Stories from the Field

The Coal War on Appalachia by Janisse Ray HAZARD, Ky. – When I arrive at the tiny hangar in Hazard, Kentucky, pilot Susan Lapis is waiting. Lapis has flown in her immaculate Cessna from Bristol, Virginia, where she lives. She’s dressed completely in black, a long black dress with black tights.

News from Vermont, by Janisse Ray Two hundred years ago, eating local was a way of life. Vermonters stocked root cellars, smoked meat, made sauerkraut and pickles, and canned fruits and vegetables for winter. Now, eating local has become an important way to decrease dependence on fossil fuels and to help build a more dependable, decentralized food system.

by Joshua Stearns, SCA Board Member and Alumnus Bill McKibben’s new initiative, Step It Up!, is creating quite a buzz in the green corners of the internet.

These stories may not have the drama of falling birds or giant ice shelves breaking free, but they do a little to lighten my enviro-heart. At the same time, my inner skeptic can’t help but ask: Are these law-makers legit? And do sportsmen really appreciate nature the same way that I do? As environmentalists, doesn’t it seem like we just have to take what we can get?

Hawking: Climate Change Worse Than Terror The Associated PressJan 17, 2007 9:57 AM LONDON - Scientist Stephen Hawking described climate change Wednesday as a greater threat to the planet than terrorism. link Birds fall from sky over town By Amanda O’BrienJanuary 10, 2007 01:00am THOUSANDS of birds have fallen from the skies over Esperance and no one knows why.

by Janisse Ray Silent Spring opened the floodgates of inquiry into environmental contaminants and their effects on wildlife and humans, an investigation that accelerated in the 1990s. We’ve looked at chemicals in high doses as lethal. We’ve looked at chemicals as carcinogenic. But they may be affecting us in other life-threatening ways.

by Bernie Zaleha, Sierra Club Vice President (2004-2006), Sierra Club Board of Directors, SCA Alumnus I’ve been a deep ecologist since I first heard the term and its definition. I forget exactly when that was, but I know it was before my summer of volunteer service in 1982 to the SCA in the BLM’s office in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Oh arghh… We’re having an ice storm, I’m trying to work from home, and it’s not going well. I’m back from vacation and feeling a surge of pent up energy to get some work done on SCA’s websites. That, coupled with anxiety about having been away for 10 days has me feeling more than my usual frustration when things go awry, as they have this morning.

by Joshua Stearns, SCA Board Member and Alumnus You walk in the door, and the elegant stone arches of this old building tower above you, cathedral-like, interrupted only by an enormous replica of a giant squid hanging, tentacles outstretched, over your head.  Past the lobby, children race around the Alien Earths (http://www.alienearths.org) multimedia displays which invite them to investigate wor

Janisse Ray is a writer and naturalist born in Baxley, Georgia, who has graciously agreed to write for our blog.

by Joshua Stearns, SCA Board Member and Alumnus Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just around the corner (January 15th), and in recognition of the role that Dr. King played in the health of our communities, our society, and our world at large, SCA has asked me to write some reflections on the unique intersection of community, service, civic engagement, and the environment.

By Jay Satz From his December 21, 2006 visit to Mt. Rainier Over a two day period in early November 2006, Washington State’s iconic Mt. Rainier National Park received up to 18 inches of rainfall, which in any other November would more likely have fallen as three or four feet of snow.

A recent Newsweek article offers up 10 “easy” tips towards green living for the new year. The idea of the article is that if everyone does their part with small things everyday, a big difference will be made in our net resource consumption.

Imagine my surprise when at holiday dinner last week, my own father dropped Wikipedia into casual conversation. My father, whose e-mailing abilities are primitive at best. My father, who dials each digit rather than program his cell phone. My father, who would sooner pick up quill and parchment than a palm pilot or Bluetooth.

by Emily Sloan ‘05 My quick guide to France in black and white (because once in a great while, it’s okay to speak in absolutes) After three months’ careful observation and reflection, I have decided that I really don’t care for several realities of French life: Dog poop. On the sidewalk. Never cleaned up, so I can follow it from its initial deposition through its various stages of decay.

‘Tis the season for noting Americans’ behaviors, habits and peccadilloes. The Census Bureau has just issued its 2007 Statistical Abstract. Divorces are down – likely due to fewer marriages than truer love, we now drink more bottled water than bottled beer, and more of us are injured by wheelchairs than lawnmowers (though it would appear that DWI is a diminishing factor in such accidents).

‘Tis the season for noting Americans’ behaviors, habits and peccadilloes. The Census Bureau has just issued its 2007 Statistical Abstract. Divorces are down – likely due to fewer marriages than truer love, we now drink more bottled water than bottled beer, and more of us are injured by wheelchairs than lawnmowers (though it would appear that DWI is a diminishing factor in such accidents).

The first photo of Jack Dolstad is from Olympic National Park, 1969. Jack Dolstad was an SCA supervisor Executive Director 1970-1975. Share stories about Jack in the comments.   

by Brandon Frazier Tis’ the season of holiday preparation, bringing together culture, camaraderie and profit, all in the name of good cheer.According to National Geographic News’ Cameron Walker, however, the holidays also come at a steep price, with “an environmentalist’s worst nightmare” bringing nearly 1 million additional tons of wrapping paper, packaging, chopped-down trees and other g

NHCC Alumni Crew Leader Peter Andrew of Londonderry, NH at the Summer of Service Conference in DC. Peter was one of four youth invited to personally speak with President Clinton. Peter’s Alumni Crew had recently returned from Iowa, where they had worked on flood relief efforts.

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