainable and Local Food Movements." The event's keynote speakers were two women who work for urban sustainable food initiatives. One of the organizations, CitySeed, is located in New Haven, Conn. At the talk, CitySeed's executive director, Jennifer McTiernan, spoke about how her organization works with Connecticut politicians to give low-income eaters access to fresh food and urban farmers' markets. The other organization, The Food Project, hails from Boston, and works to integrate urban youth into their network of small scale organic production. Their speaker was a woman named Rebecca Nemec, who works as a policy fellow for the Project.

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