Today is a Great Day to Venture Out!

Girl Scouts of America - October 16, 2014
Venture Out! is an online adventure that lets volunteers explore different ways of taking girls outside in Girl Scouts. Here, they’ll encounter the kinds of challenges and successes that only the outdoors can bring: bad weather, distracted girls, new discoveries and life-changing events. Along the way, they’ll find tips for getting girls outdoors, plus real-life stories and advice from over 50 volunteers.
Venture Out! is for volunteers working with K-5 troops who have little or no experience taking girls outside. Never hiked in their life? Have lots of outdoor skills, but don’t know how to share them with girls? Venture Out! has ideas for both these groups…and everyone in between. Troop leaders of older girls may also find it useful.
The Girl Scout Research Institute recently conducted a national study about girls and the outdoors. The report, More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences explores two basic questions: How and how much are girls getting outside in Girl Scouts? And what difference do these outdoor experiences make? Among key findings of the study are that girls' outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts are positively linked to their challenge seeking, problem solving, and environmental leadership. Additionally, when girls get outdoors on a monthly basis in Girl Scouts, doing even casual outdoor activities, they are much more likely to agree that they've learned to recognize their strengths, to do something they thought they couldn't do, and to gain skills that will help them do better in school.
Through Venture Out!, volunteers will gain the confidence to take more girls outside and practical knowledge from other volunteers about getting girls outdoors. Venture Out! is available from Girl Scouts University, and made possible by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project.
Categories: Environment

Electric Power Rights of Way: A New Frontier for Conservation

Yale Environment 360 - October 16, 2014
Often mowed and doused with herbicides, power transmission lines have long been a bane for environmentalists. But that’s changing, as some utilities are starting to manage these areas as potentially valuable corridors for threatened wildlife. BY RICHARD CONNIFF
Categories: Environment, Health

EPA’s Approval of Toxic Pesticide Ignores Health and Safety Risks

The EnvironmentaList - October 16, 2014
Dow Chemical's new line of GE seeds will drastically increase the use of 2,4-D, a harmful and volatile chemical
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

U.S. Climate Envoy Says All Nations, Rich and Poor, Must Curb Emissions

Yale Environment 360 - October 15, 2014
The negotiating architecture that has governed the decades-long pursuit of an international climate Climate Envoy Todd Stern agreement is outdated, said Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change at the State Department and the nation’s lead climate negotiator. In remarks delivered at Yale University’s Law School on Tuesday, Stern reiterated the U.S. position that all nations — both rich ones and developing ones — must be brought together under one agreement that includes pledges to cut emissions. "This split between developed and developing countries in the climate convention is the singular fault line in these negotiations," Stern said, "and has been from the beginning." Under the recently expired Kyoto protocol, developing countries like China and India were exempted from committing to emissions cuts. Climate talks are scheduled to resume in Lima, Peru later this year, with a goal of achieving a new and fully global treaty at a meeting in Paris in 2015. That pact, Stern argued, ought to require all nations to submit emissions reduction targets, tailored as needed to national interests and abilities.
Categories: Environment, Health

Will National Forests Be Sacrificed to the Biomass Industry?

The EnvironmentaList - October 15, 2014
The US Forest Service wants to sell our forests for fuel in the name of wildfire reduction
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Spotlight on National Young Woman of Distinction, Morgan Serventi

Girl Scouts of America - October 14, 2014
The National Young Women of Distinction honor is given by Girl Scouts of the USA to the top ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose Take Action projects demonstrated outstanding leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The girls and their projects will be showcased on the blog in advance of being honored at the 2014 Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City this October.
Morgan Serventi: Unleashing the Power of Poo!Age: 18Hometown: Paige, Arizona
Last year, Morgan left her hometown and embarked on a mission trip to Wamba, Kenya. In preparation for her adventure, she did some digging into the conflicts related to resource scarcity and energy use. In rural areas such as this one, firewood is burnt as a source of power. She found that scavenging for this wood is challenging and, a lot of the time, unfruitful for the women put to the task in many communities. On top of that, the practice results in deforestation, health problems, burn accidents, and food and water sanitation issues, and it also becomes the source of family conflict. Women are often beaten when they cannot provide enough wood for their families. Morgan decided this was the perfect challenge to tackle for her Gold Award project.
How Morgan Is Changing the World:
Luckily, Morgan arrived at an awesome, exciting, and slightly smelly solution. She discovered that methane gas can be produced and used as a source of energy using a manure digester. With livestock, the magic ingredient is not hard to find. The manure digester itself costs only ten dollars to build from recyclable materials and produces enough methane to power a stove burner. She found this to be an easy, sustainable, and efficient method of power generation. Morgan presented the design to her hometown of Page, Arizona, as well as the surrounding Navajo reservation before bringing it all the way to Wamba, Kenya.
Thanks to Morgan’s project, rural communities have a new method of generating energy, one that is free of the social costs that come with burning firewood. Her work has improved the everyday lives of countless individuals, especially women, while also contributing to global efforts to preserve the environment and its resources.
Next Steps:
Morgan will study agriculture at the University of Arizona, where she will continue to lead the way in exploring viable alternative energy sources! Girl Scouts will honor Morgan and her fellow National Young Women of Distinction on Sunday, October 19 at our 2014 Girl Scout Convention.
Categories: Environment

Researchers Explain Puzzling Stability of Some Himalayan Glaciers

Yale Environment 360 - October 14, 2014
Unlike nearly all other high-altitude glaciers across the globe, glaciers in the Karakoram mountain chain, part Baltoro Glacier in the Karakoram range of the Himalayas, are not melting and are even expanding in some areas. This so-called “Karakoram anomaly” has puzzled scientists for years, but now a team of researchers has offered an explanation: While rain from warm summer monsoons tends to melt mountain glaciers in other parts of the Himalayas and the nearby Tibetan Plateau, the location and height of mountains in the Karakoram chain, which runs along the borders of China, India, and Pakistan, protect the area from this seasonal precipitation. Instead, the mountain chain receives most of its precipitation in the form of winter snowfall, according to findings published in Nature Geoscience. The study suggests that the Karakoram glaciers are likely to persist until 2100, but not long after, if global warming continues at its current pace.
Categories: Environment, Health

Nature Needs Half

The EnvironmentaList - October 14, 2014
Conservation group promoting an ambitious new proposal for wilderness protection
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Climate Change To Make Many Tropical Marine Species Locally Extinct, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - October 13, 2014
Climate change is likely to drive fish and marine invertebrates toward the poles and cause extinctions


Local extinction hotspots near the tropics, according to researchers at the University of British Columbia. Under the conservative climate change scenario of one degree Celsius of warming by 2100, the 802 species modeled in the study are predicted to move away from their current habitats by as much as 9 miles, or 15 kilometers, every decade — a rate similar to what scientists have observed over the past few decades. Under the worst-case scenario of three degrees of warming, the researchers predict marine species will move toward the poles at a rate of 26 kilometers per decade. Under that scenario, an average of 6.5 species per 0.5 degrees of latitude would become locally extinct closest to the equator. The shifts will be caused by the species' reactions to warming waters, changing ocean chemistry, and ecosystem structure near the tropics, as well as new habitats opening up nearer the poles, researchers say.
Categories: Environment, Health

The Case Against a Legal Ivory Trade: It Will Lead to More Killing of Elephants

Yale Environment 360 - October 13, 2014
Proponents of easing the global ban on ivory are ignoring the fact that it was a legal market for ivory that pushed elephants toward extinction only a few decades ago. What’s needed now is not a legal ivory market, but better regulation and enforcement of the existing ban. BY MARY RICE
Categories: Environment, Health

Ivory Trade Debate: Should the Global Ban on Ivory Be Lifted?

Yale Environment 360 - October 13, 2014
Although most conservationists oppose it, a proposal to allow a partial lifting of the ban on ivory trading would benefit Africa’s elephants. With proper controls and enforcement, a legal trade would choke off demand for illicit ivory and discourage the poaching now decimating the continent's elephant populations. BY JOHN FREDERICK WALKER
Categories: Environment, Health

Experts Look to Lithium Extraction in the Race to Save California’s Salton Sea

The EnvironmentaList - October 13, 2014
Geothermal brine in the region may contain North America’s largest deposit of the element that’s key to the electronics industry
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Girl Scouts Investing in Opportunities for Girls and Recruitment of Adults as Members

Girl Scouts of America - October 10, 2014
 Girl Scouts of the USA today announced ongoing major investments in new techniques to recruit and train adult volunteers and provide more opportunities for girls in the face of a net decline in membership over the 2014 Fiscal Year. The drop of 400,000 girl and adult members nationwide, from 3.2 million to approximately 2.8 million total members, represents a roughly six percent decline in the total number of girl members who are registered Girl Scouts, as well as in the number of adult volunteers who serve them and deliver the Girl Scout experience.
The membership drop mirrors similar declines throughout the nonprofit and youth-serving sectors, with organizations across the country experiencing the residual effects of the 2008 financial crisis, and its lingering impact on the time and resources both girls and parents have to give to Girl Scouts and other activities. The increased demand and competition from other organizations, school, and extracurricular activities for the attention of girls have also cut into the time girls commit to Girl Scouts.
Much of Girl Scouts’ membership decline over the past several years can be attributed to a lack of adult volunteers to lead troops and deliver programming. With 30,000 girls on waiting lists nationwide to join the Girl Scouts, it is clear girls’ interest in joining the organization remains high. Declining time and interest on the part of potential adult volunteers to serve as troop leaders, cookie moms, and in other capacities has led to a net decline in overall girl and adult membership, as many girls no longer have a local troop to join. The recruitment and training of qualified adults is a top priority for the organization, as a single volunteer can take as many as five girls off of a wait list and into a troop setting.
“We are aware of the national trends in the youth-serving nonprofit space, and are investing heavily in innovative technological upgrades that will take the Girl Scout experience fully into the twenty-first century,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “As we head into our national convention this month, we are embracing new tactics, ideas, and strategies that will help us reach, recruit, and retain more girls and the adults who serve them. As we position Girl Scouts for its second century of service to girls, we are continuing to work to connect the organization to the fast-paced modern world, ensuring we deliver a unique leadership experience that is consistent with the needs of today’s girls while teaching the values and ideals our Movement has always upheld.”
More sophisticated social media campaigns and a first-ever online resource for volunteers, called the Volunteer Toolkit, are among the new tactics and strategies Girl Scouts of the USA has been investing in to assist in recruiting more adult volunteers. This fall Girl Scouts of the USA launched its first national Facebook ad campaign for the majority of Girl Scout councils. The campaign, which uses geo-targeted ads optimized for conversions, reached over nine million potential volunteers in the first month. The development of the Volunteer Toolkit is revolutionary for Girl Scouts of the USA, as it will ease the on-boarding process for new volunteers, and troop leaders will be able to plan an entire year of meetings and activities in one online visit. The mobile-friendly toolkit also provides easy access and constant support for on-the-go volunteers. The handful of councils currently piloting the toolkit have already seen a significant positive impact, greatly reducing the number of girls on waiting lists.
Though overall membership is down, the positive effect Girl Scouts has on girls continues to be indisputable. Studies from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) show women who were Girl Scouts display positive life outcomes with regard to sense of self, community service, civic engagement, education, and income to a greater degree than women who were not Girl Scouts. And this is the case for all Girl Scout alumnae, across age/generations, social class, race, and engagement in other extracurricular activities. Results from a Girl Scouts of the USA summer 2014 pulse poll conducted with more than 3,500 volunteers and parents of Girl Scouts in the K−5 age range shows at least 90 percent of caregivers say their daughter is more confident, has more friends, and is happier because she’s in Girl Scouts, while 88 percent of volunteers believe their lives are better because they volunteer with Girl Scouts.
Additional GSRI data showcases the need for female leadership organizations in this country. Their 2013 report The State of Girls: Unfinished Business found that while progress has been made for girls in some areas such as educational attainment, many girls are being left behind. Particularly, African American and Hispanic girls face significant challenges in making successful transitions to adulthood. More recently, GSRI’s The State of Girls: Thriving or Surviving examines girls’ well-being across each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranking each state based on an index of girls’ well-being. Data like this showcases the significant need for organizations like Girl Scouts to work together with local communities to mobilize resources that address the most pressing issues impacting girls, especially those in underrepresented and vulnerable populations. Girl Scouts of the USA’s curriculum continues to be informed and shaped by research like this in order to best serve today’s girls.
Categories: Environment

Obama Declares Part of San Gabriel Mountains a National Monument

The EnvironmentaList - October 10, 2014
The wild Is where you find It, and it is always worth protecting
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Natural Gas Production Causing Large Methane Hotspot Over U.S. Southwest

Yale Environment 360 - October 10, 2014
A single methane “hotspot” in the U.S. Southwest accounts for 10 percent of the nation’s total estimated Coalbed natural gas field in northwest New Mexico methane emissions, according to an analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan and Caltech. The area is centered in New Mexico's San Juan Basin near the shared borders of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona — the site of the largest and most active coalbed natural gas production operation in the U.S. Natural gas from the basin is more than 95 percent methane, a significantly more potent heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide. Satellite measurements collected over seven years showed natural gas production operations in the area released roughly 650,000 tons of methane to the atmosphere each year. The methane emissions are not associated with hydraulic fracturing operations in the region, which began after the measurements were collected.
Categories: Environment, Health

Carbon in the Tank

The EnvironmentaList - October 10, 2014
The price of gasoline in the US reflects not actual costs but the reflected glare of the margins necessary for oil companies to sustain hefty profits.
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Girl Scouts Congratulates Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Malala Yousafzai, Youngest Winner Ever

Girl Scouts of America - October 10, 2014
Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for risking their lives to fight for children's rights. The decision made Malala, a 17-year-old student and education activist, the youngest-ever Nobel winner.
Malala was injured by a Taliban gunman two years ago in Pakistan for insisting that girls also have the right to an education. Surviving several operations, she continued both her activism and her studies.
Raised in Pakistan, Malala was 11 years old when she began championing girls' education, speaking out in TV interviews.
Also awarded is Kailash Satyarthi, 60, who has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor since 1980, when he gave up his career as an electrical engineer. Satyarthi led the rescue of tens of thousands of child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation. He has also survived several attempts on his life.
Categories: Environment

Investment in Energy Efficiency Outpaces Renewable Energy Sector

Yale Environment 360 - October 09, 2014
Global investments in energy-efficiency measures have reached $310 billion annually — nearly $100 billion more than investments in renewable energy last year, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. Efficiency measures saved the equivalent of 2 billion tons of oil between 2001 and 2011 in the 18 countries evaluated in the report, which is more than the annual energy demand of the U.S. and Germany combined. The residential sector saw the largest improvement in efficiency, with energy demand falling 5 percent from 2001 levels, according to the report. Homes and businesses are commonly turning to efficiency measures such as low-energy lighting, smart thermostats, and improved insulation to lower energy costs. To limit global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the largest share of emissions reductions — 40 percent — will need to come from improvements in energy efficiency, the agency said.
Categories: Environment, Health

Spotlight on National Young Woman of Distinction, Julia Bache

Girl Scouts of America - October 09, 2014
The National Young Women of Distinction honor is given by Girl Scouts of the USA to the top ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose Take Action projects demonstrated outstanding leadership, had a measureable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue. The girls and their projects will be showcased on the Girl Scout Blog in advance of being honored at the 2014 national convention in Salt Lake City this October.
Julia Bache: Lessons From Rosenwald Schools: Preservation of Historic National TreasuresAge: 16Hometown: Louisville, KentuckyYears of Girl Scouting: 11
Julia moved forward with her Gold Award project only after first looking backwards! As a history lover, she knew she wanted her project to touch on a historical theme. After some digging, Julia discovered the Rosenwald Schools and their critical status on the National Trust for Historical Preservation’s Endangered Sites list.
The schools were built in 15 southern states by Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, beginning in 1910, to improve African American education. Unfortunately, after integration in 1954, the schools were somewhat forgotten. Julia stepped up to be the one to remind people of their history and importance.
How Julia is Changing the World:
Julia began by nominating the Buck Creek Rosenwald School to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She was the youngest person in Kentucky to ever nominate a site! In 2013, it was successfully listed, a recognition that deemed the school historically significant. Julia also collected alumni stories through oral interviews that she went on to include in a traveling museum exhibition. Her museum continues to tour throughout Kentucky through different curators.
Julia continues to show people why historical preservation is important and that anyone can be a part of it. Audiences all over Kentucky have witnessed her amazing commitment and ability to lead others. These qualities were particularly evident during a speech she gave at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference.
Next Steps:
Julia is still working through the challenges, big and small, of displaying her exhibitions. Luckily, she has the support and interest of so many others. She hopes to study history in college and continue preserving the past! Girl Scouts will honor Julia and her fellow National Young Women of Distinction on Sunday, October 19 at our 2014 Girl Scout Convention.
Categories: Environment

True Altruism: Can Humans Change To Save Other Species?

Yale Environment 360 - October 09, 2014
A grim new census of the world’s dwindling wildlife populations should force us to confront a troubling question: Are humans capable of acting in ways that help other species at a cost to themselves? BY VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Categories: Environment, Health
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