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A Lesson from Washington’s GMO Labeling Initiative

Want GMO labeling? Then drive a wedge between Big Food and Big Ag.

They’re still counting the votes in Washington, but it appears that people in the Evergreen State have voted down Initiative 522, a measure that would have required a label for foods containing genetically modified ingredients. (Mail-in ballots could turn the tide, but…
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by: Jason Mark – November 6, 2013

What’s Fueling the Demand for the Palm Oil Destroying the Rainforests of Indonesia?

Health concerns and well-meaning efforts to cut GHGs, it turns out

Today Rainforest Action Network released an emotional video that reveals the horrible costs of our growing appetite for palm oil. The two-minute film shows that industrial palm plantations in Indonesia are driving to extinction the last populations of orangutans, a great ape…
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by: Jason Mark – October 9, 2013

The Plight of the Pollinators

The decline of native bumblebees, butterflies and moths poses a bigger threat for pollination than the loss of honeybees

It appears we may be on the verge of a new silent spring, a season marked, not by the absence of birdsong, but by the lack of insect buzzing. A range of flying invertebrates – from the iconic monarch butterfly, to moths…
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by: Jason Mark – October 2, 2013

Ecuador’s Yasuni Initiative: Down in Flames

Failure of conservation effort raises question about cash-for-land schemes

When it was announced in 2007, Ecuador’s Yasuni ITT-Initiative to protect an area of the Amazonian rainforest from oil drilling was hailed as a historic conservation effort. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said he wouldn’t allow oil extraction in parts of Yasuni National…
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by: Jason Mark – September 12, 2013

Wilderness’s Midlife Crisis

Don’t believe the haters: wilderness remains more important than ever

Today, September 3, is the birthday of the Wilderness Act, one of the most important US environmental laws on the books. Forty-nine years ago President Lyndon Johnson signed the act, which ranks among our most eloquent laws, distinguished by its especially poetic…
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by: Jason Mark – September 3, 2013

Now and Never

The Once and Future World: Finding Wilderness in the Nature We’ve Made
By J.B. MacKinnon
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, 240 pages

Recently I conducted a census of all the shrubs, grasses, flowers, and trees living on my block in Oakland, California. There are at least 117 different species in my neighbors’ front gardens. It’s an unruly mix – maples, pines, cacti, salvias, roses, edibles and ornamentals – a variety that makes a good home for all sorts of creatures. Over the years I have spotted in my yard scores of sparrows, phoebes, warblers,…
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by: Jason Mark – Autumn 2013

Naomi Klein

Canadian author Naomi Klein is so well known for her blade-sharp commentary that it’s easy to forget that she is, above all, a first-rate reporter. I got a glimpse into her priorities as I was working on this interview. Klein told me she was worried that some of the things she had said would make it hard for her to land an interview with a president of the one of the Big…
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by: Jason Mark – Autumn 2013

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