Advocacy groups celebrating Earth Day yesterday raised concerns about the Bush Administration's record on the environment. In a press conference/political rally, environmental leaders criticized Bush for a number of transgressions, including backing out of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, putting industry concerns over environmental standards, and working on relaxing environmental regulations with big business donors, according to the Washington Post.
Advocates at the press conference pointed to some victories for the environment. In Congress last month, an amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a champion for women's rights and the environment, defeated a measure that would have opened the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling, one of Bush's pet projects. However, the House of Representatives approved drilling in ANWR last week, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, President Bush is encouraging bids from oil companies to drill in Alaskan coastal areas that are not protected, and he is offering millions of dollars of incentives to do so, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, spoke out about the relationship between sustainability and projected population growth. He called for monthly hearings in Congress on the environment, particular focusing on US population, now projected to reach 500 million people this century, according to Gannett News Service. Slowing population growth worldwide is important to reduce water scarcity among other health and environmental problems, according to Population Action International (PAI). Already, half a billion people face water scarcity, and between 2.4 and 3.2 billion could be in the same situation by 2025, depending on population growth, according to PAI. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and PAI recommend slowing population growth by educating girls, increasing economic opportunities for women, increasing access to family planning services, and improving maternal and prenatal care.
Media Resources: Washington Post 4/23/03; Los Angeles Times 4/23/03; Associated Press 4/12/03; Toledo Blade 4/23/03; Gannett News Service 4/22/03; PAI ; UNFPA
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .