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Biodiversity / Biodevastation

Stories about Biodiversity and Biodevastation.

Biomass is Not “Green”: an Interview With Josh Schlossberg

By: 
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume

Josh Schlossberg is an investigative journalist, horror author and former environmental organizer who lives in Denver, Colorado. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Biomass Monitor, a subscription-supported publication that bills itself as “the nation’s leading publication investigating the whole story on bioenergy, biomass, and biofuels.” In early September 2018, I was visiting Colorado and met up with Josh. We talked biomass, “renewable” energy, wildfires, politics and activism. What follows is a partial transcript, edited for clarity.

Waste of Energy

By: 
Greta Jochem

Drive down Interstate 95 through Baltimore and you can’t miss the Wheelabrator trash incinerator, its smokestack emblazoned with the city’s name. The Charm City’s single largest source of industrial air pollution churns out well over 600,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Don’t Fence Me In

By: 
George Wuerthner

Years ago, I recalled standing on the Arctic Coast in Alaska’s Arctic Wildlife Refuge looking south across the coastal plain towards the Brooks Range. One of my impressions was that I saw what the Great Plains might have looked like in the days before livestock. To me, it was the lack of fences which was one of the most remarkable features of that place.

Yet fences are so ubiquitous that they are virtually invisible to most people—until you are someplace like the Arctic Coast where they don’t exist. Fences run across even some of the most remote parts of the West.

In Praise of Dead Trees

By: 
George Wuerthner

Like most people I once viewed dead trees as an indicator of some presumed problem in the forest—that a ‘healthy” forest was one with a minimum of dead trees and largely free of wildfire, insects, and disease. Oh yes, I knew that a few snags were good for woodpeckers, and as a fly fisherman I understood that trout tended to be found hiding behind logs in the stream. I suffered from the same cultural bias as most people and thought that large numbers of dead trees meant that the forest was “out of balance” or “sick.” But the more I studied ecology, the more I questioned these assumptions.

Warning: A 'Shrinking Window' of Usable Groundwater

By: 
Tara Lohan

The researchers used information from the U.S. Geological Survey on the quality of groundwater across the country and looked specifically at salinity — how salty the water is. “We looked basin by basin at how that depth of fresh and brackish water changes across the United States,” says McIntosh.

The results were about half as much usable water as previous estimates. That means that deep groundwater reserves are not nearly as plentiful as we’d thought in some places.

That’s important because when shallow groundwater reserves become depleted or polluted, the strategy so far has been to drill deeper and deeper wells to keep the water flowing.

But we may not always be able to drill our way out of water shortages. 

The Elem Tribe's Last Stand

By: 
Nathaniel Dolton-Thornton

In the early 1970s, when a young Elem girl started to have convulsions a local doctor said were caused by mercury poisoning, the Elem realized there might be a connection between the high rate of health problems in their small community and the mine next door.

Biological Annihilation: A Planet in Loss Mode

By: 
Subhankar Banerjee

If you’ve been paying attention to what’s happening to the nonhuman life forms with which we share this planet, you’ve likely heard the term “the Sixth Extinction.” If not, look it up.  After all, a superb environmental reporter, Elizabeth Kolbert, has already gotten a Pulitzer Prize for writing a book with that title.

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