Enviros get trumped

Auntie Ruth is green to the eco scene. Read up each week as she weeds through the dirt and unearths new gems of environmental knowledge.

Auntie Ruth recently learned that one of her favorite former professional soccer players from Italy has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. And he’s not the first. Forty-one retired players in the country’s premier league have suffered from the incurable disease since 1973, leaving scientists grappling to figure out the causes of this mysterious epidemic. Some blame pesticides used on soccer fields, while others suggest doping or physical injuries from repeatedly heading the ball are the culprits. But if the latter reasons are to blame, scientists wonder why soccer players in other countries aren’t similarly affected. Some scientists think the Italian cases are a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, and are gathering information from stadium groundskeepers about pesticide use over the past 50 years.

Multimillionaire real-estate mogul Donald Trump got the nod from Scottish officials earlier this month to build Europe’s largest golf and housing resort on what conservationists consider a sensitive coastal region. Trump’s win comes after his two-year battle with environmentalists, who claim the country’s financial woes have led the government to cave into the project. The planned resort was initially rejected last year by a local group in Aberdeenshire charged with considering the project, but the Scottish government took over when Trump threatened to take his $1.6 billion plan to Ireland, reported The Washington Post. Trump claims the resort will be a cash cow for Scotland’s economy (to the tune of $100 million annually) and will create 1,400 full-time jobs. Conservationists say the environment will pay the price.

Even though Auntie Ruth is still relatively green to the eco-scene, there’s no excuse for how she recently made a major flub, confusing two old-school philosophers (An Inconvenient Ruth, November 13). She intended to inform readers about how plant species documented in the book Walden are disappearing at alarming rates because of climate change; but she misidentified the author of the book as Ralph Waldo Emerson, when she meant Henry David Thoreau. A reader kindly pointed this mistake out, noting how Walden is the “original North American environmental manifesto” and Ruth should have known better. This is the most embarrassing day of Auntie Ruth’s life!