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Earth Links

It's not easy being green on the Web. Here's where to find up-to-date information.

February 15, 2001|ROBERT BURNS | robert.burns@latimes.com

The Internet is starting to show its age. Web sites updated in this decade are getting harder to find than a venture capitalist at a Linux convention.

With that in mind, we'll set our sights on current events, specifically, environmental issues, in the hope that these pages are, well, current. And surfing is out of the question; finding good sites these days is strictly a gill net operation.

The Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov) is a good place to start. This month there's a feature article on the Mississippi River, which supplies drinking water to 50 cities. Fortunately, Los Angeles isn't one of them. An interactive U.S. map leads to regional stories. There's also extensive information on a variety of topics, including global warming, which the EPA evidently considers real.

Not so at Eco-Logic (http://www.eco.freedom.org/el/20010201), which proudly proclaims, "Satellite 'Warming' Vanishes!" Another article calls the global warming hype a United Nations plot "to impose global environmental governance." Pssst. Have you heard that it's U.N. operatives who have been melting the glaciers? Yeah, with space heaters.

But enough of the tree huggers at Eco. With President Bush in office the environment is sure to be safe.

Some Republicans are more eco-friendly than others. Rep America (http://www.repamerica.org) calls itself "the environmental conscience of the GOP." They're even upset about the appointment of Gale Norton as interior secretary.

From the land of the SUV comes the California Global Warming Campaign (http://www.caglobalwarming.org), where we find out that California is second only to Texas in carbon dioxide emissions. Sigh. No. 2 again.

More activist-type dudes can try the Surfrider Foundation (http://www.surfrider.org). Here you can find which beaches have water quality advisories. The Malibu chapter's page (http://www.surfrider.org/SFMalibu/newpage.htm) gets more specific on what you can catch in the water besides a wave.

Other groups that combine education with activity include Audubon (http://www.audubon.org), the Sierra Club (http://www.sierraclub.org), Greenpeace (http://www.greenpeace.org) and Heal the Bay (http://www.healthebay.org), which has a beach report card.

For another type of report card, on the environmental voting records of our fearful leaders, visit the League of Conservation Voters (http://www.lcv.org). A state scorecard can be found at the California League of Conservation Voters (http://www.ecovote.org).

Earth Day Network (http://www.earthday.net) has an extensive Web site that includes Grist Magazine, "a beacon in the smog." Daily Grist picks up environmental stories from many mainstream sources.

Another source for news is the Environmental News Network (http://www.enn.com). There's also a big marketplace section. Sometimes you feel like saving the planet. Sometimes you feel like shopping.

Sometimes you also feel like eating. The folks at FoodNews.org (http://www.foodnews.org) are definitely not in the "better living through chemicals" camp. We especially like the supermarket section, where you can fill your shopping cart and then find out which pesticides you've just bought. Some fresh-ground Chlorothalonil on your salad?

There is, of course, a flip side to this aerosol can.

The Guest Choice Network (http://www.guestchoice.com) is a coalition of restaurant and tavern owners that "stands up against the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, vegetarian activists and meddling bureaucrats." Fine. Eat ice cream instead of tofu. But those Health Department letter grades in restaurant windows are staying right where they are.

The Heartland Institute (http://www.heartland.org) is so anti-environment that it is actually pro-tobacco. There's only so much exhaust a car can generate.

The Ayn Rand Institute brings its take to environmentalism at http://environmentalism.aynrand.org. Now normally Ayn makes us feel all fuzzy and warm, so editorials such as "Earth Day Celebrates Hatred of Man" and another comparing mainstream environmentalists to Ted Kaczynski were a bit of a surprise. Luckily, we could shrug it off.

Finally, there's Greenpiece.org (http://www.greenpiece.org), which bills itself as a parody of Greenpeace International. Dudes, word: Your site is what we call "critical" of Greenpeace. "Parodies" are supposed to be satirical or humorous imitations. Can you try it again, please?

*

Robert Burns is an assistant Business editor at The Times.

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