The Bright Side of Environmental News

In the early 1990s I published a newspaper called Earth Journal. It was as fun as we could make it, given the weighty problems we addressed: global warming, pesticides, pollution, endangered species…

Every month we focused on a topic, with articles and resources related to alternative energies, sustainable agriculture, habitat preservation, healthy living, religion as it relates to caring for creation, and much more.

Every month we also filled two kid’s pages and published recipes, an action alerts page, green business classifieds, and my favorite: The Bright Side, a compilation of the good news about the environment.

Environmental activists have been successful in many areas, and it’s important for all of us to know that change is happening. Things are getting better, even while more and more people have become aware of the enormity of the problems we face. The Bright Side is inspirational, and for that reason I’d like to reinstate that feature here, on this blog.

This first news item makes me especially happy, as I’ve always felt an affinity for whales. We support their protection through membership in a number of environmental groups, including the Sea Shepherd Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Defenders of Wildlife. We’re also fortunate to live on California’s central coast, which the whales pass twice each year as they migrate between the the warm waters off Mexico where the babies are born and their feeding areas in the frigid waters off Alaska.

Gray whales are having trouble finding enough food because the ice is melting and the waters are warming, due to pollution and the resulting global climate change. A July 2007 report found malnourished whales ranging ever further to find the fat-rich crustaceans they need to bulk up for their travels and birthing. Adding to the man-made conditions stressing the whales, the Navy wanted to continue long-range sonar testing which is believed to disturb the whales’ communications and cause them to beach themselves.

This is from one of my favorite environmental news and solutions sites,

Flo Nays

Federal judge halts Navy sonar exercises off California coast

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Navy to stop using mid-frequency active sonar in exercises off the Southern California coast through 2009. Noting that the Navy’s own evaluation says the sonar exercises could disrupt marine mammal behavior in as many as 170,000 instances, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper found in favor of the Natural Resources Defense Council and four other groups. Cooper, who ruled against the Navy in a similar case last year on exercises off Hawaii, is not a hit with the boys (and girls) in blue, who will appeal. “This court decision prevents us from using active sonar,” said Vice Admiral Samuel Locklear. “It potentially puts American lives and our national security at risk.” But NRDC attorney Joel Reynolds says that line of defense is doltish: “Just as the Army has a responsibility not to train soldiers to shoot in the middle of a crowded city street, the Navy has a duty, when it’s learning how to hunt with sonar, not to choose a practice range next to a marine sanctuary.”

straight to the source:
Los Angeles Times, Kenneth R. Weiss, 07 Aug 2007

BBC News, 07 Aug 2007
San Diego Union-Tribune, Steve Liewer, 07 Aug 2007
see also, in Grist:
Five environmental groups sue Navy over sonar use off Hawaii

a great resource for news about whales:

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~