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Tempest in a Green Bin – July 30, 2015

Uproar over compost and recycling fees in Oakland illustrates challenges of achieving a zero-waste goal

When Oakland restaurateur Gail Lillian received her July compost bill for her food truck and brick and mortar restaurant, Liba Falafel, she was shocked by the dollar figure. Lillian was expecting to see some increase in her waste disposal bill. She had received notices from the trash and recycling companies about a coming rate hike, and she remembered the contentious and controversial fight that occurred last fall over the City of Oakland’s new contract for waste hauling. But she was unprepared to get hit with such huge jump in her compost bill.

Jepson Organics Composting Facility Tour-43photo by Marc… more

by: Jason Mark

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Earth Island Journal Hits the Road with Neil Young and Promise of the Real – July 6, 2015

Hang out with us at one of ten upcoming concert dates this month

Like many writers I know, I find that having some tunes playing in the background often helps make the words and sentences come more easily. Usually I go for classical or jazz (I don’t want other people’s words distracting me), but sometimes I opt for rock or country and bluegrass or hip-hop. For some reason, this spring Neil Young’s modern classic After the Gold Rush was in heavy rotation on my turntable while I was writing on topics as diverse as the California drought, ivory smuggling, and wildness in the twenty-first century. The title track, you might remember, includes these indelible lines:

“Look at Mother Nature on the run/ more

by: Jason Mark

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The Green Energy Revolt – May 13, 2015

Demand for clean energy crosses ideological lines

This story originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of The Progressive.

Debbie Dooley is mad as hell. 

Since 2012, the fifty-six-year-old grandmother and former IT consultant has been waging a fierce grassroots battle against her home state utility, Georgia Power, to make it easier and cheaper for homeowners to install rooftop solar panels. Now, she’s working with allies in Florida to sponsor a ballot initiative that would allow businesses and homeowners there to sell any energy they generate back to the grid. 

photo of Wayne National Forest Solar Panel ConstructionPhoto by Wayne National Forest, on Flickr A quiet revolution in… more

by: Jason Mark

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Letter from California – May 12, 2015

Field notes on a state in drought

This story originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of The Progressive.

This was the year without a winter. 

In January, not a single drop of rain fell in the San Francisco Bay Area, the first time such a thing has happened since recordkeeping began during the Gold Rush. Day after day, the skies were clear and the afternoon temperatures were in the seventies. It was awful. Without any rain or the typical cold winter winds, a thick haze developed over the bay and stuck around for weeks. An orange miasma choked the view from the Berkeley Hills to the Golden Gate, making the sun into a tarnished brass coin. 

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by: Jason Mark

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You Shall Not Pass – April 20, 2015

Goldman Environmental Prize winners lay their bodies on the line to halt destructive practices

When Marilyn Baptiste, chief of the Xeni Gwet’in community of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation in British Columbia, was told by two members of her tribe that a long line of trucks and heavy equipment was headed into the nation’s territory, she knew she would have to act quickly to stop them. It was November 2011, and three years earlier a Canadian mining corporation, Taseko Mines Limited, had announced its plans to dig a massive, open-pit copper and gold mine on the tribe’s territory in an area called Fish Lake. The company had failed to receive all of the necessary permits from the Canadian federal government to construct the mine, but it… more

by: Jason Mark

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