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2013 April 18: Pollinators necessary to life as we know it
According to the Xerces Society, pollinators make reproduction possible for "more than two-thirds of the world's crop species."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has a leaflet on Native Pollinators that describes the services pollinators provide in nature and agricultural systems and the many billions of dollars they are worth to the U.S. economy. "The leafet presents the habitat requirements of a variety of native pollinators and offers practical ideas for their conservation and management". It includes a table of "Crops dependent upon or benefited by insect pollination" and one of "General native pollinator habitat requirements". The leaflet concludes that "Despite their value, native pollinators are declining and often under-appreciated in terms of their services to healthy ecosystems. Human activities have destroyed and fragmented native pollinator habitat. However, landowners can work to increase native pollinator habitat on privately-owned lands by planting appropriate vegetation, providing water, limiting pesticide use, and providing the habitat needs for specific groups of pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, bats, or hummingbirds)".
The Xerces Society also has a Fact Sheet on providing nesting opportunities for native bees.
2013 April 11 Truthout interview: less consumption, not "green" businesses, key to saving planet?
Ozzie Zehner, in an interview by Steve Horn, says the environmental movement has been taken over by so-called "green" businesses that are anything but green in their supply chains, production lines, and impacts on the environment. He says, for example, we do not have any such thing as clean energy; that "alternative energy technologies rely on fossil fuels through every stage of their life". He argues that as long as the movement is tied to increasing production rather than decreasing consumption, it is doomed to failure.
2013 March 19 Truthout opinion column: Proposed bills make it harder to reveal abuses of farm animals.
Chickens and cows do not lead picturesque lives roaming on beautiful farmlands before they go to slaughterhouses. According to the article nearly 99% of chickens, both those raised for meat and those raised for eggs, live in such intensely crowded and dirty conditions they have no chance to spread their wings, and mothers and babies have no contact with each other. Cattle and pigs live in similar conditions. They are treated as unfeeling commodities, not sentient creatures. Animal rights activists try to raise awareness of these conditions by taking photos and videos, and these activities are sometimes illegal. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is pushing for laws in several states to criminalize activities that activists use to raise public awareness about abuses of farm animals.
2013 February 10: Guns and stocks
An Associated Press post in the Daily Herald raises the question whether mutual funds and pension funds should include holdings in the gun industry. The article explains the legal and fiduciary complications of making changes in the funds and offers ways investors can look for funds that do not offend their moral values.
2013 February: U.S. and international climate change news and employment opportunities
Some headlines from United States Global Change Research Program: "Climate Change Impacts to U.S. Coasts Threaten Public Health, Safety and Economy", "Future Earth: International Coordination of Research for Global Sustainability", "Federal Register Notice: NCADAC [National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee]: Notice of Availability For Public Comment".
2013 January 3: Democracy Now War and Peace Report says "Exposť Reveals Walmart Blocked Improvements Despite Vows to Improve Safety After Deadly Factory Fire"
The fire took place at a Bangladesh factory that was part of Walmart's supply chain. (See 2012 Nov. 6 report). "Survivors said an exit door at the factory was locked, fire extinguishers didn't work, and that when the fire alarm went off, their bosses ordered them to stay at their sewing machines." At least 111 workers died. Some escaped by breaking windows. An inspection report found appalling neglect of basic safety measures. Walmart claims it has addressed problems in its supply chain, but critics say it has resisted spending money to improve safety even though covering the funds needed could be raised by very small increases in product prices.
Special Report: Torture
There is hope! Please see the post on a January 2012 anti-torture resolution by the city of Chicago, and how other municipalities can do the same. If you do not see it at first, refresh the page by clicking the refresh button on your browser bar or pressing the f5 key.
Special Report: Fair Trade
2012 August update: the promise of Fair Trade is surrounded by controversy both within and outside of the movement. Additional links to information about the controversy have been provided.
Special Report: Modern-Day Slavery
2012 Oct. 3: good news! Green America reports that Hershey Co. "will be certifying 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020 and urged the chocolate giant to go 100 percent Fair Trade with incremental benchmarks."
2012 Oct. 5: more good news! Chipotle signed the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Trader Joe's signed back in February 2012.