Politics

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)

Citizens Lead for Energy Action Now

CLEAN calls for action on energy policy

Well, they dropped a bundle to get a quarter-page "Clean Power" ad in the Washington Post (page A21 today) so the least I can do is give them a shout out here. CLEAN is a "clean power and coalfield state grassroots organization" circulating a comprehensive national "call to action" on energy policy that includes:

Woo-hoo, caribou!

How chainsaw toting underwear models helped save America’s most endangered large mammal

The world's 1,700 mountain caribou can chomp their lichens in peace -- Forest Ethics and a coalition of Canadian environmental groups announced an agreement with the British Columbia government to protect more than 5 million acres of their home habitat in British Columbia's forests. The victory came after a five-year campaign targeting corporations and the regional government that either logged mountain caribou habitat or used paper from the mountainous, old growth forests favored by the caribou, which are not only the southernmost population of caribou but also the only remaining caribou population in the world in mountainous terrain. This isn't just good news for the mountain caribou and the forests, but also predators like mountain lions and wolves who eat the caribou -- the B.C. government had been focused on shooting those animals as a way to protect the caribou; now, they're going to seriously curtail these culls. The campaign had won a major boost when Limited Brands, which publishes the Victoria's Secret catalog, announced it would no longer buy paper derived from mountain caribou forests. The victory came after environmental activists dressed as Victoria's Secret angels showed up outside stores with chainsaws in hand denouncing "Victoria's Dirty Secret" -- that the company was driving the destruction of pristine forests around the world.

Election news

Second Repub. candidate backs cap-and-trade

Somehow last week I missed Huckabee becoming the second Republican presidential candidate to support a mandatory carbon cap-and-trade system: “It goes to the moral issue,” the former Arkansas governor said at a climate-change conference [Sat. …

Our twisted Farm bill

An audio story about ag subsidies

This little radio story, from NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, tells the story of a sprawling ranch in Texas. It was the single largest recipient of federal farm subsidies between 1999 and 2005 -- receiving some $8.3 million, not for cattle, but for cotton. Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group says this: It's the exact opposite of what most taxpayers have in mind when they think of how their farm subsidy money is supporting agriculture. The farm is so big and so profitable, apparently, that it only applies for subsidies because "other cotton growers do," and because "the federal subsidy program provides the framework for the whole cotton growing industry." Ironically, while King Ranch is virtually forced to accept Washington's cotton money, it can't get any federal support for the conservation acreage that is now its most rapidly growing sector. It's too big, says the Farm bill, to qualify for that type of funding.

Leaders and light bulbs

How can we get people voting green?

OK, can we agree? Tom Friedman should never write about anything else but green. As daft as he is on some other subjects, every time he writes about green he hits all the right notes. …