Posts tagged: science

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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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.

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
15 December 2008, 10:33 AM
Negotiation blueprint achieved

A miracle, just take a look around: this inescapable earth.
– Wislawa Szymborska, Polish poet and Nobel Laureate

Yes, we can.

As Martin wrote earlier in the week, the negotiations that just concluded in Poznan fell short of expectations. But take heart – the talks did deliver on the fundamental objective of providing a negotiation blueprint for an agreement that can be signed next year in Copenhagen.

There was no movement though on the issues at the heart of the new agreement – how much industrialized countries will cut their emissions; what they expect in return from major emerging economies like China and India; and how much finance and technology transfer for low-carbon initiatives will be provided to developing countries.

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
13 December 2008, 6:23 PM
 

The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming - and Earthjustice is there. Read our daily dispatches.

The Federated States of Micronesia, one of the leading voices of the Alliance of Small Island States – countries whose very existence are threatened by global warming-induced sea level rise – has called on the governments assembled in Poznan to take urgent action in light of potential catastrophic tipping points in the Earth's climate system.

View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
08 December 2008, 10:18 AM
 

The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming - and Earthjustice is there. Read our daily dispatches.

Saturday was Forest Day at the climate negotiations in Poznan. Many people think of forests in terms of the CO2 that they absorb, or "sequester"– the rainforests of the Amazon, Congo and Indonesia are known as the lungs of the planet. But every year an area of forest the size of Greece is cut down or burned releasing enormous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – a tragedy for indigenous forest-dwelling communities, biodiversity and the planet. Take a moment to think of the scale of the crisis: satellite images show that an area roughly the size of Connecticut was deforested in Brazil alone in the 12 months through July, 2008.

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
05 December 2008, 10:23 AM
 

The world is now meeting in Poland to tackle global warming - and Earthjustice is there. Read our daily dispatches.

More than 10,000 people have gathered in Pozna?, Poland this week for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to advance negotiations that aim to set the world on a path toward a lower carbon future and minimize global warming and its effects on people and the planet. This conference is the critical mid-point between the break-through decision last December to adopt the "Bali Road Map" for an international agreement on climate change, and the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen next December when the governments are scheduled to seal a deal to address the climate crisis.

View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
28 November 2008, 8:39 AM
 

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.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
18 November 2008, 12:03 PM
 

Mathis Wackernagel of the Global Footprint Network had an important (and scary) piece in the San Francisco Chronicle the other day that one hopes the new administration and the new Congress will take note of.

Using data from the United Nations and elsewhere, Wackernagel reports that we’ve been overdrawing nature ever since about 1970. That is, humans take more from nature—wood, water, marine life, soil, and on and on—than can be replaced year by year, so the deficit is accelerating.

View Anna Cederstav's blog posts
23 October 2008, 2:39 PM
 

Most environmentalists believe that nature has a right to exist for its own sake, but that's not how the law works in our country.

In the United States, nature is defensible only if a human will miss the forest, species, or clean water when it is gone. To use the law, a human must first prove harm to their person.

If that proverbial tree falls in the woods and no human cares, no laws were broken. But if a tree falls and the hiker who depended on its shade is harmed, the U.S. legal system may provide some relief.

Breaking with tradition and establishing a bold legal precedent, Ecuador recently decided that nature should have rights of its own. Just for the sake of protecting nature and the intricate web of life that depends on it.

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
17 July 2008, 4:27 PM
 

A Generational Challenge to Repower America

Delivered 7/17/08 in Washington, DC

View Tom Turner's blog posts
08 January 2008, 2:36 PM
 

The biggest story around here lately has been the tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo, and what a muddled tragedy it is. Spokespersons for the zoo couldn't even say how tall the wall the tiger got over was for a while. Were the victims high and drunk, as has been alleged? Did they roar at poor Tatiana, even attack her with slingshots? The rumor mill has been churning. And now the survivors have hired Mark Geragos, defender of Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson, the guy who gives lawyers black eyes by the dozen. Meanwhile, I'm wondering, along with many others, whether it's time to close all zoos. The pro-zoo faction argues that they're good for public education, recruit defenders of wildlife, and are a genetic reservoir of disappearing species. Others say that the animals you see in a zoo behave nothing like the way they do in the wild so the education is minimal and skewed, that you can learn more about tigers from Animal Planet, that a zoo is really just entertainment for humans, like a carnival midway. My kids loved going to the zoo, I'm quick to admit, but maybe it's time to close them down and turn our attention to preserving habitat so all those amazing creatures will survive on their own.

* * *

I hate to throw stones, but I can't help but wonder how on earth the Sierra Club decided to give its David Brower journalism award to Tom Friedman, the New York Times columnist. It's true that Friedman has been singing green tunes recently about energy and climate. It's also true that he has been the most strident and bombastic proponent of the World Trade Organization and free-trade-at-all-costs, the-environment-and-labor-be-damned. His best seller, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, for example, quoted dozens of bankers and corporate bigwigs on the greatness of trade (a rising tide lifts all boats, they say, which is fine unless you're tied up to a pier) and not a single one of the scores of able, even brilliant, critics of trade as currently practiced. I do not think Mr. Brower would be pleased.