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86 posts from September 2010

September 24, 2010

Tomorrow: Enhance and Enjoy Your America

September 25th, 2010 is National Public Lands Day, an annual event organized by The National Environmental Education Foundation to encourage stewardship and enjoyment of public lands.

In honor of the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance public spaces, and in hopes of attracting visitors to some of America's most beautiful places, all 392 national parks across the country will be waiving entrance fees.

"I invite everyone to enjoy these special places," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "BringNationalpark your friends and family, and discover how America's public lands can enrich your life."

Volunteers across the country will be working to conserve natural, state, and local parks, national forests, and other significant pieces of land belonging to the American people. Whether you're pitching in to build trails, plant trees, or pick up trash, or enjoying a hike around a lake, an adventure through a canyon, or a gaze up at the redwoods, don't forget to be respectful of and grateful for our millions of acres of preserved natural splendor.

--Molly Oleson

Sierra Club Launches "Paid For By Big Oil"

Paid for by big oil The Sierra Club launched the "Paid For By Big Oil" campaign yesterday in coordination with the GOP's release of its "Pledge to America." The GOP's document, the first of its kind since 1994's aptly named "The Contract with America," actually pledges to kowtow to Big Oil and to combat sustainable energy alternatives. If that weren't enough, it was authored at least in part by a former Exxon lobbyist. Can you say conflict of interest?

The Sierra Club is here to help all those who don't want to fall into any oily pockets. Check out the campaign website here, or follow us on Twitter @paidforbybigoil. We will post all the outrageous statements made by politicians about fossil fuels and clean energy, and then we'll connect those politicians to campaign contributions they received from Big Oil and Coal. Now you can see the real motives behind the biggest oil and coal hawks!

To read the full text of the GOP's "Pledge to America," click here.

--Ronny Smith


 

Movie Review Friday -- Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that's currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man (2006)

Available on DVD

Recent generations may only remember Ralph Nader as "that guy who kept falling asleep on CSPAN." But if you were to tell his parents, his staff, or any one of the "Nader's Raiders" from a few decades ago that Ralph would one day run for president or be considered somewhat of a punch line, they would have probably ushered you toward the nearest exit.

Fortunately, directors Henriette Mantel (a former Nader staff member) and Steve Skrovan, gave us Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man in 2006, exposing a fresh slice of viewers to the rise and leveling out of Ralph Nader.

As is the case with Nader's life, the documentary is easily separated into two distinct parts. Watching the aforementioned footage of Nader nodding off at the wheel, one might not suspect that in his younger days, he possessed a fiery, finger-pointing sense of justice, taking on case after case of unfair business practices or hazardous safety issues.

Continue reading "Movie Review Friday -- Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man" »

Fun in the Sun?

"Ding dong, the wicked well is dead!" says Thad Allen, the federal government's lead janitor in the Deepwater Horizon spill. So why not take a visit to the wonderful Gulf Shores in Alabama for some pristine golf by the beach? Just make sure that black mud is really a divot before you pick it up.

Gulf ball

Not convinced? OK, how about a chance to win $2,000 if you book your trip during peak golf season, between November 16 and February 28 of next year? The weather will be gorgeous, and mmm! Think of all the delicious seafood that will be on hand for the 39th Annual National Shrimp Festival this October 7 through 10. So come on down! They're pretty sure the shellfish is safe. Surely it didn't come from the giant red restricted area of the map, where commercial fishing is still closed.

Of course, it couldn't hurt to double-check the potential hazards of your Atlantic croaker before you chomp down on it... After all, the job of cleaning oil from the Gulf is not complete.

--Ronny Smith

September 23, 2010

Daily Roundup: September 23, 2010

Business as Usual: European countries rejected a proposed moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Northeast Atlantic. AP

Whale Woes: Conservationists are working to save beached pilot whales in New Zealand. About 80 whales were discovered stranded on a remote beach; 24 are still alive. Treehugger 

Don't Try This at Home: A Montana woman fended off a bear attack by throwing a zucchini at the animal's head. Guardian

Google Buzz: Google employees had their first honey harvest from the "Hiveplex" at the company's Mountain View campus. The beekeeping project began six months ago. Mountain View Voice and Vancouver Sun

Teaching Green: Maryland officials approved a comprehensive environmental curriculum for the state's schools. Washington Post

--Della Watson

For Fishy's Sake, Turn Off the Tap!

Fishbowl sink by Yan Lu As you rinse your hands in this fishbowl sink, the water level in the bowl lowers. Hurry, before you wash Goldie ashore!

The “Poor Little Fishbowl Sink,” as creator Yan Lu calls it, visually relates wasteful water use with its environmental impact. Lu, who is studying industrial design, exhibited the sink at a 2009 design festival in London.

Don’t worry, you can’t kill the fish. The faucet water comes from a pipeline unconnected to the bowl, and the bowl refills after each use with the same water it drained.

For now, the sink is just a model that’s not for sale.

--Natalya Stanko

Photo by Designersblock

Hamburger Helping the Rainforest

Forget Cinnamon Toast Crunch; palm oil really is "the taste you can see." Found in 50 percent of all consumer goods bought and sold in the US, the cultivation of palm oil is one of the leading causes of global rainforest destruction. Just ask the orangutan from the film Green.

Palm oil Thankfully, General Mills, the company famous for American-as-apple-pie brands like Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, has committed itself to getting 100 percent of its palm oil from environmentally responsible sources by 2015. That means soon you can eat your Cheerios and have the rainforest, too.

Environmental groups like Rainforest Action Network had been dogging General Mills for years regarding its purchases of palm oil, which comes mainly from palm trees in Southeast Asia, from unsustainable sources. The pressure seems to have worked, and now General Mills is leading the way for a new trend in American corporations; namely, a move away from controversial palm oil sources and towards environmental responsibility.

To learn more about the palm oil industry, including its correlation to heart disease, take a look at these CSPI findings.

--Ronny Smith

Green Your Autumn: Keep Cool Drafts Out

Caulkingwindow

The Autumnal Equinox is upon us, so this week's tips are about how to make sure your eco-habits don't shift with the season.

Tip #4: Seal Windows and Doors

Fall's the perfect time to start preparing your home for cooler temperatures. According to the Department of Energy, reducing drafts can cut energy usage up to 30%. So inspect doors and windows to ensure that there are no small spaces through which warm air can escape. Rather than crank up the heat, use nontoxic caulking on windows and homemade draft-blockers along the bottoms of doors.

Tell us: How do you prepare your home for fall?

September 22, 2010

Daily Roundup: September 22, 2010

Ospricious Return: After decades without known nests in Southern California, ospreys have begun nesting in Orange County again. Los Angeles Times

Getting the Picture: Plasticky tapioca pudding no more! Some hospitals are finally giving patients fresh, local, healthy food from farmers' markets and even gardens. The Detroit News

Trashy Genes: Landfills in many developed nations, including the U.S., are contaminating groundwater so much that populations are becoming genetically more susceptible to disease, developing traits that will be passed on to future generations. APTN

Where the Parks Have No Name: American wonders like Joshua Tree National Park, Historic Jamestowne, and the Montana glaciers are projected to be gone before century's end due to global warming, prompting NPS's director to call climate change the "greatest threat ever." Miller-McCune

What Took Them So Long? A new drinking fountain in Paris that dispenses Perrier-like fizzy water in an attempt to curb the nation's addiction to bottled water. The fountain has a name, too: La Petillante, or "she who sparkles." Guardian

--Ronny Smith

This Saturday: California's Biggest Beach Cleanup

Beach clean Californians will once again to flock to beaches, lakes, and waterways for the 26th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day this Saturday, Sept. 25. The event is one of California's largest volunteer efforts, and since it started in 1985, it has inspired people to remove more than 14 million pounds of debris from the state's coastline.

Committed to protecting California's marine environment, the state's Fairmont hotels and resorts have pledged 1,000 volunteers to assist in the cleanup. The luxury hotel chain was "founded on an enduring connection to the land, communities, and people" said Tom Klein, a regional vice president. "Coastal Cleanup Day teaches all Californians that our everyday actions have broad implications for the well-being of our oceans and the habitat and wildlife that depend on them." 

For more information about the event, or to find the cleanup location nearest you, click here.

--Allison McCann   


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