EARTH DAY: Join us for a quick look around the country and around the world as we catalog some of the interesting things going on during Earth Week 2011 and beyond.
KEEP FOREVER WILD AS IS! Pat Byington, publisher of Bama Environmental News (www. BamaNews2.blogspot.com), contributed another eloquent op-ed to The Birmingham News April 17 arguing that the state legislature extend Forever Wild, our wildly popular state lands conservation program, for another 20 years. Byington’s piece, called “For Earth Day 2011, keep Forever Wild, ‘as is,’” can be found at www.al.com.
GREEN CELL PHONE: According to www.wirelessweek.com, Sprint launched its fourth device made from recycled materials April 15. The Android-based Samsung Replenish will be available to greenie gadget lovers May 8. An optional solar-charging battery cover will be available (Wow! I’m in greenie heaven!). Sprint also made the Samsung Restore, which was made from recycled materials and is available through Virgin Mobile.
YEAR OF THE FOREST: Deforestation is continuing at unsustainable rates despite modest conservation efforts, a U.S. official said in recent Earth Day-themed remarks. Hence the government’s desire to declare 2011 the International Year of Forests. According to U.S. State Department official Daniel Reifsnyder, as reported by the UPI, the federal government is working with other members of the international community to bring public attention to the importance of managing forests properly. Forests, we’re told, support the livelihoods of approximately 1.5 billion people around the world. “The pace at which the globe is losing forests is slowing,” Reifsnyder said in a statement quoted by the UPI. “But there is much work left to do.”
I DON’T THINK WE’VE MET: So here on Earth, even as we regularly terminate other species with extreme prejudice, we haven’t discovered or identified more than 10 percent of the living species on earth. That’s the mind-blowing (TOTALLY, Dude!) take-away from a piece by Janos Gereben published in The San Francisco Examiner. According to Gereben, scientists from the California Academy of Sciences circle the globe and make often-dramatic discoveries of new species. Along with researchers from other countries, the California scientists found 113 new species during the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity in 2010. According to Gereben, senior curator Terrence M. Gosliner estimates thatthe loss of species “has been accelerating in the past 150 years due to human activity…Discovery of new species are essential to characterizing our planet’s ecosystems before they disappear forever.” Read more at www.sfexaminer. com.
STREET-FIGHTIN’ GREENIE: Author, educator and environmentalist Bill McKibben urges the formation of a new activist environmental movement to fight for clean energy and battle climate change. According to Brian Merchant, who posted April 8 at www.treehugger.com, McKibben hopes to build a movement to the scale of the first Earth Day, which saw 20 million people take to the streets to call for environmental protections. “We will never have as much money as the oil companies, so we need a different currency to work in, we need bodies, we need creativity, we need spirit,” McKibben said at the Powershift 2011 conference in Washington, D.C. McKibben was addressing students and activists who attended Powershift in order to join the climate and clean energy movement, according to Merchant. McKibben also said, “We understand the physics and chemistry of political power. In this case, it’s not carbon dioxide that rules the day: it’s money.”
IS PARIS GREENING? According to New York Times travel writer Adam H. Graham, “Paris’s green movement may have arrived fashionably late, but it has taken hold and is growing fast.” Graham says that in 2009 the legendary French capital edged into 10th place on a list of Europe’s greenest cities that was released at a United Nations conference. The city has the Vélib’ bikerental program and made a costly partial conversion of the city’s taxi fleet to hybrids.
GREEN SHEIKS: According to Tafline Laylin at www.greenprophet.com, the oil-rich nation of Dubai may be on the verge of going green and charting a cleaner energy future. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashhid Al Maktoum, vicepresident and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai, recent opened the country’s first Global Energy Forum. Organized by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, the three-day conference ended April 19. According to Laylin, the conference “demonstrates an awareness on high that the glory days of fossil fuels are over and new heights need to be achieved in renewables.” Nuclear energy and “clean” coal are high on the Emirate’s list of alternatives, Laylin says. The forum was held at the Dubai World Trade Center.
AND DON’T FORGET THE GULF: Earth Day 2011 more or less coincides with the one-year anniversary of the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. For loads of perspective on the spill, go to www.pbs.org/newshour. The coverage includes a taped interview with Joel Achenbach, author of the book A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher. According to the publisher’s web site, the book is “a suspense story, a mystery, a technological thriller” and tells the story of the engineers and scientists in Houston who scrambled to find a way to plug the ruptured well. For more, go to www.simonandschuster.com.
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.