Frequent flier food: The environmentalist writer Bill McKibben recently spent a Vermont winter living entirely on food produced locally. That meant, of course, plenty of root vegetables and a very large freezer. McKibben has crafted a memorable book about his experiences. We writers put ourselves through all sorts of trials for the sake of a good story. But storytelling aside, is there a compelling reason to eat local food? — Forbes

An indigenous perspective on climate change: Cameras flashed as two Mayan delegates from Guatemala laid flowers on the stage, a ritual intended to bring good fortune to the Third International Seminar on Indigenous Women and Global Climate Change, held in Bogota in September. Yet as soon as their short ceremony had finished, the audience’s interest waned. Many attendees who had participated in the earlier talks by academics and environmentalists at the seminar, which brought together indigenous delegates from eight Latin American countries, drifted away. “They always just leave us talking,” complained one indigenous delegate. This is the challenge for those working to incorporate indigenous voices into discussions on climate change: to make ethnic indigenous perspectives impossible to be ignored. — LatinAmerican Press

Saudi Arabia seeks positive role in tackling climate change: Saudi Arabia insisted yesterday that it wanted to play a positive role in tackling global warming but this should be done with new technology, not “discriminatory” taxes against oil and petroleum. Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, said his country had signed up to the Kyoto protocol and was as interested as any other in tackling climate change but the world had to accept it would be dependent for decades on fossil fuels. Talk of peak oil and supply problems was the result of “confused” thinking by so-called oil experts and financial speculators who had driven crude to highs of nearly $100 a barrel unnecessarily, he said. — Guardian

Anatomically odd African dinosaur sucked up plants: Paleontologists have unveiled a 110-million-year old African dinosaur with a weird anatomy including a mouth that powered through ground greenery like a vacuum, and almost translucent skull bones. The fossilised sauropod dinosaur, which was found in Niger, has been dubbed Nigersaurus Taqueti … Interestingly, it was able to sustain an elephant-sized body with what one could call an ultra-light head. — SMH

Hurricane Katrina released large amounts of carbon: The destruction of 320 million large trees by Hurricane Katrina reduced the capacity of forests in the Southern United States to soak up carbon, reports a new study published in the journal Science. The research shows that hurricanes and other natural disturbances “can affect a landscape’s potential as a ‘carbon sink’ because the dead vegetation then decays, returning carbon to the atmosphere, and because the old vegetation is replaced by smaller, younger plants.” — Monga Bay

Peter Fray

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