Environmental News & Action Items
"I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use our natural resources,
but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."
— Theodore Roosevelt
"The Iroquois Confederation made their decisions based on the welfare of their children
and childrens' children for seven generations. Will our leaders do the same?"
— Joe Hoff, Chairman, Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking
In 2000, the following resolution was submitted and passed at the AAUW-NYS Convention:
Environment and Health
- Branches work in coalition with other community groups to become informed on environmental and health issues;
- Branches advocate legislation at the state and local levels to ensure a clean and healthful environment;
- A workshop on environmental and health issues be included periodically at the New York State Convention.
- Submitted by (the late) Judith Wagner and Ann Heidenreich, St. Lawrence County Branch.
The NC 350 Alliance represents the convergence of a number of groups with a long and rich tradition of activism on behalf of sustainability and social justice. Members and constituent groups have been engaged in campaigns against incineration, fracking, and industrial agriculture, and in the promotion of farmers markets, EBT/SNAP access to local foods, sustainable living and alternative energy fairs, school programs on nutrition, and university programs on sustainability, as well as conferences and demonstrations on climate change. We have brought numerous distinguished speakers to our campuses-- among them Bill McKibben, Michael E. Mann, William Blakemore (of ABC), and the anti-fracking activist Deborah Rogers. We have also sponsored town meetings on local agriculture with Congressman Bill Owens and Senator Charles Schumer.
The North Country 350 Alliance will meet at 7:30 pm on every third Tuesday of each month at the Canton UU Church on East Main Street.
Updated: October 23, 2014
- A New Perk: Home Solar Panel Discounts - Expanding the notion of corporate benefits, a group of major companies is set to offer employees access to cheaper solar systems for the home. The program, offered through Geostellar, an online marketer of solar systems, will be available to more than 100,000 employees and will include options for their friends and families in the United States and parts of Canada.
- September Was Warmest on Record, NASA Data Shows - Like August before it, September 2014 was the warmest September on record, according to newly updated NASA data. The warm month makes it even more likely that 2014 will become the warmest year on record. This September was about 1.4°F above the 1951-1980 average temperature for the month, data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) showed. That makes it the warmest September in GISS records, edging out the previous September record set in 2005. GISS records extend back to 1880.
- 50 Counties with Lowest Environmental Hazard Prevalence - Among the 578 U.S. counties with a population of at least 100,000, those with the lowest prevalence of man-made environmental hazards were Deschutes County, Ore. (Bend metro area), Saint Louis County, Minn. (Duluth metro area), St. Lawrence County, N.Y. , Skagit County, Wash. (Mount Vernon-Anacortes metro area north of Seattle), and Snohomish County, Wash., (Seattle metro).
- Sweden Is Now Recycling 99 Percent of Its Trash. Here's How - The Scandinavian nation of Sweden has set a new precedent in the world of recycling its trash, with a near zero waste amount of 99 percent. Sweden was already ahead of the game back in 2012, when they were recycling 96 percent of their trash, but the three percent jump in just two years is quite impressive. They have an aggressive recycling policy, which goes in an order of importance: prevention, reuse, recycling, recycling alternatives, and as a last resort, disposal in landfill. As of 2014, only 1 percent of their waste ends up in a landfill.
- Small Grant Competition to Expand Environmental Education - The Captain Planet Foundation is accepting proposals for grants to give students a chance to make real environmental improvements at their schools or in their communities through hands-on, project-based learning. Schools and nonprofit organizations, whose annual operating budgets are $3 million or less, are eligible to apply for the grants that range in size from $500 to $2,500.
- Ocean Health Gets 'D' Grade in New Global Index - The health of Earth's oceans is still ailing although slightly improved, says the latest edition of the Ocean Health Index, issued this week. It gave the planet's waters a score of "D," saying it could be worse and that conservation and protection measures are having a positive effect. The goal of the study, say its authors, is "to encourage decisions that create a healthier ocean and to track progress toward that goal."
- College Leaders Attend Climate Summit - More than 250 college and university leaders from the across the country have gathered in Boston this week for a Climate Leadership Summit. The focus is to strengthen climate action and sustainability initiatives on campuses.
- U.S. Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risks - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is increasingly focusing on threats to infrastructure posed by climate change, such as rising sea levels and floods, Reuters reported. Department officials say they are working on providing tools to help cities become more resilient in the face of these changes.
- Navigating to New Shores - Existing systems of water infrastructure and management in the United States are insufficient for continuing to provide economic and social services, according to a new report from the Wisconsin-based Johnson Foundation at Wingspread. The report outlines the results of a 6-year study of solutions to fresh water challenges in the U.S.
- World Wildlife Fund: Earth Lost 50 Percent of Its Wildlife in the Last 40 Years - The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.
- Scientists Find Extreme Weather Events Fueled by Climate Change - It's hard to say for certain that some extreme weather events were caused by climate change but scientists are pretty confident about the connection in other cases. That's the conclusion of a report released today by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, which included 22 studies by 20 research groups who assessed 16 different weather events that took place in 2013.
The Wilderness Act Turns 50: Celebrating the Great Laws of 1964 - The Wilderness Act legislated compassion toward the planet by insisting that we humans must leave certain lands alone and not take anything more from them. This third great law passed in 1964 made a down payment on giving Earth its due.
- Insurers, After White House Meeting, Emerged Worried About More 'Extreme Weather' Events - Five insurance trade groups are promoting stronger building decisions to help counter a sharp rise in losses from extreme weather, prompted by a meeting on climate change between senior White House officials and industry leaders in June. The groups, whose memberships represent a large share of U.S. insurance companies, released a position statement yesterday that expresses their concern about climbing damage from weather events like hurricanes, floods, downpours and wildfires.
- U.S. Homeland Security Moves to Tackle Climate Change Risks - Protecting the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of climate change is rising on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a top agency official. "Increasingly, we've moved not only from a security focus to a resiliency focus," said Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at Homeland Security, an agency better known for its fight to curb terrorist threats.
- The North Country was well represented at a historic climate march - Over the weekend, roughly 300,000 people-students, activists, concerned citizens-took to New York City streets to pressure those leaders to be tough on climate change. Organizers called it the People's Climate March. At least 200 people from the North Country were in attendance.
- Governor Cuomo Designates Climate Week from September 22-28 - "The new reality of extreme weather means that we must reimagine our state and nation to be cleaner and more resilient than ever before," Governor Cuomo said. "New York has experienced firsthand the devastating effects of a changing climate, but today I am proud to say that we are building back better and stronger, and doing so with the next major storm in mind. As visitors from across the globe gather in New York City to discuss strategies to meet this unique challenge, I encourage all New Yorkers to join in by observing Climate Week and learning more about how they too can help protect our state and the environment."
- Global Analysis - August 2014 - Last week, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that this summer - the months of June, July and August - was the hottest on record for the globe, and that 2014 was on track to break the record for the hottest year, set in 2010.
- De Blasio Orders a Greener City, Setting Goals for Energy Efficiency of Buildings - Pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels, the de Blasio administration plans to overhaul the energy standards in city buildings. New York would become the largest city in the world to make the commitment, according to the city's leaders.
- Heirs to an Oil Fortune Join the Divestment Movement - The family of John D. Rockefeller, whose legendary wealth was built on oil, plans to rid the $860 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund of investments in companies trading in nonrenewable energy.
- Arctic Sea Ice to Reach Sixth Lowest Extent on Record - As summer draws to a close, the Arctic sea ice melt season is coming to an end. And while the season didn't top 2012's astounding record melt, it has still resulted in what will likely be the sixth lowest September minimum ice extent on record.
- Floods, storms and quakes uproot 22 million in 2013, numbers to rise - Almost 22 million people were forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters last year and the numbers uprooted could increase as urban populations grow, a refugee agency said.
- Companies Warn Investors Climate Change Threatens Their Bottom Line - ThinkProgress has a report on big food companies that are at least thinking about the effects climate change could have on their business models. In March, Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle mentioned in its annual report to investors, filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the possibility that climate change could threaten its guacamole supply. Following up on that story, reporter Emily Atkin found seven more companies that alerted investors to possible climate impacts to their businesses in their latest SEC reports.
- Largest City in Vermont Now Gets All Its Power From Renewables - The 42,000 people living in Burlington, Vermont can now feel confident that when they turn on their TVs or power up their computers they are using renewable energy. Vermont has a statewide goal of getting 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, including electricity, heating, and transportation. Christopher Recchia, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, told the Associated Press that Burlington's achievement shows that they're able to make this transition cost-effectively and "in a way that makes Vermonters really positioned well for the future."
- Ontario Gets 35% of Energy From Renewables As Coal Plants Shut Down - "Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation," a press release from its Ministry of Energy said when Thunder Bay closed.
- Federal Judge Says Idaho "Ag-Gag" Law Raises Serious Constitutional Issues, Allows Lawsuit to Move Forward - Idaho's "ag-gag" law against photographing factory farms and slaughterhouses raises serious constitutional issues that need to be evaluated, a federal district court judge recently ruled. That means the lawsuit by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, ACLU of Idaho, PETA, undercover investigators and others is moving forward.
- Cities Prepare for Warm Climate Without Saying So - With climate change still a political minefield across the nation despite the strong scientific consensus that it's happening, some community leaders have hit upon a way of preparing for the potentially severe local consequences without triggering explosions of partisan warfare: Just change the subject.
- REPORT LAUNCH: Weaving the New Economy & Community Resilience Movement - Post Carbon Institute's new report, Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement, finds that the future belongs to community-oriented, re-localized economies based on mutual support and cooperation, appropriately rooted in local needs, culture, and resources, with greater resilience in the face of future ecological, economic, and social instability.
- Hundreds of Thousands Plan World's Biggest-Ever Climate March in 10 Major Cities - Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of New York, London and eight other cities worldwide in a fortnight to pressure world leaders to take action on global warming, in what organisers claim will be the biggest climate march in history. On 23 September, heads of state will join a New York summit on climate change organised by Ban Ki-moon, the first time world leaders have come together on the issue since the landmark Copenhagen summit in 2009, which was seen as a failure.
- CO2 levels rising at dramatically faster rate, report warns - U.N. says nature's "cushions" against climate change are less effective as greenhouse gases increase.
- New York AG: Political gridlock makes impact of climate change worse - A map of the U.S. showing increases in very heavy precipitation tells a big part of the story. The Northeast has seen these extreme weather events increase 71 percent during the last half century. That's compared to the next highest region in the Midwest at 37 percent.
- Greener Neighborhoods Lead to Better Birth Outcomes - Mothers who live in neighborhoods with plenty of grass, trees or other green vegetation are more likely to deliver at full term and their babies are born at higher weights, compared to mothers who live in urban areas that aren’t as green, a new study shows.
- BP Negligent in 2010 Oil Spill, U.S. Judge Rules - A federal judge ruled on Thursday that BP was grossly negligent in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil well blowout that killed 11 workers, spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and soiled hundreds of miles of beaches.
- Rooftop Solar Boom Underway - Predicting the arrival of solar energy for electricity that is as cheap as local electricity prices is actually harder than predicting the sunrise. But Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS) new solar infographic tells this exciting crossover point is right in front of millions of homeowners across the country. Over half the states could have rooftop solar that's as cheap as local electricity prices by 2017.
- Major Disasters Linked to Extreme Weather, Climate and Water Hazards On the Rise - Disasters caused by weather, climate, and water-related hazards are on the rise worldwide. Both industrialized and non-industrialized countries are bearing the burden of repeated floods, droughts, temperature extremes and storms. Improved early warning systems and disaster management are helping to prevent loss of life.
- 'Ticked Off' report shows people increasingly bugged by outdoor pests - A report released Tuesday underscores the threat from pests that transmit West Nile virus or Lyme disease, indicating that impacts from a changing climate can be insidiously small and often overlooked.
- Last Month Was the World's Fourth-Hottest July on Record - Global average temperatures in July were the fourth warmest ever, based on records that go back to the late 1800s, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data released Monday. Average temperatures in May and June were both the hottest on record.
- Earth sliding into 'ecological debt' earlier and earlier, campaigners warn - The world has already used up as many resources as the Earth can sustainably supply this year, and has also expelled as many waste products as it can support, according to international sustainability think tank Global Footprint Network, the Guardian reported. The Network calls this point in the year "Earth overshoot day" and says it continues to occur earlier-shifting from October in the year 2000 to August 19 this year.
- EPA Chief McCarthy: Teach Global Warming in Schools - Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy wants schools to include climate science in their curricula. Irish America magazine scored an interview with McCarthy, who grew up in a Boston area family with Irish roots. In one question, she was asked whether climate change should be part of the educational system.
- Women Warriors Take Environmental Protection Into Their Own Hands - The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change estimates that women comprise one of the most vulnerable populations to the fallout from extreme weather events. Increasingly, women are taking a front seat in community action campaigns in Asia, Africa and Latin America aimed at safeguarding the environment.
- Delaying climate action will carry heavy economic cost, White House warned - The White House has warned that delaying action on climate change would carry a heavy price, racking up an additional 40% in economic losses from climate impacts and other costs over the course of 10 years. In addition to a new report on the economic cost of delay, the White House is poised to launch two new initiatives on Tuesday dealing with fast-rising methane emissions from the natural gas industry, and buffering food security against future climate change.
- How Does U.S. Rank in Energy Efficiency? - The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has unveiled the top 16 countries in terms of energy efficiency policies and programs. The U.S. finished near the bottom, placing at No. 13. The country scored a 42 out of a possible 100 on its scorecard, which is based on four categories: Buildings, industry, transportation and national effort. Germany took home the energy efficiency championship.
- Scientists warn we are on the brink of the next major mass extinction event - Biologists (yet again) sound the alarm in this latest article via Stanford News Service, warning that 16 to 33 percent of vertebrates are now endangered. Larger animals such as elephants, rhinos and polar bears face the highest decline rates, which follows in the pattern of past extinction events. The loss of such creatures would mean devastating trickle-down effects on the human population and other species.
- How Does U.S. Rank in Energy Efficiency? - The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has unveiled the top 16 countries in terms of energy efficiency policies and programs. The U.S. finished near the bottom, placing at No. 13. The country scored a 42 out of a possible 100 on its scorecard, which is based on four categories: Buildings, industry, transportation
- Link to Dr. Stephen Bird's podcat on: Hydro-fracking in New York State: What to do?
- AAUW in the News: Recent presentation at Clarkson on the hype and economics of shale gas development now available on YouTube (Nov. 22, 2011)
- AAUW in the News: The Deborah Rogers "Shale Gas: Panacea or Shell Game?" video is now on-line. (Nov. 21, 2011)
- AAUW in the News: Expert speaks at Clarkson about economic anomalies of hydrofracking
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