In 1971, Dr. Seuss published a book you have almost definitely heard of: The Lorax. Generally regarded as a visionary masterpiece of world-making in children’s literature, some predictably called the work out as a didactic, anti-capitalist work of socialist propaganda for its take on the environment’s fraught relationship with corporate malfeasance. In 1984, though, came a lesser-known work, mostly forgotten by time, which advanced long-dormant Seussian politics into an ideological expression that proved too rankling for much of the book’s audience.
The Butter Battle Book, released by Random House in the middle of Ronald Reagan’s transformative presidency, is about the Cold War. More specifically, it’s about the Yooks and the Zooks. These are goofy looking humanoids, clearly of the same species but wearing blue and orange outfits. The blue Yooks (who butter their bread butter-side up) and the orange Zooks (who butter their bread butter-side down) engage in an escalating arms race that features weapons like a "Kick-A-Poo Kid," loaded with "powerful Poo-A-Doo powder and ants' eggs and bees' legs and dried-fried clam chowder," carried by a spaniel named Daniel. The military dick-measuring between the Yooks and the Zooks, conducted by a laboratory of dorky scientists known as “The Boys In The Back Room,” peaks when both sides develop a “bitsy big-boy boomeroo,” a little glowing bean standing in for the nuclear warheads that generations of twentieth-century citizens lived in steady fear of. The book finishes with an impasse, as a Yook general and a Zook general stare each other down over a bitter land-dividing wall, both holding their atomic beans over the ground. This is followed by an ambiguous blank white page that could be interpreted as the end of all life.
Wind farms and massive arrays of solar panels are cropping up across public and private landscapes both in the United States and abroad as users increasingly turn to “green energy” as their preferred flavor of electricity.
President Joe Biden, in fact, has directed the Interior Department to identify suitable places to host 20 gigawatts of new energy from sun, wind or geothermal resources by 2024 as part of a sweeping effort to move away from a carbon-based economy and electrical grid.
Tribal biologists have confirmed that chinook salmon are spawning in the upper-Columbia River system in Washington state for the first time in 80 years.
Nzambi Matee is an entrepreneur with an incredible goal -- to turn plastic destined for the landfill into sustainable, strong building material. Her company, Gjenge Makers, uses the plastic waste of commercial facilities to create bricks that can withstand twice the weight threshold of concrete.
Gjenge Makers is based in Nairobi, Kenya, where plastic waste pollution has become a severe problem. A study supported by the National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) found that more than 50% of cattle near urban areas in Kenya had plastic in their stomachs. To combat this issue, the Kenyan government outlawed the use of plastic bags in 2017, and imposed a ban on all single-use plastic in protected natural areas last year. However, these bans only address the issue of consumer single-use plastic. Commercial waste is still a deep-seated problem within the country.
An Australian company has secured an exclusive distributorship in the USA for a hempcrete building system it says is cost competitive with traditional construction. Queensland-based HempBLOCK Australia also has begun marketing and selling the bio-based system, made by the French firm Vieille Matériaux, in Australia and New Zealand.