July 7, 2008

News: environmental services jobs, salt marsh sparrows, and Sacramento's Blueprint

Donning a Green Collar, Boston Globe
Amid the uncertainty, there's a growing movement among community organizations, environmental groups, unions, and workforce development agencies to pinpoint what jobs will become available and how to get people into them. The goal is to create "green-collar" jobs that would provide those often shut out of new job opportunities - such as people of color, the poor, at-risk youth, the underemployed, the unemployed, and the formerly incarcerated - the training necessary to compete for positions in the burgeoning field.
Wings & a Prayer, Boston Globe North
Scientists aren't sure where the Plum Island contamination is coming from, but they do know that other species around the country with high mercury levels, such as loons, produce fewer offspring. Roughly 95 percent of the world's saltmarsh sparrows breed in the Northeast, where mercury contamination is among the highest in the nation. Because the sparrows spend their lives in the marsh, essentially unable to escape the pollution, scientists believe the elevated amounts of mercury found in these tiny birds may be a harbinger for many other species that also depend on the wetlands.
With Gas Over $4, Cities Explore Whether It's Smart to Be Dense, Wall Street Journal
For decades, backers of "smart-growth" planning principles have preached the benefit of clustering the places where people live more closely with the businesses where they work and shop. Less travel would mean less fuel consumption and less air pollution. Several communities built from scratch upon those principles, such as Celebration in Florida, sprouted across the country. But they were often isolated experiments, connected to their surroundings mainly by car. So, as gasoline remained cheap, the rest of the country continued its inexorable march toward bigger houses and longer commutes. Now, smart-growth fans see a chance to reverse that. Expensive oil is going to transform the American culture as radically as cheap oil did," predicts David Mogavero, a Sacramento-based architect and smart-growth proponent.

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