BP Pleads Guilty To Negligent Oil Spill

oil pipeline spill 02 BP Pleads Guilty To Negligent Oil Spill

Apparently BP doesn’t mind paying fines. Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth, to be precise.

Last week in Anchorage, the Alaskan subsidiary of British-based BP pled guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, a federal environmental crime, for its failure to prevent a 200,000-gallon oil spill in March of 2006 and agreed to pay $20 million in fines. The spill, in the Alaskan region known as the North Slope, was the area’s largest in history.

According to an article on CBS News, “For years, the company denied allegations that a culture of cost-cutting was hurting the quality of maintenance on the network of steel pipes at the 30-year-old Alaska field. But after the spill in March, federal prosecutors said millions of company documents and interviews with scores of North Slope employees told a different story.”

Prosecutors allege the company saved $9 million by intentionally not maintaining or inspecting their pipelines.

oil pipeline spill 03 BP Pleads Guilty To Negligent Oil Spill

But almost sadder than the spill itself is the news that the $20 million dollar sentence was a mere drop in the bucket compared to the $353 million the organization agreed to shell out over a separate incident.

It seems BP accepted blame for the manipulation of Midwestern energy markets and the explosion of a refinery in Texas that killed 15 people.

For a company with a 2006 adjusted net profit of $22 billion, making restitutions in the hundreds of millions seems hardly a deterrent. Perhaps we need a stricter policy to ensure safe and thorough practices, like, say… You leak 200,000 gallons of oil due to negligence, and we’re shutting you down.

That’s probably not the answer, but it might cause other oil companies to step up to the plate. After all, BP’s not the only one spilling and paying.

R.I.P. Maderian Large White Butterfly

butterfly 06 R.I.P. Maderian Large White Butterfly

We interrupt your reading pleasure to bring you a devastating announcement: the Maderian Large White is the first butterfly to become extinct in Europe since the 17th century.

At a recent International conference of butterfly experts, it was confirmed that many butterfly species around the world are either endangered or extinct. The conference was held as the inaugural meeting of organizations partnering together to form the Butterfly Conservation Europe. Experts from over 31 different countries were represented and the devastating news of the Maderian Large White was announced.

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Raising Deep Water in Ocean Tubes

darkskies 01 Raising Deep Water in Ocean Tubes

Here’s the latest solution from the global war on climate change: giant metal tubes that force cooler water to the surface of the ocean. National Geographic News recently reported a proposal by James Lovelock, a British scientist and the author of the holistic world view known as the Gaia theory, that would sequester CO2 “naturally” by fostering algae growth at the surface of the ocean.

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Something New Sprouting Up in NYC, A Green Pre-School

christina houri green pre school le petit paradise Something New Sprouting Up in NYC, A Green Pre School

Back in the day, my Japanese mother would pack me a super healthy lunch consisting of a whole-wheat cheese and lettuce sandwich, with tomatoes grown in our garden, accompanied by a flask of freshly squeezed orange juice. Needless to say, I was mortified — longing to be like the other kids in kindergarten who had white spaghetti waffles, green cordial and a packet of Cheetos. But some 30 years on, it looks like Mama knew best after all.

christina houri green lunch school le petit paradise Something New Sprouting Up in NYC, A Green Pre School

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John Smedley | Cotton Masquerading As Cashmere

john smedley cotton cashmere John Smedley | Cotton Masquerading As Cashmere

There’s no shortage of bankruptcy-inducing English brands on the market. From Burberry and Alexander McQueen to Paul Smith and Dunhill, these established high-end luxury labels are as desirable as they are decadent.

But here’s something to get excited about: a UK designer label that’s both sumptuous and socially conscious.

Old-time English luxury label, John Smedley (established 1784), best known for their opulent knitwear, have teamed up with Better Thinking Ltd. to come up with the perfect tee. The shirt is touted as “Luxury Redefined” — and with two years in the making, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better made garment.

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Climate Change Mega Disasters

climate change mega disasters01 Climate Change Mega Disasters

If you’ve been considering donating money to help intergovernmental organizations make the necessary changes to stop global warming, the time to give is now. According to UN emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, all of the major storms this year amount to a “climate change mega disaster.” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Brad Pitt Can’t Believe His Eyes, New Orleans Left To Die

bradpitt neworleans rebuilding01 Brad Pitt Cant Believe His Eyes, New Orleans Left To Die

I’m a Brad Pitt fan. Have been ever since I saw “Kalifornia”, while not a movie for everyone is my version of a modern classic. Throw in “Twelve Monkeys”, “Fight Club” and stir, and you’ve got an unparalleled cinematic resume.

I even had a brief encounter with Brad. I was on the Fox lot, where he was shooting “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”. I was walking down a long hallway and I saw him coming toward me. I’m not usually starstruck, but there’s something undeniably magical about seeing The Brad in person. So much so that I stopped in my tracks. Literally. Like a huge dork.

But apparently this sort of reaction was nothing new for Brad, who continued walking toward me, completely unfazed. As he passed, he smiled understandingly, looked me straight in the eye, and said “Hey, man. How’s it going?” Not a pivotal moment in history, but it concretized my impression of Brad as the coolest movie star on the planet.

And here it is, three years later, and The Brad just keeps getting cooler. And for much more important reasons. Labeled one of “15 People Who Make America Great” by Newsweek magazine, Pitt has traveled to Africa to raise awareness for the Make Poverty History campaign, he’s filmed PSAs for AIDS-ravaged Kenya and Ethiopia, he’s taken part in telethons for the victims of 9/11 and now he’s turning his generosity toward New Orleans. Via Make It Right:

bradpitt neworleans rebuilding02 Brad Pitt Cant Believe His Eyes, New Orleans Left To Die

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Terracycle, The Secret Life of Worms

terracycle Terracycle, The Secret Life of Worms

Ever wondered what worms do all day? I recently discovered that some worms are making a profit for a small fertilizer company based in New Jersey. The company is called Terracycle and they put worms to work. Terracycle employs them to Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

San Francisco Bay Spill | Delayed Response Worsens Impact

sanfrancisco oil spill 01 San Francisco Bay Spill | Delayed Response Worsens Impact

The most chilling part of what occurred on November 7th in the San Francisco Bay is not so much the accident itself human error is inevitable to a certain degree but the slow response to the accident that, according to an article on abc.com, will result in most of the 58,000 gallons of spilled oil being absorbed into the ecosystem. Shouldn’t previous oil catastrophes (Exxon Valdez, anyone?) have taught us to treat each of these as worst case scenarios? Must we wait for the inevitable before putting into place a real, actionable plan?

While the Coast Guard maintains that their response was immediate 30 minutes after the distress call – they did acknowledge some “miscommunication” with local officials, but said this didn’t interfere with relief efforts. However, the article points out that the much-needed oil-skimming vehicles did not show up until 90 minutes after the call, allowing many more thousands of gallons of oil to do their damage.

sanfrancisco oil spill 03 San Francisco Bay Spill | Delayed Response Worsens Impact

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Doesn’t Getting Nuked Sound Great?

nuclear plant 01 Doesnt Getting Nuked Sound Great?

Is it just me or when you hear the words “Three Mile Island” you think of a nuclear disaster? Though that label may be technically correct, the truth is not one person died at Three Mile Island. Not one person was even injured.

I may have only been 5, but I am usually a somewhat more astute historian, as I thought Three Mile Island was some sort of nuclear holocaust. I thought there were at least some people who melted. To say that someone’s publicity team didn’t do a very good job of spinning that story is perhaps an understatement. If I’m your average consumer, and you add Chernobyl into the marketing mix, you’ve got yourself one very wary nuclear public. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

The G8 Nations Of Power Agree Global Warming Is An Issue!

g8 summit police The G8 Nations Of Power Agree Global Warming Is An Issue!

Just incase you missed the massive in-depth up to the second coverage of the G8, we thought we would do a recap. Yes, we know it happened in July, but it seems like no one really noticed, so here it is again.

I suppose we have to look at this year’s G8 summit as somewhat of a success. However porous the language may be, however ineffectual cutting current emissions levels 50% by 2050 ultimately will be, and even though that figure could not be agreed upon by the emerging economies of the world, at least it’s a step in the right direction. At least we have the dirty little secret about carbon polluting out into the worldwide open. Right? Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Animal Rights Special on National Geographic

Should animals have the same rights as humans? The National Geographic show Inside Base Camp presents the controversial proposition of animal rights. Guest include professor Steven Wise, the author of Drawing the Line: Science and the Case for Animal Rights.

From Wikipedia: Wise’s position on animal rights is that some animals, particularly primates, meet the criteria of legal personhood, and should therefore be awarded certain rights and protections. His criteria for personhood are that the animal must be able to desire things, to act in an intentional manner to acquire those things, and must have a sense of self i.e. the animals must know that s/he exists. Wise argues that chimpanzees, bonobos, elephants, parrots, dolphins, orangutans, and gorillas meet these criteria. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

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