Week in Review: March 21st - 25th

ENN's editors summarize the most compelling environmental and sustainable economy news of the week.

Environmental News Roundup
Sustainable Economy This Week
EarthNews Radio Review

Environmental News Roundup, by Carrie Schluter

A virtual buffet of articles this week highlighted current trends and developments in agriculture. We got a helpful rundown on The Basics on Genetically Modified Foods, learned of an erroneous shipment of biotech corn (Tons of Experimental Biotech Corn Inadvertently Shipped to Farmers), and read about the impact of the food biz on ecosystems in Brazil (Brazil's Wetlands Threatened by Agribusiness). In an ENN Commentary, Joyce Newman of The Green Guide explored the safety of Beef: It's 2005... Do You Know Where Your Beef Comes From?, and on the radio airwaves, ENN publisher Jerry Kay delved into the genetic engineering science known as "Pharming" during the weekly "Beyond Organic" broadcast on Icicle Networks. Read more and listen at http://www.beyondorganic.com/.

The week saw the EPA and FWS catch some flak for past misdeeds. Accused of ignoring evidence that mercury pollution reductions could have health benefits, EPA responded by questioning the soundness of the research. Get the details at EPA Chided for Disregarding Study of Benefits from Mercury Curbs. On Thursday, EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley's office released a report criticizing the agency's follow-through on "Biowatch," put in place by the Bush administration last year to protect cities against bioterror. Read the full story at EPA Work on Sensors for Detecting Bioterrorism Attack Faulted. A big "oops" from the Fish and Wildlife Service, which confessed to using questionable science to establish the habitat needs of Florida's panthers. Read more at Agency Admits Using Faulty Data on Endangered Florida Panthers.

Nukes seem to be all the rage these days. With energy consumption on the rise and climate change on the world's radar screen, nations are turning to nuclear power as a promising energy source, according to the UN. Get the whole story at Nuclear Energy May Be Back in Vogue, UN Says. News out of a two-day conference called "Nuclear Power for the 21st Century" held in paris this week seemed to echo that sentiment. According to a conference-issued statement, "A vast majority of participants affirmed that nuclear power can make a major contribution to meeting energy needs and sustaining the world's development in the 21st century." Read more at Dozens of States Declare Support for Nuclear Power.

December's tsunami continues to make the news as environmental impacts manifest themselves and disaster relief efforts prepare to enter month four. Notably, we got more news on the state of the region's coral (Tsunami Silt Threatens Indian Ocean's Coral) and some positive evidence about the well-being of Myanmar's wildlife in the wake of the disaster (Survey Shows Myanmar's Marine Mammals Not Harmed by Tsunami). On Tuesday, kudos went out to those involved in the relief efforts (Water, Sanitation Key to Disaster Response, Long-Term Development), while another article revealed an innovative approach to addressing the dire need for clean drinking water in disaster-stricken areas (Tsunami Victims, Iraqis Get Taste of Recycled Water Targeted for Space).

A couple of celebrities stepped out this week, with actor Leonardo DiCaprio campaigning for access to clean drinking water for all and that wild man from Down Under, "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, announcing the opening of a unique tiger exhibition at his privately-owned Australia Zoo.

Finally, for all you wildlife lovers out there, here's a rundown of the week's other animal tales:
Panda Undergoes Artificial Insemination
Canada Unveils Annual Seal Hunt, Blasts Activists
Dozens of Dolphins Make Surprise Visit to Israeli Port
Indian PM Orders Moves to Save Disappearing Tigers
Researchers Study Males' 'Advertising'
Octopuses Observed Avoiding Predators

Sustainable Economy This Week, by Paul Geary

Throughout the month of March ENN has been bringing you stories about the concept of a sustainable economy. All month, we've brought to you many examples of people and businesses with creative ideas to keep our environment as well as our economy healthy.

Because of these efforts, we're moving toward a more sustainable economy. One study showed that environmental activities contribute to the economy above the typically considered employment of environmental engineers. The findings from the Jobs and Environment along with Management Information Services, Inc., found among other things that environmental protection employs more than 5 million people, mostly in positions other than environmental engineer. They found that a health economy and a clean environment are complementary and compatible, rather than conflicting.

This week was not lacking for interesting ideas to keep a sustainable economy.

One company sells mats that allow vehicles to traverse areas such as tundra and tidal flats with a minimum of environmental impact. Read that story here: Plastic Mats Support Heavy Equipment with Minimal Environmental Impact


The State of Illinois is chipping in to fund fuel stations that sell high-ethanol (E-85) fuel. The governor is mandating that state workers try to use E-85 fuel whenever feasible. That story here: State of Illinois to Invest in E-85 Fuel Stations

A Wharton business school professor and his students created a method whereby drivers of gas-guzzlers can purchase a membership called a "TerraPass." The money goes to fund alternative energy technology such as wind power.Drivers Who Subscribe to TerraPass Help to Fund Renewable Sources of Energy.

One company uses plasma technology both to reduce waste and create and alternative source of energy. Startech Corporation is trying to perfect the system in the hopes of making a profit in the future. That story is here: Company Touts Plasma Technology to Reduce Waste, Create Alternative Fuel.

Meanwhile, Clean Harbors, the environmental remediation company, showed that a clean environment can be very profitable. The company is well into the black and reported that its income rose to more than $14 million in the last quarter. That story is here:Clean Harbors Boosts Income; Reviews Accounting Method.

Some businesses with a focus on sustainable economy received the best kind of endorsement: funding.

Well-known supermarket investor Ron Burkle paid more than $11 million for a nine percent stake in natural food grocery store Wild Oats. The investment can be seen as an endorsement of the future of Wild Oats, which along with Whole Foods Markets is tapping into a growing health and organic food market. Read the full story here: Billionaire buys 9.2 percent of Wild Oats.

The Skoll Foundation, created by Jeff Skoll, A founder of eBay, awarded $465,000 to EcoLogic, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company that finances small- and medium-sized businesses in environmentally sensitive areas whose businesses foster environmental stewardship and grassroots economic development -- in other words, sustainable economy.EcoLogic Finance Awarded $465,000 by Skoll Foundation.

The US Department of Energy gave a grant to the Florida Hydrogen Initiative, whose goal is to bring hydrogen-related projects to Florida to help create that new alternative energy industry. That story is here: Hydrogen-fuel Projects Receive Funding.

EarthNews Radio Review, by Paul Geary

ENN's Jerry Kay has interviewed many people in business and research who are contributing to a sustainable economy. He spoke with Will Baker of Max Green Alchemy, a company that makes skincare products with all natural ingredients. You can hear that here:

Listen to EarthNews Radio: Max Green Alchemy

We heard from Tim Wightman of the Clearview Acres Farm, which provides "cow shares," where you can buy shares in a cow so that you can get raw milk right from the source. That story is here:

Listen to EarthNews Radio: Clearview Farm Cow Shares

And, Kateri Callahan of the Alliance to Save Energy filled us in on ways that everyone can reduce the amount of gas used in our cars:

Listen to EarthNews Radio: Alliance to Save Energy.

Remember to visit ENN often for the latest and most comprehensive coverage. We'll continue to cover sustainable economy throughout the month of March, and of course we'll bring you the best in coverage of many other topics of interest as well.

Source: ENN