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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 1: Facing the Facts

Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More

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What Do Algae, Corn, and Summer Vacation Have in Common?

Have any summer vacation plans that include swimming, fishing, or walks on the beach? If so, lucky you. But, if you’re headed to the East Coast, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, or any number of our nation’s lovely ocean or lake escapes around late July, plan carefully and watch out for toxic and dead zones! Read More

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Steering Toward Sustainability: How California’s New Groundwater Law Can Help Us From Driving Off a Cliff

According to new research by NASA, many of the world’s biggest aquifers are being depleted at a much faster rate than they can be replenished, and California’s Central Valley is among the worst. As we all know, California is in the fourth year of an exceptional drought. When surface water supplies are scarce, we turn to groundwater. Unfortunately, our combined groundwater uses have led to chronic overdraft in many places. Like a bank account, overdraft means we are withdrawing more than we are replacing. Together, this exceptional drought along with the undesirable condition of many groundwater basins, led California to pass the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act last year. The Act is a big deal since it represents the first statewide effort to comprehensively measure and manage groundwater.

Now that the dust is settling, water users and managers are wondering: what does the Act mean for us? Read More

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Baltimore’s Arabbers: Simple Solutions to Public Problems?

Recently I was on conference call with a group of community-based food leaders. I asked them for a wish list—a list of any resource imaginable that could help them create a more equitable food system in their community. I told them: “the sky is the limit—just tell me what you need.” The usual suspects were rattled off…more time, money, staff…and then a quiet voice said, “I wish Baltimore would bring back the horses.” Read More

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Why We Need an Executive Order on Political Spending: An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

You’ve had a great week. With the Affordable Care Act upheld and nationwide marriage equality now the law, you must feel like celebrating. But wait!  Why not carry this momentum and take another step that would increase the equality and well-being of Americans?  I’m talking about an executive order asking government contractors to disclose their political spending. Read More

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King Coal’s Stages of Grief, Part 1: Facing the Facts

Coming from a coal mining family, I’m well aware of the seemingly vast coal resource underground and how extracting that resource has helped boost local economies, including the one where I grew up. As the reality of climate change sets in, however, and the impacts of burning fossil fuels become all too real, it’s clear that the status quo is not sustainable. Looking at the recent incredible growth in wind and solar, the boom in shale gas from fracking, and headline after headline full of bad news for the coal industry, I began wondering, How does it feel to be a coal miner right now? And more importantly, how do we ensure the future is hopeful for them as well? It’s a deeply personal question to me. Read More

Bookmark and Share