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Preserving Half the Earth

In Review: Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life

By Edward O. WilsonW.W. Norton & Company, 2016, 259 pages Biologist and prolific writer Edward O. Wilson, professor emeritus of Harvard University, has thrown down a challenge to humankind. In order to preserve the biological diversity of the Earth — all the…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – May 6, 2016

Taiji Whale Museum Convicted of Discrimination Against Westerners

Japanese court finds museum at fault for blocking entry of Australian anti-dolphin hunt activists

In a major blow to the Taiji dolphin slaughter, a Japanese court in Wakayama Prefecture has ruled that the Taiji Whale Museum, owned and operated by the town government of Taiji, discriminated against Westerners by denying them entry to the museum. Western supporters…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – March 25, 2016

Battling Big Oil in Texas

A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking: How One Texas Town Stood Up to Big Oil and Gas
by Adam Briggle
Liverlight Publishing Corporation, 2015, 336 pages

The title of Adam Briggle’s new book, A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking, is something of a misnomer – the book isn’t so much a guide to fracking. It is, rather, quite a good guide to how a small group of people can beat Big Oil and help protect their homes and families from the ravages of extractive technologies. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, refers to the process of forcing a heady potion…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Spring 2016

California Coastal Commission Fires Executive Director Charles Lester

Decision made despite huge public support for his work

On Wednesday, February 10, in Morro Bay, CA, seven members of the California Coastal Commission ignored a huge showing of public support for Executive Director Charles Lester, and voted in private to fire him. At no point was it ever clear what…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – February 12, 2016

Fighting Famine

The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World
By Joel K. Bourne Jr.
W.W. Norton & Company, 2015, 408 pages

As the world’s population continues to explode in the twenty-first century, humans are fast approaching a point of global food scarcity that is likely to trigger massive famines around the planet. The repercussions are terrifying, and likely include everything from mass migrations to wars. Joel Bourne delves into this all-too-possible dystopian future in his book The End of Plenty, starting with a deep dive into the historical context – humanity has, in…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Winter 2016

Beauty in the Ear of the Beholder

Voices of the Wild: Animal Songs, Human Din, and the Call to Save Natural Soundscapes
by Bernie Krause
Yale University Press, 2014, 166 pages

The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World
by Trevor Cox
WW Norton & Co, 2014, 331 pages

I don’t know what it is about the sound of the wind roaring through pine trees, but it always makes me smile and relax. It’s the sound of outdoor vacations, the memory of summer sun and swimming in lakes. I simply love it. I’m not alone in having this love for the sounds of the natural world. Two recent books by sonic scientists explain that the “soundscape” is a crucial part of…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Autumn 2015

Fossil Fuels’ Days are Numbered, Thanks in Large Part to Economics: Lester Brown

In Review: The Great Transition

Lester R. Brown is well known for his sweeping assemblages of information to illustrate world trends, economic trends, and environmental trends.  His revelations are usually sobering, if not frightening. But along comes The Great Transition, his newest look at world trends. Today,…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – August 21, 2015

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