Independent journalists denied access to Copenhagen climate talks

COPENHAGEN -- Climate change has become the story of the decade and probably the century. So it’s no surprise that the global climate negotiations beginning here today are making the headlines of nearly every major news organization in the world. With thousands of journalists in attendance, the conference seemed at low risk of going underreported. Or so I imagined.

[caption id="attachment_6760" align="alignright" width="98" caption="Alexander Kelly"]Alexander Kelly[/caption]

Late last night, I stood in line to receive my press pass to cover the negotiations. I was glad to have access to the front lines of the climate debate and the resources to report it. Imagine, then, the surprise I felt upon arriving at the press desk only to learn that my accreditation had been rescinded. The reason given: the UN had accredited too many journalists.

Incredulous, I showed the UN official, a man in his mid-20s, a copy of the email I received from the UN press office just a few weeks earlier. It contained three simple words: “Received and approved,” followed by directions for collecting my press pass. The man behind the counter glanced at the paper and told me he would be back in a few moments. He returned with a simple message: We are very sorry, but our records show that you have been denied, and we cannot provide you accreditation at this time.

Excuse me? Really? I flew almost 5,000 miles from the Pacific Northwest to Copenhagen to be denied access to an event I have spent half a year preparing for? Standing next to me was our video journalist, Blair Kelly, who took the email from his hands and told him to get his supervisor.

[caption id="attachment_6758" align="alignleft" width="226" caption="On the outside looking in.

Copenhagen climate talks start with protests against rich nations' pollution of atmosphere

We're starting to receive images from the beginning of the United Nations conference on climate change in Copenhagen, which kicked off today. For more on the conference see introductory posts by Alexander Kelly and Robert McClure:

[caption id="attachment_6726" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Protesters from ActionAid demand that rich industrialized countries pay reparations to poor countries bearing the brunt of climate change. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan"]Protesters from ActionAid demand that rich industrialized countries pay reparations to poor countries bearing the brunt of climate change. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan[/caption]

cop 12-7 action aid protesters 

[caption id="attachment_6718" align="aligncenter" width="226" caption="Reporter with Taiwan-based CTi News covers the ActionAid protest. InvestigateWest photo by Mark Malijan."]Reporter with Taiwan-based CTi News covers the ActionAid protest.</p />
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Rita Hibbard's picture

Take a hike. It's good for all of us.

Here's something for your Friday. Take a hike.

Psychologists at the University of Rochester conducted four experiments with 370 people  who were shown computer images of either natural settings or man-made settings. The subjects studied and described the images. Bottom line - being one with nature not only makes you feel better, it makes you behave better.

In all four studies, people exposed to images of nature rated close relationships and community values higher than they had after observing man-made environments. The more deeply engaged people were in the natural settings, the more they valued community and closeness to others. The more intensely they focused on man-made settings, the more they valued fame and wealth.

The study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, might lead civic leaders and urban planners to incorporatealpe-dhuez-014 more parks, green space and nature into city life, the LA Times noted in its health-related blog, Booster Shots.

"We are influenced by our environment in ways that we are not aware of," the lead author of the study, Netta Weinstein, said in a news release. "The more you appreciate nature, the more you can benefit."

-- Rita Hibbard

Car washing can harm fish, WA regulators say

Saying soap, metals and other pollutants in runoff from car-washing can make their way into streams and harm fish, Washington environmental regulators are requiring residents to keep that runoff out of storm drains. The Washington Department of Ecology is requiring cities to adopt ordinances saying car washing wastewater has to stay  on the washer’s property. Officials say the best way to do that is to wash the car on gravel or grass rather than pavement – or go to a commercial car wash. Local governments are likely to try to get the word out through public education campaigns. Doug Navetski of King County’s water-quality division told Phuong Le of the AP: “Are we going to have car wash police out there? No.”