Okay, so there’s no film at 11. But we do have the run-down on some key bits of news that rumbled across our radar over the weekend. In this case, that would include some new research saying our tiny exposures to pollution are starting to add up, the first review of President Gore’s (sorry.. did we say that out loud?) summer blockbuster, glowing praise for (really) Wal-Mart, and more.
Props to Grist for tipping us off to a new study showing that the tiny genetic mutations that pollution creates in our cells will eventually add up and kill us all. According to the latest weird science, researchers are underestimating the effects of exposure to environmental toxins. Oh, those effects are small alright. Miniscule even. But they happen all the time and it turns out we pass them on to new generations that then add their own acquired mutations on top of them. The end result? It’s lights out for humanity in a couple million years if our species doesn’t stop moving its giant metaphorical bowels where we sleep and eat and breathe, and other species may vanish much sooner. The new study dovetails nicely with previous efforts indicating that toxin-caused diseases and conditions are passed on to future generations via modified (but strangely not mutated) DNA. Maybe we should change our name to Second Generation.
Look out Tom Cruise. You’ve got more than Thetans to worry about. Rising star Al Gore is nipping at your Hollywood heels with a real cinematic mission impossible: Convincing an American people in deep consumerist denial that Earth is about to burst into flames. That’s the goal of his new flick, An Inconvenient Truth . So how does he do? A climate scientist give us the film’s very first review and comes away quite impressed. Here’s hoping this is the blockbuster that raises the voting public’s temperature way past Fahrenheit 911.
Way to go Wal-Mart! Have a huge hug from all of us here. No really, we mean it. The New York Times is reporting that the Retailer That Ate Tokyo (And Everything Else It Could Get Its Claws On) has seen the change-a-comin’ and asked its suppliers to supply more organic food products. The ripple effect of this single corporate decision, coming as it does from the world’s defacto 19th largest economy, is expected to very nearly instantaneously give Americans more choice and lower prices when it comes to organic foods no matter where they shop. Why? Because companies reformulating their products to meet their biggest customer’s mandate are expected to start selling those products everywhere else, too. See guys, that wasn’t that hard was it? You can make money hand over fist without killing the world! Who knew? Certainly not us. Well, okay… We actually did know. But it’s still nice to see you catching on.
Lastly, the Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece about immigration and the environment, and it’s a conversation we’re glad to see somebody, anybody start. Population is the green elephant in the environmentalists’ room. It’s real big, real obvious, and leaving huge hot steaming piles of ugly all over the place, but nobody wants to talk about it. And that isn’t helping future generations. So we’re all in favor of kick starting the debate. We’re not saying we have the answers. Indeed this is a very sticky wicket in which issues of justice and equity conflict with purely environmental goals. But one thing’s for sure: Burying our heads in the sand and hoping the issue goes away isn’t what we’d call a viable strategy. Unless, or course, you work at FEMA.