Sunday, October 22, 2006

Daily Grist: Top 10 most polluted spots, ozone hole hole-ier than ever, and more

Daily Grist
Friday, 20 Oct 2006
From Real Life to Real Men
Leonardo DiCaprio makes plans for an eco-reality show and Budweiser launches an organic brew, in this week's Grist List. Sign up to get The Grist List each week by email.

When Guvs Try
Enviros hope to make gains with gubernatorial races in key states

Photo: Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) has chalked up a respectable environmental record in a state where the chief industry -- auto making -- isn't known for its eco-friendliness. She's now locked in a tough race for reelection against Dick DeVos (R), a conservative multimillionaire who's funded right-wing think tanks with anti-environment agendas. In part two of a roundup on gubernatorial races, Muckraker spotlights the Michigan race and others in the Midwest and West where enviros are backing green candidates and hoping to make state-level progress.

new in Muckraker: When Guvs Try

You Can Call Them Algae
Marine "dead zones" on the rise around the world

There are now at least 200 oxygen-starved "dead zones" in the world's seas and oceans, a rise of more than a third over the past two years, the United Nations Environment Program announced yesterday. The algae blooms that suck up oxygen and cause dead zones -- killing off or driving out fish, oysters, sea grass, and other marine flora and fauna -- are triggered by phosphorus and nitrogen from fertilizer, sewage, animal waste, and fossil-fuel burning. Dead zones currently lurk off the coasts of the U.S., Scandinavia, South America, Ghana, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, and Britain. "There are numerous compelling reasons for combating pollution to the marine environment," says UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "These range from public health concerns to the economic damage such pollution can cause to tourism and fisheries." Unfortunately, the dead-zone problem is only getting worse; nitrogen pollution of waterways that drain into seas and oceans is expected to rise 14 percent from mid-1990s levels by 2030.

straight to the source: The Boston Globe, Associated Press, 20 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Daniel Wallis, 20 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Environment News Service, 19 Oct 2006

When the Blights Go Down in the City
List ranks top ten most polluted spots on earth

Looking for that perfect vacation getaway, where you and that special someone can recapture the magic by going into acute respiratory distress together? Look no further: The Blacksmith Institute has released a list of the 10 most polluted spots on earth. Chernobyl in Ukraine is the best known on the list; Russia has the distinction of being home to three hotspots, while others are in China, the Dominican Republic, India, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, and Zambia. They include hubs of coal production, copper mining, and Cold War-era chemical weapons production. Most are far from capital cities or tourist areas (escape the crowds!), yet still home to a collective 10 million people who suffer dearly from the effects of toxic contamination. "There are places where life expectancy approaches medieval rates, where birth defects are the norm not the exception, where children's asthma rates are measured above 90 percent, and where mental retardation is endemic," the report says. Book your tickets today!

straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Timothy Gardner, 19 Oct 2006

straight to the source: BBC News, 18 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Houston Chronicle, Associated Press, Tracee Herbaugh, 18 Oct 2006

straight to the list: World's Worst-Polluted Places 2006

That's What Friends Are For
Cheri Sugal, defender of a Mexican rainforest, answers readers' questions

Cheri Sugal. Each jaguar needs about 3,700 acres of healthy habitat in order to survive, says Friends of Calakmul director Cheri Sugal. As InterActivist this week, Sugal chats with readers about how important large tracts of contiguous land are for these big cats, what's being done to protect jaguars along the U.S.-Mexico border, her hopes for a new program that will provide spiritual retreats for women in remote settings, and more.

new in InterActivist: That's What Friends Are For

The Hole Truth and Nothing But the Truth
Ozone hole biggest, deepest on record

This year's ozone hole is bigger and deeper than any other on record, NASA scientists said yesterday. From Sept. 21 to Sept. 30, the ozone hole sprawled to an average of 10.6 million square miles. That's pretty big, alright: approximately the surface area of North America plus Argentina. In the same September time period, ozone was "virtually gone" in the atmospheric layer eight to 13 miles above the earth's surface, says David Hofmann of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Warmer temperatures in the stratosphere cause smaller holes o' ozone; the colder it gets, the larger and deeper the hole gets. This year, the Antarctic experienced an unusually cold winter and spring, and the lower stratosphere was about 9 degrees chillier than average. Despite the relapse, the UV-ray-blocking ozone layer is doing better overall, thanks to human phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals; scientists expect it to fully recover by about 2065.

straight to the source: Orange County Register, Associated Press, 20 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Rocky Mountain News, Jim Erickson, 20 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Reuters, 19 Oct 2006

Hot Air Act
Canadian Clean Air Act meets icy reception

Canada's newly proposed Clean Air Act -- hyped as the centerpiece of the Conservative government's green agenda -- is getting booed right off the stage. The bill sets a far-out goal of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions 45 to 65 percent by 2050, making no mention of the country's commitment to the more near-term goals of the Kyoto Protocol. Targets for reducing smog would not be set until 2020. Vehicle fuel-efficiency regulations would be introduced in 2010, but the bill doesn't specify how strict they would be. The legislation would also remove greenhouse gases from the Canadian Environmental Protection Act's list of toxic substances, instead categorizing them as "air pollutants"; the change could lead to more court challenges of government regulation of GHGs. Canada's New Democratic Party called the act a "made-in-Washington green plan." Zing! All three opposition parties in the House of Commons have said they will vote against the bill, giving it no chance to pass into law this session.

straight to the source: Globe and Mail, Canadian Press, 19 Oct 2006

straight to the source: The Vancouver Sun, CanWest News Service, Mike De Souza, 19 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Yahoo! News, Agence France-Presse, Michel Comte, 19 Oct 2006

straight to the source: Globe and Mail, Canadian Press, Dennis Bueckert, 13 Oct 2006


Behind the Vail, by Tim Sprinkle. How the legendary ski town is going green.

The Soul of DeWitt, by David Roberts. An interview with environmental scientist and evangelical leader Calvin DeWitt.

Chemically Dependent, by Tom Philpott in Victual Reality. Decades after Silent Spring, pesticides remain a menace -- especially to farmworkers.


click here


Evangelicals, the environment, and the mid-terms. Big stuff could be happening.

Short videos on sustainability. Fun.

Solar dominance: inevitable? Travis Bradford thinks so.

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