September 26th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, director of documentaries like The Civil War and Baseball, trains his lens on The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, a six-episode series that premieres Sunday on PBS. (Click here to view a preview. You may also purchase the DVD boxed set or companion book on Oct. 6.)
Sadly, well-known parks like Yellowstone, Joshua Tree, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Acadia (right) are beginning to show their age, and they’re now threatened by funding shortfalls, pollution, climate change and encroaching developers.
This hasn’t stopped committed individuals from fighting for the parks’ survival:
- Maxine Johnston, dubbed the “Godmother” of Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, worked tirelessly for 50 years to help protect some 100,000 acres of highly diverse wildlife habitat.
- Former Miami Herald reporter Juanita Green, featured in Burns’s film, wrote stories that were instrumental in creating and protecting Biscayne National Park. In the 1960s, the park was threatened by a proposal to dredge a channel through the bay and turn the area into a city.
So, what can you do to help?
- Visit and explore one of our 391 national parks. Share your experiences with others to build support.
- Join the movement without leaving home. Sign up for news and action alerts. Write to President Obama, and contact your congressional representatives and other decision makers. Voice your concerns about park conservation.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. Global warming’s effects are already visible at national parks. At Glacier National Park, glaciers are disappearing faster than scientists predicted. In parks across the country, native trees and animals are losing ground because changing temperature and weather patterns affect the availability of food, water and shelter. Visit the Do Your Part! For Climate Friendly Parks website, which helps you calculate your carbon footprint. Set goals for buying local foods, reducing automobile use and saving energy at home.
Photo courtesy of ARA
Read More:Nature’s National Treasures at Risk
September 8th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Check that photo out. It was snapped in Norway and many are saying it looks like a forlorn Mother Nature crying a river of tears, but is it really a desperate plea by Mother Earth or just an eerie coincidence. What do you think?
Personally, I don’t believe in bleeding statues or saints popping up in burnt toast. So to me, this is coincidental and not anything supernatural, which leads me to another question. Should eco-groups embrace this for ad campaign?
Via the Daily Mail.
Image credit: SpecialistStock / Barcoft Media
Read More:Glaciers are Melting in Norway – Mother Nature is Crying
September 7th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
A former Miss Denmark, Helena Christensen is perhaps best known as a magazine cover model and Revlon spokesmodel.
Now a successful photographer and environmental activist, she recently traveled to Peru—her mother’s native country—to document the serious effects of global warming.
“The impacts of climate change are extremely severe in the areas we visited,” says Christensen, who traveled with Oxfam. “The farmers we met and talked to are already living very hard lives and are now being forced to adapt to the effects of the rapidly changing climate.
“One of the women I spoke to, Elizabeth Ayma, told me that because rainfall is less frequent now and impossible to predict due to the climate changes, this is having a huge effect on crop production,” she adds. “As a result, her family has less food to eat and less produce to sell, resulting in her not being able to afford her children’s school fees. The lack of nutritional vegetables also affects her family’s health.”
Christensen documented her trip through photographs, which will be exhibited in New York, Washington, London and at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, to be held in Copenhagen in December.
“Peru is on the frontline of climate change, along with other developing countries, which have played little part in causing the problem,” says Frank Boeren, Oxfam’s coordinator in Peru. “It is crucial that rich leaders do the right thing at Copenhagen so that we can begin to stop runaway climate change and protect vulnerable people around the world.”
“We are at a critical tipping point,” Christensen adds. “We need to put pressure on our governments in order for them to take the necessary, radical steps that are needed. There’s no time left; it is absolutely imperative to act now.”
For Your Organic Bookshelf: With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change
Photo courtesy of Oxfam America
Read More:Model Behavior
September 3rd, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
No. Ronald McDonald isn’t making biodiesel in his cellar, but some fast food restaurants are seeking ways to go greener.
One fast food proprietor, with restaurants in Texas and Louisiana, gets texts messages every time a freezer door is left open.
The dude owns 34 places, so it must get annoying, but it’s worth it. Lighting and temperature control account for 25% to 40% of electricity spending.
And many pizza parlors are getting special sensors too. Usually, pizza ovens are left constantly hot. Who knows when you’ll get that massive rush of hungry construction workers? So they burn up a lot of gas.
That’s why some systems keep a single pizza oven running hot at all times but regulates other ovens to stay warm until the restaurant starts to fill up. One pizza guy claims its saving him 50% on gas bills.
Sounds great, but the only green my old school Italian pizza parlor owning uncles know, are the peppers on a pizza with the works.
Via Green Idea.
Read More:Fast Food Joints Getting More Energy Efficient
August 26th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and California State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) Friday cohosted a forum on climate change, which drew more than 400 attendees.
The legislators focused on California’s role as a national leader on climate policies, with emphasis on the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, which Pavley authored as chair of the Select Committee on Climate Change) and The American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454, which Waxman authored as chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce).
The event was presented by the UCLA Institute of the Environment’s Center for Climate Change Solutions, the UCLA School of Law’s Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment, the UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and the UCLA Office of Government and Community Relations.
“The fact is that climate policy creates jobs and saves consumers money,” Pavley said. “The fear tactics of carbon industry-backed lobbyists just flies in the face of what is in our best interests.
“The whole world is depending on what the U.S. does,” she added. “The dependence on foreign oil—the ability for some countries to hold our country hostage, economically speaking—is going in the wrong direction.”
“We had a president who censored the research that his scientists were doing on global warming,” Waxman said. “He and his political people denied there was global warming. We had eight years of inactivity rather than leadership.”
Ret. Navy Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn discussed the national-security dangers climate change poses, emphasizing the need for alternatives to all fossil fuels so the United States is less dependent on oil-producing countries. He said Americans use 25% of oil consumed worldwide each year, but we can produce no more than 3% of it.
”We cannot drill our way to sustained economic security,” he concluded.
Editor’s note: Click here to watch Pavley’s recent PBS interview.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: State of the World 2009: Into a Warming World
Read More:UCLA Hosts Climate Change Forum
August 1st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Insufficient government response to global warming is a major concern around the world, according to a new poll from the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes.
More than 18,500 respondents in 19 countries were asked:
- How high a priority does the government place on addressing climate change?
- Using the same scale, how high a priority do you think the government should place on addressing climate change?
- What is your guess on how high a priority the average person in [your country] thinks the government should place on addressing climate change?
- Do you perceive yourself differently from the public on how high a priority climate change should be?
As worldpublicopinion.org noted:
Majorities in 15 [countries] think their government should put a higher priority on addressing climate change than it does now. This includes the largest greenhouse gas emitters: China (62% want more action), the U.S. (52%) and Russia (56%).
Other countries polled included India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico, Chile, Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, Ukraine, Kenya, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, the Palestinian territories and South Korea.
Specific study results can be viewed here.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley
Read More:We Are the World—and We’re Hot
July 10th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
I’m not sure if this is a great idea or defacing a national treasure—probably a combination of both—but on Wednesday, members of the environmental activist group Greenpeace scaled Mt. Rushmore and dropped that flag next to honest Abe.
The banner, measuring 65 feet high by 35 feet wide, sends a clear message to politicians that climate change must be a top priority and politics as usual are not acceptable. Greenpeace insists the flag was not installed in any way that may damage carvings.
Oh, and just yesterday, Greenpeace took over four coal-fired power stations in Italy.
Read More:Greenpeace Flags Rushmore for Global Warming
June 18th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
Tuesday, the government released a report summarizing the science and impact of global climate change on the United States.
And this is not earthy-crunchy finger-pointing. Rather, it’s the work of 12 federal agencies, including NASA and Environmental Protection Agency.
It’s scary. The risks global warming poses for the U.S. are steep and far reaching, ranging from spread of disease, drought, sea-level rise and more.
Here are some important findings:
- Human population growth and overuse of resources contributes to climate change.
- Global warming is happening in the U.S. and will get worse.
- Droughts and flooding are compromising water sources.
- Hotter temperatures are making it difficult to farm and raise livestock.
- Rising sea-levels and storm surge threaten coasts and increase erosion.
- Poor air quality and pollution endanger human health.
- Weather changes worsen airborne and waterborne diseases.
- And our actions to curb climate change today will impact our future.
For the entire report, check out: United States Global Change Research Program.
Read More:How Global Warming will Harm the United States…
June 18th, 2009 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
If you saw Finding Nemo, you know. Coral reefs play an important part in ocean life. They’re a source of food and hideouts for baby fish and other sea creatures.
But they’re dying at an alarming rate. Experts say between 1969 and 2008 survey data shows the most complex types of coral reef have been wiped out across the Caribbean.
Scientists are blaming global warming, but not entirely. Disease is responsible for killing 90% of Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals in the 1970s. In addition to losing one of Mother Nature’s wonders. Loss of coral reefs may harm humans too.
Populations that rely on commercial fishing will see their hunting and fishing grounds shrink. And fewer coral reefs mean less protection against large waves and storms for coastal residents
Read More:Warmer Temps Blamed for Dying Coral Reefs
June 16th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Singer Paul McCartney yesterday launched a Meat-Free Monday campaign, which encourages consumers to help slow climate change by avoiding meat one day a week.
Celebrity supporters include Chris Martin, Alec Baldwin, Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Kevin Spacey, Kelly Osbourne, Gillian Anderson and Ricky Gervais.
Studies clearly show our food choices affect the environment. The UK’s Food Climate Research Network says food production is responsible for 20%–30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Farm animals, which release gases like methane and nitrous oxide, account for 50% of food-related emissions.
In fact, livestock production is globally responsible for more climate-changing emissions (18%) than transportation (13%), according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. And Compassion in World Farming says UK families that slash meat consumption by 50% would release fewer emissions than if they drove their cars 50% less.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri, PhD, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said last year:
“IPCC found that changes in lifestyle and behavior patterns can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. One area where individuals can make a difference in this regard is by altering their diets through consuming less meat, say by giving up meat at least one day a week. Reducing meat consumption in this manner will make individuals healthier, as well as the planet.”
“I think many of us feel helpless in the face of environmental challenges, and it can be hard to know how to sort through the advice about what we can do to make a meaningful contribution to a cleaner, more sustainable, healthier world. Having one designated meat-free day a week is actually a meaningful change that everyone can make that goes to the heart of several important political, environmental and ethical issues all at once. For instance, it not only addresses pollution, but better health, the ethical treatment of animals, global hunger and community and political activism.”
Organic Meat-Free Monday Playlist
- Amoeba’s Secret
- Unplugged (Official Bootleg)
Read More:Paul McCartney Calls for Meat-Free Mondays