Hello Greendistrict readers! Happy New Year to all!
It’s a good ten days into the new year and about time I return from extended holiday hiatus. I’m kicking off 2010 with a few adjustments to my blogging habits: nixing the daily Green Lines sustainability roundup, for starters. It’s just too time consuming to compile that stuff. Besides, truly compelling stories don’t appear everyday. Instead, I’m going to focus on writing more substantive blog posts and make the Green Lines roundup a weekly feature filled with the most noteworthy and new reporting of the previous seven days. To get started, here are a few stories that caught my eye:
CBS News reported on vulnerabilities in the nation’s food supply.
Finally someone wrote a story on the brewing battle over biodiesel made from trees – or lumber scraps, that is. The Washington Post had a piece today about complaints from the lumber industry that the congressionally induced boom in fuel made from “woody biomass” could put cabinet makers and other producers of “composite wood” products out of business. The story, however, makes no mention of the growing environmental concerns. To learn why the federal Biomass Crop Assistance Program is a bad idea from a sustainability standpoint you have to go elsewhere.
The greening of the U.S. House of Representatives: “The House saved almost 75,000 pounds of waste from landfills and cut nearly 400,000 pounds of carbon emissions last year through a new program to make the chamber’s offices more energy efficient,” according to Roll Call.
Mountaintop removal mining is causing vast and permanent environmental destruction, exposing people to serious health consequences such as birth defects, and should be banned, according to a new study discussed in this story in The Guardian.
“A federal jury awarded more than $100 million to 10 workers who claimed they were injured in 2007 when a toxic substance was released at BP’s Texas City plant,” The New York Times reports. Company officials reportedly expressed outrage though it’s hard to say why they were surprised since federal investigators came to the same conclusion as the jury. The company spends more on its “Beyond Petroleum” ad campaign depicting itself as a “green corporation” than it will be shelling out to the injured workers, which seems another reason to take the executive exclamations with a grain of salt.
The White House “regulatory czar” is pushing to nix the E.P.A.’s plans for tougher rules on coal ash, according to this story in the Wall Street Journal.
Here’s a scary piece on India‘s water mafias.
Los Angeles Times has a travel piece on the “endangered paradise” of the Maldives islands, which is expected to be underwater if the world continues to dither on global warming.
Book Report: I just finished reading “Bitter Chocolate, The Dark Side of The World’s Most Seductive Sweet” by Canadian journalist Carol Off. It’s a harrowing but fascinating and well-researched tale of human rights abuses in the cocoa fields where chocolate’s main ingredient is grown. But be warned: The stories of children working Ivory Coast in slave-like conditions may dampen your appetite for chocolate, as it did mine – or at least for chocolate not stamped with a “fair trade” label.