This is the latest news, victories, investigations and events happening in your community and around the world for the environment. There are also articles on things some wonderful folks are going to do and have accomplished. 

100,000 Animals Drowning Every Year in The Plastic We Throw Away

100,000 Animals Drowning Every Year in The Plastic We Throw Away

With an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of our oceans, our addiction to plastic is killing countless animals in some of the most horrific ways imaginable.

Considered by many as a threat worse than climate change, in a disturbing new report, leading expert Charles J. Moore, says that plastic is ‘choking our future in ways that most of us are barely aware.’

From takeouts and coffee cups, to toothbrushes and tires, plastic has become an integral part of human existence, but the real problem is where all the plastic that we throw out every day ends up.

Animals are the Victims of Our Throwaway Society

Plastic production has increased by more than 500% in the last 30 years, and with most people not giving a second thought as to what happens after they toss it out, plastic is taking over the ocean and threatening the animals that call it their home.

Huge garbage patches the size of Wales are forming in the world’s oceans, comprised of cigarette lighters, shampoo bottles, yogurt pots, plastic rings from six packs and much more. For hundreds of miles without end, Moore’s research vessel passed plastics of every description. During his trip Moore came across one of the most upsetting scenes he has ever encountered.

“I’ve seen many scenes in my work studying whales, dolphins and marine mammals, both uplifting and disheartening. But one of the saddest was the sight of a young grey seal pup in a colony on the idyllic shores of Cape Cod.

It was an otherwise healthy animal — but with a plastic strap looped round its neck — the kind you get around a parcel. Slowly but surely, as the animal grew, its noose would tighten.

As I looked at the animal, I could foretell its painful death, probably from starvation, as the seal became unable to feed.”

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals are dying each year as a result of eating plastic, just like the sperm whale that was recently discovered dead in Spain with 100 plastic bags inside its stomach. As if these figures aren’t shocking enough, experts also believe that more than 1 million seabirds are also being killed from ocean pollution, ingestion or entanglement.

We are the ones creating all this rubbish, and as such we share a collective responsibility for the deaths it is causing. We cannot shake it from our conscience by ignoring the situation or turning a blind eye; it is time to take responsibility and make changes.

What You Can Do To Help

The best way to stop plastic pollution in our oceans is to make sure it never reaches the water in the first place. Reducing, reusing and recycling is the way forward.

Take action today by following these steps to help cut down on your plastic use and protect our oceans:

  • Bring your own fabric bags to the store
  • Always choose reusable items whenever possible
  • If you need to use plastic, make sure you recycle after you’ve used it
  • Let businesses know that you want packaging that is fully recyclable
  • Host a clean up day where you get together with a group of volunteers to pick up trash at your local beach
  • Support and spread the message of organizations fighting plastic pollution

Read more:

Definitely cute overload. This is what happens when a squirrel steals your GoPro camera (video)

It's totally unTreeHugger (well it does get 160 MPG) but I like this bike.

I so want the Motoped Survival Bike

Take this berry seriously.

5 poisonous berries that you should steer clear of

TreeHugger emeritus Jerry James Stone has started a movement!

I'm on the TeeVee talking about glass walls and radiator fin balconies, and why in fifteen or twenty years there may be a big bill to pay.

Center for Biological Diversity

ew Report Shows EPA Must Cut Airlines' Carbon Pollution -- Take Action

Airplane contrail  As Americans frantically calculate baggage fees for their Thanksgiving flights, a new report finds that the profitable airline industry isn't cutting carbon pollution.

U.S. domestic airlines showed no fuel efficiency improvement last year, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. That highlights the urgent need for EPA regulations. Aviation now accounts for about 11 percent of carbon emissions from the U.S. transportation sector, and emissions are rising 3 percent to 5 percent every year.

After the Center and others launched legal action against the EPA for ignoring the airlines' huge contribution to global warming, two months ago the agency finally announced the start of the first step in the regulatory process.

"Airlines are banking sizeable profits even as they ignore fuel efficiency and emit more carbon pollution," said the Center's Vera Pardee. "To preserve a livable planet, we need the EPA to move quickly to fight this problem using the Clean Air Act. Our climate cannot take any further delay."

Act now to urge the EPA to cut airplane carbon pollution.

NASA Releases Simulation of Global CO2 Flow -- Watch Video

CO2 circulationEver wonder where our pollution goes? A captivating new video simulation of how carbon dioxide flows around the world, which took 75 days to create on a NASA supercomputer, depicts plumes of the greenhouse gas gushing into the atmosphere and swirling among the continents along with weather systems.

Using emissions data from May 2005 to June 2007, the high-res mapping illustrates two oft-neglected facts: One, CO
2 emissions come almost exclusively from the Northern Hemisphere. Two, massive amounts of the gas are absorbed seasonally by forests and other vegetation. As the model's time frame moves from spring to summer, the rivers of red gas begin to fade away, drawn out of the atmosphere by plants, and when early winter rolls around and vegetation goes dormant, CO2 flows back into the atmosphere.

Watch the very cool video now.

Oregon State Parks Foundation
Support Your State Parks: Become A Member!

You love Oregon state parks. Feeling the ocean sand between your toes, gazing in awe at the Gorge from Crown Point, and camping in your favorite state park are just a few of the lifelong memories Oregonians share. The Oregon State Parks Foundation is proud to have supported the restoration of Vista House and Heceta Head Lighthouse, and much good work remains to be done. That's why I invite you to help us continue to protect and enrich the future of Oregon state parks by becoming a member of the Oregon State Parks Foundation today. In return, we will send you an annual parking pass to help you enjoy and explore Oregon state parks this coming year.

Annual membership begins at just $45 and includes a 12-month day-use parking pass valid at all Oregon state parks, so you can visit as often as you like at no charge. Your pass will be mailed directly to your home — no need to stand in line during the busy holiday season!
Members also receive special invitations to insider field trips and other members-only events at Oregon state parks as well as progress reports about state park projects and improvements.
Your membership makes a real difference to help us support Oregon's amazing state parks. 
I ask you to become a member today and keep our state parks strong for generations to come.

Yours in state parks,

Oregon State Parks Foundation is the only statewide nonprofit dedicated
to enriching the state park experience for generations to come.
To learn more, visit

Support the Sierra Club today:

The U.S. Senate came closer than ever to approving the Keystone XL pipeline today.

Just 1 vote stood between us and losing one of the most important battles yet on climate change.

Simply put, the vote came Way. Too. Close. And with the new Senate being sworn in in January, you can bet this fight is about to get even harder.

I do have a small -- no, enormous -- piece of good news. The White House has indicated that it will veto any attempt by Congress to force approval of Keystone XL.

So far, President Obama's held the line. Will he continue to do so? That's the big question that our actions today will answer. In fact, we're holding an emergency staff meeting at Sierra Club today to fire up our aggressive campaign to make sure he does just that.

We have no choice but to defeat Keystone XL for good. I believe we can do it, and protect the wildlife and environment we hold so dear, but only with your help.

All signs point to Keystone's eventual defeat. Just this past Friday, President Obama said his position on the Keystone XL pipeline had not changed. And earlier in the week, he entered into a historic agreement with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But -- every day brings new challenges and one thing is clear: Big Oil wants Keystone SO BADLY, it's willing to spend anything and do anything to get its way -- even force these votes in Congress to get around the president. The opposition wants to force this pipeline on the American people. And that means the American people -- you, me, and everyone we know -- can't let them.

Right now, the best way to do that is to make sure President Obama knows we are here to fight against polluters with him.

We've worked so hard to stop the pipeline for a long time now. But we have to keep fighting. Our strong opposition matters more than ever. We're going to need the action and financial support from people like you in order to cut through the noise.

For our children, wildlife, and for the future of the planet -- make an emergency gift and help stop Keystone XL once and for all. How much we raise right now determines how big we can go to demonstrate the support we have for clean water, clean energy, safe wildlife, and stopping the pipeline. We're planning for rallies, thousands of comments and calls, and extensive media coverage -- but it can only happen with your help.

Keystone XL means wolves dying at gunpoint for oil, clean water poisoned with cancer-causing chemicals, clean air choked off with even more carbon. But it's more than this. Keystone XL is our line in the sand. The place where we planted our foot firmly down and said NO MORE.

The good news is, we've managed to stop the development of Keystone yet again. Just a few years ago, Keystone was "inevitable." We were told there was no stopping it. But people like you stood up and said NO MORE OIL. Countless times you rallied, you wrote, you donated.

So far at least. Now we just need to win this thing for good.

What you do now matters -- help stop Keystone XL once and for all. Don't close this email without clicking here to donate.

We won't stop until green-lighting Keystone is out of the question. Thanks for standing with us through this epic fight.



CREDO action
Tell the Pollinator Health Task Force: Ban bee-killing pesticides.

Due to the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, bees and other pollinators are dying-off at an alarming rate with dire implications for our food supply and domestic agriculture industry.

The federal government’s response to this crisis has been totally inadequate – but that could soon change. In June, President Obama created the Pollinator Health Task Force with the goal of focusing federal efforts to research, prevent, and recover from pollinator losses.1

Now, for the first time, the Pollinator Health Task Force is accepting public comments on what it should do to protect bees and other pollinators.2 We know a ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides is what’s needed to save the bees, but we only have a few days to pressure the task force to act before this crucial public comment period closes.

Tell the Pollinator Health Task Force: Ban bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. Click here to submit a public comment before the November 24 deadline.

Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in our food production system by enabling the production of many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables in our diets. In total, pollinators make possible an astounding 35% of global food production and contribute more than $24 billion annually to the U.S. economy. But the number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has declined from 6 million in the 1940s to just 2.5 million today – jeopardizing our food supply and domestic agriculture industry.3

That’s why President Obama tasked the secretary of agriculture and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency with co-chairing the Pollinator Health Task Force and leading the federal response to the devastating decline in populations of bees and other vital pollinators.

So far, both the USDA and EPA have displayed a disturbing lack of urgency when it comes to saving bees from deadly pesticides. In fact, the EPA’s current plan is to continue studying neonicotinoid pesticides until 2018 before it takes action to save our pollinators.4

But we can’t afford to wait four more years to do what’s necessary to save bees from deadly pesticides. With the White House paying attention to the issue and the Pollinator Health Task Force soliciting public input, now is the time to demand an immediate ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

Tell the Pollinator Health Task Force: Save the bees by banning neonicotinoid pesticides. Click here now to submit a public comment before the November 24 deadline.

Thanks for fighting to save bees and other vital pollinators.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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In 2016, the National Park System will be 100 years old. This centennial is a rare opportunity for all of us to celebrate and ensure our national parks are ready for their next century.

It needs to be much more than a party. Congress should advance legislation to fund more park rangers, fix park roads, protect clean park water, and establish more parks that preserve important lands and our shared history. Now that would be something to celebrate!

What can Congress do to support the parks?
  • Provide adequate funding for park operations and to address maintenance needs;
  • Pass bills to establish new park units that will protect and conserve America’s treasures;
  • Defend and uphold the president’s ability to preserve existing federal lands as national monuments--some of our greatest places like the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty where protected this way;
  • Pass the transportation reauthorization bill, the legislation largely responsible for providing transportation funding to national parks; and
  • Support the Clean Water Protection Rule, which would correct a confusing process for determining what is protected under the Clean Water Act.
What can you do?

TAKE ACTION: Send a message to your senators and representative encouraging them to support national parks when these issues come up in their committees, as amendments, or for a vote. It is important that our national parks are prioritized now in Congress.;jsessionid=311A03E9857843A789E5AE83E665E6CB.app337b?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1337&autologin=true&AddInterest=1084&utm_source=takeaction&utm_medium=email141117&utm_campaign=5opportunities

Union of Concerned Scientists

Today, on National Fast Food Day, we need your help to turn up the heat on McDonald's. Let's take to Twitter to publicly call McDonald's out.

As our report Donuts, Deodorant, Deforestation: Scoring America's Top Brands on Their Palm Oil Commitments documented, a new standard for responsible palm oil—one that protects tropical forests and our climate—has emerged. As tropical forests are cleared to make way for plantations for palm oil production, carbon is released into the atmosphere, driving global warming and shrinking habitats for endangered species. Tropical deforestation currently accounts for about 10 percent of the world's heat-trapping emissions.

More than 28,000 UCS supporters like you told six of America's top brands that there's no excuse to continue buying palm oil that pollutes our atmosphere and drives forest destruction. And five out of six listened! Thanks to your letters, Dunkin' Brands (owner of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins), Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and PepsiCo released or strengthened their palm oil policies. Everyone, that is, except McDonald's.

McDonald's continues to use palm oil that could be wreaking havoc on our environment. As the largest fast food company in the world, McDonald's should set the bar high and make a firm commitment to use only deforestation-free palm oil. Instead, they continue to stall.

National Fast Food Day

Join our mass mobilization by tweeting our graphic telling McDonald's that—for the sake of our atmosphere, tropical forests, and endangered species—the time to act is now. If you're not on Twitter, you can still get involved.

Together, we are holding corporations accountable and transforming the palm oil industry.


Miriam Swaffer

27 Clever Ways to Reuse Food Scraps

27 Clever Ways to Reuse Food Scraps

With 30-40 percent of our global food supply going to waste, anything that we can do to maximize the food we have can help. Check out these awesome ways to reuse food scraps to help you put a dent in the food waste in your kitchen!

1. Make broth. Celery tops, onion and garlic skins, carrot peels, and other food scraps are great for flavoring your vegetable broth. Just save the scraps in a freezer-safe container until you have enough to cook them up. When the broth is done, strain out the solids and toss them into your compost bin.

2. Use old lemon peels to infuse liquor. Check out this simple recipe for lemon brandy. You can also use this technique to make lemon vodka, rum, tequila…pretty much any liquor you like!

3. Save those kale stalks. Most recipes for kale and other dark leafy greens call for removing the leaves from the stems, but there is a lot of nutrition in those kale stalks! Try this recipe for kale stalks with chili and garlic.

4. A small slice of citrus peel keeps brown sugar from hardening. Just make sure that you store the sugar in the refrigerator, so the peel doesn’t rot.

5. Is your garbage disposer stinky? Throw citrus peels into the garbage disposer to destink it.

6. Apple peels make a tasty tea. If you want to make this recipe vegan, go for agave nectar or maple syrup in place of the honey or skip the sweetener all together.

7. Use apple peels to clean aluminum cookware. You can get the deets from DIY Network.

8. You can actually eat carrots without peeling them, but if you want to peel your carrots, save the peels. You can use them to make carrot oil, which is a great addition to your DIY beauty regimen.

9. Cucumber peels deter pests. You can find a list here of how to use cucumbers to deter ants, moths, mites, wasps, and silverfish.

10. Reuse those broccoli stems. Like kale stems broccoli stalks have tons of nutritional value. Just slice away the tough outer skin and try some of these recipes!

11. Does your kiddo eat his sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Save the crusts in a container in the fridge and grind them into breadcrumbs.


The Top 5 Most Polluted Countries in the World

The WHO has released a new study ranking countries with the worst air pollution. When we consider air pollution most of us will automatically think of China. However, it was nowhere to be found in the top 10 offenders. This, by the way, is not because they’ve suddenly cleaned up their act, but rather because this study ranked countries as a whole, rather than cities. So here are the top 5 countries with the worst air pollution, and what they are trying to do to combat it.

1. Pakistan

Pakistan made #1 on the list with a PM 2.5 pollution level of 101 ug/m3. Now, that might not make sense so let me break it down: PM 2.5 stands for the size of the particles of pollution. The size (2.5) is frequently cited as the most detrimental because it can travel deep into lungs and cause a variety of ailments. Good examples of these particles are smoke, mold and dust. The ug/m3 part stands for micrograms per unit meter of air. So Pakistan has 101 micrograms of PM 2.5 pollutants per unit meter of air.

This level of pollution can be fatal to certain people with compromised respiratory systems and is blamed for killing thousands each year. Such pollutants also cause at least 80,000 hospitalizations in Pakistan alone. Although Pakistan has hosted a number of green air initiatives, and Coca-Cola has even led the fight in establishing better air quality, the country continues to suffer from some of the worst pollution on the planet.

Part of this is because Pakistan is dealing with crippling security threats on an everyday basis. Recent attacks on Karachi’s International Airport and Taliban offenses from the Afghan border mean that much of the government budget is devoted to security rather than health and the environment. Because of this, Pakistanis will continue to suffer a host of complications due to pollution.

2. Qatar

Qatar ranks in as the second worst country with 92 units of PM 2.5 micrograms per unit meter of air. Heavy construction in a relatively small area, combined with one of the biggest growing international airports have converged to create truly terrible air quality. However, Qatar is doing something about this.

The Sahara Forest Project, which is somewhat oddly named as the desert in Qatar is not the Sahara (not even close), is using state of the art techniques to plant trees, bushes, and bring sustainable water and energy designs to the miles of desert that surround the city’s countryside. Further, by trapping seawater and evaporating it into the air, they are looking to reduce desert temperatures to create a more humid climate. If it is successful, it could help bring down the pollution levels in Qatar substantially.

Although some flinch at the idea of removing a desert ecosystem that has existed for thousands of years, projects such as these have been accomplished before, in desertification areas of Northern Africa. The results have actually been positive, showing little impact on overall environmental stability.

3. Afghanistan

Afghanistan comes in just after Qatar with a PM 2.5 level of 84 micrograms per unit meter of air. Part of this naturally has to do with the recent war. Rubble, creating a mix of toxic building materials in the air, along with bombs, smoke, generators which run on diesel, and air travel in and out of the country have come together in a disastrous mix of toxic pollutants.

Sadly, not a whole lot is planned for invigorating the air quality of the country. Although Afghanistan does have a Green Club, a lot of the activities are simply raising awareness for the problem as actual funds to institute programs are near impossible to find.

4. Bangladesh

This is one of the few nations where air quality has fallen steadily over the past few years, the air here has a PM 2.5 level of 79 micrograms per unit meter of air. Air quality is something which sends thousands of Bangladeshis to hospitals every year, especially in urban areas where massive factories have sprung up.

Part of this is because the country provides very cheap labor and industry, which has led to a deregulation of sorts in the country. Because of loose standards for the environment, companies can save labor money but create a large environmental impact.

Enter the Bangladesh Green Roof Movement. Started by local groups, this is a movement which could have a great impact on the country. By planting gardens they not only help with food sustainability, but help reduce the pollution levels inside the country. While Bangladesh has a long way to go, it’s heartening to see that the citizens are taking it upon themselves to try to create a greener future.

5. Iran

Iran rounds out the top five most polluted countries with a PM 2.5 level of 76 micrograms per unit meter of air. Part of the reason for this is simply a lack of quality products. The gasoline used is often poor quality, the building materials used contain asbestos, and overcrowding and a large youth population has led to congested streets.

However, with such a large youth population, Iran has also started championing some interesting environmental movements. Demonstrations where people line up inside of public parks with breathing masks on have spread on social media. Although environmental issues are often the bastion of upper-middle class people in developing nations, in Iran’s case citizens from all walks of life have gotten involved. This includes villagers renouncing poor cooking methods and poaching.

Good news for fracking: groundwater contamination mechanism found

It is hard to hear the word "fracking" without recalling images of people at their kitchen sink, setting fire to the gases emanating from their tap along with the flowing water.

These vivid images spur reasonable worries that fracking disturbs underground hydrogeology, resulting in leakage of hazardous gases into aquifers. And if flammable gases can leak through, what else is getting into our precious drinking water: heavy metals, radioactive substances, toxins?

Well, guess what? All of that is perfectly avoidable. If only the companies building wells would ensure the quality of materials used.

Researchers have just reported the results of their study into the source of water contamination related to fracking wells in Pennsylvania and Texas. Their conclusion? In the words of Prof Robert Jackson from Stanford University:

"The mechanism of contamination looks to be well integrity. In about half the cases we believe the contamination came from poor cementing and in the other half it came from well casings that leaked."

In none of the 113 wells investigated was a direct link found between groundwater contamination and fracturing of the bedrock layers.

In theory, this is good news for the hydraulic fracturing energy sector. It means the risks of drinking water contamination can be managed. But it raises much larger questions: why did the industry let it come to this? After all, it would have been in the industry's best interests not to have leaking wells result in the perfect anti-fracking campaign material.

More importantly, if they cannot regulate their quality themselves, how do we empower federal and state agencies sufficiently to control them?

Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations/CC BY 2.0

Even if the risks of groundwater contamination are controllable, this does not give fracking a 'get out of jail free' card in this game. A Stanford-led study just published gives an overview of the risks versus benefits of fracking, highlighting not least that fracking opens formerly unreachable deposits of fossil fuels for humanity to combust, at exactly the moment when the global warming threat requires us to scale back.

Studies have suggested that better management can minimize the risk of fracking related earthquakes. And fracking supporters must justify the benefits in the face of the fragmentation of forest lands by wellheads, pipelines, and access roads and the manage the risks of spills and emissions on local communities.

To read the rest of this story:

Wind turbines kill around 300,000 birds annually, house cats around 3,000,000,000. Yes, That is Billion.

Wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually — a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion deaths from cats, according to the peer-reviewed study by two federal scientists and the environmental consulting firm West Inc.

"We estimate that on an annual basis, less than 0.1% ... of songbird and other small passerine species populations in North America perish from collisions with turbines," says lead author Wallace Erickson of Wyoming-based West.

For those who don't have an envelope nearby to do the math, that's about 10,000x more deaths from just house cats than from wind turbines. And that's not even looking at some of the other biggest bird killers out there: building and vehicles. That's probably millions, if not hundreds of millions or billions, of other birds right there. In the grand scheme of things, wind turbines are probably lost in the margin of error. Here are the numbers from a different source, the 2014 State of Birds report:

2014 State of Birds report/Screen capture

This doesn't mean that wind power operators should stop doing what they can to protect birds. Wind farms should be properly sited and everything should be done to mitigate any risks.

Flickr/CC BY 2.0

But bird lovers need to go against the real enemies rather than spending precious energy fighting one of the main tools that we have to clean up our power grid and have a greener world.

Could You Live Without Oil?

Most people have a healthy level of skepticism regarding oil companies. They have been involved in environmental disasters, human rights abuses and many of us would rather do without them in the world. However, this poses an interesting question: Could you live without oil? To explore this issue let’s look into the basics of our lives and how we could all cut down on our petroleum consumption.


How do you keep yourself clean without the help of oil? We use it in our water heaters, and even in the cleansing products we use. The truth is, if you’re determined to have a hot shower from the tap, it’s almost impossible to free yourself from oil completely. However, for the dedicated there are some options.

Bucket showers or sponge baths with water collected either from onsite wells or rainwater reservoirs can keep you clean and green. For those in cold climates, heating the water can be done through solar panel heaters. And for those worried about the chemicals/petroleum in the products they use, there are a range of all natural soaps that can be used on hair and body and come in a variety of green packaging.

For clothes, there’s no better method than the bucket wash. I’ve personally used it for years, along with drying my clothes on a line. It is time consuming, and it’s not nearly as convenient as a washing machine. However, it can cut gallons off water waste and save a ton on electricity. Also just another small benefit: toned arms.


It is likely that your primary consumption of oil comes from your method of transportation. Even public transport, with few exceptions, uses petrol in their vehicles. So while mass transit is a good solution, it does not help one live an oil free life.

Enter the bicycle. Not only is it an efficient way to get around that millions around the world use daily, but it’s environmentally friendly and a wonderful form of daily exercise. Although many Americans find the use of bikes inconvenient, in countries such as Holland they are used daily by those in every strata of society. For difficult rides to formal workspaces, a change of clothes and wet washcloth can provide the level of professionalism necessary.

However, an even better option is to try to live near your place of work. Of course it’s not always an option, but it’s worth checking out. Not only is it a refreshing way to start your morning, but walking to work introduces0 you to local shops and cafes you might have otherwise passed by in your car.


When it comes to buying food with a low oil factor, it is imperative to buy local. Researching who produces the local cheeses, dairy, meats, vegetables and flours should be your number one goal. Of course what you buy will be influenced heavily by your diet, but eating with a low oil impact just means learning how to produce your own basics. It might sound hard, but most of our grandparents could cook bread from scratch, dehydrate their own meats and can their own produce, which are all skills that are worth knowing. It also means buying fresh produce and meats, and cutting down on plastic packaging (which is made with oil).

USDA Approves Controversial GMO Corn and Soy

  This week, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave its final approval to Dow AgroSciences Enlist brand corn and soybeans, genetically engineered to withstand both glyphosate (found in the widely used Roundup weed killer) and massive amounts of 2, 4-D, a key substance in Agent Orange—the defoliant used in Vietnam found to cause a constellation of health problems and birth defects.

They did so despite hundreds of thousands of comments and petition signatures from farmers, health professionals and members of the public urging them not to approve the new seeds, and despite acknowledging that approval could increase use of 2, 4-D by as much as 600 percent and possibly affect nearby crops such as tomatoes and grapes not engineered to resist the chemical.

EPA approval of new crops opens the door to spraying larger amounts of dangerous herbicides. Photo credit: Center for Food Safety

“Yesterday the USDA ignored public opposition and its responsibility to protect public health and agriculture,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. ”The approval of 2,4-D ready crops is one of the most negligent decisions that the USDA has made in the nearly twenty years since genetically engineered crops have been on the market.”

As farmers have been encouraged to devote more and more acres to single crops (aka “monocropping”) and use huge doses of glyphosate-based herbicides to deal with weeds, so-called “superweeds” have cropped up that are resistant to the herbicides. But many farmers and food safety advocates fear that increased applications of more powerful herbicides will only cause more resistant weeds to appear.

“After watching Roundup-ready crops quickly lose their utility by giving rise to Roundup-resistant superweeds, it is baffling that the USDA could not see that this approval of a new herbicide-tolerant crop system would be a futile, short-lived attempt at weed control which will only make things worse in a matter of years,” said Hauter.

Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, agreed, saying ”This is not the solution to our superweed problem and will only spur the evolution of yet more herbicide-resistant weeds. We need a new direction for our agricultural system, not increased reliance on chemicals. 2,4-D resistant crops pose a monumental threat to our nation’s agricultural, environmental and human health. With this approval comes millions of more pounds of toxic herbicides dumped onto our land; it’s an unacceptable outcome. Center for Food Safety will pursue all available legal options to stop the commercialization of these dangerous crops.”

Museums Pressured to Drop Donors Who Deny Climate Change

Are museums really the respected educational and cultural centers that we often consider them to be? That’s something that’s been called into question as museums become increasingly reliant on support from private donors. Feeling that this money tarnishes the integrity of museums, noted scientists, artists and patrons are calling on several of America’s most prominent museums to sever their ties with known climate change deniers, reports The Art Newspaper.

Not an Alternative, the group calling for a change in policy, is specifically targeting natural history museums with its efforts. The assemblage argues that such museums cannot pretend to provide vital information on science and nature while rubbing elbows with those who also help to fund climate change denialism.

Museums are in a difficult position. Short on funding, most need the generosity of extremely wealthy philanthropists to stay afloat. Members of Not an Alternative understand this position, but believe that museums need to draw the line at glossing over climate change to maintain their relevancy.

In a letter to museums that receive money from climate change deniers, Not an Alternative writes, “When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge. This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”

Mother Nature sure has a great sense of humor.. 

17 Flowers That Look Like Something Else...

The flowers below all have two things in common: They're beautiful, and they remind the human eye of something else entirely. They are stunning works of art by nature.

Monkey Face Orchid (Affengesicht) (Dracula Simia)
Moth Orchid (Motten) (Phalaenopsis)
Naked Man Orchid (Nackter Mann) (Orchis Italica)
Hooker’s Lips (Nuttenlippe) (Psychotria Elata)
Dancing Girls (Tanzende Mädchen) (Impatiens Bequaertii)
Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Lachende Biene)
(Ophrys bomybliflora)
Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora)
Parrot Flower (Pappagei Blume ) (Impatiens Psittacina)
Snap Dragon Seed Pod (Antirrhinum)
Flying Duck Orchid (Fliegende Ente) (Caleana Major)
An orchid that looks remarkably like a tiger
(Tiger Gesicht)
Happy Alien (Calceolaria Uniflora)
And his friends... und seine Freunde
Angel Orchid (Engel) (Habenaria Grandifloriformis)
Dove Orchid Or Holy Ghost Orchid (Peristeria Elata)
(Taube oder Heigliger Geist)

White Egret Orchid (Habenaria Radiata)

The Darth Vader (Aristolochia Salvadorensis)
An Orchid That Looks Like A Ballerina

Oregon Wild Supporter,

Last week, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act -- the landmark piece of legislation that has allowed us to permanently protect Oregon gems like Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, Opal Creek, Mount Jefferson, and the Three Sisters.

It's bad enough that Oregon's only national park doesn't enjoy the same protections as many other national parks across the West. But to make matters worse, Oregon still lags far behind its neighbors with only 4% of our state protected as Wilderness -- compared to 15% of California, 10% of Washington, and 8% of Idaho. 

And right now, Oregon's only national park is facing a very significant threat. The Bybee timber sale proposes logging in native mature and old-growth forests in the roadless areas surrounding the headwaters of the Rogue River and adjacent to Crater Lake. Oregon Wild and partners recently filed a challenge to stop Bybee. But we know that even if we're successful, its only a matter of time before another reckless proposal puts these wildlands at risk. 

This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Oregon Wild as well as the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. But with these milestones comes a call to action -- to stand up for the threatened places across Oregon.

With that in mind, Oregon Wild has launched a campaign to permanently protect over 500,000 acres in and around Crater Lake National Park as Wilderness. This is an area that Oregon's most famous wolf, Journey, has frequented throughout his travels and our proposal would create a 90-mile wildlife corridor in the south Cascades, making Journey's future travels (and those of his pups) safer.

To read more:

Recently we launched a new feature on our photo blog, Wild View. We announce a theme and ask you to submit a photo you’ve taken on the topic.
WCS logo Wild View logo
Recently we launched a new feature on our photo blog, Wild View. We announce a theme and ask you to submit a photo you've taken on the topic. Then, our editorial team picks some of the strongest entries (based on appeal, composition, originality, and technical quality), and posts them on the website. One will even be featured.
So far, the response to our first theme has been overwhelming. We’ve received a ton of great shots. If you haven’t yet participated, though, have no fear. There are still a few weeks left for you to get us your best work.

Cartoon of the Month:

Protect Rocky Mountain Forests Before It's Too Late

Our forests are in trouble.

A new UCS report shows Rocky Mountain trees are dying at an unprecedented rate. Heat and drought stress, bark beetle infestations, and wildfires—all increasing in intensity due to global warming—are causing widespread die-offs.

If we do not act now, our forests will continue to die as they face the severe consequences of climate change.

We need our elected officials to allocate the resources necessary for forest managers to address the current effects of global warming, to implement steps that can make our forests more resilient, and to reduce the emissions that cause climate change.

Urge your senators to protect our forests by passing a Climate Resiliency Fund and supporting policies that reduce global warming emissions.

Please make your letter personal by adding in your own thoughts and concerns. Every letter makes a difference, but customized letters have the greatest effect!

Learn more by reading our Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk report.

Union of Concerned Scientists: Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions

global warming

Global Warming: Confronting the Realities of Climate Change

Sea level rise is accelerating. The number of large wildfires is growing. Dangerous heat waves are becoming more common. Extreme storm events are increasing in many areas. More severe droughts are occurring in others. 

These are just some of the consequences of global warming, which are already having significant and harmful effects on our health, our environment, and our communities.

Unless we take immediate action to address global warming, these consequences will continue to intensify, grow ever more costly, and increasingly affect the entire planet — including you, your community, and your family.

Global warming is happening now.

The planet's temperature is rising. The trend is clear and unmistakable. Every one of the past 37 years has been warmer than the 20th century average. The 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded for the contiguous United States. Globally, the average surface temperature has increased more than one degree Fahrenheit since the late 1800s. Most of that increase has occurred over just the past three decades.

We are the cause.

We are overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which traps heat and steadily drives up the planet’s temperature. Where does all this carbon come from? The fossil fuels we burn for energy — coal, natural gas, and oil — plus the loss of forests due to deforestation, especially in the tropics.

The scientific evidence is clear.

Within the scientific community, there is no debate: An overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening and that human activity is the primary cause. This broad consensus — and the extensive scientific evidence that supports it — is often downplayed or distorted by a small but vocal minority of special interests that have a vested interest in delaying action on climate change.

We have a choice.

We can act now to reduce our carbon emissions, slow the pace of global warming, and pass on a safer, healthier world to our children. Or we can choose to do nothing, continue pumping massive amounts of carbon into an already overloaded atmosphere, and suffer the increasingly costly consequences.

At UCS, we believe the choice is clear: We must take steps now to reduce our global warming emissions.


NRDC -- Stop the Frack Attack!

We have a right to know what’s in Halliburton’s fracking fluid.

Stop reckless fracking now

Tell the EPA to make companies report all the toxic chemicals they’re pumping into the earth during fracking. In June, there was a raging fire and more than 30 explosions at a Halliburton fracking site in Ohio. Toxic chemicals spilled into a tributary of the Ohio River, which provides public drinking water for residents downstream.

Some 70,000 fish were killed by the spill, and thousands of people were left to agonize over the safety of their tap water and the potential health effects.

But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- and the Ohio EPA -- had to wait five long days before they were given a full list of the chemicals used at the site by Halliburton.

That’s right: Halliburton was not required to provide that list to the EPA! That’s outrageous.

Tell the EPA to move swiftly to require full reporting of all the chemicals that are used during fracking.

The agency is inviting comments on the disclosure loophole until September 18. That means we have less than two weeks to generate a massive nationwide outcry.

Fracking-related disasters are occurring around the country with frightening regularity: fires, explosions, spills -- even earthquakes triggered by the underground injection of fracking waste -- have become a staple of the evening news. More than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of a fracking site.

Yet the EPA is still now only considering whether it should mandate that chemical manufacturers and fracking companies come clean about what they’re injecting into the earth.

What’s more, the agency has signaled that it may leave it up to the industry to voluntarily release that information.

Would you trust an industry with billions of dollars at stake to fess up to its worst practices? Neither would we.

We may not be able to outspend the oil and gas lobby, but I know for sure we can out-mobilize them.

Urge the EPA to stop dragging its feet and propose tough rules that will require full reporting of all chemicals used during fracking and the dangers they pose to our health and environment. And please do it today!



D.A. Sutter holds up Bill Mckibben article

Victory for the Coal Blockaders - DA Drops All Charges


Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter dropped all charges against Ken Ward and Jay O'Hara for blocking a coal shipment for nearly a day to the Brayton Point Power Plant in Somerset, MA.


Holding high Bill McKibben's Rolling Stone article, A Call to Arms, the D.A. Sutter said, "I do believe they're right, that we're at a crisis point with climate change. Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced. In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking."  He vowed to join the People's Climate March in New York City on September 21.


Monday evening, Bill McKibben spoke at Lesley University where his book "Earth" was the assigned reading.  Referring to D.A Sutter's actions, he said "I was moved in a way that I can't remember being moved by a public official in a long time. It's easy to get cynical about politicians, and then one of them shows a real maturity and grace."


"Our effort was to shut this plant, and that hasn't been achieved," said Jay O'Hara.


"We lost an opportunity to educate the public, but we gained an extraordinary statement," said Ken Ward. "This is the response we need to be getting from elected and appointed officials if we're going to change our trajectory on the climate."

Roaring Brook, Wallingford VT
Vermont stream by Harper Dangler

Ocean Enemy #1 versus the Clean Water Act

Ocean Enemy #1 (Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla.) is moving to block finalization of the government proposal to increase the number of streams and creeks that receive automatic protection under the federal Clean Water Act.  The House measure (H.R. 5078) would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from drafting regulations and guidance needed to clarify the jurisdictional boundaries of the Clean Water Act.


Protecting smaller streams and wetlands upstream is vital for healthy communities downstream.  More than 115 million Americans get their drinking water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs that are at risk of pollution form upstream sources.  H.R. 5078 would derail current efforts, hamstring future regulatory efforts, sow more confusion, and create significant ambiguity to deny businesses the regulatory certainty they need.


Meanwhile, Panama City fisherman Billy Archer is calling out Southerland for driving doctrines that would devastate fish and Florida's fishing industry.  "Rep. Steve Southerland advocates for adding a provision to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that would prevent even considering so-called limited access privilege programs, or catch shares-even if local fishermen want them," said Ocean Champions.

Ocean Enemy #1 is taking on water!

Center for Biological Diversity

20 Corals Protected Under the Endangered Species Act

Pillar coralHuge news in our work to help oceans: The federal government on Wednesday protected 20 corals under the Endangered Species Act because global warming, disease and ocean acidification are driving them toward extinction. The decision, a response to a 2009 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, protects five corals in Florida and the Caribbean and 15 in the Pacific Ocean.

Coral reefs around the globe are in serious trouble. By the middle of this century, more than 97 percent of reefs will likely experience extreme thermal stress -- which can cause bleaching and even death -- because of global warming. Disease and acidification are compounding their plight.

This week's development is the single-largest protection decision for corals under the Endangered Species Act.

"This is a wake-up call that our amazing coral reefs are dying and need federal protection," says the Center's Miyoko Sakashita, "but there's hope for saving corals and many other ocean animals if we make rapid cuts in greenhouse gas pollution to stop global warming and ocean acidification."
Read more in the Miami Herald.

Three Southeast Flowers Get 2,500 Acres of Protected Habitat

Short's bladderpodFollowing the Center's 757 species agreement, the Fish and Wildlife Service has protected 2,488 acres of critical habitat for three flowering plants in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee: Short's bladderpod, fleshy-fruit gladecress and whorled sunflower.

The Center first petitioned the Service to protect these plants in 2004; they had been on a waiting list since 1999. The plants were finally protected early this month, and now they have protected habitat too. So far -- under our landmark 2011 agreement to speed protection decisions for 757 species -- 130 have gained Endangered Species Act protection, including the three flowers, and another 13 have been proposed for protection.

Habitat loss is the primary reason plants and animals become endangered, so protecting the last areas where these highly endangered flowers live will help make sure they aren't erased by careless human activities.
Read more in the Tennessean.

Wild & Weird: Elves of Iceland Hold Up Road Construction

Elf chapelWork on an Icelandic highway was halted this summer when campaigners warned it would disturb habitat for some highly sensitive creatures: elves. According to an official with Iceland's roads department: "We were warned that elves were living in some of the rocks in the path of the road -- well, we have to respect that belief."

Surveys suggest that more than 50 percent of Icelanders believe in the possible existence of Huldufólk -- "hidden people" the size of humans who pass among us unseen. So when a local woman offered to negotiate with the elves to ensure road-building didn't hurt the hidden folks' chapel, a large rock in the path of the highway, work crews respectfully agreed.
All parties eventually settled on a plan to move forward with the project once the elves' chapel, a massive 70-ton jagged rock, was moved.
Get more on the hidden people of Iceland from BBC News.

WildEarth Guardians

It's your actions and support that enables Guardians to safeguard wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.

By joining us today, we are merging our efforts to create a better future for the best of the American West's wildlife and wild places. Here are a few of Guardians' strategic top priorities you are now a part of:

Defending Wolves: If anti-wolf agitators have their way, wolves will continue to be shot, poisoned, trapped, and persecuted in all but a few tiny enclaves in the west. With your support, we will continue litigation to return wolves to full Endangered Species Act protections and advance consideration of wolf reintroductions. At the same time, we will reach out continuously to win new hearts and minds for wolves and shift public opinion. We will advance our vision of hearing wolf howls behind every hill and across every valley spanning the Spine of the Continent.

Securing Endangered Species: The Interior Department has historically failed to effectively implement the Endangered Species Act. Our historic 2011 Endangered Species Act settlement agreement, which requires action on more than 850 imperiled species, is a major step towards solving a dimension of this problem. Still, the acceleration of the global loss of biodiversity is wiping species off the planet at 1,000 times the natural rate of species disappearance. We want this to change.

Fossil Fuel Free Public Lands: The threat of oil and gas fracking is, unfortunately, mounting. In addition, closing coal-fired power plants and the mines that supply them remains amongst our highest priorities. Our creative and relentless federal lawsuits have created financial liabilities for public utilities that own and operate coal plants, fracking fields, and mining operations. Our historic success and recent expansion in fighting fracking is setting us up to advance a comprehensive and successful campaign that leads to fossil free public lands.

Thank you for being a Guardian. Tell your friends and family about us. You can also visit our website to sign up to join our monthly donor club, the Wild Bunch, and receive action alerts, victory updates, VIP tickets to events, invites to quarterly calls with me and more.

About Web Banner

Our Mission

WildEarth Guardians protects and restores the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. We have four programs focusing on wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and climate and energy.

Our main office is located at: 516 Alto Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 phone 505.988.9126 fax 505.213.1895

African Farmers Are Creating Forest Gardens and “Planting it Forward”

African Farmers Are Creating Forest Gardens and “Planting it Forward”

In arid and degraded areas of Sub Saharan Africa, farmers who were barely able to provide for their families are now creating abundant forest gardens and “planting it forward” as they pass on successful techniques to their neighbors.

Working with agroforestry experts and volunteers from Trees for the Future, an Aid for Africa member organization, farmers in West Africa are turning small unproductive fields into veritable oases of fruits and vegetables.

One plant-it-forward scenario begins with Omar in Senegal. Thirteen years ago, he inherited about two acres (one hectare) of land with a few trees, shrubs and peanut plants. Income from this field was about $200 a year. Working with Trees for the Future, Omar began to add fast-growing trees with deep roots to improve soil quality and thorny acacia trees around the border to keep out grazing animals and harsh winds. Omar then intercropped vegetable plants and fruit trees. Within four years, Omar’s forest garden produced fruits, vegetables and tree products and an income of $1,000 a year.

Determined to spread his knowledge to others, Omar worked with Trees for the Future to provide seed and technical advice to his neighbor Keba, a 52-year-old peanut farmer who was struggling to make a living on land that was depleted from 50 years of peanut farming. Today, Keba’s land, which is surrounded by more than a thousand thorny bushes, produces a variety of crops including hot peppers, jujube berries and cashew nuts. In the past, he was lucky to earn $200 a year. Today, he earns that amount in a month from selling his hot peppers.

Keba too wanted to “plant it forward” and share his knowledge with another local farmer. The result—another thriving sustainable forest garden where there once was a degraded peanut field. Through example and word of mouth, farmers in the region continue to help each other find a better way to feed their families and rise out of poverty.

Trees for the Future has worked with more than 300,000 families throughout Africa and other parts of the world to help them return degraded land to sustainable production. John Leary, Trees for the Future’s executive director, has seen what happens when farmers “plant it forward.”

“In a place where difficulties abound, the worst thing to lose is hope. This farmer-to-farmer relationship of planting it forward brings cooperation, learning, teaching and hope…” he said.

Learn more about Trees for the Future and how they are working with African farmers to plant it forward.

Read more:

Monarch Butterflies Need Federal Protection to Keep Them From Disappearing

Monarch Butterflies Need Federal Protection to Keep Them From Disappearing

As monarch butterflies are beginning their epic migration from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico for the winter, concerns about the drastic rate at which they’re disappearing from the landscape have led environmental and health organizations to petition the government for federal protection.

This week, the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Xerces Society and monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower filed a legal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking protection for monarchs under the Endangered Species Act.

“Monarchs are in a deadly free fall and the threats they face are now so large in scale that Endangered Species Act protection is needed sooner rather than later, while there is still time to reverse the severe decline in the heart of their range,” Brower, who has been studying the species since 1954, said in a statement.

According to the petitioners, monarchs have declined by a shocking 90 percent in less than 20 years and “may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat ― an area about the size of Texas ― including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds.” Last winter, the numbers of these iconic butterflies reached a record low, raising worries about their future survival.

According to the Xerces Society, in the 1990s, an estimated one billion monarchs made their way from the north to the oyamel fir forests where they spend their winters sheltered by the trees, while another million were believed to spend the winter at sites in California. Now, scientists believe there are only 33 million left.

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, likened the loss to losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio.

For these fragile little insects, surviving a migration that spans thousands of miles is difficult enough with existing threats of predators, parasites and severe weather, but their greatest threats now are a result of human activity.

Scientists believe the widespread use of herbicides and pesticides, illegal logging in Mexico and a loss of milkweed – the only plant that monarchs lay eggs on and the only plant the caterpillars will eat – have all played a role in their severe decline.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “Scientists have predicted that the monarch’s entire winter range in Mexico and large parts of its summer range in the states could become unsuitable due to changing temperatures and increased risk of drought, heat waves and severe storms.”

Protection under the ESA would not only make it illegal to kill these beautiful butterflies, but it will also mean no one can modify their habitat without a permit and that they will get designated critical habitat needed for their survival. Next the FWS will issue a “90-day finding” to see if the petition is warranted and if it comes back in their favor, it will do a one-year status review.

NRDC -- People’s Climate March

On September 21 -- exactly one month from today -- hundreds of thousands of activists will take to the streets of New York City in the People’s Climate March to demand global action on climate change.

More than 1,400 NRDC activists like you have already pledged to join us on September 21. If you’re still on the fence, I urge you to watch our inspirational 30-second video right now:

Climate March Video

I know you don’t live in New York -- so if you can’t take to the streets yourself, please help us spread the word about this historic event by forwarding this email and encouraging your friends and family in the New York area to sign up.

Click here to watch our video and let us know you’ll be there.

Once we know you’re coming, we’ll follow up before the big day with more details about the March, including how to meet up with us and your fellow NRDC supporters.

September 21 is fast approaching. I hope you’ll seize the opportunity to join the largest climate mobilization in U.S. history -- and march proudly alongside us in the fight for a more livable planet.

Thank you for being part of this incredible movement.

An Undeniable Link: Glacial Melt and Man-Made Climate Change

While many of our politicians continue to deny man-made climate change is a reality, new figures reveal that human-caused climate warming may be the single biggest driving force behind recent glacial melt.

There’s a reason why we have the phrase “a glacial pace.” Everything about glaciers is slow, so even though we know they are melting due to the warming climate, it’s hard to get a fix on just how rapid that melting process is, when it began in earnest and, crucially, whether man-made climate change can be shown to have exacerbated the melting, and to what extent.

Now researchers from Canadian and Austrian university and publishing this month in the journal Science Express have been able to conduct a systematic analysis of data on glacial melt that is collected as part of the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) initiative. The researchers say that glaciers actually provide a very neat way of looking at climate change because their responses are so slow to manifest. As a result, the researchers could, and with some accuracy, estimate the state of the glaciers as far back as 1851, and then begin to calculate the speed of glacial melt from there, adjusting for known reasons why melting may have slowed or sped up other than natural causes or what we’d call man-made climate change.

The figures showed that man-made climate change could be tracked over several decades, exacerbating standard melting patterns. What’s more, over the past couple of decades there has been a sharp upturn in glacial melt that the researchers believe is consistent with our modern manufacturing boom. In fact, they believe they can say that man-made global warming, and mainly the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal for energy, may be responsible for as much 69 percent of the glacial melt between 1991 to 2010.

To put that in more solid terms, the researchers were able to create a rough estimate for just how much ice is melting every year. They think that around 295 billion tons of ice melts every year due to human-linked climate change compared to just 130 billion tons related to natural causes.

Still, due to the way in which these figures were calculated based on estimates, there is a sizable margin for error on this and we do have to take that into account. Taking just the 1991 to 2010 figure as an example, the human contribution to glacier melt may be as low as 45 percent, or it could even be as high as 93 percent, but the researchers believe that the evidence suggests the 69 percent figure is probably closer to the real value. What isn’t in dispute here is the contribution of man-made climate change which, even at the lower end of the spectrum, remains considerable and worrying.

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Yosemite National Park by Alyssa Winan for See America

Almost 98 years ago, Congress passed the Organic Act, creating the National Park Service on August 25, 1916.

Help us celebrate by signing our birthday card for the Park Service … and share your thoughts and hopes for our parks for their upcoming centennial in two short years. We’ll then share your comments with the Park Service Centennial Office!

Did you know? When the National Park Service was created, it already oversaw 14 national parks and 21 national monuments. Today, 401 sites make up this unique, unparalleled system that was enjoyed last year by 273 million visitors, contributed more than $26 billion to local economies, and supported 240,000 jobs. That’s a lot to celebrate!

Please share your thoughts and hopes for the parks with us as we celebrate this year’s anniversary and look ahead to the fast-approaching centennial in 2016.


Clark Bunting, NPCA President and CEO

Good morning weekly readers! We have migrated our Newsletter over to Mailchimp, which gives me more flexibility and won't be as ugly as last week's was. There are lots of new features that I hope you like and as always, you can complain right here. 

Katherine lives in what most North Americans would call a very small house; Here's how she does it with two little kids underfoot. And DON'T READ THE COMMENTS!

How I'm raising a family in a 1,200 sq. foot home

Lucy locked her bike to a post in public space and came back to find it had been solid. She was shocked to find out who took it:

Private real estate company steals bikes from public property in front of their buildings

Brooklyn lofts are expensive! In thi.s one, artists built two tiny houses inside one so that they could rent it out on AirBnB. Book me in

Artists create a tiny house in a loft

My mom has spices in her cupboard that are as old as I am. Now I can tell her what to do with them!

7 uses for expired spices

Derek lives in a warm climate and I wondered how many of these we could grow in the north, but it seems that most of these can be grown just about anywhere.

7 Superfruits you can grow at home

Strong, inexpensive and quick to grow, there is a lot of potential for bamboo to replace other building materials, and this complex of 80-foot wide bamboo domes is but one example.

Soaring domes built with bamboo, the new "green steel"

This is a stair that never ends, It just goes on and on my friends; some people started building it not knowing what it was, and they'll continue building it forever just because...

Stair of the week coils up through entire 921 square foot house

Earth911 Logo August 15th, 2014
 forward to a Friend

It’s easy, in a world of constant information and change, to lose sight of the things that are right in front of our faces. For instance, there is so much news about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project that people don’t pay attention to the pipelines that we already have in place, many of which are nearly 50 years old.


Zero Waste Dining

Can you imagine trash-free living? Zero waste lifestyles focus on living without creating trash in the process. A zero-waste lifestyle seems quite unattainable, but as you can tell, it might be something to aspire to, especially when the Earth is already struggling with all of the waste we’re creating.


Rock Me Like a Hurricane

Today’s modern appliances and household technology are coming online at a staggering pace. Many of these new technologies are about giving us remote control (remember in the 90’s when we all were out on some sort of “vision quest” searching Radio Shack backrooms for that perfect universal remote control that could control our VCR, TV and that banging “Pioneer” stereo system we bought off that guy in the mall parking lot, and there was always some rumor of a town about 40 minutes away that had one?) via our mobile device over temperature, settings and functions while snorkeling with the last remaining emperor penguins off the coast of Antarctica.


Curious Marmot Interrupts Greenpeace Video With Most Adorable Photobomb Ever

Wild animals have had some hilarious reactions to discovering cameras set up to watch them, and one curious little marmot in Montana who decided to step into a project dedicated to protecting its home is no exception.

Members of Greenpeace USA had set out to make a timelapse video of a stunning valley in Glacier National Park to raise awareness about climate change and how it’s impacting the park’s shrinking glaciers and alpine tundra. Instead, they got something that’s arguably even better – a kiss from a marmot.

Writing on Facebook, the group said, ‘Though we didn’t capture the timelapse video of Glacier National Park that we intended to, we captured something much cooler…Marmot Love.’

Even though the adorableness factor of the video is off the charts, the underlying message is sobering. The video was intended to be part of the organization’s campaign to ‘Keep our coal in the ground,’ which is raising awareness about climate change and the problems with the federal coal leasing program, in addition to raising opposition against the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Land Management for auctioning off our public land for coal mining.

How Meat Consumption Threatens the Environment. The planet and its wildlife need us to reduce our meat consumption.

Meat production is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation globally, and the crisis is rapidly growing worse. Production of beef, poultry, pork and other meats tripled between 1980 and 2010 and will likely double again by 2020. This ever-increasing meat consumption in a world of more than 7 billion people is already taking a staggering toll on wildlife, habitat, water resources, air quality and the climate. And Americans eat more meat per capita than almost anyone else. By eating less or no meat, we can take extinction off our plates and improve our own health along with the health of the planet.

Livestock vs. Wildlife

From wolves to elk to prairie dogs, wild animals pay the price of meat production. Some are killed because they prey on cows; others die en masse to make room for agricultural operations; still more are put in harm’s way by pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change.
Learn More

Climate Change

According to the United Nations, meat production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — more than all forms of transportation combined. Nearly 60 percent of the carbon footprint of the average U.S. household diet comes from animal products.

Learn More

Habitat Loss, Water Use and Pollution

The 500 million tons of manure produced annually by U.S. livestock is just the beginning: Animal agriculture has taken over nearly half the landmass of the lower 48 states. And it has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and groundwater in 17 states.

Learn More

Right now the Obama administration is deciding whether to allow future offshore oil and gas drilling off our coasts.

The administration has a crucial choice to make: It could give the green light to reckless oil drilling companies, like Shell and BP, or it could decide to protect our planet and our precious wildlife by putting an end to offshore drilling once and for all.

This decision will impact the future of offshore drilling off U.S. coasts for decades to come, so it’s critical that the administration gets it right and puts an end to fossil fuel drilling. This crucial public comment period closes on August 15, so we need to fight back now.

Tell the Obama administration: No offshore drilling! Submit a public comment now.

President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is finally starting to crack down on carbon pollution from existing coal plants in a limited way. But at the same time, the president has continued to allow increased oil and gas drilling, which has undermined his already insufficient climate policies.

Big Oil companies like Shell and BP want to drill for every last drop of oil. But both companies have already proven with their spills and accidents that offshore drilling is far too risky and can not be done safely.

Oil and gas companies are already lobbying the Obama administration behind the scenes. But if thousands of us demand that the administration say no to new leasing for gas and oil, we can provide a powerful counterpoint to their oil-soaked lobbyists.

We only have a few days until this crucial public comment period closes. Please submit your public comment now telling the Obama administration not to allow any new dangerous oil and gas drilling off our coasts.

Tell the Obama administration: No offshore drilling! Click the link below to submit a public comment:

Thanks for fighting to stop dangerous oil and gas drilling.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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Learn more about this campaign


Saving Shores Saves Money

Trunk Bay at Virgin Islands National Park.Close your eyes and imagine a national park. Did you think of mountains, towering redwoods, dense forests, or perhaps the sublime rock formations at places like the Grand Canyon? What many people don’t immediately associate with national parks are the sandy beaches, sapphire waters, and sparkling vistas of the coastal world. Surprisingly, one in four national park areas has a coast. The […]

Overcoming Barriers in the Southwest

The Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latino youth with national parks in the Southwest.Will future generations love national parks as much as we do? It’s a question that is as old as the parks themselves, and one that will be asked as long as parks exist. How do we make sure future Americans care about our parks? How do we do it when the face of America is […]

10 Spectacular Parks for Stargazing

The night sky over Death Valley National Park.As the days get shorter, stargazers have more opportunities to celebrate the night—and national parks offer some of the darkest skies in the country. If you have trouble seeing the stars from where you live, you’re not alone. Urban areas have become so bright that more than 80 percent of the U.S. population can no longer see […]

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15 Surprising Uses for Toilet Paper Tubes

15 Surprising Uses for Toilet Paper Tubes

When you finish a roll of toilet paper or paper towels, do you toss the cardboard tube into the recycle bin? Check out these awesome ways to reuse them instead!

The average American family uses around 240 rolls of toilet paper per year – around 20 12-packs. That’s a lot of cardboard headed to the recycle bin or the landfill. Recycling your cardboard paper tubes is good, but reusing them is even better, since you get to skip the energy use and waste produced in a paper recycling plant.

I know, crafting with toilet paper tubes might seem a little bit gross. If that idea squicks you out, you can cut paper towel tubes down to use in these projects instead. For what it’s worth, I’ve been using toilet paper tubes in craft projects for years without any problems, but I totally understand if you’d rather avoid crafting with something that lived in your bathroom. It’s all about your comfort level!

We keep a little basket on a shelf in the bathroom to stash empty toilet paper rolls for crafting. Some of the toilet paper tube ideas below use a single roll and some involve a few rolls. Take a gander, and decide how many rolls you need to save up to start crafting!

15 Ways to Reuse Toilet Paper Tubes (or Paper Towel Tubes)

These play rockets all use toilet paper or paper towel tubes as the foundation.

15 Ways to Reuse Toilet Paper Tubes (or Paper Towel Tubes)

1. DIY Rocket – A toilet paper or paper towel tube is the perfect base for making an upcycled play rocket.

2. Play Megaphone – I can’t call this a craft, really, but it’s a game that my 17-month-old LOVES. Grab a toilet paper or paper towel tube for each of you, and talk into one of the open ends. He loves how it distorts our voices!

3. Faux Christmas Lights – Think LED lights are an eco-friendly Christmas decoration? Check out these totally upcycled lights made from toilet paper tubes!

4. Make an Eyeglass Holder – This is such a cute, simple transformation!

5. Quick, Easy Cat Toy – Raid your crafty stash to transform an old toilet paper roll into hours of entertainment for your kitty.

15 Toilet Paper Roll Crafts

photo by Emma Craig

6. Heart Stamp for Kids – The photo above is pretty self-explanatory. Fold your tube, dunk in paint, and let your kids stamp to their hearts’ contents!

7. Faux Wrought Iron – You seriously need to see this. It uses a technique called quilling to transform paper tubes into a beautiful art piece.

8. DIY Bathroom Deodorizer – A few drops of essential oil inside of a toilet paper tube will diffuse and make your bathroom smell great.

9. Paper Tube Garden – This is another fun one for kids. Younger kids may need a little bit of help tracing and cutting, but any kid will be proud to display her paper tube garden on a windowsill!

10. Gnomes – How cute are these little gnomes made from a toilet paper tube and conical paper cup? If you’d rather make this completely upcycled, you can make a cone out of scrap paper instead of using the cup.

15 Toilet Paper Roll Crafts

photo by Alice Keeler

11. Make an Organizer – Nestle toilet paper tubes or cut-in-half paper towel tubes into a box to organize things like pens, pencils, paint brushes, or anything else tall, skinny, and tough to wrangle.

12. Cat in the Hat Puppet – Turn an old paper tube into a pop-up puppet for some Dr. Seuss-themed fun.

13. Candle Cover – Do you have those electric Christmas “candles?” Turn them into something cute and unique with cut toilet paper tubes.

14. Marble Slide – Toilet paper and paper towel tubes combine with a few other simple materials to create this fun kid’s activity.

15. String Lights – Do you like the look of covered string lights but dislike the price tag? Grab a strand of LED lights and create your own custom covers from toilet paper rolls.

12 Surprising Uses for Milk & Milk Containers

Around the House.

1. DIY Dustpan. Cutting a milk jug just so makes a great dustpan, with handle and everything! Click here for detailed instructions.

2. Clean Linoleum Floors. Adding a capful of skim milk to your regular floor wash will help shine your linoleum floors.

3. Sooth Hot Pepper Burn on Your Eyes. It happens to the best of us: you’re making salsa, minding your own business, and, all of a sudden, you get the urge to soothe your itchy eye. But if you have that spicy pepper oil on your fingers, forget it! You’re in for a terrible, stinging pain. Luckily, though, you’re not stuck that way. Just as drinking milk will help soothe a too-spicy taste in your mouth, rinsing your eyes with the stuff will help soothe that too-spicy feeling in your eyes. Pour some in a shot glass or small cup and gently rinse the pain away.

4. Use As Storage Containers. Cut the tops off of your milk jugs and use them to store anything and everything — kitchen utensils and office supplies, bulk foods and garden mulch. Just make sure to wash the containers well before using!

Health and Beauty.

5. Get Rid of Garlic Breath. Enjoying some tasty Italian food but can’t get that garlic taste out of your mouth? Try drinking a glass of milk. Studies have shown that milk reduces those stinky compounds more effectively than even brushing your teeth!

6. Clean Ultra-Dirty Hands. If you’ve gotten your hands so dirty that regular soap just isn’t working, try washing them with a paste made of milk and oatmeal. This combination is a heavy-duty cleaner.

7. Exfoliate Skin. If it’s good enough for Cleopatra, it’s good enough for you! The lactic acid in skin is strong enough to exfoliate your skin, but much more gentle than other DIY or store-bought products. You can add a little milk to your face washing routine, or even pour some into your bath along with essential oils — lavender is a great option.

8. Sooth a Sunburn. Forgot your sunblock? Get a washcloth wet with some cold skim milk and apply directly to the burn. It’ll help soothe the pain, and cut down on pain yet to come.


Crafts, Projects, Gardening and More.

9. DIY Container Pots. No need to go out and buy containers — a well-washed milk jug with the lid cut off will do just fine.

10. DIY Watering Can. Another great way to re-use old milk jugs in the garden is by turning them into makeshift watering cans. And it’s so easy — all you need to do is poke several small holes into the cap.

11. DIY Camping Light. This is genius! A milk jug filled with water can help you radiate light emitted from a headlamp. Just place the headlamp around the jug and — voila! — you’ll have a great, far-reaching light source.

12. Prevent Mildew. Stop powdery mildew before it starts with the help of some whole milk. It’s a safe, natural and effective fungicide treatment for many plants, pumpkins, cucumbers and zucchinis in particular.



Audubon logo | ACTION ALERT
arrow pointing at letter
Cerulean Warbler | Mdf/Wikimedia Commons

Cerulean Warblers, which are declining at one of the fastest rates of any North American songbird, are being harmed by the loss of mature hardwood forests for biomass fuel production.

Urge the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the destruction of vital forest habitats.

Take Action


Mature forests are being cut down to create wood pellets that will fuel power plants, destroying important bird habitat AND increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an opportunity to protect these vital forests with a new rule that will spell out what types of resources can be used for renewable biomass fuel. Let's be clear—burning whole trees from native forest ecosystems harms birds like Cerulean and Prothonotary Warblers and should not be seen as a way to fuel our power plants when we have truly clean alternatives available.

We expect the EPA to announce its new rule in the next few weeks. Send an urgent message today: tell the EPA to protect our forests.

The use of biomass as a fuel source is supposed to help reduce global warming, but not all biomass is created equal. In fact, clear-cutting mature forests to produce biomass fuel will actually increase the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere because while live trees trap and store carbon dioxide, when they are burned all of that stored carbon is released.



CREDO Mobilize
CNBC must apologize for misleading viewers about climate change.

Last week, the cable television business channel CNBC was caught seeking out an economist, and known climate change denier, to write an article about the "global warming hoax."

Cindy Perman, the commentary editor of, mistakenly sent an email to DeSmogBlog inviting climate change denier Alan Carlin to write an article about the "global warming hoax" on CNBC's website.

CNBC should be reporting the news, not making the news. By soliciting an article specifically to deny the science behind climate change the network clearly crossed a line. We have to hold CNBC accountable for actively misleading its viewers. That's why I started my own campaign on, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to CNBC Managing Editor Allen Wastler, says the following:

For years now, scientists at major institutions have proven that climate change is happening and that fossil fuel emissions from our factories, cars and electricity generation are to blame. And we are already seeing the impacts in the form of more wildfires, droughts and other extreme weather-related events.

When it comes to issues of science, media outlets such as CNBC have a responsibility to report their stories based on what scientists have concluded and not seek out commentary from non-scientists just for the sake of providing a counterpoint no matter how clearly false.

This isn't CNBC's first offense. Last year, a Media Matters for America report found that, "more than half of CNBC's climate change coverage was misleading. Twenty-four out of the 47 substantial mentions or segments on climate change on CNBC, or just over 51 percent of coverage, cast doubt on whether manmade climate change existed."

A year later and it looks like nothing has changed at CNBC, as it is actively seeking out non-scientists to make the false claim that global warming is a hoax. This isn’t reporting the news. This is creating the news. Climate change denial isn’t only patently false, it’s dangerous and a clear betrayal of the public trust.

Click here to read more: Will you join me and add your name to my petition urging CNBC Managing Editor Allen Wastler to apologize for his network's misleading coverage of climate change?




3200 Years in One Photo

 'The President' has earned it. This giant sequoia stands at 247 feet tall, and is estimated to be over 3,200 years old. Imagine, this tree was already 1200 years old when Jesus walked the earth. The trunk of the president measures at 27 feet across, with 2 billion needles from base to top.


Fireworks, the Environment and the Fourth



I know what you’re already thinking: I’m here to ruin your Fourth of July celebration. Not so, fair reader. You know I’m the nice one (my cohorts never let us forget it) and the nice one doesn’t set out to ruin things for you…other than cheeseburgers. There’s really no way I’d ruin your Independence Day festivities.



Updating the Grid

Shrimp Bioplastic

With all this plastic piling up on Earth, one of the biggest issues we face is recycling and sustainability. We’re producing so much plastic without making it truly resourceful and the excess is choking our fish and affecting our waste levels. 


Bureo Skateboards Recycle Fishnets

Who needs two living rooms and a media room? Smaller is better. Shifts in the economy and environmental issues like climate change have led many people to seek out a life lived within their means. Yet, other folks have taken it a step further with tiny houses.





There is an alternative to building more towers and more subways to pack everyone into New York City. Move to Buffalo.


The rust belt cities around the Great Lakes and the Erie Canal have great bones. It's time to fill them out a bit.


A cute little camper is made out of green materials like beetle-killed pine.


Mmmm butter.  This fabulous moisturizer has only 4 ingredients and will make your skin soft, smooth, and supple.


This interactive map of "falling fruit" for foragers is just amazing, I checked it out and found three trees right across the street from my house.


Nutritional yeastalso known as "hippie dust" in Derek's house, is a staple for Zach. Here's a quick rundown of its benefits and 11 ways to use it.



This totally tubular home is built out of an expired Boeing 727 jet. 


I don't know what you do with it in the first place, But  Katherine offers us 21 ways to repurpose a yoga mat.


There's no such thing as waste, it's just useful stuff in the wrong place. That's been the TreeHugger party line for years. Now Derek joins the party.


5 Plants You Can Grow from Your Garbage!

Instead of throwing out the undesirable ends of freshly chopped organic veggies, why not put them to use! Americans throw away billions of dollars of food every year, so get the most for your money. Many of the veggie discards you usually throw out can actually be used to grow more crops. Here are 5 relatively easy ones that will extend your organic buck.

Onions. Green onions are extremely easy to propagate. When you chop the roots off of green onions, place them in a bowl of water with a little bit of the green shaft sticking above the surface. Set them in a warm, sunny area and continue to add water as the plants grow taller. Once the roots are big enough, gently untangle them and transplant them into a pot in your sunny kitchen or your outdoor garden. You must transplant them, as they need the nutrients from the soil to keep growing. Red and white onions can also be revitalized in a similar manner.

Celery. Stop throwing away the root bases of your celery! Freshly cut root bases can re-grow and yield an entirely new crop! Simply set the base in a glass of shallow water in the window and watch shoots reappear. Then, you can transplant it into a pot or garden and watch your “garbage” celery grow into a delicious new crop.

Sweet potatoes. Just like white potatoes, sweet potatoes spout with “eyes.” Bury the sweet potato under a thin layer of moist soil in a sunny location. Shoots take a week to appear, and once they reach about 4 inches high, you can cut them off and replant them about a foot apart. With any luck, in 4 months you’ll have homegrown, organic sweet taters! Beware, if you plant them outside, keep and eye out for slugs, who also are partial to delicious sweet potatoes.

Ginger root. Ginger is surprisingly easy to grow from leftover chunks of a knob. Place a small bit of the root in a pot of soil with the smallest buds pointing skywards. Place the pot in a moist environment with filtered sunlight and let it grow. Ginger plants are very attractive in the house. When you need a new ginger root, dig up the entire plant, harvest the root, and cut off a small bit to pot and plant again for the next time you need ginger.

Romaine lettuce. Check out this video and learn how easy it is to repurpose your romaine stubs. The heart can re-grow, and since organic lettuces are often pretty pricey, it is a great way to save cash on those delicious summer salads.

Other foods that you can salvage include white potatoes, sprouting garlic, and even pineapple. Be warned; conventional plants probably won’t regrow, so be sure to invest in high quality organic produce. Stop wasting your food and your money. Make the most of your organic veggies and have fun in the process!

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A Victory for Virunga Africa!

Breaking News:SOCO International plc announced it will abandon its controversial oil exploration in Africa's Virunga National Park, a key part of the home range for more than half of the world's endangered mountain gorillas and a vital natural resource to hundreds of thousands of people.

Not only did the London-listed oil company commit to pulling out of Virunga, but it went one step further: It has committed to staying out of all other World Heritage sites.

It's with great pride and relief for the people and wildlife of Virunga National Park that I'm writing to you directly from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa to say: we did it!

You helped us make this happen, and we cannot be more grateful. From petitioning SOCO to encouraging leaders in the US Congress to stand up and protect Virunga National Park, you've continued to speak out for what's right.

Thank you for believing in this campaign and taking action to make a difference.

This victory is being celebrated around the world. And it is being met with well-deserved joy and hope by many of the people I am with in Africa. We are grateful for your continued activism and the leadership and efforts of the US State Department and members of Congress on this issue.

Because of you, Virunga is saved from oil exploration that was already under way. 

Please remember this victory when obstacles seem insurmountable and know we will keep on fighting together to protect our planet.

Thank you for remaining a loyal activist,

Allard Blom Managing Director, Congo Basin  World Wildlife Fund


Oregon State Parks Foundation


Hikers in Silver Falls

Hikers enjoy a beautiful view at Silver Falls State Park.

Oregon State Parks Foundation is Oregon’s statewide not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing Oregon’s state parks. OSPF is devoted to protecting and improving Oregon’s outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

To date, the Foundation has provided over $8.5 million in support of Oregon State Parks since its creation in 1995. These funds, generously donated from private donors and foundations, have supported such projects as restoring Vista House at Crown Point, helping to maintain Oregon’s Lighthouses, and purchasing important property at Iwetemlaykin State Heritage Site near Wallowa Lake.

For a list of the many projects and campaigns we have helped fund for Oregon State Parks, please visit our Our Successes page. There you can browse by region to find out how we have impacted parks in your area.

If you’re interested in becoming a part of our efforts to preserve Oregon’s natural and historic wonders, sign up to receive important updates from OSPF.


5 Ways You Can Help Animals This Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day, and it’s the perfect time to slow down, reflect on how our actions impact the planet, and consider the ways in which we can do more. Maybe this year, you’ll plant a garden, volunteer to do a coastal cleanup, or attend a local festival. Whatever you choose, here are five easy actions that you can incorporate into your day that will help animals and the planet:

1. Share this image on Facebook!

Milk Wastes Water

Let your friends and family know that while dairy products may not be meat, their production is just as bad for the Earth (not to mention cows).

2. Bring a vegan dish to the office to share with coworkers.


With hundreds of delicious vegan recipes on our site, we’re sure that there is something for even the most skeptical palate.

3. Print this sign and put it in your car window.


Why not use your time while you’re sitting in traffic to let others know just how detrimental eating meat is?

4. Watch and share PETA’s “Meat’s Not Green” video.

This two-minute glimpse of the damage done by factory farming is gentle on viewers while still packing an educational punch.

5. Go vegan!


According to the United Nations, a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. Whatcha waitin’ for?

Want to help animals every day? Join PETA’s Action Team, and we’ll send you e-mails on ways that you can help animals as well as alerts about local demonstrations that you can participate in!
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Monarch butterflies are in dire trouble -- Help NRDC save them!

Monarch butterflies are in crisis, and we must take immediate action to protect them!

Less than 20 years ago, an astounding 1 billion monarchs migrated to Mexico for the winter. This year, a mere fraction of that -- just 33.5 million -- made the journey.

Why? In large part it's because industrial agriculture is killing off the native milkweed on which monarchs depend with a new generation of potent herbicides.

By placing commonsense limits on Big Ag's rampant use of herbicides like glyphosate -- marketed as Roundup by Monsanto -- the EPA could dramatically increase the monarch's chance for survival.

But the EPA is unlikely to do that unless it hears from hundreds of thousands of us!

Monarchs can't live without milkweed -- it is the only plant on which they lay their eggs.

What's at stake here? One of the most astounding and extraordinary migrations on the planet -- a true natural wonder.

Each year, as they have for countless generations, North American monarchs undertake an epic journey, flittering upwards of 3,000 miles across the U.S. and Canada to just a relative few wintering grounds, including Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains.

But as industrial agriculture has ramped up its use of genetically engineered crops resistant to weed killers like glyphosate, it has also dramatically escalated its use of herbicides -- and monarch populations have plunged.

This is the ninth year in a row that the population of monarchs wintering in Mexico has fallen below its long-term average, and this year it hit an all-time low.

Please tell EPA the time to act is now!

Thank you for joining NRDC at this critical moment in our fight to save the monarchs.


5 Incredible Oil-Free Ways to Make Plastic

5 Incredible Oil-Free Ways to Make Plastic

Our dependence on fossil fuels, namely petroleum, is one of the biggest accelerators of climate change. Despite the obvious promise of solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources, the critics say we can’t live without oil. Not because we can’t power our homes and cars with something else, but because we’re addicted to plastic.

Plastic is part of nearly everything we touch, from packaging to electronics. It’s in our carpets, and bathrooms, and closets. It’s used in so many products because it’s “cheap” and durable.

Globally, we went from consuming 50 million tonnes of plastic per year in 1950 to 245 million tonnes in 2008, according to Plastics Europe. And it’s estimated that around 50 percent of that plastic is only used once, sometimes for mere minutes, before we throw it away. This plastic addiction has create massive environmental problems while simultaneously making the fossil fuel industry feel very loved.

“The production of plastic uses an incredible amount of fossil fuels. Most estimates put the figure at around 8% of the world’s oil production, 4% of which is actually used in energy consumption to make the plastic,” reports Plastic Oceans.

Since we seem to be incapable of going without plastic (or recycling it at rates that would really make a difference), the world’s leading inventors and scientists are on a quest to make plastic out of something–anything–besides oil. Here are five of the most promising ideas:

5 Oil-Free Ways to Make Plastic

plastic from shrimp shells

1. Shrimp Shells and Wood Flour

As Treehugger reports, researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have developed a new bioplastic from chitosan derived from shrimp shells. Chitosan is a form of chitin, a natural polymer said to be the second most abundant organic material on Earth. Although the scientists had trouble getting the bioplastic, dubbed “Shrilk,” to hold its shape, they solved the problem by adding in another waste material: wood ‘flour’.

plastic from air pollution

2. Air Pollution

Talk about two birds with one stone. A California-based chemical technologies company has developed a manufacturing technology that captures airborne carbon, a major health and environmental hazard, and turns it into a replacement for oil-based plastics. ”By using carbon that would otherwise be in the air we are breathing right now, AirCarbon turns everyday goods into products that actually improve the environment,” said Mark Herrema, CEO, in a press release. “Combined with a cost profile that is more favorable than oil-based plastics, AirCarbon has the potential to change the world.”

plastic from banana peels

3. Banana Peels

Bananas are delicious and nutritious, but we may have been tossing their most valuable asset into the garbage pail for centuries. In 2013, sixteen-year-old Turkish student Elif Bilgin discovered that the the starches and cellulose in banana peels are perfect for making a non-decaying bioplastic. Bilgin hopes the banana bioplastic could be used to insulate wires and form medical protheses, reducing our dependence on oil-based plastic.

plastic from sewage

4. Sewage

One thing that we’ll always have in abundance (as long as humans roam the Earth) is sewage. Anywhere humans have settled, there’s bound to be a sewage treatment center nearby. Recently, a company called Newlight Technologies, LLC developed a way to capture the methane and carbon dioxide emanating from these facilities, and turn it into plastic. “First, a mix of gases, including methane and carbon dioxide, is funneled into a reactor. Next, carbon and oxygen are separated out, and then they are reassembled into a long-chain thermopolymer (aka: a form of plastic),” explains CleanTechnica.


5. Whey

About 15 million tons of whey are produced each year by European cheese manufacturers, yet only a tiny portion of that whey is reused as food additives or supplements. A group of companies in the EU is working on technology that would allow them to turn this unwanted by-product into something useful, like bioplastic. The biodegradable material is said to be air tight and water resistant, making it ideal for food packaging.
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Nothing’s Sacred: Oil Industry Wants to Drill the Everglades

Nothing’s Sacred: Oil Industry Wants to Drill the Everglades

Running out of places to excavate oil, American energy companies are starting to eye Florida’s Everglades. The beautiful tropical wetlands of southern Florida have benefited from environmental protections previously, but now the oil industry is laying the groundwork for future drilling in the area.

The Department of Environmental Protection has been very adamant in claiming that no one has so much as filed a request to drill in the Everglades. However, as a writer of the Tampa Bay Times points out, this seems like more of “a bit of semantics.” Although no drilling will occur in the Everglades National Park, companies have made moves to purchase land that directly borders the protected park.

Besides, the Everglades extend well beyond what has been designated the national park’s boundary. Still, pretending for a moment that the parkland is the only area that matters, even that is at risk due to adjacent drilling and fracking. The environmental consequences of these activities are never contained to just the immediate area.

Jaime Duran, a resident of the Everglades, researched the likely harms after having an encounter he had with a representative for an oil company. Duran told NPR that the employee delivered a letter explaining that an oil well would be put on land just 1,300 feet from Duran’s house and that – as such – he was now living in an “evacuation zone.”

Due to his proximity to the well site, Duran is at risk of exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas leaks. Nonetheless, Duran is less frightened by that possibility than what he knows to be true. “[My] biggest concern is the brine, the produced waters,” he said. “[For] every gallon of oil that they extract, they will get 20 gallons of salt water, and that salt water is toxic.”

Duran’s neighboring land is not the only one in peril. The Sun Sentinel reports that oil companies are currently seeking permission to test acreage below the Big Cypress National Preserve for energy viability. Meanwhile, a Texas company has already received approval to drill next to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.
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STOP the STATE of TEXAS from Destroying 500 Year Old Live Oak Tree and Forest!!

STOP the STATE of TEXAS from Destroying 500 Year Old Live Oak Tree and Forest!!

Update #3 March 8, 2014

Press release from TxDot deputy director Joe Barton yesterday reported in
Houston Chronicle,,, " sending engineers back to the drawing board... " A step in the right direction in our opinion but we feel we need to hold their feet to the fire until something more concrete than a press release is presented. Keep signing and sharing show them we are serious
We are so blessed by all your support.

Buffalo National River

New Chance to Stop the Damage to Buffalo River

Last year, Arkansas officials allowed an industrial-scale hog farm to operate upstream from Buffalo National River. Now, these officials have the opportunity to reopen the farm's permit, which was issued without public comment and contains misinformation related to the disposal of the facility's enormous quantities of manure. Learn more, see a new video on the issue, and take action to help stop the harm this poorly sited facility could cause this pristine watershed.

Get the Latest »

US Capitol

Do Your Reps Support National Park Funding?

Earlier this week, President Obama unveiled his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which would restore $55 million in additional funding to the National Park Service after several years of cuts and declining funds. But for these much-needed funds to become a reality for national parks, the proposal needs congressional support. See how your members of Congress voted on national park funding issues in 2013, and send a message encouraging them to support the proposal, which would take effect in time for the upcoming Park Service centennial.

Take Action »

Brixton Doyle

Q&A: Behind the Scenes with Artist Brixton Doyle

To date, NPCA and the Creative Action Network have showcased 450 original works of art (and counting) through the See America Project, a new crowdsourced campaign to reimagine classic New Deal-era posters of national parks for a new generation. Graphic designer and instructor Brixton Doyle contributed a particularly striking work of a hand-drawn rendering of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, set against a dramatic red sky. We asked the artist about his connection to the parks, his artistic process, and his inspiration.

Learn More »

Groundwork Anacostia

Transforming D.C.’s “Forgotten River”

D.C.’s Anacostia River has an image problem. It has suffered for years from pollution and neglect and has a reputation as a place to avoid—some even call it the “forgotten river.” Fortunately, community advocates are helping to reverse this stigma and inspire a new generation of stewards: Groundwork Anacostia is involving high school students in service-learning projects that are revitalizing the watershed.

Learn More »


Wildlife vs. Climate Change: A Pika Tale

What lives near high-altitude rock fields, is closely related to rabbits, makes a distinctive barking noise, and is so sensitive to cold that it could literally die from climate change? Meet the adorable, mischievous pikas that scurry their way around a number of western national parks, and learn how a team of researchers is trying to help them survive.

Learn More »

PepsiCo Diverts 2M Pounds | Sewage Water to Energy | Smart Sprinkler System

Earth911 Logo March 5, 2014
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PepsiCo Dream Machines Divert More Than 2 Million Pounds from Landfills

PepsiCo Dream Machine-sponsored Free Green Cans provide Chicago residents and visitors with a convenient way to recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans while on-the-go. Photo: PepsiCo
Nearly four years after launching its innovative Dream Machine program, PepsiCo is keeping the dream alive. To date, PepsiCo says that more than 1,000 K-12 schools in 34 states have joined the program, keeping an estimated 40 million containers out of landfills. That adds up to almost 2 million pounds of plastic and aluminum that’s been diverted from the trash.

Company Converts Steaming Hot Sewage Water into Energy

On any given day, the average American blows through approximately 100 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. See how one company prevents energy from being flushed down the drain. 

Smart Sprinkler System Saves Water in the Yard

With its Wi-Fi–connected smart controller and corresponding mobile app, the Rachio sprinkler system promises to save homeowners water and money. Photo: Rachio



10 Ways to Reuse Wine Bottles and Corks

A wine-bottle bird feeder. Photo: Ellen Thomas/The Chilly Dog
Hey, wine lovers! Want to know what you can do with your empty bottles and corks? Surprisingly, there are loads of things to make — from upcycled glassware to home décor. Get crafty with these 10 ideas.


Secretary Kerry: Stop Keystone XL

Secretary Kerry: Stop Keystone XL

  • author: Center for Biological Diversity
  • target: Secretary of State John Kerry
  • signatures: 5,202

  • Following the State Department's release of its final environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline on Jan. 31, more than 10,000 concerned activists across the country came together to hold vigils opposing the project. Now the ball is in Secretary Kerry's court to decide whether we'll have a safe climate future -- or whether such a huge investment in fossil fuel development is in our national interest.

    After years of debate, the evidence is overwhelming: Keystone XL would increase production levels of tar sands oil in Alberta and significantly add to carbon emissions. The massive investment would lock us into dependence on this dirty fuel for decades -- exacerbating carbon pollution just when we urgently need to go quickly, decisively in the opposite direction.

    Although the State Department's environmental impact statement underestimated the likelihood that the Keystone XL pipeline would fuel climate change, Secretary Kerry can set the record straight in his "National Interest Determination."

    Please act now and tell Secretary Kerry that Keystone XL is not in our country's best interest, and urge him to take strong climate action.


Protect the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint from Special Interests

Protect the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint from Special Interests

  • author: Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • target: The 21 States Opposing a Clean Chesapeake
  • signatures: 9,148

  • We know what's best for the waters in our backyard!

    The American Farm Bureau Federation and Fertilizer Institute have recruited 20 states from outside the watershed to support their efforts to derail Chesapeake Bay restoration. Together, they're seeking to overturn the recent ruling which declared the science-based pollution limits and the clean-up plan legal. We say to these special interests and to Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Alaska, and the other states, don't tell us how to restore clean water in our backyard!

    Each of the six Bay states and the District of Columbia—including hard-working farmers, businesses, and individuals—are working together. We are well on our way to making our rivers and streams safer, improving our habitat, protecting human health, and strengthening local economies. Let us continue to do this good work for our waters and future generations.

    Dead zones are shrinking. Oyster populations are rebounding. We can't let these states—spurred by Big Agriculture and fertilizer lobbyists who put their profits ahead of clean water—undermine what could be our last chance to save the Bay. Not now, just when the Bay's recovery is picking up speed!

    Tell Alaska, Utah, Montana, Kansas, and the other states backing these lobbyists: Don't tell us how to restore clean water in our backyard!

Protect Our Parks

Protect Our Parks

  • author: West Coast Environmental Law
  • target: Premier Christie Clark, Environment Minister Mary Polak
  • signatures: 2,280

  • BC's protected areas, from urban parks such as Cypress to the rugged Mount Robson, provide invaluable environmental, social and economic benefits. Enjoyed by over 19 million visitors every year, BC's parks and conservation areas are a public trust that the provincial government has a legal duty protect for the benefit of British Columbians.

    But the provincial government wants to pave the way for our protected lands to become industrial corridors. It has proposed legal changes that would reduce protection for smaller parks, allow "research" such as drilling, surveying and exploration to occur in protected areas and make it easier for the government to "adjust" park boundaries at industry's request.

    The changes follow recent revelations that the BC government is expecting applications from industry to change the boundaries of dozens of protected areas to allow pipelines, transmission lines and other resource projects to cut through them.

    The government is debating these changes on Monday, February 17. If you want to keep BC's parks safe, they need to hear from you.

    Send your message to the BC government that protected areas belong to British Columbians and do not exist at the whim of politicians.

    BC Parks, "BC Parks: More than Just a Pretty Place"
    BC Parks, "BC Parks Mission and Mandate"
    Vancouver Sun, "B.C. legislation would allow oil and gas to conduct preliminary research in parks." (13 February 2014)
    Vancouver Sun, "Boundary changes for industrial corridors expected ... more

Ban Plastic Microbeads That Pollute Great Lakes!

Ban Plastic Microbeads That Pollute Great Lakes!

  • author: Chris Wolverton
  • target: Personal Care Products Manufacterers and Retailers
  • signatures: 22,525
  • Plastic microbeads found in exfoliating personal care products are polluting United States Great Lakes. Recent research published in peer-reviewed journal The Marine Pollution Bulletin found high concentrations of plastics in U.S. lakes, particularly Lake Erie, with microbeads accounting for 90 percent of these plastics.

    Microbeads are designed to be small enough to wash down the drain, but they are obviously not being caught by sewage treatment and are instead flowing into waterways.

    There is no need to continue polluting our lakes with these unnecessary products. Natural products such as ground nuts and fruit pits can exfoliate without harming the environment. Major beauty companies such as The Body Shop have already agreed to phase out microbeads, and it is time for other corporations to follow suit. Please sign the petition to ban plastic microbeads from personal care products!

    Plastic microbeads found in exfoliating personal care products are polluting United States Great Lakes. Recent research published in peer-reviewed journal The Marine Pollution Bulletin found high concentrations of plastics in U.S. lakes, particularly Lake Erie, with microbeads accounting for 90 percent of these plastics.

    Microbeads are designed to be small enough to wash down the drain, but they are obviously not being caught by sewage treatment and are instead flowing into waterways.

    There is no need to continue polluting our lakes with these unnecessary products. Natural products such as ground nuts and fruit pits can exfoliate without harming the environment. Major beauty companies such as The Body Shop have already agreed to phase out microbeads, and it is time for other corporations to follow suit. Please sign the petition to ban plastic microbeads from personal care products!


STOP the STATE of TEXAS from Destroying 500 Year Old Live Oak Tree and Forest!!

STOP the STATE of TEXAS from Destroying 500 Year Old Live Oak Tree and Forest!!

  • author: Phyllis Tietjen
  • target: State of Texas Department of Transportation
  • signatures: 6,285

  • There is a tree located in a small town called Snook in Texas (pop. ~515) certified by an arborist to be around 500 years old. The grand tree is one of several live oak trees the arborist has measured to be 200-300 years old and is noted to be one of the few true Live Oak Forests in this area. My family has owned the property close to 150 years which the State of Texas recognized and entered into the Texas Family Land Heritage program. The grand oak has a trunk that measures around 25 feet in circumference. Its limbs extend somewhere around 100 feet. They have survived numerous severe droughts, floods hurricanes, lighting storms, you name it and they have beat it. Ponder for a few minutes about the history that has passed these trees by, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Coronado searched for gold, Jamestown was settled, John Hancock signed his name, Lewis and Clark walked to Portland, Hugh Glass fought a Bear, Bowie used his knife in a Church, Booth did the unthinkable, yes it just goes on and on till 2014.

    Sadly, after centuries of struggling to survive, watching history unfold, these beautiful old trees have become the target of the State of Texas through her Department of Transportation. They have determined, through all their exceptional wisdom that it is their duty to serve and protect the public by choosing to destroy these beautiful specimens of god’s ability to create a lasting beauty, which now has proven they can only to be destroyed by simple man.

    TxDot is go... more



Victory 2013
Several of our victories and successes in 2013 were the culmination of decades of work and support from our staff, our volunteers, our allies, and supporters like you. Consider Yellowstone, where, after 15 years of work to reduce air and noise pollution during the park's winter season, park officials reached a final decision to regulate snowmobile and snowcoach use in America's first national park.

In other news, your support helped us stop an ill-conceived water pipeline in Nevada near Great Basin National Park, successfully fight for critical recovery funds for parks in Superstorm Sandy's path, and finally defeat the proposed Eagle Mountain Landfill--which would have been frighteningly close to Joshua Tree National Park. There is so much more to share.
Please take a look at our 2013 timeline of milestones and victories. Scroll through and read about all of the great things we accomplished together. We simply cannot do this work without you. Even with all of these outstanding achievements, we have our work cut out for us in 2014.

We hope you’ll stand with us as we strive to safeguard the funding and protections our parks need to tell the stories of our rich natural and cultural history.
You can take one small step today by
liking NPCA on Facebook and following us on Twitter so you’ll be sure to receive breaking news and opportunities to take action to help protect the parks. I hope you will also share this email with family and friends who care for the parks as much as you do, and encourage them to join our online community at

Thanks for everything you do for our national parks, and all the best this new year!


Clark Bunting, NPCA President and CEO
Clark Bunting

Earth911 Logo November 1, 2013
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How To: Make Your Own Toothpaste from Scratch .. Info on Oils..

Make your own toothpaste using a recipe that is entirely nontoxic and is enriched with much-needed calcium. Photo: Matt and Betsy Jabs/DIY Natural
Most toothpaste concoctions require only a few household ingredients and work just as well as your favorite brand. We bring you two simple do-it-yourself recipes.


5 Oils from Your Kitchen You Can Add to Your Beauty Routine
Many natural oils that you probably already have, such as olive oil, make great moisturizers for your skin.


LCV logo header

Don’t let polluters get away with weakening critical Clean Water Act protections. Tell the EPA to protect all our waterways now >> 


Protect the waterways that our wildlife and our families depend on.

Tell the EPA to stop letting polluters put our waterways at risk and fix the Clean Water Act now!

If you ask any child what happens when you put a toy boat in a river, they’ll tell you that it sails downstream.

But if you ask our government what happens when polluters dump their toxic waste into our streams and wetlands, they’ll say our laws don’t acknowledge that this pollution will travel down into our rivers and lakes.

Why? Because the Clean Water Act is broken -- but you can help us fix it.

Show the EPA that you support them using science to restore Clean Water Act protections for our wetlands and streams!

Over the years, key pieces of the Clean Water Act have been rolled back. Polluters have argued that certain kinds of waterways like streams, wetlands, and floodplains shouldn’t be protected because they don’t connect to our larger bodies of water.

But science has shown that they are connected. Right now more than 59 percent of U.S. streams and 20 million acres of wetlands are vulnerable to toxic dumping and pollution.

Since these are connected to larger waterways, this puts the drinking water of 117 million Americans at terrible risk. It also threatens the survival of wildlife like river otters and fish that make their homes in these waterways and are very sensitive to pollution.

Luckily, the Environmental Protection Agency is working to fix this law right now. They did an investigation and confirmed what we already knew -- that streams, wetlands, and floodplains are connected to important downstream waters.

They can use this scientific report to close these loopholes in the Clean Water Act and protect these important watersheds. But polluters are going to push back hard against anything that would stop them from contaminating our waters with impunity. So we need your help to give the EPA an extra push to make sure they take this step forward.

Join us in calling on the EPA to listen to science and protect our waterways now. Send your message here >>

As a part of the LCV community, you know how important it is to keep the Clean Water Act strong. Polluters think that they can just poke holes in our most critical clean water protections and we won’t notice.

Show them they’re wrong, Johni. Send a message now telling the EPA to finalize its scientific report quickly and use it to restore protections to all our interconnected waterways.

Vanessa Kritzer
Online Campaigns Manager
League of Conservation Voters

Otter photo found here.

WWF May E-newsletter

U.S. Activists: Protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine

Pebble Mine sign
An Alaskan native protests the development of Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. © Scott Dickerson/WWF-US

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is a national treasure. It's the ecological epicenter of the Bering Sea, which yields more than 40 percent of the wild-caught seafood produced in the U.S., and an irreplaceable stronghold for fish and wildlife. But right now its future is at risk. The largest open pit copper and gold mine in North America is proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. If developed, the mine would destroy miles of salmon streams and acres of vital salmon habitat, and would require up to 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste to be stored and monitored "in perpetuity." Urge the federal government to protect Bristol Bay from the potentially disastrous Pebble Mine.

Take action

Urge Secretary Kerry to Clean Up Our Skies

Blue sky
Sign the petition to help keep our skies clean. © Frank Parhizgar/WWF-Canada

Carbon emissions from aviation are polluting our skies at a staggering rate. They are projected to nearly double by 2030 and continue to climb unless we can adopt new, international policies to get them under control. Secretary of State John Kerry has the opportunity later this month to slash this pollution by supporting a global agreement to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon emissions. By taking a leadership role on this critical issue, he would demonstrate to the world our nation’s commitment to tackling climate change in the U.S. and across the globe. U.S. Activists: Urge Secretary Kerry to support a global agreement to clean up our skies.

Take action

It's the first day of Spring. Time go get outside! Is this email not displaying correctly?
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Spring has sprung


Even if you're getting hit with snow right now, take comfort: It's the first day of spring, and better weather is just around the corner.

Let's dream away today thinking of all the time we'll spend outside enjoying the sunshine. Open some windows, get things tidied up, and get ready to enjoy!
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Backyard Recycling
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#10Things in your backyard you can #reuse or #recycle: via @Earth911
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Climate Change Hurts Butterflies, Too

  • Climate Change Hurts Butterflies, Too

Written by Judith A. Ross

A butterfly’s transformation — from minuscule egg, to chubby caterpillar, to pod-like chrysalis and finally into an intricately decorated, delicately winged creature — strikes the perfect balance between magic and science.

My introduction to the more scientific aspects of a butterfly’s life cycle came at the age of eight, when as a budding naturalist, I attended a day camp at the local Audubon sanctuary. Our counselors taught us about a program to band monarch butterflies in order to track their yearly journey from our northern environs in Massachusetts down south through Texas and into Mexico.

As an adult, I remain enchanted by butterflies’ mystical beauty, while also assisting with their more earthly needs by including butterfly-friendly plants in my garden.

But no matter how otherworldly they may appear, and in spite of efforts like mine to encourage their propagation, even butterflies are not exempt from the effects of climate change.

Atlantis Fritillary Photo: Barbara Spencer, West Cummington

A study examining the butterfly population in Massachusetts, published this month in Nature Climate Change, has shown that protective habitats alone aren’t enough to keep some butterfly species in the Bay State.

Based on data collected between 1992 and 2010 by the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, the study shows that over the past 19 years, a warming climate has altered the state’s butterfly communities.

So while I may be seeing more subtropical and warm-climate butterfly species, such as the giant swallowtail and the zabulon skipper around my Massachusetts home, more than three-quarters of northerly species are in sharp decline. According to the study, those that over-winter as eggs or small larvae seem especially vulnerable to what has become a warmer, dryer climate with less snow cover.

Greg Breed, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, recently told the Harvard Gazette:

For most butterfly species, climate change seems to be a stronger change-agent than habitat loss. Protecting habitat remains a key management strategy, and that may help some butterfly species. However, for many others, habitat protection will not mitigate the impacts of warming.

Atlantis Fritillary Photo: Erik Nielsen Pittsburg, NH

The downside? Populations of species with mythological names like the atlantis and aphrodite fritillaries have declined nearly 90 percent in Massachusetts.

Like birds, butterflies, and all other living things, we humans can’t escape the impact of climate change. Unlike them, however, we are not voiceless. In fact, we can have a strong voice in protecting butterflies and other silent, yet vulnerable populations.

At Moms Clean Air Force we make it easy for engaged citizens to speak up and Take Action.

Tell the presidential candidates to talk about climate change!

Read more:

The World is Running Dry: What You Can Do

by Chris Chuang 

Did you know that the world is running dry? That a water crisis, linked to global warming, is aruguably the largest environmental challenge facing the United States and the world today? After reading Water Consciousness you’ll be in no doubt.

Designed to be both practical and beautiful, Water Consciousness presents readers with a welter of information, alternately fascinating and alarming, about our water — where it comes from, where it goes, how we use — and waste — it, how much — and how little — there is, how we can conserve and protect it, and much more. The book, which features contributions by Bill McKibben, Maude Barlow, Vandana Shiva, and other top environmental writers, is a model of accessibility and includes colorful images, charts, and other visuals, as well as a stunning photo essay. It’s a book that will change how you think about and use water every day.

Here, drawn from the book, are 14 steps you can take to protect our water.

1. FIND OUT HOW MUCH WATER YOU USE. Visit the Water Calculator to see what you can do to cut back (

2. STOP DRINKING BOTTLED WATER. Choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible. Create a bottled water free zone in your classroom, campus, workplace, union, community center, city hall, environmental organization, or faith-based group. (,

3. HELP CREATE A CLEAN WATER TRUST FUND. Support public control of water resources and increased funding for public drinking water by signing a petition urging Congress to create a Clean Water Trust Fund. (

4. CONSERVE WATER INSIDE. Retrofit with efficient appliances and fixtures, take shorter showers, check faucets for leaks and drips. (

5. CONSERVE WATER OUTSIDE. Reduce lawn size and choose drought-tolerant xeriscapes. You can also recycle municipal water and on-site graywater, or harvest rainwater to use in the garden. (,

6. DON’T POLLUTE YOUR WATERSHED. Stop using toxic cleaners, pesticides, and herbicides. Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals and personal care products. (,

7. LEARN ABOUT YOUR WATERSHED. Form a watershed group. River keeper organizations, Friends of Creeks groups, and watershed councils are springing up all over the country. (

8. HELP KEEP YOUR WATERSHED HEALTHY. Support or start water-quality monitoring programs. Citizen-based water-quality monitoring is an accessible and meaningful way to understand the health of our waterways. (

9. CLEAN UP AGRICULTURE. Buy local and organic food. Help with the implementation of on-farm water conservation and protection programs. (,

10. PROTECT GROUNDWATER FROM DEPLETION AND DEGRADATION. Help ensure legislation to manage and protect all groundwater. Unlike our system of surface-water rights, the extraction of unlimited quantities of groundwater is largely unregulated. (

11. LEARN ABOUT DAMS IN YOUR AREA. Oppose construction of new dams and always ask if any planned dams are really necessary, or if there are better, less destructive ways of conserving water, preventing floors, or generating power. (

12. REDUCE YOUR ENERGY USE. Producing electricity uses lots of water. You can figure out how much energy you use at Low Carbon Diet. (

13. SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO WATER FOR EVERYONE. Learn more about grassroots movements for water democracy and support for the United Nations covenant on the right to water. (

14. HELP SPREAD THE WORD. Visit for more information.

 To read more from " The Progressive Reader" :


3,000 Year Old Giant Baobab Tree Tells an Amazing Story

3,000 Year Old Giant Baobab Tree Tells an Amazing Story

For some 3,000 years, this Baobab tree has been a force of salvation in Southern Africa. Shoulder to shoulder, 23 people could line up across the face of this Baobab tree in Zimbabwe’s Save Valley Conservancy and if a pride of lions were to approach you’d see many of them quickly disappear into the tree’s hollow cavity.

“There are many Baobabs anywhere in Africa but what makes this one rather unique is its size,” Karen Paolillo of the Turgwe Hippo Trust explains. “This tree has been recorded as the largest in Southern Africa.”

Local people use Baobabs for prayer. If a white cloth is found attached to a Baobab, that signifies that it is a place of worship. And with thousands of years of dry season, of extreme droughts, this Baobab has hosted countless rain dances as both young and old lift their hands and feet in a desperate ritual for survival.

Over thousands of years, this tree has seen some of the most gorgeous spectacles on earth. A pride of lions napping in the afternoon sun. A massive herd of elephants padding through the bush on their way to get a drink in the river. A mother baboon craddling her baby in her arms. We pause today to embrace life here, even in all its frailty as increased risks of hunting in the Conservancy have left us all holding our collective breath.

Please take a moment to enjoy this slideshow of some of the creatures who roam beneath the Baobab trees.

Related Stories:

Bonobos Can Make Stone Tools…and That’s Freaking Cool

Read more:

The Pizza Box Recycling Mystery

Courtesy of Earth911

Many people assume that pizza boxes are recyclable. In fact, most boxes have recycling symbols on them and are traditionally made from corrugated cardboard. They are, in and of themselves, recyclable.

However, what makes parts of them non-recyclable is the hot, tasty treat that comes inside them, specifically, the grease and cheese from pizza that soil the cardboard.

So there you have it, pizza boxes that are tarnished with food, or any paper product that is stained with grease or food, are not recyclable - unless you remove the tainted portions.

But why is this? And what are the implications for the general, pizza-loving public? Mmm, pizza.

How it Gets Recycled
Food is one of the worst contaminants in the paper recycling process. Grease and oil are not as big of a problem for plastic, metal and glass, as those materials are recycled using a heat process. But when paper products, like cardboard, are recycled, they are mixed with water and turned into a slurry. Since we all know water and oil don't mix, the issue is clear.

Grease from pizza boxes causes oil to form at the top of the slurry, and paper fibers cannot separate from oils during the pulping process. Essentially, this contaminant causes the entire batch to be ruined. This is the reason that other food related items are non-recyclable (used paper plates, used napkins, used paper towels, etc).

"The oil gets in when you're doing your process of making paper," said Terry Gellenbeck, a solid waste administrative analyst for the City of Phoenix. "The oil causes great problems for the quality of the paper, especially the binding of the fibers. It puts in contaminants, so when they do squeeze the water out, it has spots and holes."

But what about other things regularly found on paper products, like ink? "Most inks are not petroleum-based so they break down fast. Food is a big problem," he said.

Also, be mindful of adhesives that may be on the pizza box (coupons, stickers, etc.) as those are contaminants. Known as "pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs)" these can ruin the recycling process just as much as oil or food remains.

Many people admit trying to "sneak" their pizza boxes in with cardboard boxes and such. In reality, this does more harm than good as the contaminated cardboard could ruin the whole recycling batch.

In fact, contamination in the recycling business is a big problem. Some estimates put the costs of irresponsible contamination in the neighborhood of $700 million per year industry-wide. Gellenbeck estimates that for the City of Phoenix, contamination costs them around $1 million annually, because of damage to machinery, disposal costs for the non-recyclable material and wasted time, materials and efficiency. With the City processing 129,000 tons of materials in 2008 (around 7 percent of this is cardboard), money is an important factor as to why residents should know what their municipalities do and do not accept.

So, What Do I Do?
The easiest remedy for this problem is to cut or tear out the soiled portions of your pizza boxes and trash them. For example, you can tear the top of the box off, recycle that and throw away the bottom part containing the grease. If the entire box is grease-free, the whole box can be recycled with a guilt-free conscience.

Another option to recycling cardboard is to compost it, although the grease rule still applies here as well. "Even with oils, you shouldn't compost [greased cardboard]. It causes rotting, you get more bugs and smell and it's just not good for the plants," said Gellenbeck.

Most importantly, being well-versed on what your local recyclers accept, can make the biggest difference. "It all depends on where your processor sends your paper, too," said Gellenbeck, whose authority applies only to the City of Phoenix. "If you can keep a particular thing like the food out, the plastics out, all those things that really shouldn't be there, it would help."

New 7 Wonders of Nature

New 7 Wonders of Nature

Written by Stephen Messenger, Treehugger

After two years of vote-casting by millions of people from across the globe, a new list of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” has been revealed. Reducing a planet full of incredible, breathtaking, and awe-inspiring sites to a mere handfull was no easy task — but while it is arguably inappropriate to pit nature’s most beautiful places in such a competition, the organization behind the list hopes it will help the top spots “in becoming part of global memory for humankind forever.” In the end, however, the list is a bit more remarkable for the countless wonders it lacks than the ones it contains.

The campaign was launched by the group’s founder Bernard Weber who hoped to revive the listing convention originated by Ancient Greeks in naming the 7 Wonders of the World more than two thousand years ago. “So many breathtakingly beautiful, natural places are still quite unknown to many. From waterfalls to fjords, rainforests to mountain peaks, freshwater lakes to volcanoes, we are discovering together the incredible beauty and variety of our planet,” says Webber.

According to New7Wonders, the group that organized the international competition, from an original list composed of around 440 nominated locales, seven ‘provisional’ top wonders have been selected with the input of over a million international voters. An official announcement of the winning sites is expected some time early next year. But in lieu of any changes, the list of the final seven is as follows (in alphabetical order):


The Amazon

“The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia, the Amazon jungle or the Amazon Basin, encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), though the forest itself occupies some 5.5 million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres), located within nine nations. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world. The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by volume, with a total flow greater than the top ten rivers worldwide combined. It accounts for approximately one-fifth of the total world river flow and has the biggest drainage basin on the planet. Not a single bridge crosses the Amazon.”

*All descriptions are from the New7Wonders website.

Read more:

 Composting Bin

                                                       It's all in the bag.

Plastic bags don't need to be tomorrow's pollution. There's no denying that plastic bags are a hotly debated topic in the eco-scene. But solving this problem doesn't have to be a stressful endeavor - indeed, the bags blowing in the wind & floating in the sea can be prevented through simple actions & creative ideas. It's imperative that we reduce our use, reuse what we have & recycle every bag that crosses our path. 

Getting out my glue gun,

Jennifer Berry Signature

Get Started

We use 89B plastic bags, sacks & wraps every year in the U.S., but recycling only hovers around 9%. Here's why you can't ignore plastics recycling & some amazing items that recycled bags can become. Even changing their color could make a huge difference.

This Week's Eco Warrior Takes Bags from Blah to Tada!

In this week's top photo, Eco Warrior Claire Obias shares a picture of the beautiful plastic flower she uses for gift wrap, which she made from an old plastic bag for her crafty recycling blog, blah to TADA! Her plastic bag projects include making a festive lei, a functional padded mailing envelope and other gift embellishments

Check out her blog for other amazing recycled crafts! Thanks for your great work, Claire!


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