Skip navigation

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO The results from the 2012 Colorado College State of the Rockies Conservation in the West poll find that Latino western voters a growing and politically- significant constituency in the upcoming elections support upholding and strengthening protections for clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife. They also view America’s parks and public lands as essential to their state’s economy, and quality of life.

The survey, completed in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming by Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm) and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm), found that across multiple issues, Latino voters express stronger pro-conservation views than their Anglo counterparts.

“An overwhelming majority of Latino voters see national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife as an essential part of their quality of life and want to protect conservation efforts,” said Dave Metz. “In fact, 76 percent of Latino voters voiced support for maintaining environmental protections.”

Latino voters across the west nearly unanimously agree 94 percent that public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are “an essential part” of the economies of these states. The survey also found that 87 percent of Latinos believe that having a strong economy and protecting land and water are compatible.

“Hispanics are passionate about their public parks and open spaces,” said Maite Arce, executive director of the Hispanic Access Foundation. “Parks are often the center of family activities, gatherings, and even their careers. As such, their protection ranks high on Hispanics’ priority list.”

Eighty-eight percent of Latino voters said that cuts to funding for state parks and protections for water quality was a serious problem in their state, indicating that even with tight state budgets, they want government to find a way to maintain investments in land, parks, water, and wildlife protection.

More than 8 in 10 Latinos view air pollution as a serious problem in their state, and see the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws as important protections rather than burdensome

regulations. Along with other western voters, Latinos believe suspending environmental laws along U.S. borders to address illegal immigration is unnecessary (74 percent).

Western Latino voters also see renewable energy as a job creator 78 percent of Latino voters believe that increasing the use of renewable energy will create jobs in their state, and eight in 10 Latino voters want to reduce consumption of coal, oil, and gas by expanding use of renewable energy.

The 2012 Colorado College Western States Survey is a bipartisan poll conducted by Republican pollster Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic pollster Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. The poll surveyed 2,400 registered voters in six key western states (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY, MT) January 2 through 5 & 7, 2012, and yields a margin of error of + 2.0 percent nationwide and +4.9 statewide.

The full survey is available on the Colorado College website. 

I just found a new site that ROCKS! It is called "This is what a scientist looks like!" and the name says it all.

http://lookslikescience.tumblr.com/

Scientists from any/all disciplines are invited to post images of themselves to challenge the stereotypical image of the white male scientist in a white lab coat with glasses.

Here you will find the pink haired microbiologist mom, the cognitive psychologist who coaches an under 5 soccer team, the sword-weilding anatomist and the tattooed entomologist. I think this site is a good place to start the "thought revolution" that will make the next generation more open to scientists that look like Doctors Mae Jameson and Tyrone Hayes.

Here is a call to action!! Represent!! Whether you are a budding scientist in high school, an undergraduate working in a laboratory, a graduate student out in the field or a bona fide researcher – let the world know that scientists look like you too!!

-Regina

(Image © Brad Swonetz/Corbis)

Biofuel production could be a boon for the environment, but there’s still a lot of waste plant material, called lignin, remaining from the process. Now, an enterprising student has found a new use for some of that waste – paving unpaved roads. Living on Earth speaks with Wilson Smith of Kansas State.
120127lignin.mp3 2.7 MB

What do hip hop and Darwin have in common? According to rapper, Baba Brinkman, a lot. He’s the man behind The Rap Guide To Evolution, a musical project that finds natural selection in everything from the iPod shuffle, flashy jewelry to the act of rapping itself. Brinkman explains to Living on Earth why he, as a white Canadian, can proudly chant, “I’m A African.

120106rap.mp3 4.6 MB

The Steelers head into their first NFL Playoff game of the season without the aid of one of their fiercest defenders – Ryan Clark. Clark, who leads the defense with 100 tackles this season, may not be able to tackle the health effects of sickle-cell trait when it comes to facing the Denver Broncos.
A person inherits sickle cell trait when they receive just one copy of the sickle cell gene from one parent. The more serious and symptomatic sickle cell disease occurs when a person receives a copy of the sickle cell gene from each parent – resulting in anemic crises and debilitating pain when low oxygen levels change the shape and reduce the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells.
Sickle cell trait is typically asymptomatic. However, the trait may be exacerbated by physical strain, like the workout regiment demanded by professional sports.  The trait can also be stoked by exertion at high altitudes where oxygen levels are notoriously low. Ryan Clark's job as starting free safety for the number one defense in the league playing in an arena called Mile High Stadium fits this definition. In fact, Clark had serious complications during a 2007 game – resulting in complications and surgery that left him without a spleen or gallbladder. Two years later, faced with the same potential health issue, Coach Mike Tomlin benched Clark during a regular season game with the Broncos.
But the playoffs are another story. When the goal is to get to the "Big Show" for a chance to win it all – players have been known to risk their body and career a la the Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's bloody sock in the 2004 American League Championship Series. On Monday it was reported that Tomlin was going to leave it to Clark to decide after consulting with doctors. But today CNN reports that although Clark was ready and willing to hit the turf, Coach Tomlin had a change of heart and decided to prioritize the safety of his starting safety and bench Clark.
Although surely disappointed, Clark was touched by the sentiment expressed by his coach. In an interview with ESPN Clark said, "All things pointed to me going until (Coach Tomlin) told me I can't. He said he wouldn't have let his son play and so I'm not playing either."
Tomlin said "It is a big game for us, but it is a game."
Regardless of how the Steelers fare during the game, Tomlin is the real winner for maintaining perspective.

Don’t be so quick to blame genetics or poor eating habits when people get fat during the holiday season, or anytime, for that matter. Emerging research shows that environmental chemicals may deserve a good deal of the blame when people get fat as well as obesity related disorders such as type 2 diabetes. A number of chemicals are suspect, including fire retardants, plasticizers and arsenic. What are the mechanisms? One intriguing pathway to excess fat may involve the interaction between chemicals and microbes that are important to food digestion. 

“Do Interactions Between Gut Ecology and Environmental Chemicals Contribute to Obesity and Diabetes?” That’s the title of a recent article on this subject by Suzanne Snedeker and Anthony Hay in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), which can be found here.  
 
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1104204
 
A less technical discussion by Allison Tracy of the Environmental Defense Fund can be found in the following blog.

http://blogs.edf.org/nanotechnology/2011/12/15/a-new-power-couple-the-combined-impact-of-the-microbiome-and-chemical-exposures-on-disease-susceptibility-part-1-of-2/ – more-1646

Black Californians are more than twice as likely as whites to seek medical care from excess air pollution, according to new research. The study, published in Social Science and Medicine also showed that while Hispanic residents were exposed to the highest levels of air pollution, they seek air pollution-related hospital care only as often as whites.  The most stark racial disparity for air pollution-based illness comes from asthma, where blacks experience nearly six times the rate of asthma-related emergency room visits.
Leonard D. Schaeffer a researcher at the Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California says, “many factors contribute to these disparities, and our work suggests that they might be good targets for environmental justice efforts.”

Read the abstract here.

See last year's list of the best and worst places to breath in America.

Race, heat and dust:  Huge dust storms demonstrate that Phoenix, Arizona is in trouble, thanks to unsustainable development. It is host to less than eight inches of rainfall per year, the hottest temperatures of any city in the Northern Hemisphere, and the dirtiest zip code in the country. In his new book Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, cultural critic Andrew Ross examines the sprawling metropolis’s ecological challenges alongside its social and political ones — namely, widespread disenfranchisement from high rates foreclosure and unemployment, and strident anti-immigrant legislation. If efforts toward sustainability in Phoenix are not “directed by and toward principles of equity,” Ross contends, “then they will almost certainly end up reinforcing patterns of eco-apartheid.”Andrew Ross has written a searing op-ed piece for the New York Times that encapsulates his book. (Photo by Ms. Phoenix)

The epic series of recent dust storms are  stark remindersthat Phoenix, Arizona: is in trouble. The city has been dubbed  a "horizontal hymn to unsustainable development." It is host to less than eight inches of rainfall per year, the hottest temperatures of any city in the Northern Hemisphere, and the dirtiest zip code in the country. In his new book Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City, cultural critic Andrew Ross examines the sprawling metropolis's ecological challenges alongside its social and political ones — namely, widespread disenfranchisement from high rates foreclosure and unemployment, and strident anti-immigrant legislation. If efforts toward sustainability in Phoenix are not "directed by and toward principles of equity," Ross contends, "then they will almost certainly end up reinforcing patterns of eco-apartheid."

Andrew Ross has written a searing op-ed piece for the New York Times that encapsulates his book . (photo by Ms. Phoenix)
.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/opinion/in-phoenix-the-dark-side-of-green.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

The deadly white nose syndrome has been decimating bat populations.  A recent article in Nature identifies the cause of the epidemic as a fungus discovered in 2007.  You can listen to a conversation about the science behind the syndrome this weekend on Living on Earth.  But not just scientists are talking about this issue, some students at Tufts University, are rapping about it. These students pack a surprising amount of science into verse.  But I'll let them, "kick the facts to ya" about "a fungus attacking bats in hibernacula."