Dr. Edgar Wayburn is quite likely the greatest man you've never heard of. The five-time president of the Sierra Club somehow managed to save more wilderness than anyone alive -- more than 100 million acres -- and all in his spare time! Dr. Wayburn turns 100 this Sunday. We want to take this opportunity to wish him the very best and express our undying gratitude for all his efforts. Happy Birthday, Dr. Ed!
Learn more about Dr. Wayburn. Read his memoir: Your Land and Mine, from Sierra Club Books.
You've heard of the low-carb diet. How about the low-carbon diet? That's the regimen writer Seth Zuckerman undertook for the most recent issue of Sierra magazine. After indulging in typical American carbon gluttony for a week -- taking needless trips in the SUV, washing clothes in hot water, leaving the lights on, etc. -- Zuckerman got serious, eventually tightening his belt to a ration of ten pounds of carbon emissions per day -- the amount scientists reckon the Earth can actually absorb. Find out what it takes to "do right by the planet." And after you've read Zuckerman's article, share your thoughts and insights in an online discussion with Sierra readers and editors.
Last month, the California legislature passed the most sweeping global warming measure in the nation. Assembly Bill 32, which was shepherded to the governor's desk by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, calls for a 25 percent reduction in the state's global warming emissions by 2020. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill on the last day of August and the move was widely hailed as a major step forward in meeting the challenge of climate change. Of course, no single state can solve global warming, and leadership is still sorely lacking where it counts most -- in Washington. Still, as other states move to adopt similarly ambitious regulations, change is occurring from the bottom up.
Five years after the 9/11 attacks, we should remember that our leaders compounded the horrendous damage done by the terrorists by willfully ignoring basic safety and health precautions at ground zero. Today, nearly 60 percent of the roughly 40,000 first responders and cleanup workers from the site are seriously ill as a result of their heroic efforts and largely abandoned by the federal government. Worse, it appears that it is now official U.S. government policy to weaken health and safety standards in the event of any future attacks.
A new Sierra Club report, "Harmful Legacy of Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero: How Post 9/11 Disaster Policy Endangers America," warns that federal policies for national disasters compromise worker safety, fail to require precautionary health warnings, and -- in the event of a "dirty bomb" attack -- allow for lower cleanup standards for radiological contamination. The report cites a new Bush Administration policy that balances public health concerns against a list of economic factors that even includes the impact on tourism. Is this really what we mean by Homeland Security?
Now that summer is coming to an end, so is our Dog Days of Summer photo contest. It was tough, but we've selected ten finalists from the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of way-cute photos we received from Insider subscribers and now we need your help in selecting the weiner, err, winner.
Check out who made the cut and vote for your favorite!
As the result of a 2002 Sierra Club lawsuit, the Public Service Company of New Mexico has agreed to invest $270 million to make its San Juan coal-fired power plant as environmentally friendly as possible. If all goes according to plan, the plant will reduce nitrogen oxide by 35 percent, sulfur dioxide by 65 percent, particulates by 70 percent, and mercury by 75 percent. Sounds costly, right? Wrong: The company says these improvements will create almost 500 jobs and $9.4 million in tax revenue.
For more victories like this, be sure to check in with the Sierra Club's Environmental Law Program.
The Jane Goodall Institute has integrated the geo-spatial gee-whizzery of Google Earth into its Gombe Chimpanzee Blog. If you've downloaded the free software, you can follow scientist/blogger Emily Wroblewski's adventures in and around Tanzania's Gombe National Park. Google Earth allows visitors to "fly" over the preserve, visit pertinent landmarks, read blog entries, and even browse National Geographic articles about Goodall's historic early work with the chimps of Gombe. While the presentation is far from seamless, the capabilities are impressive. No doubt, this is the direction online storytelling is headed.
Not sure what a blog is and why you should care? Check out everything you wanted to know about blogs and blogging, but were afraid to ask (well, almost everything).
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