Posts Tagged: The Environment
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Earth Day In The Metropolis

Adults, kids and corporations alike gather at Union Square to celebrate Earth Day in the only way that remains: with free stuff.

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Is the World's Most Miraculous Car a Ho-Hum Hybrid Prius?

Carrie: So Ken, I understand that you recently purchased a Prius and are pleased with your purchase! And I bought one several years ago, and am likewise very happy with it. So my first question would be: What do you think the plural of Prius is: Prius-us? Pri-i?

Ken: Well, did you know that Toyota asked Prius owners to vote for the plural form of Prius, because the actual Latin plural (priora) was already taken by a crappy Lada? I just read this on Wikipedia, so I am pretty much an "automotive journalist" now. Anyway, the plural is officially and legally prii.

Carrie: I did not know that! Very [...]

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From Green Corridor To Thick Edge: The Linear Park

This excerpt comes from Diana Balmori's A Landscape Manifesto. Balmori Associates, her landscape and urban design firm, recently completed a nine-mile linear park on the abandoned New Haven railroad in Connecticut.

Converting a railroad corridor to a linear park results in an essential transformation of a past artifact. Though linear parks and other new landscape forms take their structure from the past, they have risen to the level of new typologies. They mark the beginning of a new landscape agenda. The example of an abandoned railway line made into a linear park or greenway will serve as the poster child of such ecological transformations.

This [...]

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Message In A Bottle Received, Responded To, 24 Years Later

"My name is Frank and I'm five years old. My dad and I are traveling on a ship to Denmark. If you find this letter, please write back to me, and I will write back to you." —Frank Uesbeck, of Coesfeld, Germany, contributed to the pollution of the Baltic Sea 24 years ago by sealing a note in a brown glass bottle and throwing it off a boat. Now 29, and apparently unrepentant, he is being rewarded with press coverage. Because 13-year-old Daniil Korotkikh found the bottle on a beach on the Russian coast and reporters helped him contact Uesbeck over the Internet. Actually, this story from last [...]

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How Many Whales Did You Kill Today?

"When a whale carcass washes ashore in California and investigators find 400 pounds of plastic in its stomach, we lament. How terrible, we say. What a tragedy. But do we believe a hardworking mother of three who doesn't hike the freeway every Saturday picking up windblown plastic bags is a whale-killer? Of course she isn't. Well, maybe she is."

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We Are Sticking Oil In Our Ears And Shouting "I Can't Hear You"

You could dip an American in a vat of oil straight from the Gulf of Mexico and he still wouldn't acknowledge that our dependence on fossil fuels is causing problems. "Great tragedy, with the right timing, can bring great change…. When people are in a bunker mentality, sort of hunkered down over the economy, then that's not going to produce significant change," says a guy from the American Enterprise Institute. But hope remains for some who believe that eventually we will recognize the devastation caused by the oil that is eating the bottom of America alive.

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Website New

Do people still have media diets? If you do, here is a new thing on the Internet that you should add to your media diet. It is about the outdoors and the environment, but not in the preachy, annoying way which characterizes so much of that discussion and causes even the most ardent conservationist to dream of a world that has been entirely plowed under, paved over and fracked like there is no tomorrow. You won't find that here! Plus, they've got a very amateur logo, which means they are sincere in the best kind of way.

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David Brooks' Argument In Favor Of Partisan Obstructionism

Here is the argument David Brooks makes in his op-ed, "A Sad Green Story," in today's Times: Government legislation to curb global warming, which he supports, has failed because because Al Gore supported it so strongly. It is the "highly partisan former vice president"'s fault, Brooks says, because after Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006, and Gore "became the global warming spokesman, no Republican could stand shoulder to shoulder with him and survive. Any slim chance of building a bipartisan national consensus was gone." It is Gore's fault, for being so highly partisan earlier in his career, that Republican congressman refuse, on partisan grounds, to [...]

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One Day Soon, Ferns Will Rule the World

As we head into the late days of November, at least here in the region around New York City, most of the ferns have turned sallow and dry, so that it’s difficult to believe that only a few months ago, they formed a lush, dense carpet of shadowy green on forest floors everywhere. While it’s tempting to be taken in by these superficial signs of frailty and expiration, do not be deceived: those of us who spend time with ferns understand that they are plotting, and one day soon will again rule the world.

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Thing Not As Big As Was Originally Claimed

"None of us on that cruise had been to the patch, but we had all heard that it's twice the size of Texas. That's in a textbook. These statements are so frequent and in so many places that they are accepted as fact. But they undermine the credibility of those advocating for reduction of plastic pollution in the terrestrial and marine environments. Plastic is everywhere. But it's not a patch." —Oregon State University in Corvallis microbial oceanographer Angel White sets the record straight. Having once mentioned the alarming original claim myself, I feel an obligation to also further the debunking: There is not a patch of [...]

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Study Results Force Choice Between Ignorance And Racism

Let's say you're a climate-change denialist who believes that the worst threat to this country comes from darker-skinned people, particularly those who speak Spanish and head here from points south. Congratulations, you represent the current mainstream of Republican party thinking! But also, how would you wrap your head around something like this?

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Drill Farther, Baby

Oh, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it is much bigger than anyone thought it was! The exploded oil rig has, it turns out, three leaks, and is spewing out five times as much oil as previously thought, as much as 5000 barrels a day, though the Coast Guard (the socialist government protectorate) and the rig's operator (fine American company British Petroleum) do not at all agree as to how much oil is beneath the hundred mile long oil slick. What lessons are we learning? Bipartisanship! Gulf coast Republicans and Democrats politicans are coming together; they have sent a letter to the president, asking him to change the [...]

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23 Replacement Similes For Humans To Use Once All The Animals Are Dead And No One Knows What "Animals" Were

Now that we're well on into our planet's sixth mass extinction event, and with recent news that we're charging towards environmental catastrophe faster than ever, it's time we start thinking about contingencies not in terms of "if" but in terms of "when." Let's say, just for argument's sake, that the human species will survive. Some people, like Annalee Newitz, author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction, think we will! But even if she's right, certainly, there will be changes we'll have to get used to. Besides the hilarious "Great, I'll have beachfront property" jokes the wittier among us [...]

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Just Go Back to Bed, Today Doesn't Count

The morning after, or, the third Thursday of this weirdo week. (iTunes)

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Luxury, Responsibility and the Double-Headed Shower Fixture

Possibly the dual shower head is commonplace place in the wider world, but it’s not in mine. So when I recently encountered one in a hotel-room shower, I found it confusing, and vaguely freakish. I wondered: Is this some thick-headed vision of progress—the same level of “innovation” that answers the three-blade razor with a four-blader? Or is it simply a production error, an industrial design mutant? What I would soon learn is that whatever the original intent, what it had become was, of all things, a moral crossroad.

Awl pal Rob Walker has to fight the gluttony that lives inside us all… before coffee.

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Endangered Orchids, Panthers Will Let Us Know When It's Time to Move the Moon

"Panthers and orchids are sentinels. They are not guards; they are watchdogs of the environment. We should be watching them just as closely. When they decide to leave, we should too."

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Cows And Sheep Could Soon Taste More Cilantro-y

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! Soon your meat may come pre-seasoned and help the environment: "Curry spices could hold the key to reducing the enormous greenhouse gas emissions given off by grazing animals such as sheep, cows and goats, scientists have claimed. Research carried out at Newcastle University has found that coriander and turmeric – spices traditionally used to flavour curries – can reduce by up to 40 per cent the amount of methane that is produced by bacteria in a sheep's stomach and then emitted into the atmosphere when the animal burps."

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Cigarette Companies' Misguided Priorities

I'm a bad citizen, environment-wise, in that I don't really give a shit about my carbon footprint or whatever. I leave everything plugged in and crank the A/C as soon as the mercury passes 50; if I cared, I'd justify it by noting that I live in New York and use public transportation, but I don't care, so I don't bother, because by the time global warming's gonna be a major problem for those of us in the first world I'll be dead, an assumption which probably holds true even if global warming becomes a major problem for those of us in the first world next year or so.