Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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From the Environment News Service


WASHINGTON, DC, December 18, 2007 (ENS)A consortium of some of
the world’s largest coal companies and electric utilities has selected
the small east-central Illinois town of Mattoon for FutureGen, a $1.4
billion coal-fueled power plant that is planned as the cleanest in the
world. The FutureGen Alliance today announced that Mattoon was chosen
over three other sites in Tuscola, Illinois; Jewett, Texas; and Odessa,


ARLINGTON, Virginia, December 18, 2007 (ENS)A miniscule possum
and an enormous rat were recorded by scientists as probable new species
on a recent expedition to a remote and virtually unknown area of
Indonesia in the pristine wilderness of western New Guinea’s Foja
Mountains. “It’s comforting to know that there is a place on earth so
isolated that it remains the absolute realm of wild nature,” said
Conservation International Vice President Bruce Beehler, who led the


WASHINGTON, DC, December 17, 2007 (ENS) – The U.S. Senate Friday
approved a $286 billion farm bill shepherded through by Senator Tom
Harkin of Iowa, who chairs the Agriculture Committee. The measure
improves farm income protection and makes investments for the future in
energy, conservation, nutrition and rural development initiatives. The
final vote count was 79-14, more than enough to turn back a veto threat
by President Bush.


NUSA DUA Bali, Indonesia, December 15, 2007 (ENS)Governments
meeting in Bali today agreed to launch negotiations towards a
strengthened international climate change pact as a successor to the
Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012. “This is a real
breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to
successfully fight climate change,” said Indonesian Environment
Minister and President of the conference, Rachmat Witoelar.

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Cat in a Quandary

ABOUT 100 MILES NORTH of Bangor, Maine, lies 32-mile-long Moosehead Lake, surrounded by rolling, wooded country. A few miles above the tiny town of Greenville, a pinpoint at the southern tip of the lake, the paved highway that brings visitors from the south fades into a gravel logging road, and clear-cuts sprawl on all sides—vast swaths of sun-drenched meadows erupting with the renewed growth of young trees. These regenerating stands are key habitat for threatened Canada lynx.

Cat in a Quandary – National Wildlife Magazine

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2008 TED Prize winners

The TED Prize was introduced in 2005, and it is unlike any other award. Although the winners receive a prize of $100,000 each, the real prize is that they are granted a WISH. “A wish to change the world”. There are no formal restrictions on the wish. We ask our winners to think big and to be creative.

TED | TEDBlog: Announcing 2008 TED Prize winners


Pseudo-Science Debunked

Under the Bush administration, citizens have been told that climate change isn’t such a big deal, evolution doesn’t belong in the classroom, and there’s no use crying over extinct species.

It’s Francesca Grifo’s job to expose the manipulation of information that gives politicians cover for such claims. As the head of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Grifo documents the government’s meddling in science and advocates for a return to public policy based on sound evidence. Grifo, a senior scientist at the nonprofit and an expert in biodiversity and environmental education, explains how citizens can distinguish scientific fact from political fiction for themselves. … Pseudo-Science Debunked

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A Last Warning on Global Warming

By Bryan Walsh

The language of science, like that of the United Nations, is by nature cautious and measured. That makes the dire tone of the just-released final report from the fourth assessment of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a network of thousands of international scientists, all the more striking. Global warming is “unequivocal.” Climate change will bring “abrupt and irreversible changes.” The report, a synthesis for politicians culled from three other IPCC panels convened throughout the year, read like what it is: a final warning to humanity. “Today the world’s scientists have spoken clearly, and with one voice,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, who attended the publication of the report in Valencia, Spain. Climate change “is the defining challenge of our age.” Continue reading

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Japanese Whalers Set Sail Again — The Slaughter Continues

The Fisheries Agency, a small government bureaucracy with control of whaling policy, sees itself as Japan’s defender against Western “culinary imperialism” and its right to marine resources. The agency says Japan’s low food self-sufficiency – less than 40 per cent – gives it the right to hunt all sustainable sea life, including whales.

What’s the matter with these people?  They’re supposed to be civilized!

A political brawl for meat they don’t even want to eat – Independent Online Edition > Asia

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News from Environment News Service


WASHINGTON, DC, November 14, 2007 (ENS)North America’s carbon
budget is increasingly overwhelmed by human-caused emissions, according
to the first “State of the Carbon Cycle Report” for the continent,
released online this week by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
The interagency government report finds North America’s emissions of
the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are greater than 25 percent of global


BANGKOK, Thailand, November 14, 2007 (ENS)The soaring price of
gold may be increasing mercury pollution locally and worldwide. Experts
also worry that the increased burning of coal, which naturally contains
mercury, is causing the toxic to be released into the air and spread
around the globe. These issues are the focus of the first meeting of a
new United Nations working group this week in Bangkok.


LONDON, UK, November 13, 2007 (ENS)British animal health
officials have today confirmed that avian influenza detected in turkeys
on a farm near Diss on the Norfolk-Suffolk border is the highly
pathogenic H5N1 strain of the virus. The facility house some 5,000
turkeys as well as around 400 geese and over 1,000 ducks. All birds on
the premises will be slaughtered.


SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 13, 2007 (ENS)The latest
overflight of San Francisco Bay and the nearby coastline shows very
little recoverable oil offshore and inshore from last Wednesday’s spill
of 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel, the U.S. Coast Guard said today.
Seven miles of containment boom has been deployed to confine and
collect oil in the water and six vessels are skimming and collecting
the oily mess.

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Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

The retail chain is been persuaded by the arguments of the New York-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice and a coalition of health and environmental organizations that mounted an anti-PVC campaign in October 2006, complete with a blowup plastic yellow duck that is displayed at protest actions in front of stores

Testing has detected toxic lead and phthalates and in a broad range of PVC consumer products, including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.

Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

There are even more cogent (although less compelling) arguments against PVC.

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Biofuels Are No Cure for Climate Change

We’re being battered left and right with ominous news about climate change, so the idea of filling our tanks and heating our homes with biofuels is naturally comforting. Biofuels sound green. They’re made from things that were once green—corn, palm oil, sugar cane and other agricultural products. And they’re being touted as green. A Department of Energy’s resource page for biofuels says, “Hey students! Biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel can make a big difference in improving our environment.”

But don’t judge a climate cure by its color. Give it a rub, and you’ll find that the term ‘biofuels’ is actually obscuring an insidious reality. For that reason, many people, especially in the global South, have taken to calling them “agrofuels.”

Biofuels Are No Cure for Climate Change — In These Times

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How an Iowa man grows a 1,600-pound pumpkin

“It’s extreme gardening,” Young says, strolling through the remnants of his pumpkin plot. He stops at a smooth spot in the dirt the size of a minke whale. It’s where Young grew the second-largest pumpkin the world has ever seen.

The “big guy,” he calls it, weighed in at 1,662 pounds. In the last decade, big-pumpkin growing has gone from a farmer’s hobby to a regulated, worldwide competition. The boom in gourds has been fueled mainly by the Internet, which makes seeds and growing advice widely available. This year, nine pumpkins outweighed last year’s world record holder. Young’s missed being crowned king gourd by only 27 pounds…

Click here to read this article.

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An Interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Chris Megerian, The Emory Wheel: Your role as Dalai Lama has been very unique from all previous Dalai Lamas in your political nature. I was wondering how you saw the role of the Dalai Lama evolving in future generations.

DL: Future generations? Nobody knows. *laughs*

CM: Do you think it will remains as political a role as it has been recently?

DL: No, no, no. As early as 1969, I publicly made statement to whether the very institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not for the Tibetan people. Some people, you see, get the impression that the Dalai Lama institution is so important for Tibetan nation or Tibetan Buddhism. It’s wrong. Some occasions the Dalai Lama institution very strong. Some occasions, the Dalai Lama institution, it has ceased. But Tibetan spirituality, Buddhism, Tibetan nation will remain. So for my own case, ’til my death, I am fully committed to promotion of human value and promotion of religious harmony. After me, after my death, my responsibility now finished. *laughter*

So as a Buddhist, I believe, you see, the next sort of rebirth. I don’t know where rebirth comes, whether this planet, or some other planet more peaceful. More happier. *laughs* Next question. …

An Interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama | The Emory Wheel

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Gore as peacemaker in Congress — CS Monitor

The Nobel Peace Prize is often bestowed for a job well done but unfinished. It heartens the winner against the odds. Al Gore is such a recipient. His holy war against global warming needs help, especially to nudge a US Congress still immune to the Nobel Committee’s big hint.

Mr. Gore’s well-rewarded insight is in knowing that leaders will not force costly changes in lifestyle unless people are first convinced of the need to curb carbon use. Even he, in a well-organized crusade, has been low-key about the exact level of taxes and other burdens to impose on industry and consumers. It’s easier to sound the alarm about a disaster than to show how to prevent it.

With an Oscar (for his role in “An Inconvenient Truth”) and now a Nobel in his hip-pocket, Gore has more political cachet to act. Rather than run for president, however, he should enter the fray on Capitol Hill over energy policy.   Gore as peacemaker in Congress

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News From MedPage Today

Does Stress Cause Disease? It Doesn’t Help, Reviewers Say (CME/CE)

— There is strong evidence suggesting — but not proving — the
existence of a causal link between psychological stress and chronic
conditions such as depression, cardiovascular disease, and HIV/AIDS,
asserted researchers here. [more]

High Blood Pressure in Women Tied to Diabetes Risk (CME/CE)

— Women with high or rising blood pressure are up to three times more
likely to develop diabetes, researchers here found. [more]

Migraine Agent Found Promising for Alcohol Dependence (CME/CE)

You Can’t Judge a Running Shoe by Its Price Tag (CME/CE)
Blood Test May Detect Lung Cancer Early (CME/CE)