Blog Archives

Butterflies: Another year of living dangerously

I encountered this lovely butterfly on my front walkway Saturday morning, nearly crushing the disabled creature underfoot. It didn’t fly away and apparently couldn’t though there seemed nothing wrong with it. Perhaps it was just tuckered out from migrating south for the winter. At any event, I moved it over to the grass, where it could rest up for the next leg of its journey and wished it bon voyage. I hope it’s flown on by now.

The next day, the Washington Post had a front page story on the plight of this little beauty’s cousin, the monarch butterfly. Like so many other species, monarch butterflies are seeing their lives made more difficult by a slew of changes along their millennia-old migratory path – everything from the pesticide-laced fields of factory farms to climate change. The Post story examined how Texas’s long drought and forest fires are making for an even more treacherous journey than usual for the butterflies headed thousands of miles from as far away as Canada to overwintering grounds in Mexico.




Winemakers say Global Warming is Changing their Business

AFP is reporting that winemakers at the WineFuture convention in Spain this week are agog over the impact Global Warming is having on their grapes.

While a warmer world is helping out growers in someplaces, traditional wine country in Spain and new powerhouses such as Australia are already seeing both a direct impact from higher temperatures and indirect problems attributed to climate change such as drought and water shortages.

For some time now, some winemakers have been taking defensive measures to reduce their carbon footprints as more and more eco-friendly consumers become aware of the climate costs involved in drinking wine imported from the other side of the globe.  Surprisingly, however, it isn’t necessarily to the distance that’s the biggest factor in a bottle’s greenhouse gas bill, as I learned while reporting this story in Italy earlier this year.

Still, do such industry measures to reduce their carbon footprint make a difference or is it simply corporate spin? What do you think?

Today’s Sustainability News

Some upscale vinegars – particularly high-priced balsamics – tip the scale on lead content too, this report finds.

California‘s green efforts – from using recycled paper to fighting global warming – found to be more talk than walk by this new investigative report.

Mother Jones
says California‘s Century as the country’s so-called Salad Bowl is about to be over. Instead, the central valley could become the next Dust Bowl.

MoJo’s Blue Marble blog has a post about how the author was “bambloozled” into buying sheets advertised as eco-friendly bamboo when they were really made out of icky rayon with bamboo content. The Federal Trade Commission was also unamused. It slapped the hand of the manufacturer, a company called Bamboosa, last month. Read all about it.

Do you know that it took cyanide to make the gold wedding band, gold earrings or watch you’re wearing? That’s right, the stuff spies carry around in case they get caught by the enemy and need to die really quickly. Well, gold mines around the world use cyanide to separate the gold from the rest of the mine rubble. It’s all safe enough, mining companies say, that is – until the cyanide seeps into the ground and drinking water suppliers. Here’s a story about the devastating effects it can have when it does.

Clorox has announced that it’s taking the chlorine out of its bleach. But the move isn’t motivated by the company’s self-proclaimed environmental ethos. Read what really appears to be fueling the change.