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.
Climate champion Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) will be on Eliot Spitzer’s show this evening. (Volume alert!).
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., talks to “Viewpoint” host Eliot Spitzer about what Congress and the White House must do to address climate change.
“We have to get the public engaged, because that’s how you’ll move Congress. This is a battle between the entrenched polluting special interests and what I hope will become an energized public and White House,” Whitehouse says.
Why does he matter?Sheldon Whitehouse is a sharp politician and one of the best allies to environmentalists in the Senate. You can see from this video that he’s incredibly articulate on climate change, and a passionate advocate for the environment. He’s a former Attorney General (Clinton appointee) and has argued in the Supreme Court to protect wetlands. Whitehouse has won many prestigious environmental awards.
Unilever’s push into Africa is a return to familiar territory. The firm made a fifth of its profits in Africa until the 1970s, when it shifted its attentions to Asia. Now it is back, employing 30,000 people on the continent and shifting soap, soup and so on worth €3 billion ($3.7 billion)—out of total worldwide sales of €46 billion. It is already Africa’s biggest supplier of consumer goods, and aims to double sales in the next five years by beefing up investment and bringing in more of its brands.
In spite of the risks, businessfolk are upbeat. A couple of decades ago, most African governments made life very hard for business. Now policies are more market-friendly, albeit with frequent relapses: Zambia, for example, recently banned the use of American dollars in local transactions—a needless extra hassle for firms operating there.
Still, the corridor chatter at sub-Saharan conferences these days is cheerful. Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, says that cynicism about Africa has turned to optimism. “We have a sense that things are really getting better,” says Mr Braeken. Africa is not only about mining and oil any more. But, he says, the continent still needs to overcome what George Bush, in another context, called “the soft bigotry of low expectations”.
My dear son,
I am appalled, even horrified, that you have adopted Classics as a major. As a matter of fact, I almost puked on the way home today. I suppose that I am old-fashioned enough to believe that the purpose of an education is to enable one to develop a community of interest with his fellow men, to learn to know them, and to learn how to get along with them. In order to do this, of course, he must learn what motivates them, and how to impel them to be pleased with his objectives and desires.
I am a practical man, and for the life of me I cannot possibly understand why you should wish to speak Greek. With whom will you communicate in Greek? …
For the life of me I cannot understand why you should be vitally interested in informing yourself about the influences of the Classics on English literature. It is not necessary for you to know how to make a gun in order to know how to use it.
In 1957, at 18 years of age, future billionaire and founder of CNN, Ted Turner, informed his father that he would be majoring in Classics after being inspired by a professor at Brown University. His father was furious to say the least, and responded to his son’s announcement with the following despairing letter — a letter which Ted later sent to the college paper in retaliation, who then reprinted it in full.
Canada sells out to oil industry. Environmentalists are livid. New regulations will be approved to loosen Canadian environmental laws to assist oil companies to drill oil and build thousands of miles of new pipelines.
Hundreds of environmental and activist groups in Canada shut down their websites for a day on Monday to protest Canadian government policies that will make it easier to build pipelines to transport oil from Alberta’s vast tar sands.
The groups - joined by U.S.-based groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council - say the Conservative government is also trying to silence opponents of the pipelines from the tar sands, the world’s third-biggest oil reserve and the subject of much environmental concern.
The Conservatives, determined to make Canada what they call an energy superpower, want to speed up reviews of resource development projects, cut back laws that protect fish habitats, strip key veto powers from the federal energy regulator, and give the government the final say on approving major pipelines.
The cell says that it is uniting with eco-anarchist groups in other countries, including Mexico, Chile, Greece and the United Kingdom. Mexico has already seen similar attacks: in August 2011, a group called Individuals Tending Towards Savagery sent a parcel bomb that wounded two nanotechnology researchers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. One received burns to his legs and a perforated eardrum and the other had his lung pierced by shrapnel (G. Herrera Corral Nature 476,373; 2011). The package contained enough explosive to collapse part of the building, according to police, but failed to detonate properly.
“Anarchists attack science,” a fascinating article in Nature.
Though an old problem, the highly regulated fisheries of New England present deep misconceptions and much ire among many interest groups.
The few fisheries that remain work closely with environmentalists, economists, food distributors, port cities, coastal planners, non-profits, churches, restaurants, family support groups, higher education institutes, advocacy groups, unions, scientists, state and federal regulators, and even international regulatory bodies. Each of these groups have varying degrees of interests. And no voice is more important than the next.
Working together to provide solutions is much tougher than eschewing one or more parties for ideological reasons.
The above PBS piece shows how a handful of groups worked together to create a new business model for fisheries. There are no universal solutions. But, this model has been adopted in communities up and down the east coast (I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure if this model has spread to the west coast or even Asian fisheries. The EU, though, is an entirely different story…).
“It’s totally maddening,” Mr. Sanfilippo said. “They’re just doing it to make all the green people happy.”
Whole Foods says that, in fact, it is doing its part to address the very real problem of overfishing and help badly depleted fish stocks recover. It is using ratings set by the Blue Ocean Institute, a conservation group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. They are based on factors including how abundant a species is, how quickly it reproduces and whether the catch method damages its habitat.
How dare us green people.
Wrong answer, Susty Sam. Enviros will not make inroads by alienating people who just lost their jobs. Hostility to opposing points of view, spouting egotistical responses, or publicly blathering about the poor environment are failed strategies. Such responses negatively impact the domain of viable solutions to ongoing environmental problems. They certainly do not foster public support nor does it build trust.
Public trust is a valuable and rare commodity among environmentalists. And trust is needed in order for environmentalists to get a seat at the table.
The NYTimes article shows that environmental wins sometimes cost good people’s jobs. When jobs are lost due to a new restriction - especially blue collar jobs - the impacts negatively affect public opinion. It’s not cool to spit in the faces of someone who lost their job to environmental successes. In this context, job losses become stained by environmental regulation.
Environmental success should exemplify excellence. They should not chip away at any potential support from the public for new or altered environmental regulations.
When the next round of regulations are proposed, imagine the opposition pointing to sarcastic responses, such as Susty Sams. This stuff infuriates the public, who are needed to vote for restrictive measures.
Enviros need to increase their influence by being respectful, acknowledge social impacts from increased regulations, and attempt to offer sets of alternatives once changes occur such as the above.
“Is Environmentalism Failing?” Presented in a debate format, with heavy hitters arguing for and against the question. The audience is polled before and after the debate to see which side was more persuasive.
The Sustainable Living Festival
The Sustainable Living Festival is an annual festival held since 1998 in Melbourne at Federation Square and Birrarung Marr along the Yarra River.
The three-day program includes presentations by local government representatives, environmental and renewable energy groups, experts in climate science and solutions, workshops, demonstrations and discussions about sustainability, and art and music. Wiki
Since 99 percent of all solid waste in the United States today comes from industrial processes, eliminating all household waste would have little impact on per se waste,” they write. Similarly, the majority of greenhouse gas emissions “originate in industrial and commercial operations. Attributing these emissions to consumers is, to say the least, misleading.
I’ve argued these same points many many times on this tumblr - that the way to affect change is to get involved in government. Learn what the Federal Register is, find out how local permitting and development works, and write to your local representatives. These things have more tangible impacts on quality of environment than recycling, protesting, locavoring, and shopping green (all good things-ish, but they really make little to no difference in the world).
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
Professional and sponsorship inquiries, please