Valuing Nature

Carl Zimmer has written an excellent piece in the New York Times about a very important study by Robert Costanza et al. on “Changes in the global value of ecosystem services” – in other words, how to place economic value on some of the critical functions that nature provides us for free, and how to quantify the …

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Politics and Climate Change

Scientific evidence that climate change is real and raising havoc with our collective lives has been steadily mounting. This is all the more clear given recent reports emanating from many quarters, including the International Panel on Climate Change,   the National Climate Assessment, and   the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, on the impending …

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Power and a Response to It

Indeed the loan [$3billion] was approved by the [Obama} administration just four days before the president delivered his address to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change,” Obama said then. “That …

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Hoarding

Hoard – To keep for one’s self. (Websters Third Collegiate Dictionary) I have been searching for the correct word, and perhaps this isn’t quite it, to describe the attribute of the rich amongst us. Whether it be Bill Gates, the Walton Family, Justin Verlander or George Clooney, those that amass fortunes are essentially hoarding what …

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Earth Day and Divestment

I sense a pulse of momentum finally detectable in the information vortex regarding divestment from fossil fuels. Just in the past two weeks we have the following announcements:  Desmond Tutu’s call for divestment      British Medical Journal’s editorial calling for divestment Building on its recent update of the physical science of global warming,1 the …

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Fertile Musings

Ever so frequently I wake up on Sunday morning with the urge to blog on a topic that has some nominal connection to the “food ethics” theme of the Thornapple blog. Then there are Sunday mornings like this one, when I’m sitting there with my coffee and thinking that I’m supposed to post a blog …

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Word Play

I’m sure that everyone is wondering what I’ve been reading these days. [Well actually I’m being facetious. I don’t for a minute think that anyone woke up on a February morning thinking to themselves, “Gosh! It’s bothering me that I haven’t the foggiest notion what Paul Thompson has been reading of late.” But it’s a …

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The end of snow?

Did you know that Sochi wasn’t able to hold test skiing events in February 2013 because the ski trails were brown and bare in certain areas?  (Sochi stored last winter’s snow under insulated blankets until this year just to make sure there would be enough snow for the Olympics.) Or that only about half of …

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A Modest Terminology Proposal

I just finished shoveling snow, an exercise I will have to repeat later today and possibly tomorrow, as we enjoy the first of multiple winter storms queued up all the way from mid-Michigan (where I live) to the central Pacific, each patiently awaiting its turn to annoy me. With that in mind, I would like …

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Challenges of Integrative Research

You can’t blame scientists for doing what they do best.  Integrative research can be a noble goal, but is it feasible? To give you the short answer, yes.  However, it takes a lot more effort than disciplinary research. Integrative research is one of the new buzzwords surrounding science, and it goes by many names: multidisciplinary, …

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Frances Moore Lappé

Well this one is kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? Frances Moore Lappé wrote Diet for a Small Planet, published originally in 1971. Simply noticing that date should give some recent converts to the food movement pause. It’s worth recalling that sixties hippies were eating brown rice, bulgur and waxing poetic about the miraculous benefits …

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Our Vast Influenza

Last week’s page 4 news from Washington demonstrated the vast influence of the Thornapple blog on the nation’s elite decision makers. Just six weeks after blogging on the problems associated with the sub-therpeutic use of antibiotics in meat production, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (that’s FDA to the policy geeks among my readership) announced …

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Still Another Key Blog

Sunday after Thanksgiving is the anniversary date for the Thornapple Blog. I always write something that recalls the very first blog in 2009. That one built on Aldo Leopold’s classic work in environmental philosophy A Sand County Almanac. The “key blog” idea is that at least once a year we would remind ourselves of Leopold’s …

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Standards

I’m not sure who it was who said, “Standards! The young folks today just ain’t got no standards!” But the thrusts of today’s blog is to assert that in the world of food at least, people today have more standards than at any time in history. There are ‘fair trade’ standards, good agricultural practice (GAP) …

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New Study Documents Disproportionate Impact of Climate Change on Indian Tribes

From the National Wildlife Federation (link here). Here’s an excerpt: In collaboration with the Tribal Lands Program, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Fish & Wildlife Society, National Tribal Environmental Council, Native American Rights Fund, and University of Colorado Law School, the National Wildlife Federation released Indian Tribes, Climate-Induced …

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