MOTHER LODE: You wouldn't forget to call or visit your mom on Sunday, so why not do something nice for Mother Nature while you're at it? Mother's Day is for appreciating those who gave us life, and not even all the world's human mothers would be around if not for our life-giving planet. So here's a quick roundup of guides to help you be a good son or daughter on Sunday:
I may be biased, but MNN's Mother's Day guide is a great one-stop resource for last-minute gift ideas, such as ways to give waste-free gifts, make your own organic bouquet or start a garden for your mom.
BEAR NECESSITIES: Last year, the polar bear became the first (and still only) U.S. endangered species who earned its status thanks to threats from climate change — but the Bush administration, fearing that such protection could pave the way for greenhouse gas regulation, added a caveat that no action outside the bear's habitat could be considered a danger to its survival. Congress recently authorized Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to override that caveat — potentially allowing emissions regulation under the Endangered Species Act — but the deadline for him to act is Saturday. He's reportedly weighing the issue, but last week overturned another Bush-era endangered species ruling, leaving many environmentalists saying the job is still only "half done."
Salazar has given little indication as to how, or whether, he might rule. * Update (5/8, 2:45 p.m.): Salazar announced Friday afternoon that he'll keep the Bush administration's rule. (Source: Associated Press)
A FUEL AND ITS MONEY: The United States is dropping its funding for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, six years after President Bush hailed the technology as the future of American transportation. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday that hydrogen fuel-cell cars won't be practical in the next 10 or 20 years, and the money will be better spent on projects that can be implemented sooner. Chu also announced that the Obama administration will establish eight "energy innovation hubs," or small research centers that he dubbed "Bell Lablettes," and will restore funding for FutureGen, a prototype coal-gasification plant. (Source: New York Times)
GOD'S (GREEN) HOUSE: The L.A. Times and the AP both have stories today highlighting the growing importance of environmental stewardship among religious groups. "Eco-kosher" Jews are increasingly expressing their spiritual values via their culinary choices, the L.A Times reports, opting for more local and organic food that reflects their eco-consciousness. Some synagogues are forming relationships with farmers and developing farm education programs, and the movement has spread to other faiths, too, such as Presbyterians and Universalists. Meanwhile, the AP reports on a trend of green houses of worship, noting that many churches and synagogues are trying to cut costs and embody their Earthly values by improving their energy efficiency and general environmental friendliness. There are only 10 LEED-certified houses of worship in the United States, but 54 more have applied, and 2,000 nationwide participate in the EPA's EnergyStar program. (Sources: Los Angeles Times, AP)
SINK OR SWIM: The Guardian's George Monbiot draws our attention to the first evacuation of an entire community due to manmade global warming, a story that he points out has been largely ignored. The Carteret Islands are a small chain of coral atolls where about 2,600 people live, although they've already begun evacuating to nearby Bougainville because the sea has begun swallowing their low-lying islands — the highest point of which protrudes just 67 inches above sea level. (Source: Guardian)
CONGO VOLCANOES: Two volcanoes in Congo are on the verge of erupting, scientists warn, threatening about 1.3 million people. One of the two peaks, Nyiragongo, is especially dangerous, trembling just 11 miles north of Goma, a city that's home to more than half a million people. Scientists warned that it and Nyamulagira, the other volcano, could erupt "tomorrow, or the day after — or at any other time." Many nearby residents have already fled, remembering the last time the two volcanoes erupted in 2002, when 10-foot-deep lava flows destroyed a fifth of Goma's residential areas and killed 100 people. (Source: AP)
INTERCHANGEABLE PARTS: One of the common reasons cited last December that the government couldn't allow major U.S. automakers to fail was the large network of manufacturers and parts suppliers depending on Detroit as a customer. But many of those suppliers had already seen the writing on the wall, switching their business model to producing parts for wind turbines instead of automobiles. Michigan and Ohio now have about 1,200 turbine parts suppliers between them, many of which used to — or still do — make car parts for Detroit. (Source: AP)
GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY: Molly the cow, who escaped a New York slaughterhouse Wednesday, has found a new home and is no longer doomed to a flame-broiled future. Molly wandered around Queens for nearly a mile before animal control officers captured her an hour later. HuffPo Green's Dave Burdick now reports that authorities have found a farm sanctuary for Molly, where she will "absolutely not" be slaughtered. (Source: Huffington Post)