THE FUZZY FACES OF GUS THE POLAR BEAR
When we asked whether polar bears should be the “fuzzy face of climate change” in our January/February 2013 cover story, we weren’t specifically thinking of Gus, the famous ursine inhabitant of New York’s Central Park Zoo, who was put down August 27 at age 27. Gus was far better known for his obsessive swimming than his environmental activism. Nonetheless, “he was an important ambassador for his species,” said a Wildlife Conservation Society official in a press release, “bringing attention to the problems these bears face in the wild due to a changing environment.”
A report by a panel of outside experts on how to rigorously evaluate data from the Millennium Villages program is expected later this year.
The U.S. Department of Justice has made life a little simpler for state officials in Washington and Colorado as they wrestle with how to regulate their newly legal marijuana industries (“Dept. of Weed Control,” July/August 2013). In August, the feds promised to overlook those states’ violations of national drug laws as long as they worked to honor eight “federal interests,” including keeping pot away from kids, squeezing violent crooks out of the industry, preventing “drugged driving,” and “preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal in some forms under state law to other states.” Good luck, and we mean it!
Economist Jeffrey Sachs and his poverty-fighting Millennium Villages project have been widely criticized, notably in Nina Munk’s book, The Idealist(reviewed by Howard W. French in our September/October 2013 issue). Officials at the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank don’t seem to mind; they announced $104 million in financing for the project in August, at an Islamic finance interest rate of zero percent. A report by a panel of outside experts on how to rigorously evaluate data from the Millennium Villages program is expected later this year.