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Environment Archive

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Iraq marshes vanishing: "The United Nations has warned of a growing ecological catastrophe in southern Iraq. Satellite images show that less than 7% of the Mesopotamian marshes remain intact, the UN revealed at the World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. The area where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates join in southern Iraq is thought by some to be the original site of the Garden of Eden. By 2000, it was estimated that 90% of the natural wetland had disappeared, through drainage works and dams upstream which restrict the flow of the rivers.
   ...Iraq says its engineering programmes were for reclaiming agricultural land and that it was running a relocation programme for the benefit of the marsh dwellers.  But human rights groups and western governments accuse Baghdad of draining the marshes as a tactic of political repression. Tens of thousands of army deserters, political opponents and others sought shelter there in the 1990s, Human Rights Watch says.
   The Iraqi regime began large-scale hydro-engineering projects in the marshes, building dams, canals and embankments. Water levels began to drop. In 1992 and 1993 reports emerged of a military campaign to flush out the wetlands. Refugees fleeing to Iran described artillery and aerial attacks on civilian areas, arrests and executions, mine-laying and the destruction of homes and properties.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The Weapon We Gave Iraq - Depleted Uranium: "Iraqi researchers say that the epicentre ("Ground Zero") for DU effects is around the city of Basra, in southern Iraq. It was here, in 1991, that U.S. and coalition jets ravaged the retreating Iraqi army, leaving behind the smoldering hulks of thousands of vehicles. The U.S. and British air forces expended an estimated 300 tonnes of depleted-uranium ammunition in and around this area; it has since been dubbed the "Highway of Death."
   The preponderance of birth defects among children born in the Basra region over the past decade defies explanation....
   Should U.S.-led forces again invade Iraq, and should Canadians join them (something that has not been ruled out by Defence Minister John McCallum), they would probably move from Kuwait straight up the Highway of Death to Basra. The aerosol from the depleted-uranium-coated shells has long since dissipated from the hulks of Iraqi vehicles along the road. But Iraqi scientists believe the particles remain in the desert sands. Uranium possesses a radioactive half-life of 200 million years; it would still pose a serious risk.
   Despite increasing evidence linking DU to degenerative health disorders, the British and U.S. militaries steadfastly refuse to suspend their use of such weapons."

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Free speech struggle in Antarctica: "On Jan. 18, workers at McMurdo Station in Antarctica joined with millions of others around the world in protesting the war drive on Iraq. In red jackets, they formed a giant human peace sign on the ice against the backdrop of the towering Trans-Antarctic Range. WW3 REPORT sources at McMurdo report that moves to censure anti-war activities at the research base have precipitated a free speech struggle. "
See photo:

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Wired 8.04: Why the future doesn't need us. By Bill Joy, April 2000 "Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species."

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Rigorous Recycling: "Some 50.7 billion aluminum cans were tossed last year instead of being recycled... recycling of aluminum will dip below 50 percent this year, a rate not seen since 1986.... aluminum-can recycling is a bellwether for other kinds of recycling... because it's valuable, easy, and cheap to reuse."

Ranchers Bristle as Gas Wells Loom on the Range: "no one questions the need for new sources of this clean-burning fossil fuel. What alarms ranchers, along with environmental groups, is the hugely disruptive process of getting gas out of all those wells. It is a 15-year-old drilling technique called coal-bed methane extraction, which can turn ranches and prairies into sprawling industrial zones, laced with wells, access roads, power lines, compressor stations and wastewater pits."

Saturday, December 21, 2002

In Tax Twist, Big Vehicles Get the Bigger Deductions "Small-business owners are taking advantage of a tax loophole that allows them to take huge write-offs on purchases of S.U.V.'s."

Thursday, December 19, 2002

A 'silver bullet's' toxic legacy : "As American forces prepare to take on Iraq in a possible Gulf War II, analysts agree that the bad publicity and popular fears about depleted uranium (DU) use in the first Gulf War, and later in Kosovo and Afghanistan, have not dented Pentagon enthusiasm for its "silver bullet." US forces in Iraq will again deploy DU as their most effective - and most controversial - tank-busting bullet...
   Another report by the British Atomic Energy Agency used an estimate of 40 tons of DU to create a hypothetical danger level, and predicted that that amount of DU - one-eighth of what actually was fired - could cause "500,000 potential deaths."
  "I don't think we know if DU can be used safely, and until we know that, we shouldn't use it," says Chris Hellman, a senior analyst with Washington's Center for Defense Information."

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

NAFTA to Open Foodgates, Engulfing Rural Mexico: "on Jan. 1 tariffs on almost all agricultural imports from the United States will end. The looming deadline has consumed the attention of a nation where a quarter of the population lives in rural areas, and produced warnings about the possibility of unrest and increased migration across the Mexican countryside and into the United States, as millions of peasants are forced to abandon their tiny fields. In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of Mexican farmers and their supporters have blocked highways and border crossings. They have temporarily shut down gas and electricity installations, and even burst into Congress on horseback."

Monday, December 16, 2002

Hydrogen: Empowering the People: JEREMY RIFKIN "While the fossil-fuel era enters its sunset years, a new energy regime is being born that has the potential to remake civilization along radically new lines--hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most basic and ubiquitous element in the universe. It never runs out and produces no harmful CO2 emissions when burned; the only byproducts are heat and pure water. That is why it's been called "the forever fuel." Hydrogen has the potential to end the world's reliance on oil."

Saturday, December 14, 2002

'Dominion': The Most Compassionate Conservative: DOMINION The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. By Matthew Scully.  '''Dominion'' is important in large measure because the author, an avowed conservative Republican and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is an unexpected defender of animals against the depredations of profit-driven corporations, swaggering, gun-loving hunters, proponents of renewed ''harvesting'' of whales and elephants and others who insist that all of nature is humanity's romper room, to play with, rearrange and plunder at will.'

Friday, December 13, 2002

New Kind of Dam Rises in Switzerland: To Hold Back the Land: Global warming: "Swiss scientists are studying landslides to determine which ones may have been caused by melting permafrost. One terrifying instance was in September in the Caucasus, in Russia. There, scientists say, 140 million cubic feet of rock layers, including a mass of ice, rock and ferns, snapped off and began a free fall down the the northern slope of Kazbek Mountain, gathering fresh mud, trees and rock until it hit the Kolka Glacier. A portion of the glacier sheared off and an estimated 2.1 billion cubic feet of snow, trees, ice, debris, rock, mud and water continued to rumble toward the bottom of the mountain. It landed in the Genaldon Gorge, near Karmadon, and killed about 140 people. The compressed avalanche dammed several lakes, including one whose water rose to flood level, threatening a second village."

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The Land That War Protected: "a preserve carved from the [Korea] demilitarized zone could be the source for replenishing endangered plants and animals lost to development in both North and South. It could also serve as a laboratory to study nature's resilience. In little more than five decades, the natural world has reclaimed an area devastated by war. There is no comparable place on earth. However, the window of opportunity for preservation may be closing. In September the two Koreas signed an agreement to build two rail lines and adjacent highways through the zone. Efforts to remove mines have already begun. Roads are likely to follow, and thereafter harm to the environment."

Rural America's new problem: handling sprawl | "Missouri... represents trends taking place around the country. Joplin and the state's three other smaller metro areas grew faster during the 1990s than the state's two largest metro areas - Kansas City and St. Louis - according to a new report on Missouri growth patterns released Sunday by the Brookings Institution in Washington. More telling, unincorporated, "open country" areas of the state saw population rise an average 12.3 percent. That's 50 percent faster than the population growth in Missouri's cities and towns... The result is a thinning and spreading of population that looks all too familiar to smart-growth advocates:"

After Top Job at Yosemite, He's Hanging Up the Ranger Hat: "After 30 years with the National Park Service, Mr. Mihalic is at the top of his career in a high-visibility assignment, a member of the federal government's prestigious Senior Executive Service, and recently picked by the Bush administration as the next superintendent for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country's most visited national park. But Mr. Mihalic is saying goodbye to it all. On Jan. 3, he will retire...
  Mr. Mihalic said the Bush administration wanted him to push through two contentious proposals at Great Smoky. The proposals, a land swap and a road project, had long been opposed by the National Park Service because of environmental concerns but had been backed by some influential Republicans in North Carolina and Tennessee. "

Monday, December 09, 2002

Growing Poverty Is Shrinking Mexico's Rain Forest: "Five miles up a muddy trail from Emiliano Zapata, in southeastern Chiapas State, is Mexico's largest unpolluted lake, Laguna Miramar, and beyond that stands the last rain forest in Mexico. But today almost half a million poor people, speaking six different languages, live in that dying forest. For some here in Chiapas, the issue is turning from saving the trees to saving the people. A century of government reaching into this most remote corner of Mexico has left most citizens with next to nothing. "

Use of Renewable Energy Took a Big Fall in 2001: "Consumption of energy from renewable sources, like the sun, the wind and biological fuels, fell sharply in 2001, the Department of Energy has reported. The department attributed much of the decline to a drought that cut generation of hydroelectric power by 23 percent. Such variations are natural. But in a report last month, the department's Energy Information Administration also said solar equipment was being retired faster than new equipment was being built."

Grand Soviet Scheme for Sharing Water in Central Asia Is Foundering: "From the mountainous Chinese border to the Caspian Sea, the Soviet Union remade the two grand rivers of Central Asia, building 20,000 miles of canals, 45 dams and more than 80 reservoirs. The government turned sand and dust into one of the world's great cotton-growing regions. But the Soviet Union is long dead. And here in western Uzbekistan and in areas of its four neighbors, one of socialism's most grandiose schemes is being sundered by capitalism, nationalism and a legacy of waste. Without a bigger supply of water -- or better use of it -- an economic and social crisis seems to be awaiting the region of 58 million people"

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Buyers looking for safety are driving in the wrong lane | "Sport utility vehicles are a menace. As these off-road behemoths that never go off road replace cars, the result on American highways will be "mayhem," according to an exposé titled "High and Mighty," by Keith Bradsher. "

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Advocates for Animals Turn Attention to Chickens: " rows of hens crammed 10 to a cage the size of a file-drawer cabinet. They get close-ups of swollen eyes, infected skin and shattered wings entangled in cage wire."

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Can Global Warming Be Studied Too Much?: "Bush administration convenes a three-day meeting here to set its new agenda for research on climate change. But many climate experts who will attend say talking about more research will simply delay decisions that need to be made now to avert serious harm from global warming. President Bush has called for a decade of research before anything beyond voluntary measures is used to stem tailpipe and smokestack emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are contributing to global warming.... But many climate experts say the perennial need for more study can no longer justify further delays in emission cuts. "

Saturday, November 30, 2002

'One World': The Moral and Practical Challenges of Globalization: "Peter Singer's timely and thoughtful book, ''One World: The Ethics of Globalization.'' A professor of bioethics at Princeton University and one of the most provocative philosophers of our time, Singer writes, ''How well we come through the era of globalization (perhaps whether we come through it at all) will depend on how we respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world.'' "

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Should churches convert drivers of SUVs? | "Economist Michelle White of University of California at San Diego calculated the effect of SUVs and light trucks on traffic safety. Many people purchase SUVs to make their families safer, but the cost is extremely high, Dr. White said in an interview. "My calculations suggested that for every accident involving a fatality that you avoided by buying a bigger vehicle, you cause 2 1/2 accidents involving fatalities for vehicles that you hit."

E.P.A. Says It Will Change Rules Governing Industrial Pollution: "Bush administration today announced the most sweeping move in a decade to loosen industrial air pollution rules. The administration said the changes would encourage plant improvements that would clean the air. But critics denounced the changes as a retreat from tougher rules now in place that require factories to make costly investments in pollution control equipment when they modernize."

As Andean Glaciers Shrink, Water Worries Grow: "In a phenomenon scientists here and abroad call a calamity in the making, the glaciers of the central Andes are vanishing because of global warming driven at least in part by pollution. Their disappearance, scientists now say, is nearly unavoidable and could lead to water shortages in places like Bolivia and Peru that depend on glaciers and the rain and snow that fall on the mountains for water for drinking, irrigating fields and generating electricity... Scientists say that without the glaciers the region's natural water cycle will be disrupted. Glaciers release water in dry seasons and collect it in rainy ones. "It's a natural dam," said Lonnie Thompson, a research scientist at the Byrd Center who has studied Andean glaciers closely. "Some people refer to these glaciers as the world's water towers, and once they're dry, you lose that water."

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Proud, patriotic & green | "In ads, articles, and websites, environmentalists have pulled a page from President Bush's patriotic playbook, selling their cause of energy conservation against a backdrop of national security."

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Government Outlines Plan for Research on Warming: "Bush administration, saying there are still many uncertainties about threats posed by human-caused climate change, has outlined a broad, years-long research agenda on global warming. Among many other goals, the draft plan calls for new work to be completed in the next four years to clarify how much of the warming since 1950 has been caused by human actions like emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide or soot; to explain differing temperature trends in the upper and lower atmosphere; and to improve computer models that simulate climate and monitoring systems for tracking the real thing. Advertisement The proposal was lauded yesterday by industry officials and some scientists who have long questioned the mainstream view that global warming is mainly caused by people and poses big risks....Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences at Princeton who has long advocated acting promptly to reduce emissions, said: "The plan veers off into emphasizing what we don't know at the expense of a thorough description of what we do know. If you strip away the rhetoric, there's a valuable agenda of research here to pursue. The danger is that while they're continuing to do the research, the window of opportunity to avoid dangerous global warming is closing." "

Monday, November 11, 2002

An Animal's Place: "The industrialization -- and dehumanization -- of American animal farming is a relatively new, evitable and local phenomenon: no other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to do it this way. Tail-docking and sow crates and beak-clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering 400 head of cattle an hour would come to an end. For who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. We'd probably eat less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals, we'd eat them with the consciousness, ceremony and respect they deserve. "

Saturday, October 05, 2002

As Trees Die, Biologists Battle Back the fast-spreading new disease known as sudden oak death syndrome. .... The disease has already killed tens of thousands of trees in California and spread to 17 different species, including huckleberry, big leaf maples, rhododendrons and bay trees. Scientists have found it can also infect the northern red oak and pin oak, species that are widespread in the East and Midwest. Recently, the United States Forest Service declared large regions of the East, including the southern Appalachian Mountains, whose climate would probably suit the disease, as areas of high risk. In September, scientists reported that the disease was attacking the beloved redwood and the Douglas fir....... bay trees appear to be infected in leaves and nowhere else. More surprisingly, these leaves, whose only symptoms are small discolorations, are so full of spores that the laboratory machinery cannot detect the total number. ... The finding revealed bay trees, not oak trees, to be the unexpected, key disperser of the disease....

Thursday, September 12, 2002

A World That is Not Just Ours Two Veteran Conservationists Challenge Americans to Take the Lead in Preserving Wildlife.... "joined the Peace Corps in 1973, spent two years teaching in... Zaire, and fell in love with Africa. Even before their Peace Corps days ended, they knew they wanted to come back. Within a few years, they found their way to Rwanda and the mountain gorillas of the Parc National des Volcans.... I was very content to be running the Africa programs, but meanwhile, Im reading about spotted owls and wolves here in the United States. It seemed odd to me that were asking the worlds poorest people to live with tigers and elephants, but we wont live with wolves. Were asking other countries not to log while we knock down our own forests."

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Blueberries and Huckleberries: "Whortleberry from the Anglo-Saxon and Bilberry from the Danish are European names for Blueberries, Fifteen or 20 species of them are found in North America. Most kinds bear fruit in clusters. There are also about 40 species of Huckleberries, all native to North America, but in some parts of the United States the name "huckleberry" is improperly used for both blueberries and true huckleberries. Other people mistakenly believe that blueberries always have blue or bluish fruit, and that all huckleberries are black or purplish black. However, there are dark-colored blueberries, and huckleberries that are distinctly blue, but there is a sure way to tell one from the other: blueberries have a large number of tiny soft seeds, whereas the huckleberries have 10 rather large, bony seeds."

Friday, July 26, 2002

Back to the Drawing Board: WTC replacement designs: " The Lower Manhattan and Port Authority planners understood their obligation in the narrow sense: to serve their clients, forgetting their larger obligation to the people of New York. While they made much of designing for the millions who are expected to visit the memorial, they neglected the men, women and children who live and work and go to school and play in the area now and will do so in the future. Most significantly, the planners left out residential buildings from the site. "

Thursday, July 11, 2002

U.S. Law Imperils Colombia Coca Spraying: "Even as the Bush administration is trying to increase the aerial spraying of drug crops in Colombia with herbicides, an American law enacted in January threatens to disrupt the strategy and possibly even halt it. A little-noticed provision in the $15.4 billion spending measure for government operations abroad requires that the American-backed program to eradicate coca crops in Colombia must meet the same health and safety standards that would apply if the herbicides were being sprayed in the United States."

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Aid for [Mexican] Farmers Helps Butterflies Too: "Working in eight different poor, rural communities around the butterfly's roosting grounds and with nearly no talk of monarchs, Alternare is succeeding by providing villagers with knowledge they actually want. The group is teaching farmers how to build a house of longer-lasting adobe using one tree rather than a faster-decomposing home that requires 25, how to farm without chemical fertilizers and how to keep this rugged land productive so farmers need not continually move to newly logged territory. While improving the farmers' lives, Alternare, by no coincidence, is improving the situation of the butterflies as well."

Friday, July 05, 2002

EPA says toxic sludge is good for fish: " The Army Corps of Engineers' dumping of toxic sludge into the Potomac River protects fish by forcing them to flee the polluted area and escape fishermen, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document."

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

eMedicine - Toxicity, Arsenic : Article by Christopher Graziano, MD: "Chelation therapy is the definitive treatment for arsenic poisoning. "

The Poison Is Arsenic, and the Suspect Wood: "chromated copper arsenate, or C.C.A., the predominant wood preservative in the United States and the subject of an emerging body of product liability lawsuits around the country... prevents decay and repels termites. It also contains arsenic... The Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers of treated wood advise consumers not to use wood with surface residue; to wear gloves, a dust mask and goggles while sawing; to saw outdoors; and never to burn the wood."

Friday, June 14, 2002

Activists Win Award in False Arrests: "Radical environmentalist Darryl Cherney said past targets of the FBI -- from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Hollywood radicals -- share in a court victory by him and another Earth First! activist over law enforcement officials. Twelve years after Cherney and Judi Bari were arrested in the bombing of their own car, they were awarded $4.4 million Tuesday in a federal suit claiming they were framed by Oakland police and FBI agents. After 17 days of deliberations, jurors awarded the money to Cherney and the estate of Bari, who died of cancer in 1997."

Collected by Jonathan March with Radio Userland software