The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 19, No. 12, December

A Call for Ocean-Policy Reform: The Time Is Now for Government to Respond to Long-Standing Demands for Action
Growing up in New York City, I enjoyed going to Jones Beach on a hot summer day with my family, spending the day swimming in the ocean, and then having dinner at Lundy's seafood restaurant on our way home. At that time, my parents didn't have to worry...
Are Cows Worse Than Cars? Everyone Knows Driving an SUV or Leaving the Lights on Is Bad for the Earth. but When It Comes to Your Environmental Impact, What's on Your Plate Is Just as Important
These days almost any proposal to reduce global warming gets taken seriously, even by conservatives. Solar panels are proposed for powering everything except submarines. Oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to put windmills on every empty patch of land in...
Blaming History
SO THE ASSIGNMENT IS "A BOOK THAT CHANGED MY view of politics." Harder than it sounds. I will confess that when I was a younger man, I was far more likely to think of records, as we used to call them, as life-changing, and if pressed, I could probably...
Carbon Dioxide: The Curse of the Deep: Ocean Warming, Acidification, and Corrosion Wreak Havoc on Marine Populations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I was 8 years old, diving down in the waters off Cape Cod, when I first saw a strange shimmering within the sea. About 7 feet beneath the surface, I cautiously extended my hand to where the water appeared blurry, as if I were...
Damaged Heroes: Four Recent Films Reveal How America Sees Its Iraq War Veterans
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN THE 2007 FILM IN THE VALLEY OF Elah, Vietnam veteran Hank Deerfield is driving to an Army post in New Mexico to look for his son. When he passes a school and notices its American flag is flying upside down, he stops to...
Don't Call It a Culture War
AS THE ELECTION-NIGHT RESULTS ROLLED IN--and even before that, as the polling leaned heavily toward Barack Obama--some liberals gleefully declared the end of the so-called culture war. This war's two most reliable weapons, demonizing same-sex marriage...
Florida's Sea Turtles Besieged
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Seven species of sea turtles inhabit the world's oceans. These air-breathing reptiles have survived virtually unchanged for 200 million years. Sea turtles are unique among marine animals because they must return to land to...
From the Executive Editor
President-elect Barack Obama made his first appearance on this magazine's cover in February 2006, after one year in the U.S. Senate. "Obama wants nothing less than to redefine progressive values, make them more universal, and unite the country around...
Getting Real on Climate Change: We'll Never Succeed in Making Dirty Energy Too Expensive. Let's Make Clean Energy Cheap
The wave of optimism that American environmentalists rode into 2008 reached its zenith sometime around April 22--Earth Day. Green was everywhere, from the pages of Sports Illustrated to NBC's Green Week to a new cable channel, Planet Green. Armed with...
Imagining the Oceans in 2025: Entire Ecosystems Teeter on the Brink of Extinction as Slime and Dead Zones Take Over
As recently as the 1950s, very smart people like Rachel Carson and Jacques Cousteau believed the oceans were so vast that fish stocks and the ocean's capacity to absorb human wastes were for all practical purposes unlimited. In reality, though, overfishing...
Marine Biodiversity in Jeopardy: The Attrition of the World's Coral Reefs Signals Far Broader and Graver Problems
News about ocean ecosystems is almost without exception grim. Collapsing fisheries, expanding dead zones, and the prospect of ever warmer and more acidic seas makes optimism a tough sell. When sounding the alarm bells, marine conservation scientists...
Mind the Map
ON ELECTION NIGHT, OUR EYES WERE GLUED TO THE "battleground states" that would decide the presidential election--not just the traditional swing states of Ohio and Florida but Virginia and Indiana as well, on this new electoral map where all things...
Ocean Fish Farms and Public-Resource Privatization: Industrial Aquaculture Poses New Threats to U.S. Waters and Fishermen
The U.S. government has a pattern of allowing big businesses exclusive use of common properties for individual profits. Frequently, this occurs regardless of whether such projects help or harm the general public. Public resources are increasingly being...
Restoring the Battered Commons: The Degradation of Coasts and Oceans Continues, but Faint Hopes for Improvement Are Stirring
"Ruin is the destination toward which all men rush, each pursuing his own best interest," writes Garrett Hardin in his famous 1968 essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons." As a principal example, he continues, "maritime nations still respond automatically...
Saccage: Learning the Lessons of Jacques Cousteau
One day in the late 1970s, the ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau joined me at a Paris cafe, pulled a piece of paper from his jacket pocket, and pushed it across the table. On it, he'd listed two dozen words with tally marks beside each. "The winner is...
Saving the Fish Banks: The U.S. Has Made Improvements in Managing Its Stocks but Only Compared to the Rest of the World
For once it's a good day at the Portland Fish Exchange in Maine. Two dozen buyers representing fish processors, distributors, and retailers crowd in the auction room, consulting computer monitors and parrying one another's bids for the freshly landed...
Street Fighter: Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Congestion-Pricing Plan Failed in New York City, His Transportation Commissioner Has Taken a Piecemeal Approach to Reclaiming Streets from Cars
On Sept. 17, Colin Beavan was riding his folding bicycle down Broadway in Lower Manhattan, near City Hall. Beavan, a writer known as "No Impact Man" for his attempt to reduce his carbon footprint to zero, did not use toilet paper for a year. But let's...
The Arctic Ocean in the 21st Century: With Warming at a Rate Double the Global Average, the Region's Animal Populations Struggle to Adapt
Observations of Earth's climate over the past half-century reveal a global trend in warming temperatures of land surfaces, the lower atmosphere, and the oceans. The Arctic region is warming at a rate that is at least twice that of the global average....
The Audacity of Patience: Obama's Savvy Coalition-Building Broke All the Rules about How to Run for President. If He Can Take the Same Approach in the White House, He Will Be a Towering Success
A single tactical choice early in Barack Obama's quest for the presidency set the course for all the events that followed--Obama s securing of the Democratic nomination and surprisingly smooth path to resounding victory in the general election. After...
The Paper Chase: Dozens of Progressive Institutions Are Clamoring to Put Their Agendas on Obama's Desk. Will the Incoming President Actually Read Them?
The last time Democrats took the White House, they managed, in the immortal words of George W. Bush, a "heckuva job." During the Clinton administration's famously rocky transition, one White House alumna saw signs of trouble early. "The day after the...
The Realignment Opportunity
IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF THE ELECTION, two interpretations began circulating about its implications. The first came from conservatives who insisted that America remains a "center right" country and that the voters gave Barack Obama and the Democrats...
Thinking Big, Valuing the Priceless
What ails the oceans is not solely the consequence of the race to fish. Nor is it the catastrophic effects of oil spills and ocean dumping. Nor is it the habitat loss associated with coastal development and sprawl. It is all of these things and more--the...
Toward a Sea Ethic: Expanding Our Idea of Community Is a First Step to Restoring the Seas around Us
A couple of years ago I was participating as a writing coach in a Sea Education Association "seamester," sailing 1,000 miles from Hawaii to Palmyra Atoll, while students from Stanford University received lectures and closely supervised instruction...
View from the Boat
My family came to Alaska 40 years ago for a "visit," but, like so many others who now call this place home, we have never left. The state's natural charms wooed us into buying a commercial fishing business in southeast Alaska in Juneau. We joined the...
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