FERN’s Friday Feed: White gold fever

FERN’s Friday Feed: White gold fever

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.

A massive bed of rare scallops couldn’t save this Mexican fishing village

FERN and Snap Judgment (audio)

“In Teacapán, a small fishing village on the coast of Sinaloa, Mexico, Belen Delgado made a discovery that would change his life and the lives of everyone he knew,” reports Esther Honig. “It was 2007, and years of overfishing had depleted the local supply of fish. The town’s fishermen were struggling to provide for their families and businesses failed as the local economy dried up. That’s when Belen caught his first glimpse of the callo de hacha, a large, black scallop that’s one of the most prized species in the Gulf of California.”

Are Iowa’s CO2 pipelines a legit climate mitigation tool?


Iowa environmentalists say the plan to build three pipelines to move liquified carbon dioxide — collected from the smokestacks of ethanol refineries — to North Dakota and Illinois, where the carbon would be pumped underground, will simply prop up the fossil fuel industry and shower their agribusiness investors with tax credits. As Nancy Averett explains, pipeline opponents also worry that the companies developing them will inject the gas, in liquid form, into nearly depleted oil wells to coax out the last drops of oil. The process is known as enhanced oil recovery, or EOR. Oil and gas companies have been doing this for decades, and, opponents say, it would offset any climate benefits of capturing the carbon dioxide in the first place.

The national implications of California’s Prop 12 legal fight

The New Republic

“When the Supreme Court sits in October … it will decide whether Californians have the democratic right to decide how the animals they eat are treated,” write Jan Dutkiewicz and Jeff Sebo. “In 2018, the Golden State’s voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition 12, a ballot initiative that requires that many animal-derived products, like pork and eggs, sold in California come from animals raised on farms that give them more space to move … In the wake of the decision, the meat industry in California turned to scaremongering about price increases and bacon shortages, and challenged Prop 12 in court. It lost. But now the highest court has agreed to hear the case, and a who’s who of American business has lined up behind the pig industry.”

How a salmon farming disaster changed Northwest aquaculture

High Country News

On Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in the waters of Puget Sound, part of a massive salmon farm collapsed, sending tens of thousands of fish into the Sound. As Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins write, in an excerpt from their forthcoming book, Salmon Wars, “The landscape of salmon farming in Puget Sound was about to change dramatically.”

Rerooting farmers in a new land

Earth Island Journal

“Just north of Honolulu’s Pearl Harbor, a 206-acre patchwork of farmland … [is] giving immigrants and refugees an opportunity to plant firm roots in their new home,” writes Naoki Nitta. “The farming program sprouted from necessity in 2012,” when the nonprofit Pacific Gateway Center “was tasked with resettling Thai and Laotian laborers who were trafficked to a Hawaiian farm. Most came from rural backgrounds and chose to stay by establishing an independent livelihood in farming. ‘But they had no capital, no credit, no business background,’ says Hao Nguyen, PGC’s deputy director.” So “along with affordable farmland and help in accessing capital, PGC’s farmers receive field training, financial and regulatory expertise, and language resources including interpreters and English classes.”