Alan

Putting a freeway through your city to improve transportation is like putting a hole through your heart to improve circulation, I wrote years ago. See for yourself in these before-and-after slider photos of three heavily freewayed US cities.

Eric

A standing ovation for our friends down south. This week a judge struck down a state permit for a coal export terminal on the lower Mississippi. It was a big win for the locals and for advocates protecting Louisiana’s coastal marshlands, and it was a another big hit to the coal industry.

Closer to home, the city of Vancouver, Washington, could prove to be Tesoro’s Waterloo. Locals just launched a new political action committee targeting the port commissioners who have tried to approve the firm’s giant oil-by-rail terminal plans for the city.

People there are very concerned about the scheme—and rightly so—for a range of reasons. This week added one more reason to worry when oil storage tanks in North Dakota caught fire, releasing billowing clouds of black smoke and, presumably, hazardous and toxic gases.

Speaking of Tesoro, Northwest Public Radio’s John Ryan reported this week that Washington state has asked a judge “to begin contempt proceedings against Tesoro for withholding documents and instructing witnesses not to testify” about the deadly fire at its Anacortes Refinery.

At Whatcom Watch, Lovel Pratt takes a hard look at the economic costs of an oil spill in the Salish Sea and finds that the potential costs are much, much higher than we’ve been hearing.

In The Oregonian, the chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission argues forcefully that state transportation grants should discriminate against coal and oil projects. This is exactly the kind of leadership we need.

Anna

Remember No Impact Man? Colin Bevan was one of the reasons I committed to a year of buying nothing new (nowadays so many people are off the new stuff that that experiment seems pretty uninspired, but way back in 2012 it was quite daring. Really!) Bevan is still an inspiration to me. Here’s his recently posted checklist for “How to Change a Mind.” Top of list: The best way to cause lasting change is to inspire it. Walk the walk. (And I believe it. As one anecdotal example, a dozen people told me after my year of not buying stuff that they’d changed their thinking about consumption too.)

  • Don’t bird in a hoodie. Ever. This and 9 other rules for the black birdwatcher from Dr. J. Drew Lanham. The list is biting. That is, honest, funny, and sad at the same time. (Full disclosure: I serve on the board of BirdNote with Drew. He is awesome.)

    The best thing I read about the attacks in Paris came from Juan Cole via my brother who lives in France. Sharpening contradictions. It makes so much sense and is so damn senseless.

    In better news: Pope it up, baby! The Big Papa is going to tell one billion Catholics to act on climate change.

    Finally, Smiths lyrics mashed up with Peanuts comics. Painfully good.