Oujournalist’s Blog

The blog of a freelancing journalist in Arizona

Environmental book and article reviews June 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Candace Hughes @ 4:10 am

Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail. Viking: 2004. Bitterroot Valley, Montana is used to demonstrate how to make a living in a beautiful but uncompetitive land starting with the first human occupants. Hunter gathers, the Lewis and Clark expedition, fur trappers and then mining, logging and food production are covered. Human habitation from the very start has affected the environment, especially as agricultural production and mining began. Mining was an ancient industry, something we don’t always understand. Irrigation and fertilizer for agriculture affects the soil and water, toxic waste from mining affects water and logging leaves the soil unprotected and leading to larger forest fires.


New York Times “Report Sees Quick Recovery for Gulf of Mexico” National section, Feb. 1, 2011. The end of 2012 is cited as the recovery period’s finish, but oyster beds could take much longer and those affected could receive four times their 2010 losses in the next few years. About $3.5 billion has been given out by the commission for losses with a federal judge and plaintiffs saying the administrator isn’t independent of BP. There is a wide divergence of opinion on the length of time for full recovery, the newspaper states. I visited the Phoenix Zoo recently and saw they have taken in about 30 snowy white pelicans who have been cleaned up after the oil spill but were injured and can no longer fly or hunt for food. Zoos in the southern United States closer to the oil spill have asked others to accept injured birds.


The Diane Rehm Show WAMU and National Public Radio. In two Environmental Outlook broadcasts, the host has guests discussing United States’ energy policy. The panelists include Amy Harter, National Journal; Jack Coleman, Energy North America LLC; and Kate Gordon of the Center for American Progress. The most recent broadcast Feb. 1 covered tax subsidies of $4.5 billion to fossil industries according to Harter and lesser amounts to renewal industries. A Jan. 4 show focused on the status of the oil spill cleanup.


Wordsworth, Dorothy. The Alfoxden Journal 1798. Finch, Robert and Elder, John. The Norton Book of Nature Writing New York: 1990. Jan. 20, 1798-April 20, 1802 entries. pp. 90-94. Wordsworth records as an observer and almost as a journalist, but in first person. Day by day comments about nature, plants, weather and sowing seeds give an account of her life and her priorities. She notes that “we” wrote poetry and it is said that her brother, William, drew from her journals for his poetry. “Oh the overwhelming beauty of the vale below—greener than green. Two Ravens flew high in the sky and the sun shone upon their bellys and their wings long after there was no light to be seen but a little space on top of Loughrigg Fell,” she writes of an after-dinner sojourn.


USA Today. “Exxon earns $9.38 B in quarter.” Feb. 1, 2011: B1 Money. As President Obama said in his State of the Union address, the oil companies are doing just fine and don’t need government subsidies. Instead, he is proposing moving to solar, wind and high-speed rail.


Zepeda, Alyson. “Public can look at Canyon anti-noise plan.” The Arizona Republic Feb. 5, 2011: p. B8. This story from the Cronkite News Service fails to tell where to attend a hearing or how to access the plan in a library or on the Web. On the other hand, I’m glad to see this news service spring up as it is covering more statewide news that the Republic has ignored. The reporter does cover the 1987 National Parks Overflights Act to give context and interviews the president of the U.S. Air Tour Association. The noise is loud as you will know if you have camped outside the national park where the flights originate as well as if you hike in the canyon.


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