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Earth Island Journal: Finding Solutions to Protect the Planet

When it came to journalism, Dave Brower had a rule: Don’t just present problems; present solutions. For 16 years, it was my honor to helm the Journal as it became both a tool to communicate information and a means to promote solutions. Some history: The original Earth Island crew worked with Dave at the San Francisco office of Friends of the Earth (FOE). In the mid-1980s, FOE’s San Francisco and Washington, DC…
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by: Gar Smith – Summer 2012

The Deplorax

My review of The Lorax (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Original Illustration by Gar Smith My name is the Lorax and I speak for the trees. So how’d I get sucked up in Hollywood sleaze? My message was lost in the Stremulous Stream! Even Swomee-swans told me to “Get with the Team!”…
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by: Gar Smith – March 6, 2012

Flare-up: How the Sun Could Put an End to Nuclear Power

Solar energy may soon eclipse nuclear power – only not in the way we hoped. According to NASA, the planet will soon face an outbreak of powerful solar flares capable of collapsing global power grids. Were this to happen, the world’s nuclear reactors could be left to run wild, overheat, melt, and explode. The sun’s magnetic cycle peaks every 22 years while sunspot activity crests every 11 years. Both events are set…
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by: Gar Smith – Spring 2012

Occupy the Constitution

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” If the above were true, Occupy Wall Street would be one step away from victory. Unfortunately, modern politics is not that clear-cut. (Nor is attribution: That quote, usually credited to Mahatma Gandhi, was actually uttered in 1918 by a trade union organizer with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.) The mainstream media managed to ignore the Tahrir…
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by: Gar Smith – Winter 2012

Fukushima Is Forever

We’ll be grappling with radiation danger for years to come

The timeline for catastrophe has shifted. We used to fear "once-in-a-lifetime" floods. Today we face epochal calamities like climate change and intergenerational traumas like the Bhopal chemical explosion and the BP oil spill, which, according to the latest reports, is once again…
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by: Gar Smith – October 19, 2011

Privatizing Sunbeams

On June 28, the US Energy Information Administration announced that – for the first time – renewable energy trumped nuclear as a major source of power. For the first quarter of 2011, renewables provided 5 percent more electricity than nuclear reactors and matched three-quarters of the power provided by domestic crude oil. Taken together, renewables provided nearly 12 percent of US energy output. The leading contributors were biomass/biofuels (48 percent), hydropower (35…
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by: Gar Smith – Autumn 2011

Don’t Mini-mize the Dangers of Nuclear Power

The radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors poisoned farmlands, contaminated the sea, and sent invisible mists of radiation wafting around the world. The latest – and it’s just the latest – atomic accident has raised new concerns about the risks of nuclear energy. But still the question remains: Are we wise enough to finally understand that nuclear reactors are a fool’s technology? Earth Island Institute founder David Brower initially believed that…
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by: Gar Smith – Summer 2011

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