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Kucinich Voices Concern Over Futenma Base Relocation
By Robert Naiman | Just Foreign Policy
Representative Dennis Kucinich sent a letter to Norman Dicks, chair of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, expressing concerns about U.S. plans to relocate the U.S. base at Futenma in Okinawa to Nago, and urging that the concerns of Okinawa residents be taken into account. The letter is here.
US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015
• Shortfall could reach 10m barrels a day, report says
• Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel
By Terry Macalister | Guardian.co.UK
The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.
The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.
It adds: "While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India." Read more.
StopTheChamber.com Campaign Calls For Criminal Charges Against U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Director Don Blankenship For Homicide
No More Business As Usual
Our StopTheChamber.com Campaign Today Called For Criminal Charges Against U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Director Don Blankenship For Homicide Of 29 West Virginia Miners
We Also Called For Congress Members To Order Halt Contact With Chamber Lobbyists
YOU CAN HELP BY JOINING AND SUPPORTING OUR CAMPAIGN TO STOP THE CHAMBER!
Our StopTheChamber.com campaign has been warning for months about the devastating effect of U.S. Chamber of Commerce policies on the well being of Americans. Specifically, we have condemned the Chamber for spending hundreds of millions to fight regulation of its dues paying members and regulation of pollution caused by those members. These actions have been led by Chamber CEO Tom Donohue and Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, the latter who runs vast coal mining operations in West Virginia, including the serial offending Upper Big Branch mine where 29 miners were killed last week.
In a recent press release, attorney and campaign spokesman Kevin Zeese said: “The convergence of the Chamber’s policies against regulation of workplace safety and the disaster of mining coal without regard for the environmental impact resulted in the death of 29 hard working West Virginian miners. This was not an accident, but rather the result of deliberate and intentional decisions and actions of Don Blankenship, a director of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Blankenship and Chamber CEO Tom Donohue must be held accountable for these deaths. What is it going to take for Congress and the President to stop coddling criminals, masquerading as legitimate businessmen, who cause the death of our loved ones? Blankenship, with the lobbying army of the Chamber to back him up, has thumbed his nose at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, ignoring or appealing every violation, including the scores that resulted in coal mine evacuations and the hundreds of other serious violations. As the Washington Post pointed out in a Saturday editorial, these 29 deaths would not have occurred absent this intentional conduct of Blankenship. He is just as criminally culpable as any mass murderer.”
Today we called on federal law enforcement officials to charge Don Blankenship with homicide, and for a complete criminal investigation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its CEO Tom Donohue to determine what policies and practices led to the death of these miners, and whether Chamber lobbyists and lawyers were used to cover-up or avoid compliance with safety regulations. Criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of this terrible crime will ensure accountability, expose the Chamber’s criminal conduct and pave the way for real worker safety across the nation.
We also called on all Congress Members to immediately issue a standing order to their staff to cease all communication and contact with U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyists. Now that the Chamber and its directors have been directly implicated in the homicide of 29 workers, there can be no more business as usual. Congress Members must stand up for working people by refusing to meet with and do the bidding of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization whose directors, policies and practices have killed and will kill again if they are not stopped.
When scientists at Dow Chemical looked at the possibility of manufacturing solar panels a few years ago, the company rejected it out of hand, says Chief Executive Andrew Liveris. Dow had no experience building solar panels. Yet their concept was alluring: integrate thin-film solar cells into roofing shingles. In place of traditional asphalt shingles, several hundred of these nailed onto the roof could generate enough electricity to power a home. Liveris sent them back to the lab, then decided to take the plunge.
Today those scientists are testing prototypes of the product, which Dow calls Powerhouse. Dow's aim is to start selling Powerhouse next year. Because they look like traditional roofing material, the solar shingles are more likely to get the nod from uptight homeowners' associations. Now, says Liveris, "I believe this will be solar for the masses."
That change of heart reflects the sunny outlook of Dow's solar champion, William Banholzer, whose title is chief technology officer. "I don't see any reason why people wouldn't want to generate clean electricity from their roof," he says. He adds that the market for this product could be $5 billion by 2015 and envisions that "someday Dow would be a solar company that happens to make chemicals." Read more.
... "Our attitude is simple and infuses everything we do. Come here and remember our connection to nature and our dependence on it for all we need. "Our work with communities across the country and abroad shows how quickly change can be made to happen when people work together and understand that 'sharing' makes us more than the sum of our parts."
The construction of a theme park in France's Loire Valley might cause the most benign environmentalist's strident tendencies to be awakened.
But they needn't fear. Log flumes, roller coasters and concrete castles are not on the agenda at Terra Botanica, a brand new environmental theme park near Angers, in the country's north-west.
The region, traditionally known as "The Garden of France" -- thanks to a horticultural heritage stretching back centuries -- is now home to an 11-hectare site devoted entirely to the enjoyment of the natural world. Read more.
The Joint Operating Environment 2010 report, of the US Joint Forces Command, released March 15, 2010, expressed this view:
The economic importance of the Middle East with its energy supplies hardly needs emphasis. Whatever the outcome of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. forces will find themselves again employed in the region on numerous missions ranging from regular warfare, counterinsurgency, stability operations, relief and reconstruction, to engagement operations. The region and its energy supplies are too important for the U.S., China, and other energy importers to allow radical groups to gain dominance or control over any significant portion of the region.
Engineers of Technital SpA, the Italian firm that designed the system to save Venice from flooding, are working on the future of Iraq as embodied in their plan for the "New Al Faw Grand Port" at the southern tip of Iraq, a $6 billion major deep-water port on the Persian Gulf that will be the largest in the Gulf.
At the same time, officials of Deutsche Bahn, the German railway system, are hoping to work with the Iraqi government on a rail system that would link Al Faw to Europe. It is possible that the system might carry crude oil and petroleum products as well as dry freight to the West to augment existing pipelines and avoid ocean shipment through choke points such as the Straits of Hormuz, the Bab el-Mandab and the Suez Canal.
These plans point to a dramatically different Iraq from the emotionally, culturally and economically drained nation that it is today, horribly wounded by the US-led 2003 invasion. The Iraq of the planners will earn billions from its oil reserves, the third largest in the world, and it will attract billions from investors seeking to capitalize on its economically strategic location at the top of the Persian Gulf. Read more.
Nissan Leaf electric vehicle to sell for less than $33,000
Written by Weston Sedgwick | Green Technology Daily
Nissan announce this week that its new electric vehicle (EV), the Leaf, will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $32,780 for the standard model.
The vehicle, designed to travel 100 miles on an average battery charge, will be available in some markets this December, with nationwide sales beginning in 2011.
Nissan said it would begin accepting online reservations for the Leaf on April 20 for a fully refundable fee of $99. The automaker noted that each Leaf would be eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, as well as any potential state tax rebates for such alternative transportation. The nonprofit Plug In America called the pricing for the Leaf a "game changer" that will help to build a robust EV market. See the Plug In America press release.
As part of the buying process, Nissan will offer to install personal charging docks that operate on a 220-volt supply. The company said the average cost of the docks would be $2,200, but they too would be eligible for rebates. Read more.
Barack Obama Reverses Campaign Promise and Approves Offshore Drilling
President allows oil and gas exploration off several coastal areas to horsetrade with Republicans over climate change bills
By Suzanne Goldenberg | Guardian UK
Barack Obama took the Republican slogan "drill, baby, drill" as his own today, opening up over 500,000 square miles of US coastal waters to oil and gas exploitation for the first time in over 20 years.
The move, a reversal of Obama's early campaign promise to retain a ban on offshore exploration, appeared aimed at winning support from Republicans in Congress for new laws to tackle global warming. Sarah Palin's "Drill, baby, drill" slogan was a prominent battle cry in the 2008 elections.
The areas opened up are off the Atlantic coast, the northern coast of Alaska and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. However, in a concession to his environmentalist base, Obama did retain protection for Alaska's Bristol Bay, the single largest source of seafood in America and home to endangered species of whale. The Pacific Coast from Mexico to Canada is also off-limits.
Obama said the decision to allow oil rigs off the Atlantic coast was a painful one, but that it would help reduce US dependence on imported oil.
"This is not a decision that I've made lightly," the president said. "But the bottom line is this: given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth, produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we're going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy." Read more.
Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time
By John M. Broder | NY Times
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.
The environmentally sensitive Bristol Bay in southwestern Alaska would be protected and no drilling would be allowed under the plan, officials said. But large tracts in the Chukchi Sea and Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska — nearly 130 million acres — would be eligible for exploration and drilling after extensive studies. Read more.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2010) — Iraqi children born in areas affected by high levels of violence are shorter in height than children born in less violent areas, according to a study at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The level of violence has varied across the provinces and districts, with the south and centre of Iraq being most affected and it is in these areas that estimates show children are on average 0.8cm shorter than their peers growing up elsewhere in the country.
Why did America's leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen and lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests--and runaway global warming? Why are their lobbyists on Capitol Hill dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as "unworkable" and "unrealistic," as though they were just another sooty tentacle of Big Coal?
At first glance, these questions will seem bizarre. Groups like Conservation International are among the most trusted "brands" in America, pledged to protect and defend nature. Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world's worst polluters--and burying science-based environmentalism in return. Sometimes the corruption is subtle; sometimes it is blatant. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed.
I have spent the past few years reporting on how global warming is remaking the map of the world. I have stood in half-dead villages on the coast of Bangladesh while families point to a distant place in the rising ocean and say, "Do you see that chimney sticking up? That's where my house was... I had to [abandon it] six months ago." I have stood on the edges of the Arctic and watched glaciers that have existed for millenniums crash into the sea. I have stood on the borders of dried-out Darfur and heard refugees explain, "The water dried up, and so we started to kill each other for what was left."
While I witnessed these early stages of ecocide, I imagined that American green groups were on these people's side in the corridors of Capitol Hill, trying to stop the Weather of Mass Destruction. But it is now clear that many were on a different path--one that began in the 1980s, with a financial donation. Read more.
FROM THE DESK OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
March 25, 2010
I cannot believe that I am writing you this letter...
The international ban on commercial whaling, which Greenpeace fought tirelessly to pass in the 1980ís, is now in critical danger of being overturned.
A proposal has been put forth at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that would not only reinstate commercial whaling around the world, it would legitimize Japan's "scientific" slaughter in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Nearly 25 years of protection for the whales could be tossed out the window if this proposal passes at the next IWC meeting in June 2010.
Shockingly, the Obama administrationís representatives at the IWC actually support the deal to reinstate commercial whaling and are urging other nations to do the same. The delegates say that their directive comes directly from President Obama himself.
I cannot claim to be an expert on Stewart Udall, the Arizona Congressman, conservationist, supporter of environmentalist casandra Rachel Carson, and interior secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson who died this week at the age of 90.
I can say, from personal experience, though, that he was a breed apart from the money-grubbing, corporate ass-kissing, Washington cocktail circuit, elitist pigs who have headed up federal government departments in the days and years since Richard Nixon, in 1969, inaugurated the "Imperial Presidency."
Joining the conversation will be Dr Muhamad Tareq al-Darraji who authored the report Prohibited Weapons Crisis about the impact of the US military assault on the Falluja population, and Dahr Jamail, an American journalist who reported extensively from Iraq on the US invasion and its aftermath.
Doctors in the Iraqi city of Falluja are handling up to 15 times as many birth defects as they were one year ago.
The chronic deformities include multiple tumours, heart problems, nervous system anomalies and eye deficiencies.
Residents of the city blame the surge in chronic deformities on controversial weapons used by US forces against Sunni fighters in 2004.
White phosphorus and depleted uranium shells were allegedly among the munitions used.
Most doctors are unsure about the reasons for the surge in birth deformities over the past year but say it could be a result of the chemicals left over from the fighting.
Send us your views and get your voice on the air
The US military has dismissed those allegations. Read more.
In her 2002 book titled, "Water Wars," noted author, social activist, and ecologist Vandana Shiva called privatizing water:
- ecological terrorism;
- a global water crisis;
- along with overuse, waste and pollution, it can cause "the most pervasive, most severe, and most invisible dimension of the ecological devastation of the earth;"
- the road to "an ecological crisis with commercial causes but no market solutions; (they) destroy the earth and aggravate inequality; the solution to an ecological crisis is ecological, and the solution for injustice is democracy;" and
- water rights are natural and "usufructuary....water can be used but not owned;" it belongs to everyone as part of the commons as an essential "basis of all life....under customary laws, the right to water has been accepted as a natural, social fact."
Shiva lists nine water democracy principles:
By Dave Lindorff
From Extra!, January 2010
In mid-October, hundreds of thousands of Vietnam-era veterans got some good if grim news: The Veterans Administration announced it was adding three more diseases to the 11 others it automatically presumes to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the dioxin-laced herbicide spread by the U.S. military across much of South Vietnam to deny crops and cover to North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters during the war.
Newspapers and radio and TV news programs across America ran stories announcing that veterans of the jungle war who now suffer or may eventually suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, ischemic heart disease or a type of cancer called hairy-cell leukemia will henceforth automatically be offered free medical care by the VA if they’d spent at least one day in uniform on the ground in Vietnam.
By Robert C. Koehler | Tribune Media Services
We owe the residents of the tiny island paradise called Vieques full compensation for the illnesses they are suffering courtesy of the U.S. Navy — and we owe them so much more than that.
We owe them a full accounting of what was done to their Manhattan-sized island, about 10 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico (the island is part of Puerto Rico and hence part of the United States) between 1941 and 2003, when it served as the Navy’s premiere weapons testing site. Bombs were dropped and guns were tested on the eastern portion of the island at least 200 days out of the year for 62 years; an estimated 80 million tons of ordnance pummeled the island’s fragile, tropical ecosystem over that time, contaminating soil, water and air, and bequeathing an array of serious health problems — cancer, birth defects, cirrhosis of the liver and much more — to the island’s 10,000 residents.
We owe them — how can I put this? — a commitment to sanity in the realm of national defense. What kind of defense involves the commission of war crimes against our own citizens? We owe them a national conversation about who we are and what we’ve allowed to happen in the name of national security and global dominance.
Vieques, one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever visited — its stunning features include what may be the world’s largest bioluminescent bay (microorganisms in the water glow when disturbed, as by swimmers) — was commandeered by the U.S. military as a throwaway site for weapons testing. The Navy occupied three-quarters of the island until 2003; it finally left following four years of protests, which were ignited when an errant bomb killed a civilian security guard in 1999.
EPA Announces Environmental Justice Video Contest: Faces of the Grassroots
WASHINGTON --The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is sponsoring an environmental justice video contest that challenges professional or aspiring filmmakers to create videos that capture the faces of the environmental justice movement. The Faces of the Grassroots contest is an opportunity to publicly exhibit creativity with environmental justice stories, and connect with others working to raise awareness of the movement.
“Faces of the Grassroots will help EPA expand the conversation on environmentalism and work for environmental justice,” said Charles Lee, director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. “Participants can make a difference for the historically underrepresented in their community by using motion pictures to show the struggles and triumphs they have endured to advance environmental justice.”
Organic Activists Will Dump Sewage Sludge and Hold a Press Conference on the Steps of San Francisco City Hall March 4 at Noon
Bay Area Gardeners Will Give Back Toxic Sewage Sludge that City Distributed
Using the Ruse of “Organic Compost”
SAN FRANCISCO, February 23, 2010 -- Community gardeners who were misled into
accepting toxic sewage sludge from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) are giving the sludge back to the Mayor¹s office at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place on March 4th at 12 Noon.
Twice a year since 2007, the SFPUC has hosted “Compost Giveaway Events” in locations throughout the city. Although the city has marketed the material as “organic compost” or “organic fertilizer,” it turns out that it is really toxic sludge generated by San Francisco and seven other counties’ industrial, hospital, commercial and residential sewage. Residents who had lined up at the giveaways were outraged to learn of SFPUC¹s bait-and-switch.
The Environmental Activists of Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice Stand Up to Big Coal in West Virginia
In the hills and hollers of southern West Virginia, a protest movement for environmental justice, social justice and human rights has arisen in the recent past that is having tremendous success. Arrayed against this movement is the multi-billion-dollar coal industry that owns the government of the State of West Virginia. Stepping into the breach with calls for an end to mountainop removal coal extraction are two groups that practice civil disobedience on behalf of the environment: Climate Ground Zero (CGZ) and Mountain Justice (MJ). Comprised of volunteers, these organizations have peacefully protested coal company practices that run a real risk of bringing death, dismemberment, horror and mainfold tragedy to thousands of people in southern West Virginia's Coal River Valley.
“Peaceful” doesn't mean “ineffectual,” however, and the actions of CGZ and MJ have, forced the "Coal Mob" to tip its hand by engaging in the same sort of ham-fisted tactics that have always been coal's stock-in-trade. Using the bought-and-paid-for West Virginia justice system, peaceful protesters arrested for trespass and the like have been subjected to merciless cash bails that have literally kept them behind bars while alleged child molesters have walked free on bond. They have been threatened with death, assaulted and terrorized. In the face of it all, they have not flinched.
John Jonik sent the following information:
Here's one link to info on where to send Public Comments to stop the Fracking for Natural Gas in Pennsylvania public and private lands, and the theft of our water, the threats to the Delaware River, the poisoning of our water, the pollution and environmental damage from trucks, and so forth.
Sierra Club isn't exactly the strongest ally in any natural lands defense, but the info is here anyway.
For very thorough coverage of the situation, Google up University City Press Review articles here.
Look up plenty of other articles on the topic there.
Trust in scientists dropped nine percent from 83 to 74 percent, while faith in the mainstream news media slumped from 47 percent in 2008 to 36 percent.
Public concern about global warming and trust in climate leaders has dropped sharply in the U.S. according to a survey.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled at the end of 2009 and early 2010 believe climate change is happening compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008.
The report, "Climate Change in the American Mind" published jointly by Yale University and the George Mason University Wednesday also reveals a picture of falling trust in scientists, politicians and the media concerning climate change.
Anthony Leiserowitz, principal investigator and director of the Yale Project on Climate Change told CNN: "I'm not surprised by the direction of the results but I am surprised at the magnitude of them.
"These are steep drop offs and this is despite the fact that, if anything, the climate science is getting stronger and more concerning over the past year." Read more.
Chilean Earthquake Update, 12:00 PM Noon CST
- US State Department information for Americans seeking information about family and friends in Chile, and how Americans now in Chile can report in to US Consulate.
- Google Crisis Response: People search service
- CNN: Tsunami advisory issued for Pacific Basin area: California, Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, west coast of Canada.
- CNN: Tsunami arrival in Hawaii estimated to be 11 AM local time. NOAA estimating wave height 1'-7'. What to do, #21 & #22 here.
- Four US warships departing Hawaii within next 3 hours. US military working with local Hawaiian authorities to prepare for expected Hawaiian tsunami. Sirens sounding on Oahu, food stocks being limited per person.
- USGS Map, showing quake magnitudes throughout Southern Hemisphere
- Live Stream from Chile
- Google Live Updates
- Daylight now in Chile; damage assessment intensifies.
- Telephone communications down.
- Chilean earthquake strength not quite 1000 times the strength of Haitian quake.
- Preliminary Chilean report: 147 dead reported and expected to climb; President Obama said "hundreds."
- Bridge between north and south portions of Chile is out.
- Airports closed; flights diverted or returned to points of origin.
- Numerous aftershocks now in Chile; CNN Chile section head said he lost count at 25 aftershocks.
- Twitter & Facebook users providing on-going, on-the-ground local coverage.
BREAKING: USGS Reports 8.8-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile; Tsunami Watch for Ecuador, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Hawaii
SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake capable of tremendous damage struck central Chile early Saturday, shaking the capital for a minute and half and setting off a tsunami. Buildings collapsed and phone lines and electricity were down, making the extent of the damage difficult to determine.
The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, and at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Its epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.
Buildings shook and collapsed in Santiago. With phone lines down, confirmation of damage was difficult elsewhere, especially further south toward the epicenter. The quake was felt in Argentina as well.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Chile and Peru, and a less-urgent tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica.
"Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated. It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter and could also be a threat to more distant coasts," the center said. Read more.
By Charlotte Dennett
A driving snowstorm could not keep Vermonters away from the statehouse in Montpelier yesterday as the Vermont Senate convened a historic debate and then voted on the future of the state’s aging nuclear power plant. Some 1300 people – most of them standing before live video coverage outside the small, overcrowded Senate chamber -- listened to several hours of respectful debate that even included the proposition of building a new nuclear power plant in Vermont as per President Obama’s pro-nuclear agenda. But when it was all over, senators from both parties resoundingly voted against a last-minute amendment for a new plant to replace the old one, and similarly defeated re-licensure of Vermont Yankee in 2012 by a vote of 26 to 4. Amidst cheers, clapping and hugs from the victors, it was clearly another Vermont moment for a state that prides itself on being cutting edge on social, political and environmental issues. As the only state in the nation that by statute allows its legislature to decide whether to re-license a nuclear power plant, the vote is likely to have wide-reaching ramifications, including for residents of Massachusetts who live near the Vermont Yankee plant.
Avatar: The Prequel
Will Earth’s Last Stand Sweep the 2013 Oscars?
By Michael T. Klare | Tom Dispatch
From TomDispatch this afternoon: looking beyond Oscar week, Michael Klare, author of Resource Wars, suggests to James Cameron what his next Avatar film should be, a 2144 prequel set on a resource-ravaged planet Earth -- Michael Klare, "Avatar: The Prequel, Will Earth's Last Stand Sweep the 2013 Oscar's"
For his latest post directed toward the upcoming Academy Awards, Michael T. Klare, our premier scholar of "resource wars," offers himself to director James Cameron as a "technical consultant" on the next Avatar film which, he suggests, should be a prequel set on planet Earth in 2144 (a decade before the present Avatar begins). It would be, he writes, "a Pandora-style, sensory-expanding guided tour of our own planet... part of a harrowing tale of environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and perennial conflict in the twilight years of humanity’s decline. Think of it as Avatar: Earth’s Last Stand."
Klare's suggestion is based on hints already embedded in the global smash hit now in 3-D movie theaters across the planet: according to Avatar, Jake Scully, the renegade Marine who joins the Na'vi, previously served in "the First Marine Reconnaissance unit" on three combat tours in Venezuela (where he evidently got his spinal injury) and his commander on Pandora, Colonel Quaritch, fought in Nigeria. Both, Klare points out, are embattled oil-rich countries which may still have energy reserves deep into the twenty-second century.
Drawing on his "resource wars" expertise -- the phrase "resource wars" was the title of his pathbreaking 2001 book -- Klare paints for Cameron a picture of our energy-starved, ravaged world of 2144, so that you understand just why giant mining companies would set off for Pandora in search of "unobtanium."
Klare's latest post offers an initially light-hearted, but striking way of outlining our environmental and energy dilemmas a century-plus down the line. His piece suggests the next step after Avatar and is a splendid political prequel to the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony. He concludes: "It’s not that hard to imagine just such a future world if we continue on our present course toward ever greater resource consumption, increased carbon emissions, and the militarization of resource dependency. Can you doubt that the movie Cameron and I would make, Avatar: Earth’s Last Stand, would be both gripping and spectacular? It would be an amazing, if tension-producing place to visit in 3-D. Here’s the only catch: you wouldn’t want to live there." Read it!
Navy agrees to study impact of Camp Lejeune's toxic water
By Barbara Barrett | McClatchy Newspapers
The Navy has agreed to pay $1.53 million for a mortality study that could show a linkage between toxic water at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and the deaths of Marines and their family members who lived there over a 30-year period.
Some estimates are that during that time, as many as 1 million people were exposed to well water at the base that contained trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride.
The chemicals were dumped into storm drains, leaked from fuel tanks or were buried in pits across the base. They seeped through the groundwater and into wells that fed the base areas of Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace.
The main contaminated well was shut down in November 1984.
Documents that McClatchy revealed Sunday indicate that a fuel storage farm at a central part of the base might have had far greater significance to the contamination than previously was known.
Some 800,000 gallons of fuel were thought to have been spilled over the years from the fuel farm, close to the main well serving Hadnot Point — the location of the base's enlisted barracks, some officers' quarters and the hospital.
Benzene is a component of fuel and a known carcinogen. Read more.
Use as many low-energy lightbulbs as you like, turn down the thermostat and drive a hybrid car, but whatever you do as an individual -- indeed, the sum of what we all do for the environment --does almost nothing to alleviate the U.S. military's destruction of the earth.
In The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, Barry Sanders writes that like other capitalist institutions, "each military branch ... must grow larger and fatter each year; expansion is the life blood of imperialism." Further, Sanders asserts, "The military can brook limits of no kind whatsoever. ... The Pentagon conducts its business behind very thick and very closed doors. It writes its own rules and either follows them or violates them, depending on the situation."
Almost all "military numbers remain off of official reports, secret and out of sight." Sanders obtained the information he cites in the book by gleaning what he could from "arcane reports" and obscure Web sites belonging to the Department of Defense and Government Accounting Office, plus books and articles.
Sanders describes, in horrifying detail, how the military is "the largest single source of pollution in this country and in the world: the United States military -- in particular the military in its most ferocious and stepped-up mode -- namely, the military at war." He goes on to say, "When we declare war on a foreign nation, we now also declare war on the Earth, on the soil and plants and animals, the water and wind and people in the most far-reaching and deeply infecting ways." Read more.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2010) — Mass media have been a key vehicle by which climate change contrarianism has traveled, according to Maxwell Boykoff, a University of Colorado at Boulder professor and fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES.
Boykoff, an assistant professor of environmental studies, presented his research February 22 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego. He spoke during a panel discussion titled "Understanding Climate Change Skepticism: Its Sources and Strategies."
Boykoff's segment was titled "Exaggerating Denialism: Media Representations of Outlier Views on Climate Change" and discussed prominent pitfalls.