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The U.S. political economy is failing across a broad front-environmentally, socially, economically, and politically. Deep, systemic change is needed to transition to a new economy, one where the acknowledged priority is to sustain human and natural communities. Policies are available to effect this transformation and to temper economic growth and consumerism while simultaneously improving social well-being and quality of life, but a new politics involving a coalescing of progressive communities is needed to realize these policies.

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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), joined by 49 other representatives and five other senators, are asking U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to retain the regulated status of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa. Their letter comes in response to a USDA Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) finding “no significant impact” from the use of genetically modified versions of the crop.

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The fundamental truth of our time is that this culture is killing the planet. We can quibble all we want-and quibble too many do-about whether it is killing the planet or merely causing one of the six or seven greatest mass extinctions in the past several billion years, but no reasonable person can argue that industrial civilization is not grievously injuring life on Earth.

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In the aftermath of January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, post-disaster relief is creating a new kind of problem for businesses there. The massive influx of food aid has altered the price of rice, throwing the delicate balance in Haiti’s food supply chain out of whack and threatening to collapse the country’s rice market. It’s the kind of problem that can turn a one-time disaster into a crisis that lasts years.

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