EPA Restricts Mine Waste Disposal in Bristol Bay Watershed

The EnvironmentaList - July 21, 2014
A crucial step towards protecting the world’s most prolific salmon fishery
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

In Review: Snowpiercer

The EnvironmentaList - July 19, 2014
No, it’s not another climate change dystopia flick. It’s the first geoengineering dystopia flick
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Germany Tops Energy-Efficiency Ranking and U.S. Scores Near Bottom

Yale Environment 360 - July 18, 2014
Germany tops a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed by Italy, China, France, and Japan, according to the American Council

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Energy-efficiency rankings for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The United States ranked 13th out of 16 nations, behind countries such as India, China, and Canada, although new carbon pollution standards proposed this June for existing power plants would be a major stride in the right direction, the ACEEE said. The group also admonished Australia, which ranked 10th, for demonstrating "a clear backward trend" in adopting energy efficiency measures. Germany took the top spot largely due to regulations it has imposed on commercial and residential buildings. And China, despite lax enforcement of building codes, uses less energy per square foot than any other country, the analysis found.
Categories: Environment, Health

Court Bars Paved Serengeti Highway, But Concerns Remain

The EnvironmentaList - July 18, 2014
Tanzania still plans to upgrade existing dirt track to gravel, which could lead to increased traffic through the park
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

BANNER: Typhoon Haiyan 2

Operation USA - July 17, 2014
Categories: Environment

BLOG: On the Road to Recovery in The Philippines

Operation USA - July 17, 2014

When Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever to make landfall, struck the Philippines in November 2013, it wreaked havoc on the island nation and devastated communities along the country’s expansive coastline.

Destruction is widespread in the areas surrounding Tacloban, November 2013

Operation USA, having worked in the country since 1986, immediately sprang to action to aid relief efforts, providing water purification tablets for distribution in Tacloban within days of the storm. In the wake of a disaster like a typhoon, ensuring access to clean drinking water is an urgent priority, and OpUSA was fortunate to have purification supplies pre-staged in Manila for quick distribution to affected areas.

In the weeks following the massive typhoon, OpUSA called on the public for donations to relief efforts, and worked with long standing partners to secure funding for long-term recovery and redevelopment projects. With an impressive outpouring of support from individuals, corporations and partners (both old and new), donations of funds to aid in recovery quickly added up, totaling over $530,000. Many in-kind donations were also taken in.

In November 2013, OpUSA President and CEO, Richard Walden, traveled to the Philippines to survey the damage firsthand. Following that initial assessment, OpUSA program staff visited the area to meet with impacted communities and start the process of identifying top priority recovery projects. As an outgrowth of those meetings, it was decided that the small coastal municipality of Guiuan, where the monster storm first made landfall, would become the focus of Operation USA’s relief efforts.

OpUSA intern Kira and local community members pack up donated supplies for distribution to mother and child groups

To date, we have sent sea shipments of much needed relief and recovery supplies to the area. Now, as the emergency phase is waning, OpUSA, in grateful partnership with the Honeywell corporation, is embarking on a multi-phase rebuilding project that will include a public school and a playground.

Additional partners have also joined the effort to outfit the school, including We-Care.com, donating over $10,000 from shoppers who utilized the platform in February 2014, and Filipino-American dancer Stella Abrera, coordinating her own fundraising effort on the crowd-funding platform Crowdrise.

Alongside these efforts, OpUSA continues to seek funding for playground equipment, computers, sports equipment and other school supplies for the estimated 250 children who will attend the school.

The site of the damaged Ngolos school, which OpUSA will help to rebuild

This month, OpUSA staff members will return to Guiuan to assess ongoing efforts and reiterate Operation USA’s commitment to the community. Stay tuned for further updates!

Click HERE to donate in support of typhoon recovery now.

Categories: Environment

Google Street View Maps Show Extent of Methane Leaks in Cities

Yale Environment 360 - July 17, 2014
New maps from Google reveal the locations of natural gas leaks in U.S. cities and highlight the extent of

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Boston's natural gas leaks "fugitive" methane emissions associated with the nation's aging infrastructure. The Environmental Defense Fund partnered with Google Street View to map leaks in the nation's natural gas system, using cars equipped with air-quality sensors that collected millions of readings across Boston, Indianapolis, and Staten Island. The analysis found thousands of methane leaks in highly-populated areas — particularly in Boston, where half of the pipes are more than 50 years old and leaks were detected every few blocks. Although the leaks did not appear to pose explosion hazards, their prevalence highlights the potential for fugitive methane — a greenhouse gas with an impact 20 times that of carbon dioxide — to contribute to global warming.
Categories: Environment, Health

Scientists Look for Causes of Baffling Die-Off of Sea Stars

Yale Environment 360 - July 17, 2014
Sea stars on both coasts of North America are dying en masse from a disease that kills them in a matter of days. Researchers are looking at various pathogens that may be behind what is known as sea star wasting syndrome, but they suspect that a key contributing factor is warming ocean waters. BY ERIC WAGNER
Categories: Environment, Health

Denton Council Washes Hands of Fracking Ban Proposal, Now Voters Will Decide in November

The EnvironmentaList - July 17, 2014
Texas city’s marathon public hearing reveals citizens’ outrage, exposes oil & gas industry’s bullying and fear-mongering
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Politics and Education Affect When People Search for Climate Information, Study Finds

Yale Environment 360 - July 16, 2014
People across the United States search the Internet for information on climate change when they experience unusual or severe weather events, but the timing of their searches differs based on political ideology and education levels, according to research published in the journal Climatic Change. An analysis of Google searches and weather patterns between 2004 and 2013 found that Democratic-leaning regions and those with higher education levels were more likely to seek information about climate change when average summer temperatures were above normal, whereas those in Republican and less educated areas sought climate change information when they experienced extreme heat. Searches peaked during weather consistent with climate change as well as during cold snaps, the study found. This could indicate that people who observe unusual extreme weather conditions are genuinely interested in learning more about climate change, or that climate deniers, when experiencing unusually cool weather, go online to confirm their skeptical views, the researcher speculated.
Categories: Environment, Health

Your Tax Dollars Fund Climate Change Denial

The EnvironmentaList - July 16, 2014
US still spending billions a year on fossil fuel subsidies
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

California Agriculture Relying Too Heavily on Groundwater Reserves in Drought

Yale Environment 360 - July 15, 2014
California's agriculture industry is relying too heavily on groundwater to irrigate drought-stricken farmlands — a trend that will not be sustainable long-term, according

Central Valley orchard to a study by the University of California, Davis. The drought, which is the third most severe on record, is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third, the study found. Groundwater pumping will likely replace most river water losses, and some areas have more than doubled their pumping rate over the previous year. If the drought continues for two more years, the report says, groundwater reserves will continue to be depleted to replace surface water losses and pumping ability will slowly decrease, which could affect crop production. So far in the current drought, 428,000 acres of cropland — roughly 5 percent — has been made fallow across the Central Valley, Central Coast, and Southern California.
Categories: Environment, Health

Five Questions for Jeffrey Sachs On Decarbonizing the Economy

Yale Environment 360 - July 15, 2014
Thirty scientific institutions from 15 countries recently released a report for the United Nations outlining how Jeffrey Sachs
the world’s major carbon dioxide-emitting nations can slash those emissions by mid-century. Called the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the initiative aims to provide leaders with a plan of action in advance of a UN summit in September and climate negotiations in Paris in late 2015. Yale Environment 360 asked Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a key player in the decarbonization project, five questions about the initiative and the prospects for global action on the climate front.
Read more.
Categories: Environment, Health

Let’s Have a Marshall Plan for Clean Energy in the Caribbean

The EnvironmentaList - July 15, 2014
The vulnerable islands are a perfect laboratory to test out renewable energy solutions to our climate crisis
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Human Activity Has Caused Long-term Drought in Australia, Model Shows

Yale Environment 360 - July 14, 2014
A new high-resolution climate model shows that southwestern Australia's long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall, which began around 1970 and has increased over the last four decades, is caused by

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Projected rainfall trends in Australia increases in man-made greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion, according to research published in Nature Geoscience. Simulating both natural and man-made climate effects, scientists showed that the decline in rainfall is primarily driven by human activity. Rises in greenhouse gas emissions and thinning of the ozone hole have led to changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, including a poleward movement of the westerly winds and increasing atmospheric surface pressure over parts of southern Australia. This has led to decreased rainfall, the study said. The drying is most severe over southwest Australia, where the model forecasts a 40 percent decline in average rainfall by the late 21st century, with significant implications for regional water resources.
Categories: Environment, Health

$30,000 to the First Person Who Can Prove Man-Made Climate Change Isn’t Real

The EnvironmentaList - July 14, 2014
Physicist Christopher Keating’s challenge to climate skeptics goes viral
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Helsinki Aims to Slash Car Use With New Apps and Transit Services

Yale Environment 360 - July 11, 2014
The Finnish capital is developing a new “mobility on demand” transport network that it hopes will sharply reduce personal car use and ownership by 2025, the Guardian reports. Helsinki officials say they will transform the existing public transportation system by using smartphone apps and new transit services that will provide convenient, relatively inexpensive, and often personalized transportation options. Central to their plan is a smartphone app that will enable users to specify a destination and then get there via a new minibus system, bike share services, ferries, trams, ride sharing, and, eventually, driverless cars. Officials say the app will serve both as a journey planner and a universal payment platform. Helsinki will expand an innovative new minibus system called Kutsuplus that lets riders specify a desired pick-up point and destinations via their smartphone; these requests are aggregated and the app calculates an optimal route that most closely satisfies the various requests.
Categories: Environment, Health

Blog: Celebrating Operation USA’s 35th Anniversary

Operation USA - July 11, 2014

Thirty-five years ago today, on July 12, 1979, Operation USA, then known as “Operation California,” launched its first-ever relief effort–aiding 44,000 Vietnamese “Boat People” refugees suffering on Pulau Bidong (a waterless and treeless rock island) in the South China Sea off the coast of Malaysia.

Richard Walden visits with Cambodian refugees in Thailand, 1982.

Only 29 days earlier a friend and I had dreamed up the idea for a relief airlift while sitting on the beach in Venice, California. We never dreamed that what was to be a one-time effort would continue on to a second flight carrying supplies to Cambodian and Lao refugees in camps in Thailand, and then a relief flight directly into genocide and famine-ravaged Cambodia, which had been cut off from the world for more than three years under Khmer Rouge rule. As 1979 turned into 1980 we sent aid to Somalia, and a year later to Central America, followed by the delivery of aid to victims of civil unrest in Poland and Lebanon in 1982… and so it has gone.

Now, 35 years later–having sent disaster aid and/or having created development projects in 100 countries–I look back in wonder, and with profound gratitude to all those who have taken part in this adventure.

Richard Walden with founding board member Julie Andrews, 1983.

From the construction of schools in China to the delivery of medical supplies and equipment in Africa to long-term disaster recovery in Haiti and the United States, Operation USA has successfully developed programs around the world. We continue to offer material and financial assistance to community-based organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, education, health services, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people–with more programs being developed with each passing year.

Still, there is far more to be done by our organization (which I’m proud to say is 100% privately-funded)–and by the larger and growing nongovernmental and governmental sectors–but I rejoice at the challenges we face and the possibility to attract new and “fresh eyes” to our work in the months and years ahead.

Richard Walden visits school children in China, 2014.

We truly are “the little ship that gets in the harbor where the big ships cannot go” (so says Julie Andrews, a founding board member), and I could not be more proud of how far Operation USA has come since that first relief flight 35 years ago today. I look forward to all we are able to accomplish–with your continued support–in the future.

To learn more about Operation USA’s full history, click here.

To make a donation in support of our work, click here.

Categories: Environment

A Ramble Through the Woods Can Help Beat Stress-Related Health Issues

The EnvironmentaList - July 11, 2014
The Japanese concept of Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”, is now supported by a growing body of research
Categories: Environment, News Feeds
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