Posts Tagged 'Coal'

In the News: Cities, Notebook Love, and Presidential Proclamations

Technology (and the like)

» Scary fact: did you know the cell phone industry actually admits the health risks of cell phone radiation? Apparently this is not the stuff of conspiracy theorists anymore: Apple recommends holding your iPhone no closer than 5/8″ to your body, and BlackBerry recommends holding your phone a full inch away. Read more in Tom Philpott’s article: Is my smartphone making me dumb?

» Some “Tough Love” advice for having a better life: Americans need to stop multitasking while eating alone.

» The event already passed, but I really like the message behind Jimmy Kimmel’s National Unfriend Day. The idea is to restore meaning to the word ‘friend’ by cutting down on facebook friends who… well, aren’t actually your friends.

» The event already passed, but I really like Jimmy Kimmel’s “National Unfriend Day.” The idea is to cut down on facebook “friends” who… aren’t actually your friends. Heck, you can do this anytime and restore some meaning to the word ‘friend’.

» Read a good paperback recently? I like this down-to-earth ‘best books’ list from The Guardian (via The EarlyWord)

Pen | Paper | Ink | DIY

» Etsy, how I love thee. Check out their recommendations for keeping analog time in 2011 – nothing digital about it.

» Jonathan Safran Foer, I love you and your unmakeable book more than Etsy.

» I hate to bash NaNoWriMo so soon after writing a positive post about it, but I’m just so in agreement with this Salon.com article that I had to share.

» DIY Love: Social activists have long protested the consumerism of Black Friday by celebrating Buy Nothing Day instead, but I’m even MORE supportive of this new (more positive) approach: Make Something Day.

» Ooh, lovely burgundies, wines, and maroons:  Ink Mixing with J. Herbin’s Anniversary Ink (via Writer’s Bloc)

» Hooray, two of my favorite things: Notebooks and gardening!

» I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but Rhodia/Clairefontaine/Exaclair have some of the best customer service and genuine grassroots marketing. Ever.

Rurality | Urbanism

» Poor urbanites: apparently New Yorkers are the most stressed Americans since the economy collapsed – but not because they’re doing worse than other parts of the country (they’re not). It’s because the city doesn’t offer effective ways to deal with stress. (via Daily News)

» But! This whole city-stress phenomenon may not be unique to New York. A recent study showed that the overstimulated atmosphere cities had a negative impact on attention span, memory, and on mood in general. (via CNN)

» Somehow I find the idea of “Proclamations” adorably antiquated, but this one I can get behind: Obama declared November 19-25th “Farm-City Week”

» Whoa whoa whoa – Kentucky canceled a coal plant?

Miscellaneous Cultural Fun!

Rurality Online

Rural Recommendations

Browse: Farmgirl Fare blog has friggin’ cute baby donkeys, seriously delicious recipes, and beautiful quilts. To put it simply, this blog is good therapy after a long day of work.

Read: Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen, is a rare example of a novel that confronts politics, money, and the environment without being, um, badly written. Which is quite a feat, given that environmental novelists like Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver (as much as I enjoy them) quite often become preachy and one-sided. Refreshingly, Franzen has created some of the most complex and engaging characters I’ve read in a long time. (And the book still manages to be a damn good exploration of the complicated political side to environmentalism)

In other news…

My alma mater, Kenyon College, just received a grant for a three-year project called Rural by Design, which focuses on a cutting-edge holistic approach rural sustainability. Over the past century, urban design has become accepted as a legitimate profession or pursuit, but this grant hopes to put rural design on the same page.

Speaking of rural design, check out these creepy aerial images of disconnected sprawl.

Grist posted this super-interesting article about the “war” between cities and suburbs— which might as well be titled “a real-life enactment of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom”. Unfortunately, this so-called war between cities and suburbs is not about the benefits and drawbacks to each structure of living and communing, but rather about structural sustainability versus the infringement on personal liberty. You might notice that there’s a third party missing from this debate: rural populations.

Obama talks rural communities and energy challenges. I don’t have nearly the leisure time to blog about the question of energy in the United States (aside from the occasional rant about the coal industry), but extraction of natural resources should always be in mind when thinking about rural areas.

…speaking of which, the coal industry is setting its sights on Illinois now that Appalachia is nearly used up and fucked over. Is anyone else reminded of that sleazy guy in college who was clearly dealing with his own insecurities by sleeping with one girl after another?

On the plus side, there’s finally going to be a study released about the links between mining and cancer! Except–oh, wait– we’ll only see it after it’s been reviewed by a mining industry group. Biased much?

Meanwhile, a new study looks at the different lifestyles that young urban people want— and while cushy, it also sounds pretty sustainable…

Hooray, my mountains! The Blue Ridge Mountains preserve 58,000 acres

Farming

Natasha Bowens offers a solid critique of the white majority in sustainable agriculture.

In Ireland, recession is returning the economy back to its rural roots. More evidence to support my quiet hypothesis that underneath the fluctuations of money, rural living is the natural state of communities.

A Kentucky county finds that the Farm-to-School movement isn’t as simple as it should be. Having worked with local food programs at my own college, I know that these projects are so exciting in those early idealistic stages, but are less easy to actually execute.

Native American Indian farmers have settled with the Obama administration after years of discrimination from the USDA.

Digital v. Analog

USA Today discusses the role that e-books have played in renewing people’s love of reading

…while the New York Times interviews college students about the same debate between e-books and hard copies.

Appalachia Rising

“Activism is my rent for living on this planet.”

–Alice Walker

roots

One thing I didn’t consider when moving across the country was that I was going to miss Appalachia Rising, a conference of several thousand people vested in Appalachian interests in Washington, D.C. And no, I’m not talking about a bunch of mountain folk taking a quaint trip to the city.

I’m talking about mountain folk meeting with climate change experts and artists. And the widows of coal miners mingling with tattooed college students (who happen to go to school that gets its energy from a coal-fired power plant). And wealthy filmmakers talking to Appalachians who have lost their homes, or who have cancer but no health insurance.

Quite an eclectic bunch, to say the least. Maybe you saw 100 of them get arrested earlier today? A group of my friends attended all weekend: although they didn’t get arrested, they did join the protest and the direct action.

Check out this slideshow of the 15 most toxic places to live on earth (from MNN). Of those 15, only one is in the United States: Appalachia. But I’m not gonna lie: it’s kind of heartbreaking, being so far away.

Power Shift Ohio: the Images

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blog beehive

blog breakout

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blog breakfast

blog rally

blog highlight

Powershift & A New Activism

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Rally at West Lawn

 

Powershift 2009 turned out to be a star-filled event: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, and other Big Green People (BGP’s) were in attendance. Nancy Pelosi’s plane was grounded in California because of the snow, but we rallied nonetheless.

D.C. was hit with six inches of snow on Sunday night, but we gussied up and lobbied all day Monday. Our group met in a group of 30+ with the aids for both our Congressman Zack Space and Senator Sherrod Brown. Both meetings went well, though we’re going to follow up with them on the clean coal issue, which is the most relevant debate for Ohio/W.Va/Va.

(Speaking of “clean coal,” the Coen brothers made a new commercial on that very topic)

Here are some more media links for our action this past weekend:

The Powershift website also keeps track of all news media (link here)

One of the best aspects of Powershift was the increased emphasis on issues of racial and economic justice. There was definitely an awareness that you cannot fight for one aspect of social justice while ignoring all the others. Particularly for environmentalists (and this goes for feminists as well), the movement has primarily been led by the white upper class. This year, 3/4 of the speakers at Powershift were Black, Latino, or Indigenous peoples. Let me tell you, it was bloody awesome

I can’t stop thinking about much we’ve distanced ourselves from past activist generations. We watch VH1 specials on a decade of protesting hippies, distancing ourselves from the very real emotional and physical risks that they took. We’ve forgotten how to care about anything. Most of my generation limits our political involvement to “internet activism” –all easily accomplished from a desk chair. And again, completely oblivious to how privileged we are to be sitting in that desk chair, surfing on a laptop.

Well, I know there are at least 12,000 who were willing to get their hands a little dirty. Or snowy.

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