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. You can also find Petitions to sign as well to help protect our natural resources.


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Oregon Wild Supporter,

Three Sisters Wilderness vs. Eagle Cap Wilderness

This is it...the 'Wild Four". Narrowed from a field of 32, just four places remain in the contest to determine Oregon's Favorite Wild Place. Vote now in the "Wild Four" match up below. After you vote, you'll be taken to the other Round 4 match up.

Opal Creek vs. Crater Lake:
Known for its ancient and massive trees, Opal Creek brought the national spotlight to Oregon's efforts to protect our last remaining old-growth forests. Oregon Wild worked to protect this special place and achieved permanent Wilderness protection for it in 1996. Opal Creek also won last year's Oregon Wild Madness.

But this year, it faces an Oregon icon. Despite its national park status, Crater Lake and its surrounding wildlands are facing threats from logging, mining, and reckless development schemes. Oregon Wild has crafted a proposal to permanently protect over 500,000 acres in and around the park. Connecting these areas to existing Wilderness areas would create a 90-mile wildlife corridor that will be critical as plant and animal species adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Just by voting for your favorite wild places in Oregon, you'll be entered in a raffle to win a two-night stay at Barking Mad Farm Bed and Breakfast in Wallowa County or a two-night stay at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, plus other great prizes!

Cast your votes for your favorite wild places in Oregon!

Three Sisters vs. Eagle Cap
Two of Oregon's largest Wilderness areas face off. But you really couldn't go wrong with either of them.

Three Sisters vs. Eagle Cap: 
Located in the heart of the Cascades, the Three Sisters Wilderness is named for the three 10,000-foot peaks that overlook central Oregon - North, Middle, and South Sister - also known as Faith, Hope, and Charity. At over 285,000 acres, the Three Sisters Wilderness is a gem of the Cascades and one of our largest protected areas.

The Eagle Cap Wilderness, however, is the largest Wilderness area in the state at over 385,000 acres. This breathtaking place is Oregon's answer to the Rockies and is home to many of Oregon's gray wolves as well as other rare wildlife, like wolverines.

Regardless of which one gets your vote, you should make sure to explore both of these amazing areas.  

Vote for your favorite wild places and help us make 2014 the Year of Wilderness in Oregon!

Good luck, have fun, and we'll see you on the trail!

For the Madness,

Jonathan Jelen
Oregon Wild
Development Director



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.
Read more:


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.
Read more:

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

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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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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.

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

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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.

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 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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