"There are many quasi-religious practices in our increasingly secular era: consumerism, drunkenly cheering the local sports franchise, playing Quidditch at Ivy League universities, the 'Cult of Mac,' etc. Unlike these ritualized amusements, environmentalism is actually spiritual. It combines the oldest forms of nature worship with the Good and Evil of monotheistic faiths and the transcendence of Buddhism, all leading to a utopian goal of an Earthly Paradise—a state of grace with creation, which is exactly what saints and seekers have always pursued…. So what would happen if 10 million or 50 million religious environmentalists suddenly appeared on the national scene?"
President Obama has been in a little bit of trouble lately for not having enough women and minorities in his cabinet. It's too bad he doesn't just point to himself and say, "Did you notice I'm a minority? Presidents used to own people who looked like me, until very recently, in geologic time." But instead, Obama is diligently trying to find women and minorities in their various habitats, such as corporate boardrooms.
Sally Jewell, a former oil company official and corporate banker, seems like the perfect candidate to protect our public lands from the greed and destruction of oil companies and Wall Street. But her business experience is not [...]
"Biologists first encountered the cancer in the late 1990s. The tumors grew on the devils’ faces or inside their mouths, and within six months the animals were dead. The first cases appeared in eastern Tasmania, and with each passing year the cancer’s range expanded westward. When scientists examined the cells in the tumors, they got a baffling surprise. The DNA from each tumor did not match the Tasmanian devil on which it grew. Instead, it matched the tumors on other devils. That meant that the cancer was contagious, spreading from one animal to another." —Nature, in all its weird and terrifying glory, is killing off the already endangered Tasmanian [...]
Ever since Superstorm Sandy invented global warming six weeks ago, many of us have become more concerned about the environment and the future of our planet. Should we do "Christmas as usual" this year, or should Hanukkah be changed to address the terrifying reality of rapid climate change and rising seas? Will this be a Winter Solstice of ecological discontent, or a Kwazy Kwanzaa of renewed purpose in the face of crisis and challenge? How can you buy things for your sustainability-loving friends and relations without actually accelerating the cycle of planetary doom?
We have that all figured out for you! From inexpensive sun-powered autonomous insect simulacra to $100 donations [...]
"Mankind, is it responsible for global warming? Well I'll tell you something. I have seen evidence on both sides of it. I'm skeptical—I'm skeptical. And you know, I think at the at the end of this, I think we're going to need more science to prove something one way or the other. But you know—cause I've seen arguments on both sides of it that at times – like I'll watch something about man made global warming, and I go wow, that's fairly convincing. And then I'll go out and watch the other side of the argument, and I go huh, that's fairly convincing too. So, I go to be honest [...]
When London hosts the Olympics in 2012, athletes at the highest level of their sports will be competing in a stadium constructed out of recycled knives and guns. And this is not a new thing for Knifecrime Island: Recycled weaponry is frequently "melted down and used in the structures of bridges and buildings, as well as in car and train production" and also winds up in photo frames and jewelry. Even the very crown that rests upon the monarch's head was made from old Robbins of Dudley push daggers. Prince Charles is PART SWITCHBLADE. They like knives, is what I'm saying.
This Greenpeace ad suggesting the regrets world leaders will feel in the future if they are unable to effect some sort of relief for climate change at this week's conference in Copenhagen makes its point fairly well but, 20/20 jokes aside, if Barack Obama has another year like the current one, he's gonna look like this by 2011.
While the Republicans in Congress were distracted by Benghazi and tax cuts and being crazy old men, Barack Obama stealthily created a new national park in California. Is this the beginning of the Obama Administration's bold action on the environment and climate change, which until now hasn't been bold at all? Maybe.
Pinnacles National Park was also signed into existence over the lines of an existing national monument dating back to 1908, when Republicans were the environmentalists. The ragged volcanic landscape and habitat for the humongous (and critically endangered) California Condor runs along the San Andreas Fault, 80 miles southeast of San Francisco. But because [...]
Barack Obama said more about climate change in his inauguration speech—and expressed it more forcefully—than he did at any point in the 2012 election campaign and during much of his first term [...] He made a carefully calibrated appeal to Republicans, situating a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in a religious and conservative framework of God and constitution.
The Earth and its many forms of life were thrilled to hear the American president mark his second inauguration with a long overdue promise to save the planet from human ruination. Since the Frankenstorm made it okay for centrist Democrats (and a handful of moderate Republicans) to acknowledge that [...]
We hear a lot about eating seasonally. I bet Maira Kalman's illustrating a Michael Pollan rule about it RIGHT NOW. In fact, I bet she already did. And I love eating seasonally—yes, it makes me feel superior and in tune with Mother Earth, ohm, but also it just tastes good. Like, a seasonal tomato versus a February tomato, those are two different vegetables. Two different planets. Two different galaxies. Two different universes that only Brian Greene can explain the simultaneous existence of. One is a vegetable, and one is gross, tasteless nonsense. Okay and also I do enjoy feeling sort of touchy-feely at-one with the planet, eating in-season, because otherwise, [...]
"Sens. Reid and Kerry confirm that climate change legislation — which assumed room temperature about six months ago and has been stinking up the place all summer — is in fact dead."
I am very disappointed that Al Gore did not read this with "annoying poetry guy" intonation.
"Bloomberg is expected to use part of his address to push initiatives that would increase the number of parking spaces for electric cars and begin recycling more plastics and food waste. The mayor who has taken on smoking, sugary drinks and salt is also expected to talk about working with the City Council to ban Styrofoam food packaging from stores and restaurants." —Just 12 years into his life term as mayor, Michael Bloomberg is now coming for your takeout containers.
The biggest car market in America is California, and the top-selling car in California is now the Toyota Prius hybrid. Does this mean America has fallen out of love with the pickup truck that has dominated U.S. automobile sales since Reagan first made "living like Southerners who need a pickup truck" the keystone of his domestic policy? Maybe!
The F-series Ford pickup has been the best-selling American "car" since Reagan was president. The sales of Ford pickups even increased by 10% in 2012, because the recovery of the housing market allowed housing industry workers to replace their old pickups. We have a very weird (and completely unsustainable) economy in [...]
San Francisco's once-barren industrial waterfront between the Giants ballpark and Candlestick Point is rapidly becoming a 13-mile-long green patchwork of restored wetlands, parks and a maritime museum connected by bicycle paths, walking trails and the nearby Third Street MUNI light rail. It's part of the greening and peopling of Port District waterfronts that includes an accidental bird wonderland where a cargo pier was never completed, the open space around Candlestick Park (which will be demolished this year and replaced with 6,000 homes) and lots of little pieces along the shore being put together by the Port of San Francisco and the city's parks department.[...]
So we’ve all scanned Google Earth for the Indian ship-breaking beaches, or the rows of planes in aircraft boneyards, or the abandoned and overgrown town of Chernobyl. But toxic, garbage-y sites aren’t always limited to exotic, remote locales—sometimes they’re right past our backyards. Sometimes they’re even under our backyards.
In 1972, two million tires, clustered into groups with metal clips, were dumped into the ocean in a two birds/one stone attempt to clean up the landscape encourage natural reef growth. Instead, the well-intentioned ecologists created a 50-foot diameter dead zone a mile off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Area marine life was forced [...]
In honor of Earth Day 2010, The Awl has decided to help the environment by going completely paperless today. So don't print anything out that you see here until tomorrow, okay? I also personally pledge not to piss on any trees this evening, no matter how drunk I am or how full my bladder. Plus, we're going to make all our slugs ("This Just In," What A World," etc.) green, to symbolize our commitment to nature. I think if we all pull together we can really make some positive changes that will help save the planet. Please share your earth-friendly solutions below! Do remember that using the caps lock [...]