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  • The Big Three are talking a good game, but reality does not match the rhetoric

    Judging by the media hype over Ford’s and General Motors’ early January announcements on “hybrid” vehicles at the North American International Auto Show, one would think that automakers have seen the light and are finally matching their professed concern for the environment with deeds. Hybrid cars deliver better fuel efficiency by using two power sources […]

  • Deregulation in California didn't help consumers, or the environment

    As blackouts roll through California, the New Hampshire Supreme Court cleared the way for electrical restructuring, while a Vermont utility assured legislators that what is happening out West can’t happen here. Why not? The powers that don’t have to be. As I hear people try to explain California’s electricity problem, I wonder whether anyone really […]

  • Reading tea leaves for the environment

    Every month I get a kind of Reader’s Digest for people interested in the future. It’s called Future Survey, issued by the World Future Society. Each month it contains about 50 extended summaries of recent publications about the paths — economic, environmental, social — we seem to be following. The November 2000 issue, for example, […]

  • A review of You Can't Eat GNP

    "The more money we spend, according to the GNP ... the better off we are," explains Eric Davidson in You Can't Eat GNP. The Gross National Product, or GNP in common parlance, is the cumulative value of products and services created and traded by a nation, and the traditional measure of economic well-being. Yet in the past decade or so, the flaws in this measuring system have become increasingly clear to a growing number of economists, social scientists, and other observers. As Davidson learned during his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, not only does the GNP fail to account for the state of a country's health-care, education, and welfare systems -- it also fails to recognize the overall and long-term costs, environmental and otherwise, of producing goods and services.

  • A look back at Al Gore's 1992 opus on the environment

    How many environmentalists have actually read Earth in the Balance? Very few, I'm willing to wager.

    The truth is that until recently, I myself felt qualified to pontificate on Al Gore's environmental beliefs and, yes, occasionally question whether he'd lived up to them, even though I hadn't read more than a few excerpts from the book. Well, that age of innocence is over.

  • One man taxes his way to a healthy relationship with the earth

    Dev Carey is a tall, handsome man with a Ph.D. in ecology. He can swing dance like a pro, identify every plant in the meadow outside his house, and talk nervous youths into rappelling off cliffs. He can do many things, but one thing he can’t do is separate himself from the morality of any […]

  • The Toyota Prius sounds great, but why is it so hard to get one?

    My 14-year-old car is on its last legs. I desperately need a replacement, and as an environmentalist, I want the cleanest and (especially with escalating gasoline prices) the most fuel-efficient vehicle available. Have you seen this car? Toyota has a new product that I regard as fitting the bill, a four-door, five-passenger, part electric, part […]

  • Consumers have the power to fight factory farms

    According to the rules of the World Trade Organization, governments cannot block the import of a product on the basis of how it is produced. So what if a rainforest has been cut down or a stream polluted or an animal tortured or workers paid pitiful wages? That’s the concern of the producing country, not […]

  • Industry is talking about climate change. Why aren't the presidential candidates?

    Like the nine-foot-deep blanket of ice at the top of the world, America’s denial of the climate crisis is melting. In hot water in the Antarctic. Photo: Michael Van Woert, NOAA. And like the North Pole, it is melting from the top down. Over the last year, in the wake of steady alarms from leaders […]