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Tempest in a Green Bin

Uproar over compost and recycling fees in Oakland illustrates challenges of achieving a zero-waste goal

When Oakland restaurateur Gail Lillian received her July compost bill for her food truck and brick and mortar restaurant, Liba Falafel, she was shocked by the dollar figure. Lillian was expecting to see some increase in her waste disposal bill. She had…
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by: Jason Mark – July 30, 2015

Earth Island Journal Hits the Road with Neil Young and Promise of the Real

Hang out with us at one of ten upcoming concert dates this month

Like many writers I know, I find that having some tunes playing in the background often helps make the words and sentences come more easily. Usually I go for classical or jazz (I don’t want other people’s words distracting me), but sometimes…
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by: Jason Mark – July 6, 2015

The Fog of Memory

The Beautiful Unseen: Variations on Fog and Forgetting
By Kyle Boelte
Soft Skull Press, 2015, 156 pages

About a third of the way into his haunting, elegant memoir, The Beautiful Unseen, author Kyle Boelte makes something of a confession: “I’m not sure chasing fog makes any sense. What do I hope to accomplish? Besides, I’ve tried chasing after it, and chasing doesn’t seem to work.” The memoir is among the most confessional forms of writing, and so the lines don’t come as a surprise so much as a confirmation…
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by: Jason Mark – Summer 2015

Hiding in Plain Sight

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, and online, ivory carvings are easy to buy.

After an elephant is shot and killed somewhere in Africa, after the tusks are chainsawed off of its face, after the ivory is smuggled through Indian Ocean ports, then crafted in a Hong Kong studio, to be smuggled once more across the Pacific and then secreted past US border inspections – after all of that, some of the world’s illegally trafficked ivory ends up among the curio shops of San Francisco’s Chinatown.…
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by: Jason Mark – Summer 2015

Blood Ivory

In mid-April a northern white rhinoceros named “Sudan” was placed under 24-hour armed guard at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Sudan is one of a kind – literally. He is the only remaining male of his subspecies, which now includes just six animals. If he dies without first mating with one of two females he shares a pen with, the northern white rhino will disappear from the planet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t require much…
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by: Jason Mark – Summer 2015

The Green Energy Revolt

Demand for clean energy crosses ideological lines

This story originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of The Progressive. Debbie Dooley is mad as hell.  Since 2012, the fifty-six-year-old grandmother and former IT consultant has been waging a fierce grassroots battle against her home state utility, Georgia Power, to…
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by: Jason Mark – May 13, 2015

Letter from California

Field notes on a state in drought

This story originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of The Progressive. This was the year without a winter.  In January, not a single drop of rain fell in the San Francisco Bay Area, the first time such a thing has happened…
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by: Jason Mark – May 12, 2015

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