Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Pope?

Those who profit from what harms the earth have to keep the poor out of sight. They have trouble enough fighting off the scientific, economic, and political arguments against bastioned privilege. Bringing basic morality to the fore could be fatal to them. That is why they are mounting such a public pre-emptive strike against the encyclical before it even appears. They must not only discredit the pope’s words (whatever they turn out to be), they must block them, ridicule them, destroy them.

Read More: Who’s Afraid of Pope Francis? by Garry Wills | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Rolling Firebombs

Environmentalists around the country have been protesting the “bomb trains” for several years now, but the 100 car unit trains are continuing to roll through hill and dale, towns and cities. This, despite the fact that we now know that fracked Bakken crude is more explosive than gasoline. The fireballs that have erupted lately dramatically illustrate this point.

Read More: Exploding Trains and Crude Oil » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

Trish Kahle on the Elk River Spill

“IMAGINE YOURSELF in the rugged countryside of the Appalachian Mountains, where you and your neighbors have lived with a history of poverty and lack of economic development–and you learn that the water piped into your home has been poisoned and can’t be used, even after it is boiled, until further notice.”

Read the article: They poisoned the river for a “clean coal” lie | I Can’t Believe We Still Have to Protest This Shit.

2012 Living Planet Report

2012 Living Planet Report. [World Wildlife Fund] – The 2012 edition of the Living Planet Report highlights the tremendous pressure that humanity is putting on our planet. We are currently using 50 per cent more resources than the Earth can provide. By 2030, even two planets will not be enough. Rising consumption trends in high-income groups around the world (and also in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa), combined with growing population numbers, provide warning signs of the potential for even larger footprints in the future.

The United States ranks 5th among per-capita consumption (behind Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Denmark). If the entire world consumed as we Americans do, it would currently take 4 planets just like ours to sustain us.

Download the full report here or the summary here.

10 Great Container Tomatoes

There’s nothing like stepping out back and picking a beautiful, ripe homegrown tomato for a BLT, a salad or simply for slicing and serving with a little seasoned salt. I started planting tomatoes in huge terra cotta pots more than a decade ago when I didn’t have diggable space in a decent, sunny location for a garden, and the habit stuck. I’ve always loved the first tomato of the season. No matter how fresh they are from the farmers’ market, they’re never quite as tasty as the ones you grow yourself.

Colleen Vanderlinden over on Treehugger has a wonderful post about ten tomato varieties that do well in containers. The Black Krims sound particularly tasty.

I first ran across Colleen’s article on the Occupy Monsanto blog. The more I learn, the more I realize that some of the most simple and pleasant everyday things we do – like choosing to grow heirloom tomatoes in pots – can be powerful political acts as well. For me, that makes such things all the more satisfying.

I’m hoping it won’t be too late to plant a few pots after our move next month.

A word of caution to those who want to grow container tomatoes on an upstairs balcony. Be careful where you set them. Remember that Tommy Ewell nearly got killed by Marilyn Monroe’s falling tomato plant in The Seven Year Itch. :)

Monsanto Threatens to Sue Over GMO Labeling

Monsanto Threatens to Sue Vermont if Legislators Pass a Bill Requiring GMO Food to Be Labeled. [AlterNet] – The world’s most hated corporation is at it again, this time in Vermont. Despite overwhelming public support and support from a clear majority of Vermont’s Agriculture Committee, Vermont legislators are dragging their feet on a proposed GMO labeling bill. Why? Because Monsanto has threatened to sue the state if the bill passes. What it really comes down to this: Elected officials are abandoning the public interest and pubic will in the face of corporate intimidation.

Things We Can Do Now To Cope With A Warmer Climate

Nine low-tech steps for community resilience in a warming climate. [Kaid Benfield | Switchboard | NRDC] – Over the past 50 years, our average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. That is fact, not opinion. Scientists say that under current trends, average US temperatures could be 3 to 9 degrees higher by the end of the century.

There are many things we can and must do to reduce the warming trajectory, but turning this ship around is going to take time, even under the best scenarios.

Meanwhile, there are also measures we need to take right now inside our communities so that we are as prepared as possible for the warmer climate ahead.

Read the full article.

The Crisis of Civilization

The Crisis of Civilization is a documentary about the end of the Industrial Age based on the book by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed. Director Dean Puckett and Animator Lucca Benney remix, interweave and otherwise mashup clips and images from far and wide to illustrate Ahmed’s narration.

The film provides compelling evidence that the many crises facing us in our day are all interrelated manifestations of a single failing global system. The question is not whether there should be dramatic changes to our way of life. For better or worse, change is already upon us. The question is whether we can find a way to sustain human life and liberty in the coming age.

Our days of denial are coming to a close.

New Study: Synergistic Toxicity and GMOs

Enjoy your frankenfood Bt Sweet Corn this Summer.

From a Study Conducted at the University of Caen:

…we argue that modified Bt toxins are not inert on nontarget human cells, and that they can present combined side-effects with other residues of pesticides specific to GM plants.

Read More: Bt toxin and glyphosate residues in genetically modified plants likely exhibit synergistic toxicity. [GreenMedInfo]

Dueling Headlines

First, from yesterday’s New York Times:

Next, from today’s Wall Street Journal:

When you dig into the details, both reports seem “factual.” The question is whether or not these stories represent competing points of view, or competing agendas.

Click on the images to read the full articles.