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Articles in Environmental Geography

Hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

By Martin W. Lewis | March 26, 2012 | One Comment

Federal Canadian hearings will begin on March 30 to consider the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, which would transfer fossil fuels between the tar sands districts of Alberta and the Pacific port of Kitimat in British Columbia. The project is often viewed as an alternative to the equally controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would connect the tar sands with the oil refineries of the Gulf Coast in Texas.

Introduction to Siberia

By Martin W. Lewis | March 21, 2012 | 21 Comments

For the next month or so, GeoCurrents will examine Siberia. Siberia is an important yet often overlooked region, and hence merits extended consideration. Few parts of the world are so consistently ignored, at least in the English-language media, which  almost always focuses on the western, or European, parts of Russia, particularly Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the troubled North Caucasus. Thus, …

Economic Disputes and Environmental Woes in Indonesia’s Booming East Kalimantan

By Martin W. Lewis | March 17, 2012 |

Indonesia’s province of East Kalimantan, located on the massive island of Borneo, is by far the most economically productive part of the country. Its Gross Regional Product is almost five times the national average, exceeding even than of Jakarta, the national capital, by a substantial margin.

Bay Area Rainfall Forecasts—and Results

By Martin W. Lewis | March 16, 2012 |

A recent GeoNote praised the U.S. National Weather Service for its accurate rainfall prediction maps, noting as well the specific forecast that had just been made for northern California’s impending storm. As that storm has passed, it now seems reasonable to ask how well the Weather Service did. The answer: not very, but in a very interesting way. The foreseen …

The Mismatch Between Population and Mass Transit In the San Francisco Bay Area

By Martin W. Lewis | March 15, 2012 | 6 Comments

Recent GeoCurrents posts have stressed the environmental and economic desirability of urban intensification in the San Francisco Bay Area based on high-density, pedestrian-oriented housing developments near public transit stations. Today, such fully urban areas are essentially limited to northeastern San Francisco—a very desirable and expensive place. Elsewhere in the Bay Area, density varies from low to moderate.
A variety of “walkability …

Anti-Urbanization and Economic Irrationality in Silicon Valley

By Martin W. Lewis | March 14, 2012 | 3 Comments

The previous post noted that opposition to urban intensification has negative economic as well as environmental repercussions. Such consequences, are experienced in and around all of the thriving cities of the United States, but nowhere more than in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, the economic and technological marvel of Silicon Valley is fettered by outrageous housing costs that are …

Drought Maps and Rain Forecast Maps

By Martin W. Lewis | March 12, 2012 |

Today’s regular GeoCurrents post mentions that this winter has been very dry in California. If any readers are interested in finding maps on drought conditions in the United States, I recommend Drought Monitor. One can find a variety of maps here, some covering the entire U.S., and others focused on specific regions.
As can be seen from the second map, California’s …

Exclusivity and Anti-Environmentalism in Palo Alto and Vicinity

By Martin W. Lewis | | 4 Comments

The previous GeoCurrents post argued that opponents of urban intensification in wealthy suburban communities such as Palo Alto, California are motivated in part by their desire to protect their property values.  Commentator Nick Baldo took issue with that assessment, arguing that increased density actually has the opposite effect. In retrospect, I think that Baldo is correct. Environmentally responsible “smart growth” …

Anti-Environmental Environmentalism in California’s Bay Area, Part II

By Martin W. Lewis | March 9, 2012 | 6 Comments
Trulia Palo Alto Real Estate Prices Map

As the previous post noted, the new environmental consensus calls for urban intensification to reduce of greenhouse gas emissions and preserve rural landscapes. In the San Francisco Bay Area, such an ideal has been widely embraced in principle by both leading environmental groups and regional associations. The 2007 housing report by ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments, opens by …

Anti-Environmental Environmentalism in California’s Bay Area

By Martin W. Lewis | March 8, 2012 | 6 Comments

The previous GeoCurrents post ended on a controversial note, contending that although the wealthy suburban communities of the San Francisco Bay Area seem decidedly liberal, they actually embrace highly conservative policies at the local level. Before I attempt to validate this claim, a word of warning is in order. The entire issue is muddied by terminological imprecision, and even more …

More Flooding in Australia

By Martin W. Lewis | March 5, 2012 |

Interior Australia is noted for its extreme climatic oscillations, especially in regard to precipitation. If anything, the change from wet to dry periods seems to be getting more extreme.

Bio-Tech Farming in Brazil and the Global Potash Boom

By Martin W. Lewis | February 19, 2012 | 3 Comments

A recent article in Physorg.com claims that Brazil will soon surpass the United States to become the word’s leading producer of genetically modified crops.

Mapping Locust Swarms

By Martin W. Lewis | February 18, 2012 | 2 Comments

The recent GeoCurrents post on California cuisine ended on the odd note of insect eating. Of all insects across the world, locusts are probably the most widely consumed. They are the only six-legged creatures considered halal by Muslims and kosher by Jews. Allowing the consumption of locusts may have had an ecological rationale; when they swarm, crops can be devastated, …

Chile’s Assault on Sea Lions

By Martin W. Lewis | February 14, 2012 | 3 Comments

Chilean mackerel stocks have dropped by some 90 percent in recent years, resulting in a crisis in the county’s fishing industry. Chile has been blaming the Peruvian fishing fleet for depleting the stock, but local officials are now pointing their fingers at sea lions as well

South Georgia Rat Crisis

By Martin W. Lewis | |

The world’s largest rat extermination program is currently underway in South Georgia Island, a British sub-Antarctic territory that is also claimed by Argentina.

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