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Articles by Hal Clifford

Hal Clifford is the author of Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment. He lives and works in Telluride, Colo.

Featured Article

Quick — what’s the third-largest city in Alaska?

For all intents and purposes, during the summer, it is the 45,000 people found on the dozens of cruise ships that ply that state’s southeastern coastal waters. And the effects of that “city” on the natural environment are indeed urban, in the worst imaginable ways.

Cruise Ship Blues By Ross A. Klein New Society, 200 pages, 2002

The average cruise passenger produces 10 gallons of concentrated sewage every day. Before I began to read Cruise Ship Blues: The Underside of the Cruise Industry, Ross Klein’s diatribe against pleasure cruises, I had never thought much about what happens to sewage on cruise ships. Few people have — even among environmentalists. That fact in itself underscores how this burgeoning industry has managed to navigate largely beneath the environmental radar screen.

To the extent that I’d thought about sewage on ships at all, I had always assumed that it was kept on board until it could be transferred to some sort of land-based treatment system. If only. The reality, as Klein explains, is that sewage is simply dum... Read more

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  • Is biodiesel the fuel of the future?

    The Granola Ayatollah of Canola, aka Charris Ford, slides behind the wheel of his 1980 International Scout truck and turns the key. The truck burbles to life and off we go, cruising down the gravel roads that divide the aspen groves of southwestern Colorado’s Horsefly Mesa. It would be just a standard evening joyride, except […]

  • Aspen, Colo., taxes its way to a healthier climate

    Randy Udall charges more for a ton of carbon dioxide than anybody else in the world. Udall runs a unique, two-and-a-half-year-old program in Aspen and surrounding Pitkin County, Colo., that charges new homeowners up to $100,000 if they exceed the “energy budget” allotted to their property by the local building code. The money collected under […]

  • A review of Cradle to Cradle

    The idea that growth can be good is anathema to most environmentalists. Yet that's exactly the argument made by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in Cradle to Cradle. Take a look at nature, the pair says, and you'll see that growth is not only good, but necessary -- that nature's very abundance is what environmentalists (and the rest of us) depend on and celebrate. The key is the right kind of growth -- and the key to that is better design.

  • Coal bed methane extraction threatens Wyoming’s Red Desert

    OREGON BUTTES, Wyo. Tom Bell remembers how plush the carpet was in Interior Secretary Stewart Udall’s Washington, D.C., office. Bell spent time on his hands and knees there during the 1960s, poring over a large map while making the case for preserving Wyoming’s Red Desert as a national pronghorn antelope refuge. The Pinnacles in the […]