Environment

Nearing the Point of No Return? A Conversation With the Author of a Game-Changing New Climate Study
June 22, 2012

In anticipation of this week’s Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, a group of 22 scientists from a variety of disciplines collaborated to complete a sobering—that is to say, terribly frightening—new study of the global ecosystem.

Creating Value from Society's Waste: The Viennese Method
May 29, 2012

Trash. Just the sound of the word brings to mind rotten food, mountainous landfills, and general noxiousness. But what if a city turned this image on its head? What if trash became a city resource? What if landfills became a relic of the past? This is the exact effort underway in Vienna, Austria.

What Would You Pay for Clean Water?
May 24, 2012

What would you pay for clean water? Clean water is a top health issue for any community, and that includes public and economic health. A modern s

Stop Saving These Animals!
January 09, 2012

A week before Christmas, Russia banned the import of harp seal pelts—the skins of those undeniably cute animals with their big, melting eyes and their cuddly bodies. This followed a similar ban in the E.U. and the U.S., both of which have forbidden the import of almost all seal products. Prominent animals rights activists, like Paul McCartney and Pamela Anderson as well as groups like Humane Society International, hate seal hunting—and I understand their objections. I had a toy stuffed seal when I was a kid. (Name: Sealy).

Meet the Obama Administration's Office For Antagonizing Environmental Activists
January 03, 2012

When President Obama took office, most environmental activists assumed that their cause would still meet resistance in Washington DC—they just assumed it would be located in Congress. But according to activists, a chief opponent of environmental causes has turned out to be within the White House itself: The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). A division of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), OIRA has always had the power to review the economic impact of virtually any new federal regulation.

Dust Storm
November 09, 2011

The GOP’s favorite punching bag right now is a government regulation that doesn’t exist. “Our goals include ... overturning the EPA’s proposed regulations that inhibit jobs in areas [such as] farm dust,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote in an August Washington Post op-ed. There was no such proposed rule. “We’ll stop excessive federal regulations that inhibit jobs in areas [such as] farm dust,” House Speaker John Boehner similarly pledged in a September 15 speech to the Economic Club of D.C. Still, there was no such proposal.

Whatever Happened to the Evangelical-Environmental Alliance?
November 03, 2011

In the fall of 2005,  Joel Hunter, the senior pastor of a 12,000-member megachurch in central Florida, signed on to the Evangelical Climate Initiative—a landmark public statement acknowledging that human actions were causing the Earth to warm. The central message—“creation care,” as it became known—was that the biblical commandment to protect God’s creation was relevant to modern-day environmental issues. Soon, Hunter had distributed 20,000 creation care pamphlets to pastors around the country, and his parishioners were sifting through garbage to see how much trash his church produced.

Coping Mechanisms
September 14, 2011

Haines Falls, N.Y.—Here are some things my children and I weren’t thinking about as we scampered outside our house in the Catskill Mountains during an afternoon lull in Tropical Storm Irene, elated by our suddenly torrential waterfalls, eager to pose in front of them for pictures to send to our friends: We weren’t thinking about orographic enhancement, because, of course, we had never heard of it. Orographic enhancement is the meteorological phenomenon that made Irene rain harder when it hit the mountains (wet air forced upward cools and condenses).

How the Weather Toys With Our Emotions
September 08, 2011

The English are known for their propensity to collect eccentric things—tea cozies, snuffboxes, colonies. So it didn’t surprise me to learn that a British writer, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, was responsible for The Cloud Collector’s Handbook, a bewitching little book that has become the latest quirky hit.

Rick Perry's Record on the Environment: Is it Bad, or Awful?
September 06, 2011

In April 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it had found that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases, though not pollutants in themselves, were subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act, because of the threats they pose to human health via climate change. It was not the sort of finding that Texas governor Rick Perry—long a skeptic, even outright denier, of anthropogenic climate change—was liable to welcome.

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