elizabeth kolbert

Goodbye, Cleveland!

Newspaper Collapse Threatens The Environment: Universities Need To Fill The Gap

In 1970, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River famously caught fire. This past week, we have seen an even worse environmental disaster for the city: The Plain Dealer on Monday laid off 14 newsroom employees as part of a staff reduction first announced in December. The 14, most of them reporters and all members of Local 1 of …


Can Universities Be The Future Home of Environmental Journalism?

Consider me somewhat skeptical of the arguments, well-presented by Jayni, that The New York Times’ killing of the Green blog will somehow enhance the paper’s environmental coverage.  It reminds me a little of the attempts of law schools to teach ethics not with a specific class but with the suffusion method: it’s an easy way …


Bottles and cans, bisphenol-A, and chemical regulation

The online magazine Yale Environment 360 has published an informative and rather frightening interview with Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri’s Endocrine Disruptors Group, about bisphenol-A and what he sees as a completely broken regulatory system for managing hazards from chemicals.  Elizabeth Kolbert, known recently for her stellar journalism in the New …


SuperFreakonomics and Climate Change

If you haven’t been following the controversy that has erupted with the publication of SuperFreakonomics:  Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, you should be.  In SuperFreakonomics — the sequel to Steven Levitt and Stephen Duber’s wildly popular Freakonomics — the authors take on climate change.  Their arguments are somewhat …


In Defense of Impact Men (and Women)

Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the new film documentary opening this weekend in LA and NY, “No Impact Man,” based on the nonfiction book of the same title, by Colin Beavan, that depicts his urban family of three trying — impossibly, of course — to shrink to nothing its environmental footprint, even going as far as to give up …


Midnight regulations and how the Obama administration can improve federal regulation

There has been a lot of talk about “midnight regulations” issued or initiated by the Bush administration in its final days (including the one that is the subject of this post by Holly).   Outgoing presidents, starting at least with Jimmy Carter, have had a practice of issuing many new regulatory decisions in a hurry as they leave office, with …