Daily Archives: March 21, 2013

US video site YouTube hits a billion users

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Phil Donahue on 2003 Firing From MSNBC For Airing Anti-War Voices

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Bill McKibben on Faith & Fossil Fuel Divestment

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Congress Takes A Closer Look At THREATS FROM SPACE!


Full Show 3/21/13: Time to Make Members of Congress Wear NASCAR Patches

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My TEDx talk on climate, pimped out | Grist


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Belfer Center – Latest from the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements


Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Latest from the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
March 20, 2013

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Real Progress on Environmental Justice | It’s Our Environment


2013 March 20

Cross-posted from the CEQ blog; http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/blog

By EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe and CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley

All Americans deserve to have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink and healthy communities in which to raise their families. These things are an essential part of what it means to live in America.

But too often, America’s low-income and minority communities bear the brunt of the nation’s pollution. That also means that these communities are disproportionately affected by the many serious – and costly – illnesses that are linked to pollution, and that they are less attractive to the businesses and investments that help create thriving neighborhoods. And unfortunately, these groups often have little say in the decision-making process that can fix these inequities.

The Obama Administration is working to address these disparities. As part of an initiative led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Americans across the country are benefiting from new approaches by Federal agencies to ensure healthy, thriving communities.

In new annual reports, agencies show the steps they have taken to ensure they are meeting environmental justice goals, including engaging overburdened communities early and often in decision-making, integrating environmental justice into grant application processes and agency programs, and improving the tools and methods used to identify and address concerns……(read more).

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

John Kerry Says ‘The Science Is Screaming At Us’ But Would Approving Keystone Destroy His Climate Credibility? | ThinkProgress

By Joe Romm on Mar 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered another set of powerful remarks on climate change last night. But all his poignant words will come to nought — indeed, they’ll come back to haunt him — if he makes the wrong decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

How precisely could Kerry lobby other countries to join an international climate treaty (and move away from fossil fuels) — perhaps his primary goal as Secretary — after enabling the accelerated exploitation of one of the dirtiest sources of fossil fuels in the world?

I had thought that Obama’s strong post-reelection words on climate, coupled with the choice of climate hawk Kerry as Secretary of State, might be a double signal that the administration was prepared to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. But last week, the White House started sending signals “the president is inclined to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Keystone is a gateway to a huge pool of carbon-intensive fuel most of which must be left in the ground — along with most of the world’s coal and unconventional oil and gas – if humanity is to avoid multiple devastating impacts that may be beyond adaptation. That can’t happen without some sort of international agreement (or multi-lateral or bilateral agreements). And such an agreement is not possible without the U.S. taking a leadership role, since we are the richest country and the biggest cumulative polluter.

Kerry certainly understands the risks posed by climate inaction. Yesterday at the National Geographic Society’s Ross Sea Conservation Reception, he said:

I have seen this fragile ecosystem change before our very eyes, whether it’s a problem of acidification, a problem of pollution and development, a problem of ice melt and potential ecosystem collapse, to the rise of the sea levels, which is happening in various parts of the world….

The entire system is interdependent, and we toy with that at our peril….

So climate change is coming back in a sense as a serious international issue because people are experiencing it firsthand. The science is screaming at us, literally, demanding that people in positions of public responsibility at least exercise the so-called “precautionary principle” to balance the equities and not knowing completely the outcomes at least understand what is happening and take steps to prevent potential disaster. ….(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

Monsanto’s Death Grip on Your Food – Occupy Monsanto

By Fritz Kreiss | March 19, 2013
By Randall Amster of CounterPunch

Monsanto’s near-monopoly gives the company the right to control access to a staple food item that is found in a wide range of consumer products.

Monsanto has yet another case pending in the court system, this time before the U.S. Supreme Court on the exclusivity of its genetically modified seed patents. Narrowly at issue is whether Monsanto retains patent rights on soybeans that have been replanted after showing up in generic stocks rather than being sold specifically as seeds, or whether those patent rights are “exhausted” after the initial planting. But more broadly the case also raises implications regarding control of the food supply and the patenting of life – questions that current patent laws are ill-equipped to meaningfully address.

On the specific legal issues, Monsanto is likely to win the case (they almost always do). The extant facts make this a relatively poor platform to serve as a test case of Monsanto’s right to exert such expansive powers. The farmer in this situation had previously purchased Monsanto soybeans for planting (back in 1999), and in this instance bought previously harvested soybeans with the intention of planting them – even spraying Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide on them in the hopes that at least some of the generic stock would be of the so-called “Roundup Ready” variety……(read more).
See also: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/448-farm-and-food-policy/16568-monsantos-death-grip-on-your-food

Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120
Food-Matters http://Food-Matters.TV