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Today supporters of clean energy and climate legislation released the following statement on the Senate's failure to address a clean energy and climate policy:

As we witness the worst industry-caused environmental catastrophe in our history, the deadliest coal mining disaster in 40 years, and sweat through the hottest first 6 months of any year on record, there's never been a more urgent time to move forward with a clean energy and climate policy.

There's no doubt that big oil, big coal, their army of lobbyists and their partners in Congress are cheering the obstruction that blocked Senate action on clean energy and climate legislation. Their cheers are cheers for China taking the lead in clean energy jobs, the Middle East getting more of our money, and America getting more pollution and fewer jobs.

At every opportunity, a minority of senators who are in the pocket of America's largest polluters in the coal and oil industries chose obstruction over working together to solve America's energy and national security challenges. As a result of their actions, the big polluters will continue to reap record profits at the expense of Americans.

As we look forward, one thing is clear: the Senate's job is not done. They must use every opportunity available to address clean energy and climate reform by working to limit carbon pollution and invest in new clean energy sources that are made in America, including protecting the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to crack down on polluters.

A few months back we reported on a campaign led in North America by Richard Cellarius of the Sierra Club to discourage the new conservative government in New Zealand to back away from a plan it had floated to open some of its national parks to mining, for coal and other minerals.

Well, sometimes you win one.

Today (July 20) comes news from Dr. Cellarius that the Kiwi government caved. It will not move to open any of the parks to mining. Many international groups and individuals weighed in to oppose the scheme (including a few of you, perhaps), along with a reported 37,000 New Zealanders. Bravo!

I wondered what was up when this press release popped up in my in box. It's head reads "Bottled Water Companies Applaud Virginia Governor for Reversing Ban on Commonwealth’s Purchase of Bottled Water for Official Functions," and goes on to outline how many people are employed in the bottled water industry in the commonwealth.

Many studies recently have indicated convincingly that tap water in most places is as safe as and tastes every bit as good as bottled water, and the number of plastic water bottles thrown away each year is simply staggering—upwards of thirty billion bottles a year in the U.S. alone. My guru on all things water is Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute. His recent book, Bottled and Sold, lays it all out in simple and compelling terms. Putting water in plastic bottles creates jobs, sure, and enriches the people behind the International Bottled Water Association. But mining and burning coal creates jobs, as does cleaning up oil spills. Job creation is important, but the kind of jobs created is pretty important as well.

Most people have heard of Facebook and Twitter, but what about Foursquare? I'm not talking about the playground game that involves bouncing a big ball from one square to the next. Foursquare is a new social networking tool that allows users to check in at specific locations using their mobile phones and broadcast their whereabouts to friends via Facebook or Twitter. Earthjustice is using this tool to engage the public and enlist their help in protecting our environment.

Most uses of Foursquare have centered around its gaming aspect—users compete for the title of "mayor" for the most check-ins at a location and earn little virtual badges of honor—but Earthjustice is turning heads by using Foursquare to help raise money for our legal work.

Every time a user checks in at a designated Earthjustice ad in one of San Francisco's BART train stations, a major donor will donate $10 to help our attorneys protect the environment. It's a simple way to engage with the public using social networking tools, while allowing them to do their part to help our environment.

So far, we've gotten great traction from social media sites and blogs, including several articles on the popular social media site Mashable. See what the buzz is all about by taking a look at our ads!

Six months after the media hoopla known as "Climategate," we begin to see more clearly and fully how our news establishments, both here in the United States and abroad, have failed us on reporting scientific fact and doing what they were created to do: uncover the truth.

Ed Abbey, never one to mince words, once observed, "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell."

Gus Speth, a founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute; one-time head of the United Nations Development Program; former dean of the Yale graduate environment program; and soon-to-be professor at Vermont Law is a little less strident but no less tough: "Economic growth may be the world’s secular religion, but for much of the world it is a god that is failing—underperforming for most of the world’s people and, for those in affluent societies, now creating more problems than it is solving."

The quote comes from a long piece in Solutions magazine that ought to be read and pondered by every policymaker, every politician, every economist, and every voter in the world. Will it be? Of course not. Secular religions are rarely challenged, but this one has to be, and soon.

One more quote. Dave Brower had his own spin, "economic growth is a sophisticated way of stealing from future generations."

(In 1970, Terry Winckler organized the first Earth Day in Orange County, CA. A true grassroots movement, it exploded out of nowhere, he recalls, giving his war-weary generation something positive to rally around. Here are some of his recollections)

It was a simpler, dirtier time, 40 years ago. Everybody littered and no one seemed to notice our trash-encrusted public places. Was recycling even a word in 1970?

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About the Earthjustice Blog

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.