Fifty years ago last week, Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. David Biello assesses what’s happened since:
[M]ost wilderness in the continental U.S. is not untrammeled land. Wilderness areas are often former working landscapes—the Orwellian phrase created by the logging industry to explain away clear cuts—whether they were cleared for logging or farming over the course of the 19th century and early 20th centuries in places like the Adirondacks. The great forest that once covered the eastern U.S. has been re-growing for the last 50 years, even if its primeval quality may be illusory, given the exotic animals and plants that now live there. And, in this era of global warming, even the Artic and other remote spots show signs of human trammeling—whether the leavings are plastic detritus or a changed climate.
“As in all things, the bacteria got there first. One tiny cell built inside of itself a new pigment, a brilliant green thanks to its ability to absorb only certain colors in the light of a younger, weaker Sun. The pigment – dubbed chlorophyll by animals that rely on this one cell’s innumerable descendants to power name-giving brains – channeled the energy in sunshine to split the waters of Earth’s early oceans. The cell took in carbon dioxide, paired it with once watery hydrogen, and made food. In the process out bubbled a flammable gas that made life as we know it possible: oxygen.
These bacteria were the first geoengineers – large-scale manipulators of the planetary environment…” And we will be the second. Read the rest over at Earth Island Journal.
The world descended on Copenhagen these past two weeks—and ordinary Danes don’t like it. Beyond the snarled traffic and foreigners gazing mutely into their palms to try to figure out what coins are worth, there’s all the protesters disrupting orderly Danish Christmas lunches.
Yes, these are traditional opportunities for Danes to get drunk in the early afternoon. But there is a silver lining, according to my sources, since all the police in Denmark are in Copenhagen you can be pretty secure driving drunk in the rest of the country.
I suppose that’s a consolation for all the other inconveniences.
(b) You can log in to Twitter and vote for me again by tweeting my story. It’s like democracy in old New York!
(c) Then you can log in to Facebook and vote for me yet again (!) by becoming a fan of my story. Now we’re talking real democracy…
And you don’t have to feel bad. I’m not making (too many) empty campaign promises. I gain no monetary reward from victory (merely a handshake from Rajendra Pachauri). And my story is about carbon capture and storage, which just might be the only hope for restraining the burgeoning amount of greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. It’s a win-win-win (which is why I recommend the triple vote.) As the saying goes: vote early… and often.