[GRRN] [earthsystems.org News] August 31, 2000

From: Shay Mitchell (shay@earthsystems.org)
Date: Thu Aug 31 2000 - 14:51:24 EDT

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    earthsystems.org news Volume 2 Issue 34

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    FROM EARTHSYSTEMS.ORG:
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    *****************
    New Editorial
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    Sci-fi writer Bruce Sterling examines recent events at the North Pole and oil
    giant BP's new name, Beyond Petroleum.

    http://earthsystems.org/editorial.html

    ******************
    Issue of the Week
    ******************

    We are extending last week's Issue of the Week, Water at the North Pole. If
    you haven't already done so, please come and vote in our poll and discuss the
    issue in the Earth Forum.

    http://earthsystems.org/issues.html

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    FROM ENS

    http://ens.lycos.com
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    WHISTLEBLOWING REPORTER WINS CASE
    AGAINST FLORIDA TV STATION

    TAMPA, Florida, August 28, 2000 (ENS) - A jury in Florida has ruled
    that Fox TVís Tampa station illegally fired reporter Jane Akre for
    refusing to run a false report about genetically engineered bovine
    growth hormone (BGH), a controversial drug used to increase milk
    production. The six member jury awarded Akre $425,000, including
    $88,725 for lost wages, $120,750 for lost earning capacity, and
    $215,525 for other damages. The landmark decision was the first time
    Florida's whistleblower law has been used to protect a journalist fired
    for refusing to slant the news. In the original version of their report,
    Akre and her husband and co-reporter Steve Wilson revealed the
    risks of BGH, including potential links to breast cancer and other

    human and animal health effects.

    Testimony during the trial showed how Monsanto, the biotechnology
    company that developed BGH, warned Fox of "dire consequences" if
    the station went ahead and aired the critical report. In finding for
    Akre, the jury ruled that she was fired for refusing to participate in
    "the broadcast of a false, distorted, or slanted news report" which
    violated journalistic ethics that prohibit distorting the news. "After
    the FOX owned station in Tampa was threatened by Monsanto, the
    direction of my story about bovine growth hormone changed
    dramatically," said Akre. "There has never been any doubts in our
    minds that with virtually every cut, trim and edit to this four part
    series, the public interest suffered at the hands of the station's
    lawyers. For me, it's past time now to get back to our daughter Alyx
    Anne. She was the reason we stood up for the story in the first
    place. We believe parents have the right to know how the milk they
    feed to their children has been adulterated with a chemical we don't
    need and many don't want."

    [earthsystems.org note: Monsanto is also the leading producer of other
    genetically modifed food technologies. In fact, over 85% of genetically
    modified food produced in the US comes from Monsanto technologies.]

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    FROM GRIST:

    http://www.gristmagazine.com/grist/gist
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    ICE CAPADES
    Global warming was top-of-the-hour news last week because of a report in the
    New York Times that open water had been spotted at the North Pole for the
    first time in perhaps 50 million years. Turns out the Times overstated the
    development; in a costartion today and a follow-up article, the newspaper
    reports that some scientists believe there have probably been clear spots at
    the pole before because about 10 percent of the Arctic Ocean is clear of ice
    in a typical summer. Data does show that the ice pack in the region is
    shrinking in area and thickness, and that on average, temperatures in the
    Arctic Ocean have risen 11 degrees over the past 30 years and are the warmest
    in four centuries. But scientists are unclear whether the shifts are part of
    a natural cycle or are a loud warning signal that the effects of global
    warming are already upon us.

    straight to the source: New York Times, 08.29.00

    http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/front/corrections.html

    straight to the source: New York Times, John Noble Wilford, 08.29.00

    http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/082900sci-pole.html

    BURNING QUESTIONS
    As the U.S. endures its worst forest fire season in 50 years, some enviros
    and scientists are wondering whether climate change might be one of the
    catalysts. "It's very difficult to say with a great degree of certainty, but
    what you can say is that this summer's events are very typical of the kinds
    of phenomenon we would see more of during global warming," said University of

    California-Berkeley professor John Harte. The finger is also being pointed
    at industrial forestry because loggers have generally taken the big, valuable
    trees that are the most fire-resistant and left the small ones that burn more
    readily. U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck is pushing a proposal to
    reduce fire danger by cutting small trees and leaving the big ones behind, as
    well as setting prescribed burns. Forest fires are also raging outside the
    U.S. this summer, in Brazil, Greece, Spain, and other nations.

    straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Lewis MacAdams, 08.27.00

    http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environ/20000827/t000080331.html

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Randy Fabi, 08.28.00

    http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm?newsid=7947

    straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner, Associated Press, 08.26.00

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2000/08/26/international1925EDT0591.DTL

    MONEY DOES GROW ON TREES
    National forests are 10 times more valuable if used for recreation and to
    protect wildlife and water quality than they are if used for logging, mining,
    and grazing, according to a new report commissioned by the Sierra Club.
    Measured by these new standards, the forests are worth $234 billion and
    generate 2.9 million sustainable jobs, found the report, which was prepared
    by ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm. In contrast, logging, mining,
    and grazing on national forest land are worth just $23 billion and provide
    407,000 jobs. "Leaving trees standing in most cases can contribute far more

    to local, state, and national economies than logging," said Ernie Niemi, a
    coauthor of the report.

    straight to the source: San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner, Associated Press, John Hughes, 08.29.00

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2000/08/29/state0316EDT0339.DTL

    BORN IN THE SIGN OF CANCER
    Exposure to toxic chemicals in food, water, and air may be leading to
    a dramatic surge in childhood cancers, asthma, and sudden death
    syndrome in Canadian children, according to a report released earlier
    this week. For example, the report by the Canadian Institute of
    Child Health found that childhood cancers have increased by 25
    percent in the last 25 years, and that some of the cancers, such as
    acute lymphocytic leukemia and tumors of the central nervous system,
    have been tied, at least in part, to exposure to environmental
    contaminants. Trevor Hancock, chair of the Canadian Association of
    Physicians for the Environment, writes in an opinion piece that "we
    are collectively responsible for what amounts to environmental child
    abuse."

    straight to the source: Toronto Globe and Mail, Andre Picard, 08.22.00

    http://www.globeandmail.com/gam/Health/20000822/UKIDSN.html

    straight to the source: Toronto Globe and Mail, Trevor Hancock, 08.24.00

    http://www.globeandmail.com/gam/Commentary/20000824/COENVIRO.html

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    **********************************
    FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE:

    http://www.environmentaldefense.org/
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    PLAN TO COMBAT ANTIBIOTIC OVERUSE IS TOO FEEBLE, SAY ENVIROS
    Antibiotic resistance causes thousands of deaths and more than $3 billion in
    extra medical expenses each year, and is a growing public health crisis.
    Recently Environmental Defense and other public-interest organizations
    sharply criticized a government plan to reduce antibiotic resistance, saying
    it fails to call for banning the use of medically important antibiotics in
    agriculture.

    http://www.environmentaldefense.org/pubs/filings/actionplan.html

    PILOT PROGRAM IN TEXAS LURES DRIVERS TO STAY OFF THE ROAD
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Progressive Auto Insurance have
    signed an agreement to measure the environmental benefits of a
    "pay-as-you-drive" insurance program in Texas. Progressive's 2-year-old
    program bases rates on amount of driving, and could lead to decreases in auto
    use and improvements in air quality.

    http://www.environmentaldefense.org/pubs/NewsReleases/2000/jul/j_insurance.html

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