Earth911 Podcast: Celebrating 30 Years of the Environmental Media Awards with CEO Debbie Levin

August 14, 2020 by  
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For 30 years, the Environmental Media Association (EMA) Awards have … The post Earth911 Podcast: Celebrating 30 Years of the Environmental Media Awards with CEO Debbie Levin appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Podcast: Celebrating 30 Years of the Environmental Media Awards with CEO Debbie Levin

Earth911 Inspiration: For Future Generations

August 14, 2020 by  
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Today’s quote is from Senator Gaylord Nelson, Co-founder of Earth … The post Earth911 Inspiration: For Future Generations appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Inspiration: For Future Generations

Indigenous Amazon communities use tech to protect the forest

August 12, 2020 by  
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Indigenous communities in Brazil leverage technology to protect the Amazon and its resources. For a long time, Indigenous communities have protected the forest from illegal loggers and poachers. As aerial images show, the lush areas protected by Indigenous groups sharply contrast the struggling surrounding regions. The Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribe, located in a remote area of the Amazon, specifically makes strong efforts to protect the forest. The Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribe’s work is not isolated. Hundreds of Indigenous communities across South America help conserve nature. South America serves as home to about 40% of the world’s vegetation. Indigenous groups offer surveillance to areas of forests targeted for developments, farming, mining or logging. As Bitaté Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, coordinator of the Association of the Indigenous People Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau, said in an interview, “When they kill a jaguar it is the same as they will do with indigenous people in the future. Killing the jaguar, they also kill us like deforestation , mining, intoxication. It gives me deep sadness to receive the news that a jaguar has been killed. We don’t kill the jaguar. When we see the jaguar in his habitat it is a beautiful thing to see, we just admire the presence.” The Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau and other local groups now use drones to survey the forests. Such technology makes it possible for the villagers to monitor large areas of the forest and navigate tough terrain. Communities in Brazil, Peru and Ecuador are quickly adopting this technology for similar purposes. The Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribe first came into contact with the outside world in the 1990s. Since then, the tribe has integrated technology into its forest management practices. Today, one of the nine Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau tribe villages has wifi connection, while four other villages have electricity. The  WWF UK  in association with WWF Brazil and  Kaninde Association of Ethno-Environmental Protection  funded the drones used by the tribes. Kaninde, a Brazilian NGO, works with Indigenous communities to integrating technology into forest conservation efforts. Via Independent Image via Pexels

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Zoos struggling to survive during pandemic

August 4, 2020 by  
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Hundreds of zoos and aquariums across the U.S. risk being closed due to financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic . At the start of March this year, zoo and aquarium operators were forced to shut down to contain the spread of the virus. Four months down the line, the zoos are now on the brink of survival. Case in point is the Oakland Zoo, which has been in existence for nearly 100 years. Since zoo visitors stopped streaming in, it has been difficult for the zoo. The animals in the zoo require just over $50,000 worth of food on a daily basis, making it challenging for the zoo to continue operating without revenue from regular zoo visitors. Joel Parrott, president of the Oakland Zoo, said in an interview that the zoo will soon run out of supplies and may not survive further without funding. Related: Tigers, humans at risk for coronavirus as ‘Tiger King’ zoo reopens “We have already lost the bulk of our summer revenue and are living off whatever reserves we have left, but they are going to run out at some point,” Parrott said. The situation being faced by the Oakland Zoo is replicated across hundreds of other zoos and aquariums in the country. This month, the state of California allowed the Oakland Zoo to reopen its doors to visitors. But the slow revenue generated from reopening activities cannot sustain the daily maintenance and feeding needs of the animals . Zoos and aquariums in most states are seeing fewer numbers of visitors, prompting administrators to appeal for support from the local communities and governments. The National Association of Zoos and Aquariums says that about 75% of the zoos represented by the association have reopened. However, reopening does not solve the problem of financial constraints. According to Dan Ashe, president of the association, most zoos are only hitting 20% to 50% of their normal revenues. This leaves a big gap that has to be filled from other sources. With a significant drop in revenue, it becomes impossible to continue running these facilities. Tara Reimer, president and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center, said, “If we don’t have enough money to make it through the winter, we have no option but to send these animals away and close the facility.” Via Huffington Post Image via Todd Dailey

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It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards

June 2, 2020 by  
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It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards Carol Goodstein Tue, 06/02/2020 – 00:00 Hunting and gathering for food is taking on a whole new meaning of late. The ever-lengthening line at my local Whole Foods starts to wrap around the outside of the store before 7 a.m., as socially distanced shoppers — securely donned in gloves, masks and even plastic face shields — wait nervously to scavenge for their week’s worth of essentials along with their COVID-19 indulgences: the extra bars of Hu chocolates and Enjoy Life cookies, in my family’s case. We once thought of foraging as an activity engaged in only by our very remote ancestors and distant “primitive” people. But the spread of COVID-19 has heightened the subsistence survival instinct in all of us. In a way, we are not so dissimilar from “primitive” people in places such as the Amazon Basin as we might have thought.  And now, we’re all vulnerable to the same pandemic virus. Only with virtually no resistance, no access to medical treatment and a government that condones the deforestation and development of their lands, it’s far worse for indigenous people. Companies and consumers everywhere have a role to play. In fact, COVID-19 has created an opportunity for companies to be more cognizant and compassionate in their approach — more aware of the direct and indirect responsibility for the impact they have on people in places where they operate. So as the spread of COVID sickens and kills front-line workers in meat-packing plants across the country and suppliers are forced to curtail operations — leaving the meat section of local supermarkets looking, well, a little lean — what about the places where this meat comes from, namely Brazil, which according to the USDA is the world’s largest beef exporter? Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation. While many companies are doing right by their workers in U.S. plants, why not — in the spirit of cognizant corporate citizenship, stakeholder accountability and stewardship, let alone brand reputation — help to protect people in Brazil that are not only particularly vulnerable to the virus but whose very survival is directly linked to the protection of forests?  While the current pandemic may be overwhelming America’s medical system, killing our healthcare workers, tanking our economy and generally frying our collective nerves, the indigenous people of Brazil — the country from which a lot of our meat as well as the soy used to feed farm animals is produced — have virtually no access to healthcare, let alone hand sanitizer. President Jair Bolsonaro, along with slashing funding mandated to protect indigenous rights and proposing to open up oil and gas exploration and hydropower development on indigenous territories, effectively eliminated the availability of rural healthcare by driving out the thousands of Cuban healthcare providers who used to service indigenous communities prior to his presidency. As the nationwide death toll in Brazil soars above 11,000 and reliable data on indigenous infections and deaths is hard to come by, a recent survey by the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Association found the virus has reached 38 groups in the country with 446 cases of the new coronavirus and 92 deaths reported as of mid-May, mainly in the Brazilian Amazon. Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation, up by nearly 64 percent in April, compared to the same month last year, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Last month alone, more than 156 square miles of rainforest were destroyed — an area about the size of Philadelphia. While indigenous people are locking down like the rest us, when they do, their lands are left even more vulnerable to brazen land grabbing, which also has been alarmingly on the rise.  Well before the pandemic, Bolsonaro made no secret of his intention to open the Amazon to increased economic activity, and he’s been determined since the start of his time in office not to let indigenous tribes stand in his way. As he said, “They don’t work. They don’t bring in money for Brazil, only burdens.” Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has downplayed the effects of the virus even more than other presidents, describing it as a “little flu” and a trifling “cold” and accused the media of manufacturing “hysteria.” Emboldened by Bolsonaro’s stance, indigenous leaders have been targeted in increasing numbers over the past year — even before the outbreak of the virus. Last year, there were at least 10 documented indigenous murders, as Bolsonaro effectively has declared open season on indigenous peoples who stand in the way of economic expansion, writ deforestation. While the Bolsonaro administration has made its dismissive if not genocidal attitude toward indigenous people patently clear, agribusinesses operating in Brazil could, just for example, step in. The opportunity to display corporate social responsibility has taken on new urgency as indigenous leaders call out these businesses as culprits in the ravaging of their lands and families. “What we are asking from the multinationals is that they not buy commodities that cause deforestation and conflict and that are produced on indigenous lands. We are also demanding that bilateral trade agreements … demand respect for indigenous rights and ensure there are no products linked to deforestation coming into their countries,” declared Dinamam Tuxá , coordinator and legal adviser to the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. While a number of soy and beef producing companies have set time-bound targets for eliminating deforestation from their supply chains, deforestation continues to escalate.  Shoppers at Sam’s Club, Safeway and Target may notice a paucity of meat at their local megastores, but all of us have a collective responsibility to protect the indigenous people who help to protect lands and species on which we all depend.  In addition to banning, or at least dramatically reducing deforestation, why don’t companies, while they’re at it, support communities who know a thing or two not only about hunting and gathering but about protecting the lungs of our world? Pull Quote Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation. Topics Forestry COVID-19 Equity & Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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What you need to know about CBD products

March 4, 2020 by  
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As 2020 gets underway, the deluge of CBD products continues. Suddenly, CBD oil is everywhere: from CBD skincare to lattes to CBD-laced treats for Fido and Fluffy’s aging joints. But is the craze legitimate or is it all hype? We’ve delved into recent studies to get the facts on the current state of CBD products. What is CBD? Cannabis plants produce over 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), responsible for the high people get when smoking marijuana, is the most abundant and the most famous. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the second most abundant chemical in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, it doesn’t cause psychoactive intoxication. Most people won’t feel altered after ingesting CBD, but about 5% of people could be exceptions to this. Human bodies naturally produce cannabinoids that are involved in pain sensation, mood,  sleep , appetite and other bodily functions. CBD may interact with — and amplify — the effects of these cannabinoids already in the body. People ingest CBD products by smoking, vaping, eating gummies, taking pills, applying patches and creams, and placing tinctures under their tongues. Facts about CBD In 2018, Congress passed a law legalizing hemp in all 50 states and removing CBD from the controlled substance list. The idea was to allow manufacturers to use  hemp  to make textiles, concrete, paper and other products. The CBD boom was a side effect. But do CBD products work? While users provide anecdotal evidence, researchers aren’t so sure. “The main problem is that not enough medical studies have been done to offer any kind of clear guidance,” Dr. Jordan Tishler, instructor of medicine at  Harvard Medical School and president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, said on the Harvard Medical School website. He attributes some CBD success stories to a placebo effect. Along with the efficacy question, lack of oversight in CBD products is a problem. “Right now, there is no way to know for certain whether a product contains any CBD at all, or is safe from contamination ,” says Tishler. “Worse, we’ve found that some companies have even added other medications to CBD products, like opioids and benzodiazepines.” The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) is still figuring out how to regulate CBD products. While CBD supplements can’t legally be marketed with specific therapeutic or medical claims, tricky manufacturers are using vague terms like “joint health” or “calm” or “relax” to suggest unproven product benefits. “Until the FDA finalizes how it will regulate CBD, it’s not cracking down on many false claims or overseeing how products are made,” says Tishler. “This means companies can put out all kinds of CBD products with zero accountability.” Some doctors are hopeful about proving the benefits of CBD products. As  Health   reports, “CBD might be worth trying to manage symptoms of anxiety.” Dr. Junella Chin, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD, added, “[CBD] tells your body to calm down and reminds you that you’re safe. It mellows out the nervous system so you’re not in a heightened ‘fight or flight’ response.” However, Chin emphasized that CBD isn’t a cure-all. So far, the FDA has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug to treat certain types of epilepsy. The FDA warns consumers about the potential of harming themselves with CBD products, citing liver injury and  drug  interactions as top concerns. Consumers might not connect subtler side effects with CBD use, such as drowsiness, irritability and gastrointestinal distress. The FDA also emphasizes that the long-term effects of CBD products are unknown, as are the effects on developing teen brains, fetuses, breastfed infants and male reproduction. Most popular CBD products Some of the most popular CBD products include topical creams, CBD bath bombs, CBD skincare and CBD pet products, such as tinctures and calming chews. But how do you assess the onslaught of items made with CBD oil? None of these have so far been subject to FDA evaluation. And, despite what promises they make on their labels, CBD products are not a substitute for  medical  diagnosis and care. When you look at a CBD product, note the label. All dietary supplements should have back panels including an FDA disclaimer and a warning section. “Ideally, it would be preferable to have access to their third-party lab testing results too,” Brandon Beatty, an executive vice president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, said in an interview with  Health.  Third-party testing confirms that the label is accurate. For example, a 2017 study by the  Journal of the American Medical Association  found that 26% of the 84 CBD products tested contained lower doses than the label stated. You can check the brand’s website if you don’t see that info on the label. You’ll also want to read the label carefully for dosing instructions and to determine whether the CBD is isolate or full-spectrum. The latter means the  product may contain additional cannabinoids, which are sometimes more effective — and consequently may require a smaller dose. Responsible manufacturers of CBD products should also include a batch number on the  packaging . “This is a huge indicator as to whether they are following good manufacturing practices,” said Beatty. “There should be a way to identify this product in case it was improperly made so the company can carry out a recall.” + Harvard Medical School Via FDA and Health Images via Shutterstock and Pixabay

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Responsible sourcing: The key to a low carbon future

March 11, 2019 by  
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Sponsored: International Copper Association discusses responsible mineral sourcing to ensure a low carbon future.

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How do we feed the future without eating the planet?

December 19, 2018 by  
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Sponsored: The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association discusses why they believe animal agriculture has a key role to play in feeding the world’s growing population.

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The National Park System just got its first Dark Sky Sanctuary

April 24, 2018 by  
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While there are numerous Dark Sky-certified National Parks across the US, the stunning Rainbow Bridge National Monument just received the world’s fourth official Dark Sky Sanctuary designation – the first ever for a National Park System site. Rainbow Bridge already boasted one of the darkest skies on Earth, but with its new status, you can continue to see Rainbow Bridge’s night sky as it’s meant to be seen, free from the light pollution that has become a mainstay of modern life. The International Dark Sky Association is a non-profit organization working to stop light pollution and mitigate its harmful effects on our health. The organization also helps identify places where you can see the night sky with reduced or no light pollution. On April 16, the association awarded its “sanctuary” designation to Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument, ushering it into an exclusive list of the most light pollution-free places in the world. Related: Switching to outdoor LEDs has made light pollution worse — without saving energy Rainbow Bridge provides a particularly stunning natural environment. Dark Sky designated parks, reserves and sanctuaries must be remote enough that they aren’t impacted by light pollution nearby, and they must also adhere to strict lighting standards, such as shielding fixtures so light doesn’t escape upward and using warmer bulbs. But even amidst all the Dark Sky designations, sanctuaries are exceptional, with their status meant to increase awareness of the sites in order to preserve them for future generations. “We’re thrilled to be the first National Park Service unit to receive this specific designation, as this will only fuel our night sky preservation efforts,” Rainbow Bridge National Monument superintendent William Shott said. If you want to visit this special place, you will need to have a boat to cross Lake Powell in Southern Utah, or get permission from the Navajo Nation to cross the tribe’s land. Via Earther Images via NPS and Unsplash

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Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores

April 24, 2018 by  
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Maryland just became the second state in America to ban pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. Animal rights advocates say the move will help cut demand for animals from puppy mills . The bill, HB 1662 , also encourages pet stores to work with rescue groups and animal shelters to promote the adoption of homeless animals, according to The Humane Society . Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation into law with bipartisan support. The state already has regulations in place requiring stores to reveal breeder information, and stores cannot use breeders that the United States Department of Agriculture has cited in the last two years. But delegate Benjamin Kramer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Washington Post the regulations aren’t enough to protect animals. Related: California bans puppy mills and requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals Pet store owners fought against the law, hoping Hogan would veto it. Just Puppies co-owner Jeanea Thomson said her store doesn’t want animals from puppy mills, and that she and her husband visit their breeders, most in Iowa and Missouri, to vouch for conditions. But Kramer said the farms that store owners describe are abominations, telling The Washington Post, “There is not a single one that is this righteous, beautiful, loving, caring facility where there is room for puppies to roam and for breeding dogs to play.” Humane Society Maryland state director Emily Hovermale described the ban as a lifesaving measure that would close the state’s pet store market to puppy mills. She said, “Maryland has set an important precedent with this rejection of animal abuse that other states will surely follow.” Emily McCobb, a professor at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, said a ban could result in a dog shortage, and people might not be sure where to go to get a pet. “There’s a lot of messaging around ‘adopt, don’t shop,’” she said. “But we haven’t done a good job of messaging about how to find responsible breeders.” The law will fully go into effect in 2020. It follows a bill passed in California last year that requires all pet stores to sell rescue animals. + The Humane Society Via The Washington Post Images via Depositphotos and Lydia Torrey on Unsplash

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