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This Land Is Our Land – September 3, 2015

Time for Congress to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Aahhh, Labor Day weekend — the last gasp for those all-American summer pastimes of camping, hiking, fishing and backpacking. This holiday millions of Americans will take advantage of the long weekend to make one more adventure into our beautiful public lands before the responsibilities of fall descend. But if Congress doesn’t fulfill some of its responsibilities when lawmakers return from their August recess, the funding that sustains outdoor recreation and backwoods escape will be greatly reduced.

man fly-fishing in a lakePhoto by Joseph/FlickrSince its establishment in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect more than 5 million acres of natural landscapes… more

by: Jason Mark

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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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