Category Archives: In the News

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.

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.

Earth Day? For T4CI projects, it’s “Earth Always”.

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Founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues, Earth Day is now a globally celebrated holiday. The brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson and inspired by the anti-war protests of the late 1960s, Earth Day was originally aimed at creating a mass environmental movement. It began as a “national teach-in on the environment” and was held on April 22 to maximize the number of students that could be reached on university campuses.  By raising public awareness of air and water pollution, Nelson hoped to bring environmental causes into the national spotlight.

And although it’s decades later, there’s still so much to be done. That’s why our projects are on the front lines stimulating change everyday. Here’s just a sample of the plans for Earth Day 2017:

Menlo Spark: We’re celebrating the first anniversary of the Menlo Green Challenge with some exciting contests to help people Park take climate actions, compete with their neighbors to see who can be greenest, and save money.

Sane Energy Project:  On Earth Day, we will be active with all of our volunteers with art windmills, storytelling in the public square with a giant storybook. We’ll be encouraging the public to participate in letter writing, calls, hearings and community meetings.

SOUL:  We’re partnering with The Port of New Orleans on Friday, April 21 for an Earth Day event to clean the storm drains of debris and trash removal. We will plant native water-loving trees at this site in the fall. On Saturday, April 22, SOUL is hosting a maintenance day at the Rosa H. Keller Library’s rain garden. Volunteers will weed, remove invasive species, plant native Irises and mulch.

Would you like to take action to help? Please consider a donation to one of our projects at: http://t4ci.org/sponsored/

Free admission to your favorite national park

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It all started in 1864, when Congress donated Yosemite Valley to California for preservation as a state park. Eight years later, in 1872, Congress reserved the  Yellowstone country in the Wyoming and Montana territories as a public park.  Since the territories were not states, they could not take care of the park, thus the National Park Service (in its first incarnation) was established.

Soon Congress followed the Yellowstone precedent with other national parks in the 1890s and early 1900s, including Sequoia, Yosemite ( California returned Yosemite Valley to the federal government), Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and Glacier.

Today there are more than 400 National Parks across the United States.

This week is designated as National Parks Week, and to celebrate, all US national parks will be offering free admission on April 22nd and 23rd. What park will you go to?

 

T4CI Salutes César Chávez

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The last day of March is César Chávez’s birthday. The late social justice worker was also committed to helping the earth. He equated the farmer workers he worked for as the canaries in coal mines.

“Farm workers are society’s canaries.Those who live in the area of grape vineyards are constantly exposed to cancer, birth deformity, miscarriages, sterility, respiratory difficulties and death. You find toxic substances in the fields, streets, soils, air, water, playgrounds, parks, and the poison and killing of children continues unabated.”

Take a look at this mini bio of the inspiring leader:

Green isn’t just for the Irish: Earth-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

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If you are already going green this St. Patrick’s Day, you should think about making the holiday a real green event by becoming more eco-friendly.

That’s because,  the ‘Green’ holiday is anything but! Think of all the waste from cups, banners, confetti, hats and trinkets.

Our planet needs more than luck to save its environment. It needs everyone doing their part – even a small part – to make it safe and less toxic. And the best part: you’ll be wearing the green’ every day if you start thinking eco-friendly!

And it’s easy to get greener than ever this holiday:

  • Buy locally brewed beer. What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a beer for most individuals?” When you buy beer that is ‘less travelled’ plus put it in a reusuable beer mug or glass, you are hitting a pot of ‘green’ gold!
  • Eat green. Locally-produced food (including corned beef and cabbage) will not only support the local economy while providing you with the freshest food, but also reduce the need for long-distance food distribution that now accounts for up 17 times more greenhouse gas.
  • Leave the car behind. Take a cue from those in Ireland and walk if you can. Or find alternative ways to get to parties by taking a bus, train or share a cab to the Irish destination.
  • Plant something green. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint – the amount of carbon dioxide generated annually as the result of your person consumption – become a modern Johnny Appleseed and put down some trees.
  • Use environmentally responsible house cleaning products. Once the festivities are over, let the house sparkle like a pot of gold by cleaning it with eco-friendly, chemical free cleaners.

 

New Job Opening: Community Outreach Director at Bay Area Resilient by Design

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The Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge  (RbD) is a proactive response to the increasing threat of climate change in the San Francisco area.

Bay Area and international designers, architects, developers, and financiers will work to create and implement visionary, realistic, and replicable solutions that enable neighborhoods and communities to adapt now to the future effects of rising sea levels, increasing storms and flooding, and seismic vulnerabilities.

Currently, RbD is searching for their community outreach director, which is a 15 month position. Find out more here: http://t4ci.org/about/pdf/RbD_COD-03062017.pdf

 

And that’s the way it is: T4CI salutes Walter Cronkite

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Walter Cronkite

On this day in 1981, Walter Cronkite, did his final sign off as the anchor for CBS news.  He had held the post since 1962, and is as iconic as the news he covered.

As ‘the most trusted man in America’, he reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including:

  • bombings in World War II
  • the Nuremberg trials
  • combat in the Vietnam War
  • the Dawson’s Field hijackings
  • Watergate
  • the Iran Hostage Crisis
  • and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon.

He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of a Moon-rock award.

That’s what most people remember… yet, there is so much more. Cronkite was passionate about environmental issues and sustainability, long before it was cool to be.

An avid sailor, Cronkite became an advocate of the conservation of rivers, lakes, bays, and seas. He kept a framed photo over his desk of the earth rising as seen from the moon, to keep reminding himself to help protect the planet.

Cronkite had CBS Reports investigate two environmental catastrophes that occurred that year in 1969: the Santa Barbara oil spill  and the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio. And the old reporter saw the future:  “The North American continent seemed ringed by oil slicks off Alaska, off Nova Scotia, off Florida, and most dramatically, in the Gulf Coast off Louisiana,” he said. And that changed the way the news covered the environment.

CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight:

 It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘goddamnit, we’ve got to get on this environmental story.'”

When Walter said ‘goddamnit,’ things happened.”

Cronkite and Bonn launched “Can the World Be Saved?” news segments in the spring of 1970. Pollution, over-population and even climate change were stories that became major news as a result. And Cronkite shared his judgments openly: to make change, we had to demand it.

Cronkite’s insisted CBS News played a major role in publicizing the first Earth Day in the United States, on April 22, 1970 which included  CBS News Special Report anchored by the veteran journalist.

Even after his retirement on this day in 1981, he was outspoken for the planet.

In 2004, he wrote an op-ed that criticized then President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address:

(Bush) spoke of the nation’s problems and the dangers it faces, particularly in regard to national security, but he gave no indication that he recognizes the dangers of global warming.

Surely it has been brought to his attention that scientists are increasingly alarmed over the rapidity with which the world’s environment is being poisoned by the refuse of human endeavor. Climate change and the extinction of species are the focus of their deep concern. They warn that there is no time to spare: Unless we begin a major effort by the end of this century, further efforts will be too late…

…The politicians seeking office, including the president seeking reelection, are unlikely to give the environment the attention it deserves unless the people demand it. And the people aren’t going to demand it unless somebody brings the problem, and particularly its urgency, to their attention.

The media has a responsibility on their shoulders whose importance cannot be exaggerated: to give the story of our deteriorating environment the attention it needs to alert the population to action. That action would demand that governments – city, state and national – generate and enforce the laws that can at least begin the immense job of cleaning up our lands, our seas and our air so that living things, including humans, shall not perish from the Earth.

One must wonder, what the “most trusted man in America,” who died in 2009, would think about today’s news coverage and it’s impact on the planet he loved.

What do you think?  What would he encourage his viewers to do?

Project Equity in the news

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Project Equity is working to create an equitable, sustainable economy in low-income communities through employee-owned and cooperative businesses. These kind of businesses have shown to increase job quality and stability, invest locally, and have demonstrable positive impact on job creation and environmental sustainability.

We knew what wonderful things they were doing… and now so does the San Francisco Bay area. Check out the coverage in the SF Chronicle here.

Quiz: Yellowstone National Park

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Way back 145 years ago, Yellowstone was made into the first national park in the US.

Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. Abundant game and mountain streams teaming with fish attracted the Indians to the region, though the awe-inspiring geysers, canyons, and gurgling mud pots also fascinated them.

John Colter, the famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area. After journeying with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter joined a party of fur trappers to explore the wilderness. In 1807, he explored part of the Yellowstone plateau and returned with fantastic stories of steaming geysers and bubbling cauldrons. Some doubters accused the mountain man of telling tall tales and jokingly dubbed the area “Colter’s Hell.”

Before the Civil War, only a handful of trappers and hunters ventured into the area, and it remained largely a mystery.

The key to Yellowstone’s future as a national park, though, was the 1871 exploration under the direction of the government geologist Ferdinand Hayden. Hayden brought along William Jackson, a pioneering photographer, and Thomas Moran, a brilliant landscape artist, to make a visual record of the expedition. Their images provided the first visual proof of Yellowstone’s wonders and caught the attention of the U.S. Congress, who in 1872 made it a park.

What do you know about this special place?  Take our quiz to see!

How much do you know about Yellowstone National Park?

In honor of the 145th anniversary (technically on Feb. 29th) of Yellowstone being made the first National Park, we wanted to test your knowledge about the historic area.