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.

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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