Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

IMG_2156I went on a nine-mile hike this morning at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland and wanted to share a few pictures. The spring blooms are in full display and the hike was glorious.

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220px-AndrĂ©_SaraivamrA_smallThere is a growing war between environmentalists and graffiti artists over “tagging” natural settings and parks. Hiking is my main pastime and I have long been mystified by people who go to gorgeous natural settings and degrade them with their graffiti. However, some “artists” are now heralding the move to add graffiti to natural trails and sites. One of them is Andre Saraiva is an internationally known graffiti artist who showed how he tagged a boulder at the Joshua Tree National Park. In my view, he should be arrested but he and other graffiti artists think that this is a matter of celebration and pride to ruin these sites for the rest of us. Saraiva appears to believe that some of us go on hikes to see his childish scriblings on tree and rock. Most people try to escape such urban mess by taking to the trails and Saraiva and others are committed to degrading nature in the very same way. The solution is simple in my view: arrest him.

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1800px-Loon_Panorama_annotatedWe have previously discussed the trend of citizens being charged for rescue in federal and state parkland. I have always been a critic of the practice because rescues are part of the costs of maintaining these parks. Many volunteers participate in such rescues and largely oppose the charging of the victims, even when they made negligent decisions. The latest is Edward Bacon, 59 year old man from Michigan, who is appealing the imposition of a $9,300 bill for his rescue at the White Mountain National Forest.

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Qokka_by_the_Hotel_Rottnest,_WA,_Rottnest_Islandmoose-John-J-MosessoThere are two more disturbing cases highlighting the abuse of animals and the limited sanctions available in such cases. In Anchorage, three men were arrested after they allegedly killed a yearling moose after tormenting it in a public park area. In Australia, two men were arrested for trying to burn a small protected animal alive for fun. In both cases, there is a considerable gap between the horrific actions and the penalties under the law.

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Deep_injection_wellWe recently discussed how Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, mocked the overwhelming consensus of scientists around the world on global warming. There have been similar denials of the link between earthquakes and the highly profitable practice of injecting wastewater into the ground from oil and gas production. Now, Oklahoma geologists have found strong evidence of the long-suggested link between waste injection and the massive increase in earthquakes in the state.

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IMG_2143I am at Stanford to speak at a conference at the law school this week. I had the opportunity to walk around this truly magnificent campus today, a renewed pleasure that I would recommend to anyone.

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220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksA new study has raised the disturbing question of whether we are substantially under-estiminating the annual death toll from air pollution, which currently stands at around 3.4 million a year. The reason is the failure to measure the lethality of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted during fossil fuel burning.

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