The authors note that the land use pattern is not good for the country's native plants and animals and they conclude: The population has shifted from East to West; forest and agricultural land covers have decreased in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states; and the information-driven economy has fueled rural sprawl by enabling people to make a living even in relatively isolated areas. In addition to the impact on plants and animals, the authors said land use changes will lead to increased air and water pollution.
The authors hope for greater collaboration between ecologists and social scientists "to help shape land use decisions that will mitigate damage to the environment while still offering viable and attractive choices for U.S. residents," writes Newswise, a research-reporting service.
Nebraska farm leader wary of stereotypes in proposed TV show
The president of the Nebraska Farmers Union is worried about how accurately a new TV reality show would portray farmers and their problems.
"John Hansen doesn't know whether 'The Farmer Wants a Wife' would bend its rural reality cast into media fodder as naive bumpkins. But, he said, 'I'm not inclined to be helpful to any of those efforts that would trivialize the enormous problems that farm and ranch families face,'" writes the Associated Press based on an article in the Grand Island Independent.
The reality show is being handled by FremantleMedia, which produces "American Idol" and "The Price is Right." The show's producers are scouring Nebraska, California, Ohio and Texas for the cast. "We're looking for all types of farmers, not just the country bumpkin," casting director Deborah Tarica told AP.
Previously, Hansen worked to stop a reality show about an Appalachian family going to Beverly Hills. "We (Nebraska Farmers Union) were very much involved on the national effort to beat that down," he said. Hansen likes the new show's angle, but he's also worried about how Americans perceive family farmers. "It's somewhere between rednecks and 'Hee Haw': culturally backward and unwashed," he told AP.
FremantleMedia has launched "The Farmer Wants a Wife" in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, France and Norway, notes AP.
U.S. signs plan to build emissions-free power plant; enviros call it a distraction
"The Bush administration announced on Tuesday that it had signed an agreement with a coalition of energy companies to build a prototype coal-burning power plant with no emissions. The project, called FutureGen, has been in the planning stages since 2003. But the Energy Department said here that a formal agreement had been signed under which companies would contribute $250 million of a cost estimated at $1 billion," writes Andrew C. Revkin of The New York Times.
Environmental advocates criticized the announcement, saying it was a move to block discussion of new commitments to cut carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gas emissions. "It's getting to be like Charlie Brown with Lucy holding that football," said Alden Meyer, a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Every time, at the last minute, the U.S. pulls it away."
The latest talks are another step in an international effort that began in 1988 to reduce heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases. Since then, climate scientists, with widening consensus, have connected a global warming trend to rising levels of those gases in the atmosphere.
In order to block foreign invaders such as kudzu, volunteers are planting native flora in South Carolina forests in what has become a national model.