Noticias y Política
Earth Island Journal

Earth Island Journal Fall 2017

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 Números

En este número

2 min.
food for thought

A simple loaf of bread can cost more than $800 in Venezuela today. I haven’t been able to push this absurd, disturbing figure out of my mind ever since our art director pointed it out as we were working on this issue of the Journal. Somehow, that one telling detail seemed to embody the turbulent situation in Venezuela right now. The South American nation’s petrodollar-dependent economy has been in a tailspin since 2014, when global oil prices began falling. Acute shortages of food and medicine have triggered a political and humanitarian crisis that’s getting worse by the day in this country of 30 million. People are standing in bread lines for hours, rooting through garbage bags for scraps, and handing over their life savings for a basket of food on the black…

2 min.
letters & emails

Invisible “America’s Toxic Prisons” (Summer 2017) is an amazing piece of writing, well researched and balanced in its presentation. It provides another example of how vulnerable and powerless people are marginalized to the point where they are invisible, in this case with respect to the environment. I found this quote by Sean Krausert of That Poverty Project that is relevant to the prison population and so many other groups, especially in today’s political climate: “To provide compassion, even when compassion may seem unwarranted, is the true measure of a civilized society.” Grail Bahlkow North Yarmouth, ME De-funding Deforestation Flying over Borneo in 2005, I was appalled to see once virgin rainforests, home to countless endangered species, reduced to environmentally unfriendly oil palm plantations. During my visit I saw hundreds of orphaned orangutans whose mothers…

2 min.
the harry potter effect

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books or seen one of the eight movies based on them by now. The series has been a pop culture sensation for decades, and Hermione and Voldemort are practically household names. In addition to the book’s wand-wielding heroes, owls feature prominently in the stories — from Harry Potter’s friend Hedwig to Ron Weasley’s owl Pigwidgeon. But the series’ feathered characters seem to have left a less-than-desirable legacy. A recent study published in Global Ecology and Conservation concludes that the trade in owls has increased dramatically in Indonesia since the Harry Potter books and movies were translated and released in the country in the early 2000s. The researchers compared data from 1979 to 2016, estimating that owl sales…

1 min.
waning wildfires

We live on a warming planet, where wildfires are predicted to burn with increasing frequency and intensity in some parts of the world. Yet a recent study published in Science has arrived at a surprising conclusion: The total amount of land burned in wildfires decreased by 24 percent between 1998 and 2015. The researchers believe the decrease can be attributed largely to human activity, particularly to argricultural intensification and expansion into areas where fires used to occur. “This work highlights how humans can shape global fire regimes,” David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania and wildfire expert who was not involved in the research, told The Washington Post. Much of the decrease took place in grassland and savannah regions, and fire reductions were greater in regions…

2 min.
adrift upon the open sea

Delaware. That’s been the word of choice to describe the size of a chunk of ice that tore loose from the Larsen C ice sheet, on the northwestern edge of Antarctica, in early July. There are other metrics by which the 2,400-square-mile iceberg can be fathomed. The volume of water contained in its ice is enough to fill Lake Mead, the highest capacity reservoir in the United States, roughly 35 times over. Photographs taken during NASA’s IceBridge aerial survey mission just before the separation showed the crack to be 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide, and in excess of a third of a mile deep. Despite its massive size, the eventual melting of the colossal berg will not appreciably affect sea level since the ice is already floating in the…

1 min.
labels matter

It seems language can make a big difference when it comes to climate change — or as some would say, global warming. According to researchers at Cornell University, significantly more Americans doubt the existence of “global warming” than question the reality of “climate change.” The distinction is particularly acute when it comes to Republicans: While 74 percent said they believe climate change is happening, only 66 percent think global warming is occurring. The results indicate that seemingly small differences in language around climate issues might have significant political ramifications. Take Donald Trump, who has called climate change a hoax and has said he will pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement. According to the Thompson Reuters Foundation, an analysis of the President’s Twitter account — his communication platform…