Marcellus shale

local ecologist: Festival of the Trees #58
Georgia Silvera Seamans’ third stint hosting the monthly blog carnival for all things arboreal, showing just how dedicated some tree bloggers can be! One highlight of this edition is a collection of ten links related to the blossoming season in Japan.

Parmanu: > Language > Place – Edition #5
Each link in this blog carnival gets its own page — or exhibit, to be accurate, since Parmanu terms it a Museum of Language and Place. I’ve looked at hundreds if not thousands of blog carnival editions over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one this lovingly done, not even at I and the Bird, which is legendary for the creativity of its editions.

Marcia Bonta: “Early Spring”
Mom reports on new projections about what global climate change will likely mean for our particular corner of the planet in terms of species loss and ecosystem shift, and describes the changes we’ve already documented in 40 years of residence in Central Pennsylvania.

Japan Focus: “The Plan to Rebuild Japan: When You Can’t Go Back, You Move Forward. Outline of an Environmental Sound Energy Policy”
Japan Focus is an essential source both for analysis pieces like this, and for up-to-date news on the after-effects of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdown.

Speigel Online: “The New Green Mainstream: A Seismic Shift in Germany’s Political Landscape”

Some might argue that the Green Party’s success in Sunday state elections was the direct result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But it’s not. Germany’s political landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. And the Greens have been the primary beneficiary.

What a contrast to the U.S.!

ProPublica: “Pennsylvania Limits Authority of Oil and Gas Inspectors”
This was the biggest news in Pennsylvania this past week as we march bravely into the 19th Century.

P22 Music Text Composition Generator (A free online music utility)
Convert any text to music using the system where each letter of the alphabet is assigned a note. “Dark matter could provide heat for starless planets”
The imagination reels. Looking for a NaPoWriMo writing prompt? Look no further.

Readers of my previous post might wonder why it was necessary to write protection of the Adirondack State Park into the New York constitution. Isn’t that a bit of overkill, and a frank admission that our public servants are not to be trusted? Well, perhaps so. But there’s nothing that the capitalist system hates more than unexploited resources, and quite often state foresters and politicians are only too ready to cooperate with the exploiters. Efforts to undo the “forever wild” provision got underway almost as soon as the ink dried on the new constitution, and they haven’t let up in the century since.

Wildness is like love: you can’t just suspend it for a little while in the interest of some other attachment, and expect it to return unharmed at your convenience. Once you violate it, it ain’t coming back — at least, not for a long time. But especially in an economic downturn, it’s easy to forget the long-term economic and ecological benefits of wildlands in the search for a quick fix.

What just happened in Pennsylvania is instructive, I think. Read this shocking summary of the Pennsylvania legislature’s assault on state parks, state forests, and the state environmental regulatory agency from the chair of the State Public Lands committee of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Club, Arthur Clark. It’s worth pointing out, too — for the benefit of my more partisan friends — that this all happened under a Democratic governor, with a state legislature narrowly controlled by the Democratic Party. (Pennsylvania’s last good governor for public lands issues was actually a Republican, Tom Ridge.) Though Gov. Rendell was happy to accept Sierra Club support in his reelection campaign, he can’t run again, and he appears to have some rather more important friends in the oil and gas industry.

The take-home message? While much of New York’s water supply is protected by its constitution, Pennsylvania’s groundwater, streams and rivers are about to be drawn down and probably contaminated on a massive scale by deep drilling for the Marcellus shale unnatural gas boom. New York had Verplanck Colvin; Pennsylvania had Gifford Pinchot, first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service and twice the governor of Pennsylvania, who defined forestry as “the art of producing from the forest whatever it can yield for the service of man.” Their legacies couldn’t be more different.

UPDATE (10/13): Here’s the Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial on what they call (riffing on the new Ken Burns documentary) “The Conservation Compromise: Pennsylvania’s Worst Idea.” (Hat-tip: R. Martin, PA Forest Coalition email)