Articles by Francis Stokes
Locals living in New York City's West Side lobbied to save an abandoned rail line that once ran two stories above the street; now its 22 blocks of rust and decay are being turned into the nation's first elevated city park. The Friends of the High Line formed seven years ago when two Manhattanites, Joshua David and Robert Hammond, developed a sentimental attachment to the old railway. The promise of the elevated park has given the neighborhood a new real-estate nickname -- the High Line -- and raised the value of an eight-by-ten studio apartment from "absurdly overpriced" to "laughably criminal."
A family drama is unfolding in an eagle's nest near Washington D.C.'s Woodrow Wilson Bridge. A male bald eagle, nicknamed "George," has been left alone in the care of a nest of near-hatchlings. His mate, nicknamed "Martha," is recovering at a wildlife rehabilitation center after she was attacked by another female bald eagle (who was apparently not given a nickname, so I'll call her "J. Lo").
A popular weapon in the anti-pest arsenal is biological control -- i.e., the introduction of a natural enemy. It's considered a nice environmental alternative to pesticides.
But it can still disrupt the local ecosystem and have serious consequences, like this example from a NY Times article: The knapweed is widespread in the West. The gall fly was introduced to control it. The deer mouse likes gall fly larvae, and now the mouse population is exploding. The droppings of deer mice can cause hantavirus, an infection that can be fatal to humans. Whoops!
An article in the LA Times today reveals how the U.S. EPA has been completely emasculated in recent years. It focuses on TCE, an industrial chemical found in the nation's water supply. After four years of study, the EPA concluded that TCE was as much as forty times more likely to cause cancer as previously believed. That was in 2001.
Concerned about a potential $1.5 billion in cleanup cost, the Pentagon handled things their way: they launched a pre-emptive strike against the EPA, wielding political power and deploying bureaucratic red tape in a campaign of Shock and Audit: