Silver Lining in a River of Gray

The EnvironmentaList - February 19, 2014
Federal investigation could break cozy relationship between NC regulators and Duke Energy
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Blog: Improve Yourself and Your Community in 2014!

Operation USA - February 18, 2014

By Tonyehn Verkitus

This guest post on volunteerism comes to you from our friends at GiveGab.com. GiveGab is the social network for volunteers, dedicated to helping volunteers and nonprofit organizations find each other in their local communities.

With the beginning of a new year, we find ourselves questioning our actions of the past and finding ways to improve for the future. Though these goals are often personal, we can find great benefit to our emotional, psychological, and physical well-being by also resolving to improve the lives of others.

To help you make a commitment to yourself and others for 2014, we have come up with some suggestions to get you started:

Choose volunteer opportunities wisely. What do you want to gain from volunteering? Are you looking to develop new skills? Is one of your personal goals to complete a 5k? Knowing what you’d like in return for your contribution helps to narrow the list of opportunities.

Find something you’re passionate about. The more you can connect with the cause you support the more likely you are to continue giving.

Invite your friends. Most everything is more fun when done with others. Not only do you get the benefit of sharing your experience with others, but you may find that they share great ideas and inspirations as well.

Get your children involved. It is never too early to teach children the value of giving. Start them on a path that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Set aside time for volunteering. We all live extremely busy lives and if we keep putting it off for tomorrow it will never happen. Find a time on a day that is most convenient for you to give back and stick with it.

Remember that everything counts! Okay, so you may not be able to put aside one hour a week, but you can still improve your community through small acts like shopping locally, not littering and donating to thrift stores. All of these help to make your town a better place to live.

Learn more today and get started at GiveGab.com.

Happy 2014!

Categories: Environment

Kerry’s Inconsistent and Incomplete Stance on Climate Change

The EnvironmentaList - February 18, 2014
Secretary of State compares climate change to WMDs, but seems unwilling to push for stringent action on the home front
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

New Website Allows Whistleblowers to Report Wildlife and Forest Crimes

Yale Environment 360 - February 18, 2014
A new whistleblower site offers people a secure and anonymous way to report incidents of poaching, wildlife trafficking, and illegal logging around the world. The site is called WildLeaks, a nod to the well-known WikiLeaks site, and it's backed by the California-based Elephant Action League. Users can upload documents, video, or images detailing the crimes, and submissions will be encrypted so data and identities remain secure. The aim is to provide a safe way for citizens to report these illegal activities so that local and federal governments can take action. Prosecuting wildlife crimes and illegal logging is often a low priority in countries where some of the worst offenses occur; moreover, local government corruption often deters people from reporting such crimes, organizers say. "We [will] work to transform this information into a verified and actionable item, a point for launching an investigation or sharing it with the media or, when possible, with selected and trusted law enforcement officers, always aiming at exposing wildlife crimes and bringing the responsible individuals to justice," said the WildLeaks project leader.
Categories: Environment, Health

As Fracking Booms, Growing Concerns About Wastewater

Yale Environment 360 - February 18, 2014
With hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas continuing to proliferate across the U.S., scientists and environmental activists are raising questions about whether millions of gallons of contaminated drilling fluids could be threatening water supplies and human health. BY ROGER REAL DROUIN
Categories: Environment, Health

Labor Abuses Common in Palm Oil Industry

The EnvironmentaList - February 18, 2014
Forced and child labor compound environmental problems
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

New Maps Pinpointing Wind Turbines Will Help Track Effects on Wildlife

Yale Environment 360 - February 17, 2014
More than 47,000 wind turbines dot the U.S. landscape, predominantly clustered in the Midwest and Great Plains, as a new interactive tool developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows. The maps — the first

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Wind turbines in the U.S. publicly-available, nationwide data set for wind energy generation — show the locations of every turbine in the U.S., from large wind farms to single turbines, and are accurate to within 10 meters. The maps are part of the USGS's effort to assess how wind turbines impact wildlife, and they show detailed technical information such as the make, model, height, area of the turbine blades, and capacity of each turbine. Turbine-level data will improve scientists’ ability to study wildlife collisions, the wakes causes by wind turbines, the interaction between wind turbines and ground-based radar, and how wind energy facilities overlap with migratory flyways, the USGS says.
Categories: Environment, Health

Five Questions for Elizabeth Kolbert on Biodiversity and a Sixth Extinction

Yale Environment 360 - February 17, 2014
Elizabeth Kolbert's new book, The Sixth Extinction, focuses on one of the most troubling realities of our age:
We are living in a period when, for only the sixth time in earth’s history, the diversity of species is contracting suddenly and rapidly — but now, we humans are the cause. For her reporting, Kolbert, an e360 contributor and New Yorker staff writer, traveled from the Peruvian Andes to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, probing the fate of a dozen species. Yale Environment 360 asked Kolbert five questions about the book and what she discovered in researching it.
Read more.
Categories: Environment, Health

The Rights of Nature Movement Builds Momentum at Ecuador Conference

The EnvironmentaList - February 17, 2014
Effort seeks to recognize intrinsic value of ecosystems
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Salvemos a la mariposa monarca piden ONGs

Costa Salvaje - February 14, 2014
Salvemos a la mariposa monarca piden ONGs
Categories: Environment

Climate Benefits of Natural Gas Questioned in Major New Report

Yale Environment 360 - February 13, 2014
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been underestimating methane leaks from natural gas production and use by 25 to 75 percent, according to a comprehensive assessment of more than 200 studies. When the methane leaks are accounted for, natural gas contributes to climate change more than industry and the EPA have claimed, concludes the report by a team of U.S. scientists. In some cases, natural gas contributes to warming more than other fossil fuel sources. For instance, fueling trucks and buses with natural gas instead of diesel likely increases emissions, because diesel engines are relatively efficient, according to the researchers. Natural gas has been touted as an important "bridge fuel" because it emits less CO2 during combustion than oil and coal. Recently, though, studies have indicated that leaks of methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, during natural gas production, transportation, and consumption may offset its climate benefits. The new report, published in Science, synthesized the results of 20 years' worth of methane leakage studies.
Categories: Environment, Health

OpUSA Staff Profile: Meet Jamaica Walden

Operation USA - February 13, 2014

Meet the faces of our organization! Our new Staff Profile blog series will introduce you to the people behind Operation USA. Check back every few weeks for new updates. This week, get to know our Director of Operations, Jamaica Walden.

NAME: Jamaica Walden

HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA


TITLE: Director of Operations

PRIMARY JOB FUNCTIONS: A little bit of everything. One day, I could be working on donor outreach, and the next, I’ll research potential partners for new projects. My tasks vary daily.

BEFORE OPUSA I WAS: Getting my BA in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING AT OPUSA: Getting to help people for a living is very rewarding. I’m constantly motivated to do the best work that I can, not just because I want to do a good job, but because I know that when an organization like ours runs well, it can help even more people more effectively. Working for my father isn’t bad either.

CAUSES I CARE ABOUT: Micro-credit and livelihood training, especially for women, in developing countries; providing access to good healthcare and educational resources on Native American reservations; animal rescue and adoption.

MY BEST OPUSA MEMORY: Watching my father celebrate 30 years of work surrounded by friends, family, and Operation USA’s biggest supporters.

BECAUSE: Having worked her way up to a successful career in law from humble beginnings, she’s an inspiration to young girls and women alike; as one of the most active First Ladies we’ve seen, she’s filled the role with dignity and grace, while remaining extremely relatable and down-to-earth; and she has an amazing sense of style.

1. I am a self-professed foodie.
2. I am addicted to HGTV- especially House Hunters International (my co-worker Mary is, too!)
3. I’ve always loved fashion- when I was 4, I asked Santa for a black velvet dress.
4. I lived in Paris for 5 months, but I still can’t speak French fluently.
5. My dog, Basel, was a street dog in Taiwan before I adopted him.

ON WEEKENDS YOU CAN FIND ME: Walking my dog, going to the movies, trying out a new restaurant with my boyfriend Barry, or sleeping.

FAVORITE QUOTE: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” –John Lennon

Twitter: @jamaicakate

Categories: Environment

Australian Bushfire Has Grown to Size of Melbourne, NASA Image Shows

Yale Environment 360 - February 13, 2014
A fire rivaling the size of the city of Melbourne is raging in southeastern Australia, as a NASA satellite image taken at night earlier this week shows. The Snowy River Complex Fire, which is burning mountain forests near a

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Australian bushfire and Melbourne at night remote national park, is one of three bushfires that flared up last weekend. Fueled by strong winds combined with a heat wave and prolonged dry conditions, the three fires have consumed more than 180,000 hectares (695 square miles), about 100,000 (390 square miles) of which burned in the Snowy River Complex. That fire's dense, opaque smoke is visible from space during night and day, and satellite images show the smoke plume stretching across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. The Snowy River blaze includes fires that ignited on February 9, as well as fires that were started by lightning in January. Though stunningly large in this view, they do not pose much of a threat to people or infrastructure.
Categories: Environment, Health

Environmental Justice 20 Years After Clinton’s Historic Executive Order

The EnvironmentaList - February 13, 2014
The movement has had some big victories, but environmental racism continues to plague frontline communities
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Amid Elephant Slaughter, Ivory Trade in U.S. Continues

Yale Environment 360 - February 13, 2014
In the last year, the U.S. government and nonprofits have put a spotlight on the illegal poaching of Africa’s elephants and Asia’s insatiable demand for ivory. But the media coverage has ignored a dirty secret: The U.S. has its own large ivory trade that has not been adequately regulated. BY ADAM WELZ
Categories: Environment, Health

This Valentine’s Day, Say NO to Dirty Gold

The EnvironmentaList - February 12, 2014
Jewelry buyers are in a powerful position to influence mining industry behavior
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Sochi Environmentalist Jailed for Three Years for Spray-Painting a Fence

The EnvironmentaList - February 12, 2014
Russian court awards Evgeny Vitishko suspended sentence in a case fellow environmentalists believe is revenge for his work
Categories: Environment, News Feeds

Most Americans Want Action on Climate Change, Despite Costs, Report Finds

Yale Environment 360 - February 12, 2014
A large majority of Americans — 83 percent — say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if those efforts have economic costs, according to a new report from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. As many as 56 percent of Americans would be willing to pay an extra $100 each year if their power company would generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Corporations and industry should be doing more to stave off climate change, according to 65 percent of people interviewed in a national survey, and 61 percent believe individual citizens should also be taking a more active role. Many of the survey's findings are similar across Democratic and Republican party lines. Tax rebates for energy-efficient vehicles and solar panels are popular among people aligned with both parties, for example, as well as funding renewable energy research and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. And people from both parties are generally supportive of ending all fossil fuel subsidies, although Democrats (67 percent) are more supportive of that policy than Republicans (52 percent).
Categories: Environment, Health

Shrinking Household Size May Offset Progress in Curbing Population, Study Says

Yale Environment 360 - February 11, 2014
Household size — the number of people living together under one roof — has been shrinking worldwide, and the trend could have major consequences for resource consumption, new research finds. Although global population growth has been somewhat curbed in the developed world, the number of households has continued to grow at a much faster pace in nearly all countries, Michigan State University researchers found. Average household size in developed nations declined from approximately five members in 1893 to 2.5 in 2000, while the rapid decline in household size in developing nations began around 1987, according to the research, which analyzed trends between the years 1600 and 2000. Smaller households are typically less efficient, with fewer people using proportionally more land, water, and energy. Constructing housing units also consumes lumber and building supplies, and generally requires building more roads and commercial areas. "This will put enormous strain on the environmental life support system we rely on, even if we achieve a state of zero population growth," one study author said.
Categories: Environment, Health
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