Georgianne Nienaber: Amidst additional news that British Petroleum has been slow or negligent in the release of flow data and videos of the catastrophic rupture of the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico, there is another story that is crying for attention. A revered Chief of the Chahta Indians, the youngest brother of the Neville Brothers Band, and a Catholic nun know the stories of the dispossessed Indians, shrimpers, fishermen and women, oysterers and business owners deep in the wetlands and bayous of south Louisiana. They want to be heard.
Tracy Emblem: California allows cities and counties to purchase electricity or develop it locally through an energy provider of their choice. Currently, 68 percent of California’s electricity is generated by investor-owned utilities. Proposition 16, on the June 8 primary ballot, would alter local government’s ability to develop electricity service and is bad for California’s residents and businesses.
Georgianne Nienaber: The Institute for Southern Studies (ISS) features a compelling video on its website that documents an overflight at ground zero of the British Petroleum oil catastrophe resulting from the explosion of the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon well platform on April 20. This is the view that cannot be seen from sanitized satellite photos and composite maps depicting the direction and extent of the massive river of oil threatening entire ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. Tar balls have already been reported on pristine Dauphin Island, and the damage is escalating daily.
Johnny Townsend: I feel a sense of injustice whenever I read of someone logging unprotected redwoods, trees that have been fighting the odds for 500 years or more to live out their lives. What kind of person could kill a 500-year-old tree? For that matter, just logging in an “average” old-growth forest, with trees merely 100 or 150 or 200 years old still seems to me a crime.
K. Danielle Edwards: I have coworkers and even a relative who have likely lost their homes. Most Tennesseans, as this article outlines, do not have flood insurance. As a result, most of us will be denied by our insurance companies for not having coverage we were either prohibited from purchasing (if one does not live in an official flood plain) or were told we did not need.
Joseph Palermo: So that’s what our political discourse has sunk to? Discredited figures like Brownie are on TV jockeying for partisan gain, milking a national tragedy that is probably going to change forever the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast? Brownie uses a catastrophe that threatens many of the nation’s most important waterways and will probably be a grave setback to any national economic recovery to score pitiful political points against the Democrats? Who are these people?
Georgianne Nienaber: Social networking may turn out to be the first line of defense against public relations spin by providing real time gathering of data on the massive river of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon well explosion. Maps generated by satellite and “predictions” are only so valuable. One of the tenets of remote sensing is that “ground truthing” be a mandatory part of the equation. Truth is the operative word here as Gulf Coast residents face an unprecedented environmental disaster.
Tracy Emblem: Fortunately, President Obama showed common sense by placing a hold on newly proposed off shore-drilling plans while an investigation into the disaster is underway. Congress should reconsider the lifting the currently proposed offshore drilling ban and protect our coastal waters for our future generations.
Tom Degan: How ever will they justify continued off-shore drilling in light of what is now happening in the Gulf of Mexico? In just a few short days we’ve gone from a tragedy to a disaster to a full blown catastrophe. It will be more than interesting to see the depths to which the right wing will now stoop in order to trivialize this hideous event. Rush Limbaugh is already floating the idea out to his half-witted “Dittoheads” that this was sabotage on the part of the “eco-nazis”; that some unnamed environmental organization plotted this disaster in order to further their evil socialist agenda.
Walter Moss: As we face the simultaneous challenges of creating more jobs and a more sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren, are we not capable of new thinking? Are we not capable of demonstrating that yes, we can evolve toward an economy that evidences more of what Schumacher thought it should — Beauty, Truth, and Goodness?
Emily Spence: With the current peak-oil interval, we have a grace period when oil is still fairly inexpensive and abundant. At the same time, we cannot expect our government leaders to help society transition off of heavy oil dependence on account of their being controlled by “big business” interests. Therefore, it is up to average citizens to create the reforms that lead into localized economic and social development.
Adam Eran: Appropriately for April Fool’s, Republican California Assemblyman Roger Niello’s editorial appears in the Sacramento Bee protesting California’s public policy response to climate change (AB32). As evidence that AB32 is misguided, he cites the discredited Varshney study and the similiarly biased California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) oil-industry-funded study of AB32.
Jane Baek: Upon reading scientific studies that showed animals that were given GMO food on a regular basis developed cancer, tumors, lesions, obesity, and infertility problems, I was left shocked. I also discovered that GMO food was contaminating our environment affecting natural plants and killing insects and animals.
Marcy Winograd: With more conclusive research will come louder and more urgent demands for environmental clean up at Super Fund sites near Torrance, stricter regulation and federal oversight of oil company pollution in Wilmington, and the political will to ensure our port reduces its diesel exhaust from idling trucks in San Pedro.
Randy Shaw: Many progressives are so excited that Obama is not Sarah Palin that they accept any small step as a great leap forward. The irony is that many of these progressives saw a night and day difference between Obama and Clinton in the primaries, yet now accept policies from Obama that are virtually identical — if not more conservative — than those we feared from a President Hilary Clinton.
S. Blair Fox: Maybe it’s time for Southern California to look, again at the ocean wave generator as a means to produce power for our local grid. The advancement of technology has made harnessing the power of the ocean a workable solution to our energy needs. In the near future, we may find that the great California coastline will give us more than just great pleasure.
President Obama’s second recovery plan must invest in future industries with large pay-offs in terms of career-path learning and earning opportunities in the Green economy. Put laid-off Boeing missile defense workers back on the job building electric buses for the future. Put college professors back to work in Green Energy Departments at universities across the country. Put steelworkers back to work strengthening our bridges in earthquake-prone California. Put everyone with a hard hat back to work building solar panel parts now outsourced to China.
In the United States , we can rebuild our manufacturing base by investing in renewable energy sources while creating good paying jobs that provide clean energy production. While those in favor of building nuclear power plants claim nuclear energy is inexpensive and cost effective, they have not factored in the costs and risks associated with the building and maintenance of storage facilities for nuclear waste.
On earth, we have work to do — and we need to put America back to work. We need a Green New Deal that invests in both public and private works projects; installing a million solar panels on roof tops; developing wind farms; building rapid transit; repairing our aging infrastructure – ports, levees, bridges.