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category_outlined / News & Politics
Earth Island JournalEarth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal Autumn 2016

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

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Earth Island Institute
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4 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

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making peace with fire

It’s peak wildfire season in the American West. As I write this, firefighters are battling twenty-six active fires across eight of the thirteen Western states, including five in California, where a prolonged drought and extreme summer heat have turned forestlands into tinderboxes waiting for a light. So far, four civilian and two firefighter deaths have been reported and thousands of homes have been evacuated. As the fire season stretches on into fall, more grim news may be in the offing.As is usual, the fires were quickly followed by another annual ritual: Officials and the media describing them or the fire season itself as “catastrophic,” “unprecedented,” or the “worst in recorded history.”In the face of stark images of raging flames painting hillsides orange, smokegreyed skies, and harrowing tales of people forced…

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letters & emails

(WWW.BIZARRO.COM)Letters to the Editor Earth Island Journal 2150 Allston Way #460 Berkeley, CA 94704 editor@earthisland.orgThe Population Roadblock“Wild Again” by Paula MacKay and John Davis (Summer 2016) emphasizes how important rewilding efforts and wildlife corridors are to the future of many of our fellow earthlings. I wholeheartedly agree. However, as with most rewilding articles and editorials, it only hints at the basic problem of human overpopulation. What will rewilding require in the North Cascades when Seattle’s population doubles? Unless we humans reduce our numbers, all the plans for new parks and wilderness areas won’t accomplish diddlysquat.Ricardo SmallAlbany, ORA True TreasureI enjoyed Jackie Dishner’s piece about local efforts to transform Chiricahua National Monument into a national park (“The Making of a National Park,” Summer 2016). Chiricahua is a true treasure. I’m crossing…

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end of nuclear in california

It’s going to be lights out for nuclear power in California. In June, Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility that operates the Golden State’s last remaining nuclear power plant in Diablo Canyon, announced an agreement with several environmental and labor groups to close down the plant when its federal operating license expires in 2025.The announcement effectively brings to an end California’s contentious relationship with nuclear power more than half-a-century after it began. The plant, which is located on a seaside cliff on the California Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, currently provides 160 megawatts of electricity for Central and Northern California — enough to power more than 1.7 million homes. Under the deal, the utility agreed not to renew Diablo Canyon’s license. Closing the plant should be cheaper than operating…

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ivory trade: a win and a setback

In June, as part of an ongoing effort to prevent elephant poaching, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced a near-total ban on the ivory trade, a move that will make it much harder to buy and sell ivory in the United States.While ivory imports have been banned in this country since 1990, under previous regulations ivory that had been brought into the US prior to 1976 — the year that African elephants were first listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES — to still be freely traded within US borders.Under the new rules, which took effect in July, interstate sales are restricted to antiques that are more than 100 years old, and to products containing small amounts of ivory, such as musical instruments. The…

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the thawing dead

Recent events in Russia sound more like the plot of a cli-fi novel than the makings of a news headline: An isolated corner of Siberia has been hit with a deadly anthrax outbreak, and the culprits, it seems, might be a reindeer corpse and record high temperatures.Siberia experienced record heat this summer, which melted permafrost in the region. Scientists have not yet confirmed the source of the outbreak, but a prominent hypothesis is that as the permafrost thawed, so did a buried reindeer, releasing the long-dormant anthrax bacteria that had killed it some 75 years ago.As the Journal went to press, dozens of people had been hospitalized, one child had died, and more than 2,000 reindeer had been infected. Russian authorities had sent troops trained for biological warfare to contain…

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deep sea heritage

A jellyfish in Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. UNESCO wants to add deep-sea ecosystems to its list of World Heritage sites. (PHOTO NOAA OKEANOS EXPLORER)UNESCO wants to add deep-sea ecosystems, including sunken coral islands, floating rainforests, and giant undersea volcanoes to its list of World Heritage sites, given their “outstanding universal value.” Such sites can’t currently be included in the list because they are found in the high seas, outside of any national jurisdiction.In a report released in August, UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature recommended five ocean biodiversity hotspots worthy of recognition: the Costa Rica Thermal Dome in the Pacific Ocean; the White Shark Café, the only known gathering point for white sharks in the Pacific Ocean; the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean; the Lost…

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