Trash collecting device returned to Pacific garbage patch

June 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

A giant floating, trash collecting boom is en-route to return to the Pacific ocean after necessary repairs. Initially placed between California and Hawaii in 2018, the boom broke apart due to constant wind and wave pressure and had to be brought back to mainland for service. The 2,000 foot device is now ready to return to the high seas and expected to collect five tons of plastic trash every month. The project aims to clean up what is known as the Pacific Garbage Patch , a widespread issue of marine debris in the Pacific Ocean. Despite dramatic images of heaps of garbage floating on top of the sea, the reality is that the majority of plastic in the northern Pacific is already broken down into micro-plastic particles so small they can be difficult to see and hard to photograph but detrimental to marine life. Related: Ocean explorer finds plastic waste during world’s deepest dive The C-shaped boom mimics a natural coastline and uses the currents to collect plastic garbage. It has solar lights, satellite antennas, cameras and sensors in order to ensure the team behind the project– the Ocean Cleanup Project– can find it at all times. The contraption also has a “skirt” that stretched almost 10 feet below the surface to collect plastic particles floating just below the water level. The boom does not negatively impact marine wildlife , as the majority can easily swim below the skirt. The Ocean Cleanup Project plans to use the boom to collect about five tons of garbage every month, which is collected and towed by a collection vessel. “Hopefully nature doesn’t have too many surprises in store for us this time,” tweeted Boyan Slat, founder of the Ocean Cleanup Project. “Either way, we’re set to learn a lot from this campaign.” via The Guardian Image via The Ocean Cleanup

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Trash collecting device returned to Pacific garbage patch

Rafting outfitters focus on sustainability

June 26, 2019 by  
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Rafting draws a group of nature lovers with higher than average respect for keeping wilderness clean. But even the raft outfitting industry faces environmental issues— both in external threats to river quality and, in a much smaller way, in making sure their participants are educated in Leave No Trace best practices. “Rafters, both commercial and privates, are extremely conscientious and respectful of the river and its environment,” said Steve Lentz, owner of Idaho-based Far & Away Adventures . His company rafts three Wild and Scenic rivers: the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the Jarbidge/Bruneau and Owyhee rivers — two of the newest to win Wild & Scenic designations, which are especially prized for their solitude and remoteness, Lentz said. But Lentz can remember when people weren’t so respectful of rivers. When he explored the Middle Fork as a child in the 1960s, toilet paper and other garbage littered the riverbanks and people thought nothing of washing with soap in the river. Once the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed in 1968, he watched people’s environmental IQ increase while litter decreased. Inhabitat talked to five rafting outfitters to see how their staff and customers can have an impact on keeping rivers clean and beautiful. Related: Seven commandments of Leave-No-Trace Camping Sustainable Rafting Practices Guided rafting trips start way before the raft goes in the water . That’s why Hood River, Oregon-based Northwest Rafting Company’s sustainability measures begin with its office and the supplies they buy. NWRC uses software for reservations and online registration, resulting in minimal printed paper. They’re one of a growing number of outfitters who use online waivers and forms to cut printing. Outfitters are well-versed in Leave No Trace principles. “Fortunately, we live in a state that is environmentally conscious,” said Andy Neinas, owner of Echo Canyon River Expeditions, which rafts Colorado’s Arkansas River above and through the famed Royal Gorge. “The rafting industry is scrutinized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and our outfitter organizations work closely to meet and exceed the standards set forth. Colorado Tourism Office works with the Leave No Trace organization to promote responsible use of our natural resources.” Leave No Trace is more rigorous than many people realize. Zachary Collier, owner of Northwest Rafting Company, says this even includes burnt wood. “I suggest all groups use a fire blanket to capture coals from fires,” he advised. Guides and guests sweep the campsite for micro-trash , such as bread crumbs and orange peels. Nor are rafters allowed to leave human waste, let alone toilet paper. Portable toilets are sealed and transported between campsites, and later carried out at the end of the journey. Bob Klein, manager of A Wanderlust Adventure , which rafts Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River, emphasizes the responsibility of the guides. “We believe that rafting outfitters should be enforcing Leave No Trace, educate their guests on the dangers and effects of human recreation on the natural environment, and to keep the amount of rafters they take down the river to the Forest Service’s regulations.”  But the responsibility doesn’t entirely fall on the guide— all rafting participants need to make good choices. “High water looks like fun, but fun can turn to tragedy very quickly when people’s skill levels don’t meet the river’s demand,” said Ron Blanchard, owner of Wyoming River Trips , which operates on the Main Shoshone River.  “We try to mentor rafters when conditions are extreme with information as to what to lookout for.  Most times if you talk with them and not to them, they get the point.” The Bigger Picture Lots of issues facing rivers are beyond people’s individual control. For example, Collier mentions the damage caused by mining .  “The 1872 mining law allows for mining on these rivers and their tributaries even if they are protected,” he said. Neinas has also faced the dumping of hard metals from mining operations near the river’s headwaters close to Leadville, Colorado. “As well as fish kills that resulted from attempts to eradicate invasive species ,” he said. Blanchard mentioned agricultural field runoff as the main threat to the Shoshone. Several outfitters urged rafters to be more proactive in protecting their beloved rivers. “I would love for more guides and outfitters to call, write, or visit Congress to share why these rivers are important and why they should be protected,” said Collier. He and some fellow guides recently visited Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives about environmental conditions. Lentz agreed. “Be involved and get out of the back seat. From forest plans regarding management to breaching dams that harm the river. Support organizations that that prioritize efforts to strengthen the wilderness and its environment.” Each guide has a special relationship with his or her river, and can tell you 100 reasons it needs protection. For example, Lentz expounded on the attractions of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River: “Alpine forests , hot springs, blue ribbon fly fishing for native cutthroat trout, hiking well maintained trails, crystal clear water, 100 rapids, North America’s third deepest canyon, wildlife including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, both golden and bald eagle, cougar, black bear to name a few.” Are rivers worth protecting? You bet. Photos via Echo Canyon River Expeditions, skeeze

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Rafting outfitters focus on sustainability

Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

June 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Friends Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco were traveling together in Morocco when they got the idea. Nancy couldn’t help but notice that Hannah could fit everything she needed into one backpack, whether they were traveling, trekking or going out to dinner. The result was époque evolution , a sustainable fashion company focused on creating eco-friendly, versatile clothes made from organic, upcycled, deadstock and post-consumer waste recycled fibers. They work with mills and factories that are committed to ethical practices and a smaller collective carbon footprint. To top it all off, the clothes are beautifully low-maintenance (goodbye, dry cleaning and toxic chemicals ). A review of the époque évolution clothing I got a chance to try the best-selling Orion Leggings and the Go To Tank for myself, and let me say I have found my new wardrobe staples. These pants have the power to turn the humble legging from what was previously a simple, lazy solution to a dependable companion for really any activity ( yoga class , traveling, grabbing some dinner and so on). The slit on the bottom gives it an added fashion appeal as well as the ability to show off your footwear in a trendy way. The Go To Tank has a slight opening in the back, which isn’t totally noticeable but provides some much-needed breathability if you’re wearing it to hike or work out. You could easily dress it up, as the merino wool fabric is antimicrobial and thermo-regulating (meaning going straight from the gym to anywhere else is completely doable). Even better, it’s made from deadstock material, meaning the fabric would have otherwise ended up in the landfill . Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The leggings are crafted from econyl®, a 100 percent recycled nylon fiber made from old fishnets and carpets, and the tank is made from a deadstock wool blend of 80 percent wool merino and 20 percent polyester. Both are machine washable and quick-drying. What’s more, my Orion Leggings and Go To Tank came packaged in a biodegradable mailer from The Better Packaging Co . At $98 and $68 respectively, the leggings and tank may take a chunk out of your paycheck, but once you consider the quality, eco-consciousness and ethical ramifications, you’ll be happy you’ve made the investment. They go with practically everything, so you’ll spend less time choosing what to wear and more time living your life, enjoying the outdoors or exploring. An interview with the founders Check out our interview with the founding members, Nancy Taylor and Hannah Franco, below. Inhabitat: What was the inspiration behind creating a line of clothes using sustainable fabrics? Nancy Taylor: I am incredibly passionate about changing the fashion industry and disrupting its outdated practices. After spending years of my career working in the corporate fashion world and traveling overseas to visit factories, I was hopeful that there was a different model for doing business. Since then, I’ve been focused on trying to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to an already toxic industry. Hannah Franco: It’s time. The industry needs a change, and we wanted to offer a unique take on sustainability. We believe eco can be chic, easy-care and impressively functional. Incorporating these elements, we set out to create products that make shopping sustainably an obvious choice for customers. Inhabitat: What are some of your favorite fabrics that the company works with? Taylor: I’m a huge fan of merino wool in general and am particularly obsessed with our perennial wool fabrication. It’s blended with a recycled poly and it’s also machine washable, which means no dry cleaning! Franco: Nancy took the words out of my mouth — I’m addicted to merino wool. It’s quick-drying and antimicrobial — in other words, it doesn’t stink — and anything that makes my life easier is considered a win in my book. Our new organic cotton is creeping up as a favorite now, as well. Our Oeko-Tex certified Standard 1000-certified finish keeps the cotton looking perfectly crisp all day, and I do love a breezy white shirt. Inhabitat: Fashion is one of the most environmentally damaging industries. Can you talk about the sustainable practices, factories and ethical treatment of workers you implement in your production process? Taylor: It was a big topic of discussion when we first launched — identifying and implementing our parameters for what we have called “responsible” production. This encompasses our raw materials, the factories and the people that produce our clothes, all the way down to our packaging . The hard part was that these choices weren’t always black and white. For example, our evolve soft fabric is not a recycled raw material, but the production mill’s best practices are really amazing and include using state-of-the-art, eco-compatible technologies in a fully solar-powered facility. In the end, it was a better choice than working with a large mill using only recycled raw materials without carefully taking into account their entire environmental footprint. We aim to look at the complete picture and tell that story, educating the customer on why her choices matter. Inhabitat: With fast fashion , another practice negatively impacting the environment, what is the importance of investing in high-quality clothes like your products and moving away from the cheap stuff? Taylor: Investment pieces that last and key staples that women will wear again and again are the focus of our brand. You don’t need more clothes, just the right clothing that functions well. We share this narrative with our customers and show them how to style a piece season after season. Franco: There are already enough clothes out there. We wanted to contribute in an area where we felt the industry could be moved forward — clothing produced more sustainably and offering greater function. When you invest in quality pieces that you wear season after season, you have more time to live your life and focus on better things (e.g., spending time with family and friends, pursuing boss lady career goals) than stressing over a wardrobe. Plus, packing for travel is a breeze when you rock minimalist style. Inhabitat: What is the significance of your clothes being low-maintenance as well? Taylor: We all live incredibly busy lives, and a woman’s clothing should never slow her down. The easier a wardrobe is to care for, the more time this gives her back in her day. Franco: The low-maintenance and versatility of our products go hand in hand. For example, our jet set trouser is a perfect work pant, but it’s also ideal for any travel destination, and you can even hop on the yoga mat in them. Just because a piece of clothing is low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. You can have both! + époque évolution Images via époque évolution

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Hannah Franco and Nancy Taylor celebrate sustainable fashion with poque volution

Boston’s mayor announces curbside compost program

June 24, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Boston’s mayor Marty Walsh wants to know: are you going to compost that? Because chances are you should. Walsh has announced a plan to ensure that 100 percent of compostable waste is diverted from landfills by 2050. According the city’s estimates, 36 percent of the trash that Bostonians are throwing away should be composted and 39 percent should be recycled. This is a huge amount of waste going to the wrong place (landfills or incinerators) and ultimately equates to 6 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions . Related: Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting Mayor Walsh is determined to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and believes an overhaul of the waste services in the city can make major progress in the right direction. The city has requested proposals from companies willing to provide curbside composting services to Boston residents for a subscription fee, which the government plans to subsidize. Right across the Charles River, the neighboring city of Cambridge already started providing free curbside composting for residents last year, but Boston has six times the population. Boston also plans to expand the window of time that yard waste is collected and launch a textile pick-up program. Last year, the city also announced a plan to ban single-use plastic bags throughout the city. “Preparing Boston for climate change means ensuring our city is sustainable, both now and in the future,” Walsh said. “We need to lead and design city policies that work for our residents and for the environment and world we depend upon. These initiatives will lead Boston toward becoming a zero-waste city and invest in the future of residents and generations to come.” To help out with the transition toward zero-waste , Boston received a grant from Cocoa-Cola to increase the number of recycling bins, signage and trash services in city parks. Boston was one of seven cities to receive this pilot funding from Coca-Cola. The switch to a more comprehensive waste system will require re-educating Bostonians about how to recycle and what to compost. The city’s website recommends residents download the city’s free “ Trash Day ” app, with which users can look up specific items and learn exactly how to dispose of them. Via Curbed Image via Shutterstock

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Boston’s mayor announces curbside compost program

A Swiss forest gains a sculptural, sustainably minded water purification plant

June 24, 2019 by  
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Most water purification plants are devoid of personality, but that’s not so for the Swiss city of Muttenz’s new water treatment facility. Designed by international architectural firm Oppenheim Architecture , the Muttenz Water Purification Plant rejects the sterile stereotype and adopts a curving and organic form that looks as if the building was naturally sculpted out of the earth. Set within a lush green forest next to the river Rhine, the low-maintenance industrial plant not only sensitively and sustainably adapts to its natural surroundings, but also serves as a new city landmark that includes a public-facing area to educate the population about the facility’s three-phased, state-of-the-art water purification process. The Muttenz Water Purification Plant is encased entirely with shotcrete, also known as sprayed concrete, which was delivered dry to the construction site and then mixed with water just before application. Shotcrete was selected because of the sensitive nature of the construction site in a drinking water protection zone. The expressive and low-maintenance facade appears both soft in appearance yet hard in texture and allows rainwater to flow from the roof across the sides, which will gradually leave a natural patina and encourage the growth of moss over time to blend the building into the landscape. Related: This moss can naturally eliminate arsenic from water “The engineering-driven arrangement of the inner life defines the form and the size of the building,” explained the architects, who noted that the water purification building is set between a protected forest and the nearby industrial parks. “Like a tight dress, the skin presses against it and represents the technical inner life to the outside. Pipelines, filters and apparatuses can be read through the facade in an abstract manner. The result is an expressive building, acting like a ‘objet trouvé’ in its natural context. Reduced to its materiality and form.” To heighten the educational experience for the public, the water purification plant puts parts of its complex and its state-of-the-art technology on display. One example is the open, alcove-like presentation room that is open to the outdoors and allows visitors to experience water from multiple perspectives, from the cooling sensation of the surrounding pool to the sounds and sights of rainwater pouring in from the roof. + Oppenheim Architecture Photography by Bo?rje Mu?ller via Oppenheim Architecture

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A Swiss forest gains a sculptural, sustainably minded water purification plant

7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist

June 24, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Planning an international trip can be pretty overwhelming as it is, but it can be even harder for eco-friendly travelers looking for sustainable activities that promote cultural travel and ecotourism. Luckily, more and more travel companies and agencies are making it easier to travel with the environment in mind. Start off by researching green destinations, travel packages and green hotels at websites like Lokal Travel , Green Pearls or Responsible Travel . The World Travel Market Responsible Tourism website is a great resource, as it gives out awards each year recognizing worldwide travel organizations in categories such as “Best for Reducing Carbon & Other Greenhouse Gases” and “Best for Reducing Plastic Waste.” Look for hotels and resorts that have been certified eco-friendly or green, that have clear evidence of protecting the Earth, that are built with environmental sustainability in mind or that have made the investments to truly change their business models toward long-term sustainability. Once you’ve chosen a destination and accommodation, look for travel companies that are trying to help the local culture or the land in a positive, significant way and have hired local employees with fair wages. While these organizations are usually small and focused on a few specific places, there are larger companies doing good work as well. Sadly, plenty of “volunteer” programs out there are aimed at making the client feel good about themselves, rather than making an effort to make a positive difference on the destination (or at the very least leave it unharmed by the presence of visitors). If your volunteer trip costs money, find out where the money is going. Related: Natural Habitat Adventures launches the world’s first zero-waste vacations Of course, flying is something to keep in mind, as the carbon emissions from airplanes are high. Don’t be afraid to stay close to home or travel by train to somewhere near you. If you do decide to fly, as many of the destinations below might require unless you are a local, do some research into the most sustainable airlines and consider carbon offsets to ever-so-slightly lessen the impact of this form of travel. Here are seven eco-friendly activities to enjoy in destinations around the world. Watch the Northern Lights in Norway Not only is Norway one of the most environmentally conscious countries on Earth, it is also one of the most beautiful. Its capital city of Oslo was named Europe’s greenest capital by the European Union in 2019. When it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, don’t do it as an afterthought. Take the time to plan a trip with local guides that benefits the economy. Consider an immersion program with the indigenous Sámi people, who have recently embraced sustainable tourism as a vital source of local income. Volunteer in the Galapagos, Ecuador An undisputed leader in ecotourism destinations worldwide, the Galapagos are home to some of the most exciting and important lands on the planet. Almost 100 percent of the island chain is protected as a national park , and visitor fees go straight toward conservation efforts. Look for a company that organizes volunteer trips rather than sightseeing; the latter creates unnecessary trash and carbon emissions. Book an eco-friendly safari in Kenya It’s no secret that poaching is one of African wildlife’s greatest threats. Eco-friendly safaris and lodges provide alternative employment to poaching in Kenya, all while supporting the community and putting money toward the upkeep of nature preserves. A good tourism company works hand-in-hand with the local people (such as the Maasai tribe in Kenya) to protect the land and animals. Consider staying on conservancy lands, where the area has been set aside for wildlife conservation and is strictly regulated. Related: 7 eco-friendly and conservation-minded safari lodges across Africa Help save elephants in Thailand The tourism industry is beginning to see elephant riding for what it is — cruel. What was once a misunderstood and popular bucket-list item is now one of the main proponents responsible for the rise of ecotourism. Skip the elephant ride and opt for a trip to an elephant rescue center, where your money will go toward the betterment of these animals rather than the exploitation of them. For a day trip, check out the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, but if you want to spend a week or more volunteering, the Surin Project is another great choice. Go hiking in New Zealand New Zealand is world-renowned for its luxury ecotourism (such as “ glamping ”) as well as plenty of hiking opportunities that let tourists submerge themselves in the natural environment without doing any damage. Another thing to consider: Air New Zealand recently got rid of all single-use plastics from its entire fleet of planes. That means no plastic bags, cups or straws are being used on any of these flights, resulting in about 24 million less pieces of plastic being used each year. Visit animal sanctuaries in Costa Rica Costa Rica pledged to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, and with 25 percent of its territory protected as national parks or biological reserves, it is setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the world. The country is known for its abundance of eco-friendly accommodations and wildlife sanctuaries. Check out the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula or the Jaguar Rescue Center in the Limón Province. Stay in self-sustaining accommodation in the Maldives With more than 1,000 islands making up this archipelago, environmental awareness and protecting the ocean is a vital part of life in the Maldives. For example, Soneva Fushi Resort has been completely carbon-neutral since 2014. It has an on-site recycling program, and all the water used at the resort is desalinated. Ninety percent of the waste produced is recycled, including 100 percent of the food waste , and all of the facilities run on the energy from solar panels. Images via Derek Thomson , Claudia Regina , Peter Swaine , Marcel Oosterwijk , Bruce Dall , Jeff Pang , Michelle Callahan and Selda Eigler

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7 sustainable travel experiences to have this summer as an ecotourist

Michelin and GM are moving down the road with airless wheel prototype

June 21, 2019 by  
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The term, “Sustainable mobility” is likely to become increasingly more common as we work to identify ways for transportation to have less of an impact on the environment. This year, recognizable names Michelin and GM teamed up to deliver this message with the reveal of an airless wheel at the Movin’On summit for sustainable mobility. The Uptis prototype (Unique Punctureproof Tire System) is the product of a joint venture between the two companies with a common goal to introduce the airless wheels on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. To ensure long-term durability and safety, the product will endure intense testing starting with a fleet of test cars that will be monitored beginning later this year. The selection of Chevrolet Bolt EVs will hit the road in Michigan while being observed for performance. Related: These new airless 3D-printed bicycle tires never go flat The airless design eliminates the possibility of tire blowouts, which obviously adds a significant safety feature to vehicles on the road. In addition to safety, the simultaneous goal is to change the future of tire design for the sake of the planet. Currently, manufacturing and post-consumer waste from tires is a growing environmental concern. Michelin estimates that approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that cause uneven wear. However, this waste is diminished with a tire that doesn’t require air pressure and won’t go flat from a puncture. At the same Movin’On summit in 2017, the company outlined plans for the new design with four pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3-D printed and sustainably made from renewable or bio-sourced materials. Two years later, the developed prototype is headed for the road. “Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream. Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today,” says Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group. + Michelin Images via Michelin

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Michelin and GM are moving down the road with airless wheel prototype

Shake it up: A Q&A with Sarah Pool, co-founder of upcycled spent grain protein shake company

June 21, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Green

How this entrepreneur is combining her love of nutrition and the environment.

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Shake it up: A Q&A with Sarah Pool, co-founder of upcycled spent grain protein shake company

Supreme Court votes to uphold Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

June 19, 2019 by  
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The Supreme Court disappointed the Trump administration and an eager mining corporation by voting to keep the country’s largest uranium deposit underground. On June 17, the court voted six to three to uphold Virginia’s uranium mining ban in a move that re-confirms the sovereignty of states to determine the future of their natural resources and the protection of their environments. The uranium deposit in question is worth an estimated $6 billion and is situated on a private estate in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Uranium is an essential ingredient for nuclear energy and contributes to about 20 percent of the country’s electricity production. Uranium is also an essential ingredient in nuclear weapons; therefore, control over its sources is critically important to the government and military. Related: Demand for sand — the largest mining industry no one talks about Despite pressure from the federal government and legal challenges from Virginia Uranium, Inc., the state of Virginia passed a ban on uranium mining due to environmental and health concerns associated with its extraction. “This is a big win for the health and safety of Virginians and our environment,” Attorney General for Virginia Mark Herring said of the Supreme Court ruling. “We are well within our rights as a state to decide that a risky, potentially dangerous activity like uranium mining is not for us.” Uranium is a radioactive material, and the environmental concerns related to its extraction include contaminated water, soil and disrupted landscapes that cause major erosion and landslides. Virginia Uranium, Inc. argued that the state is confiscating a nationally important resource. The corporation said it is disappointed with the ruling and plans to mount a new challenge after its argument that the federal-level Atomic Energy Act of 1954 governs nuclear energy development and supersedes any state ban proved unsuccessful in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling was written by Justice Neil Gorsch, who was appointed by President Trump in 2017. Via Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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Supreme Court votes to uphold Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

New sustainability plan for Washington State Ferries

June 18, 2019 by  
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Washington State Ferries (WSF), the state’s biggest consumer of diesel fuel, has released a two-year action plan for operating the ferry system more sustainably. Washington’s ferries burn more than 18 million gallons of fuel per year, generating more carbon and greenhouse gas emissions than any other component of the state transportation system. The new plan seeks to reduce emissions and waste, improve air quality and protect orca whales. Ferries serve the northwest part of Washington State, linking Seattle, Vancouver, the San Juan Islands and other places that locals and tourists live and visit. “Because we operate our 23 ferries on Puget Sound and manage 20 terminals on its shores, we have an obligation to ensure WSF is doing everything we can to protect our environment,” said Amy Scarton, assistant secretary at Washington State Department of Transportation. “This plan lays out our commitment to tackle these issues and continue our efforts to make Washington’s ferry system the greenest in the world.” Related: Washington becomes the first state to allow human composting To cut down on emissions , the ferries had already decreased speed. Since adopting new speed guidelines in April 2018, they saved about 450,000 gallons in fuel. WSF is now working on hybridization and electrifying the ferry fleet. Local orcas, known as Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs) are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Their biggest threats are toxic contaminants , prey availability and disturbance from vessel noise and traffic. WSF has already slowed its vessels in critical orca habitat to reduce noise, and plans to undertake a baseline noise inventory of the ferry fleet. WSF has already begun to remove creosote—which is toxic or carcinogenic to fish, birds, mammals and amphibians —from its facilities, and aims to complete creosote removal by 2021. The ferry system is also installing high efficiency LED fixtures to minimize light spillage. + Washington State Department of Transportation Images via San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau. Photos by Brandon Fralic, Monika Wieland Shields and Western Prince Whale Watching

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