Showing posts from December, 2004

New coal plants bury 'Kyoto'

New greenhouse-gas emissions from China, India, and the US will swamp cuts from the Kyoto treaty.

Love and Resistance in Wartime: An Interview with Chris Hedges

"So it isn’t just an issue of trauma; it is, as well, an issue of morality. This is a horrible burden to inflict, especially on a young life. It’s why war should always be waged as a last resort, because the costs are so tremendous, not only to families who lose loved ones and will spend the rest of their lives grieving, but for those who return and for the rest of their lives bear these emotional and psychological burdens."

A Life Lived Whole

"I pay a steep price when I live a divided life, feeling fraudulent, anxious about being found out, and depressed by the fact that I am denying my own selfhood. The people around me pay a price as well, for now they walk on ground made unstable by my dividedness. How can I affirm another’s integrity when I defy my own? A fault line runs down the middle of my life, and whenever it cracks open—divorcing my words and actions from the truth I hold within—things around me get shaky and start to fall apart."

Hope is in the States

Failing to gain the White House was a crushing blow for Democrats and progressives, but it also overshadowed the successes we've had at the state level, says Tim McFeeley of the Center for Policy Alternatives. Democrats gained control of state legislatures in Colorado, Oregon and Vermont, among others, on Tuesday. States can be the greenhouses for progressive growth—if we stay organized.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

A simple fact of life is that any system based on the use of nonrenewable resources is unsustainable. Despite all the warnings that we are headed for an ecological and environmental perfect storm, many Americans are oblivious to the flashing red light on the earth’s fuel gauge. Many feel the “American way of life” is an entitlement that operates outside the laws of nature. At the Earth Summit in 1992, George H.W. Bush forcefully declared, “The American way of life is not negotiable.” That way of life requires a highly disproportionate use of the world’s nonrenewable resources. While only containing 4% of the world population, the United States consumes 25% of the world’s oil. The centerpiece of that way of life is suburbia. And massive amounts of nonrenewable fuels are required to maintain the project of suburbia.

Lifestyle as Direct Action

His new book, “Plants Roots: 101 Reasons Why the Human Diet is Rooted Exclusively in Plants” (Outside the Box Publishing), is a mother lode of verification on how the eschewing of animals as food, clothes, entertainment, shooting targets, and laboratory subjects makes sense. And when I say “makes sense,” I mean not only for the typical selfish human wishing to steer clear of degenerative diseases...but also for every living thing on the planet.

Battlefield Earth

The environment is in trouble and the religious right doesn't care. It's time to act as if the future depends on us – because it does.

Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Despite the five million extra tons of trash generated between Thanksgiving and New Year's, many people plan to 'go green' and give environmentally conscious gifts.

Paving the Amazon with Soy

When the owner of the largest private soy producer in the world is also the governor of a soy-rich Brazilian state, is it any wonder that deforestation is rampant?

In the footsteps of Mandela and King: Two Vermont filmmakers chronicle the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner Maathai

At first, Dater said, they thought they could make a low-budget film with what they already had. Then they went to Yale and met Maathai, and realized there was no way they could make a cursory film about her.

Through a gender lens: Vermont health services for women are exemplary

A 50-state study conducted in May by the National Women’s Law Center, using a set of 27 benchmarks developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that Vermont ranked third in the nation in providing health care for women.

Apartments are out of reach for many Vermonters

A report entitled "Out of Reach" was commissioned by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. In Rutland Vermont, a person earning the minimum wage of $7 an hour would be able to afford a two bedroom apartment at the rate of $451 a month. The Fair Market Rent for an apartment if Rutland is $698 a month. This person would have to come up with an extra $247 per month. The report also indicates that a person on Social Security Income (SSI),receiving $616 monthly could afford to pay $185 per month (30% of income) for a single bedroom apartment. The Fair Market Value of a single bedroom apartment is $568 a month. This individual would have to find $383 a month to pay for housing. Clearly, the housing market and the wages are out of line. It gets worse. A Section 8 Housing Voucher allows low income Vermonters and the disabled to pay 30% of their income towards their housing whether it be in a housing facility or their apartment of choice. Recently, there has been a 36

Issues of body, spirit snarl return of Narragansett remains

Nearly a century ago, eight bodies of Narragansett tribespeople were exhumed in the name of science and shipped to a Smith College laboratory. No permission from the tribe was sought or granted, making the noted professor who oversaw the work -- in the view of tribal leaders -- not a scientist but a grave robber.

Seed company refuses to sell GE squash seeds in Vermont

A New York-based seed company will become the first to refuse to sell its genetically engineered vegetable seeds in Vermont rather than meet the labeling requirements of a new state law .

Lighting the way: World looks to Vermont for energy solutions

The world is beating a path to Vermont. And, it’s not for maple syrup, cheddar cheese, ice cream, or Howard Dean. They’ve come for light bulbs.

The World is Changing works from a simple premise: that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. That plenty of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which they work remain unconnected. That the motive, means and opportunity for profound positive change are already present. That another world is not just possible, it's here. We only need to put the pieces together. It's a collaborative weblog with a lot of good content, news stories, and links to sustainability resources. If you need more encouragement, Rosemary Woodruff provides an optimistic view of how the world is changing in "A Memo Designed to Cheer Up the Human Race."

Cancer: Toxins and Lifestyles

Because of our globalized culture and modern food transport and storage, people have lost a feeling for what kind of food to eat that makes sense. The foods normally eaten historically by sedentary, temperate-climate populations—such as whole grains, vegetables, and legumes—usually get skipped in our society. People are too overworked to prepare regular meals at home from fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. Most of today's available foods are processed, lifeless, embalmed, colored, zapped, and chemicalized.

Group's Surprising Beef With Meat Industry

Study ranks production of beef, poultry and pork as second to automobiles in ecological cost.

Sea Levels to Rise Faster - NASA

New and updated satellite data from Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica show parts of these regions are rapidly melting and contributing three times as much than previously believed to sea level rise.

Earth-Hostile Chemical Gets White House OK

The Bush administration announced new rules Thursday to allow U.S. farmers who grow tomatoes, strawberries and other crops to continue using methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting pesticide that had been scheduled to be phased out worldwide next year.

Food Supply Vulnerable to Contamination by Drugs and Plastics from Gene-Altered Crops

For more than a decade, corn, soybeans, and other food crops genetically engineered to produce drugs, vaccines, and industrial chemicals have been grown on American farms. But a new report by six agricultural experts now warns that the food supply is vulnerable to contamination by these "pharmaceutical crops" unless substantial changes are made in the ways and places such crops are grown and managed.

Scientists: 2004 The Fourth Hottest Year On Record

"Today, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that 2004 is on track to be the fourth-hottest year since record-keeping began in 1861. The WMO added that global warming trends will lead to increased extreme weather events.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nonviolent Action

There is hardly a person who not wish to be identified as a "peaceful" person. Yet, we find ourselves continually mired in violent conflicts around the world. Our society has progressed in a great many areas the most obvious being technological development. Over the years I have been inspired by individuals who been able to grasp the problems of violence, either domestic or international, and work towards furthering our understanding of the abuses of power and authority. Unfortunately, our country has not progressed in its development of curbing these abuses. Of course many of us are worried that we are in fact moving backwards. So the question remains, if everyone wants peace, why do we not have it? The same question can be said about health care. I am convinced that peace is not something others do for us or that is won by our military. Peace is something that people must insist upon and work at. Holding those in check is the work at hand. Please check out the Albert Einste

PBS' Future Post-Moyers

....Mitchell is correct that the country's congressionally mandated transition to an all-digital broadcast system provides a unique opportunity to explore permanent funding. There are 20 to 30 billions of dollars worth of public spectrum (airwaves) that will return to the government from commercial and public TV stations. Even a small portion of the proceeds could easily generate sustainable annual revenues for noncommercial TV and radio.

The Real Importance of the Kyoto Treaty - Leaving America Behind

Complying with Kyoto may prove more difficult than Europe envisions, but Europe has achieved what it regards as a major foreign policy victory and this signals the growing risk of an even sharper-edged trans-Atlantic rivalry.

Tensions flare as exurbia gains ground near D.C.

To many eyes, sprawl threatens to blight the American landscape, and the types of developments popular in exurbia -- four- and five-bedroom homes built on lots of a quarter-acre or more -- are a prime culprit.

‘Climate Witnesses' Testify About Effects Of Global Warming

As scientists debate whether global warming is affecting Earth, "climate witnesses" told a U.N. environmental conference Friday they are already feeling the heat of the changing weather patterns they say are drastically affecting the way of life from the Himalayas to the South Pacific.

Hunger in America

The challenge before us is to question what is the business case for Bush signing the $400 billion spending bill in August 2004 that will largely go to military efforts in Iraq And Afghanistan and strengthening of missile defense program, while millions starve.

Dying for Consumption

"You, sir (or madam), are a monumental jackass. At this moment, American troops are risking their lives to protect your inalienable right to live your life in an impenetrable fog of selfishness and stupidity."

Citizen-journalist Moyers signs off

"We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."

Consumer Reports turns focus to prescription drugs

The magazine even offers consumer tips. For example, it says savvy shoppers who have to take 20 mg a day of the popular cholesterol drug Lipitor can save $58.50 a month by getting a prescription for a 40 mg dose instead and splitting the pills in half.

The Hundred Dollar Way to a Happier Holiday

By Erika Mitchell - In his recent book, The Hundred Dollar Holiday, Bill McKibben describes how his family has adopted a hundred dollar spending limit for celebrating Christmas. Did this move result in rebellion or revolution or tears? No! Instead, McKibben tells us that holidays with his family have actually become less stressful and more enjoyable since instituting the spending cap.

The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Policy-makers and the media, particularly in the United States, frequently assert that climate science is highly uncertain. Some have used this as an argument against adopting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, while discussing a major U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on the risks of climate change, then-EPA administrator Christine Whitman argued, "As [the report] went through review, there was less consensus on the science and conclusions on climate change" (1). Some corporations whose revenues might be adversely affected by controls on carbon dioxide emissions have also alleged major uncertainties in the science (2). Such statements suggest that there might be substantive disagreement in the scientific community about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. This is not the case.

Reasons for Optimism on Global Health Front

The study found several surprises or what Levine calls wows in analyzing the cases. The most important, perhaps, was that success has been achieved even in the poorest of countries that are characterized by grinding poverty and weak or virtually non-existent health systems.

The Power of Nightmares

For 3 nights in October, the BBC electrified their viewers by showing a documentary exposing the goals of American Neoconservatives and Al Qaeda. This documentary is a deeply disturbing film as it shows how both the Neoconservatives and Al Qaeda have used fear as a tool in reaching their political goals. More detailed information about this film can be obtained at Commondreams . The film can actually be watched on streaming video at Information Clearinghouse . The intro to the series begins: "In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from

On Receiving Harvard Medical School's Global Environment Citizen Award

What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called 'hocma' - the science of the heart…..the capacity to see….to feel….and then to act…as if the future depended on you.

45 Million Children To Die in Next Decade Due to Rich Countries' Miserliness

Unless the world's wealthiest countries comply with their past pledges, some 45 million children in the worlds poor countries will die needlessly over the next decade, according a new report released Monday by British-based development group, Oxfam.

Economic `Armageddon' predicted

Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley spoke privately about how daunting a task it will be to pull us out of this economic slump. For those of you in debt, this is not a good scenario. Because of the record trade defecit the dollar is expected to continue to fall opines Roach. This will force Greenspan to raise interest rates so that we can hold inflation at bay. This creates problems for many Americans who are in hock up to their eye balls. Those interst payments are going to be killers. The facts speak for themselves. Says Roach "Twenty years ago the total debt of U.S. households was equal to half the size of the economy. Today the figure is 85 percent." Are you getting the picture? On a similar note, PBS's Frontline ran a program called The Secret History of the Credit Card (available on line for viewing). This is yet another example of the unraveling of our governments responsibility at protecting its citizens from unscrup

Hydrogen Production Method Could Bolster Fuel Supplies

Researchers at a government nuclear laboratory and a ceramics company in Salt Lake City say they have found a way to produce pure hydrogen with far less energy than other methods, raising the possibility of using nuclear power to indirectly wean the transportation system from its dependence on oil.

Got Merkel?

On Thursday evening Jim Merkel spoke at Green Mountain College about his book "Radical Simplicity." A good size crowd showed at Withey Hall as Jim showed slides of his research in Kerala India and his exploits in living as simply as possible from California to British Columbia to East Corinth Vermont. Jim is an energetic soul with sparkle and enthusiasm that was infectious to those of us open to his message. After years as a electric engineer who designed weapons and travelled around the globe selling his systems to people "on both sides of the battle", Jim's conscience got the better of him. His book chronicles the challenges we face as a planet in regards to resource depletion. Jim actually presents solutions to these problems. Though I have several books I am working on right now, the pages are going to fly so I can get to Jim's book "Radical Simplicity.";>) mob

A visionary moved by the earth's plight

Forestbed Photographs are usually easy to classify: realistic or abstract; portrait, landscape, action shot, and so on. But the startlingly original images of Robert ParkeHarrison defy simple classification.

Without A Car in the World

Since this is a truth walk, I will offer another confession. Shedding the car was no ordeal. From the beginning, I had scant trouble adjusting to my non-motored life. And, as the months wore on, the pluses far outweighed the minuses. For me, at least, it was easy to be car-free.

Bush: the environmental record

Reporting on what the Bush administration has done for the environment not only makes for a succinct paragraph, but also avoids the tedious listing of ways in which the White House is rolling back a generation of environmental laws and opening public lands to development.