Friday, May 06, 2005


My dear friend Susan forwarded me an invitation to visit the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) Action Fund blog. The blog features "guest bloggers"-- currently, environmental litigator Mitchell Bernard is the man behind the posts. Good stuff! Here's an excerpt from his latest post on "Biostitutes":
A scientist friend of mine taught me a new word: biostitute. A biostitute is a cross between a biologist and a prostitute. Biostitutes are all over the place, and they're dangerous to the environment and human health.
Check it out at I'm adding it to the holy blogroll.

they're doing it again.

More potential bad news from DC that will no doubt have impact on the Southern Appalachian region, particularly with regard to coal mining and other sorts of "energy exploration" -- the energy bill passed by the House last month contained a few new provisions tacked on by California Rep. Richard Pombo (R) that would allow energy companies to get around NEPA (1969 National Environmental Policy Act) requirements "in a number of situations." Why? Gotta speed things up, gotta lessen dependence on foreign oil, ya know?

Keep an eye on this one as it goes to the Senate, where it will hopefully die yet again (this is the fifth time that GOP leadership has tried to get Congressional approval for this bloated p.o.s.). However, persistence certainly paid off in the case of the repeal of the Roadless Rule . . .

Grist Magazine has the full article up on their website.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

More on the fate of the "Roadless Rule"

Heritage Forests Campaign has more information on Bush's "No Tree Left Behind" Act at

Tennessee has, um, i mean HAD, 85,000 acress of roadless land in its national forests. This, of course, is only a fraction of Alaska's 14,779,000, Idaho's 9,322,000, Montana's 6,397,000 . . . you get the picture.

Nevertheless, this promises to have a big impact on the Southern Appalachians, according to the Heritage Forests Campaign:
The national forests of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennesee and Virginia are already criss-crossed by more than 12,000 miles of roads and contain 728,487 acres of roadless areas. If the Roadless Area Conservation Rule is reversed by the Bush administration, 553,000 acres or 76 percent of those areas would be placed into management designations that allow road building and/or logging currently not allowed by the rule.


from yahoo news:

"New Rule Opens National Forest to Roads"

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, in one of its biggest decisions on environmental issues, moved Thursday to open up nearly a third of all remote national forest lands to road building, logging and other commercial ventures.

The 58.5 million acres involved, mainly in Alaska and in western states, had been put off limits to development by former President Clinton, eight days before he left office in January 2001.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Glow-in-the-dark pearl necklace?

If you enjoy sucking down the salty goodness of oysters, you may want to make sure they weren't harvested in St. Louis Bay, Mississippi-- unless you're the sort of individual who also enjoys sucking down toxic cocktails composed of dioxin, arsenic, and chromium.

Personally, I prefer beer and oysters that weren't harvested downstream from a DuPont plant. But maybe you're a Taco Bell kind of guy. I don't know.

. . . and I thought green was the new pink.

Here's an article from The Week Magazine on "Why green has gone out of fashion." Reference is made to last year's proclamation by Michael Schellenberger and Ted Nordhaus that environmentalism is dead. This announcement raised more than a few eyebrows, particularly among those who work tirelessly to ensure that environmentalism remains a force to be reckoned with, particularly in policymaking decisions. Further, environmentalism has logged some major successes in the past century-- the Clean Air Act and various other environmental policies and laws have emerged from the movement's success at creating increased awareness of problems and potential solutions. What do you mean, "environmentalism is dead"?!?

If Schellenberger & Nordhaus wanted to get the attention of the green movement, they certainly did. The ensuing conversation wouldn't have been quite as passionate had they merely suggested that environmentalism was dying, or a little bit under the weather. One sure way to shake things up within a movement is to claim that its central purpose is irrelevant, no longer vital, unsuccesful, failed, DOA. Just ask Nietzsche.

There's nothing wrong with a little reflexivity (i.e., a look in the mirror) in the face of the onslaught of climate change. Governments and the media are still trotting out "experts" who claim that climate change isn't happening, or at least not for the reasons environmentalists claim. Economic interests and environmental interests are seen as being sharply at odds, and in the global economy, economic interests will win out every time. The public doesn't seem to be too alarmed-- particularly given the gradual nature of the changes (at this time, anyway). It's too easy to portray environmentalists as being out of touch with reality, as encouraging asceticism and advocating Ludditism, as being raging ideologues incapable of critical thought. Why? Why is the environmental movement still treated as a "special interest" on the fringe of world politics? Why is still so easy to marginalize the voices of environmentalists? Schellenberger & Nordhaus propose that the blame does not rest entirely outside of the movement, but that some responsibility for the remaining gap between environmentalism and mainstream thought lies within the movement itself. There's a very thorough report on this at Grist.

Now, activism can get slowed down by too much belly-button gazing and self-examination, it's true. We need to make progress; there's far too much at stake. But to ensure that progress, and the right sort of progress, is being made, the environmental movement must be willing to seriously engage with criticisms such as these and not just write them off as hostile to its goals.

Environmentalism is dead. Long live environmentalism.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Business as usual

See what South Knox Bubba has to say this morning on the subject of "Polluters and Politics" and the current situation in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Back to work.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Bush and the Greening of Coal.

It's finals week and the blogging is sparse. Must write papers. Must proctor exams. Must grade exams.

In the meantime, here's an article on the reintroduction of the CLEAR ACT (by Sen. Orrin Hatch). Actually, it's a blog post from Green Car Congress. I'll have to remember to add it to the holy blogroll later. Note to self, and all that rot.

Is this the third time this bill has been introduced? Seems that being backed by a conservative Republican mainstay like Hatch would help give the bill some weight with the current Repub majority in Congress & the White House, but no dice thus far. Perhaps reintroducing it now, immediately following Bush's call for reduced dependence on foreign energy sources, isn't an accident.

Of course, in that same speech, Bush remarked that
To achieve greater energy security, we have got to harness -- harness the power of clean coal. We should also open up new areas to environmentally responsible exploration for oil and natural gas, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The power of clean coal?!? Environmentally responsible exploration for oil and natural gas?!?

It's the alternative fuels, stupid.