Oil pipelines destroy jobs, too

February 22, 2017 by  
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Sure pipelines are good for oil companies, but what about jobs related to preserving nature and culture?

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Oil pipelines destroy jobs, too

Wild bison return to Canada’s Banff National Park for the first time in 140 years

February 9, 2017 by  
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Wild bison are coming home to Canada’s Banff National Park for the first time in roughly 140 years. Although bison were common sights in the Canadian landscape with a population that numbered in the millions in the early 1800s, these huge and herbivorous mammals nearly disappeared by the end of the 19th century as a result of hunting. Now 16 bison are back at Banff as part of a carefully planned conservation effort to re-establish the species within the area’s ecosystem. With any luck, the herd’s numbers will be growing soon: many of the transferred bisons are pregnant.

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Wild bison return to Canada’s Banff National Park for the first time in 140 years

Patagonia boycotts huge Outdoor Retailer show to protest Utah Republicans

February 8, 2017 by  
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Sustainable outdoor gear company Patagonia is putting their popularity, and revenue, towards defending conservation in Utah . After Republican governor Gary Herbert urged Donald Trump’s administration to snatch away protection for the newly created national monument Bears Ears, Patagonia announced their boycott of Outdoor Retailer , a show that rakes in millions of dollars for Salt Lake City. Founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in a recent opinion editorial , “If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home.” President Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument in December. But Utah’s governor recently signed a resolution calling on the new administration to yank away protection for Bears Ears, and Patagonia isn’t happy about it. CEO Rose Marcario announced in a February 7 press release Patagonia would withdraw from Outdoor Retailer, and felt confident other retailers and manufacturers would “join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conservation.” Related: Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort In his opinion piece, titled “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?” Chouinard said outdoor recreation supports 122,000 jobs in Utah, and generates $12 billion in consumer spending. He described Outdoor Retailer as a cash cow for Salt Lake City, noting hundreds of companies spend loads of money to show off products at the event, and USA Today said the show brings in $45 million in annual direct spending for Utah. But due to the new overture to rescind public land protection, Chouinard accused Herbert of creating “a hostile environment that puts our industry at risk.” “The outdoor industry creates three times the amount of jobs than the fossil fuels industry, yet the Governor has spent most of his time in office trying to rip taxpayer-owned lands out from under us and hand them over to drilling and mining companies,” wrote Chouinard. He said Bears Ears contains archaeological treasures from thousands of years of Native American history, and beautiful red rocks cherished by rock climbers worldwide. “Politicians in the state don’t seem to get that the outdoor industry – and their own economy – depend on access to public lands for recreation.” Via Patagonia Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Patagonia boycotts huge Outdoor Retailer show to protest Utah Republicans

London’s first floating park slated to open this spring

February 2, 2017 by  
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London is about to get its first floating pocket park as part of a citywide greening initiative. Thanks to recent approval from the local city council, a floating 730-square-meter green-covered platform, designed by garden designer Tony Woods of The Garden Club, is now slated to open this spring at Merchant Square on the Grand Union Canal. The large green platform, which will be the first of its kind for the City, will have a lush green lawn surrounded by nectar-rich mixed raised borders. Various textural herbaceous plants and grasses will decorate the space year-round, but the color scheme will change with the seasons, stem color in autumn, scented winter flowers, spring bulbs, and an abundance of colorful flowers in summer Related: Floating urban greenhouse produces clean energy and organic food The park will also contain a “bespoke planting” scheme aimed at encouraging local wildlife to inhabitat the space, even adding a separate pontoon area for ground-nesting birds . Apart from the feathered friends, the pavilion, which will have its own canal boat mooring, will have a capacity of up to 120 visitors and offer free Wi-Fi for those looking for outdoor work space. The pocket park will have plenty of communal seating as well as a series of decked platforms and walkways where people can walk over water. The park is part of the Greater London Authority’s green infrastructure initiative, which aims to improve local infrastructure, as well as green parks and water canal and riverside spaces across the city. Andrew Scrivener, Chief Executive at European Land hailed the planning approval, “Outdoor spaces are a key ingredient in any successful neighbourhood. At Merchant Square this incredible Floating Pocket Park – the first in London – will not only provide green space for our residents and unique outside workplace for our occupiers, but creates an oasis in the West End, offering Londoners a way to actively reconnect with the canal.” + Tony Woods Via Hyperallergic

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London’s first floating park slated to open this spring

Trump presidency could spell the end for wolves in America’s West

January 23, 2017 by  
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A couple hundred years ago, there were around two million wolves in the United States, but human expansion dramatically slashed those numbers. Conservationists recently celebrated victory as gray wolves slowly returned to the American West, but Donald Trump’s presidency threatens to undo that progress as Republican lawmakers look to roll back the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While some 60,000 wolves reside in Canada and Alaska, in the American West there are only around 1,700 of them left. The ESA helped these animals gain ground again, but with wolves still only living in only 10 percent of their old range in the American West, there’s still a long way to go to ensure the species recovers. But some industries – like industrial agriculture and oil and gas – wish to operate in wolf habitats that are currently protected. The Center for Biological Diversity tracked donations to Congress from those large industries and found as campaign donations increased, so did bills threatening the ESA, which limits the land those industries can utilize to protect animals. Related: Gray wolves spotted in California for the first time in over 90 years Now, according to the Associated Press, Republicans want to alter the ESA “from a tool to protect huge areas of habitat for imperiled species into little more than limits on hunting for protected animals” even though a 2015 survey revealed 90 percent of registered voters support the ESA. Trump hasn’t said anything about wolves or the ESA, but he’s already shown he supports industries over national parks . If Republicans want to severely limit the ESA’s power, it doesn’t seem likely Trump would stop them. Wolves are in trouble, but don’t lose hope yet. There are a few actions you can take to help these majestic animals. Outside recommends donating money to the Center for Biological Diversity or Defenders of Wildlife , both of whom would fight anti-wolf legislation. Or you could write to your representative and remind them they’re supposed to represent the people, many of whom support the ESA, not the interests of big industries. Via Outside Images via Angell Williams on Flickr and Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr

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Trump presidency could spell the end for wolves in America’s West

Galapagos beach shelter shows off the versatility of renewable bamboo

January 23, 2017 by  
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Bamboo makes sense no matter where you use it. The Scarcity and Creativity Studio built this minimalist bamboo beach shelter in just two weeks, after all the commissioning details were sorted out. Located on the Playa Man in the capital of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador , the structure was built with locally-grown bamboo to ensure a versatile, flexible and renewable landmark for the local community to use. The project is part of a larger initiative to improve beach facilities in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Galápagos Province located on San Cristóbal, the easternmost island of the archipelago. The shelter, which provides shade and open air showers to users of Playa Man, was built in two weeks using locally-sourced bamboo, wire ties and concrete stoppers. Related: This solitary lookout shelter is a bridge between ancient civilization and modern life The team arrived in Galapagos to find that the The Municipality of San Cristobal, where they were supposed to build a new shade shelter and facilities, cancelled the project. They decided to use the four weeks to find a new home for the project, approaching several local institutions. Out of four proposed projects–a bridge, yoga training facility, police tower and shade shelter–they opted for the latter and reused the bamboo they had already purchased. Hopefully, this project will start a local, if not global trend of building with this strong and sustainable material that replenishes itself in only four years . + The Scarcity and Creativity Studio Via  Archdaily

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Galapagos beach shelter shows off the versatility of renewable bamboo

Heroic dolphins could save critically endangered porpoise from extinction

January 16, 2017 by  
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Seal Team 6, a squad of dolphins trained by the US Navy to locate undersea mines and other submerged objects, may be the last, best chance of survival for the world’s most endangered marine mammal . The team of superhero cetaceans will be recruited to help locate the sixty or so remaining vaquitas in the wild, so that a small group of the porpoises may be captured and relocated to establish a captive breeding population. Distinguished by their small size and dark rings around their eyes and mouths, vaquitas are endemic to a narrow stretch in the upper regions of the Gulf of California in Mexico . The vaquitas population has been in decline for decades due to the tiny porpoise’s habit of becoming trapped in fishing nets meant for other sea creatures. While ex situ conservation , the establishment of a protected captive breeding population, is not a new idea, it remains controversial. “I don’t like this idea at all,” said Omar Vidal, director general of the World Wildlife Fund Mexico in Mexico City.”The risk of killing a vaquita while catching them is very high. With only 50 or 60 animals left, we can’t play with that.” Related: China’s ‘extinct’ dolphin may have been sighted again in the Yangtze River Despite the risks, the Seal Team 6 project, currently in planning stages, will likely commence in spring. However, the Navy and its dolphins will not be alone. “An international group of experts, including Navy personnel, have been working on two primary goals: determining the feasibility of locating and catching vaquitas, as a phase One,” wrote Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, chairman of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita. “As a second phase, to determine the feasibility of temporarily housing vaquitas in the Gulf of California .” Vaquitas have never successfully been held and bred in captivity before, so the team will be paying particularly close attention to creating holding pens, likely located in a protected bay, that meet the specific needs of the animals . While creating a net-free, safe environment for wild vaquitas in their natural habitat remains the ultimate goal, the situation is now desperate enough to merit risk. “Given the crisis we’re in, we need to explore all of our options,” said NOAA biologist Barbara Taylor. Via Science Magazine Images via Marion Doss/Flickr and  Paula Olson/Flickr

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Heroic dolphins could save critically endangered porpoise from extinction

This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels

January 15, 2017 by  
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Through his quest to reconnect to his roots, Barnes isolated several traditional strains of seeds that fell to the wayside when his ancestors traveled to what’s now Oklahoma in the 1800s . Through years of selective growing , Barnes grew corn that looks bejeweled, creating a colorful celebration of native heirloom varieties of corn. Related: Plant a Wish Restores Native Plant Habitats Around America Barnes didn’t hoard the wealth, however, sharing corn seeds with Native American tribe elders and other growers he encountered. According to SeedBroadcast , “…he was able to reintroduce specific corn types to the elders of those tribes, and this helped their people in reclaiming their cultural and spiritual identities. Their corn was, to them, literally the same as their blood line, their language, and their sense of who they were.” One such grower was Greg Schoen. The two became friends in the early ’90s , and Schoen took the rainbow corn to a new level, creating hybrids by planting the rainbow corn next to typical yellow corn. Schoen eventually passed the seeds to the non-profit organization Native Seeds/SEARCH , who now sell the seeds online . They also protect the seeds in a bank containing around 2,000 rare varieties . Native Seeds/SEARCH began during a project to design sustainable food sources with Native Americans. They continually heard that people wanted to plant the seeds their grandparents did , so the organization started to protect ” endangered traditional seeds ” and the diversity of plants present specifically in the American Southwest. The fabulous corn kernels possess an outer layer tougher than most , which means they aren’t the best for backyard corn-on-the-cob chomping, but they can be either ground for cornmeal or popped like popcorn. You can purchase a packet of the seeds for $4.95 here , and profits go right back to the organization to continue their conservation efforts. Via My Modern Met and Lost At E Minor Images via Glass Gem Corn Facebook

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This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels

Judge orders Exxon-Mobil to disclose 40 years of climate change documents

January 13, 2017 by  
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Last fall, the public learned that Exxon-Mobil may have spent millions of dollars researching the effects of climate change in the 1970s . Upon learning the disastrous impact of their own business practices, the company hid the results and continued as if no risks existed. This revelation prompted the Attorneys General of Massachusetts and New York, Maura Healey and Eric Schneidermann respectively, to pursue investigations that are already bearing fruit. On Wednesday, a Massachusetts judge ordered the fossil fuel behemoth to turn over 40 years worth of documents that will shed light into what Exxon-Mobil knew, when it knew it, and how it obscured this knowledge from the public. The decision by the Massachusetts court arrives at an inopportune time for Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon-Mobil and President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. Tillerson, already under the microscope as the Senate moves through the confirmation process, has thus far refused to answer questions about Exxon-Mobil’s alleged obfuscation and endangerment of public safety, which occurred decades before his tenure as CEO. Tillerson has also been more forthcoming about the threats posed by climate change than other prospective members of the incoming Trump administration, but if these latest legal actions produce smoking-gun evidence of Exxon-Mobil’s deception, Tillerson may find himself in hot water. Related: US Slaps New Sanctions on Russia, Stops Exxon from Drilling in the Arctic While an investigation, however productive, won’t change the past, clear evidence that the fossil fuel industry acted as Big Tobacco did in the 20th century by willfully ignoring its own dangerous practices and deceiving the public would provide additional leverage and pressure on policymakers and businesses to take action against climate change. While scientists assert that we can burn only 565 gigatons more carbon dioxide before the Earth is doomed to a global temperature rise over two degrees celsius, the fossil fuel industry currently sits on 2,765 gigatons of carbon in its reserves, making evident their need to comply in the move towards a carbon-free economy . Even with evidence, the fight will not be easy. Since the revelations in the fall, Exxon-Mobil and its allies have fiercely fought against any investigation. The fossil fuel giant has filed two lawsuits against Attorney General Healey, alleging that her actions were politically motivated. Similarly, a federal judge in Texas had ordered a deposition of Healey, which would have required her to show up in a Texas court. This order was cancelled at the last minute. However, these actions demonstrate that those who fight on behalf of the public against Big Oil will face obstacle after obstacle in the dawning Trump era. Via  Engadget Images via Mike Mozart  and ARLIS Reference

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Judge orders Exxon-Mobil to disclose 40 years of climate change documents

Native American tribe is fighting against the Pilgrim Pipeline in New Jersey

January 2, 2017 by  
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As oil and gas companies race to plan more pipelines to criss-cross America, conservationists are similarly ramping up their efforts to resist the environmentally destructive projects, and one such controversy in New Jersey is heating up quickly . The planned Pilgrim Pipeline would carry crude oil back and forth along the 178 miles from Albany, New York, to New Jersey’s Linden Harbor. The pipeline’s proposed route cuts through forests and a drinking water reservoir, prompting members of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation to organize a resistance camp, similar to the months-long backlash against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota. While that struggle has been long and difficult, the Ramapough Lunaape in New Jersey will face a different and perhaps even more challenging fight against corporate interests, for a number of reasons. As is often the case with resistance efforts led by indigenous people , the Ramapough Lunaape must first defend their right to protest. Last week, the New Jersey town of Mahwah issued summonses against the protesters for setting up a camp and erecting protest signs without permits, even though the activity is all taking place on tribal land. One of the key obstacles for the Ramapough Lunaape is that their nation is not recognized by the federal government, so they are not protected in the same way. The Ramapough Lunaape Nation is instead only recognized at the state level in New Jersey and New York. It doesn’t take an expert to understand how this issue will complicate their fight against the proposed pipeline . Related: US Army blocks Dakota Access Pipeline in major victory for protesters The tribe has made numerous attempts to gain federal recognition, but those efforts have all failed. One such bid, in 1993, was struck down after Donald Trump (yep, that guy) campaigned against the nation’s recognition in order to eliminate the possibility of competition for his casino in Atlantic City. The tribe hasn’t given up, though, and an ongoing petition is still active to collect signature in support of adding the Ramapough Lunaape Nation to the list of federal recognized tribes. The Pilgrim Pipeline has been in planning for more than two years, and local communities along its proposed route have been protesting the whole time. The planned route would loosely follow the New York State Thruway and I-287 and then through North Jersey’s environmentally sensitive Highlands. Protesters are worried about the pipeline’s proximity to the Highlands reservoirs, which provide water to 5 million New Jersey residents. Much like other pipeline projects across the country, the developers Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings have pledged to go “full steam ahead” despite the environmental and public health concerns. Via Grist Images via Northjersey Pipeline Walkers and  Pilgrim Pipeline

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Native American tribe is fighting against the Pilgrim Pipeline in New Jersey

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