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[1THING] Blog: Archive for March, 2016

[ Why America needs the feds to reform coal now ]

Coal production on public lands has been an important part of the U.S.

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[ Bureau of Land Management helps set solar energy up for success in three key states ]

BLM’s guidelines (called “Solar Regional Mitigation Strategies”) are aimed at increasing the efficiency of permitting utility-scale solar projects on public lands in Arizona, Nevada and

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[ Why reform federal coal? ]

Anastasia Greene

Why reform federal coal?

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[ Celebrity 1 Thing w/ American Authors ]

AMERICAN AUTHORS_CELEBRITY 1 THING_591X218

American Authors’ 1 Thing plan is giving up something in honor of Earth Day (4/22). Could you do this? Click the Celebrity 1 Thing video player at the top of the 1 Thing homepage.

American Authors kicked off an intimate clubs across the nation tour today (3/28) and it’s making a stop in ATX on Friday, April 8th at The Sidewinder , 715 Red River Austin TX 78701. It’s an all ages show with doors opening at 8pm. More on their show here!  Check out their new single Pride here! Sign language version is cool too! 

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[ Q&A with River Commuter and Advocate Gabe Horchler ]

A River Commute to Work

Gabe

Photo by Dan Smith

 

In a region known for its epic traffic problems, Metro-Washington, DC resident Gabriel Horchler has perhaps the best commute in the city. During fair weather months, Gabriel hops in his rowing shell to commute to work down the Anacostia River.

Not only has Gabriel biked and rowed to and from work for 15 years, he’s a steadfast supporter of the nonprofits working to keep the river healthy. We asked Gabriel about his commute, and why he’s so involved in groups like EarthShare member charity Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS).

 

What would help more people connect to the rivers in their midst?

I think the best way for people to connect to the “rivers in their midst” is to spend as much time as possible on the rivers. Gradually, they will develop an appreciation for these close-at-hand waterways, and an awareness of the problems facing them.

 

What makes the Anacostia River special?

Many things make the Anacostia special. It has an interesting history and is in the heart of the nation’s capital. Although navigable for less than 10 miles, it is remarkably diverse. The upper portion is a narrow, sheltered stream, which becomes tidal, wider, deeper, and less sheltered as it flows towards the Potomac. While descending the river, one’s awareness of the surrounding flora, fauna, and even water conditions is constantly changing. An added attraction is that it flows by two national treasures – the Aquatic Gardens and the National Arboretum.

 

How are you involved with the Anacostia Watershed Society?

I have been involved with AWS for many years, as a dues-paying member and a volunteer helping to clear trash traps, lead Earth Day cleanups, and testify on behalf of AWS at hearings. I worked with AWS to have a floating dock installed at the river entrance to the National Arboretum, and while rowing, I regularly stop at that spot to pick up trash. When a bag is full, AWS picks it up.

I am especially grateful to AWS for having made possible my commute by boat. Jim Connolly, the former executive director of AWS and an avid rower, played a critical role in the development of the Bladensburg waterfront and the establishment of a highly successful rowing program there. Jim was also a founding member of the Capital Rowing Club, originally located at the 11th Street Bridge and now at the Anacostia Community Boathouse in DC. Thanks to Jim, I had a secure spot to store my boat at both terminals of my commute.    

 

Why are advocacy groups like the Anacostia Watershed Society so important to protect the health of our rivers?

Such advocacy groups are very important because they have a strong and long-term commitment to a particular cause. Over the years, the AWS has mobilized citizens and convinced public officials to act on behalf of the Anacostia. Its accomplishments are too numerous to list here, but the more notable ones include: bringing lawsuits against polluters, implementing major wetland restoration projects, monitoring toxics, organizing large scale trash removal events, expanding public access to the river via the Anacostia River pedestrian/bike trail and the Kingfisher canoe trail, and much more.

 

How have you changed since you began commuting this way?

The water commute has lowered my blood pressure, prevented me from gaining weight, improved my mental outlook, saved me from the agony of overcrowded and unreliable Metro rides, and best of all, connected me with the Anacostia in a way that at times verges on the spiritual.  

 

What tips do you have for other people thinking of commuting by river?

I would encourage them to try it, not as a great challenge akin to running a marathon but as a practical and very fulfilling alternate mode of transportation. Of course such a commute requires living close to a waterway that happens to flow within a few miles of one’s place of employment, and finding a place to park the boat at both ends can be a challenge, but if these conditions can be met, it’s worth a try.

I would also discourage obsessiveness. If on a particular day, commuting by boat is impractical because of bad weather or some other circumstance, then that should be accepted graciously. And rowing in the winter is not a good idea. In fact, when December arrives, it feels good to take a break and take up another form of exercise until March.

 

Do you have any other environmental interests?

As a member of the Friends of Lower Beaverdam Creek, I work on and around small tributaries in Cheverly, MD of this creek that flows into the Anacostia. We installed a trash trap, maintain a nature trail, and are constantly removing invasive plants and reestablishing native plants. Now that I have retired, I plan to spend much more time on these activities.

Do you want to support the Anacostia River like Gabriel? Join EarthShare and the Anacostia Watershed Society on April 23rd for our annual Earth Day Cleanup.

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[ Obama adminstration takes next step in federal coal reforms ]

On March 24, the Interior Department announced that it will begin a “Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” to review how coal production on public lands impacts climate and whether it is providing a fair return to tax payers.

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[ The Wilderness Society welcomes Department of Interior action on coal reform ]

Anastasia Greene

“It is great to see the administration take action to modernize how the nation uses and manages the coal resources that are owned by all Americans,” said Josh Mantell, Carbon Management Campaign Manager for The Wilderness Society. “It is long past time to shift away f

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[ Feds hope to drill Arctic Ocean, despite climate change, oil spill risks ]

Less than a week after announcing a joint U.S/Canada agreement to combat climate change and prioritize Arctic conservation for the benefit of indigenous peoples, the Obama administration released a proposed five-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing that includes Alaska’s Arctic Ocean

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[ Put the Poop Coffee Down… ]

honey Ted Me sunshineWhen I ran across this story, I rememeber my honey Ted a long time ago talking about ‘Poop Coffee’ or“kopi luwak,” the world’s priciest coffee.  He’s never tried it, but heard it’s one of the MOST EXPENSIVE &  BEST COFFEES IN THE WORLD! That’s a big title to hold, and other stories I have heard about it seem to stand behind it. The animals responsible are Civets. The drink is brewed from beans swallowed and excreted by Civets, small mammals that look something like a cross between cats and weasels. It sells for around $100 a cup in places like London & New York.

Well, “kopi luwak,” is in  such demand that Civets are getting poached and force feed coffee berries. They way it’s done is very inhumane and cause many Civets to get into a sickening frenzy caffeine delirium, patchy fur and some die.  Each day the animals’ feces is scraped from their small cages. The digested beans are picked out, washed and packed into a bag that can sell for hundreds of dollars per kilo. The hunted supplying big cash for the hunters. Civets aren’t endangered, but the rate they are being poached could make that happen soon, leading to extinction.

Tony Wild, an author and former coffee trader who once promoted the drink, is campaigning against it.

World Animal Protection say that there is a humane version: “Wild-sourced, ‘cage-free’ civet coffee.” But ethical kopi luwak is difficult to find — and even more expensive than the farmed stuff.

For now folks are being asked to quit buying and drinking this coffee until better practices to create it isn’t harmful to the Civet.  Click here for the full story.

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[ #EarthDay2016 ]

EARTH DAY 2016 FRIDAY APRIL 22 591X218The Earth Day Network is celebrating their 46th year on Friday, April 22, 2016.  As they get closer to their 50th Anniversary, they are working on ‘Big 1Things’.

“This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100% renewable. Let’s take the momentum from the Paris Climate Summit and build on it.Let’s start now. And let’s not stop.”  

Tree Planting 1Thing ways:

* Thanks to the Tree Folks you could plant a Free Tree at your home in the ATX area. Get on the wait list for this fall. Click here.

*Austin Community Tree program – ACT is a neighborhood tree planting program that focuses on reducing the Urban Heat Island effect by planting mo trees on private property. The addition of trees can cool daytime temperatures in neighborhoods. The ACT program is offered free to eligible neighborhoods and is a partnership among neighborhoods.” Click here. 

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