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Earth Island JournalEarth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal Autumn 2014

Earth Island Journal is a publication in the field of news and society offering news and analysis about energy and the environment

United States
Earth Island Institute
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4 Issues


access_time2 min.
wild at heart

“The idea of wilderness needs no defense,” Edward Abbey once declared, “it only needs defenders.” It’s a good line and a brave one, but, like so many things, it might not hold up as it once did.September 3 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act, one of the landmark accomplishments of the modern American environmental movement. We should be celebrating the occasion with champagne and high-fives. Instead, many longtime conservationists have found themselves in something of a defensive crouch. The wilderness ideal — which once seemed so selfevident to so many people — is facing harsh, new attacks.As Brooke Williams writes in this special edition of Earth Island Journal in celebration of wildness (page 33): “Wilderness has insidious new opponents who mask their opposition with compelling…

access_time3 min.
letters & emails

Investigation vs SuperstitionI was gratified to see hard-hitting, factual, prescient articles in the Summer 2014 issue, particularly the fine investigative piece by Adam Federman on the extreme danger posed by carrying Bakken crude by rail (“Warning: Highly Flammable”).And then there was the last essay, “A Prayer for Earth” (Voices) by Reverend Sally Bingham. The discontinuity was jarring — the articles before hers had been science-based, tied to the observable degradation of our world, yet here was an advertisement for the alleged service to the poor by the Episcopalian church, along with an undefined exploration of something she called “God’s Creation.” Bingham is entitled to her beliefs, just as I am entitled to see her notions as unsupportable, particularly given the establishment church’s tax-avoidance schemes and ongoing support of corporate ecological…

access_time24 min.
the big wide open: victory in chile

Environmentalists in Chile scored a major victory in June when Chile’s Committee of Ministers (the country’s cabinet) unanimously agreed to cancel a plan to dam two major rivers in the still-wild Patagonia region.Grassroots environmental groups in Chile, joined by allies from around the world, fought for eight years to stop the construction of five dams on two of Patagonia’s wildest rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. Rallies in the south of the country eventually led to marches in the capital, Santiago, until the controversial dams became a major issue in the country’s 2013 general election. During her campaign, President Michelle Bachelet promised to stop the dams if elected, and in the end she fulfilled that promise.“The government’s definitive rejection of the HidroAysén project is not only the greatest triumph of…

access_time3 min.
the sharing economy: love it or leave it?

by Annie LeonardAs you’ve likely noticed, sharing is having a resurgence. The new sharing economy has created so much buzz that it even has a new name: collaborative consumption. With the aid of online tools and smartphone apps, people are sharing camping and sports gear, cars, spare bedrooms, and even jobs. But with the surge has come a heated debate about what truly qualifies as sharing and whether we ought to embrace or reject this new modelIn high-tech circles, platforms like. Airbnb and Uber are heralded as disruptive technologies that can transform our old consumer economy into a new economy that values access to goods and services more than the acquisition of stuff. These companies claim they’re breaking open the seller-buyer relationship, allowing anyone to be an entrepreneur and put…

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sacred lan d film project: the power of storytelling

Lying awake one night during the editing of the Standing on Sacred Ground series, I tossed and turned and worried about the challenges of telling eight long, complex stories in a society with an ever-shrinking attention span. I asked myself, “Who is going to watch four hours of documentary film?” The answer came within seconds: “Indigenous people, that’s who.” So, when my friend Cynthia Ong, executive director of LEAP: Land / Empowerment / Animals / People offered to take a set of four DVDs of the finished films to Malaysia to screen for community leaders from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo, I was more than happy to deliver her our new boxed set.Shortly afterward I got this email from Cynthia, along with some photos:Hi Toby Sharing pics of the first screening…

access_time3 min.
project coyote: ending america’s war on wildlife

Few Americans have heard of Wildlife Services, a little-known agency of the US Department of Agriculture charged with managing wildlife, largely at the behest of ranchers and agribusiness. Since 1931, this agency has been waging war against wildlife with a lethal arsenal of traps, snares, poisons, and guns. As detailed in a recent Washington Post article, the total carnage in 2013 alone included 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 12,186 prairie dogs, 973 red-tailed hawks, 419 black bears, and at least three eagles, golden and bald.This doesn’t include the collateral damage. According to Sacramento Bee investigative reporter Tom Knudson, since 2000 Wildlife Services has mistakenly killed more than 50,000 non-target animals, including several federally protected species and more than 1,100 dogs.Seeking to press for agency reform and…