Environment Forum

Surprise ending to director’s oil sands visit

James Cameron did not meet expectations with his high-profile visit to Alberta’s oil sands, and that’s probably to the Canadian-born filmmaker’s credit.

An earlier contention by the director of “Titanic” and “Avatar” that development of the massive energy resource was a black eye for Canada had industry supporters in a tizzy.

Surely, his trip to oil sands plants and native communities in the region would be just another example of some celebrity seeking to burnish his green cred without knowing the real story, they said.cameron

On the other side of the emotional debate, some green groups staunchly opposed development expected Cameron to fully side with them. They had trumpeted comparisons between the oil sands and resource extraction portrayed on the fictional planet Pandora in “Avatar.”

In the end, he proved them both wrong.

After his tour this week, he told Reuters he realized the complexities of what is the largest crude deposit outside the Middle East and a major environmental battleground, and that there are no easy answers.

Mickey Mouse meets Mr. Polar Bear at green theme park

Southern California — home to Disneyland, the mother of all amusement parks — welcomed a new attraction this month. But this theme park has no Mickey Mouse or roller coasters and is housed inside a mall instead of spread out over a swath of space.

Called Environmentaland, it is more of an interactive museum that has taken the environment as its theme.

The goal is to show there are “no free rides in life,” said Eric Ritz, executive director of Global Inheritance. The nonprofit opened the self-proclaimed first environmental theme park this month in Hollywood.

Hollywood’s greenest stars honor U.S. environmental group

Dozens of the world’s top movie, television and music stars showed off their green cred on Saturday night at a Hollywood-style fundraiser honoring the Natural Resource Defense Council‘s 20 years in Southern California.

The event at Beverly Hills’ Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel was a who’s who of Hollywood environmentalists, including actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford, and Laurie David, a global warming activist and producer of the Al Gore movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” All three are trustees of the NRDC’s Southern California office. In 2003, the group even dedicated its new building to Redford.

It’s no secret that the environment and climate change is a hot cause in Hollywood, and it’s hard to imagine another social issue drawing as much star power to one event. The party also raised a hefty $2 million.

Is California really banning black cars?

Has it come to this in California? Is the Golden State really banning black cars from its famous freeways, as reported in various auto industry blogs – and even The Washington Post – on the grounds that they require more air conditioning to cool?

The answer, a slightly exasperated spokesman for air quality regulator the California Air Resources Board tells Reuters, is an emphatic “NO.”

CARB spokesman Stanley Young calls the story a “very unfortunate case of misinformation from the blogosphere” stemming from proposed draft regulations that have¬†since been put on the back burner by the agency.¬† But even those draft regulations, he says, never contemplated a ban on black cars.