Two items I’ve been tracking while away for a blissful two weeks of vacation here on the Atlantic shore, one hopeful, one awful:

Hopeful: Ecuador is poised to grant rights to nature and ecosystems in a referendum this month. The idea originated in the U.S. — in Pennsylvania — as some small towns fought odious land uses like hog farms. Some language from the proposal is here. Rest assured that oil companies busily fouling Ecuadoran forests are not in favor.

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Awful: Both the Russians and Georgians have admitted to using cluster bombs in South Ossetia. This is a disaster for the people (80 percent of cluster bomb casualties are civilians) and the place (war is usually hard on an ecosystem, no?). Add to that the probable long-term effect of decreased regional food security: unexploded bomblets often keep farm fields off-limits for long periods. Check the Survivor Corps site for more on this ugly fact from the conflict in Georgia.

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