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Did the Plastic Industry Rewrite California’s Text Books?

A California Watch report published Friday claims to have found evidence that the California state EPA allowed the American Chemistry Council to have undue influence over the drafting of the state's new environmental curriculum. According to California Watch investigative reporter Susanna Rust,…
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by: Amy Westervelt – August 22, 2011

Hey USDA: Stop Protecting Profits and Start Protecting People

At the Monterey Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions conference last month, Dr. Loel Solomon, Vice President for Community Health at Kaiser Permanente, called the USDA non-disparagement clause one of the biggest obstacles to moving the sustainable food agenda forward in this country. The…
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by: Amy Westervelt – June 9, 2011

Is the Plastic Industry the New Tobacco Industry?

In the 1980s and 1990s Big Tobacco, mostly led by Philip Morris, spent millions of dollars trying to stop two things they were convinced would ruin their business: regulation of smoking and how cigarettes are marketed, and the dissemination of information about…
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by: Amy Westervelt – March 23, 2011

Janine Benyus

In the 1990s, Janine Benyus, a natural sciences writer and the author of several wilderness guides, began to pay close attention to how various organisms adapted to the ecosystems around them. That led her to wonder if similar strategies couldn’t be applied to the human problems of the day, and whether any such strategies were already being used. Benyus discovered that while people were looking to nature for advice sporadically, it was…
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by: Amy Westervelt – Spring 2011

Green and Switch

Last-minute back-room meetings derailed California's Green Chemistry Initiative

Back in 2008, everyone cheered when California's Governor Schwartznegger signed two bills (AB 1879 and SB 509) known collectively as the Green Chemistry Initiative. Dozens of environmental and public health nonprofits set to work laboring alongside state representatives over the course of…
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by: Amy Westervelt – December 8, 2010

New York Passes Six-Month Fracking Moratorium

It's a story we've seen played out in so many climate- and energy-related stories: In the absence of federal leadership on natural gas--more specifically hydraulic fracturing, the controversial practice used to get at natural gas trapped under large shale rock formations--state and…
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by: Amy Westervelt – December 2, 2010

Mind over Matter

The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction
By Rebecca Costa
334 pages, VanGuard Press, 2010

Despite the efforts of her marketing team to compare her to famed public intellectuals like Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman, Rebecca Costa isn’t a household name. Nonetheless, the sociobiologist and former Silicon Valley marketing exec’s first book, The Watchman’s Rattle, comes close to living up to the hype. Costa makes two simple, but insightful, points. The first is that the theory of evolution doesn’t just apply to something that happened in the…
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by: Amy Westervelt – Winter 2011

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