[GRRN] earthsystems.org News

Shay Mitchell (shay@earthsystems.org)
Tue, 23 Nov 1999 15:08:07 -0500

earthsystems.org news Issue 18
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What's new at earthsystems.org

Issue of the Week
Grand Canyon National Park threatened by too many visitors, car and air travel and
encroaching development. What's the solution?

Poll of the Week
Should Grand Canyon National Park restrict the number of visitors allowed in the park
every year?

>From GIST:

California's schoolkids are breathing unhealthful exhaust spewed by diesel
school buses that are among the nation's oldest and most polluting,
according to a report being released today by the Coalition for Clean Air.
The report urges the administration of Gov. Gray Davis (D) to set tough
emission standards for school buses and to provide tens of millions of
dollars to help school districts replace their fleets with new buses
powered by cleaner-burning alternative fuels. Officials from the
California Air Resources Board and the Los Angeles Unified School District
agreed yesterday that the current bus fleet poses an environmental threat
to children, but they have yet to decide on strategy to deal with the problem.

straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Marla Cone, 11.18.99


(earthsystems.org note: An example of penny wise and pound foolish. We urge you
to educate a school board member today to allocate 1% of current and future
budgets to pay for more efficient buses and to upgrade maintenance on
current system.)

The Arctic Ocean's ice cover has thinned by about 40 percent in the last 20
to 40 years, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical

Research Letters. The study's researchers, from the University of
Washington, were surprised by the dramatic shift, but couldn't say whether
it was the result of human-caused climate change or natural cycles. The
study fits with other research that has shown Arctic ice is retreating,
causing problems for wildlife.

straight to the source: Christian Science Monitor, Robert C. Cowen, 11.17.99


straight to the source: BBC News, 11.17.99


straight to the source: New York Times, William K. Stevens, 11.17.99


Seeking to shore up enviro support and mollify free trade critics, Vice
Pres. Al Gore announced yesterday that Pres. Clinton will sign an executive
order requiring full environmental reviews of all new trade agreements.
The order begins to put environmental concerns on par with business
concerns in international agreements, a step that some environmentalists
praised yesterday as a good start. Still, the executive order does not
address environmental issues in other nations, and the environmental
community is pressing the administration to push for reform of World Trade
Organization rules and block any expansion of the WTO's authority until the
environmental impact of previous trade deals can be assessed. Meanwhile, a
new national poll shows that most Americans are supportive of global trade
but share labor and environmental concerns that have been raised by critics
of the WTO.

straight to the source: New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye, 11.17.99


straight to the source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Michael Paulson, 11.17.99


Promising to "put protection of the environment at the center of my
presidency," Vice Pres. Al Gore said yesterday that he would spend $2
billion over 10 years to combat urban sprawl and preserve open space if he
were elected president. Gore, speaking at a fundraiser in Malibu, Calif.,
proposed offering $1 billion in tax cuts to landowners who transfer private
land to conservation and an additional $1 billion to cities and states to

create local parks. He would pay for the plan by charging mining companies
fees for extracting minerals from public lands, which would require
changing the 1872 Mining Law, something enviros have long been pressing
for. Meanwhile, many people living along California's central coast are
fearful of runaway development, and a number of city councils in the area
are imposing building moratoriums. Projections show that California's
population is likely to grow to about 59 million by 2040, up from about 34
million today, which will only make sprawl problems more difficult to

straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Matea Gold, 11.15.99


straight to the source: Philadelphia Inquirer, Associated Press, Scott
Lindlaw, 11.15.99


straight to the source: MSNBC, Associated Press, Jeff Wilson, 11.12.99


Developers have built 3,500 "green" homes in Colorado during the past two
years, more than $1 billion worth, making Colorado the top green building
state. Colorado kicked off the nation's only statewide green building
program in March 1997 and has assembled a task force that is raising money
for public education and hopes to launch a website to share building
techniques and advice with builders, suppliers, and consumers. Green
buildings include more insulation, toilets and faucets that use less water,
and less toxic paints, features that add about $1,000 to $2,000 to the
price of each home -- money that can be easily recouped in energy savings
over three to five years. Colorado is one of six pilot areas for a Fannie
Mae program unveiled last month that lets buyers borrow up to 15 percent of
the cost of a home to pay for energy-saving features.
straight to the source: Denver Rocky Mountain News, John Rebchook, 11.22.99


(earthsystems.org note: not exactly green building but at least it's a step in
the right direction. Design considerations are not included which is key to
energy savings plus no credit for recycled content materials.)

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>From Environmental Defense Fund:


Want to learn about recycling and have fun doing it? Complete with links
to information you can use to help your recycling efforts, the word search
is entertaining for kids and adults alike.


EDF offers a host of easy-to-do tips to help make your holiday


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