The USDA released a set of 2007 farm bill recommendations last week, and it's kinda ugly. Every five years, the bill is reauthorized, and it's important that greens pay attention. Aside from the glaring question of why the U.S. subsidizes its food chain with $20 billion a year that largely determines which crops are grown, the news is that it proposes (PDF) to eliminate the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) by rolling them into larger programs that will likely suck the funds up without effecting good policy. These programs are key farm bill conservation programs that provide farmers and ranchers money to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Farms and wildlife can and must coexist. Oodles of proof now on display courtesy of superb grassroots group Wild Farm Alliance.
The Feb. 8 Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that a judge has again chastised the Bush administration for violating federal law when it overturned the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. And she has issued an order protecting 52 million acres of federal roadless forest lands nationwide from roads or surface disturbance related to energy development.
Though it's likely that feds and states will continue to litigate this good idea to death (why?), I'm going to celebrate by tucking into this great new volume of essays on the topic from intrepid roadless defenders Wildlands CPR just received at my office: A Road Runs Through It. "Road-ripping," writes Annie Proulx in her foreword, "is a meaningful ritual that seeks to reestablish the correct order of the world." Amen.
Please be advised that nuclear power is neither a renewable nor a clean source of energy. For that matter, oil, coal, and natural gas are also not renewable or clean sources of energy.
Thusly does a letter from 100 groups and businesses admonish Mr. Bush for his cute "renewable" claim in the SOTU. That Bush is angling at subsidizing nuclear power under the banner of being green, though, is highly disturbing.
So the 7th annual World Social Forum just wrapped up in Kenya, and the news is that the U.S. will finally get around to having its own version of this event in late June. It's a huge opportunity for the whole spectrum of grassroots movements for progress in the U.S. (social justice, environment, immigration, indigenous rights, etc.) to come together and make common cause.
Though past social forums have been criticized for their lack of concrete results, we shouldn't ignore this opportunity to strategize about creating a coherent movement for progress that's not splintered into so many separate camps. Hope to meet you there ...