Norwalk, Connecticut is not exactly pedestrian-friendly. There, I’ve said it! About 100,000 people live in the city on Long Island Sound where E/The Environmental Magazine is based. But the city simply doesn’t do much to help them get on their feet or ride a bicycle.
Mayor Richard Daly might be determined to transform Chicago into the greenest city in America (see main story), but his tree-planting initiatives, building improvements and promises to secure 20 percent of the city’s electricity from renewable sources might not be enough to outshine cities such as Seattle and San Francisco.
Andy Hargadon is director of the University of California at Davis" Energy Efficiency Center, which works, he says, to "commercialize existing technologies." As he points out, the trick isn’t to invent new clean technology, but to get people to use it.
It’s no big surprise that the environmentally friendly Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington is buying renewably generated "green power," but the appearance on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual top 10 list of schools like the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois is more eye-opening.
As this issue goes to press, the Paramount Classics/Participant Productions film An Inconvenient Truth, starring former Vice President Al Gore and directed by Davis Guggenheim, was opening widely in theaters around the country, and receiving an excellent critical reception.
In an effort to help reduce stress on already ailing fish populations and limit ocean habitat destruction, the nonprofit Nature Conservancy has branched out from its standard modus operandi of purchasing development rights from farmers to buying out fishing permits from a handful of California bottom trawlers. So far the group has bought six federal trawling permits and four vessels from fishermen in Morro Bay, located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Last week the Senate majority proposed legislation continuing an offshore drilling moratorium for the Gulf of Mexico that has been in effect for 25 years, but allowing some oil and gas drilling to take place across an 8 million acre swath of open ocean 100 miles off the coast of Florida. Meanwhile, a House bill passed last month calls for overturning the moratorium entirely, potentially opening up tens of millions of additional coastal acres off the Gulf of Mexico to resource extraction.
Gulf Coast residents, already faced with some of the nation’s toughest environmental challenges, didn’t really need Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to emphasize their vulnerability. Environmental groups were also affected when hurricanes devastated these communities and exacerbated the alarming environmental threats.
On a warm April morning, John Keeley’s farm southeast of Portland, Oregon is lively with sound. His two dogs bark as they dash around the farm’s dark wooden buildings; his sheep and lambs bleat as they waddle across rolling green fields. Birds twitter, and turkeys cackle. But the white boxes scattered around his 85 acres are mostly silent.