Trump waives environmental laws amid national crises

June 8, 2020 by  
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While the world focuses on a global pandemic and brutal racial discrimination, President  Trump  is sneakily squashing environmental laws. The Trump administration has directed federal agencies to waive many environmental requirements as a way to light a fire under the pandemic-strained economy. Under the president’s directive, federal agencies are now seeking workarounds in the usually time-consuming processes of getting approval for building highways, fossil fuel export terminals, pipelines and other energy and transportation infrastructure. Usually, large projects like these require applying for approval under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Signed by President Nixon in 1970, this law requires agencies to assess the environmental consequences of their planned actions and sometimes seek better alternatives. NEPA also gives people a voice in new projects and considers whether these projects affect any endangered species. Related: Trump administration rolls back fuel efficiency standards “Unnecessary regulatory delays will deny our citizens opportunities for jobs and economic security, keeping millions of Americans out of work and hindering our economic recovery from the national  emergency ,” Trump wrote in his executive order. Many industries and developers cheered. But environmentalists pounced on the new order. “Instead of trying to ease the pain of a nation in crisis, President Trump is focused on easing the pain of polluters,” said Gina McCarthy, a former  EPA  administrator who now heads the Natural Resources Defense Council. She characterized this move as “utterly senseless” and an abuse of emergency powers. Agencies will have 30 days to provide the president with a report of expedited projects. Some environmentalists say the new order is unlawful and will likely end up in court. Those who stand to lose the most are  endangered species  and humans in lower socioeconomic brackets, including many people of color. “These reviews are required by law to protect people from industries that can harm our health and our communities,” McCarthy said. “Getting rid of them will hit those who live closest to  polluting facilities and highways the hardest—in many of the same communities already suffering the most from the national emergencies at hand.” + NPR Via NRDC Image via Gage Skidmore

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Trump waives environmental laws amid national crises

PADI is making face masks from recycled ocean plastic

May 11, 2020 by  
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The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) has teamed up with eco-friendly activewear company Rash’R to create a line of stylish face masks made using recycled plastic bottles from the ocean. The face masks are produced by Ocean Balance , a company that specializes in turning recovered ocean plastics and post-consumer plastic bottles into wearable fabric. The eco-friendly face masks are dual-layered with recycled polyester. They are reusable and include a filter pocket. The outer fabric is made with 100% recycled ocean waste polyester while the lining fabric is made of 92% recycled ocean waste polyester and 8% elastane. Each mask purchase includes five PM 2.5 carbon filters, but more can be ordered on the website. The face covering can be washed in the washing machine between uses. Related: How to make a mask with fabric to wear or donate Masks are being sold at cost, meaning the company is not making any profit from the sales. “The price you pay is our actual cost,” PADI said. “Our driving incentive and hope: that the PADI community will take precautions for their personal wellbeing, the wellbeing of the communities they call home and the ocean they dive.” Purchasing the face masks makes an impact on the serious issue of plastic pollution in our ocean while increasing the availability for the important medical-grade, surgical and N95 masks needed by first responders during the pandemic. The masks come in six different ocean life-inspired patterns for adults and one children’s size best suited for ages 4-10. According to the world-leading dive training organization, over 1,267 pounds of ocean plastic have been removed and reused based on the number of face masks customers have ordered so far. The masks have been selling out almost as quickly as the company is making them. Those interested in purchasing a mask can sign up for restock notification emails if the mask they want is out of stock. + PADI Images via PADI

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PADI is making face masks from recycled ocean plastic

How to volunteer during COVID-19

April 14, 2020 by  
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In times of crisis, many people feel the desire to help their communities. But the current stay-at-home orders prevent taking action. Right now, unless you are an essential worker, the most helpful thing to do is stand down. Still, everyday heroes are finding social distancing-approved ways to be of service to their communities . If you are inspired to help, here are some safe ways to volunteer your time and skills to those in need during COVID-19. Deliver groceries Everybody needs food , but a trip to a grocery store has suddenly become dangerous, especially for older folks or those with underlying health conditions. In Portland, Oregon, Meals on Wheels closed its dining centers last month, increasing the need for drivers to deliver meals to seniors. In CEO Ellie Hollander’s April 9 newsletter, she reported the local Meals on Wheels branch was serving 1,396 more people than it had the month before. But because more than 1,800 new volunteers answered the pandemic-related call, the meals will go on. Many cities might not be so fortunate, so check with your local branch to see if you’re able to donate time or money. In Washington, Kirkland Nourishing Network (KNN) has been providing food boxes to families in need for 7 years. This month, it expanded to provide gift cards. “We’ve solicited donations and then purchased and handed out 500-plus Safeway gift cards to families with school kids,” said Lynette Erickson Apley, KNN’s north site manager. “We’ve done two rounds and are slated for a third round in a few weeks.” More informal grocery services are also popping up. In my own neighborhood, I’ve seen flyers tacked up to telephone poles recruiting volunteers to go shop for groceries and deliver them to people in the area. This is happening around the country. Of course, if you know neighbors who are older, have illnesses or have weakened immune systems, you could offer to pick up a few items when you brave the trip to the store and leave some groceries on their porches. Make masks for essential workers Crafters have already been busy sewing masks for essential workers since March. But because the CDC issued new guidelines recommending everyone to wear a mask when venturing out in public, home seamstresses have upped their efforts to protect their communities. Related: How to make your own face masks “I got involved with Mask Match after my classmate heard about it on a podcast,” said Briana Corkill, a medical student in Phoenix. Mask Match solicits donations of filtration, surgical and homemade masks for healthcare workers. “It seemed like a great way to be helpful from home. For me, volunteering comes with the territory of learning to be a doctor, but it’s especially important now, while humans figure out how to support each other through this pandemic.” Corkill found the process easy and fast. “Zero skill was needed, they teach you how to do everything and it’s super straightforward and easy! The time from my friend telling me about it to me actually matching healthcare providers with equipment was less than a day.” Provide mental health support Those with proper training can offer mental health support over the phone. Erica Aten, an Oregon-based licensed clinical psychologist, is volunteering her services with the national group Reloveution as part of its pandemic response. “This volunteer program matches mental health providers with emergency personnel, first responders and health professionals nationwide,” she said. “The purpose of this program is to support professionals dealing with stress associated with COVID-19.” Volunteers can give what they are able to, whether that’s a single support session or multiple sessions per week. “Mental health providers are in a unique situation given we are holding others’ anxiety, crises and pain while also experiencing similar emotions and circumstances ourselves,” Aten said. “When it comes to volunteering during a time of crisis, I think people should be mindful of their own mental health and well-being before over-extending themselves to help others.” If you don’t have the training to volunteer with mental health support services, you can still provide wellness checks for friends, family and neighbors just by calling and checking on them. Miscellaneous volunteer efforts People are finding creative ways to help others during the pandemic. In Seattle, Megan Delany’s rugby team is using the time off from their sport to help stuff care bags for Lifelong , which supports people who have HIV. In Kirkland, chef Dave Holthus and his wife, Laura, started a Lunch to the Rescue campaign on GoFundMe. The idea is to deliver delicious, chef-made lunches for employees at Evergreen Hospital. They have far exceeded their fundraising goal. “They are not part of a larger organization,” said Virginia Andreotti, a family friend. “[They are] just a couple good people who wanted to do a nice thing.” Several skills can be of help right now. If you have experience writing grants, many organizations could use your assistance to stay afloat. Love animals? I met one man who walks his neighbor’s dog three times a week while the neighbor works overtime at a hospital. Additional opportunities include donating blood; donating time, money or food to food banks; and creating hygiene kits for people experiencing homelessness in your community. Volunteering is good for morale and helps people feel more connected and optimistic. “Basically tons of people need help with tons of things right now,” Corkill said. “So if you can think of a way to get involved, you should do it.” Images via Pixabay and Adobe Stock

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How to volunteer during COVID-19

Kamillah Knight, Beric Alleyne and Jyoti Chopra: The diversity, equity and inclusion imperative

February 25, 2020 by  
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MGM’s Chief Diversity and Sustainability Officer, Jyoti Chopra; eBay’s director of diversity and inclusion, Beric Alleyne; and Unilever NA’s diversity and inclusion lead and GreenBiz 30 Under 30 honoree, Kamillah Knight share advice for how they champion inclusivity and equity within their own organization and within the communities in which they do business. From GreenBiz 20.

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Communities Can Drive Change

November 2, 2018 by  
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Waste collection is a human necessity, one that has evolved … The post Communities Can Drive Change appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Opportunity Zones: a $100 billion investment for the clean economy?

October 23, 2018 by  
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A new provision of last year’s tax law could be a boon to bringing renewable energy to economically distressed communities — but only if we act.

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Opportunity Zones: a $100 billion investment for the clean economy?

A global ban on fishing on the high seas? The time is now

October 23, 2018 by  
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Marine biologist Daniel Pauly is calling for a total ban on open-ocean fishing to rebuild depleted global fish stocks and prevent the demise of the fishing industry itself.

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A global ban on fishing on the high seas? The time is now

Protecting wetlands helps communities reduce damage from hurricanes and storms

October 23, 2018 by  
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Safeguarding coastal wetlands is a cost-effective way to prevent flooding and storm damage.

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Protecting wetlands helps communities reduce damage from hurricanes and storms

Financing an equitable, sharing city

October 20, 2018 by  
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With private economic inequity at a high, public financing for community health and wealth is more important than ever.

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Financing an equitable, sharing city

Cities around the world lay the groundwork for a zero-waste future

September 18, 2018 by  
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Cities around the world are pledging to reduce waste over the next 12 years in an effort to curb global warming and eventually become zero-waste cities. During the Global Climate Action Summit, the C40 announced a new initiative that encourages cities to eliminate waste production and end the practice of waste burning. So far, 23 cities have agreed to become zero-waste and will work toward that goal by “reducing the amount of municipal solid waste disposed to landfill and incineration by at least 50 percent … and increase the diversion rate away from landfill and incineration to at least 70 percent by 2030,” according to C40 . Each city has agreed to cut down on waste that ends up in landfills by at least half over the next decade. The cities — which include San Francisco, Catalonia, Auckland, Dubai, Copenhagen, London , Montreal, New York City , Milan, Rotterdam, Sydney, Paris , Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Washington D.C. and Vancouver — also pledged to reduce waste generation by 15 percent and encourage alternative waste management practices by 2030. Related: 19 mayors, thousands of buildings, zero carbon emissions by 2030 Reducing the amount of waste disposal and incineration is an important step in fighting global warming. Scientists believe that the new initiative could cut global carbon emissions by around 20 percent as cities begin to recycle and compost waste instead of dumping it into landfills or burning it. The 23 cities who signed the zero-waste declarations hope that they will lead by example and encourage other municipalities to do the same. The EPA says that incinerators and landfills significantly increase the amount of greenhouse gases around the globe. These practices also encourage companies to acquire new resources and materials, leading to an endless cycle of waste disposal. In addition to cutting down on waste, increasing recycling and reusing materials also contributes to a better economy. Instead of wasting old materials, recycling and reusing keeps the items in the system for longer periods. This reduces the need to purchase new materials and manage waste. + C40 Image via Patrick Tomasso

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