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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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Weeds – They’re What’s for Dinner – April 8, 2015

Urban foraging could help boost nutrition in food deserts, researchers say

A few summers back I was in the middle of coordinating the weekly community harvest at San Francisco’s Alemany Farm when a few of our regular “customers” showed up to cut and collect some of the bounty. A lot of the farm’s neighbors are recent immigrants, and the other farm managers and I try our best to create a crop plan that the nearby residents will appreciate. The Latino families seem to especially enjoy our rows of squash and tomatoes (whether green or red). The Chinese families usually go for the broccoli, various chois, and snap peas. Everyone likes the green beans. On that particular afternoon, I noticed that… more

by: Jason Mark

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Free Trade versus Good Food – March 31, 2015

How the World Trade Organization struck down Country of Origin Labeling for meat

Eager to chalk up some second-term accomplishments, the Obama administration is busy with the final negotiating stages of a sweeping free trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Although many of the details of the agreement remain secret, a lot of progressives and environmental groups are worried about the broad outlines of the deal. If you care about creating a more sustainable food system, you should be worried, too. Let me explain.

Supermarket oysters labeled by country of originPhoto by Bob Nichols/USDAThe United States is currently in a trade fight with Canada and Mexico over a US law that requires Country of Origin Labeling on most… more

by: Jason Mark

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