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Yes, one knows that the economy and the climate are jobs one through ten, but I can't help but be a tiny bit concerned that the new Obama administration still lacks a Secretary of the Interior, a Secretary of Agriculture, a Secretary of Energy, an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and a Chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality. Plus and all the under secretaries and assistant secretaries and directors and assistant administrators who will eventually be nominated and confirmed to carry out extremely sensitive and important tasks. I have no reason to think that these nominations will not be up to the standard of the nominations we've seen so far, but I hope this doesn't signal a back-burner approach to wildlife and public lands and national parks and national forests, and so forth. A large fraction of our oil and gas, for example, come from the public lands and a smaller but important fraction of our lumber and pulp too. One thing we're going to have to be vigilant about over the next months and years is to ensure that environmental regulations are not sacrificed in the name of economic recovery—and you can be sure that such suggestions will be made. We need strong, bright people to run the environmental agencies, people who have the full support of the president.

Yesterday, Erika wrote about negotiations to reduce global warming from deforestation and related activities, which contribute 20% of all human-emitted greenhouse gases. Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the foundational document for modern-day protection of fundamental human rights around the world. Today, the two issues came together in a shameful fashion and, unfortunately, the United States played a major role.

As faithful readers will recall, we’ve been reporting on the saga of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule for a very long time. Put in place at the end of the Clinton administration and immediately hamstrung by Bush operatives, the rule, which bans most roadbuilding and logging on roadless areas of the national forests, has bounced around a dozen courthouses, with Earthjustice lawyers defending the measure from attacks by states and the timber industry as the new government talked out of four sides of its mouth.

Earthjustice Vice President for Litigation Patti Goldman offers these fond memories of Joan Bavaria.

A bounty of acclaim has come in the passing of Joan Bavaria, who served eight years as an Earthjustice trustee. Many speak of her as their hero, a visionary, and a pioneer. For me, as for many at Earthjustice, Joan was an inspiration.

When she joined the Board of Trustees, she brought unbounded insights and energy. She challenged Earthjustice attorneys to embrace shareholder activism as one of the tools for environmental progress. She led by example, engaging personally with all around her, lending her deep knowledge to common challenges, and sharing her spark.

Joan spearheaded socially responsible investing with her founding of Trillium Asset Management, the first socially responsibly investment firm, and with her co-founding of Ceres, which developed the 10-point environmental code of conduct against which the environmental record and commitment of corporations can be judged. Her many accomplishments and honors are chronicled at www.ceres.org/joan. In addition, The Boston Globe wrote this remembrance.

Those of us who had the good fortune to know Joan will continue to be guided by the gift of her wisdom.

One of the good things about the Web is that it increases accountability.  Those questioning the so-called "mainstream media" (MSM) don't have to hope that a stingy editor will find a few column inches to publish an op-ed to have their views heard.

So while I'm a regular reader of The New York Times, I was happy to see this article at grist.org  panning the Times' story on the beetle epidemic which is killing off hundreds of thousands of acres of pine forest in the Rocky Mountains.  The "Newspaper of Record" omitted the key fact that global warming is playing a key role in the beetle epidemic.  That's because beetles are typically killed off when subzero temperatures last for days in the forest, something that hasn't happened for years.

It's a key aspect of the beetle story.  And kudos to grist.org for telling it.

Joe Klein (author of Primary Colors, the scathing send-up of the Clinton years) gives President Bush quite a valedictory send-off today in the pages of TIME magazine.

Besides distaste for President Bush's "intellectual laziness," Klein lists a number of environmental actions that could be taken now in the final weeks of the Bush administration. Sadly, none of these are expected to happen.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.