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Water World

December 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Economy, Evaggelos Vallianatos

Are We Approaching a Global ‘Cadillac Desert’?

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Water for the Greeks was the immortal natural world. The supreme Greek god, Zeus, sent rains; Poseidon, brother of Zeus, was the god of the oceans and seas; Metis, daughter of the Ocean River god and first wife of Zeus, was goddess of intelligence and mother of Athena, goddess of the arts of civilization.

Homer said the god of metallurgy, Hephaistos, sculpted the great Ocean River surrounding the Earth on the outermost rim of Achilleus’ shield. Achilleus, son of a water nymph, was the Greeks’ greatest hero during the Trojan War.

And the first Greek natural philosopher, Thales, proposed in the seventh century BCE that water was the stuff of life and the cosmos. (more…)

Local Green Activism

October 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Jay Walljasper

Save the Planet, Starting on Your Own Block

by Jay Walljasper

After 40 years of what felt like progress in protecting our environment, the ecological crisis now seems to be worsening. Climate change, caused by greenhouse gas emissions, is heating up. The massive exploitation of the tar sands in Canada might be the tipping point, from which we can never return. Fracking for natural gas and oil threatens underground water supplies. The oceans are being massively over-fished. Species extinction is accelerating.

The global commons faces massive threats no one could have dreamed on the first Earth Day back in 1970. What are we to do?

Obviously we need to address these mounting global crises — vocally and determinedly over the long term. But it’s also time to take a look around our own communities.

While we generally think of Greens rallying to save rain forests, coral reefs, deserts and other faraway tracts of wilderness, that’s just one aspect of saving the Earth. It’s also crucial to work together with neighbors on important projects in our own backyard. (more…)

Subversive Ecology

September 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

Can It Be an Antidote to Our Toxic Age?

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

One of the discoveries I made during my 25-year tenure at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ecology.

Of course, I had heard of ecology before joining EPA in 1979. I studied zoology as an undergraduate, so I was familiar with ecology and its theoretical focus on connections and processes. They underpinned the natural world.

But nothing had prepared me for the political ecology of EPA. I came to know a few ecologists and, more than that, I read dozens of their memos.

It was then I realized the harmful effects of pesticides — and the limits of ecology in America. (more…)

Global Rescue Plan

July 04, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Economy, Politics

Daring to Dream of a Just and Peaceful World

by David Swanson

When the wealthy nations of the world meet as the G8 or in any other gathering, it’s interesting to imagine what they would do if they followed the golden rule, valued grandchildren, disliked unnecessary suffering, or wished to outgrow ancient forms of barbarism, or any combination of those.

The United States alone is perfectly capable, if it chooses, of enacting a global Marshall plan, or — better — a global rescue plan.  Every year the United States spends, through various governmental departments, roughly $1.2 trillion on war and war preparations.  Every year the United States foregoes well over $1 trillion in taxes that billionaires and centimillionaires and corporations should be paying. (more…)

Hope and Remembrance

January 22, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Ecology, Sasha Kramer

Struggles — and Signs of Possibility — in Haiti

by Sasha Kramer

Dear Friends,

I am writing this letter at 3:53 pm on January 12, 2013.  Three years ago today, Port au Prince was bustling with activity as people spilled into the streets from work and school.  Mothers returned home after a long day of working under the hot sun, fathers greeted their children with tired eyes, neighbors shared warm handshakes and laughed away the day’s challenges.  One hour later the city collapsed and over 300,000 of these mothers, fathers, children and neighbors were lost in an instant. Last night at the stroke of midnight the hills around our house in Port au Prince exploded with voices from the thousands of people attending an all night service in honor of those lost in the earthquake 3 years ago today. What struck me most deeply, was not the despair in the voices, it was the sound of ecstasy, the sound of resilience it was the sound of life. It was as though at the same time as people were mourning their loved ones, they were giving thanks for those who were spared, the were celebrating their strength in surviving, not only the earthquake, but the 3 years of struggle that have followed. (more…)

Scrambling for Relief

January 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Victoria Law

Community Leads Its Own Efforts in the Rockaways

by Victoria Law

Months before Sandy devastated the Rockaways, tragedy had already struck Rockaway resident Sharon Plummer. While bicycling home from the corner store, Plummer’s 18-year-old son Shawn was caught in crossfire on Beach 29 Street and Seagirt Avenue. He died before reaching the hospital.

“The community was there for me,” Plummer recalled in a phone interview with Truthout. Two days after Sandy, Plummer was there for her community. In the parking lot of a laundromat on Cedar Boulevard, she set up Rockaway Guardians In Memory of Shawn Plummer, a distribution center, giving out water, canned goods, toiletries and baby supplies to hundreds of people each day.

Other residents joined the effort. Rudolph McBeam lives a block from the laundromat. “I just walked over there,” he told Truthout. “There were two other persons. We set up some tables and began to give out things to the public.” Although he has lived in the area for 15 years and has helped set up music festivals on the beach,  “This is my first time being involved with something like this,” said McBeam. (more…)

Sustaining Life

November 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Ecology, Evaggelos Vallianatos

New Book Explores ‘How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity’

by Evaggelos Vallianatos

Sometime in the 1990s I heard the Harvard professor of medicine, Eric Chivian, make a presentation on Capitol Hill about the anthropogenic origins of global warming. He is an academic who speaks to the world. He co-founded International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which, in 1985, won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

I recently rediscovered Chivian because of his work on biological diversity, which he edited with his colleague, Aaron Bernstein. The book, Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, published in 2008 by Oxford University Press, is extremely important and timely. The Library Journal named it the “Best Biology Book of 2008.” It is now in its fourth printing and is used at scores of high schools, colleges and graduate schools all over the world. Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic editions are scheduled to appear in a year or two.

Sustaining Life deserves the attention it is getting. (more…)


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