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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 13, 2016

Downtown Salt Lake City

Today in New West news: EventBoard rebrands as Teem, Molson Coors becomes third largest beer company in world, human-caused warming and Western wildfires, and spending the $12M Yellowstone River oil spill settlement.

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New West Daily Roundup for May 13, 2016

MSU, Montana State University

Today in New West news: Montana State University receives $8 million pledge from Greg and Susan Gianforte, Pleasant Revolution bike/music tour planned for Pacific Northwest/California, and Denver-area housing development sells final unit after 58 years.

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Grass-Fed Beef Won’t Save the Planet

Another livestock industry propaganda piece recently appeared in Time Magazine by Lisa Abend titled “How Grass fed Beef Can Save The Planet.” The basic premise of the article is that factory farming is bad, so grass-fed or free-range beef is good for the planet and even human health. Grass-fed beef is the latest fad with people who have little scientific training, and thus are easily duped by pseudo-scientific sounding pronouncements. While there are some livestock operators who are promoting grass-fed beef, many of the advocates are well meaning people who are vulnerable to anything that have the word “natural” in it. Just because raising cows in factory farms on grains is bad for the Earth, does not mean that cows grazing on pasture or hay are better for the Earth.

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A Disturbing New Model for Global Warming

University of Utah climate scientist Jim Garrett made the national news recently with a new climate model which has disturbing implications for moderates in the global warming debate.

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Factory Farming’s Long Reach

The impact of factory farming upon the American land and native biodiversity is seldom discussed, but animal protein production has a significant impact upon the Nation’s land and water. The direct environmental problems like air or water pollution associated with large factory farming operations may be clear, but less obvious are the environmental impacts associated with the agricultural production of feed crops and other consequences associated with large factory farming operations.

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My Climate Scientist is Smarter Than Your Climate Scientist

I happen to believe global warming is real, not just as something that naturally occurs as our planet hurtles through space over the course of billions of years (yes, I said billions), but also as a process being expedited by our own hell-bent-on-consumption lifestyle. It doesn’t take a scientist, or a Google search, to figure out that as “the global economy” brings more eager mouths to suck at the swollen teat of consumption, stuff is going to get burned through that much quicker. Just look out your window. If you happen to live in a place that more and more people think looks like a great place to be – as we do here in Montana – you can watch, like one of those time lapse movies, the views and resources and access rights get gobbled up faster than we can say, “the last best place!”

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In The Petri Dish: The Plight of our Energy-Sucking Species

This is not the decade of global warming or even climate change. It is one of ensuing ecological destruction. When the energy runs dry, all of the systems we have so carelessly created to gulp that energy down will be worthless. We can build tiny houses (less than 100 square feet), rip up our lawns for edible estates, drive a Prius, sell carbon credits on the Chicago climate exchange, or refocus our energy policy on biofuels and ethanol, but as Wes Jackson from the Land Institute argues, “We aren’t going to invent or grow our way out of this thing.” No amount of human innovation can stop the ensuing ecological destruction. To even begin to do that, humans will need to cut their energy use in half, in just ten years. This was the sobering theme of the 2007 Sopris Conference: Innovative Ideas for a New West, held in Missoula this weekend.

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Idaho Leaders Should Address Climate Change

The scientific evidence is compelling – global climate change poses a serious threat to Idaho’s public health, natural resources, and environment. It threatens some of our most vital industries including tourism, agriculture, recreation, and forestry. Addressing climate change requires interstate and international cooperation. At this point, Idaho is not a team player. For example: Six western states and two Canadian provinces have established the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, agreeing to collaborate in identifying, evaluating and implementing ways to reduce greenhouse emissions. Idaho is not a participant.

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Boise Steps Up for the Earth

How can a small group organize a major environmental action in only seven weeks? When folks think about environmental issues like global climate change, the city of Boise, Idaho doesn’t exactly leap to the forefront as a fertile ground for finding much sympathy and activism. Idaho is the reddest of red states in the union, and as such, environmental issues are often viewed as the domain of “hippies, commies and veggies,” and not something that real people should care about. So what chance did a small group of committed people have to organize a successful event in Boise calling for congressional action to address this growing crisis? We had just 50 days.

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Bicycling To Work Makes Sense—If You Can Do It

Did you know that May 14-18 is National Bike to Work Week? Okay, now that you're informed, what are you going to do about it. As millions of Americans say they're willing to make lifestyle changes to address global warming, save money on high gas prices at the pump, and to stay in shape, how many of us will actually follow through? Today, just two percent of Americans bicycle to the office. In the story that follows, Carol Flaherty of the Montana State University News Service takes a look at how faculty who work at Bozeman's campus of higher learning are setting an example not only for students but the entire car-commuting city. But it isn't without hassles. What is your town doing to promote public transportation and non-motorized routes? Let us know.

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