by, March 9, 2014
The IRL Report is a weekly roundup of news from off the internet and out of doors. Photo taken by your greenfriar last summer at Seneca Rocks in West Virginia.
The Good News!
A California assemblyman introduced legislation this week that would ban the breeding of orcas in captivity. Greenfriar supports this! “There is no justification for the continued captive display of orcas for entertainment purposes,” said Richard Bloom, a democrat from Santa Monica. “It is time to end the practice of keeping orcas captive for human amusement.” (Sea World spokesman David Koontz said something dumb in response.)
Colorado became the first state in the nation to regulate methane emissions from fracking (ok yes this actually happened two weeks ago but at the time your crack equipment crew here at Greenfriar was still busy trying to launch this blog, which mostly involved doing a lot of this). The new rules require actual real legitimately effective leak protection in addition to the capture of 95% of emissions, regulations which backers say “will remove enough volatile organic compounds from the air to equal those emitted by every car and truck in the state.”
Look at these beautiful people! It took over a hundred activists to bring all two million comments against the Keystone XL pipeline to the State Department steps on Friday, the end of the 30-day public comment period.
A new nation was born this week: Greenpeace activists in Chile established Glacier Republic, exploiting “a legal loophole that does not recognize these huge ice masses as part of [Chile's] sovereignty.” Watch this cool video!
And right here outside of Greenfriar’s New York bureau, the Hudson River is showing meaningful signs of recovery more than seven decades after GE began dumping over a million pounds of PCBs upstream. We’ve got bald eagles again! Six hundred of them!! (In 1960 there was only one surviving nesting pair, and by 1976 there were zero.)
The Bad News.
Timber thieving monsters have been hacking lumber out of literally the oldest living things on the planet, prompting the National Park Service to begin closing the road leading to the Redwood National and State Park every night at sunset in an effort to stop the poaching.
First they came for the ice caps and I didn’t speak out because I’m not a polar bear, but then they came for my breakfast and OH HELL NO THEY DIDN’T: so thanks to globalization, a lovely little pathogen is road-tripping its way around planet earth on contaminated agricultural machinery that now threatens banana harvests the world over. Combine this with reports of climate change’s impact on peanut farming and my heart weeps for our grandchildren’s sandwich options.
The Week Ahead…
Twenty-eight senators are pulling an all-nighter on Monday in the first major initiative of the Climate Action Task Force announced earlier this year. Membership in the task force has more than doubled since it was first announced, adding sixteen senators to the twelve who first joined Sens. Boxer and Whitehouse. Interestingly enough not a single one of these public servants bears a name trailed by a parenthetical (R). Go figure! In any event, as with all great movements in political history this one comes with a convenient hashtag. You should follow along! All-nighters can be great fun when they’re not pseudo-filibustery campaign events for sleezy Aqua Buddha weirdos.
A Special Place!
Each Sunday morning Greenfriar will be highlighting a place on the front lines of the conservation battle. But rather than depressing pictures of smokestacks and oil spills we thought it’d be better to take a moment to enjoy the beauty we’re putting at risk (forgive us, this greenfriar grew up watching a lot of Charles Kuralt every Sunday morning). These places aren’t news headlines, after all: they’re our neighborhoods and our parks, the mountains and rivers and forests our parents brought us to, and the memories we pass on to our own children.
This week’s special place is the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia, where a leak at a Duke Energy steam station resulted in over 40,000 tons of arsenic- and lead-infused coal ash spilling into the water supply. Photos courtesy of the Virginia State Parks on Flickr.
by, March 7, 2014
And so we end our first week of Greenfriar. What happened? It’s hard to remember, because your editor hasn’t slept much since … when was I still working for my friends at Gawker? That could not possibly have been just a week ago today. But, it was, and here we are with a quick list of highlights from The Greenfriar Week That Was. Read more…
by, March 7, 2014
Do the cable TV stations and big Internet sites really want you to “unplug” this weekend? Of course not. But if you do, they’ll hardly notice—weekends are already bad for television and web ratings. Why not shut off the cable entirely? It’s all garbage anyway, plus you’ll save a hundred bucks a month, and you can keep the Netflix for commercial-free movie nights!
by, March 7, 2014
Millennials cleaning up the coastline. Just don’t tell them they’re environmentalists.
Hiking, composting, gardening, camping, buying hybrid cars, bicycling to work, hitting the farmers market every weekend, and replacing lawns with native plants are common behaviors of my friends who never call themselves “environmentalists.”
Even the ones who keep backyard chickens for eggs, put solar panels on their houses, eat less meat, and only adopt “rescue pets” don’t identify themselves as environmentalists. I’m talking about people in their thirties and forties, but this lack of interest in the “enviro” tag is even more pronounced with the Millennials. A new Pew Research study says only 32 percent of young adults call themselves the E-word, and they’re reliably liberal voters who overwhelmingly support strict environmental laws. What the hell? Read more…
by, March 7, 2014
Oh good, fog.
The car smelled like stale pot smoke and Febreze: the Oakland car share special. I rolled down the windows before hitting the freeway. It was easy to get out of town; the first rush hour was over and the second one wouldn’t begin for a few hours. I was going to Point Reyes to gawk at some charismatic megafauna.
What I had in mind was whales. The grey whales migrate past Point Reyes in March and April to their summer feeding grounds in the north, calves in tow. I wanted to photograph a baby whale. In addition to my camera, I’d packed a blanket, a sandwich, a thermos of coffee and plenty of water. The plan was to climb down the equivalent of 30 flights of stairs to the Point Reyes lighthouse, spread out the blanket, have a picnic, and spend the afternoon. And then I would climb up the 30 flights of stairs and have an excuse not to go to the gym. Read more…
by, March 7, 2014
Enough people are crafting tiny houses these days that it’s become recognized as an architectural and design style of its own. The Shemer Art Center in Phoenix has dedicated a five-week exhibition to what they’re calling the MicroDwell aesthetic.
And why not? Artists have always taken a stand against the dull excesses of human society, and there’s no better response to tracts of 4,500-square-foot exurban mansions than an elegant little home resting light upon the land. If you’ve begun to think this way and you’re close to Phoenix, this show is probably worth a visit. It’s open daily except Mondays until March 23.
Photo via Cinder Box Microdwelling.
by, March 6, 2014
It’s still cold along the Eastern Seaboard and up by the Canadian border, but springtime weather is already arriving in the rest of the continental United States, and it’s perfect on the West Coast. And that means it is time to get outside and stretch your legs and relieve your eyes and ears from the dull “content” of phones and teevees and tax forms and traffic.