Patagonia donates its $10 million in tax cuts to save the planet

December 4, 2018 by  
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Last year, President Trump said that his tax bill would be an incredible Christmas gift for millions of hard-working Americans, but it also resulted in billions of dollars of tax savings for businesses — especially those in the oil and gas industry. But one outdoor retailer has opted to donate its tax savings to the planet instead of putting it back into the business. Patagonia announced last week that it would be giving away the $10 million the company made as a result of the Republican tax cut. “Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year — $10 million less, in fact. Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet,” CEO Rose Marcario wrote in a LinkedIn blog post . “Our home planet needs it more than we do.” Related: Patagonia strikes back at Trump over public lands policies Marcario also wrote that taxes protect the most vulnerable in our society as well as our public lands and other resources. In spite of this, President Trump still initiated a corporate tax cut that threatens those services at the expense of the planet. In addition to cutting taxes for individuals and businesses, the bill also lifted a 40-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Patagonia will donate the money from its tax cut to various conservation organizations. The money will also go toward the regenerative organic agriculture movement, which, according to the company, could help slow or reverse the climate crisis. Marcario cited the recent National Climate Assessment Report, compiled by 13 different federal agencies and 300 scientists. The report found that climate change is impacting people all over the globe and will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars. She wrote that far too many people have suffered from the consequences of global warming, and the political response has been “woefully inadequate.” Patagonia has been a long-time champion of grassroots environmental efforts, and the company has also been vocal in its criticisms of the Trump administration. + Patagonia Via EcoWatch Images via Yukiko Matsuoka and Monica Volpin  

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Patagonia donates its $10 million in tax cuts to save the planet

Recycling Mystery: Milk and Juice Cartons

November 14, 2018 by  
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The process of recycling our paper and plastic materials is … The post Recycling Mystery: Milk and Juice Cartons appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Recycling Mystery: Milk and Juice Cartons

Impossible Burgers to hit grocery stores in 2019

November 13, 2018 by  
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The Impossible Burger is a plant-based patty that bleeds and sizzles when it cooks, and for the past couple of years, you could only find it in restaurants . Made from the magic ingredient heme, an iron-containing compound that mimics a meaty flavor, this patty has a smaller environmental footprint than its beef counterpart, and it has become extremely popular since its debut in 2016. Starting next year, the beloved Impossible Burger might just find its way onto the shelves of a grocery store near you. In September, the Impossible Burger expanded from high-end restaurants and made its way to the fast-food chain  White Castle. But now, Impossible Foods has announced that it will bring the Impossible Burger to grocery stores in 2019. Related: White Castle is now offering ‘bleeding’ vegan Impossible Burger sliders “By far the No. 1 message from fans on social media is, ‘When will I be able to buy and cook the Impossible Burger at home?’” Impossible Foods’ CEO and founder Patrick Brown said in a statement. “We can’t wait until home chefs experience the magic and delight of the first plant-based meat that actually cooks and tastes like meat from animals — without any compromise.” If you are ready to fire up the grill and cook your own Impossible Burgers at home, you are going to have to hold off a bit longer. It isn’t clear when they will hit stores, and Impossible Foods says that it is not going to release any more details right now about the retail launch. It isn’t clear if the company will be introducing the burgers in stores nationwide, or if they will only be available in select markets. Consumers will just have to wait and see. You can currently find Impossible Burgers at 5,000 restaurants nationwide, and the company has sold more than 13 million burgers since the 2016 launch. Most reviews of the burger say that it isn’t exactly like a beef patty, but it is still the best veggie burger on the market. It gives consumers the same taste as a beef patty, but there is still a difference when it comes to texture. Impossible Foods said that producing the plant-based patty requires less than a quarter of the water and less than 5 percent of the land needed to make the same amount of ground beef from cows. It also generates less than an eighth of the greenhouse gas emissions. + Impossible Foods Images via Impossible Foods

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Impossible Burgers to hit grocery stores in 2019

‘Single-use’ is announced as the Word of the Year 2018

November 8, 2018 by  
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Collins Dictionary has announced its choice for 2018 Word of the Year — single-use. This term describes items, often plastic, that are made to be used just once before they are thrown away. The frequent use of these items has been blamed for damaging the environment and negatively affecting the food chain. Since 2013, use of the word has increased fourfold with a rise in public awareness thanks to news stories, images of plastic items adrift in oceans and the global campaign to reduce the proliferation of single-use items, including the infamous plastic straw. Collins Dictionary selects the word of the year after its lexicographers monitor the 4.5-billion-word Collins Corpus, which is an analytical database that contains written material from websites, newspapers, magazines and books published around the world. The Collins Corpus database also includes words from spoken material on TV and radio, plus everyday conversations. Related: Plastic straws are a thing of the past, but which reusable straw is best for the future? After the lexicographers monitor the Collins Corpus, they create a list of new and notable words that reflect our ever-changing culture. Things that rose to the top this year included environmental issues, political movements, dance trends and technology. Other words on the shortlist included ‘floss,’ a dance where you twist your hips in one direction while swinging your arms with fists closed in the opposite direction, made popular by the game Fortnight; ‘VAR,’ or video assistant referee, which became popular in 2018 after being used in the FIFA World Cup; ‘gammon,’ a red-faced, angry person who is the opposite of a “snowflake”; and ‘plogging,’ or picking up litter while jogging, which has become successful following the increase in awareness of humanity’s impact on the environment. Collins ended up choosing single-use because of the global movement to kick the addiction to disposable products and the increase in awareness of how people’s habits and behaviors impact our world. + Collins Dictionary Image via Jonathan Chng

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‘Single-use’ is announced as the Word of the Year 2018

Eco-friendly geodomes provide a luxurious stay in an idyllic Quebec forest

November 8, 2018 by  
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Tucked into the picturesque countryside in a remote area outside of Quebec City, the Dômes Charlevoix are three dome-shaped eco-retreats that offer luxurious stays for guests wanting to reconnect with nature. In addition to their swanky accommodations, the geodomes, which were designed by Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architects , are open year-round thanks to the numerous passive features that make them resilient to Canada’s strong winters. Perfectly integrated into the quaint landscape of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, the canvas-covered domes offer guests all the amenities of a top-rated hotel. The structures are set on large wooden patios, which are elevated off the ground on large supports to reduce their impact on the land. The decks are installed with hot tubs, offering a serene place to take in the incredible views. Related: Explore the world’s driest desert at these eco-friendly geodomes Erected on the sloped mountainside, the domes are orientated to make the most of not only the breathtaking vistas but to also offer maximum exposure to natural light . For a resiliency that withstands the bitterly cold months, the domes were built with radiant concrete floors, which help maintain a comfortable, uniform temperature indoors. The luxurious domes sleep up to four adults, with a large queen-sized bed on the ground floor and a second queen-sized bed on a mezzanine level. Guests will enjoy a full kitchen with a dining table, a spa-like bathroom and a large chimney with ample firewood supplied to keep the living space warm and cozy. Large windows enable guests to take in the views from the comfort of the interior, or on a nice day, they can enjoy the surroundings from the outdoor deck. All of the basic amenities such as linens are provided. Guests just need to bring their own food and plenty of energy for exploring this beautiful location. + Dômes Charlevoix + Bourgeois / Lechasseur Architects Photography by Maxime Valsan  

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Eco-friendly geodomes provide a luxurious stay in an idyllic Quebec forest

The votes are in for key environmental issues of the 2018 midterms

November 7, 2018 by  
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Most of the results are in from Tuesday’s election, and when it comes to environmental issues, the outcomes sent a lot of mixed messages. While renewable energy and the fight against climate change won in some states, fossil fuel companies are celebrating in other states. Read on for the results to important environmental issues of 2018 elections across the country. Changes in Washington On the national stage, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives, putting up a roadblock to any major environmental legislation President Trump would like to pass. In the past two years, the POTUS has pushed for an attack on the Endangered Species Act and a farm bill with limited controls on water pollution and pesticides. So for environmental activists, this change is a big win. Also, many of the Republicans who were ousted from the House were climate-science deniers, and voters replaced them with Democrats who are supporters of investments in clean energy. But in the Senate, there was a big blow in the Florida race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Governor Rick Scott. During his time as a Senator, Nelson had consistently voted in favor of climate action and attacked anyone who denied climate science. Nelson lost to Scott, who has a history of challenging the science behind climate change. There will likely be a recount in this race, because it was so close. Climate activists were also hoping that Democrat Beto O’Rourke would unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz, but Cruz held on and ended up defeating O’Rourke. There were a couple of wins in the Senate for climate activists. Mitt Romney won the race in Utah (he scored higher on climate issues than his opponent, Democrat Jenny Wilson). In Nevada, challenger Jacky Rosen defeated the incumbent Republican Senator Dean Heller. During his time in office, Heller expressed doubts about the science of climate change, and he also voted against any effort to reduce carbon pollution. Results of state ballot initiatives The environment did not score a lot of wins when it came to state ballot initiatives, but there were a few victories. Related: A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot Alaska Salmon Initiative – defeated The first measure on Alaska’s ballot was an initiative that would have forced the state’s Department of Fish and Game to hand out permits for projects and activities that might harm fish. The measure also focused on improving habitats for anadromous fish , like salmon, by looking at water quality, stream flow and temperature. Arizona Proposition 127 – defeated This clean energy proposal would have required 50 percent of electricity from utility companies to come from renewable sources by 2030. California Proposition 3 – pending, projected defeat The most significant proposition on California’s ballot related to environmental issues was Proposition 3. But with over 93 percent of precincts reporting at the time of writing, 52 percent of voters have rejected it, and the projection is that it will not pass. This initiative would have allocated close to $8 billion in funds for surface and groundwater storage, watershed protection (habitat restoration) and water infrastructure. Colorado Proposition 112 – defeated This ballot proposition would have banned oil and gas drilling on 85 percent of non-federal lands in the state, but it failed to pass. The fossil fuel industry invested millions into this election to defeat Proposition 112. Florida Constitutional Revision 4 – passed Florida took a major step against offshore drilling in this election. Constitutional Revision 4 bans offshore drilling and will put an end to oil and gas mining on lands under state waters. Lumped into this revision is a ban that will prevent individuals from vaping inside closed workplaces. The ban included all electronic devices that generate vapor, such as electronic cigarettes, and will only be enforced in indoor workplaces. This movement for clean water and air passed by 69 percent. Georgia Amendment 1 – passed This proposal allows up to 80 percent of the revenue from sales and use taxes of outdoor recreational goods to go toward land conservation: protecting water quality, conserving forests and wildlife habitats and improving state and local parks. The measure had overwhelming bipartisan support and passed by 83 percent. Montana Ballot Issue #14 I-186 – defeated This initiative would have helped regulate new rock mines in the state by requiring them to have plans for reclamation, restoration or rehabilitation to receive permits. The new mines would have also been required to have adequate plans to avoid water pollution . Nevada Question 6 – passed This initiative aims to put the state on track for renewable energy by 2030. Voters said yes to all utility companies investing in renewable energy over the next 12 years. The measure also requires electric companies to transform half of their electrical output to renewable sources by the projected date. Rhode Island Bond Measure – passed Voters approved this bond measure that authorizes $47.3 million in funds for various environmental projects throughout the state. The measure outlines where the money will be allocated and the different types of projects that will be funded, including coastal resiliency and access, clean water and treatment, dam infrastructure, bikeway initiatives, farmland access and local recreation. The largest project on the ballot is related to improving water quality and will receive $7.9 million. The measure passed with nearly 79 percent of voters’ support. Washington Initiative 1631 – defeated Initiative 1631 in Washington was designed to target greenhouse gases while rewarding companies that promote clean energy. The law would have imposed the nation’s first fees on carbon emissions, starting out at $15 for every metric ton of carbon and increasing every year by $2. The money from the fees was also going to go back into the environment and help improve air quality, raise awareness about clean energy and examine environmental issues in various communities. Companies that complied with the environmental standards could have also received credits from the added revenue. The U.S. oil industry pumped about $30 million into the race to stop this initiative from passing. Via EcoWatch , Green Tech Media and Forbes Images via Jomar , Tom Coe and Aaron Burden

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The votes are in for key environmental issues of the 2018 midterms

The ozone is finally healing and could be completely repaired by 2060

November 7, 2018 by  
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Finally, some good news about the environment. Earlier this week, the United Nations announced in a report that the ozone layer is on the mend. If the current recovery rate continues, parts of the ozone could be fully repaired by the 2030s. The entire layer — even the highly damaged parts over the North Pole and South Pole — could be completely healed by 2060. The study, Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018 , monitors ozone recovery, and it is the latest in a series of reports that the UN releases every four years. This year, it shows that the ozone has been recovering at a steady rate of 1 to 3 percent since 2000 because of the global efforts made to reduce CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals. Related: Levels of ozone-destroying CFCs are mysteriously rising Over the past few decades, humans have done significant damage to the ozone layer, which protects life on Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. But through global agreements like the 1987 Montreal Protocol, we have made huge steps toward healing it. The protocol mandated that countries phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting chemicals. The EPA has described it as the most successful environmental global action in history, with 197 countries signing the agreement. “If ozone-depleting substances had continued to increase, we would have seen huge effects. We stopped that,” said Paul Newman, a NASA scientist and co-chairman of the new UN report. Newman added that if we hadn’t made these changes, two-thirds of the ozone layer would have been destroyed by 2065. Scientists have cautioned against claiming victory too soon. Banned CFC emissions are increasing in China , but the Chinese government has promised to fix the problem. Newman said we need to wait until 2060, and let our grandchildren do the celebrating. Still, these recent findings could help contribute to future climate action. In 2019, the Montreal Protocol is set to be enhanced with the Kigali Amendment, which hopes to tackle climate change by targeting greenhouse gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration. + Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018 Via Huffington Post Image via Shutterstock

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The ozone is finally healing and could be completely repaired by 2060

A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot

November 2, 2018 by  
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The general election for 2018 features many interesting issues related to environmental improvements. But with these environmental proposals competing with other issues on the ballot, it is easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. From funding eco-friendly projects to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, here is a quick guide to some of the environmental issues on the 2018 ballots around the U.S. Alaska Salmon Initiative The first measure on Alaska’s ballot is an initiative that would force the state’s Department of Fish and Game to hand out permits for projects and activities that might harm fish . The measure also focuses on improving habitats for anadromous fish, like salmon, by looking at water quality, stream flow and temperature. If passed, the measure will create a system for processing permits, which includes allowing public input on major permits. The fish and game department will still have the authority to deny permits if the project or activity harms fish or habitats. Any existing projects would be exempt from the new permit system. Arizona Proposition 127 In a push for clean energy, this proposal would mandate that 50 percent of electric utilities come from renewable sources by 2030, and the percent required would steadily increase each year. The acceptable renewable energy sources would include solar , wind and biomass as well as certain hydropower, geothermal and landfill gas energies. California Proposition 3 There are a number of propositions on California’s ballot related to environmental issues, but Proposition 3 is one of the most significant. This initiative will give the green light for close to $8 billion in funds for surface and groundwater storage, watershed protection (habitat restoration) and water infrastructure. The measure outlines where all of the money will be dispersed and how much funding each project will receive. Colorado Proposition 112 This proposition on Colorado’s ballot would limit the areas available for oil and gas development, including fracking , in an effort to maintain public health and safety. If passed, oil and gas developments would have to maintain a distance of 2,500 feet from occupied structures and vulnerable areas, including homes, schools, hospitals, parks, lakes, rivers, sporting fields and more. Florida Constitutional Revision 4 Florida is taking a major step against offshore drilling this election. Constitutional Revision 4 could ban offshore drilling, putting an end to oil and gas mining on lands under state waters. Lumped into this revision is a ban that will prevent individuals from vaping inside closed workplaces. The ban includes any electronic device that generates vapor, such as electronic cigarettes. The ban would only be enforced in indoor workplaces. Georgia Amendment 1 This amendment would allow up to 80 percent of the revenue from sales and use taxes of outdoor recreation and sporting goods retailers to go to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund for land conservation, including protecting water quality, conserving forests and wildlife habitats and improving state and local parks. Montana Ballot Issue #14 I-186 This initiative will help regulate new rock mines in the state. If passed, new mines would be required to have plans for reclamation, restoration or rehabilitation to receive permits. More specifically, the new mines would be required to have adequate plans to avoid water pollution. Water contaminated by acid mine drainage often results in perpetual treatment to make the water safe for consumption. The measure also gives the Department of Environmental Quality the right to reject permits that do not have a reclamation plan in place. Nevada Question 6 Nevada’s environmental initiative this year will put the state on track for renewable energy by 2030. Question 6 on the Nevada ballot proposes that all utility companies invest in renewable energy over the next 12 years. If passed, the measure would require electric companies to transform half of their electrical output to renewable sources by the projected date. The current law requires utility companies to use 25 percent of renewable electricity by 2025. Rhode Island Question 3 This measure would authorize $47.3 million in funds for various environmental projects throughout the state. The measure outlines where the money will be allocated and the different types of projects that will be funded. The projects include coastal resiliency and access, clean water and treatment, dam infrastructure, bikeway initiatives, farmland access and local recreation. The largest project on the ballot is related to improving water quality and would receive $7.9 million. Washington Initiative 1631 Initiative 1631 in Washington targets greenhouse gas pollutants and rewards companies that promote clean energy. If voted in, the law would impose fees on carbon emissions. The price of the fee starts out at $15 for every metric ton of carbon, increasing every year by $2. The money generated from the fees will go right back into the environment. The revenue would help improve air quality, raise awareness about clean energy and examine environmental issues in various communities. Companies that comply with environmental standards could also receive credits from the added revenue. The measure also requires that Native American tribes have their voices heard on projects that affect their land. All of the money dispersed from the carbon fee will have to be approved by a public board first. Via Vote Smart , Ballotpedia and NCSL Image via Element5 Digital

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A quick guide to the environmental issues you’ll find on the ballot

Rising Seas: Hawaiian Island Wiped off the Map

October 28, 2018 by  
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Have you heard of Hawaii’s East Island? Probably not, but … The post Rising Seas: Hawaiian Island Wiped off the Map appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Rising Seas: Hawaiian Island Wiped off the Map

California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms

October 24, 2018 by  
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With 3,427 miles of coastline , one would think establishing wind farms in California would be a cinch. As it turns out, the depth of the waters has kept the idea of offshore wind in this area at bay. Energy companies have been eagerly awaiting the curtain fall from government regulators that was finally announced on Friday by the U.S. Department of the Interior. While turbine installation will prove to be a challenge because of unique terrain demands, offshore wind turbines could help California’s plans to reach 100 percent green energy by 2045. If all goes as planned, the wind farms could be operating within the next six years. “We are early in the process here,” explained California Energy Commission member Karen Douglas. “Offshore wind has potential to help with our renewable energy goals.” California’s first ever offshore wind auction, allowing energy companies to lease waters in certain areas of the Pacific Ocean, was announced alongside two other wind farm initiatives already underway in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. So what’s slowing down California’s state officials and utility companies? “They would be in much deeper water than anything that has been built in the world so far,” Douglas said. Because the ocean’s depths are substantial — even close to shore — California’s coastline is not ideal for offshore wind farms . Related: World’s most powerful wind turbine installed off the coast of Scotland Regardless, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management ( BOEM ) followed up on the announcement with a “call for information and nominations” from energy companies looking to develop the offshore technology. Submissions will be accepted over a 100-day period that will close on Jan. 27, 2019. The state’s new wind farms will be concentrated within proposed areas off of Central and Northern California. In total, the 658 full and partial blocks on the Outer Continental Shelf that are offered for commercial wind energy leasing cover an area of 1,073 square miles (687,823 acres). The announcement is good news for Gov. Jerry Brown and his office of environmental reformers. In September, the governor signed a bill that mandated California’s energy reliance be supplied solely through renewable sources by 2045. The addition of offshore wind turbines could propel this shift to happen much faster than expected, as the state is now able to look beyond land-based wind farms and solar panels to meet demand. Via The New York Times , NOAA and BOEM Image via Lars Plougmann

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California waters could open soon to offshore wind farms

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