Saturday, October 11, 2008

What are Ocean Dead Zones?

EarthTalk
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What are these “ocean deserts” I’ve been hearing about? Also, didn’t I read that there was a huge mass of plastic bottles floating around somewhere on the ocean surface?
-- Wally Mattson, Eugene, OR

So-called “ocean deserts” or “dead zones” are oxygen-starved (or “hypoxic”) areas of the ocean. They can occur naturally, or be caused by an excess of nitrogen from agricultural fertilizers, sewage effluent and/or emissions from factories, trucks and automobiles. The nitrogen acts as a nutrient that, in turn, triggers an explosion of algae or plankton, which in turn deplete the water’s oxygen.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico—where the Mississippi River dumps untold gallons of polluted water every second—has expanded to over 18,000 square kilometers in the last decade. Many other such dead zones have also undergone rapid expansion in recent years.

A recent study by German oceanographer Lothar Stramma and a team of prominent international researchers confirms this phenomenon and also points the finger at global warming. Their data show that oxygen levels hundreds of feet below the ocean surface have declined over the past 50 years around the world, most likely a result of human activity. And as ocean waters warm due to climate change, they retain less oxygen. Furthermore, warmer upper layers of water stifle the process that brings nutrients up from colder, deeper parts of the ocean to feed a wide range of surface-dwelling marine wildlife.

The expansion of these dead zones is bad news for most marine inhabitants and the ecosystems they thrive in. Thousands of different species already stressed from over fishing and other threats, now must contend with expanding hypoxic areas throughout regions that once constituted healthy habitat.

The accumulation of plastic debris and other trash in the ocean is not necessarily related to hypoxic zones, but is yet another major problem facing the world’s fragile marine ecosystems. California-based sea captain and ocean researcher Charles Moore discovered what is now known as the Eastern Garbage Patch—an aggregation of plastic and other marine debris occupying some 700,000 square kilometers in the North Pacific Ocean—during a crossing of the North Pacific in 1997. In a 2003 article in Natural History Magazine, Moore reported being astounded that he couldn’t be further from land anywhere on Earth yet he could see plastic bags and other debris coating the ocean’s surface as far as the eye could see.

Individuals can help the oceans and their inhabitants by making smart daily choices that can have collective, positive impact. Lowering your carbon footprint—driving less, biking more, donning a sweater instead of turning up the heat—is one way to help stem the spread of hypoxic zones, which is directly related to industrial activity and the amount of greenhouse gases we spew into the atmosphere.

And limiting plastic and plastic bag use is the best way to prevent such litter from ending up swirling around mid-ocean. Some countries, such as China, and many large cities—San Francisco, for example—have banned plastic grocery bags. If your city hasn’t yet taken this step, pressure them to do so—and in the meantime bring your own reusable bags to the market and avoid plastic wherever else you can.

CONTACTS: Ocean Conservancy, www.oceanconservancy.org; Natural History Magazine, www.naturalhistorymag.com.

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Environment and Immigration

The editors of Terrain.org feel there's much more to the immigration-environment nexus than this EarthTalk issue presents--including damage the border wall is doing to wildlife and damage immigrants themselves do to natural areas along the border with Mexico--but it's a good primer of other concerns:

EarthTalk From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Why are some environmental groups jumping on the immigration issue? What does immigration have to do with the environment?
-- Ginna Jones, Darien, CT

What to do about booming legal and illegal immigration rates is one of the most controversial topics on Americans’ political agenda these days. More than a million immigrants achieve permanent resident status in the U.S. every year. Another 700,000 become full-fledged American citizens. The non-profit Pew Research Center reports that 82 percent of U.S. population growth is attributable to immigration.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that U.S. population will grow from 303 million people today to 400 million as early as 2040. While many industrialized nations, including Japan and most of Western Europe, are experiencing population growth slowdowns due to below replacement birth levels and little immigration, the U.S. is growing so fast that it trails only India and China in total numbers.

Advocates for U.S. population stabilization, including some environmental organizations and leaders, fear that this ongoing influx of new arrivals is forcing the nation to exceed its “carrying capacity,” stressing an already overburdened physical infrastructure. David Durham of Population-Environment Balance says that Americans who care about the environment should insist on reducing immigration, to recognize “ecological realities such as limited potable water, topsoil and infrastructure.” He also cites studies showing that a permissive U.S. immigration policy drives up fertility rates in the sending countries “which is the last thing these sending countries need.”

To others the problem is larger than immigration itself. “People don’t just materialize at our border, or at any border,” says John Seager of Population Connection. “When you talk about immigration, you’re talking about the second half of a process that begins when people decide to leave their homes.” And they are usually leaving their homes because of hunger, lack of work, oppression, or any number of other often-desperate reasons. Seager and many others argue that by helping poor nations better address the economic and family planning needs of their citizens, Americans can not only help improve the lot of millions of people living in dire poverty, but also slow down the tide of immigration.

Groups focusing on the immigration-environment nexus are keen to get their voices heard, but many mainstream green groups shun the highly divisive topic, preferring instead to encourage Americans, who are infamous around the world for their huge homes, gas-guzzling cars and extravagant consumption habits, to curb their unsustainable lifestyles, which they see as more fundamental to U.S. environmental problems than population pressures. With just five percent of the world’s people, Americans use a quarter of the world’s fossil fuels, own more private cars than drivers with licenses, and live in homes that are on average 38 percent larger today than they were in 1975. By scaling back, Americans can take a big bite out of pollution, sprawl and other environmental problems, while also setting a good example for those who land in the U.S. every year, lowering the nation’s collective carbon footprint significantly in the process.

CONTACTS: Pew Research Center, www.pewresearch.org; Population-Environment Balance, www.balance.org; Population Connection, www.populationconnection.org.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Food Safety and Plastics

EarthTalkTM
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve read that plastic bottles are not always safe to reuse over and over as harmful chemicals can leach out into the contents. I’m wondering if the same issues plague Tupperware and other similar plastic food storage containers.
-- Sylvie, Dawson City, Yukon, Canada

The recent hubbub over plastic containers leaching chemicals into food and drinks has cast a pall over all kinds of plastics that come into contact with what we ingest, whether deserved or not. Some conscientious consumers are forsaking all plastics entirely out of health concerns. But while it is true that exposure to certain chemicals found in some plastics has been linked to various human health problems (especially certain types of cancer and reproductive disorders), only a small percentage of plastics contain them.

According to The Green Guide, a website and magazine devoted to greener living and owned by the National Geographic Society, the safest plastics for repeated use in storing food are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE, or plastic #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE, or plastic #4) and polypropylene (PP, or plastic #5). Most Tupperware products are made of LDPE or PP, and as such are considered safe for repeated use storing food items and cycling through the dishwasher. Most food storage products from Glad, Hefty, Ziploc and Saran also pass The Green Guide’s muster for health safety.

But consumers should be aware of more than just a few “safe” brands, as most companies make several product lines featuring different types of plastics. While the vast majority of Tupperware products are considered safe, for example, some of its food storage containers use polycarbonate (plastic #7), which has been shown to leach the harmful hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) into food items after repeated uses. Consumers concerned about such risks might want to avoid the following polycarbonate-based Tupperware products: the Rock ‘N Serve microwave line, the Meals-in-Minutes Microsteamer, the “Elegant” Serving Line, the TupperCare baby bottle, the Pizza Keep’ N Heat container, and the Table Collection (the last three are no longer made but might still be kicking around your kitchen).

Beyond BPA, other chemicals can be found in various food storage containers. Containers made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE, or plastic #1)—such as most soda bottles—are OK to use once, but can leach carcinogenic, hormone-disrupting phthalates when used over and over again. Also, many deli items come wrapped in plastic made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC, or plastic #3), which can leach cancer-causing dioxins. Swapping foods out of such wraps once the groceries are at home is advisable.

Containers made of polystyrene (PS, or plastic #6, also known as Styrofoam) can also be dangerous, as its base component, styrene, has been associated with skin, eye and respiratory irritation, depression, fatigue, compromised kidney function, and central nervous system damage. Take-out restaurant orders often come in polystyrene containers, which also should be emptied into safer containers once you get them home.

If your head is spinning and you can’t bear to examine the bottom of yet another plastic food storage container for its recycling number, go with glass. Pyrex, for instance, does not contain chemicals that can leach into food. Of course, such items can break into glass shards if dropped. But most consumers would gladly trade the risk of chemical contamination for the risk of breakage any day.

CONTACTS: The Green Guide, www.thegreenguide.com; Tupperware, www.tupperware.com.

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

Friday, August 01, 2008

New Online Submission Tool

Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments is pleased to announce the launch of our new online submission tool:

Terrain.org Submission Manager

Now people who submit poetry, essays, fiction, articles, and reviews may create a username and password and log in to easily submit and track their work.

Accordingly, we no longer accept submissions by email (but queries should still be sent that way).

And our submission period is now open for our next issue, No. 23, with the theme of "Symbiosis," which launches on January 10, 2009.

View our Submission Guidelines, then log into our new Submission Manager, to submit your work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Terrain.org's Understory / Overgrowth Issue Now Online

The editors of Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments (http://www.terrain.org/) are pleased to announce the launch of Issue No. 22, with the theme of "Understory / Overgrowth." This issue features:

Columns

  • Three Catastrophes, One Sky, guest editorial by Kieran Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity
  • Editorials by Simmons B. Buntin, David Rothenberg (with audio), and Deborah Fries

UnSprawl Case Study

  • Bradburn Village in Westminster, Colorado

Essays

  • Catching Hell: The Joe Holt Integration Story, by Heather Killelea McEntarfer
  • The Teeming Abyss: Weaving Through the Pemon Amazon, by Paul Huebener
  • Waiting for the Train, by Deirdre Duffy
  • Kempsville Summer, 1961, by Richard Goodman
  • Sunset Canto, from River of Traps, with Online Slideshow, text by William deBuys, photos by Alex Harris

Articles

  • The Future of Environmental Essay: A Discourse with Audio Excerpts, by Alison Hawthorne Deming, David Gessner, David Rothenberg, and Lauret Savoy
  • An Undefended Buffet: The Unnecessary Extinction of the Redbay, a Defining Southern Tree, by Susan Cerulean
  • Planting Pipelines in National Parks: The West-wide Energy Corridor and the Future of Public Lands in the West, by Erin Podolak
  • High Point: A Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing in Seattle, by Walker Wells
  • The Currency of Nature, by David Wann

ARTerrain Gallery

  • Twelve conceptual nature drawings by Suzanne Stryk

Interview

  • Michael J. Vaughn interviews poet laureate Charles Simic

Poetry

  • Poetry by Leonore Wilson, Twilight Greenaway, Paul Hostovsky, Elizabeth Simson (with audio), Joanna Gardner, Kathryn Kikrpatrick, Sarah Sarai, Lee Passarella, Nancy Takacs (with audio), Christine Klocek-Lim (with audio), Karla Linn Merrifield, John Estes, and Gretchen Primack

Fiction

  • Nova, by Liz Warren-Pederson (with audio)
  • Coyote, by Werner A. Low
  • Higher Ground, by Darren Akerman
  • South of Flag, by Aaron H. Gilbreath
  • Devil Takes the Hindmost, by Rosalie Morales Kearns

Reviews

  • Stephanie Eve Boone reviews Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach and More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want by Robert Engelman
  • Rich Michal reviews Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities by Patrick M. Condon
  • Simmons B. Buntin reviews Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound by David Rothenberg

Check out the latest issue now at http://www.terrain.org/.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Terrain.org Reading Period Closed, Look for New Issue July 10

The Terrain.org reading period is now closed, but will open again on August 1 with a new online submission tool.

Look for our next issue, with the theme of "Understory / Overgrowth," on July 10.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Blog: The Green Fork, from Eat Well Guide

The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of thousands of family farms, restaurants, markets and other outlets that offer local, fresh and sustainable food in the United States and Canada.

Visitors simply enter a zip or postal code to search for food that is free of antibiotics and added hormones, and produced by healthy and humane methods that include organic, pasture-raised and heritage. Check it out at http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?id=Home.

And today (happy Earth Day, by the way!) the Guide launched The Green Fork, its new blog. Read it at http://blog.eatwellguide.org/.

Both are quite yummy, if you'll parden the pun.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Women's Magazine is Positively Green

From the publishers of the new magazine Positively Green:

How does a green girl live without her very own green magazine just for girls? She doesn't have to!

Positively Green is just the magazine you've been looking for; with eco-gossip, fashion and beauty, health and green issues, the coolest green products, the best green travel destinations as well as simple green solutions and tips on cooking green. The magazine will launch in August but pre-subscribers can sign up at a discount AND with every one year subscription, Positively Green will donate $2 to the eco-charity of your choice so you can save the planet while you're learning how to save the planet. Rachelle Begley, co-star of Living with Ed, graces the cover of our premiere issue.

To subscribe and see a small 32-page preview (the actual magazine will be 112 pages printed on recycled paper and we offset our carbon footprint from shipping, etc) go to http://www.positivelygreen.com.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Parent to Poetry : Jessie Lendennie : Salmon Poetry

A parent to poetry
by Eva Bourke
Published in The Irish Times : Saturday, 23 February, 2008


For more than 26 years, [Terrain.org editorial board member] Jessie Lendennie has been nurturing and publishing poets via Salmon Poetry, from her home in Co Clare. One of them, Eva Bourke , salutes her contribution If one compares Gallery, Dedalus and Salmon Poetry, three major poetry presses in Ireland, the former two could be likened to two weighty ships pursuing the course of the great poetic narrative with a worthy crew and an exclusive dignified passenger list, Salmon Poetry, on the other hand, to a lighter sailing vessel tacking against the wind and waves and rescuing refugees and wanderers from all ends of the earth. These will be nurtured, encouraged and safely put ashore again to make room for newcomers.

Jessie Lendennie, who has been running the press for more than 26 years, possesses the rare gift of an inclusive and non-judgmental disposition. The quality of the work and the bibliography of poets in Salmon's recently published anthology, Salmon: A Journey in Poetry 1981-2007, edited by Lendennie - its cover featuring an eye-catching detail of an abstract painting by Maunagh Kelly - attest to a non-parochial, cross-cultural ethos, openness towards diversity and an animating spirit of discovery and risk-taking that have benefited many, and in the long run also the press itself. Recently Jessie Lendennie and Siobhán Hutson, who is in charge of the production and design of Salmon's famously attractive books, went to New York together to take part in the conference of Associated Writers and Writing Programmes. They also introduced the anthology - in which myself and many others are included - with a reading in the Bowery Poetry Club.

In her characteristically brief and engaging introduction to the anthology, Lendennie writes that as a melancholy, poetry-addicted adolescent she would never have imagined she would eventually "lead a life filled with space, books, writers and poetry", but that's exactly what happened after she arrived in Galway in the mid-1980s from the US via London. Her and her partner, Michael Allen's plan had been to dedicate themselves to writing but, having come from a lengthy stint as assistant at the Poetry Library in London, she missed the exchange of ideas with other writers, joined a workshop in the university in Galway, and discovered that there were hardly any outlets for publishing poetry in the west and that many talented women writers mainly wrote for their desk drawers.



IN TYPICAL HANDS-ON fashion she started a broadsheet, which metamorphosed into the Salmon poetry magazine and not much later the Salmon Poetry press or Salmon Publishing, as it was then called.

Today Salmon Poetry operates from a small, green, two-storey house near the Cliffs of Moher. When I visited Jessie there recently I was greeted on arrival by five friendly sheepdogs who accompanied us into the airy book- and paper-littered office where she and Siobhán work. Both a tribute to the poets as well as a testimony to the remarkable energy and dedication Lendennie has shown in keeping Salmon afloat through occasionally very turbulent times, the anthology is a voluminous book dedicated to the memory of the eight Salmon poets who have meanwhile died, Anne Kennedy, Eithne Strong and Ted McNulty among them. On roughly 400 pages it features three poems each by 106 poets who were published by Salmon during the past 26 years, sufficient evidence that the press has finally entered a calmer period and may be allowed to rest a little on its laurels. Whether one dips into it now and again or reads large sections in a single sitting one will come across beautifully animated poetry by literary greats as well as poets whose names are less familiar, from both sides of the Atlantic. As a record of poetry-publishing history and the progress of the art throughout the latter years of the 20th century the book is invaluable and ought to be on the Irish literature shelves of all libraries in the country.

Poetry publishing is an arm of the book industry that is in permanent crisis, especially because many bookstores refuse to stock poetry or banish it to the dark remote corners of the shop. Large publishers safely opt for the re-publication of collections by established poets or for anthologies of recycled canonical poems with a smattering of more recent ones all packaged nicely under headings such as "Poems for Winter" or "The Angel Next to You", as I saw in Berlin bookstores recently. Intended for customers who can't think of any other birthday or Christmas present, they have a middling chance of selling.

New poetry, always a minority interest, is a tender blossom in need of shelter from the harsh climate of market forces, especially if it is innovative and experimental. Anyone mad enough to launch a poetry press into this world, in particular one that is specialising in work by unknown poets, is therefore at risk from the start. In this country and in Britain the Arts Councils hold a protecting hand over these enterprises. But only after a lengthy period during which they must truck on until they have proven themselves worthy will poetry publishers be rewarded with a grant that will just about keep the wolf from the door.

LENDENNIE HAS BEEN there, as she will freely tell you. She has fought for Salmon and has managed, with the invaluable assistance of Siobhán Hutson, to keep it going on a shoestring year after difficult year. Their labour is Herculean. One of Jessie Lendennie's most attractive and disarming traits is her maternal manner towards her poets. Like a good parent, she is a facilitator, not a dictator. She has no interest in forming anything or anyone after her own image but gets on with the task of getting the books out. I remember well how invariably obliging she was despite her chronic money shortage, how she always did her utmost to keep her poets contented - a difficult enough undertaking - and how unhappy she was if she failed. Over the years she particularly encouraged women, who in the beginnings of the press were so disheartened by Ireland's male-dominated literary establishment that they had stopped sending work out.

Rita Ann Higgins said recently that we were very lucky to have her at the time of starting out as poets, and so we were. Our lives and those of many other poets might have turned out quite differently had Salmon Poetry never happened.

Salmon: A Journey in Poetry 1981-2007 is published by Salmon Poetry
© 2008 The Irish Times

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Panel and Reading Image Gallery

Tune your browser to:

http://www.terrain.org/img/gallery/index.html

for images of recent Terrain.org and related literary events in New York City, including:

"The Future of Environmental Essay" panel at the AWP conference, facilitated by Terrain.org editor Simmons Buntin and featuring Alison Hawthorne Deming, David Gessner, David Rothenberg, and Lauret Savoy (look for the text of their presentations in the July issue of Terrain.org).

Terrain.org 10th Anniversity Reading, featuring Scott Edward Anderson, Teague Bohlen, Simmons B. Buntin, Scott Calhoun, Philip Fried, Deborah Fries, Suzanne Frischkorn, Donna J. Gelagotis Lee, Dennis Must, Shann Palmer, David Rothenberg, Andrew Wingfield, and Jake Adam York; at Cornelia Street Cafe

Salmon: A Journey in Poetry Anthology Launch & Reading, hosted by Salmon Poetry publisher Jessie Lendennie, and featuring Simmons B. Buntin and others; at the Bowery Poetry Club

http://www.terrain.org/img/gallery/index.html

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meet Terrain.org at AWP

Terrain.org staff and contributors will be at the annual AWP conference and bookfair in New York City from January 31 to February 2. Join us at:
  • Table #480 at the Hilton's Americas Hall II, access from 3rd floor -- we'll have a laptop with a slideshow of the journal, Terrain.org e-News signup, handouts, and more.
  • Terrain.org 10th Anniversary Reading on Thursday, Jan. 31, from 6-8 p.m. at the Cornelia Street Cafe. View flyer.
  • Panel: "The Future of Environmental Essay," moderated by Terrain.org editor Simmons Buntin and including Alison Hawthorne Deming, David Gessner, David Rothenberg, and Lauret Savoy -- from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the Sutton South, Hilton 2nd Floor
  • Salmon Poetry Reading, featuring Terrain.org editor Simmons Buntin and many other Salmon Publishing poets, at the Bowery Poetry Club: Saturday, Feb. 2, 10 p.m.

The AWP bookfair is open to the public on Saturday, so even if you're not going to AWP but are in New York City, please consider stopping by. And if you're already at AWP, then be sure to stop by!

An extra incentive: The first person at AWP to mention the Terrain.org Blog as the source of this information will receive a free, signed copy of Simmons Buntin's book of poems, Riverfall (published by Salmon Poetry).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Civano Community School Wins!

The Civano Community School---which Simmons Buntin's daughters attend---won the "Go Green with All" greenest grade school in American contest, announced today on The Ellen Show. Very cool!

Details at http://gogreenwithall.com/home/.

In addition to a $50,000 grand prize for the school, each student receives an iPod shuffle with a solar charger, and each family receives a year's supply of All concentrated detergent.

This is the work of many good folks, but Pam Bateman, school marm, deserves special recognition.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Carbon Offsets, from Earth Talk

EARTH TALK
From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine


Dear EarthTalk: My global warming guilt is starting to catch up with me, and I’ve heard that I can buy “carbon offsets” to help make things right. How do they work? -- Miranda Snavely, Milton, WA

Carbon offsets are monies that consumers and businesses pay voluntarily to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions they generate directly by driving, flying, running the air conditioning and otherwise using non-renewable energy. Companies and nonprofit groups that sell offsets use the dollars generated to fund alternative energy and other projects that will ultimately eliminate greenhouse gas emissions (such as wind farms that can replace coal-fired power plants in generating electricity).

“Carbon offsetting is one of many economic actions you can take to address climate change, and it is a powerful one,” says the nonprofit Co-op America, “Many promising projects that would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions lack the capital they need to get built; by directing your offset dollars to these projects, you can help finance new wind farms, solar arrays, and more.”

Dozens of carbon-offset vendors have sprung up in recent years. Consumers interested in buying offsets should do their homework, as some firms have better reputations than others. Co-op America recommends offsets that support specific projects that wouldn’t have happened otherwise and that have measurable near-term goals. Legitimate offset providers should also be able to back up all claims and show a clear money trail to the projects being funded. Co-op America urges consumers to avoid tree-planting programs, which are hard to quantify, and “climate exchange allowances” (also known as “pollution trading” or “emissions trading”), which many consider to be veiled ways of letting companies buy the right to pollute.

Co-op America lauds the Climate Trust (non-profit, funds wind farms in Oregon), TerraPass (for-profit, funds methane gas capture from landfills and farms), Native Energy (for-profit, funds new wind farms and solar arrays) and Sustainable Travel International’s MyClimate (non-profit, funds clean energy in developing countries) as some of the leading offset providers with reputable business models.

Those looking to dig deeper into the ways different offset providers operate should check out Clean Air-Cool Planet’s Consumer's Guide to Carbon Offsets. The free 44-page PDF download assesses the strengths and weaknesses of some two-dozen carbon offset programs. The guide gives highest marks to Climate Trust, Native Energy and MyClimate, although other providers are also praised for specific programs. Another good free online resource comparing various offset programs on one page/chart is on the Carbon Offsets Survey page on the EcoBusinessLinks Environmental Directory.

Consumers should understand that offsets may be convenient, but are essentially only icing on the cake of an otherwise diligent effort to reduce emissions by using energy less and more efficiently. “All the offsets in the world won’t help us,” warns Clean Air-Cool Planet, “if we in the U.S. don’t make big reductions in our overall greenhouse gas emissions and effect a transition away from wasteful use of fossil fuels.”

CONTACTS: Co-op America, www.coopamerica.org; Climate Trust, www.climatetrust.org; TerraPass, www.terrapass.com; NativeEnergy, www.nativeenergy.com; Sustainable Travel International, www.sustainabletravelinternational.org; Clean Air-Cool Planet, www.cleanair-coolplanet.org; EcoBusinessLinks, www.ecobusinesslinks.com.

GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Terrain.org Issue No. 21 : Islands & Archipelagos : Now Live!

Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built & Natural Environments

Winter/Spring 2008 Issue Now Online:
http://www.terrain.org

Issue No. 21 — Islands & Archipelagos — features a rich mix of contributions:

Columns

- Guest Editorial: “Restoring Abundant Oceans” by Andrew Sharpless, Oceana
- Simmons B. Buntin scribes a portrait of Fernando at Bahía de Loreto
- David Rothenberg plays clarinet to humpback whales off Hawaii
- Deborah Fries recounts the Rutherford Island life of artist Ellen Vincent

Interview

- Terrain.org interviews author David Quammen

Poetry

Poetry by Susan F. Benjamin, Donna J. Gelagotis Lee, J.D. Schraffenberger, Margarita Engle, Eric Paul Shaffer, Wendy Burk, Scott T. Starbuck, Paul Fisher, Yvonne Carpenter, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, and Jane Levin

Essays

- "Searching within the Archipelago" by Steve Kahn, with photos by John Hohl
- "St. Francis and the Isle of Foula" by Lynne Shapiro
- "Navajo Women: Doorway Between Traditional and Modern Life" by Betty Reid, with photos by Kenji Kawano
- "Land and Money" by William R. Stimson
- "My Farmhouse in Japan: A Breakfast to Remember" by John Roderick

UnSprawl Case Study

The Villages of Loreto Bay in Baja California Sur —an 8,000-acre new urbanist project that strives to be North America’s largest sustainable resort development; it will include village neighborhoods constructed in nine phases along the Sea of Cortés

Fiction

- "The Third Way" by Tamara Kaye Sellman
- "Pelicans" by Julian Hoffman
- "Her Best Interests" by Janet Yung
- "The Way Things Fall" by Richard Denoncourt

Articles

- "Rice Island: Bali and the Cultivation of Tradition — A Narrative Slideshow" by Colin Donohue
- "Sky Islands of North America: A Globally Unique and Threatened Inland Archipelago" by Matt Skroch
- "No Community is an Island: Tributary and the Young & the Restless" by Rick Mildner and Brian Canin
- "Tourism Takes the Bird: Are Proposed Changes to Four Seasons Development Enough to Protect the Rare Grenada Dove?" by Dr. George Wallace
- "Ocean Acidification: A Greater Threat than Global Warming or Overfishing?" by Dr. William G.C. Burns

ARTerrain Gallery

- Ten natural light photographs from Floridian Joel B. McEachern

Reviews

- Deborah Fries reviews Salmon: A Journey in Poetry, 1981-2007, edited by Jessie Lendennie
- Simmons B. Buntin reviews Phantom Limb: Essays by Theresa Kishkan
- Stephanie Eve Boone reviews Nature Cure: A Story of Depression and Healing by Richard Mabey
- Terrain.org reviews Planet Ocean: Voyage to the Heart of the Marine Realm, by Laurent Ballesta and Pierre Descamp

View new issue now at http://www.terrain.org

Friday, January 04, 2008

Join Terrain.org at AWP

Terrain.org will be at the annual AWP conference and bookfair in New York City from January 31 to February 2. Join us at:

  • Table #480 at the Hilton's Americas Hall II, access from 3rd floor -- we'll have laptops with journal access and a slideshow plus handouts
  • Terrain.org 10th Anniversary Reading on Thursday, Jan. 31, from 6-8 p.m. at the Cornelia Street Cafe. View flyer.
  • Panel: "The Future of Environmental Essay," moderated by Terrain.org editor Simmons Buntin and including Alison Hawthorne Deming, David Gessner, David Rothenberg, and Lauret Savoy -- from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Sutton South, Hilton 2nd Floor

If you're at AWP or in New York during that time, please stop by to say howdy.