Spotlight on green news & views: Coal mining deaths courtesy DJ Trump; rebuilding the Caribbean

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

This is the 537th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the Dec. 16 Green Spotlight. More than 28,195 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.


Icelandic biodome

Rei writes—Integrating Food Production With Society: A Biodome in Reykjavík: “Reykjavík is in a construction boom. The ever-growing tourism industry is taking over downtown for shops and hotels. Reykjavík itself keeps growing, and the growing economy makes a need for more commercial and retail space as well.  And while Iceland is proud of its nature — it’s our main attraction — we’re also often, like all too many people, disconnected from it. We often live, and usually work and shop, in structures devoid of plants (beyond the occasional mistreated houseplant). Our food shows up in great diversity in stores — picked, packaged, and usually quite processed. Who grew it and how?  Who knows.  You’re lucky if you even get a country of origin label. Do you even know what the plant that grew it looks like? […] Which is why I was thrilled when I heard about this. They’ve been working with a local incubator since they founded in 2015, and now finally have land approval (although there’s still several stages left before they can bring it to fruition).  The concept is simple: rather than disconnecting commercial space with nature, integrate them together. Biodomes (designed to eventually be a chain, first around Iceland and later the other Nordic countries) would have space for coffee shops, restaurants, a year-round farmers’ market, conference areas, corporate office space, etc in the middle of a dome cultivating warm-weather plants. Aka, your workspace could be on a platform in the middle of the branches of a 20-meter-tall rainforest fruit tree. Plants would include things people are familiar with (bananas, mangoes, pineapples, etc, but in exciting varieties you don’t find at the store) alongside more exotic plants providing new taste experiences (garcinias, eugenias, artocarpus, etc). It would be a real, working greenhouse, with tours and activities for children, and the products of which end up in the marketplace and restaurants.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Pulling Back The Curtain On the Red Team, CPP and Pruitt’s Agenda for the EPA: “As Rebecca Leber of Mother Jones pointed out this summer Scott Pruitt and his closest cohorts at EPA are uniquely reluctant to engage with journalists outside the conservative echo chamber. The agency’s new approach to press has also been revealed to be rather stormy: see the press office’s bizarre interchanges with New York Times reporter Erik Lipton and attacks on the AP’s Michael Biesecker this fall. Because getting past the wall of Heartland-and-Koch-ghostwritten talking points during an interview with an EPA official can be a bear, we like to highlight when a reporter’s pushed through. This month’s hat tip goes to Robin Bravender at E&E. In December, Bravender wrote on a meeting between EPA air chief Bill Wehrum and the White House, in which she reported that the White House put the Red Team attack “on hold.” Then yesterday, E&E published an interview between Bravender and Wehrum that offers up some intel into the EPA’s otherwise opaque thinking on the Clean Power Plan repeal process, the Red Team, and Pruitt’s priorities for 2018. As Wehrum told Bravender, the Red Team project is still in the ‘talking and thinking about it’ stage. While Wehrum indicated the agency has no ‘current plans’ for a Red Team, Pruitt ‘would very much like to initiate a process to at least solicit additional input on the scientific basis for the endangerment finding’.