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Exposed On the Radio

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Author: the Inkslinger

Last month’s issue of the Non-Toxic Times reviewed the new book from investigative journalist Mark Shapiro, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power. This is an important work not because it outlines the many ways Americans are being harmed by toxic products and the laissez-faire regulatory climate that places corporate protectionism ahead of consumer protections but becauase it addresses what this means for our economic future and American influence in the world.

Shapiro argues that in a world trending toward green, strong regulations based on the Precautionary Principle will serve a country well both ecologically and economically (as in Europe) and that those nations that don’t follow this path (as ours is currently refusing to do) won’t be able to compete in a global marketplace with higher environmental standards and so are destined to lose out in a big way. Excellent thesis and I totally agree. Ironically, in the long run, all these corporations that say regulations harm business and the economy are just shooting both in the foot.

All of which is a somewhat roundabout way of mentioning that Shapiro was on California’s KQED radio last week. The program is archived here for your auditory illumination . It’s very much worth listening to and the book is one everyone should read. Especially all these recalcitrant business types…

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Yesterday’s News

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Author: the Inkslinger

And now as public service of the Inspired Protagonist, we bring you yesterday’s news today. Because, well… I’m so completely behind the curve that from where I sit the curve appears on the very distant horizon only as the faintest suggestion of something not flat. And really, from here, even that could be an atmospheric trick. The reason for my lateness, as everyone who knows me knows, is a recent relocation to a new abode that has reduced my home office to rubble and triggered a week’s worth of connectivity problems that have left me wandering alone in the terrifying e-darkness. Still, better late than never with these tidbits I’ve been meaning to share…

US News and World Report had a good article earlier this month about avoiding bisphenol-A, the toxin currently number one with a bullet at the top of the toxicological charts. Good advice about keeping this bad boy out of your bloodstream.

A new study says that emerging “carbon markets” are unwittingly encouraging the clearcutting of virgin forests, an act which would release one official massive ton ‘o carbon into our beleagured atmosphere. Oops. Maybe we better rethink this one. (I still don’t get the whole let’s-trade-carbon-pollution credits thing. How about we just all agree not to make anymore rather than just treat what is a rather pressing situation like it was a couple of packs of baseball cards in a schoolyard?)

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The Financial Dividends of Environmental Responsibility

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Every once in awhile an idea comes down the pike that has the potential to revolutionize the world. This one from Jim Rogers, the chairman and chief executive of Duke Energy, is just such a stroke of genius. Rogers suggests replacing the current electric regulatory system, which encourages electric utilities to generate more energy usage, with one that rewards power companies for increasing their customers' energy efficiency. This is exactly the kind of leadership we need from the business community. Three cheers for Jim Rogers, the chairman and chief executive of Duke Energy and for Tom Friedman for covering this important story!!

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Everyone is Included In the Environmental Wave.

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Author: Kendra Sibilia

The University of Vermont had the honor of hosting a talk led by Van Jones. Van Jones was one of the founding directors of Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. He is also very concerned with the environment. He is a member of many organizations such as, Rainforest Action Network, WITNESS, Bioneers, the New Apollo Project and the Social Venture Network. The University was very thankful fortunate to have such a passionate figure come and grace us with some of his knowledge.

The speech was titled “The New Dream” presented by “Reclaim the Future.” Van began by telling us we were part of the 3rd wave of Environmentalism. The first wave was conservation which began with the Native Americans. During this time a squirrel could climb up a tree in California and jump from branch to branch and make it to the Mississippi River. The second wave was Regulation which was started with Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. Now in the 3rd wave called, Investment. The result of an investment is hoped and assumed to be a positive one bringing many progressive results to the investor. We are in a wave of hope and optimism.

The amount of money our Country is spending on alternative energy, green cars and green products is on the rise. We are currently spending $229 billion dollars a year on all of these materials. These are amazing numbers and they are only on the rise. However the most astonishing fact is that the Green wave is the most racially segregated economy in the United States. The work being put forth to encourage this Green wave is so that it will last forever. If it doesn’t include everyone, then we won’t last very long.

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Time Magazine Gets It Wrong!

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In case you missed Thomas Friedman’s year end Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a hopeful start to the new year. Commenting on Time Magazine’s choice of “You” as Person of the Year, Friedman says he would have instead chosen Green as the Color of the Year. He writes:

“We reached a tipping point this year — where living, acting, designing, investing and manufacturing green came to be understood by a critical mass of citizens, entrepreneurs and officials as the most patriotic, capitalistic, geopolitical, healthy and competitive thing they could do. Hence my own motto: “Green is the new red, white and blue.”

Eco-Chick has a reprint of the entire piece. Check it out!

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Floating Through the Jungle Primeval

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Author: Gregor

Sorry we couldn't post until now. We were hoping to get an audio log entry out last night, but as you can imagine, 20th century communications are a spotty proposition in a place as far removed from the beaten path as the Amazon basin.

We had perhaps the most incredible day yesterday that it's possible to have in this life. Like Marlow in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, we have gone far upriver into a world you can't imagine unless your own eyes take it in. Extraordinary sights and sounds met us around every bend in the river. This is a place primeval, a realm of deep and unfathomable beauty nature has taken millions of years to create. We have never seen or experienced anything even remotely like it.

That this riotous crucible of life is profoundly precious is a dramatic understatement. So it is that we were heartened by the other half of our experiences these past 24 hours: our encounters with Greenpeace projects and the people who are working with unwavering dedication to preserve the Amazon rainforest and make sure that it forever remains a place of wonder.


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Buy Local First

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As someone who goes to too many conferences and is disappointed more often than not, the BALLE conference that was held in Burlington this weekend exceeded all of my expectations. This is an organization that is full of hope and possibility, passion and commitment, a movement at a time where few pursuits rise to that level.

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Get Your Eco-News Groove On Right Here Right Now

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Author: the Inkslinger

Time once again to get down and get funky with the latest word from the front lines of the battle for a better world. Today we’re fueling the debate on gas prices, talking up taxes that are taxing only if you’re taxing earth’s resources; wondering about an EPA that’s MIA; and (batting clean-up) washing our hands of a story on certain soaps that are dirtying up the world. Prepare, dear friends, to be stunned and amazed…

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