Almost All U.S. National Parks Have Polluted Air

May 9, 2019 by  
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Sure, we know that cities can be congested and polluted, but at least we have the national parks to escape to when we want to breathe in some fresh air, right? Wrong. According to a new report released by the National Park Conservation Association, 96 percent of all parks experience significant air pollution problems. The bipartisan nonprofit organization published a report, “Polluted Parks: How America is Failing to Protect our National Parks, People and Planet from Air Pollution” that analyzed air quality in 417 parks. Their findings assess the impact on nature, hazy skies, unhealthy air and climate change . Related: Plastic rain: new study reveals microplastics are in the air “The poor air quality in our national parks is both disturbing and unacceptable. Nearly every single one of our more than 400 national parks is plagued by air pollution. If we don’t take immediate action to combat this, the results will be devastating and irreversible,” said President of the National Park Conservation Association Theresa Pierno. Although most national parks are located in areas of so-called pristine wilderness, air travels widely and freely. The Grand Canyon, for example, is down-wind from a coal-fired power plant, a mine and multiple industrial pollution sources that reach the park from both Mexico and California. The report is also filled with many alarming findings, including: 85 percent of national parks have air that is unhealthy to breathe at times 89 percent of national parks have haze pollution 88 percent of national parks have soil and water affected by air pollution 80 percent of all national parks will be directly impacted by climate change, with 100 percent indirectly impacted “America’s national parks are some of the most beloved places on earth and provide once in a lifetime experiences, but the iconic wildlife and irreplaceable natural and cultural resources that make these places so special are being seriously threatened by climate change and other effects of air pollution ,” said Stephanie Kodish, the Clean Air Program director for the National Parks Conservation Association. 330 million people visit America’s national parks every year, and most are in search of fresh air. The solution to ensuring our national park air remains fresh and clean is the same strategy for protecting clean air everywhere: reduce fossil fuel emissions and switch to clean energy sources. Air quality experts had reported positive results of the Clean Air Act, however, the current administration has rolled back on environmental regulations and invested in the fossil fuel industry. Via  Tree Hugger Image via PELSOP

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Almost All U.S. National Parks Have Polluted Air

5 ways that companies can “Get Us There"

May 6, 2019 by  
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At Ceres’ annual conference, corporate changemakers discussed actionable steps to accelerate the clean economy transition.

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5 ways that companies can “Get Us There"

Environmental activists to take legal action against US Steel for polluting

February 19, 2019 by  
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Environmentalists are taking legal action against United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) because of pollution in Pittsburg’s Mon Valley. The Clean Air Council and PennEnvironment are suing the steel manufacturer for violating the Clean Air Act after a fire broke out at a facility in Clairton, Pennsylvania. “We cannot expect families to sustain this kind of health burden and trauma, and we cannot expect kids to learn, grow and flourish when they are confined to their homes, unable to breathe,” the head of PennEnvironment, Ashleigh Deemer, explained in a statement. Related: California’s largest utility company plans massive sale of natural gas division Deemer added that the fire only highlighted ongoing issues at the U.S. Steel factory. The PennEnvironment director said that pollution has affected the health of local residents long before the fire broke out, and significant updates to the plant are needed to remedy the situation. According to Trib Live , the environmentalists claim the fire made it impossible to filter gas from the facility’s coke oven. The groups believe this violates the Clean Air Act and plan to file a lawsuit if the company refuses to comply. Per the updated legislation, U.S. Steel has 60 days to respond to the notice before the lawsuit is filed. In order to avoid litigation, U.S. Steel will need to update three different facilities in the Mon Valley region. This includes Clairton Coke Works, Edgar Thomson Plant and Irvin Steel Mill. At the top of its priority list is to ensure gas emissions are properly filtered at each facility. U.S. Steel acknowledged that it received the notice and is reviewing the options. The company released a statement about complying with local and state officials to ensure its facilities are not damaging the environment . The manufacturer is currently repairing fire damage at the Clairton facility and plans to be running at around 70 percent of its normal volume by mid-March. Despite the company’s statement, residents in the Mon Valley are unhappy with how U.S. Steel has handled the fire. Residents hope that the lawsuit will push the company to do something about its pollution problem and ultimately improve the quality of air in the region. Via Trib Live Image via Olafpictures

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Environmental activists to take legal action against US Steel for polluting

Is a tiny home right for you?

February 4, 2019 by  
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Tiny house living is obviously more affordable compared to living in a traditional home, and it offers mobility and a smaller carbon footprint. The visible drawbacks are lack of storage space and fewer amenities, but there are more pros and cons to tiny house living that you might not have thought of. And what is a good thing today might end up being a negative down the road. Here are some expected — and not so expected — pros and cons to tiny house living that you should know if you are considering joining the tiny house community. Pros Less to clean Of course, less space means fewer things for you to clean in your tiny home . So, you can do everything you need to do in just minutes to make sure your home is clean and organized. Even a deep clean will only take you a couple of hours. Mobility Tiny house living combines the best parts of living in a traditional house with the best of living in a travel trailer or camper. You can have those must-have comforts like a washer and dryer or heat and AC, but you are also able to easily travel at the same time. You can place them on a trailer and go wherever you want, whenever you want — especially when your tiny home is custom built for travel. You can work from home and be on the road at the same time. Money The rate of home ownership in the tiny house community is 78 percent, compared to 65 percent for traditional homeownership. On top of that, 68 percent of tiny homeowners don’t have a mortgage, and that can free up a lot of cash. One out of three tiny house owners have at least $10,000 saved for retirement. Maintenance and utility costs are low, and renting a spot at an RV park or campground is much cheaper than paying rent for an apartment. Another pro is that you can splurge on upgrades in your home since you are building such a small space. Think hardwood or bamboo floors or exotic interior woods. Related: This countertop dishwasher promises to wash your dishes in just 10 minutes Less consumption When you only have about 300 square feet to work with, you are forced to consume less. If you can’t fit things into your cupboards and closets, you will have to buy fewer items when you go to the grocery store — and that means less waste. Also, since you can’t store food, you will buy fresh veggies, fruits, and seafood, which means healthier cooking . Energy efficiency Heating and cooling a small space can be done with a small window unit and propane tanks, or you can opt for solar panels. So, tiny house living automatically means built-in energy efficiency. But depending on where you live, the summer heat might be tough competition for a small window AC unit. No septic system required If you build a tiny home in the city, you can connect to a sewer system to enjoy modern plumbing. Remote tiny houses don’t require a septic system because you can use a composting toilet that will need cleaned about once every six weeks. You could also install a black water tank and plumbing for traditional flushing on a portable home if a composting toilet doesn’t sound like an attractive option. Cons The legal gray areas With tiny house living still being relatively new, you can find yourself in a legal gray area in many parts of the country. Some places might classify you as an RV, so you will need to park your tiny home in an RV park . But some places don’t consider tiny homes RVs, and instead, classify them as a house. And, depending on if you are traveling or looking for a permanent spot, you can end up in a legal black hole or have a lot of red tape to deal with. If you are wanting to build a tiny home in a permanent location, some communities and neighborhoods have building codes that dictate the minimum size of a home, so a tiny home might not be approved. Cleaning more often There might not be a lot to clean, which saves you time. But, the tiniest bit of disorganization can feel like a disaster in 250 square feet. So, you will need to clean your tiny home more often if you want to avoid a constant mess. Related: Potato peels offer a sustainable alternative to traditional building materials Unsustainable packaging Living in a tiny home makes it extremely difficult to buy items in bulk and use sustainable packaging. If you have zero storage space for those items, or if you are parked in a location that doesn’t have easy access to sustainable products, this means you might have to buy more items in unsustainable packaging. Towing challenges If you want to move to a tiny house so you can easily travel, that means that you will need to buy a large truck for towing. This will mean lower gas mileage and the smaller carbon footprint from your tiny house will be offset by the emissions from your big pickup truck. Accessible storage You can design your tiny home to have more storage than most people would expect. The problem is that those areas might not be very easy to reach. You can’t put everything in dressers or on counters. So, if you need to access things that are in those built-in storage spaces, it can be difficult or frustrating. Images via WinnieC , Shutterstock

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Is a tiny home right for you?

Financing the future to scale the clean economy

November 5, 2018 by  
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Complementary perspectives from across the finance ecosystem explain how they are helping to accelerate the clean economy — from clean energy technologies to sustainable transportation infrastructure to equitable community development. The panel will also discuss how to tap into the various financial sources, unlock these options as a business or a local government, and what it will take to scale clean economy growth.

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Financing the future to scale the clean economy

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

October 19, 2018 by  
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Author B.F. (Bruce) Nagy discusses his new book, The Clean … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

October 19, 2018 by  
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Author B.F. (Bruce) Nagy discusses his new book, The Clean … The post Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Oct. 19, 2018: Sustainability in Your Ear — The Clean Energy Future

Trump Tower river violations incur a swift lawsuit by Illinois attorney general

August 15, 2018 by  
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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against the Trump International Hotel & Tower for alleged pollution to the Chicago River and threats to local wildlife. The lawsuit was filed in the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois this Tuesday against the conglomerate, and the suit cites infringements of the EPA’s U.S. Clean Water Act of 1972 . The Clean Water Act protects the waters of the U.S. from being inundated with polluting discharges, and it also sets wastewater standards for industries and residential zones. According to Madigan, this is the issue, put simply, with the Trump Tower building. The structure releases millions of gallons of water from air conditioning and other cooling systems into the river on a daily basis. The residential tower is mandated by the EPA to run studies on the residual impact of its activities to the surrounding river, something it has not done, the attorney general said. Related: Urban Rivers designs a multiplayer Trashbot Game to clean the Chicago River The 92-story tower is posing a threat to aquatic life by destabilizing the ecosystem in the river. “Trump Tower continues to take millions of gallons of water from the Chicago River every day without a permit and without any regard to how it may be impacting the river’s ecosystem,” said Madigan, who has held her position in the Illinois legal system since 2003. Related: Chicago drinking fountains have been running non-stop for months, and the reason why is infuriating The affairs of the building are now under the leadership of President Trump’s two sons since he assumed office in 2016. “We are disappointed that the Illinois Attorney General would choose to file this suit considering such items are generally handled at the administrative level,” representatives of the Trump Organization stated. “One can only conclude that this decision was motivated by politics.” The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Chicago River groups have also recently stated plans to sue the Chicago Trump Tower for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act. Via Reuters Image via Daniel Huizinga

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Trump Tower river violations incur a swift lawsuit by Illinois attorney general

EPA may attempt to eliminate California’s emissions independence

July 24, 2018 by  
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The U.S. Transportation Department and the EPA are expected to announce a proposal this Thursday to revoke California’s ability to set its own emissions standards . The proposal, revealed by an anonymous source, suggests that the organizations plan to freeze national emission requirements at 2020 levels until 2026. If this plan were to go into effect, experts estimate that national oil consumption after 2020 would increase by half a million barrels of oil per day. Additionally, the proposal would come into conflict with the Clean Air Act waiver that allows California to set its own regulations on emission levels. The levels of environmental damage from the potential increase in oil consumption have yet to be estimated. This news also comes after a January proposal by Governor Jerry Brown to raise the bar on a previous state goal of having five million electric vehicles available by 2030. California representative Jimmy Gomez added that “vehicle emissions standards are a big part of our environmental identity.” Related: The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years The EPA and the Transportation Department plan to hold public commentary and hearing sessions before finalizing the decision. Other states are also expected to join the conversation as dozens have adopted the same or similar policies on zero-emission vehicles. The organizations will entertain comments on whether U.S. regulators plan to offer credits for autonomous vehicles and air condition improvements as well. + Reuters Images via Shutterstock

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EPA may attempt to eliminate California’s emissions independence

Data, AI and the tragedy of the commons

July 2, 2018 by  
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Watch these three topics to understand where the clean economy is moving.

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Data, AI and the tragedy of the commons

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