Environment

Dear Emil, Monkeetime, and the rest, I haven’t been this angry in a long time. In fact, I doubt I have ever been this angry. I was raised to respect people as equals, and I am doing my best to keep that in mind. I am truly, however, disappointed and ashamed to have to call you as such. Please know that there is nothing more I would like to do than cuss you out, but I am a better person – not better than you, but better than that. I cannot understand and I cannot even begin to fathom how utterly and completely selfish you must be. It is not a joke. It is not even remotely funny. People have lost families and loved ones because of the earthquake. If you did or did not cause it is not the point. If the mountain has spirits or not is not the point. The point is you. The point is your...
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Dear Jay Z, First of all: Big fan! I’ve listened to your music for years; I’ve admired how you’ve become much more than an entertainer, and you have perhaps the coolest line I’ve ever heard, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” But recently, you made a comparison about water and music. And since water is my business, I have to say, “Stick to your own business, man!” I get what you are saying. Artists should be paid for the music they create. But to say that “water is free while music is $6” isn’t exactly true. This isn’t meant to state the obvious fact that some people can’t pay their water bills, so water must not be free. But your comments bring up the issue of how people value water — an issue our industry struggles with all the time. Right now, Denver Water...
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Consumer knowledge on the destructiveness of palm oil production – found in everything from ice cream and crackers to detergents and cosmetics, is rising. Increased awareness is sorely needed, as more and more forests are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. There are a lot of questions around the use of palm oil. The Rainforest Action Network, which has been working on this issue for some time, has an excellent factsheet on palm oil, which is briefly excerpted here: What is Palm Oil? Palm oil is a globally-traded agricultural commodity that touches our lives in every trip we make to the supermarket. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from pulping the fruit of oil palms originally native to Africa. Palm oil is commonly used as a cooking oil...
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Dear Plastic Bag banners, While I support the cause that would remove plastic bag litter from clogging our waterways and potentially harming fowl and fish, I ask this question: Why don't we ban cigarettes whose "butts" litter our streets, parks, playgrounds, highways, etc and in doing so find their way to our streams and rivers where their cancer-cause chemicals leaking into our precious environment? I know what to do with my plastic bags when I am done using them--I put them in the trash or I recycle them. What are we supposed to put our pet poop in? Put them is special cloth bags?
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Dear Ministers, We, more than hundred civil society organisations from 35 countries across all continents, call on Parties to acknowledge the urgency with which climate change needs to be addressed and to agree to ambitious and immediate emissions reduction targets that are in line with the Cancun Agreement to prevent global warming beyond two degrees Celsius. Kyoto Protocol parties must commit to a second commitment period at Durban. The legal and governance structure of the Kyoto Protocol is crucial to ensuring that mitigation commitments are legally binding and have environmental integrity. We call on Environment Ministers to establish a mandate to agree to an equitable effort sharing approach between all countries by COP18. This mandate should be consistent with the equity...
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Dear Santa Monica College Community, Public intellectual Bill McKibben recently published the much discussed essay “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” in Rolling Stone Magazine. The sense of urgency inspired by his article has prompted our open letter to the College community. McKibben challenges colleges to become part of the solution. We hope you will find his challenge as compelling as we do. In 2008, we at Santa Monica College committed ourselves to the intellectual and political work of Global Citizenship. In doing so, we recognized the global interdependence that holds both promise and peril for the future of the global community. Today, we believe nothing speaks to this vision more than the impending threat of Climate Change. McKibben accounts for this problem in clear,...
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Dear Hummingbirds, Hey, would you take it easy already? What’s the freakin’ rush, hummingbirds? I don’t get it—why must you flap your wings so damn fast? You need to chill out. Here I am, sitting in my garden, quietly reading a book and sipping on a fruit cocktail, and all of a sudden you’re buzzing into my field of vision, scaring the living bejesus out of me, because at first I think you’re some kind of humongous, genetically altered uberinsect that’s bringing doom straight to my front door. I’m falling off my lawn chair, grappling for a fly swatter, yet knowing that a fly swatter won’t save me, and then I realize you’re a hummingbird. First of all—_grow up_ a little! You’re too small to be a bird. Maybe if you didn’t expend all your energy flapping around like a lunatic, you...
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Dear Global Warming, I know I’m not supposed to like you. I’ve heard about your grandiose plans to melt the polar icecaps and flood coastal cities, your aspirations to destabilize global weather patterns and throw fragile ecosystems into upheaval, and your desire to have all of us, by the year 2070, living inside geodesic domes, whence we will gaze wistfully out at moribund deserts and dream of greener times. I know everyone says you’re bad, but damn it, I don’t care, because after six straight days of minus-25-degree weather I’m ready to throw myself into your arms. Being a man-made ecological phenomenon, you might have some difficulty in commiserating with my plight. You’ve never had to walk to get groceries with the skin of your face threatening to crack like old plaster because...
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Dear Owen Welcome to your new job as secretary of state for the environment. I predict an interesting spell in office – for you certainly come with unusual credentials. You have virtually no record of making environmental pronouncements of any consequence or for showing concerns about ecological or climatic issues. You say you loathe wind turbines, a source of renewable energy on which Britain was supposed to be becoming reliant, while it is also said that you are a proponent of fracking, the extraction of shale gas, a process that would cause major increases in UK carbon emissions. For good measure you arrive at your new post with the strong endorsement of Britain's chief climate change denier, Nigel Lawson, the former chancellor who now believes his legacy of laissez-faire...
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Dear fellow fighters in the Climate Justice Movement: I am a long-time advocate of both climate justice and fundamental system change. I am writing to you with whom I share these central political commitments because I believe you are making a serious strategic mistake by categorically rejecting international carbon trading. Recently your organization, together with over sixty other environmental justice organizations, sent a letter to the President of the AFL-CIO “imploring labor to join us in the fight against climate change,” explaining what labor must do differently if it expects to advance its cause. You obviously understand why we must sometimes reach out with advice to allies in struggle who we believe are making serious mistakes. That is the spirit in which I write you this...
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