Posts Tagged ‘environmentalism’

Cheeps and Chirps for Oct. 31, 2018

October 31, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Oct. 31, 2018


Chirping from the hip.

• Politics, Supreme Court edition

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The impressive, impressionistic and incomplete ‘Tiger Tiger’ showcases the largely unknown habitat of one of the world’s best-known predators

April 10, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 10, 2015

George Butler’s new documentary about large wildcat conservation in India and Bangladesh, Tiger Tiger, is a beautifully shot film about a little-known ecosystem and the predator that rules it. Unfortunately, I think the film will likely leave the viewer with a number of questions.

Some of those queries run along sadly familiar lines: With only about 3,000 tigers remaining in the wild, will the species survive into the 22nd century? What kind of steps can nonprofit organizations and government agencies take to deter often poor and hungry villagers in tiger habitats from poaching the animal, given that tiger skin and bones are worth a literal fortune on the black market?

One can’t hold it against producer-director Butler for not answering these questions; after all, they’re ones that some of the finest minds in wildlife conservation have struggled to answer for decades.

But I did find myself somewhat baffled by a few smaller issues that could easily have been clarified with a handful of on-screen titles. At one point, conservationist Alan Rabinowitz visits a sick “sub-adult” female tiger that was caught after wandering into an Indian village. Was this the same animal that we later see being tranquilized and captured by a crowd of people in a frightening montage? And was that the same animal that we subsequently see being released from a government patrol boat?

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Freedom from regulation: Lax government oversight and possible private-sector negligence contribute to West Virginia water woes

January 15, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 15, 2014

Slowly, residents of West Virginia are having their potable water restored.

As previously noted, about 300,000 people in nine West Virginia counties were ordered not to use their water for anything but flushing toilets (and fighting fires) on Thursday evening.

There have been no documented deaths after about 7,500 gallons of methylcyclohexene methanol or 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, a chemical used to clean coal, contaminated the public water supply. And by Tuesday, more than 35,000 customers had been given the go-ahead to start flushing the poison from their pipes by running the faucets.

The flushing process apparently involves running taps for 20 minutes and replacing water filters. West Virginia American Water announced that its customers would be credited for 1,000 gallons, which it estimated would be enough to cleanse the pipes of a typical family home. (The average residential customer uses 3,000 gallons a month, the company said.)

Still, the bulk of the affected customers will have to continue to rely on bottled water for most uses (again, toilet flushing and firefighting excepted). And it seems that many schools and businesses in the contaminated area will remain closed Wednesday. A number of these have been shuttered since Friday.

I wrote this last week:

[A]ll too often, a deep dig into these incidents reveals safety inspection and permitting processes that are lax or underfunded. Frequently, there’s a pattern of penalties that either are not enforced or are too minuscule to dissuade dangerous conditions.

This wasn’t really a prediction, simply an observation based on an oft-repeated sequence. True to form, this very familiar blueprint seems to apply to the West Virginia spill.

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