SCRAMBLE THAT TOFU, GALLEY SLAVE: If I could lift one-third of my body weight (after four hernia operations I can barely lift a box of Kleenex) and had $10,000 (which I don’t, of course, and never will) I would sail the sun-kissed waters of the romantic, garbage-filled North Pacific gyre this summer with a bunch of Greenies from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, a non-profit based in Long Beach, Calif. A gyre is a vortex of ocean currents where plastic debris accumulates. The Algalita people are climbing aboard the Sea Dragon, a 72-foot racing sloop owned by Pangaea Explorations, and setting off from July 7-27 to assess the current amount of plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean, according to a news release from the group. They have 10 open spaces for the voyage, which will go from Honolulu to Vancouver, B.C. A portion of the $10,000 fare is tax deductible, and net proceeds will help support Algalita’s research and educational outreach. “On this voyage you’ll earn your sea legs and rough hands hauling in lines and hoisting sails, but you’ll also be doing science work side-by-side with researchers,” Algalita’s Marcus Eriksen says. “Prepare to trawl the sea, sort plastic, preserve fish and catalog it all.” A total of only 14 people will be on board the Sea Dragon, including four professional crewmembers. Participants will also help sail and maintain the ship, stand night watch and cook meals. An early-bird discount of $1,000 is available through Feb. 28. For details, visit www.algalita.org or call (562) 598-4889.
THE KILLING OF 12-04: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the death of a whooping crane reported by an Alabama conservation officer at Weiss Lake in Cherokee County January 28, according to a news release from the Service. Investigators believe the crane was shot. “We recently lost three whooping cranes to gunfire in south Georgia, now this one in Alabama,” FWS Special Agent Jim Gale says. ‘This senseless killing has just got to stop.” The male whooping crane, designated 12-04, was equipped with a transmitter and leg bands to help track his movements. Raised in Wisconsin at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, 12-04 learned how to migrate behind ultralight aircraft flown by Operation Migration. The program leads a group of cranes each year on their first migrations from Wisconsin to Florida and is a partner with the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, an effort to reintroduce the cranes into the eastern United States. A $6,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to a conviction. To provide information, contact Special Agent John Rawls at (334) 285-9600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about reintroduction efforts, visit www.bringbackthecranes.org.
NEW YEAR, SAME OLD CRAP: For the past 50 years, many politicians and industrial interests in Alabama have pitted jobs against the environment and tried to convince people that any legitimate environmental enforcement in the state is an attempt by those pointy-headed liberal intellectuals to take jobs from good, hard-working, Bible-thumping Alabamians. That’s my primary take-away from the op-ed piece “Healthy environment, healthy economy,” published recently in the Mobile Press-Register by Hank Caddell, who served as chief of the Environmental Protection Division of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office from 1971 to 1978. According to Caddell, his piece is a response to a January op-ed by Alabama Public Service Commission member Twinkle Cavanaugh, who says that climate change is “based upon questionable science” and that we should keep Alabama’s electric rates low by fighting proposed EPA regulations limiting carbon emissions. According to Caddell, Cavanaugh is once again pitting the environment against the economy. “This false dichotomy fails to recognize that a healthy environment is our most important economic asset,” Caddell says. He suggests that while coal is a cheap energy source, it contributes to climate change, which is a very real threat and could have horrible effects on our children and grandchildren. “We must not sacrifice them for lower electric rates in the short term,” Caddell says. “Alabamians, like all citizens of the planet, have much at stake. We should not be raising our voices against the moderate measures now being contemplated by the EPA.” Caddell is a founder of the Alabama Coastal Heritage Trust and vice president of the Gulf Restoration Network. His e- mail address is email@example.com.
KEEP IT WILD: Al.com is helping work up public enthusiasm to extend the state of Alabama’s popular land conservation program Forever Wild past its current 2012 expiration date. The “Keeping Alabama Forever Wild” series seeks essays (600-word limit), photos and videos from people who want to share their feelings regarding a special outdoor place in Alabama, be it a river, a park, a wetlands or a wildlife area. Send in your entry, along with your favorite spot’s approximate address or GPS coordinates, or the name of the nearest Alabama community, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and videos should be accompanied by a brief description. Your entry must include a short bio, along with a mailing address, email address and phone number. Deadline is February 28. A selection will be published on al.com each day from March 1 through Earth Day, April 22. The project is supported by The Nature Conservancy of Alabama and Conservation Alabama Foundation.
I LOVE ALICIA! I am still crushing SO hard on Alicia Silverstone, and I’m TOTALLY excited (well maybe not totally) that her web site is listed in “10 Sexy Green Celebrity Websites for a Better Planet,” posted by Elizah Leigh at the green gossip site www.ecorazzi.com. Some of the other celebs whose sites get shout-outs are Pierce Bronsnan, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daryl Hannah. “While some of these sites have darker shades of green than others, they all stand as a testament to the owner’s passion when it comes to healthy living—and protecting the planet,” according to Leigh. Alicia’s web site is called thekindlife.com and features various green lifestyle tips, information about green products, etc. According to Leigh, Alicia is an “enthusiastic vegan, mom to a menagerie of rescued dogs and embracer of NUDE gardening (thanks to Woody Harrelson’s tip off!).” Good move, Woody. Remind me to pack a nice, fat bowl for you. Hannah’s site dhlovelife. com seems pretty fun, with lots of video and stuff. But Hannah herself is a true Green Riot-Girl. According to Leigh, Hannah’s “law-breaking ecoactivism” includes sitting in a tree for 23 days to try to prevent an urban farm in South Central Los Angeles from being bulldozed and sitting in the middle of West Virginia’s State Route 3 in protest of mountaintop removal mining. You go, girl!