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A Becky Tarbotton Remembrance – December 26, 2013

Some notes on the art of leadership

A year ago today my friend Becky Tarbotton died while swimming in rough surf off the coast of Mexico. It was the kind of accident that is so unexpected and shocking — so out of the blue — that it felt, in the fullest sense of the word, nightmarish. It felt like the world had spun out of control, in all the wrong directions. Becky was just 39 years old when she died. Her death occurred on a bright morning, in the midst of a holiday beach vacation, among her closest friends and her new husband, Mateo Williford. The couple had been married just six months. The whole thing was… more

by: Jason Mark

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The Ten Most Important Environmental Stories of 2013 – December 18, 2013

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Ah, the winter holidays. Christmas trees, sugary treats, alcohol-fueled office parties, binge shopping … and end-of-year Best of Lists. No December is complete without all of those Top Ten compilations in which we wistfully look back at the year-that-was. Sometimes these lists are little more than click-bait (“Top Ten Miley Moments” anyone?), but often they’re a great reminder of the year’s highs and lows.

There are a couple of excellent round-ups for people who care about the environment. TIME’s environment correspondent, Bryan Walsh, has a smart take here. And I also really enjoyed this list put together by Mongabay’s Rhett Butler.

Below are my picks for… more

by: Jason Mark

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Call of the Wild – December 9, 2013

Can Ranchers Come to Peace with the Wolves in Their Midst?

The spirit of the Wild West is alive and well in the hamlet of Reserve, New Mexico.

The seat of Catron County is home to a scant 600 people, and Main Street is little more than a collection of old adobe homes, log cabins, and double-wide trailers. Jake’s General Mercantile anchors the crossroads at the middle of town; on one side is Ella’s Café, across the street is La Familia Carmen’s Mexican food, which serves a mean red chili sauce. “Always Kiss Your Cowboy Goodnight” reads a hand-painted sign near the door to Village Thrift, a tan adobe where locals gather around the stove to trade news. Perhaps this referred… more

by: Jason Mark

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Chevron’s Revenge – November 19, 2013

Oil giant pursues a “scorched earth” campaign against its most dogged critic

Steven Donziger is getting smashed into the concrete like a spent cigarette butt.

photonameChevron claims Steven Donziger and Ecuadorian
villagers attempted to extort billions of dollars
from the oil giant.

Since Donziger is a lawyer — and lawyers aren’t always the most sympathetic of characters — you might be excused for not caring too much about his fate. There are other things to worry about, after all: accelerating climate change, the people suffering in the Philippines, the mass extinction of plants and animals. But if you care about the health of the planet, you should pay attention to Donziger’s plight, because it’s a… more

by: Jason Mark

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A Lesson from Washington’s GMO Labeling Initiative – November 6, 2013

Want GMO labeling? Then drive a wedge between Big Food and Big Ag.

They’re still counting the votes in Washington, but it appears that people in the Evergreen State have voted down Initiative 522, a measure that would have required a label for foods containing genetically modified ingredients. (Mail-in ballots could turn the tide, but it seems unlikely.) Food system reformers look to be 0-for-2 in their efforts to require GMO labeling, having lost a similar referendum last year in California. A defeat in Washington would force “good food” activists to step back and reevaluate their strategies for creating a more transparent food system. Among other takeaways from the latest food fight, it seems to me there is a… more

by: Jason Mark

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