Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here's Your Mission; Save the Earth, Pls

Melting ... that's the way polar bears now see their world. The news is grim, and a Newshour report on PBS last night cited the findings that in about 40 years the summer ice may be gone from the Alaskan coast.

From this administration we have the findings being treated as a nuisance, that the cretins will treat with a bit of seriousness since everyone's calling them names, but that they, in power, will not deal with as if this were a big deal;

The proposal calls for polar bears to be listed as "threatened" because the species is not considered at immediate risk of becoming extinct, which would be categorized as "endangered."

Kempthorne says Alaskan natives and others who hunt the bears can continue to harvest the animals. And coastal and offshore oil and gas exploration can continue. "Oil and gas development is not a factor," he says, "period."

The proposal to add the bears to the list came after a two-year fight.

"It's frustrating to wait, but at the same time, it is still a significant step forward," says Brendan Cummings, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, who filed suit to seek polar bear protection.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., the incoming head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, says the polar bear's plight reflects the planet's health. "This news serves as a wake-up call to the U.S. Congress and the administration that we must quickly begin to address global warming through legislative action," she says.

From the Endangered Species Act, the injunction comes to the government to avoid authorizing activities that might further destroy the environment for threatened species, but the administration will not slow or stop exploration for oil, gas and minerals, or the 'development' of those resources.

There is a hopeful beginning in Maryland from the other end of the spectrum, where frightening levels of pollution from automobile exhausts are provably increasing the risk of residents' developing cancer.

The cancer risk from breathing polluted air in Maryland's largest jurisdictions far exceeds the federal government standard, environmental advocates said yesterday, urging lawmakers to join 11 other states in restricting tailpipe emissions when the General Assembly convenes next month.

A report released by Environment Maryland found the highest level of cancer-causing air toxins in the city of Baltimore, followed by Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The group based its study on data released this year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Brad Heavner, state director of the research center, an offshoot of the Maryland Public Interest Research Group, called the level of air pollutants "just staggering."

The threat to our air is from our own hands - and the solutions are available to us. In Maryland a coalition is working to raise the standards of auto emissions, and require car manufacturers to use the technology available to make cleaner cars, cleaner air. In trying to make the air safe for us humans, we are taking one step toward saving the planet, a late one and a small one.

In Austin TX, there will be a workshop for religious groups - including Buddhist and Wiccan, to name a few - to work for social justice and environmental improvement, on January 13.

Texas Impact invites you to a networking and training event focused on advocacy for social justice on January 13, 2007. The purpose of this event is to provide information, skills, and networking opportunities for congregations wishing to start or strengthen social justice groups. The timing also coincides with the beginning of the legislative session.

We are excited to have the Reverend Emilee Whitehurst, Executive Director of Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, as our keynote speaker.

Several area leaders in social justice will lead workshops addressing topics such as:

How to start or enhance a social justice group in your congregation
How to use Internet resources in social justice work
How to do effective legislative advocacy
How to deal with apathy on the one hand and controversy on the other
Theological basis for social justice advocacy in various faith traditions

Bee Moorhead, Executive Director of Texas Impact, will give an update on social justice and environmental issues facing Texas in the 2007 legislative session.

I guess it's time to put the money where the mouth is. Of course, I had the great privilege of working on the original Endangered Species Act[and worked for an environmentally committed progressive candidate in the 2006 election] - I suppose I could sit here at home on my laurels and tell the rest of you Get Out There and save our earth. I'll cheer for you. But I just may have to do more. I do, indeed, urge you if you have the chance, this is an event that looks really worthwhile, and productive. There will be others. Let's get cracking, the ice is already there.

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Blogger Sanjay said...

Good post. I am doing my bit, I drive a hybrid and paid more for it (compared to comparable non-hybrid). But the technology will be more commonplace only when ppl embrace it. I see a lot more Prius cars now then I used to a year ago.
BTW I also use public transit rather than drive all the way, my commute is pretty long

4:24 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Thanks sanjay, that hybrid is a terrific step. Funny, recently I got advice from a bunch of fellow posters at Atrios, and wound up with an Honda, which I do drive to work - but then my commute is pretty short. Everything we can do to keep from destroying this world, we all need to do.

1:32 PM  

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