When it comes to illegal dumping from cruise ships, sometimes the best watchdogs are appaled vacationers who catch the action with their video cameras. In 1993, passengers aboard the Regent Sea witnessed and photographed crew members throwing plastic garbage bags in to the ocean 30 miles off the coast of Florida. Also in 1993, a group of fishermen discovered and partially retrieved more than 25 plastic garbage bags floating several dozen miles of St. Petersburg, Florida. The debris was determined to have come from the Regent Rainbow, another ship operated by Regency Cruises, Inc. Regency received a whopping $250,000 fine this spring for violations of MARPOL, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships.
Hollywood’s scripts are becoming increasingly friendly to environmental causes. After all, Murphy Brown recycles, and Universal wagered $175 million on the Kevin Costner film Waterworld, in which centuries of global warming have caused the polar ice caps to melt, leaving Earth’s surface covered in water.
In 1989, the government of Western Samoa directed the village of Falealupo to build a new school. Located on the island of Savaii, 2,800 miles south of Hawaii, the village coulnd’t find money, so Chief Fuiono Senio and the elders reluctantly sold logging rights to 30,000 acres of tropical hardwoods for $2.50 per acre.
"If you see a school of whales where there is a feeding mother, first kill the calves because then the mother wont leave. Next, kill the kill the mother, then the male won’t leave. And finally, kill the male." The comments of former whaling fleet captain Vladimir Dobralskiy echo the kill-at-all-costs credo that operated for years in the Soviet Union’s whaling industry.
Five years ago, Tom Sellars wasn’t getting any repect in the music business: His calls rarely got beyond industry secretaries. These days, musicians like R.E.M., Paul McCartney, k.d. lang and Kenny Loggins are listening, because Sellars and former college buddy Michael Martin have combined a vision, a cause and commitment into the Minneapolis based Concerts for the Environment (CFE).
The scene one sunny January Sunday at the Nyland Cohousing Community near Boulder, Colorado, could have been a commercial for communal living. Here was ample proof of what members of the 150 or so U.S. "cohousing" groups believe: that shared communities – which typically feature a "common house" where residents can share meals, childcare, tools, laundry facilities and other services, surrounded by single-family homes designed for maximum environmental impact – are the best antidote to the isolated, consumption-intensive nature at most American housing
Even by the free-wheeling standards of Alabama politics, John M. Smith seemed an unlikely choice for the post of the state’s top environmental watchdog. In the early 1980s, he served as spokesman for an abortive scheme to export hazardous waste abroad from the Birmingham area. A few years ago, state and auditors questioned his computer company’s performance in fulfilling state contracts.
Poland is usually thought of as a kind of environmental house of horrors. Belching smokestacks, coal-darkened buildings and mammoth industrial complexes are dismal and grimy images that leap at us from reports about Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, wholesale despoliation is not a pervasive condition. In spite of the gray renderings, much of Poland is still surprisingly lush. Unfortunately, few get to see past the cheerless Orwellian viage to the other Poland – the green Poland.
For six years, the plucky little Geo Metro XFi hatchback was the most fuel-efficient car on the market, with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) milage rating of 53 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 58 on the highway. But for 1995, this American milage champ – the little engine that could – got the ax, having accounted for only less than 10 percent or less of overall Metro Sales.