Maine Voices: Lobstermen threatened with the extinction of their way of life

In response to the threat of lawsuits, the National Marine Fisheries Service has pressured Maine into a proposal to reduce, by 50 percent, the number of vertical lines Maine fishermen use to haul their lobster traps. The only problem with this is that there is not one instance where a right whale entanglement and/or death was proven to have been caused by a Maine vertical fishing line.

Most Maine lobster gear is tended much closer to the coast than right whales would normally traverse. There are rare exceptions, but the vast majority of whales travel far offshore through the Gulf of Maine. Most Maine fishermen have never seen a right whale, including fishermen offshore, who already fish long trawls to reduce the number of vertical lines as much as can be safely done.

Maine Voices: Lobstermen threatened with the extinction of their way of life –



Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Overnight Trains

While changes in the travel industry have tended to pressure night trains off the market, it’s clear that there is still some appetite for them among travelers. When Germany’s Deutsche Bahn halted its night services in 2017, Austrian Federal Railways took over some of the key routes. The takeover has proved to be a success, with passenger numbers on the services …rising from 1.4 million to 1.6 million between 2017 and 2018, a rise in profits, and talk of expansion. Meanwhile, well-established leisure services such as the London-to-Scotland Caledonian Sleeper continue to thrive.

The overnight train services remain popular because many people actually like them. The duration of travel, of course, is usually far longer than by plane, even when layovers and security are factored in, but there are other compensations. Generally scheduled to leave late evening and arrive before the working day begins, night trains offer the possibility of sleep and more leisurely travel compared to an early-morning rush to the airport. They can also be reasonably priced: On the Vienna-to-Berlin night service, for example, a one-way ticket with a reclining sleeper seat starts at €29 ($32.50), a couchette (a four- or six-person compartment whose bunks fold down into comfortable seating during the day) at €49 ($55), and a single-berth sleeper with private toilet and shower at €139 ($159). If the trip saves you the cost of a hotel room, many people seem to be noting, that’s not a bad deal.

So while the outlook seemed bleak just a few years ago, Sweden’s plan arrives at a time when the sector’s fortunes seem to be brightening once more.

…Getting more people on the rails can only have a positive effect in reducing the carbon footprint of international mobility.

Sweden Wants to Revive Europe’s Overnight Trains – CityLab


Andrew Yang is out to save the American mall

 At one time the US was home to  …2,000 [malls:] climate-controlled, multi-level, windowless and flanked on each end by well-lit department stores. There are just over 1,000 indoor American malls alive today, with analysts putting the number of mall closures within the next five years at between 20 and 25 percent.

,,,Yang’s policy would fund struggling malls with matching grants and tax incentives to the tune of $6 billion. Investing in and revitalizing dead malls doesn’t just mean bringing retail back; he’s also a big believer in transforming and repurposing malls into “[o]ffices, churches, indoor recreation spaces, anything we can do to keep these spaces vital and positive is an enormous win for the surrounding community,” reads his campaign site. Mall closures, Yang tweeted last month, “have a disastrous effect on local property values.”

…Abandoned malls are what the Congress for the New Urbanism coined “greyfields,” as reported by CityLab, for the seas of parking lots that surround them. Yang’s campaign pledge to transform vacant malls into multi-purpose spaces is right in line with New Urbanism’s architectural and urban planning movement to create mixed-use, “live, work, shop, play” centers, …(ICSC) found that 78 percent of US adults would consider living in such a center.

Democratic debates 2020: Andrew Yang on universal basic income and saving malls – Vox

A more flexible version of this plan, one that doesn’t necessarily envision “high-end” mixed use, would be very interesting.

Rep. Cheney Accuses Tribes of “Destroying our Western Way of Life” Over Grizzly Protections

Removing protections from the bear, revered as sacred to a multitude of tribes, would have left the grizzly vulnerable to high-dollar trophy hunts and lifted leasing restrictions on some 34,375 square miles. Extractive industry, livestock and logging interests are among those desirous of capitalizing on the area, a region comprised of tribal treaty, reserved rights and ceded lands.

…“I would remind the Congresswoman that at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition an estimated 100,000 grizzly bears roamed from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. That was all Indian Country. Now there are fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears and our people live in Third World conditions on meager reservations in the poorest counties in the US. Does she really want to talk about ‘destroying’ a ‘way of life’?” asked Rodgers.

…Tribal Nations, including the Oglala Sioux Tribe which petitioned for a Congressional inquiry into the influence of multi-national fossil-fuel corporations on FWS’s grizzly delisting decision, previously exposed the role of extractive industry in the process. USFWS engaged multinational oil and gas services group, Amec Foster Wheeler, for the peer review of its grizzly delisting rule that tribes and environmental groups deconstructed in court. Amec Foster Wheeler appointed Halliburton executive Jonathan Lewis as CEO in the same timeframe as USFWS contracted the company.

“That puts ‘harmful to the ecosystem’ into its true context,” responded Rodgers. “The Cheney family’s connections to Halliburton hardly needs elaborating upon,” added Chief Stan Grier, President of the Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs. 

…“There’s more chance of her father receiving the Nobel Peace Prize than her “Grizzly Bear State Management Act” reaching the House floor,” said Rodgers of Cheney’s bill.

Rep. Cheney Accuses Tribes of “Destroying our Western Way of Life” Over Sacred Grizzly Protections — Native News Online