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Ben Barron's blog

The idea that humans should come first when it comes to our relationship with the natural world traces back to the roots of western culture. For example, in Genesis 1:26, God orders that mankind will “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” According to that train of thought, we are the stewards of the planet. The earth belongs to us. It is ours to till and to keep—and to exploit, if we wish.

D.C. police have arrested 160 people and counting, in response to a non-violent protest against the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline. Among those arrested-- Bill McKibben, prolific environmental author and co-founder of 350.org. Released today after three days in jail, McKibben encouraged the continuation of the two-week protest, which is taking place in front of the White House.

Non-European airline carriers are up in arms over new EU regulations that would require all planes in the European airspace to either reduce their emissions or pay a carbon-offset fee after 2012. Backed by industry, the airlines are wielding the Revolutionary War cry -- “No taxation without representation” --  as their righteous slogan.

Only this time, it’s a very different Tea Party.

When it comes to climate change, the fact is that most Americans don’t know the facts. A study by Yale professors revealed that while a majority (63 percent) of Americans believe in global warming, only half understand that it is anthropogenic (caused by human activity). And when the study tested the public on the science behind the warming, the results weren’t pretty.

It happens to me every spring. The flowers start to bloom, and the days become warm and full of sunshine. All I want to do is be outside, sit in the grass with my dog and play my guitar, and then…

Bam. My eyes start to stream, and my voice sounds like someone duct taped my nostrils shut and gave my throat a sandpaper rubdown. I have to pause after every third word to sniff. Hay fever.

Anyone who has seen the “Planet Earth” episode on jungles has witnessed the colorful plumes and remarkable displays of the Birds of Paradise.

But when you’re hiking (read: struggling) through the dense growth of Papua New Guinea’s rainforest, one of the world’s largest at over 100,000 square miles and home to 38 of the 43 Bird of Paradise species, it’s pretty difficult to catch a glimpse these magnificent birds.

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