News From TreeHugger: Condoms to Stop Climate Change, Land Mines Thwarted by Bacteria & Political Peak Oil

photo: <a href="">Matthew McDermott</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Editor’s Note: A weekly roundup from our friends over at TreeHugger. Enjoy!

Let’s Give Out Free Condoms to Stop Climate Change… Maybe Not as Daft As It Seems

The latest UN Population Fund report says that an important component in combatting climate change is limiting population growth. But will reigning in population growth really stop climate change? Quickly, in itself, no. Can it help, yes, though the situation is far more complex that a quick-grabby, twitter friendly headline can ever portray it.

Gangsters Go Green! Mafia Tied to Fraudulent Italian Wind Farms – Madagascar ‘Timber Mafia’ Thriving

There have been an increasing number of stories coming to light detailing how organized crime syndicates around the world have been getting their dirty little fingers into the green world. The latest: 1) Italian police have arrested two businessmen on fraud charges, linking them with Mafia in wind farm permit fixing schemes; and 2) The government of Madagascar (such as it is) appears to be tied in with what’s being called a ‘timber mafia’, profiting from illegal wood sales largely sent to China:

Canada’s Heartland – Political Peak Oil’s First Refuge

Not long after Obama returns from his Asian tour, expect a lengthy state visit to Canada, with announcements to follow of nuclear power plant development (needed to extract the oil) and carbon dioxide storage tests in Alberta: at Canadian and US taxpayer expense. Then a repeat of NAFTA vows to ensure that there are no added costs for pumping the Alberta extracted crude across the border. If that doesn’t work out, and if oil goes back up over US$100/barrel, it’s oil shale or bust.

Photo Safaris Potentially More Damaging Than Hunting

The binary choice is a false one: Properly administered hunting is not detrimental to wildlife populations and without proper management photo safaris collectively, regardless of the individual ‘greenness’ of individual operations, can have adverse impacts on wildlife.

The TH Interview: Frances Beinecke, President of Natural Resources Defense Council

No matter if you’re a climate activist or a firm believer in the political process, there’s no getting around that the negotiations leading up to next month’s COP15 conference have been tough of late. The need to keep pushing for strong and immediate climate action has never been greater — something which NRDC President Frances Beinecke’s just-released book Clean Energy, Common Sensedoes compellingly — so, when over the weekend it was de facto officially announced that Copenhagen will just produce a framework for future binding action it seemed the perfect entrée for the latest TreeHugger interview:

Scientists Create Bacteria That Lights Up Around Landmines

It seems like something straight out of a science fiction film, but this new bacteria is very real. “Scientists produced the bacteria using a new technique called BioBricking, which manipulates packages of DNA.” The bacteria is then mixed into a colorless solution, “which forms green patches when sprayed onto ground where mines are buried.” The bacterial stew can also be dropped via airplane in extremely sensitive areas.

Study Shows Investing in Nature More Valuable Than Gold (Literally)

If ‘moral prerogative’ isn’t reason enough to invest in protecting nature, here’s another one: it’s just been found to bring up to hundredfold return on capital. Yes, that’s a potential 10000% gain–better than an investment in gold. According to a new study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), putting money into protecting wetlands, coral reefs, and forests could be the best financial move one could ever make.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend