All posts by Shannon Cherry

It’s too darn hot.

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If you have been keeping up with Northern California’s weather, you know we’ve been in a heatwave lately, and it is expected to last for several more days. This heat is cause for concern, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a food security and health perspective.

The massive winter storms which coated towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range after years of drought  is now melting too fast. That means waterways could flood and damage the vital crops in the Central Valley.  Find out more about this through our project, Maven’s Notebook.

The heat can be dangerous in other ways too. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Get wet. Hang a wet sheet over a window, which is what the rangers do at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.
  • Block sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Eat cold. Although barbecue is ubiquitous with  warmer temperatures, it works against you on hotter days.  When it’s too hot to cook, consider cold soups or rely on electrical appliances instead of those cooking methods that generate more heat.
  • Swig it. Staying hydrated is important. You can think beyond water to other foods that will keep you in the cool, including watermelon, peaches, celery, and cucumbers.

The outdoors awaits

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Over the course of more than 150 years, a once-radical idea has evolved into a cohesive United States national parks system, with a sometimes conflicting two part-mission: to make the parks accessible to all and to preserve them for future generations.

North and south, east and west, they stretch from the edges of our maps to the hearts of our cities, covering nearly one-third of the country. This June, celebrate the natural wonder and outdoor spirit of America by getting outside during Great Outdoors Month.

June is a special time to celebrate America’s great outdoors and all the benefits it brings, including annual economic impact of $650 billion nationwide. That’s why June has been named Great Outdoors Month.

Whether camping, fishing, rock climbing, or playing in a neighborhood park, nature offers each of us the opportunity to get active, explore, and strengthen our bonds with family and friends.  It’s also a time great to uphold our nation’s legacy of conserving our lands for future generations.

So as you enjoy the great outdoors, think also about how you can better support it.

The answer is blowing in the wind

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What’s the answer to clean energy?

It’s swirling around you.  It’s wind.

Wind power has become a major driver for a sustainable energy future.

Last year, $112.5 billion was invested in wind power globally, and the industry now employs 1.2 million people making it one of the fastest growing industrial segments in the world.

Wind power is already a low-cost option for new power capacity in rapidly increasing number of markets. In 2016, unsubsidized new renewable power was cheaper than fossil fuels in over 30 countries, and by 2025 that will be the case in most countries around the world.

On Global Wind Day,  we salute our project, Sane Energy, working to create sustainable energy sources and changing the use of fossil fuel. Consider a donation today.

Our Oceans; Our Future

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It’s time to look at our future. It’s time to look at our oceans.

The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and regulate climate. They are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources for income and serve as the backbone of international trade.

Unfortunately, human pressures, including over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification are taking a significant toll on the world’s oceans and seas.

June 8 is World Oceans Day, an annual celebration of the planet’s oceans and recognized by the United Nations each year. This day is also a call for ocean conservation action throughout the year.   Take a look:

Many of our projects work with our oceans and the ecosystems that support them.  Take a look here and support one (or more) today!

 

On World Environment Day, Innovation Trumps Politics

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A message from Laura Deaton, executive director at Trust for Conservation Innovation:

June 5th is World Environment Day. Today is a new beginning, or it least it can be.

When the President of the United States decided to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement last week, there was a palpable sense of disappointment among our programs and their partners, who together strive 24/7/365 to protect and foster a healthy, sustainable, resilient, and equitable world. The Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries including the US, includes country-specific pledges to cut the greenhouse gas emissions which drive global warming, a key contributor to climate change. With this move, China is now poised to step into the void left by the President’s surrender of the US’s role as the global leader in climate change policy, putting the US in the same league as Syria and Nicaragua, the only other countries not participating in the agreement.

Marking a break with decades of bipartisan support for globally-focused US foreign policy, President Trump justified this action by claiming that withdrawing from the Agreement would remove “the draconian financial and economic burdens” imposed by the agreement.  Yet, the latest polls suggest that the President is out of step with the majority of Americans across all party lines. For example, a recent poll by Yale University found that 7 in 10 registered voters (69%) think the US should take part in the agreement compared with only 13% who say the US should not.

In the face of this disconnect, a groundswell of interwoven US-based support for the Agreement is building momentum.  As of today, the Governors of California, Washington, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Puerto Rico have boldly come forward and refused to back down from America’s commitments. Nearly 200 mayors from rural and urban areas throughout the country have also vowed to reduce emissions and adopt clean energy technology.

June 5th is World Environment Day.  President Trump may have walked away from the Paris Agreement, but that’s all the more reason for us to shine an even brighter light on innovation, on advocacy, and on the power of communities to create change. Our voices matter.  Our work is making a difference. It’s time to amplify and magnify the impact that we have every day.  Now, more than ever, it’s our opportunity to be a beacon of innovation whose light shines every day on the plethora of opportunities we still have to preserve and protect this planet and its inhabitants for future generations.

Endangered livestock: Heritage Breeds Week

You may not think much about it, but there are endangered breeds of livestock. More than 1,400 of them worldwide. And it’s time to start protecting them.

That’s what  International Heritage Breeds Week is all about.  After all,  agriculture has dramatically changed over the past century in many parts of the world and is still rapidly evolving in favor of speed and efficiency.

Livestock domestication began around 12,000 years ago in southwestern Asia. For most of recorded history agriculture took place small-scale, and at the local level, but over the past century, the same efficiencies used in many other industries have been applied in farming to produce more food, in less time, at lower prices. This consolidation has led to the abandonment and extinction of at least 7% of the currently documented 8,774 breeds worldwide, with an additional 17% now at risk of extinction. The current extinction rate is higher than it has ever been, with at least 99 breeds having become extinct since the year 2000. That results in less genetically diverse livestock, which can lead to vulnerabilities in agriculture.

Our project, Piggy Bank is focusing on creating an open access agriculture with heritage pigs.

Take a look:

And consider a donation during  International Heritage Breeds Week.

I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

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The Queen song aside, now is a great time to start riding your bike to work or school, especially since this week is Bike to Work Week.

Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out. And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever.

Then there is the issue of the carbon footprint.  The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy concluded bicycling could help cut carbon emissions from urban transportation 11 percent.

That’s where our project Menlo Spark comes in. They have been working with the community in Menlo Park to develop a special bike path for commuters. Check out what else they are doing at http://menlospark.org/

Meet the mother of the environmental movement

This Mother’s Day weekend, T4CI would like to introduce you to the woman considered by most the mother of the environmental movement: Rachel Carson.

Carson was the first woman to take and pass the civil service exam for federal employment. And in 1936 she began working for Bureau of Fisheries as a biologist. She wrote several books on the environment and in 1952 left the Bureau to pursue a full-time writing career.

Her environmental writings inspired the nation to look at environmental problems seriously. Her  book Silent Spring, published in 1962, provoked a national reexamination — and ban — of the use of DDT,  a pesticide shown to cause and that its agricultural use was a threat to wildlife, particularly birds.

In it, she said:

“In nature nothing exists alone.”

Carson’s writings were attacked by chemical manufacturers who painted her as an alarmist and even attempted to dismiss her findings because she was a woman. But Carson also had powerful advocates, among them President John F. Kennedy, who established a presidential committee to investigate pesticides.

Learn more about this amazing woman, below:

 

Eat What You Want Day? #EatLocal

May 11 is “Eat What You Want Day”.  It was established to allow people to let go of their dieting lifestyle for just one day.

That’s nice, but let’s take it a step further.

What if you choose a cheeseburger to indulge in on this day?

Do you know the impact of that one cheeseburger? Take a look.

Depending on where you get your “Eat What You Want Day”  cheeseburger, it could be hurting the environment.  So instead, choose to indulge by eating local food sources.

And celebrate the day by sharing your awesome food choices with photos and the hashtag: #eatlocal.

Attention Development Professionals: ready for a change? Join T4CI!

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T4CI has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years (~$18-$20M annual revenue) and seek a savvy and experienced senior development professional to join our downtown Oakland team. This is a newly created position and we are poised to hire immediately.

The Senior Advisor, Fundraising/Development will be a multi-faceted leader with well-rounded generalist skills in nonprofit fundraising and development. Although we seek a seasoned and experienced development generalist, this position is somewhat unique as it does not entail routinely raising funds to support the Trust for Conservation Innovation directly, and thus it is not titled with the traditional “development director” moniker.

As an in-house coach, advisor, and thought partner, the Senior Advisor’s primary function will be to provide ongoing advisory support, coaching and training to the approximately 50 nonprofit programs in our portfolio. This position will be an ideal fit for a leader who has held both senior in-house roles and who has also served nonprofit clients via a consulting/professional services role.

If you are seeking the best of both worlds in one position, check out the details here: http://www.T4CI.org/about/pdf/T4CI-FundraisingAdvisor582017.pdf