Friday, October 28, 2005

Latest poll numbers on US attitudes toward environmental issues

On Oct. 13, 2005, Harris Interactive released the results of its latest poll on US attitudes toward environmental issues. A whopping 74% agreed that 'protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost.' When Harris last polled in 2000, only 66% agreed with that statement. Also, 44% said they think the media is 'doing less than their share to help reduce environmental problems.' In contrast, 37% think the media are doing 'about right' on this front, while 18% say the media are doing 'more than their share.'

A September 2005 study from the Human Dimensions in Natural Resources Unit at Colorado State University closely examined and categorized attitudes toward wildlife management in 19 Western states. This study identified the 'utilitarian' attitude ('wildlife exists for human use') and the 'mutualist' attitude ('wildlife is part of an extended family, and in an ideal world people and wildlife would live together without fear'). Currently, about equal numbers of respondents claimed a utilitarian (34%) or mutualist (33%) stance, while 20% expressed a blended perspective. Only 13% reported disinterest in wildlife management, which implies that there is probably a large yet diverse audience of people in the West who are very interested in wildlife management news. The study also predicts that the mutualist perspective may grow to predominate in the future.

On June 9, 2005, Yale's Environmental Attitudes and Behavior Project released this year's survey exploring how concerned Americans are about environmental problems. In all, 56% consider soil and water contamination a "very serious problem," while 53% expressed similar concern for air pollution, 46% for deforestation, and 45% for global warming. However, their greatest concern was reducing America's dependence on oil (not just foreign oil): 68% rated this as a serious concern, right up there with jobs and the economy.

Source: Society for Environmental Journalism

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ecological knowledge and place-centered economics

These aren't dramatic revelations, just the way I'd like to live.

More than environmentalism, the term "ecological knowledge" means living in harmony with our surroundings - including our neighbors. Technology and it's uses should be people-centered and beneficial. Ecological knowledge leads one to live lightly on the earth, and encourage others to do so. I'd like to say that I feel a centered interconnectedness with all living things, but I haven't personally reached that point. The closest I've ever come to feeling truly connected to place was when I lived in Yellowstone National Park for a year. There you can become aware of the cycles of the land and seasons and you begin to grasp the intricacies and inter-relationships that exist between species and the landscape.

The basis of harmonious living is compassion for all living things. Combine that with a sense of place, not ownership mind you, but a sense of place the entails belonging. Ecological knowledge leads to a relationship of responsibility with the land, and a oneness with it. How many of us have ever felt that we don't belong, that we are somehow different? Is this just teenage angst? No, it's a general feeling of detachment from the very ground we're standing on. When was the last time you walked barefoot in the woods near your house? When was the last time you walked barefoot on land that was not paved? How can you feel that you belong here if you can't even touch the ground you're standing on?

Each member of a sustainable economic community must possess this sense of responsibility. Our survival as a species requires it. If we continually rip profit from the land and never return anything to it, the land dies and our relationship/connection with the land dies along with it, and our cultural knowledge of that which we call "wild" fades and the responsibility toward it lessens. If we pursue a rational sustainable relationship with our surroundings - not paving over everything that is in our path - our relationship, understanding and thus economic benefits will increase over time.

More later...

The Kimberly-Clark Boycott

The Kimberly-Clark Boycott begins on November 3rd, 2005. Kimberly Clark wipes out three million tons of virgin forests EVERY YEAR, and wastes them on disposable tissues. Don't buy it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Venezuela to Expel U.S. Evangelical Group

CARACAS, Oct 12 (IPS) - Venezuela will expel the U.S. evangelical group New Tribes Mission, which has been active in indigenous communities along the southern border with Colombia and Brazil since 1946, President Hugo Chavez announced Wednesday.

"They will leave Venezuela," said the president. "They are agents of imperialist penetration. They gather sensitive and strategic information and are exploiting the Indians. So they will leave, and I don't care two hoots about the international consequences that this decision could bring."

Since the 1970s, New Tribes has drawn heavy criticism from many quarters, including leftist political groups, environmentalists, indigenous organizations, academics, Catholic Church leaders and even members of the military. The controversial group has been accused of prospecting for strategic minerals on behalf of transnational corporations and of the forced acculturation and conversion of indigenous people.

Read the rest of this article here: Venezuela to Expel U.S. Evangelical Group

Industrialized Greed Produces Pandemics

In regard to the Avian Flu Pandemic, which is not yet a pandemic and might never be one (hide in fear american), I will point you to the website Dissident Voice and author Manuel Garcia, Jr.

"These diseases may be less those of "the poor and backward" because poverty and backwardness are ancient yet the diseases are new, and more accurately recognized as the diseases of those left behind by the acceleration of industrialized greed, which we chose to call globalization; to spare the feelings of those who enjoy the benefits of the system they manage, which is capitalism.

The natural thrust of capitalism is to push into the natural world with haste, so as to win in the race to exploit; and the natural product of capitalism is a wealthy elite and a mass of poverty. Disease springs out of the struggles of poverty. The profit motive obstructs any downward transfer of wealth in the form of subsidies for better living conditions and for the free worldwide use of medical and pharmaceutical advances. Expending the elite's wealth to subsidize disease prevention and treatment generally is anti-capitalism, by ideological definition it is communism. Under capitalism the existence of disease is perfectly acceptable if it is a source of profit for some, as only winners matter.

The existence of these new diseases is a reverberation from the natural world of the human obsession with capitalism; a sickness of the individual and collective mind is reflected by Nature as disease, a consequence of our actions in conducting human affairs on this planet. Global Warming is another such reverberation. The kernel of disease is the idea that our greed and our bigotry can be practiced in isolation, and that this justification sanctifies the practice. Behold the genius of the marketplace."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Center for American Progress event in Grand Rapids

Renewing the Civic Covenant: Strengthening Our Community

In cities and towns across America, the Center for American Progress
is engaging the public in conversations on religion and policy, giving
voice to those whose concerns and hopes have been lost in highly
polarized debates. In Grand Rapids, conversations focus on economic and job
issues. Given the significant loss of manufacturing jobs in the Grand
Rapids area, we will talk about the effects of economic stress on
individuals, their families and the community--and what needs to be
done to help the economy recover. What are the roles and
responsibilities of individuals, civic groups, churches, employers,
educators and government? What are our obligations to each other?

Beverly A. Drake, Executive Director, Area Community Services
Employment and Training (ACSET Council) Lisa H. Mitchell, Leadership
Team/Director, Grand Rapids Area Center for Ecumenism (GRACE),
Jose Reyna, Assistant to the City Manager West Michigan
Strategic Alliance (Panelist TBD)

Moderated by:
Melody Barnes, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Opening Remarks by:
Mayor George Heartwell, Grand Rapids, MI

Thursday, November 3, 2005
Program: 6:30 - 8:00 PM
Doors open at 5:45 PM
Light refreshments will be served.
There is no cost for this event

Grand Valley State University
Eberhard Center, Room 215
301 West Fulton St.
Grand Rapids, MI
Conference Parking lot on Fulton

Space is limited - Please RSVP promptly:
Click here or call
(202) 741-6246 and leave a message with your full name, organization,
and email address.


Please direct any media inquiries to:
Daniella Gibbs L├ęger

A reply letter from Congressman Vern Ehlers

October 13, 2005

Jerome Alicki
xxxx xxxxxxxx Street
Grand Rapids, Michigan xxxxx-xxxx

Dear Jerome,

I want to thank you for your communication regarding H.R.
3893, the Gasoline for America's Security (GAS) Act. I appreciate
you taking the time to pass on your comments.

The goal of the GAS Act is to reduce gasoline prices by
increasing domestic refining capacity. The bill encourages the
construction of new refineries through regulatory relief for the
processing and approval to build refineries. To address concerns
about price-gouging in the wake of the hurricanes, the GAS Act
also bans price-gouging; sets strict enforcement for the full
refinery product stream, including gasoline, home heating oil, and
diesel; and establishes heavy fines for violators.

You should also know that the bill originally contained
language that would have changed the Clean Air Act and the
regulation of dangerous pollution emissions from energy
companies. This provision was removed before a final vote, and
with its removal I felt the bill was improved. While I still had
concerns with some of the provisions, particularly the preemption
of state and local control over refinery locations and environmental
regulations, I voted in favor of passage. The bill passed the House,
212-210. At this time there is no parallel measure being
considered by the Senate.

Clearly, people have strong feelings about the subject of
gas prices. High fuel costs affect the economy and individuals.
Following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it was very evident that
much of our refining capacity relies on refineries located in
vulnerable areas along the Gulf Coast. The long-term impact of
dramatically unstable fuel prices has yet to be determined, but it is
important for Congress to try to protect the stability of our refining
capacity to help deal with gas prices.

The high price of gasoline is an important consideration for
Congress as it debates all energy-related legislation. I support
decreasing our reliance on traditional energy sources and believe
one of the ways to deal with this long-term problem is for America
to become more energy independent. To do this, we need a
national energy policy that balances fossil fuel usage with
alternative and renewable energy sources and promotes energy
efficiency. While our supply of fossil fuels is only depleting, the
demand continues to rise in our country and others. I would like to
increase our national focus on conservation. The GAS Act includes
provisions to encourage conservation through carpooling and a
fuel-efficiency awareness campaign, but I was disappointed that it
did not do more. The President recently shared with the nation
ways that we can work on conserving energy together. The
Department of Energy has compiled ideas on ways that you and
your business can save money at

Thanks again for contacting me. With best wishes, I am


Vernon J. Ehlers
Member of Congress

The Honorable Mr. Ehlers makes some valid points. I disagree with the assertion that Congress has to take steps to stabilize refineries and the oil flow. I say, hands off. No more support for oil or companies involved in oil production. This law allows oil refinery construction anywhere, disregarding all environmental law. Let's move toward solar and wind, and away from fossil fuels. Oil is fading, and the industry is attempting to maintain its stranglehold on the US economy. Screw them. It's time for new leadership with new ideas that will generate new jobs and growth in Clean energy. Michigan's future depends on it. Ehlers is too old and stuck in his ways to see his way out of the box.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Unicef bombs the Smurfs in fund-raising campaign for ex-child soldiers

The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes. The short but chilling film is the work of Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement.

Read the article: Unicef bombs the Smurfs in fund-raising campaign for ex-child soldiers

Watch the ad (NOTE: poor quality, and audio in Dutch only):

The End of Cheap Oil - A Must Read

Yes, there is still oil out there - both reserves that we know of, and sources still to be found. But in the rush to satisfy our ever increasing appetite for oil, we have used up almost all the oil that is easy, and therefore cheap, to obtain. The century long era of low-priced oil, and with it everything upon which our lifestyles depend, is about to end.

Read this article! The End of Cheap Oil - A Must Read | Autonomy & Solidarity

28 Percent Think Country Is Headed in Right Direction

Those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation's direction over the past year include white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points since November, Republican women, down 28 points, Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20 points.

Read More on t r u t h o u t

Student Brutalized by Cops, Right-Wing Students, for Protesting Recruiters At George Mason University

A Pakistani-American who served four years in the United States Air Force as munitions personnel was beaten and brutalized by right-wing students and campus police last Thursday at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Read this article on Left Hook

Monday, October 10, 2005

Enviros anxious as Senate gears up to reform Endangered Species Act

Republican assholes are trying to get rid of the Endangered Species Act. This is not something that we can take lightly. This is one of the most important environmental protection laws, certainly the most effective. Now is the time to take a stand. Read some background material here: Enviros anxious as Senate gears up to reform Endangered Species Act By Amanda Griscom Little, Grist Magazine, 10-7-2005. Then you need to write your Senator immediately. I can't stress how important this is. We are talking about extinction of major species across North America and a government that is about to completely abdicate any responsibility for their existence.

If you don't do something, wildlife will die. That's a fact. Congressional Republicans think they know what's best. Lets let them know that they are fools. Impeach them if you have to, and castrate them if you get the chance. Don't let these idiots reproduce!

Singing for redemption?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Iraqi Oil Union Defying Privatization

Originally organized under the British in the early 1920s, the oil union has always been the heart of the Iraq's labor movement. Today, the oil union is once again Iraq's largest, most powerful labor organization, with 23,000 members in southern Iraq. Together with two other labor federations and a handful of independent professional associations, the labor movement is now the biggest secular institution in Iraqi civil society and the one most opposed to the Bushite's privatization schemes.

Read More: Iraqi Unions Defy Privatization,

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My political campaign?

Three people in the last four weeks have suggested that I pursue a career in politics, specifically that I should run for local office. My response to the first of these folks was a giggle. But then it came up again. Then it happened again two weeks later. The third person actually said to me, "Dude, I'd vote for you and I almost never vote." I did not initiate any of these comments or conversations.

I've considered politics a number of times. I was a poli-sci major for a bit even. (Okay my housemates in college used to call me Governor Jerry.) I thought briefly of running as a Green Party candidate for Grand Rapids City Council twice in 2004. The problem that I am faced with is that I do belong to the Green Party and anyone who has ever looked at the financial status of Greens in Grand Rapids can tell you that the local party is broke. The Michigan Green Party doesn't have that much cash either. I have little confidence that there is enough cash in the coffers for them to support a campaign in Grand Rapids.

But, if not Grand Rapids, where else? GR's core is made up of hip, young, urban eco-heads. You can't swing a cat here without hitting an environmentalist. (Grand Rapids is actually listed on as one of the top cities in which to live as a hippie!) The Greens have a foothold. The last mayoral election produced over 750 votes for the Green candidate. He was homeless, maybe unemployed, didn't even list his last name on the ballot... and he got almost 5% of the vote! The winning candidate, TheHonorable Reverend Mayor George Heartwell is a left-leaning pro-business mayor who is pushing sustainable development and alternative energy policies. GR is ripe for a guy like me.

So, if you think I should run let me know. Also, if you think you want to support my campaign financially, I will need - I'm estimating - approximately $50,000 to $75,000 to win a seat on the city council. So, start forking over the cash... no, drive it over in a truck filled with garbage bags full of cash. I'm talking about tv spots, lawn signs, the works. This will be a professionally run campaign, there will attorneys to pay, etc.

So where do I stand? Read the 10 Key Green values on the Kent County Green Party website. I agree with these and therefore can sincerely call myself a Green. Think about it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Stepping Up the Attack on Green Activists

A coordinated campaign by conservative lawmakers and the FBI aims to label environmental protests the newest form of terrorism.

A remorseless rapist in Hamilton County, Ohio is sentenced to 15 years in prison for beating and raping a 57-year-old woman. An environmental activist in California is sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three SUVS at a car dealership after taking precautions to harm no lives.

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: Stepping Up the Attack on Green Activists

Falafel Sex, and Other Things Best Left Unsaid

Allow me to push you in the direction of Falafel Sex, and Other Things Best Left Unsaid. Can a blog get any better than this?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Actual Press Release from the Environmental Protection Agency... this is not a joke.

Proposed Yucca Mountain Standards to Protect Public Health For a Million Years
Contact: John Millett, 202-564-4355 /

(Washington, D.C.-August 9, 2005) EPA is proposing public health standards for the planned high-level radioactive waste disposal facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada that will protect public health for 1 million years. Under the standards, people living close to the facility would not receive total radiation higher than natural levels people experience routinely in other areas of the country.

"It is an unprecedented scientific challenge to develop proposed standards today that will protect the next 25,000 generations of Americans," EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Jeffrey Holmstead said. "EPA met this challenge by using the best available scientific approaches and has issued a standard that will protect public health for a million years."

The proposed standards set a maximum dose level for the first 10,000 years, more than twice as long as recorded human history. To provide safety beyond 10,000 years to 1 million years, EPA is proposing a separate, higher dose limit based on natural background radiation levels that people currently live with in the United States. The proposed standards also require that the facility must withstand the effects of earthquakes, volcanoes and significantly increased rainfall while safely containing the waste during the 1 million-year period.

Congress authorized different federal agencies to perform different functions related to Yucca Mountain. EPA sets standards to protect human health and safety. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for implementing EPA's standards and determining if the Yucca Mountain facility can be safe enough to contain nuclear waste. The Department of Energy (DOE) owns, constructs, applies for licenses, and will operate the facility, should it be approved. The Yucca Mountain facility will open only if it meets EPA's standards to protect human health and the environment.

The proposed standards retain and add to EPA's original Yucca Mountain standards issued in 2001 and are also responsive to the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued in July 2004.

EPA will accept written public comment for 60 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. The agency will also hold public hearings during the comment period. To learn more about this action, visit: or call 1-800-331-9477.

Anyone in Congress who votes against the Endangered Species Act will be defeated in the next election

Okay, maybe I'm being a bit melodramatic, but The Republicans have underestimated the American people's interest in the protection of wildlife and the conservation of habitat. How do you expect to get re-elected when you clearly show that you have no concern for the future?

The vast majority of citizens of the United States do not support the weakening of environmental laws. I don't have the exact numbers on that, but it should be recognized. Just ask around, does anyone you know think that they shouldn't have clean air and clean water? Does anyone you not think that this is the governments responsiblility? Many stand against the fools who govern us. Many will fight to see them defeated. They have gone much to far.