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Earth Island JournalEarth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal Spring 2016

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.
lest we forget

“Drinking a glass of water shouldn’t be risky business,” I wrote in the previous issue of this magazine. Sadly, the unfolding crisis in Flint, Michigan — where people’s drinking water has been poisoned with dangerous levels of lead, where officials failed to notify residents for months after they learned of the problem — shows that a glass of water continues to be risky in many places across the United States.We now know that anywhere from 6,000 and 12,000 children in Flint have been exposed to the contaminated water, which could leave them with irreversible developmental setbacks and other health complications.I would like to say that it’s shocking how almost every level of government failed the people of Flint, but this kind of stuff happens too darn often for shock to…

access_time2 min.
letters & emails

(www.bizarro.com)BellwethersThe Journal’ treatment of DuPont’s toxic cover-up (“Teflon’s Toxic Legacy,” Winter 2016) was forceful, carefully reported, well-contextualized, and constructive. And it gained power from those damning sidebar excerpts from the DuPont internal memoranda. Really great work. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about issues in the Journal that later surfaced in other media. You’re bellwethers. Lighthouse keepers. Stay lit!Christopher T. Cory East Hampton, NYShort Story, Serious MessageYour piece on animal rights activists in Wisconsin (“Hounding the Hunters,” Winter 2016) was superbly written. It was akin to reading a short story, but with a serious message. It was rational, but emotional. Wolf Patrol does wonderful work — how frustrating to have to deal with such cowardly ignorance every day. Your article needs to be read widely. Maybe then we can…

access_time23 min.
talking points

OVERHEARDFor a Breath of Fresh AirJust a few short years ago, talk of bottling pure mountain air to sell to poor souls struggling to breathe in polluted cities was reserved for the pages of sciencefiction novels. Then, cities like Beijing started reporting pollution at levels 25 times above the safe limit, and just like that, the stuff of fiction became reality.As an example of capitalism at its best, or maybe its most frightening, Canadian company Vitality Air has started taking advantage of startlingly poor air quality in cities across the world by selling fresh air bottled in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta’s Banff National Park.When the Journal reached Troy Paquette in Edmonton, Alberta, the 38-year-old real estate agent cum air entrepreneur had signed off on Vitality’s second shipment of bottles…

access_time3 min.
un-bottling water

The majestic half-dome of Yosemite. The psychedeliccolored hot springs of Yellowstone. The jaw-dropping ravines of the Grand Canyon…. Piles of plastic water bottles? Until recently, all of these — yes, plastic bottles included — could be considered iconic of our nation’s national parks. In the Grand Canyon alone, the park was recycling more than 900 tons of bottles a year, including plastic ones. But thanks to people-powered change, an estimated 75 national parks — about one quarter of the nation’s total — have now joined the movement to go plastic bottled-water free.The idea seems like common sense — and it is. Plastic water bottles create litter in our nation’s parks. And the production of the 50 billion plastic water bottles used every year in the United States, including in our…

access_time3 min.
sharing conservation success stories

Every year, from April through August, 93-year-old Al Larson drives the highcountry roads of southwest Idaho monitoring the 300 bluebird nesting boxes he has mounted along five wilderness trails over the past 30 years. Larson bands every nestling he finds, and by his reckoning, has fostered more than 27,000 bluebirds, playing a crucial role in the bird’s recovery after a mid-century population decline.At the Animals Asia China Bear Rescue Center in Chengdu, China, veterinarian Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa, tends to the wounds of 124 battered moon bears rescued from bile farms. In New York City, Rita McMahon, a former marketing executive, founded the city’s first wildlife rehabilitation center, the Wild Bird Fund, in 2001. Last year WBF treated more than 4,000 birds, including migrating rarities like a northern parula, a small warbler.…

access_time6 min.
from water bearers to water providers

Baby Gemma is being raised in a world where women doing construction work is normal.At the end of 2015, Kharanda Health Clinic in Kakamega, Kenya reported that their staff had delivered 215 babies over the course of the year. It’s hard to imagine that just three years earlier the clinic was a small health dispensary operating only during the day. Staff members could barely provide basic health services, and treated only about a dozen patients a day due to waterrelated constraints: When health treatments required water, a nurse would have to fetch it from the local river. The trip would take hours.Thanks to the installation of two rainwater harvesting systems and water storage tanks in 2012, the clinic began offering delivery and maternal health services. The Kenyan government — which…