The Anti-Science Left. A wonderful set of interviews on how the left denies science. (Warning: Chris Moody is as smug as ever, but the rest of the video is great.). They discuss Mark Lynas’s switch from anti-GMO to supporting GMOs by looking at the reams of scientific data. The great science writer Michael Shermer discusses evolution and climate change, and makes the case that despite all the doom in the news, humans and the environment are much better now than ever in history. Great conversation.
Posts tagged advocacy.
Health and mortality rates: Nuclear power vs biomass, oil, gas, and coal.
Industry found to have files on more than 200 activists, provided by security services or police – prompting calls for official inquiry.
But why did I post this?
There’s an interesting section in this article, one that environmentalists can readily relate to, and that’s the “jobs defense.”
The Jobs Defense is a common response by businesses that fear new regulation. For those that know a bit of environmental and economic history, this defense been used effectively for centuries to tamp down protest, influence politicians, and garner public support.
The Jobs Defense was used to defend from regulating slavery, child labor, the right to vote, organize unions, pass environmental regulations, and myriad other policies that benefit you today.
In this case, a public meeting was called to democratically discuss how to prevent slaughtering children (dramatic, but that’s the language we’re using up here in New England regarding the Newtown, Ct mass shooting). True, the headline is about some brainless bullies who heckled a dad who lost his 6 year old boy.
But to me, the interesting aspect of this is that the journalist sort of dances around the examining the Jobs Defense.
A gun manufacturer is quoted in the article that his company, “(Pumps) tens of millions of dollars each year into the Connecticut economy.” The journalist does mention that gun manufacturers offered no solutions at the meeting. But the Jobs Defense went unchallenged.
There was no discussion or questioning that his product causes deaths.* There’s no discussion of why “tens of millions of dollars” is a reasonable response to the death of Americans. Isn’t that curious? That we all accept that the Jobs Defense is a so legitimate that it gets a free pass?
Barack Obama uses the Jobs Defense, too. In fact, it’s a primary driver of getting the Keystone XL Pipeline approved - jobs. Indeed, there are thousands of articles discussing jobs in relation to building the oil pipeline, have a look.
None of them, that I found, examined the benefits of environmental protection over the few jobs that the line will create. It’s true that some have examined the claim that the line will create a certain number of jobs. No one can say clearly if the line will create 500 jobs or 20,000.
But this still doesn’t examine the facile and rather weak argument that jobs should be a primary motivation versus incredibly beneficial, American alternatives. From my point of view, the Jobs Defense must be examined. Should jobs be held in reverence over human health? If so, why?
Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo’s ice people: 1,000 small sitting figures made from ice. The Berlin installation, intended to draw attention to climate change in the Arctic, lasted until his last figure melted in the heat of the day.
I just signed this WH petition. The White House will have to respond to it if it reaches the 25,000 mark.
Fracking, or drilling for natural gas, is as of 2005 exempt from a major environmental regulation called the Clean Water Act. Drillers pump a water/chemical mixture into the ground under pressure, which fractures certain rocks that hold natural gas. The gas is piped out and the water and chemicals remain in the ground. Here’s an excellent video explainer. And here are some background on how fracking became exempt from pollution controls. Basically, drillers got the exemption by claiming that the chemical mixture they use are proprietary information - an industry secret.
Now, there are about 500,000 fracking wells in the U.S.Tens of thousands are being opened right now. The petition asks that frackers show how their chemicals affect water in rivers, lakes, streams, wells, and aquifers.
I don’t think it’s controversial for the public, farmers, cities, beer and softdrink manufacturers, or anyone to know which chemicals are in their water. I know petitions are a pain. Please give this one your two minutes. Here’s the link:
Anonymous asked: Thoughts on Phoenix New Times column Solar Eclipsed: Why the Sun Won't Power Phoenix Despite an Industry Boom?
Sorry, I’m not an energy guy, I’m into environmental risk.
I will note that, like most environmental articles, it concludes with zero solutions. Many of my long-term followers will know this is a pet peeve of mine.
Journalists have to get with the program in this regard when they present a problem to the public. They should, in 2013 and going forward, equally invest exploring options and solutions to the same extent as they used to get the facts of the story. There are plenty of tools and techniques he could have discussed to respond to this problem. Why didn’t he present solutions? That article is 5,000 words long! 10x the length of regular reports!
I think you should demand that, going forward, half his words should be dedicated to exploring options. Not pushing them, but discussing them as a way of “informing the public of the facts.” You might be surprised by the response if you ask.
Did you know that you can shape how subsidies work? Did you know that you can submit your own draft legislation? Did you know that you can help change the permitting, building, and zoning laws in your town? Probably not. Yet those are the very solutions that this long-winded article leaves out.
Write to the author and demand he stop with the old school journalism and start empowering his readers with real tools to stop the harms he’s exposing. (He might respond with some lazy trope that he can’t dip into advocacy. He’s wrong. Exploring 5 or 10 solutions to a problem is providing factual information. Journalists know the difference. So, preempt this scaredy-cat reply by asking what’s the point of reporting any problem if it’s not subsuming a public action for change?).
Disgusting, shocking expose by Agence France-Presse. Hong-Kong. After people complained, tens of thousands of shark fins were brought to the roof tops to dry. The article says they did this to hide the fins from the public because of increased awareness of animal cruelty.
Shark fin traders in Hong Kong have taken to drying freshly sliced fins on rooftops since a public outcry over them drying the fins on public sidewalks forced them to move the trade out of sight.
Activists have raised concerns that the over-harvesting of fins is causing an environmental calamity. Although sales have fallen in recent years Hong Kong remains one of the world’s biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets. NBC
I can’t stomach watching the process of shark finning (more videos here). Basically, they catch the shark, cut off its fins, and throw the shark back into the ocean - alive and awake. The sharks bleed to death and/or suffocate since they can’t swim.
But saying “gross” or “I’m sad” is not enough. There are a variety of ways you can help stop finning.
Sharks are threatened by climate change. Increased temperatures are affecting their habitat and food supplies around the globe. Changes to their habitat threaten their survival.
Last year, Discovery reported the world’s first hybrid shark and speculated it had adapted to climate change. They speculated that two separate shark species paired as a result of climate change. It was the first time a shark hybrid has been found and scientists speculated they were evolving, e.g., they adapted to increased temperatures.
The Australian black-tip is slightly smaller than its common cousin and can only live in tropical waters, but its hybrid offspring have been found 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) down the coast, in cooler seas.
It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.
“If it hybridizes with the common species it can effectively shift its range further south into cooler waters, so the effect of this hybridizing is a range expansion,” Morgan said.
“It’s enabled a species restricted to the tropics to move into temperate waters.” Via Discovery
Adaptation is not fast enough. Habitat and food supplies are quickly being destroyed, not to mention ocean currents are shifting, adding additional pressure on marine life. Most importantly, the incredible increases wealth in China and Asia generally has increased demand for shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy.
Gordan Ramsay, an A-list celebrity chef, was doused with gasoline and held at gun-point while exposing shark finning on his TV show last year. He tried the soup and deemed it unremarkable and bland, comparing the soup to eating salted potatoes.
He was horrified and sickened at the process (warning: very tough to watch. Several sharks are hacked live). Chef Ramsay subsequently advocated for the finning of these amazing animals to stop. He helped contribute to the passage of a bill banning shark fin soup in the U.S.
There are several ways to stop finning: Pressuring grocery stores and Asian markets, writing congress (it works, I swear), contributing cash and volunteer time to anti-finning campaigns, passing the word around to educate others, and signing petitions.
- And thanks for reading my post. m
Protestors march against a US gold mine in Peru.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a sexy environmental non-profit that helps save endangered species and habitats, has had a very successful year. In their annual report, the CBD lists some fantastic wins:
- Signed the largest agreement in history to speed up protections for 757 animals and plants under the Endangered Species Act.
- Obtained new, final critical habitat protection on more than 2 million acres in Alaska, California and beyond, as well as proposed protected habitat on another 9 million acres — from Hawaii to Mississippi.
- Helped kill an “extinction rider” that would have done away with funding for new species listings and habitat protection.
- Launched a campaign, 7 Billion and Counting, making a public connection between human overpopulation and species extinction; we gave away 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms across the country and published a report on the 10 U.S. species most threatened by human population growth.
- Instrumental in securing from the Obama administration a 20-year ban on new uranium mining across 1 million Grand Canyon acres.
- After 10 years of fighting, we also won new protections for more than 40 threatened and endangered species on four national forests in Southern California.
- Launched the Climate Law Institute, an innovative national campaign, Clean Air Cities, that’s had stellar success to date in rallying 27 cities across the United States to sign resolutions in support of clean air and a healthy climate.
- In the high-profile fight against the destructive Keystone XL Pipeline, we led a lawsuit to halt illegal construction along a 100-mile corridor of Nebraska.
- Filed to protect more than 200 species from hundreds of pesticides — the most comprehensive legal action ever brought under the Endangered Species Act.
- Helped supporters take 1.3 million online actions to save wildlife and wild places; we launched our new Species Finder Android app, containing instantly accessible information on more than 1,000 imperiled plants and animals.
Read the report, here (it’s short and easy to read!). Check out the section on climate change on page 12!
Battle of the climate-change billboards rages on
After the Heartland Institute compared global warming to the Unabomber, two climate activism groups decided to strike back.
Fail or win?
As a conservative Republican who very much understands the need to reduce and control our spending, it may seem strange that I understand and accept that climate change is impacting my home, state and country.
It is beyond comprehension that my party would so adamantly avoid dealing with the fact that we now are facing historical events on such a regular basis that it is impacting our state and national budgets in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually.
Why do we continue to miss the chance to address proactively the adverse impacts of our past and current actions? Why is it that we have not connected the dots between climate change and real life events that have occurred in our own backyards? Why do we find it acceptable to have massive damage to our university, and yet sit by and be satisfied with the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being spent locally to repair the damage?From the op-ed: Offering a conservative perspective on climate change
1. Design environmental education programs that can be properly evaluated, for example, with before-after, treatment-control designs.
2. Teach where resources come from
3. Show what “tipping points” are
4. Teach a world view. (US ranks last in geographic and world history)
5. Teach how governments work. (This one is my personal favorite. When was the last time you went to your city’s city council meeting?)
6. Teach the unforeseen effects of conservation legislation.
7. Teach critical thinking skills.
From, The Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It) published on PLoS