The New York Times on the controversy surrounding Frozen Planet Irony alert: for all the sharp, HD details of Frozen Planet, one of those stunning nature documentaries cut from the same cloth as Planet Earth, it glosses over something awfully big: why the Earth is warming. As Brian Stelter explains, the series addresses how Arctic and Antarctic creatures have been affected by global warming without getting into the reasons why the world's heating up -- i.e., man-made carbon emissions. "That scientific consensus is absent from 'Frozen Planet,' for reasons that shed light on the dilemma of commercial television, where the pursuit of ratings can sometimes clash with the quest for environmental and scientific education, particularly in issues, like global warming, that involve vociferous debate." Executives from the U.S. network that airs Frozen Planet, Discovery, insist that they'd gain more environmental converts by not explicitly slanting the show on global warming but by instead merely presenting evidence. The green crowd counters that Discovery and its English counterpart, the BBC, are bending to the political minority that doesn't believe in climate change.
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The Daily Beast on climate change How about this weather we're having!? Hooray for early spring, but like us, climatologist Heidi Cullen is worried about all this warmth, too. Pegged to Earth Day, The Daily Beast's Dominique Browning interviewed Cullen, a climatologist for Climate Central, who elegantly cut through the political noise on the legitimacy of global warming by giving us a straight science refresher. Yes, warming is caused by humans, we can see that the carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuels has a different signature from the naturally emitted gas. Yes, all this extreme weather is being caused, in part, by climate change, since warming "stacks the deck for certain types of extreme weather events." And finally, no, the "wait-and-see" approach to climate change is too risky to try.
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The Guardian on how green the 2012 Olympics can be In a never-ending series of one-upmanship, the 2012 London Olympics promises to be the most sustainable ever Olympics ever. So why on God's green Earth, asks The Guardian's Jules Boykoff, is Dow Chemicals and BP allowed to sponsor the Games? "The Olympics have long been on a collision course between sustainability and hyper-commercialism," he writes, recognizing the necessity of corporate sponsorships so host cities avoid massive debt (re: Montreal). But after walking us through the two companies' less-than-illustrious record on the environment, he concludes there must be better options than them, if the Olympics wants to truly commit to sustainability.
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The Washington Post on fishy fish labels Today, we learn that posh enviro-labels adorning grocery-store fish can be, well, fishy (sorry, couldn't help ourselves). "Many retailers tout the environmental credentials of their seafood, but a growing number of scientists have begun to question whether these certification systems deliver on their promises," reports The Post's Juliet Eilperin. Though today retailers, to their credit, are much more conscious of the environmental impact of the food they sell in their stores, they still get in pick and choose among a variety of different environmental certifications set by competing groups, some better than others.
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The BBC on a white whale watch Captain Ahad would be rolling in his grave... if he were a real person. The first-ever white adult orca (aka killer whale) was spotted by the Russians off their Eastern coast, given a much cuter name than Moby-Dick ever was: Iceberg! "White whales of various species are occasionally seen," reports the BBC's Richard Black, "but the only known white orcas have been young, including one with a rare genetic condition that died in a Canadian aquarium in 1972." So now, thanks to the Far East Russia Orca Project, which spotted the orca, Russia has its own cute animal to gawk over like its European neighbors. And unlike psychotic literary captains, the Russians are trying to do no harm to their rarity. "It is possible that an attempt may be made to take a biopsy from Iceberg" -- to determine the cause of the albinism -- "but with researchers reluctant to do so unless there is a compelling conservation reason."
- Nature & Environment
- global warming
- climate change