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Weather Forecast: A Cloudy Future for Nukes

In the 1950s, when the first nuclear reactors were conceived, there were few computers. Engineers created blueprints using lead pencils and slide rules. Back then the atmosphere’s carbon content was a mere 310 parts-per-million and a “storm of the century” came along about once every 100 years, as you would expect. We now inhabit a different planet. With CO2 levels the highest they’ve been in 15 million years, complex computer models warn…
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by: Gar Smith – Spring 2013

Germany Leads the “Energy Turn”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was trained as quantum chemist, and as a doctoral candidate studied subatomic reactions, so it was no surprise that as she started her political career she became an outspoken advocate for nuclear power. In 2010, five years into her term as Germany’s leader, Merkel called for extending the operating lives of Germany’s aging reactors by an average of 15 years. But, like much of the world, her views…
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by: Gar Smith – Winter 2013

Politics and Plutocrats: a Parade of Inequality

America is currently engaged in the most expensive presidential contest in world history. In the United States, money doesn’t just talk – it dictates. How can we hope to make progress on the path to sustainability when the road is blocked by barricades of bullion backed by battalions of billionaires? How do we break through the political gridlock? Dave Brower’s wife, Anne, once put a wise spin on this dilemma. “What we…
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by: Gar Smith – Autumn 2012

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

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