The New York Times on the U.S.'s energy boom Once it was thought that North America was doomed to dependence on foreign oil. But from offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to oil sands in Canada and hydraulic fracking for natural gas everywhere, the United States may be on the verge of an energy boom with the potential of making America a "new Middle East," according to one analysts, as the New York Times' Jad Mouawad reports. The consequences, both economic and environmental, of an abundance of cheap, carbon-based energy are many. While more natural gas and oil mean less investment in much dirtier coal, environmentalists are worried that Gulf drilling can cause more Deepwater Horizon-like oil spills and hydraulic fracking will pollute drinking water -- not to mention, of course, the Earth-warming carbon dioxide the burning of any fossil fuel inevitably releases. Meanwhile, businesses are adapting by adopting the natural gas in shipping and manufacturing.
The Guardian on the business of bees The threat to the world's bee populations due to pesticides isn't strictly an ecological problem. It's also an economic one. "How valuable are bees?" asks Damian Carrington at The Guardian. "In the UK, about £1.8bn a year, according to new research on the cost of hand-pollinating the many crops bees service for free." Noting that already half of the United Kingdom's honey bees are managed by humans, Carrington identifies factors suppressing bee populations: fewer flowery meadows, outbreaks of parasites and disease, and most notably pesticides used on crops, which recent studies suggest act as nerve agents in bees. Carrington asks the British government to stop being stubborn and act to ban the pesticides, lest it hurt, rather than help, crop production.