Thursday, March 28, 2013

South Korea's New Administration Critical of "Green Growth" 4 Rivers Project

Another recent news story related to a topic in our book:

In a Korea Herald article that appeared March 28, 2013, the controversial 4 Rivers Restoration Project that we saw underway while in South Korea and wrote about in TRAVELING THE 38TH PARALLEL is described as coming under criticism and scrutiny by the new President's administration.  "President Park Geun-hye and her officials are openly skeptical toward [former President] Lee’s green packages, saying they were too oriented toward economic growth. They hinted at a shift back to the goal of sustainable development, which Lee had ditched as outdated.  Government agencies are investigating the controversial river project over not only its negative impact on water quality but also unsavory ties between the government and contractors"
As Chooney Kim, the KFEM environmental NGO activist, told us when we visited, a time when the construction was still not complete, "The government calls this 'green economy,' but has no concern about the ecology.  They just keep construction workers busy, busy, busy."  Rather than restoration, the work greatly widened, deepened, and channelized the largest rivers in the nation, including the Han River that passes by Seoul.
Despite such criticism, this news article seems to mourn the loss of the nation's"green growth" program, while it also mentions criticism that the new government has faced by environmental groups for not yet articulating a clear environmental program as a replacement.  This week, the international media are all focused on the threats of military action by North Korea, understandably, but this on-going debate over the meanings of "green" and "sustainability" continues, nevertheless.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Asian Dust in the Eastern Sierra of California

The Sierra Wave news service ran a radio story about the hazy skies recently in the Eastern Sierra, where we live.  It is that time of year when the dust storms blow off the Asian deserts; we saw that in action when we were in China.  
So we wondered about the Eastern Sierra haze in the air last week, speculating that it might be the Asian spring dust reaching around the globe again.  Good to have that confirmed, yet it is not a pretty thing. We are a very connected world, which is both good and bad and that is one of the key lessons we discovered as we traveled the 38th Parallel around the world.  Here's the link to the radio story:

Dust from the Gobi Desert clouds Owens Valley | Sierra Wave: Eastern Sierra News
Why has our air looked so hazy since last Friday? It was made in China, you might say, and blown across the globe to California.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Three hopeful news stories about topics in the book

This week three news stories reported hopeful actions tied to stories we told in Traveling the 38th Parallel.  One describes farmers voluntarily cooperating to limit Ogallala aquifer pumping in northwest Kansas, here:  "Drought Ravaged Plains Efforts to Save a Vital Aquifer"
And the second tells about conservative outrage over China's involvement in Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in Kentucky:  Motherjones mountaintop-removal-china-conservative.

We'll take all the good news we can get on both topics, which were some of the most disturbing issues we encountered along the 38th Parallel.

And KQED posted this story about San Joaquin River flows that may be adjusted to improve wildlife conditions by a slight increase in spring flows.  Good clear coverage by KQED:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Interview about 38th Parallel book with CBS radio host Peter Greenberg

The April 16, Saturday morning CBS radio travel show, hosted by Peter Greenberg, "The Travel Detective," included an interview with us about the 38th Parallel book. We found the podcast by clicking a link at: Peter Greenberg CBS radio
Our interview came up 54 minutes into the show, right after Peter's segment about the new TSA rules, in the third hour of the show.