Good News/Bad News Oct. 17, 2002

Good News

The best news of the week came from the European Union. After two years of negotiations, the EU Parliament voted to require electronics manufacturers to pay for recycling costs. So inspiring was this development that the EPA of all groups has begun a similar, although voluntary and temporary, program to study the feasability of "eCycling" as they've cleverly called it.

Support organic farming or you're eating oil: environmental groups in the UK are urging organic-food consumers to support and produce organic food at home, instead of further degrading the environment by having produce shipped from around the world.

This is almost entirely good news, but it may also cause a massive surge in waistlines: a Northern California coffee company has converted its entire delivery fleet to biodiesel. Since the fuel is coming from restaurants, that means you'll be smelling french fries in addition to pot plants. A deadly combination, or just eco-stewardship? Only time will tell...

Say what you will about the general intractibility and bad-temper of the French, not only have they helped prevent unilateral U.S. action against Iraq, they're also sticking to their guns on demanding labeling GM foods. Salut, mes amis!

While this is pretty sad news, it could certainly be worse: the EPA reported that 42 Superfund sites were cleaned up this year, and funds had been allocated to clean up 21 more. The sad part is that this is down from an avg. of 76 per year during the Clinton administration.

Bad News

The head bad news this week is that, despite France's intransigence, the EU is most likely going to permit the sale of GM crops, after banning them for four years. The really pissy part of this whole deal is that on the SAME PAGE as this EU story, we see a link to another story from this week showing that weeds get stronger by breeding with GM plants! The folly of it all...

Who'll watch the watchdogs, part one: last week, a USDA inspector was arrested for illegally importing endangered birds. Takes a smuggler to know a smuggler, perhaps?

Who'll watch the watchdogs, part two: Two zookeepers in a small German zoo were arrested for eating their charges. Apparently they didn't think anyone would notice when some chickens from Tibet and sheep from Cameroon went missing...

How's this for inconsistency: After Bush sided with automakers in a lawsuit against California's zero-emissions standards, his EPA praised Massachusetts for adopting the same standards! Apparently, what's good for Mass. is bad for Calif...

Who'll watch the watchdogs, part three: The Int'l Whaling Commission, which upholds a worldwide moratorium on whale-hunting, votes to allow pro-whaling Iceland back in. Greenpeace and other environmental groups couldn't help but notice the ridiculousness of the situation.

Every week, we see more evidence that global warming is real and is increasing. This week, scientists reported that this year is shaping up to be the second hottest year EVER. What's more, the report showed that for the 122 years for which records exist, the 10 hottest years have all happened between 1987 and now. But Dubya can't even be bothered to read the EPA global warming report...

Matt Wheeland is an AlterNet Fellow who spends far too much time shaking his head in disbelief.

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