Counterpoint: The (Principled) Case for Taking a Stand Against the Keystone XL

Over the past few months, the question of whether or not to build the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) has become as divisive as the line its blueprints draw through the heartland of America. One side claims that the pipeline will be ‘game over for the climate,’ while the other asserts it will create jobs and give a much-needed boost to the American economy.… [Read more]

New Bill Aims to Stop Nonexistent “War on Coal”

In a bid to curb the so-called “environmentalist agenda,” the House of Representatives passed the “Stop the War on Coal Act” (H.R. 4309) 233 to 175 in the House of Representatives on Friday, Sept. 14.

Though one of the “Stop the War on Coal Act”‘s sponsors, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), claimed that the legislation, “…is not about climate change,” and that, if signed into law, the bill wouldn’t apply, “If it’s a public health, public safety, national security issue [where] common sense regulations are appropriate,” his next sentence suggested otherwise.… [Read more]

Remembering Larry Gibson, the Keeper of the Mountains

The first time I saw Larry Gibson, I thought, “what a character.” He was short, wearing a lime green baseball cap and t-shirt, and barreling through a school cafeteria. It was during the 2010 Appalachia Rising conference, and I was feeling cynical and overly critical. He had just given a speech, but I had barely grasped a word due to the mix of his unfamiliar Appalachian accent and loud, hurried words. … [Read more]

Who Are the Climate Deniers?

I came across an interesting article yesterday in the Telegraph titled, “Climate change deniers ‘are either extreme free marketeers or conspiracy theorists.” Well, I read that headline with a fair degree of skepticism because it was exactly what I wanted to hear: that climate change deniers, like conspiracy theorists, aren’t quite in touch with reality.

The article was about a scientific paper titled, “NASA faked the moon landing — Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science,” which is due to be published in a psychology journal. … [Read more]

Going for Green: Do Romney and Obama Believe What They Say?

Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his VP pick, much to the despair of environmentalists. However, if President Obama’s recent actions are anything to go by, neither party is running a strong green platform this election cycle. Though headlines would have us believing that Romney denies climate change and President Obama is the “green” candidate, both candidates have far more nuanced positions on energy and environmental issues than the soundbite oriented news cycle suggests.… [Read more]

North Carolina Passes Law to Ignore Science

Great. Climate change is here, and it’s not pretty. Even a Koch brothers funded skeptic has admitted it’s real. Unfortunately, North Carolina no longer believes in science. (Never mind the majority of the Republican party).

“North Carolina lawmakers have temporarily banned using a science panel’s recommendation to plan for rising sea levels, after the governor decided Thursday not to veto the measure.“

That’s from the beginning of an article in the SF Gate explaining how North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue (Democrat) and other lawmakers pushed the legislation forward out of worries that science-based policy would harm the coastal economy.… [Read more]

Protesters Unite in Summer of Solidarity

The above photo has been circulating around Facebook and the Energy Action Coalition’s website as part of their #ClimateSOS campaign. (Check out the hashtag on Twitter). The man behind the podium is Tim DeChristopher, who was (and is) jailed for falsely bidding on oil and gas leases in order to prevent drilling, and the quotes are from a speech he gave at Power Shift 2011, a youth environmental conference.*

All around the country, protesters are taking his message to heart.… [Read more]

Wait, Climate Change is Real? How Extreme Weather is Waking Up the Nation

If you’re on the East Coast of the United States (or, okay, pretty much anywhere in the United States), how are you holding up in this heat? If you’re like me, you’ve sequestered yourself indoors, occasionally opening the front door a crack to see if the heat still blasts you in the face like an oven, and only venturing outside when the air feels breathable instead of like something you could swim through.… [Read more]

Is the Truth About Tar Sands Emerging?

“Oil sticks to everything. It collects in eddies and sheltered areas away from the rushing current, and swirls metallic, glinting in the sun. It collects in clumps of dry roots and grasses, like slick, matted hair. Along the river, wild strawberries, clovers, and a cluster of wild roses—Alberta’s official flower— were all painted delicately in oil.[Read more]

Rio +20 and the Problem of Global Action

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, aka Rio+20, is happening right now, and as usual there’s a storm of opinions flying around the internet. The conference is a converging place for activists of all stripes concerned about environmental issues, and everyone has a different perspective on how we’re going to address the world’s problems. So of course, it’s a mess.… [Read more]

Today’s WTF moment: US Selling Drones to Iraq

In one of this week’s top bad ideas, the U.S. is selling unarmed surveillance drones to Iraq. Let me list the reasons why this is something we should not do.

1. Drone use is ethically questionable to start with, and there isn’t much of a step, technologically-speaking, from surveillance drones to the ones used for warfare. … [Read more]

Passing Blame: On Doubt and Being an Activist

Recently I’ve had a lot of conversations with other activists where we’ve voiced our experiences in persistent doubt, especially when it comes to our judgement of others. It seems that many of us have a (metaphorical) voice in our heads constantly asking ‘Are you sure?’ ‘What if you’re wrong?’ etc. etc.

Needless to say, while constant questioning has its merits, doubting yourself in the middle of a meeting with a high-ranking official can be a little problematic.… [Read more]

Confessions of an Environmentalist: Why I Hate Earth Day

In a lot of ways, I feel the same way about Earth Day that I feel about Black History Month and Women’s History Month. These holidays are important for raising awareness about specific issues and creating a space to talk about them, until they become entrenched traditions and periods of time in which corporate PR takes over and we do little but pay lip service to an idea. … [Read more]

Fossil Fueled Problems Part II: Separating Reality from Rhetoric

Yesterday I visited Nevada and New Mexico to talk about what we’re calling an all-of-the-above energy strategy….So today, I’ve come to Cushing, an oil town because producing more oil and gas here at home has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy…We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.[Read more]

Fossil Fueled Problems: The (biased) Keystone XL Coverage

My involvement with the Keystone XL pipeline began around the same time the media started to cover the issue. I was arrested in front of the White House for protesting against the pipeline on August 26, 2011. Until the week before my arrest, I didn’t know much about what was going on. An oil pipeline? Aren’t those built, like, every day?… [Read more]

Climate Change Conspiracy? We Wish.

Normally I would decline to comment on Rick Santorum’s politics, but these recent statements have left me feeling like there’s no other choice.

At an event in Colorado, Santorum told the crowd that climate change is, “An absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life.”

Wow.… [Read more]

Mountaintop Removal: A Dirty History Repeats Itself

The monster of mountaintop removal* is once again rearing its ugly head. The aptly named Arch Coal may be about to blow the top off of historic Blair Mountain – the 1921 site of the largest civil uprising after the Civil War, a battle between coal miners and coal operators. Needless to say, there are a lot of people upset.… [Read more]