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LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Orca 0429wrp opt(Photo: Mike Baird)At a press conference held Wednesday in San Diego, Jean-Michel Cousteau, oceanographic explorer and president of the Ocean Futures Society, urged SeaWorld to free its current population of captive orcas.

“They need to be released and put back into a place where we can keep an eye on them and they can reconnect with nature,” Cousteau, who is the son of legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau, said.

On March 17, the scandal-plagued ocean theme park made a dramatic shift when it announced the end of it orca breeding program and that its current population of killer whales will live out their lives at the company’s habitats instead of in the wild or ocean sanctuaries. SeaWorld explained that the orcas were born under human care and have never lived in the wild, they “could not survive in oceans that include environmental concerns such as pollution and other man-made threats.”

SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby also explained in a Los Angeles Times op-ed published on the same day of the announcement that marine animals born in captivity would “likely die” if they were released.

But at the PETA-hosted conference, Cousteau argued against this reasoning seeing as how he and his team personally worked with Keiko after filming. Keiko was rehabilitated and moved to a seaside sanctuary in Iceland where he lived in ocean waters for more than five years.

Published in Guest Commentary

MAX PHILLIPS OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

RiverFire 0427wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)The Greens New South Wales mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham called on governments today to stop the spread of coal seam gas (CSG) and for the true impact of fugitive emissions to be independently assessed after the video of methane gas burning through the Condamine River in Queensland, Australia went viral with millions of views and global media coverage.

“The methane gas bubbling through the Condamine River could be just a very visible tip of the iceberg when it comes to fugitive emissions and huge quantities of gas that could be venting into the atmosphere because of unconventional gas extraction,” said Greens MP Buckingham.

“The Greens want a ban on unconventional gas, but at the very least, government should stop the expansion of unconventional gas until the true extent of fugitive emissions is understood. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, so significant fugitive emissions caused by coal seam gas extraction could undo efforts to reduce emissions in Australia.

“Depressurizing the coal seams to allow the gas to flow may well be causing gas to migrate up natural or fracked pathways, or water bores or abandoned wells, to seep out of the ground. Farmers complain of gas in their water bores, while people living near gas fields report health complaints,” Buckingham continued.

Published in Guest Commentary

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

PrincePhilanthropy 0427wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)The Purple One was secretly Green. In an emotional interview on CNN, political commentator Van Jones revealed that his close friend Prince wasn’t just a musical icon but also a major philanthropist.

One of his many initiatives included helping Oakland, California residents go solar.

“He worked for something called Green for All,” Jones told CNN host Don Lemon. “I was the public face of that, but he helped put the money in. There are people who have solar panels on their houses now in Oakland, California, that don’t know Prince paid for [them].”

“[Prince] did not want it to be known publicly, but I’m going to say it because the world needs to know that it wasn’t just the music,” Jones said. “The music was one way he tried to help the world. But he was helping every day of his life.”

Green for All helps create green jobs in disadvantaged communities and is also behind such initiatives as the #PollutersPay campaign which demands that Gov. Rick Snyder rebuild the lead-poisoned city of Flint, Michigan.

The campaign has been supported by scores of environmental advocates including actor and eco-activist Mark Ruffalo.

Published in Guest Commentary

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Gyre 0425wrp opt(Photo: Stephen Codrington)As the Solar Impulse 2 made its historic 62-hour flight from Hawaii to California without fuel, pilot Bertrand Piccard personally saw the horrific amount of plastic in our oceans.

While flying above the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Piccard sent out a tweet to Boyan Slat, the 21-year-old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup.

“I flew over plastic waste as big as a continent,” Piccard wrote. “We must continue to support projects like @BoyanSlat Ocean Cleanup,” referring to Slat’s ambitious project of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic trash.

he Ocean Cleanup describes itself as the “world’s first feasible concept to clean the oceans of plastic” and has garnered widespread public admiration and support especially for Slat, a former aerospace engineering student who proposed the concept when he was only 17.

Piccard and Slat also spoke on Friday as the solar-powered plane made its risky journey.

t’s no surprise that the pilot and the young inventor linked up—both are using innovative technology to promote the greater good of the planet.

Piccard and the Solar Impulse team plan to fly around the world using only the power of the sun to promote clean transportation and other environmental causes.

“We have demonstrated it is feasible to fly many days, many nights, that the technology works,” fellow pilot Andre Borschberg told the Associated Press.

“I think innovation and pioneering must continue,” Piccard added. “It must continue for better quality of life, for clean technologies, for renewable energy. This is where the pioneers can really express themselves and be successful.”

Slat has spoken before about the necessity to protect our oceans.

Published in Guest Commentary

HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Jackson 0425wrp opt(Photo: Paul Boyer)The decision to remove Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill is long overdue. So is the movement to remove the name of Lord Jeffery Amherst from that college town in western Massachusetts. 

Let’s start with Jackson, our most racist major president next to Woodrow Wilson

Jackson was our first president from west of the Alleghenies, and the first to not wear the powdered wigs favored by Virginia plantation owners. 

Andy’s parents were Irish immigrants who died early. He had a brutally impoverished childhood. One of his fourteen duels left a bullet permanently lodged near his heart. (Teddy Roosevelt also had one of those.) 

Jackson is most revered as the “Common Man” who fought Alexander Hamilton’s national bank. He later personally profited from kickbacks paid him by cronies who owned smaller banks that benefitted. 

A vicious racist, Jackson also made a fortune in the slave trade, and from stolen Indian land, leaving him with a slave plantation of his own. 

At the 1814 Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson enlisted Cherokee warriors to fight their rival Creeks. Then he brutalized his “allies” as well as his defeated enemy. His troops took slices of the dead Creeks’ noses for a body count, and used their skin to make bridles.

Published in Guest Commentary

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

GrandCanyon 0422wrp opt(Photo: EcoWatch)Do Charles and David Koch want to mine the Grand Canyon for uranium?

A “dark money” organization tied to the billionaire Koch brothers is allegedly aiding Arizona politicians’ and special-interest groups’ efforts to block a bill that would ban uranium mining around Arizona’s iconic landmark, The Phoenix New Times reports.

According to the Grand Canyon Trust, here’s what Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument Act would do:

  • Protects 1.7 million acres of tribal homeland around the Grand Canyon, including water sources and sacred sites
  • Bans new uranium mining claims (making the current 20-year ban permanent)
  • Still allows hunting, grazing, recreation and other uses to continue under existing law

The proposal, in so many words, deems the area around the Grand Canyon a national monument. The bill is supported by 80 percent of Arizonans as well as a number of environmental organizations and native tribes.

Published in Guest Commentary

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

BillNye 0420wrp opt(Photo: Ed Schipul)Bill Nye, an outspoken proponent of man-made climate change, has taken on meteorologist and well-known climate denier Joe Bastardi in a new StarTalk video.

The clip was posted in response to a November 2015 editorial Bastardi wrote for The Patriot Post in which he described Nye as an “agenda-driven zealot [rather] than a man of science.”

The WeatherBell chief forecaster also challenged “The Science Guy” to the following three points:

1. Explain why there’s no linkage in the entire known CO2-temperature history of the planet.

2. Explain the lack of warming in real-time temperature data, and why so far I have been right.

3. Make your forecast. You claim to be a leader yet refuse to take a stand. Instead you sit in the stands and never allow what you are saying to be verified. What kind of science is that?

Nye not only took on Bastardi’s challenge, he’s also putting a total of $20,000 on the line that 2016 will be in the top 10 hottest years ever recorded and that 2010-2020 will be the hottest decade ever recorded.

Published in Guest Commentary

JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Oil 0422wrp opt(Photo: Marine Photobank)How easy it must be for our political leaders and their war-profiteering friends from the weapon industry to plan for invasions while they’re being served coffee from in the comfort of the White House. How convenient to chart operations, thousands of miles away, with the CIA and the Pentagon, to point out designated bombing targets off satellite maps to go with their coffee and Danish pastries.

How easy it is for Bush-Cheney, followed by President Obama, and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to speak of countries in the abstract: “Iraq is harboring weapons of mass destruction.” “Afghanistan is a home for terrorists.” “Libya and Syria have evil dictators…” as if these countries were floating somewhere in space with no families, no schools, no homes, no children, no pets…merely abstract human targets who must be killed in abstract countries that float in space somewhere absent of aunts, mothers, animals, trees, sewer systems, water, farmlands…

Wait a minute—there is something specific and tangible that both the Bush and Obama war commanders think about in those countries with grave concern worth protecting: oil and gas.

This is what we’ve learned for the last decades from ongoing US military intervention in the Middle East: oil is valued higher than life itself. It’s very real, it’s tangible and it merits the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of human beings because it is the engine of fossil fuel capitalism.

Published in Guest Commentary

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Hillary 0418wrp opt(Photo: C-SPAN)If, sad to ponder, the presidential election comes down to Hillary Clinton vs. a Republican, we'll be left either way with a business-friendly neocon White House. Given Hillary's past deceits and reversals, it's easy to see why she doesn't inspire trust among the American people.

1. Environment

"I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change." --Hillary Clinton, 11/29/15

Greenpeace estimates that the Clinton campaign has taken $4.5 million from fossil fuel lobbyists and donors, and Naomi Klein and Grist have reported on all the money received from ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips and other oil sources. In response, Hillary explained, rather incoherently, "I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies. I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me."

2. War

"Is there really any argument that America must remain a preeminent leader for peace and freedom..?" --Hillary Clinton, 10/31/06

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, an advisor to the United Nations, called Hillary "the candidate of the War Machine." In her book, "Hillary's Choice," author Gail Sheehy claimed it was Hillary who encouraged the president to bomb Kosovo. Then, as Secretary of State in 2011, she strongly supported war in Libya, a country which today is overwhelmed with crime and joblessness and a lack of basic necessities. She backed the escalation of the Afghanistan war, and in 2012, according to Sachs, she was largely responsible for the obstruction of peace efforts in Syria.

Published in Guest Commentary

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Hastert 0415wrp opt(Photo: Dennis Hastert)Will former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a confirmed serial child molester, be held to any serious legal accountability? That’s a question that Dennis Hastert himself would have quickly and undoubtedly answered in the affirmative more than a dozen years ago when he was a congressman from Illinois, and then Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

To look back on it now, it was a remarkable series of events:

In December 1998, after then Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned due to, among other things, a series of sexual peccadilloes, and after calling on President Bill Clinton to resign during the impeachment debate, Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) told a stunned House that he himself would not assume the speakership as planned, and would resign his seat in Congress. His resignation came after he was threatened with public disclosure of a series of his sexual peccadilloes. (Ironically, Livingston’s seat was taken by David Vitter, became the first popularly elected Republican U.S. senator from Louisiana and subsequently admitted to having been involved in a prostitution ring run, which only recently finally put the kibosh on his career.)  

Next in line for the speakership was Dennis Hastert, the mild-mannered, occasionally gruff, but seemingly harmless congressman from Illinois. But Hastert had his own major secrets, and it took more than fifteen years for them to see the light of day.

Before revelations that Hastert had sexually abused students while he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, Hastert was all about protecting the children.

Published in Guest Commentary
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