Drought slows rural economy in 10 central states

The economy in rural areas of 10 Midwestern and Western states continued to look weak this month as the region begins a slow recovery from this summer’s oppressive drought, according to The Rural Mainstreet Index, an economic survey of rural bankers by Creighton University in Omaha. The economic index for this month is 48.3, up slightly [...]

Poll: Drought Conditions Add to Importance of Conservation to Farmers

This just in from National Farmers Union: WASHINGTON (Sept. 11, 2012) – American farmers value conservation programs, particularly in times of ­­drought, and reject cutting conservation funding, according to a poll released today by National Farmers Union (NFU). The bipartisan poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research – a Democratic polling firm – and Public [...]

Farm bill update: good news first

There’s good news and there’s bad news out of the U.S. House of Representatves Committee on Agriculture. The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) passed by a bipartisan 35-11 vote. The committee rejected amendments to alter the no-cost sugar program and also voted not to remove the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP) from [...]

Be Glad There’s No Climate Change

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson The last time we saw the sun around here was on the morning of Friday, May 13. Rain started in the afternoon. Since then, we’ve had a succession of rain showers and deluges, with daytime skies ranging from silver to pewter to lead (the metal, I mean), but no sun. There’s [...]

Fukushima Shows Us What Can Happen

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Vermont Yankee (VY), a nuclear power plant 10.1 miles from where I live, is of the same age and make as those in trouble in Fukushima, Japan. There is a special bond these days that people who live within range of VY — in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as [...]

COP16, the 2010 Climate Negotiations in Cancun

Guest post by Mary Gilbert [Mary Gilbert is the representative of Quaker Earthcare Witness at the United Nations. This role led her to observe the recent climate negotiations (COP16) in Cancun, Mexico. Her report, written for Befriending Creation, the Quaker organization's newsletter, is reproduced her with her permission. The links here are added to provide [...]

Blog Action Day: Measuring Your Water Footprint

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson     This is Blog Action Day. Thousands of bloggers are writing about water. This is but one essay. The rest are here. When your water comes from a public water supply, it can be hard to remember what a treasure you have at your disposal. I grew to adulthood in what was [...]

10-10-10: My Act of Worship

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Family stuff kept me today from going to 350.org‘s 10-10-10 event in Brattleboro, Vermont, which had the virtues of being the closest to my home and the most interesting (to me) around here. So instead I went out with my camera and made pictures of what I want to remember when/if  [...]

Global Warming Crisis: China Gets It

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson In Tianjin, China, this week, 3,000 participants from 176 nations are meeting to prepare for the United Nations annual Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The two-week event is slated this year for November 29 to December 10 in Cancun, Mexico. Compared to the cost and sheer hugeness of the 2008 [...]

On Reading the News

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson Starting in eighth grade, back in Paleolithic times when I was a student, we were taught to read newspapers analytically — to ask questions about what the words said, not just swallow them whole. I don’t see much evidence that skill is being taught today — nor in the past 40 [...]