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Ribbons & Rebukes

Rebuke for specious speculation Who said toxic sludge was good for fish? Well, it was either the Environmental Protection Agency or the Army Corps of Engineers. Each blames the other for an unsigned memo that asserts a perplexing theory: By dumping contaminated effluent into the Potomac, the Corps is actually benefiting endangered fish by encouraging them to flee areas where they might be hooked by fishermen. Yeah. And DDT was great birth control for bald eagles, too.

Ribbon for class consciousness Forget being one of those parents who forces colleagues to buy candy bars. Fund-raising just got less annoying. Now kids can collect used printer cartridges and send them to Pennsylvania's Funding Factory, which refills and re-sells them (for cheaper than new ones). The company then rewards schools with things like new computers.

Rebuke for deleterious deliveries Of course you've got mail -- we've all got mail from America Online. The company's marketing strategy -- blanketing the country with free CDs of AOL software -- has never been subtle (or environmentally friendly). But this year it started sending its junk mail in slick-looking aluminum cases. Too bad all those strip-mines don't disappear when you press CTRL+ALT+DEL. -- Jason Best

Illustration: Anthony Russo

OnEarth. Fall 2002
Copyright 2002 by the Natural Resources Defense Council