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.
Somewhere in your county, elections officials are getting ready. Ballots are heading your way this week. The primary election is right around the corner.
So, as you prepare to vote – not just for President, but for numerous local and state positions that make the most difference when it comes to protecting Oregon’s natural legacy – we wanted to send a tool that we hope will help you make some decisions. For the first time, OLCV has updated our Environmental Scorecard for the Oregon Legislature with votes from the short session. Now, you have a snapshot of how your legislator has voted on the most important environmental bills from the last election until this one.
You will see some big changes from last year. While we had no anti-environment bills to score in 2015, we had THREE in 2016. And you will see some more of the same – another big win on climate, but with the cap on greenhouse gases we still need left on the table. You can read a summary of the 2016 session here.
I love knowing that you have my back when I’m at the Capitol, and that I count on you to follow up on my meetings with legislators with your calls and emails. Now, it’s my turn to have your back, and give you the information you need to vote.
My counterpart Lindsey, our Political Director, will be in touch with our full list of endorsements – for the Legislature and more – in just a few days.
I hope you are as excited as we are to vote by May 17th!
Dear Oregon Wild Supporter,
As I am sure you are aware, armed insurrectionists have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. Led by out-of-state ringleaders, this militia group is determined to seize national public lands to their own use. This action is outrageous to anyone who values democracy and the rule of law.
You can read Oregon Wild’s official statement copied below.
It is important that we speak up and denounce these actions, and even more important that we hear these denunciations echoed by our elected leaders. Senators Wyden and Merkley are both hosting a series of townhalls in the coming days. Please consider attending one of these events or, if not, send them a message opposing the seizure of national public lands and the weakening of public lands protections that these insurrectionists are agitating for.
Send a message to Senator Wyden | Senator Merkley | Governor Brown
Rest assured, this is not the last opportunity you will have to make your voice heard on this issue. We will be following up with more information and opportunities to take action. Stay tuned.
Statement of Sean Stevens, Executive Director of Oregon Wild, on the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife
“America’s public lands -- our National Parks, National Forests, Wildlife Refuges and other special places -- are among our most prized national treasures. Yet today, our public lands are under attack by insurrectionists in Harney County, Oregon. An armed militia group led by out-of-state ringleaders has seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and is using threats of violence and intimidation to try and achieve their political ends.
“We are disgusted that this group is hijacking the word “patriotism” to justify its actions, while rejecting the basic tenets of American society--democracy and the rule of law. They claim their seizure of Malheur refuge is in support of two local ranchers. However, those ranchers were convicted in a court of law of arson in a case involving poaching deer on public lands and intentionally setting fires that damaged public land to hide the evidence, endangering firefighters in the area. The two ranchers in question failed to serve the mandatory minimum sentence required for their crimes, and are now being required to serve their full terms.
“The details of the Hammond case are disturbing, but they are a distraction to what is truly happening here. These armed occupiers are using intimidation and threats of violence to make a political point. They do not believe the American government should own any land, and that our National Parks, Forests, Refuges, or other lands should be privatized. They base their views on a perverted definition of the U.S. Constitution - one that has been thoroughly discredited by lawmakers, legal scholars, and the courts. Numerous opinion polls show that the American public across the political spectrum supports our public lands--places that belong to all Americans, and that all Americans have a right to responsibly use and enjoy.
“The dictionary definition of the word terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” This word should not be used lightly, but it is exactly what the extremist group currently occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is attempting to do. The people of Oregon are scared and angry, and politicians and members of the news media should not create a double standard by labeling this group something else.
“Oregon Wild calls upon local, state and federal authorities in Oregon to work to resolve this conflict without the violence and bloodshed that the insurrectionists seek, so that Malheur National Wildlife Refuge can once again be a protected haven for wildlife. Elected officials, in no uncertain terms, must denounce this terrorism. We also urge federal and state law enforcement to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
To read the rest: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/1780/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1336646
The top ten posts of the year on TreeHugger
What makes a TreeHugger story popular? What do our readers want? One can learn a lot from looking at the top stories of the year. Three are about tiny houses; two are how-to's; three, including the top story of the year, are nature stories, two of which appropriately hug trees. Add a tear-jerker dog story and there you are. So from all of us, a Happy New Year, and we look forward to 2016 as Tinypuppygoatsintreehugger.com!
7. 12 companies that make luxurious all-natural perfumes
It was some kind of cosmic joke that, while I sat working on this slideshow in a coffee shop, two middle-aged ladies sat down at the table next to me, filling the small space with their overpowering perfumes. Within minutes, my eyes started to water, my throat began to itch, and I couldn’t get a single breath of non-perfumed air.
news is that there are lots of companies and customers realizing the
importance of avoiding synthetic perfumes. The following list of
companies offer perfumes in various forms and strengths – solid, spray,
roll-on, eau de toilette, eau de parfum, and perfume oils – that are
free from the dangerous ingredients used in conventional perfumes.
5. Ecocapsule is the egg-shaped tiny home that can go off-grid and off-pipeOften when we show tiny homes, readers point out that designers should learn from boats, where people have been organizing small spaces forever. Now Bratislava based Nice Architects introduce the very nice and very boat-like Ecocapsule, " a low-energy house packed into a compact form. It merges an energy efficient shape, compact volume and off-grid capabilities with the luxuries of a warm bed, running water and a hot meal.
3. How to keep ants out of your house naturallyThis simple nontoxic trick is a little miracle ... and no ants were harmed in the writing of this story. I am a total wuss when it comes to killing things – I don’t eat animals, I can’t squish bugs. But often times co-existing with creatures that want to hang in my home is disconcerting. And even though I live in the city, nature has a way of creeping in.
2. Grand 280 sq. ft. Oregon tiny home is influenced by Japanese designFor many, tiny homes can represent more financial freedom and a smaller environmental footprint, due to their smaller size, lower maintenance costs and the possibility of towing it onto cheap land (though any kind of mobile living can potentially have some or all of these benefits). While one can build a great tiny home for a few thousand dollars, there will always tiny homes on the other end of the scale, such as this well-appointed and pretty luxurious tiny house measuring 280 square feet in Aurora, Oregon.
1. 10 of the world’s most remarkable treesFrom oldest to tallest to most sacred and more, in celebration of Arbor Day we present a brief who's-who of arboreal heroes.
How Much Do You Really Know About Climate Change?
The UN Paris Climate Summit
On November 30th, the UN climate conference kicks off in Paris. The culmination of decades of complex climate negotiations that began in 1992, these UN Paris Climate Talks (formally known as the “Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” or COP), may well be the endgame—our last, best chance to achieve a global, legally binding climate agreement.
Nearly 200 countries will gather to pound out the details of an agreement that aims to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and address the impacts of climate change. But a Paris treaty must do more than simply reduce fossil fuel emissions. In most of the world—nearly 60 developing countries—deforestation and agriculture generate far more GHG emissions than the burning of fossil fuels. That’s why the Rainforest Alliance will be on hand at the UN Paris Climate Talks, offering its expertise in climate-smart agriculture and sustainable forest management.
Stay tuned for updates from the Rainforest Alliance climate team. We will report on the progress made at the climate talks and continue to press for climate-smart land use to be part of the agreement the world so desperately needs. Just follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram for the latest.To read more;http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/un-paris-climate-summit?utm_campaign=&utm_source=1511news&utm_medium=email&s_src=fy16canopy&s_subsrc=1511news
Great Barrier Reef is in trouble of becoming a dumping ground.
The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's most iconic ocean habitats, is in immediate danger of being turned into a dumping ground and a shipping superhighway. We need you to take action now and help us protect it.
The Australian government is fast-tracking major shipping port projects that could devastate the reef’s marine life. Last year, many of you spoke up and helped us draw attention to this issue with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. As a response to that effort and global outcry, the committee expressed "extreme concern" over the decision by the Australian government to dredge and dump in the Great Barrier Reef.
We cannot stop our fight to protect one of the planet's greatest natural wonders. Help us show the Australian government once and for all that this decision needs to be reversed.
Take action and sign our petition http://forcechange.com/139288/save-the-incredible-great-barrier-reef/
Giant Pandas Face Greatest Threat Yet: A Hotter World
The Accidental Activist In Mt. Hood Oregon
“How can this be legal?” I heard that question for the hundredth time as I led another hike through a clear-cut old growth stand on Mt. Hood National Forest. The stumps, scarred soil, still smoldering slash piles, freshly-bulldozed roads, and withering understory of the clear cut contrasted sharply with the intact cathedral-like old-growth stand we’d stood in just an hour earlier—where the forest was cool, moist, and alive.
In the early-to mid-90’s, as WildEarth Guardians (then known as Forest Guardians) was fighting uncontrolled logging in the southwest, a similar logging frenzy was in full swing on national forests in Oregon and Washington.
As I hiked the trails of Mt. Hood, I saw a clear cut of old-growth Douglas-fir—stumps four feet across—right along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). If old growth along the iconic PCT wasn’t protected, what was? Motivated by the devastation I saw, I started asking questions: Who was protecting these trees? How were these clear cuts legal?
I never planned to be an activist. Yes, I happened to be a lawyer, but I didn’t go to law school to save the planet. At 30 years old, I was a criminal defense attorney who loved the mountains—the scents of firs, the sounds of mountain streams, the grandeur of the trees older than this country, and the abundant wildlife.
I couldn’t help but be disturbed by the destruction I was witnessing on our public lands. With the freshly printed Northwest Forest Plan in hand, I decided to act. I connected with some like-minded people and we began to fight timber sales on Mt. Hood.
We would navigate through the forest on foot and document old growth marked for cutting and how close to streams the timber sales were planned. With our on-the-ground knowledge, we’d go into meetings with the Forest Service and could talk about any stand of trees they wanted to log. It was a level of site-specific knowledge opposition they weren’t used to dealing with.
Even in Portland—so close to Mt. Hood—few were aware the Forest Service was cutting down forests and building miles and miles of roads to do it. So I led hikes into the forest, visiting intact old growth stands and clear-cuts, so people could contrast the two. The hikers I led were always shocked and disgusted.
Between the on-the-ground knowledge, the growing numbers of supporters, and some good old stubbornness, we shut down timber sale after timber sale, pushing the Forest Service so intently on each timber sale that they eventually relented and stopped logging old-growth stands on Mt. Hood.
Today I continue this work at WildEarth Guardians, fighting to remove many of the roads built by the timber industry and the Forest Service in 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s that now bleed sediment into salmon streams and fragment grizzly bear habitat.
I work to compel the Forest Service to reduce their immense road network and limit where motor vehicles can travel. We reduce the sedimentation from roads that clog and pollute the habitat of bull trout and other fish. We remove roads reducing habitat for large mammals such as grizzly and elk.
There is one particularly diverse ancient forest I think of on the east side of Mt. Hood full of Douglas-firs, mountain hemlock, western hemlock, ponderosas, western larch, pacific yews, western red cedars, white firs, grand firs and another six tree species—some with trunks large enough that it takes three people interlinked to wrap their arms around them. Knowing this ancient forest—and many others like it—is still intact inspires me daily. It is proof that we can and do make a difference, and that it is never too late to become an activist.
A hiking trail led me to where I am today. I think there is
no better trail I could’ve followed.
Plastic Bag Manufacturers Spend $3 Million Hoping to Repeal California Ban, Like thay have that kind of money ?
This past September, California became the first state in the U.S. to ban single-use plastic bags when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill sponsored by San Fernando Valley State Senator Alex Padilla, overcoming heavy lobbying and big spending from a handful of out-of-state bag manufacturers.
“This bill is a step in the right direction—it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” said Brown in September. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”
But the bag manufacturers are fighting to dial that number back to zero. Despite strong public support for the ban—more than 125 California cities and counties had already enacted their own bag bans prior to the statewide legislation—bag manufacturers are working hard to overturn it. Their trade organization, the American Progressive Bag Alliance, has spent $3 million to collect signatures to place a repeal of the bill on the November 2016 ballot, saying that claims that the bags contribute to litter and pollution are overblown.
“You just take it back to the grocery store and stuff it into a container and it gets recycled,” Jon Barrier, a spokesman for the bag trade group told Reuters.
Californians Against Waste, the group that pushed for the ban, says they’re ready to defeat the initiative and pointed to polling that shows 60 percent of Californians support keeping the ban in place.
“After spending more than $3.1 million, 98 percent of which was raised from out of state, it is clear that the plastic bag industry is more interested in their own profits than reducing an unnecessary source of pollution and waste that threaten California’s wildlife and pollutes our ocean, coast and our communities,” said Californians Against Waste executive director Mark Murray. “Californians overwhelmingly support the law, and the $30 million to $50 million it will cost the plastics industry to launch a full-fledged campaign in 2016 if the measure qualifies will be proven to be an act of political malpractice, particularly since nearly half the state will no longer have plastic bags by election day.”
“Virtually all of the plastic bags sold in
California are produced by just three out-of-state corporations,” he
said, adding, “This is not the first time that out-of-state polluters
have attempted to repeal a California environmental law. In 2010,
out-of-state oil companies, along with the Koch Brothers, spent more
millions on Proposition 23, an initiative that would have suspended AB
32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act. Voters soundly rejected
that effort by polluters, and we are confident that, given the
opportunity, voters will reject a repeal of the plastic bag ban.”
10 Ways to Recycle Christmas Trees
In the late 1800s, when decorating a tree for the holidays became popular, evergreens were bedecked with such Earth-friendly decorations as strings of popcorn, gilded nuts and luminous candles. Today, millions of people carry on this tradition by bringing Christmas trees into their homes, adding an element of splendor and festivity to their own celebrations — but also an element of waste.
After the parties are over and the season has passed, the once-splendid tree transforms into a browning living-room behemoth, and the job of disrobing it of its trimmings and tossing it carelessly outside becomes just one more household chore. Before you follow this unfortunate holiday tradition, take heed: There are several ways to recycle your Christmas tree, giving new life to both it and your New Year’s resolutions to live lighter on our planet.
1. Living Christmas trees that come with their roots intact can, of course, be planted and enjoyed for many years. Pack the earth ball containing the roots in a bucket with sawdust, potting soil or other mulch. Keep the soil continually moist. Plant outdoors as soon as possible after Christmas.
2. A whole Christmas tree makes an excellent bird feeder for your backyard. Stick the tree in the ground or leave it in its stand. A wide variety of birds will be attracted by suet, cranberry and popcorn strings, stale bread and dried, chopped fruit in mesh bags. If you grow sunflower seeds, simply hang the whole sunflower head on the tree. Your family will discover that chickadees, song sparrows, cardinals and a host of other birds come for the food and stay for the shelter.
3. Cut off all the branches and use the trunk to edge a garden. The trunk can also be strategically placed in your garden as a resting spot for birds, squirrels and other little critters. Learn more in Extend the Life of Your Christmas Tree.
4. Place whole evergreen boughs on perennial beds or nursery rows to protect them from winter freezes and spring thaws. The boughs provide the steady temperatures that most plants need. Or, just use the boughs as post-Christmas house decorations.
5. Many communities throughout the country have tree-recycling programs, in which trees are collected from residents and then chopped up and used as mulch for plants in community parks and gardens. To find out if such a program exists near you, call city hall. Or, have your tree chipped at a local garden center and use it yourself for ground cover or mulch. (Or promise the gardener in your life this belated gift!)
6. The trunk can be sawed into logs and burned in your fireplace. Note: Don’t burn the branches, since they can send off sparks. This article offers excellent firewood splitting tips.
7. Both trunk and branches can be used by woodworking hobbyists to make any number of items, such as Christmas reindeer, birdhouses, candlesticks or paperweights. Feeling boldly confident? Try whittling your family portrait!
8. Use the needles to make aromatic potpourris and sachets to enjoy year-round. After removing the decorations, strip branches of their needles, which will retain their pungency indefinitely in brown paper bags.
9. If you still have your Christmas tree out in the yard when warm weather appears, there’s still a use for it. If permitted in your community, burn the branches and spread the ashes in your garden. The branches contain valuable nutrients and minerals that can enrich the soil and help yield better flowers and vegetables.
10. Last but not least: You can have a tree for the holidays without spending money or needlessly destroying an evergreen if you make your own! (OK, so this isn’t exactly recycling.) You may have plenty of evergreens in your yard in need of pruning. Simply bundle a few large, pruned branches together and arrange, tree-like, in a watertight container. Get more details in Make Your Own Christmas Tree.
Christmas is still a week away, but with all these great ideas for re-purposing this piney tradition, you’ll be happy to have this extra time to plan which great ways you want to use to carry the splendor of the yuletide season well into spring.
What Has Happened to the Ocean’s Plastic Trash?
The Naughty List
- The Fossil Fuel Industry. From anti-environment legislation in the states from ALEC to millions of dollars spent by the Koch brothers to elect climate-change deniers, the fossil fuel industry really deserves its own giant lump of coal under the Christmas tree.
- Mitch McConnell. The man slated to become Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate in 2015 is proving himself to be a Grinch as he makes plans to push through the dirty Keystone XL oil pipeline and, in his words, “go after” the EPA’s efforts to tackle climate change.
- The Dirty Dozen. Anti-environment candidates abounded in 2014. While LCV successfully defeated seven members of the Dirty Dozen this cycle, there is still a lot of work to be done to fight back against the anti-environment stances of many in Congress.
- Climate Change Deniers. Many incoming members of Congress have already made statements denying the science of climate change, including Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who will likely be the next chair of the committee that oversees the EPA and almost all environmental legislation and existing statutes.
The Nice List
- EPA. At the center of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is the EPA’s game-changing Clean Power Plan — a proposal to limit the amount of carbon pollution power plants can spew into the air. That and the agency’s ongoing work to protect public health through protecting our waterways and other clean air standards put the EPA firmly on the nice list.
- Congressional Climate Champions. Our champions in Congress are calling for major action on climate change. Their work to support the EPA and participation in awesome actions like #Up4Climate means these champions will definitely get a visit from St. Nick.
- President Obama’s International Climate Efforts: This year, the U.S. advanced the international fight against climate change with a whole host of meaningful actions. President Obama committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help protect vulnerable communities around the world from the impacts of climate disruption, and he came to a historic agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions and expanding the clean energy economy.
- You! With the help of supporters like you this year, LCV and our state LCV partners invested more in elections than ever before, we collected more than 400,000 comments in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and we helped fight back against the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL pipeline. Our band of dedicated members who’ve helped build and support the climate movement can expect full stockings and certainly no coal.
We want to thank you for standing by us in 2014; none of what we do would be possible without you. And when 2015 rolls in, we can be ready, with your support. Please give today so that we can keep fighting tomorrow, and all next year.
100,000 Animals Drowning Every Year in The Plastic We Throw Away
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The Top 5 Most Polluted Countries in the World
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?
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: http://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/good-news-fracking-groundwater-contamination-mechanism-found.html
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.
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.http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/north-america-wind-turbines-kill-around-300000-birds-annually-house-cats-around-3000000000.html
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.
“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.”
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)
Hookerâ€™s Lips (Nuttenlippe) (Psychotria Elata)
Dancing Girls (Tanzende MÃ¤dchen) (Impatiens Bequaertii)
Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Lachende Biene)
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
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
African Farmers Are Creating Forest Gardens and “Planting it Forward”
An Undeniable Link: Glacial Melt and Man-Made Climate Change
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-plants-you-can-grow-from-your-garbage.html#ixzz35Ofd4KR8
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
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’.
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.”
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.
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.
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: http://www.care2.com/causes/5-incredible-oil-free-ways-to-make-plastic.html#ixzz2wi4PPuIn
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.
READ MORE »
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.
READ MORE »
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.
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.
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.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/butterflies-are-not-free-from-the-effects-of-climate-change.html#ixzz261K2b0rZ
The World is Running Dry: What You Can Do
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 (www.h2oconserve.org).
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. (www.polarinstitute.org/water, www.thinkoutsidethebottle.org)
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. (www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/trust-fund)
4. CONSERVE WATER INSIDE. Retrofit with efficient appliances and fixtures, take shorter showers, check faucets for leaks and drips. (www.awwa.org/waterwiser)
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. (www.bewaterwise.com, www.rainwaterharvesting.net)
6. DON’T POLLUTE YOUR WATERSHED. Stop using toxic cleaners, pesticides, and herbicides. Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals and personal care products. (www.watoxics.org/homes-and-gardens, www.newdream.org/marketplace/recycle.php)
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. (www.4sos.org/wssupport/group-support/form_run.asp)
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. (www.healthywater.org)
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. (www.groundwater.org)
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. (www.internationalrivers.org)
12. REDUCE YOUR ENERGY USE. Producing electricity uses lots of water. You can figure out how much energy you use at Low Carbon Diet. (www.empowermentinstitute.net/lcd/)
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. (www.blueplanetproject.net)
14. HELP SPREAD THE WORD. Visit WaterConsciousness.org for more information.
To read more from " The Progressive Reader" : http://www.progressivereader.com/?p=21612
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.
The Pizza Box Recycling Mystery
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
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 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: http://www.care2.com/causes/new-7-wonders-of-nature.html#ixzz1e7rkvkpa