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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

In Review: “Protecting the Wild”

Essay collection by leading conservationists makes the case for why parks and preserves remain important today

In recent years, a group of “environmental contrarians” have put out essays and books criticizing the environmental movement’s traditional advocacy for parks and wilderness. They claim the fight to protect these areas is futile as there is no true wilderness anymore, and…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – July 17, 2015

SeaWorld’s in Deep Water

Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Behind Blackfish
by John Hargrove with Howard Chua-Eoan
Palgrave MacMillan, 2015, 264 pages

On its website, the marine-park conglomerate SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment says that it is a “leading theme park and entertainment company that blends imagination with nature.” Parse the sentence, and you’ll see that this is little more than marketing-speak for saying that the company offers its visitors a kind of fantasy. Captive marine mammals frolicking and doing tricks for crowds of humans – it’s a make-believe vision of what the ocean might…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Summer 2015

Earth Island Advances New SeaWorld Lawsuit

International Marine Mammal Project

On April 13, two former visitors to SeaWorld who paid to attend the marine park in San Diego, CA filed suit against SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. on the basis of false and misleading claims made by SeaWorld about the health and welfare of captive orca whales. The plaintiffs are represented by Covington & Burling LLP, which is being assisted by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project. As one of the world’s leading…
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by: Mark J. Palmer – Summer 2015

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