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NY Attorney Wins Goldman Environmental Prize for Her Pioneering Work Against Gas Fracking – April 28, 2014

The story behind Helen Slottje’s legal strategy that has the gas industry on the defensive

When Helen Slottje quit her high-powered, well-paying job at a corporate law firm in Boston and moved to Ithaca to be with her new husband, David, she was hoping to make a quiet new life for herself amid the bucolic scenery of upstate New York. For a while everything went according to plan. She helped out at David’s family business. She began meditating. She adopted a vegetarian diet. It was a real shift, she says, to go “from corporate lawyer to … having a better quality of life.”

Helen Slotjee sititng outdoorsPhotos courtesy Goldman AwardsSlottje's efforts to halt the natural gas rush near her new… more

by: Jason Mark

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Goldman Environmental Prize Winners Offer a Lesson in Courage – April 27, 2014

Annual prize, now in its 25th year, is an important reminder of the seriousness of environmental advocacy

Being an environmental activist in the United States (or Canada, or most of Europe) is so easy. Sure, the hours are long and the pay — if there is any, which is a privilege in itself — sucks. Most of the hard work is thankless. But you can go organize a protest against, say, the Keystone XL pipeline or a clearcut logging proposal and know that, when the demonstration is done, you can go home safely. You might even be lucky enough to be part of a community of like-minded dissidents whose similar passion energizes you. And even if and when you do decide to cross the line into civil disobedience,… more

by: Jason Mark

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Earth Day: Now about as Green as St. Patrick’s Day? – April 22, 2014

From epic day of citizen action to marketing gimmick in just 40-odd years

It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m one of the last sentimentalists standing in this ironic age, but I’ll admit that I get a little misty eyed when I think about the first Earth Day.

Do you remember it? Can you imagine it? On April 22, 1970 some 20 million Americans in cities and towns across the country turned out for a coordinated day of action to express their desire for a society that would live more conscientiously with this one and only planet. People picked up trash on beaches and in streams, they planted gardens, they organized and attended environmental teach-ins, they marched and chanted and… more

by: Jason Mark

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A Way to Come Together on Public Lands Conservation – April 14, 2014

If Congress doesn’t like President Obama’s national monument designation, it should pass the dozens of pending wilderness bills

Late last month the House of Representatives passed a bill that would restrict the president’s ability to fulfill a key part of his stated agenda. No, this wasn’t the umpteenth vote to repeal Obamacare. Rather, the “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act” would severely constrain the president’s power to conserve wildlands via the Antiquities Act. As the bill’s sponsor, Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop, explains it: “The president ought to formally be required to consider the input of local communities and states prior to declaring new national monuments.”

Sleeping Bear Dunesphoto by more

by: Jason Mark

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Eco Euphemisms Confuse Our Understanding of Environmental Destruction – March 28, 2014

What’s in a word?

In his now-classic essay, “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell warned: “Political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. … But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.”

photo of a steam-shovel in the process of removing a verdant land to expose bare soilJulia Kilpatrick, The Pembina InstituteBoreal forest “overburden” being cleared for tar sands mining in Alberta, Canada.

Orwell’s insights are as true today as they were in 1946, when he wrote the piece. Calculated euphemisms clutter… more

by: Jason Mark

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