‘We have money and power’: older Americans to blockade banks in climate protest
Demonstrations at 90 sites are billed as first major action by older activists: ‘It’s not fair to ask 18-year-olds to solve this’
Climate activists across the US will on Tuesday blockade branches of banks that finance fossil fuels, cutting up their credit cards in protest and holding rallies featuring everything from flash mobs to papier-mache orca whales. Unusually for such a spectacle, the protests won’t be led by young activists but those of a grayer hue. Continue reading
Leveraging Guarani Knowhow For Reforestation
Thanks to Jill Langlois and Yale e360:
How Indigenous People Are Restoring Brazil’s Atlantic Forest
The Guarani Mbya people are working to restore the once-vast Atlantic Forest, which has been largely lost to development. Gaining official tenure of their lands, they hope, will boost their efforts, which range from planting native trees to reintroducing pollinators.
It was 2016 when Jurandir Jekupe noticed the bees were gone.
Their nests were once common in Yvy Porã, the Guarani Mbya village where Jekupe grew up and still lives. Continue reading
The Nature Book, Reviewed
Neither the author of the book, nor Cara Blue Adams who reviews it in the essay below, is familiar in our pages. But it is an essay that evokes familiar themes, so here goes:
Searching for Unfamiliar Terrain in “The Nature Book”
We go to the wilderness to test ourselves against an environment indifferent to our presence. Can this experience be re-created in fiction?
The Wilderness Act, passed in 1964, established the National Wilderness Preservation System to safeguard federally owned land, beginning with 9.1 million acres, called “wilderness areas,” to be “designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition.” Continue reading
Libraries Old & New
The name Michael Kimmelman is rare in these pages, but in covering one of our favorite topics he gets our full attention again today:
As New York Weighs Library Cuts, Three New Branches Show Their Value
Facing a giant budget deficit, Mayor Eric Adams proposed cuts to New York libraries. But they play an outsize role in the city, offering services and safety.
A city is only as good as its public spaces. The Covid-19 pandemic was another reminder: For quarantined New Yorkers, parks, outdoor dining sheds and reopened libraries became lifelines.
But now Mayor Eric Adams wants to slash funds for parks ($46 million) and for libraries ($13 million this fiscal year, more than $20 million next), and the City Council is debating the dining sheds. The sheds need regulation and the city budget needs to be cut by perhaps $3 billion. That said, if you don’t find the current political conversation shortsighted, you might want to do what I recently did and check out some of the library branches that have opened since the start of 2020. I visited three of them — each one a boon for its neighborhood, and money well-spent. Continue reading
Realities Of Rewilding
Rewilding has been a favorite topic in our pages for most of the last decade. We appreciate the nuances, described by Ben Martynoga, in this particular community’s efforts and challenges related to rewilding:
‘The R-word can be alienating’: How Haweswater rewilding project aims to benefit all
On the Lake District’s north-eastern fringe, two farmsteads are restoring the landscape with a commitment to conservation and providing jobs
Until the last male golden eagle died in 2015, Haweswater, on the rugged north-eastern fringe of the Lake District, was England’s final refuge for the bird of prey. “Even now, whenever I go up Riggindale, it feels like something is missing,” says Spike Webb, a long-serving RSPB warden at its Haweswater site. Continue reading
An Insider’s View On Ocean
We thank Jeffrey J. Marlow, Assistant Professor of Biology at Boston University, once again; this time for an essay he just posted on the New Yorker’s website. The news in it is not new, but his take on it is:
The Inside Story of the U.N. High Seas Treaty
A new global agreement protects marine life in parts of the ocean that laws have been unable to reach.
The open ocean, which is home to millions of species and generates much of the oxygen we breathe, is a mostly lawless place. Nations have jurisdiction over waters near their coasts, but the high seas, which begin two hundred and thirty miles from shore, are a first-come, first-served domain: there’s little to stop someone from exploiting marine resources, whether plants and animals in the water or fossil fuels beneath the seafloor. Forty-three per cent of the planet’s surface is vulnerable to unregulated deep-sea drilling, overfishing, and bioprospecting. Continue reading
Sunflower Seastars & Ocean Futures
Thanks to Nicholas Bakalar (last seen in these pages seven years ago, we welcome his science reporting work back after so long):
The Missing 24-Limbed Animals That Could Help Rescue the Ocean’s Forest
Scientists say that reintroducing the fast-moving predators to the West Coast could help control the spread of sea urchins that are devouring kelp.
The kelp forests off the West Coast are dying, and with their decline, an entire ecosystem of marine plants and animals is at risk. A large starfish with an appetite for sea urchins could come to the rescue. Continue reading
Economic Zones On Oceanic Commons
For some historical context it helps to think of the many challenges that commons represent. But here and now, this deal is as important as it gets:
Countries Reach Deal to Protect Marine Life in International Waters
UN member states have forged a landmark deal to guard ocean life, charting a path to create new protected areas in international waters. Continue reading
Protecting Insects Requires More Effort
Insects matter, and our thanks to Catrin Einhorn for making it more clear why:
Are Butterflies Wildlife? Depends Where You Live.
A legal quirk leaves officials in at least a dozen states with little or no authority to protect insects. That’s a growing problem for humans.
It’s tough being an insect. They get swatted, stomped and sprayed without a thought. Their mere presence can provoke irrational panic. Even everyday language disparages them: “Stop bugging me,” we say. Continue reading
Spirit Catcher and Lumen-Less Lantern, An Art Intervention by Willie Cole
Recycling has been a key theme in these pages since we started. Sometimes upcycle has been the term. Of course, reuse is also interesting.
All of these are worth our attention and support.
Our thanks to Laura van Straaten and the New York Times for bringing Willie Cole’s exhibition into view:
Willie Cole’s Ecological Interventions Turn Trash Into Art
The artist invited the community in Newark to reimagine objects that would otherwise be destined for a landfill — to look at them in a fresh, imaginative way.
NEWARK — The artist Willie Cole has created two colossal new sculptures and generated a provocative group exhibition stemming from an unusual open call asking artists to transform objects destined for landfill into something imaginative and new. Continue reading
Guyana & Petroleum
Yesterday’s link to the story about Greenland‘s approach to carefully harnessing the economic power of tourism made me think today about a recent visit to Guyana that Amie and I made. What I knew of Greenland before reading that article was limited, but it included the newsworthy commitment they made, which I acknowledge having found inspirational. But I am a layperson on what such commitments actually mean. Continue reading
Brilliance Up North
Setting limits at the outset, what a brilliant idea:
Greenland Wants You to Visit. But Not All at Once.
The Arctic island, renowned for its glaciers and fjords, is expanding airports and hotels to energize its economy, even as it tries to avoid the pitfalls of overtourism.
“The weather decides”: It could almost be the motto of Greenland. Visitors drawn to this North Atlantic island to see its powder blue glaciers, iceberg-clogged fjords and breathtakingly stark landscapes quickly learn to respect the elements, and they’re sometimes rewarded for it.
One cold December day, I was waiting for a delayed flight in Kangerlussuaq, a former U.S. military base just above the Arctic Circle, when a friendly Air Greenland pilot named Stale asked if I’d like to join him on a drive to the harbor to “pick up some musk ox heads.” The offer seemed very Greenlandic, so how could I refuse? Continue reading
We believe the challenge of climate instability is the biggest opportunity for global mobilization we have ever seen. It is an opportunity to learn how to use technology to rebalance our ecosystems rather than further alienate us from them. We work with the inherent power of plants, informed by generations of scientific research, to restore ecosystems, improve biodiversity, and enhance the ability of photosynthetic organisms to draw down and store carbon from the atmosphere.
A mission we are curious about, click the image above to learn more.
Renewable Energy & Winged Creatures
We knew that the intersection between renewable energy and birds can be problematic, so we thank Emma Foehringer Merchant for this look at one initiative to address it:
Wanted: Dead Birds and Bats, Felled by Renewables
Scientists say collecting, studying, and storing the carcasses from wind and solar facilities can unlock new insights.
“This is one of the least smelly carcasses,” said Todd Katzner, peering over his lab manager’s shoulder as she sliced a bit of flesh from a dead pigeon lying on a steel lab table. The specimens that arrive at this facility in Boise, Idaho, are often long dead, and the bodies smell, he said, like “nothing that you can easily describe, other than yuck.” Continue reading
Coffee Capsules Reconsidered
We have been clearly on one side of this, but now thanks to Cecilia Nowell and the Guardian we acknowledge a possible reason to reconsider:
Are coffee pods really eco-friendly? The truth behind the surprising findings
Coffee capsules notoriously produce waste – but some experts maintain that reducing how much coffee you use, even with a pod, can decrease emissions
If you drink one of the 2bn cups of coffee consumed each day worldwide, you may have seen headlines last month celebrating the coffee pod, a single-serving container – typically made of plastic or aluminum – that can be inserted into a machine to brew a cup of coffee. Continue reading
When Diplomatic Language Is Counter-Productive
We look for positive news on the environment without hiding the perils. Bill McKibben, as always, prefers straight talk in all such matters:
The U.N. Secretary-General’s Searing Message for the Fossil-Fuel Industry
Forget diplomatic language—it’s a moment for some home truths.
On Monday morning, at the United Nations, the Secretary-General delivered his annual report on priorities—a kind of State of the Planet address. If you’re struggling to remember the name of the current Secretary-General, it’s António Guterres, who came to the job after, among other things, serving as the Prime Minister of Portugal. We’re used to the idea that “diplomatic language” is filled with euphemisms—“a full and frank exchange of views,” and so on. Continue reading
Kenya’s Libraries Get The Attention They Deserve
Palace is a fine way to think about libraries, and Kenya has a movement to make this metaphor work:
Turning Nairobi’s Public Libraries Into ‘Palaces for the People’
A Kenyan nonprofit is restoring iconic public libraries, leaving behind a segregated past and turning them into inclusive spaces.
In 1931, the first library in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, opened its doors — to white patrons only. Continue reading
Bravo, Bobbi Wilson!
A young person doing their part, on their own, to help with an environmental scourge. Hats off to that. The unneighborly act aside, this is a story to celebrate (thanks to National Public Radio, USA) and an extra bravo to Yale University for their part in it:
Yale honors the work of a 9-year-old Black girl whose neighbor reported her to police
Nine-year-old Bobbi Wilson may be in the fourth grade, but last month the Yale School of Public Health held a ceremony honoring the budding scientist’s recent work. Continue reading
Snowpack & Colorado River Recovery
The Colorado River holds our attention for many reasons, but mostly now due to climate impact. Our thanks to Bob Henson at Yale Climate Connection for this:
Wet winter won’t fix Colorado River woes
“One year of good flows doesn’t mean we have a trend,” noted one expert.
Snowpack has been running well above average this winter across the Colorado River watershed. It’s a rare bright spot after 23 years of grinding megadrought brought the driest conditions in 1,200 years to the basin that supplies 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and Mexico. Continue reading
Seasonal King Tides
Our thanks to Sarah Trent, an editorial intern for High Country News based in southwest Washington, for the story and to Mother Jones for sharing it more broadly:
This Experiment Could Help Restore Eroding Coastlines
David Cottrell dropped $400 worth of rock on “washaway beach” to see what would happen. Now engineers are watching, too.
David Cottrell stood on what used to be a 14-foot-high cliff at the crumbled end of Blue Pacific Drive. Just a few years ago, this was the fastest-eroding shoreline on the US Pacific Coast; locals here in North Cove, Washington, dubbed it “washaway beach.” Continue reading