DIY activists have been using human hair mats to soak up the carcinogenic bunker oil that's been washing onto Bay Area beaches since the spill. Now they're inoculating the oil-soaked mats with mushrooms that will break down the oil into harmless compost. See also: fungi breaking down plastics, synthetic dyes and organopollutants generally. A bit more from mushroom guru Paul Stamets. (If you're so inclined, here's a link to donate to the non-profit that coordinated the hair mats.) [more inside]
More environmental data goes down the memory hole... Another EPA report gets "edited" by the White House to minimize warnings about climate change and the contributing factors of industrial and automotive emissions. Data from a 2001 report on climate by the National Research Council commissioned by by White House is omitted in favor of research data funded by the American Petroleum Institute. Behold the best government money can buy...
Beyond petroleum? British Petroleum’s recent $200-million makeover into sunny-logoed bp seems to respond to mounting concerns over pollution, global warming, and wars for oil. By advocating alternatives to the very product that has made it the world’s seventh-largest company, it also seems like economic suicide. In accordance with their environmental goals, they've helped release bald eagles in Manhattan and bring solar power to rural Tibet, but many remain unconvinced. Each bp ad ended with the same tagline: “It’s a start.” Is it?
"The myth of oil prosperity runs wide and deep". "Petroleum-led development strategies have delivered nation after nation into a spiral of debt and dependency. And yet, governments, corporations, and international financial institutions continue to reinvest in the growing, global oil economy". Consider Nigeria, the point of focus of attention of environmentalists, human rights activists and fair trade advocates around the world. With its annual debt service obligation at over $4 bn, more than a third of its export income, Nigeria has in recent years pegged its annual budget allocation for actual debt servicing at $2 bn. Lower export earnings forced it to cut this to $1.5 bn in the 1999 budget. Who's to blame? Theftocracies, the IMF, World Bank, oil companies, foreign governments? Since it is clear that debt restructuring harms more than helps, will there be more debt relief, and finally, who ends up paying the banks when loans are written off?