It was Thanksgiving in the United States last week. Since there hasn’t been much posted here recently about environmental and healthy living concerns here are some points made in 2010.

From Greenpeace:

  • The Obama Administration kept its promise to save whales at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) talks. As a result, the IWC was unable to lift the ban on commercial whaling;
  • Nestle, Burger King and HSBC all agreed to drop palm oil products from notorious forest destroyer Sinar Mas;
  • Greenpeace spent three months in the Gulf of Mexico uncovering the truth about the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill;
  • Trader Joe’s agreed to “green-up their stores” by implementing sustainable seafood policies;
  • Target announced that all their stores will stop selling farmed salmon products;
  • The Vermont Senate voted to retire the old, leaky nuclear reactor, Vermont Yankee; and
  • Steller sea lions received some protection from overfishing in the western Aleutian Islands.

From Food & Water Watch:

  • Over the past two months, with your help we’ve delivered over 70,000 letters to the FDA asking them to halt their approval of GE salmon. We’ve also put pressure on members of Congress, and just last week we held press events across the country to stop GE salmon. Within 24 hours of our California event, Senator Barbara Boxer wrote a strong letter to the FDA asking them to halt their approval of this frankenfish, and a bill was introduced in the US Senate that would ban GE fish.
  • This year, with states and cities facing budget deficits, water corporations tried to privatize local water systems. With your help we defeated privatization in Trenton, NJ, Kansas City, MO, Temple, GA, Marion, IN, Citrus County, FL, and Slippery Rock and Hazelton, PA.
  • You helped deliver over 15,000 letters to the U.S. Ambassador in support of global water justice, and for the first time, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution recognizing the “Human Right to Water.”
  • You’ve been fighting all year to help break up the monopolies in the food system. Next month, we’ll deliver tens of thousands of postcards and petition signatures from every state to the Department of Justice in D.C., demanding that they take action to make our food system fair and healthy for farmers, farmworkers, and consumers.

These are by no means the only “victories” for the environment, and there’s still plenty of drastic action that must be taken. However, despite the business as usual approach, greenwashing and flat out denial of climate change in some quarters, a greening trend is definitely getting stronger. For example, PETA has ranked the most vegetarian- and green-friendly NFL stadiums. Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that in the new five-year drilling plan, no new offshore drilling will be allowed off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts or in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The L.A. Auto Show earlier in November was very green, offering these new cars to the market.

Bicycles are becoming more popular transportation around the country, as infrastructure for them improves. Google Maps began offering biking routes in 150 American cities. Here’s a list of the most bike-friendly cities in the USA. And an international list of cities.

While Copenhagen didn’t yield very much to mitigate climate change, and the recent meeting in Mexico seems equally toothless, there’s a wonderful, citizen driven movement of climate art or earth art that can be seen from space. This is an absolute must-see!

It’s not all hunky-dory by any means. Let me end with a quote from Jurriaan Kamp:

The human race is a “collective problem-solving machine,” writes the British biologist Matt Ridley in his recent book The Rational Optimist. Nobody knows now how and by whom we are going to be saved from the impending explosive growth of Chinese CO2-spewing, coal-fired energy plants. But if history is any guide the inventors with radical innovative solutions are already living somewhere on the planet. Not decades but years from now a coal-fired energy plant will be a hopelessly old-fashioned solution, much like the computer that some 40 years ago occupied the entire basement of an office building. This is an almost inevitable outcome as more and more people trade and do business together, a process that continuously feeds new ideas and new solutions. Make way for optimism!

“Green” Thankfulness