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Rolling Coal: Everything Else About It Is Pretty Good

Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 6, 2014 - 134 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Deep Sixed

In the deep sea, low oxygen levels, scarce sunlight, and freezing water limit the rate at which items decompose: Something that might survive a few years on land could exist for decades underwater. - ROVs photograph trash on the ocean floor.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2013 - 37 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

Chinese heavy metals

About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 9, 2011 - 37 comments

Yale's 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

Yale's 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals.
posted by wilful on Apr 22, 2011 - 8 comments

The Price of the Paperless Revolution

Essays on mining and its environmental and human health costs in the Fall 2010 Virginia Quarterly Review: Digging Out; Tin Fever; The Pit; Here Everything is Poison, The Solution: Bolivia's Lithium Dream; The Underground Giant: Life in the Hard Rock Mines of Quebec and Ontario; Jharia Burning; Mother of God, Child of Zeus. Editorial: The Price of the Paperless Revolution.
posted by cog_nate on Mar 3, 2011 - 10 comments

Still Great?

Waterlife — No matter where we live, the Great Lakes affect us all. And as species of fish disappear and rates of birth defects and cancer rise, it seems one thing is clear: the Great Lakes are changing and something's not quite right with the water. An interactive documentary film from the National Film Board of Canada. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Feb 26, 2011 - 20 comments

The Warriors of Qiugang (39 minutes)

The Warriors of Qiugang: A Chinese Village Fights Back, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Jan 26, 2011 - 5 comments

Executive Decarbonization

With the climate bill dead and blame portioned, Ezra Klein asks what happens when congress fails? He concludes that "regulations to reduce carbon emissions are alive and well. The Environmental Protection Agency can attack carbon as a pollutant, and the Obama administration's announcement that efforts to hamstring the EPA will be vetoed suggests that they mean to do exactly that." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 30, 2010 - 18 comments

Whales heavy with metal

"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction." A report (pdf) released Thursday by Ocean Alliance noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. Concentrations of chromium found in some whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish. Mercury in some whales was 16 times higher than a typical shark or swordfish, both known for their high mercury levels. Beyond whales, "You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species."
posted by stbalbach on Jun 24, 2010 - 68 comments

"Life in plastic, it's fantastic"

The Plastics at SEA: North Atlantic Expedition is currently studying an area in the Atlantic Ocean similar to the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch". [via] [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Jun 21, 2010 - 19 comments

Go on, us!

Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, long nicknamed the "Lavender Lake" for its copious oil slicks, has gained a new title : Superfund Site. New Yorkers respond with really cool photography. While some developers bow out in light of the recent news, other area developers, hoping for a speedy cleanup of the industrial waste and, uh ... other things ... vow to continue their plans to revitalize the formerly-industrial corridor.
posted by Afroblanco on Mar 4, 2010 - 26 comments

Picturing Climate Change

Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 10, 2009 - 3 comments

China and Pollution

Lu Guang, a freelance photographer, took disturbing photos of the effects of pollution in China. [more inside]
posted by movicont on Oct 23, 2009 - 54 comments

Toxic Waters

Toxic Waters: A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators' response.
posted by homunculus on Sep 14, 2009 - 26 comments

The Sound of Broken Promises

The Seattle P-I is known for its in depth, epic, investigative reports. As the print edition closes down this week here is a look at one report that made the PI great: The Health of the Puget Sound. [more inside]
posted by Glibpaxman on Mar 15, 2009 - 14 comments

China's Olympic Pollution Control

New Satellite Data Reveal Impact of Olympic Pollution Controls. [Via James Fallows]
posted by homunculus on Jan 9, 2009 - 26 comments

The Subversion of the EPA

Smoke and Mirrors: The Subversion of the EPA. "This four-part series details how the Bush administration weakened the EPA. It installed a pliant agency chief, Stephen L. Johnson. Under him, the EPA created pro-industry regulations later thrown out by the courts. It promoted a flawed voluntary program to fight climate change. It bypassed air pollution recommendations from its own scientists to satisfy the White House." [Via Reality Base]
posted by homunculus on Dec 11, 2008 - 19 comments

I drink it up. Everyday. I drink the blood of lamb from Bandy's tract.

Oil sands will pollute Great Lakes The environmental impacts of Alberta's oil sands will not be restricted to Western Canada, researchers say, but will extend thousands of kilometres away to the Great Lakes, threatening water and air quality around the world's largest body of fresh water. *****Report: How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin***** (pdf) Policy makers around the lakes, in both Canada and the U.S., are largely unaware that the tar sands will lead to massive industrial development in their region, and consequently have no strategy to minimize the environmental impacts. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Oct 8, 2008 - 33 comments

Nitrogen: when good elements go bad

China's Olympic beaches, choked by a plague of green algae. Sez David Suzuki: This is not an unusual occurrence, but it is a symptom of an underlying problem with potential repercussions far more serious than hampering Olympic events. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Aug 19, 2008 - 11 comments

Rachel Carson

Rehabilitating Carson: "Why do some people continue to hold Rachel Carson responsible for millions of malaria deaths?" [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 2, 2008 - 20 comments

Maps revolutionize study of carbon dioxide emissions

New maps show US fossil fuel emissions aren't where we thought they were. The Vulcan Project collects more accurate data at a higher resolution than previous studies. Explanatory video. via [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Apr 7, 2008 - 28 comments

Maybe they're talking about the paint job

A two-ton 21-mpg 8-passenger V8 Chevy Tahoe? America, meet your 2008 Green Car of the Year!
posted by dead_ on Nov 27, 2007 - 95 comments

Superfund365

Superfund365 is an online data visualization application by Brooke Singer. Each day for the next year, Superfund365 will visit one of the EPA’s Superfund sites and collect data on contaminants, corporate responsibility, photos of the sites, and stats on local inhabitants. In the end, it will have 365 visualizations of some of the worst toxic sites in the U.S. [Via The Underwire.]
posted by homunculus on Sep 25, 2007 - 12 comments

The New New Environmentalism

Not ones for subtlety, the Death of Environmentalism guys (previously) are at it again with a Manifesto for a New Environmentalism. Their Apollo Alliance is getting early support from both Clinton and Obama. But it's not the only "new environmentalism" out there. There's this New Environmentalism, while others would include both market-based approaches among the the idols of old environmentalism.
posted by salvia on Sep 20, 2007 - 22 comments

Contemporary Photography and the Environmental Debate

Imaging a Shattering Earth: Contemporary Photography and the Environmental Debate. [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Sep 15, 2007 - 13 comments

Industrial Scars

Industrial Scars. Photography by J. Henry Fair. [Via The Underwire.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 8, 2007 - 28 comments

"I would love to see it banished off the face of the Earth."

Bisphenol A: this extremely common chemical leaches out of food packaging and plastics, and was long considered safe. But a number of recent studies link it to developmental problems and cancer in lab animals in doses far lower than the current regulatory limit. Canada and the United States both review the scientific data available in the coming months, but critics already worry the process will be corrupted by industry. Industry, of course, insists that BPA is safe.
posted by mek on Apr 7, 2007 - 32 comments

Helping you because you can't help yourself

Cheatneutral. "When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere. Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and NOT cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience." [Via Gristmill.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 13, 2007 - 39 comments

What do I want to do when I grow up

When I grow up I want to be an environmental engineer. I want to work on projects that can provide potable water for people. I want to clean the polluted Mother Ganga [Ganges] who provides life giving water from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Or the Nile, both blue and white, spilling fertility from her bunds on a regular cycle. I want to design products that use the least amount of energy and fuel, from recycled materials and are biodegradable. I want to seek alternative sources of energy, such as using biofuel to power cellphones. I want to design with maximum constraints. Call her mother earth, gaia, demeter, ceres or inanna, our planet is on the brink of no return. Or is it all just a matter of perspective?
posted by infini on Feb 9, 2007 - 21 comments

Is it really time to upgrade your mobile phone?

Dead Ringers: the Science Museum asks us the question "should we upgrade our mobile phone?" "No" and "no" say the Times and the Observer, but we still do: on average every 18 months. What's the problem? Well it isn't just the lead, arsenic, beryllium and brominated fire-retardant cases (pollutants all) disappearing into our land fills (which are not covered by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive [WEEE] in Europe). Coltan also goes into our phones. It occurs mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as such our demand for upgrades has been contributing to a war (despite mobile phone companies' claims to the contrary, coltan is not regulated like timber). If we must upgrade, we can at least recycle or hack our old phones.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 7, 2006 - 49 comments

America's Toxic Towns

Tour America’s Toxic Towns. First off is Times Beach, MO. Uncle Sam bought the town for $32 million, disincorporated it, and evacuated its 2000 residents to spare them from levels of dioxin that were possibly 2,000 times higher than the dioxin content in Agent Orange. Next up is Centralia, PA, completely evacuated due to an underground coal fire that is still burning and may burn for the next 100 years. More recently, American Electric Power purchased Cheshire, OH for $20 million. The town, which was plagued by sulfurous clouds, is now completely deserted. And who can forget the granddaddy of toxic towns, Love Canal.
posted by Otis on Jun 2, 2006 - 24 comments

Toxic Sludge is GOOD for you!

CO2: We Call it Life. Actual ads being run by the "Competitive Enterprise Institute," heavily funded by oil companies such as Exxon-Mobil, to counter the growing concerns about global warming and carbon dioxide emissions.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on May 18, 2006 - 51 comments

The New Clean Air Act

Reflected in the worsened respiratory health of NYC residents (via the WTC Health Registry), a federal judge ruled (NYT; bugmenot) former Bush administration EPA chief and NJ governor Christine Todd Whitman misled New York City residents about air quality after the attacks of 9/11. Whether or not the then-head of the Environmental Protection Agency was pressured by Bush economic policy director Lawrence Lindsey to "get the financial markets open quickly" (longer 9/11 commission report) despite concerns, her PR consulting firm continues to do greenwashing for petrochemical corporations with very poor environmental records, including FMC, responsible for 136 Superfund sites across the country.
posted by Rothko on Feb 4, 2006 - 15 comments

Clean Air Act?

Illinois issues its first ever winter dirty-air alert today. For the first time ever in the winter, health officials are issuing a dirty-air alert for the midwest. "Even healthy adults and children are cautioned against heavy physical activity outdoors." This is something the Clean Air Act sought to prevent in 1990. Despite real world warnings like this - there still seems to be constant debate about how much we should really care about environmental issues such as global warming and a host of other environmental issues. Will the new Clear Skies Act be enough to help?
posted by twiggy on Feb 3, 2005 - 23 comments

Global dimming is the new global threat

Global dimming. It's official. Particulate pollution in the air has decreased the amount of sunlight reaching the earth. How much? A fraction of a percent? Try 10% globally over the past 50 years. Worse yet, global dimming is thought to be counteracting CO2 and its greenhouse effect, lessening the worldwide temperature increase called global warming. Why's that bad? Because, in the coming decades, particulate pollution is expected to level off, while CO2 emissions are expected to rise strongly, multiplying the effects of global warming as we know it. "That means a temperature rise of 10 degrees Celsius by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable." Holy fucking shit! [via kottke]
posted by scarabic on Jan 14, 2005 - 74 comments

Your discarded plastic cup is floating

Told you plastic is nasty.... Most of plastic that somehow reached the ocean floats in the North Pacific Gyre[look at Currents], an exotic name for an area of the Pacific ocean with a surface larger then U.S.A, dreaded by sailors for its lack of winds and called by some World largest Landfill. The people at Algalita Marine Research Foundation have made this nice video[Quicktime] showing how tons and tons of tiny plastic particles have been accumulating in the area for the last 50 years, slowly entering the food chain. Why does that bother us who live thousand of miles away ? Because we're on the top of the food chain and because that plastic is a sponge of hazardous chemicals.[Via tpl1212's link in another unrelated story]
posted by elpapacito on Dec 16, 2004 - 44 comments

Chat Room

Microscopic fragments of plastic are a "major pollutant", floating in the ocean, settling on seabeds, and washing up onshore - with unknown consequences for marine ecosystems, according to a new study. "We've found this microscopic plastic material at all of the sites we've examined," [lead researcher] Dr Richard C Thompson [of University of Plymouth, UK] said. "Interestingly, the abundance is reasonably consistent. So, it suggests to us that the problem is really quite ubiquitous."
posted by mcgraw on May 7, 2004 - 15 comments

Buying Acid Rain Right Out of the Air

Buying Up the Right to Pollute. "Power companies that release more SO2 than their permits allow must attempt to buy more allowances at the auctions, or purchase them at a premium from companies that have allowances to spare. Those that can't gather enough allowances or that go beyond certain emissions limits in a given year face strict fines from the EPA." (from a 4/7 Wired article) You may have heard of these "allowances" before, but the Acid Rain Retirement Fund, a non-profit, is doing something about them: *buying* them and simply letting them expire. Search NetworkForGood for "ARRF" to make a donation. [via our own CTP's Recursive Irony]
posted by scarabic on Apr 13, 2004 - 12 comments

Next Generation Truck Stops

Neato Next Generation Truck Stops IANAT (I am not a trucker), so I had no idea trucks could just plug into truck stops complete with air conditioning, power, internet, satellite TV, etc. And the bonus is that these facilities are environmentally friendly since the truck doesn't have to be left running all night.
posted by mhh5 on Jan 11, 2004 - 9 comments

global dimming

Global Dimming. Records show that over the past 50 years the average amount of sunlight reaching the ground has gone down by almost 3% a decade. "It's an extraordinary thing that for some reason this hasn't penetrated even into the thinking of the people looking at global climate change. It's actually quite a big deal and I think you'll see a lot more people referring to it."
posted by stbalbach on Dec 19, 2003 - 15 comments

But clear skies are good, aren't they?

The Bush administration's conservation policy: 'protecting the nation's environment', or you know, 'not'? [more inside]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Dec 17, 2003 - 35 comments

EPA misled public on 9/11 pollution

EPA misled public on 9/11 pollution
"In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the White House instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to give the public misleading information, telling New Yorkers it was safe to breathe when reliable information on air quality was not available."
posted by jpoulos on Aug 23, 2003 - 17 comments

As the Alberta government ratchets up its campaign against the Kyoto Protocol (and the Canadian government's support thereof), two environmental groups release a report that argues that Canadians could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent and save $30 billion a year in the process by 2030 (PDFs of the report summary and full report). And, if reducing emissions starts at home, you can apparently cut your own energy bills and emissions in half simply by stopping leaks and drafts in your house.
posted by mcwetboy on Oct 6, 2002 - 11 comments

The State of the Nation's Ecosystems -

The State of the Nation's Ecosystems - According to a report commissioned five years ago by President Clinton and finally completed and released, the United States may have no streams left that are free from chemical contamination, and about one-fifth of animal species and one-sixth of plant types are at risk of extinction.
posted by dejah420 on Sep 25, 2002 - 14 comments

Brown Cloud threatens SE Asia

Brown Cloud threatens SE Asia Having flown into Mumbai a couple of times over the past years, and to Singapore once, I thought I saw this, but passed it up to gunk on the windows. Turned out it was gunk in the sky.
posted by rshah21 on Aug 12, 2002 - 34 comments

The Sky Trust would sell a gradually diminishing number of carbon emission permits to the approximately 2,000 oil, gas and coal companies that bring fossil fuels into the U.S. economy. With the income from these sales, the Sky Trust would pay equal yearly dividends to every American.

An interesting idea, but it seems like any group that plans to ask congress for a charter so they can control the sky would need to think things out a little more. Would auto manufacturers be charged for the emissions made by the vehicles they produce? Would the private citizens who buy them? And what is to stop any corporation from simply, say, opening shop in another country to avoid the hassles. But, the largest question in my mind was, who actually expects the current government to do anything that would place environmental matters over commerce?
posted by Kellydamnit on Aug 10, 2002 - 2 comments

Silent Evidence

Silent Evidence - Ronald Bailey insists that Rachel Carson's campaign against DDT in "Silent Spring" is filled with bad science and has resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths due to increased malaria rates. The US Government has also considered removing the ban on DDT, as has Roger Bate in the Wall Street Journal.
posted by Kevs on Jun 27, 2002 - 5 comments

Very high level of PCBs in whale raises alarms.

Very high level of PCBs in whale raises alarms. "The orca found dead on the Olympic Peninsula earlier this year carried a level of contaminants that was among the highest -- if not the highest -- ever measured in killer whales, laboratory tests show". If that is the case with free ranging whales then I shudder to think what similar measurements on city dwelling humans will reveal. Does anyone know of similar contaminant research on humans? (via Baloney.com)
posted by talos on May 13, 2002 - 10 comments

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