6 U.S. Clean Air Act Milestones

(ref: Environmental Protection Agency, epa.gov )

Everything is ConnectedThe Clean Air Act is making the news due to a proposed amendment by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would bar the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant. This would effectively block President Barack Obama and the EPA from holding the nation’s biggest polluters accountable for the carbon dioxide they produce and a major step backwards in addressing climate change.

Current legal authority for federal programs and particularly the Environmental Protection Agency regarding air pollution control is based on the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments which is usually referred to as the Clean Air Act of 1990. This legislation modified and extended federal legal authority provided by the earlier Clean Air Acts of 1963 and 1970. The EPA describes the following milestones in the evolution of the Clean Air Act as it exists today. Continue reading

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10 Photos Showing Evidence of Climate Change on Alaskan Glaciers

(ref: US Geological Survey usgs.gov)

Here are some comparative photos from the US Geological Survey showing evidence of climate change on glaciers in Alaska. Most startling are the photos of Bear Glacier showing the change over just a 5 year period from 2002 to 2007.  You can view the USGS report at http://www.usgs.gov/global_change/glaciers

1. Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska (1941 – 2004)

Muir Inlet, 1941

Photo: William O. Field

Muir Inlet, 2004

Photo: Bruce F. Molnia

Continue reading

9 Ways That A Hybrid Car Can Make Economic Sense

(ref: Green America’s RealGreen Newsletter, Spring 2009 www.coopamerica.org)

"A lot of people get sticker shock when they look at the price of a new hybrid… the added expense won’t pay itself back very quickly on fuel savings alone… But this quick analysis misses a number of hybrids’ other economic benefits." — Bryan Palmintier, "Rethinking the Cost of Hybrid Cars", blog post.

  1. Federal Incentives — New hybrids may entitle their owners to federal tax credits ranging from $250 to $3,400. Check out http://www.irs.gov for more info.
  2. State and City Incentives and Perks — Some states offer incentives for hybrid drivers, including tax credits and ability to drive solo in "HOV" (high-occupancy vehicle ‘diamond’) highway lanes and even free or discounted parking privileges.
  3. Employer Incentives and Perks — A growing number of employers are encouraging their workers to commute in hybrid vehicles… [offering up to] $5,000 for purchasing or leasing a hybrid. See www.hybridcenter.org for a list of companies offering incentives.
  4. Loan Discounts — Many banks, especially credit unions, offer preferential loan rates for hybrid cars.
  5. Insurance Discounts — Farmers, Geico, and Travelers are among insurance companies offering discounted insurance rate to hybrid drivers in some states.
  6. Repair Costs and Brakes — Technology that a hybrid uses to recoup energy during braking can actually result in that hybrid car’s brake pads lasting three times longer than a conventional car.
  7. Resale Value — Hybrid car owners have been delighted to find that their cars have held their value better than non-hybrid versions of the same model. In California, only a limited number of "Clean Air HOV" stickers were made available. Those are transferable when the car is sold adding to the car’s resale value.
  8. Gas Savings — Even if gas prices have dropped temporarily, they will be going up again as we continue to reach the limits of our world’s oil supply.
  9. Benefits Beyond Money — Don’t you feel better driving a more fuel efficient car for those times you need to drive a car? (Along with other things you are hopefully doing to lower your carbon footprint on the planet)

Become a member of Green America and learn ways to live healthier, save more, invest wisely, and make a difference. Reach and Teach is proud to be a Green America certified green business.

7 Fascinating Ways We Know What We Know About Climate Change

(ref: How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate by Lynn Cherry and Gary Braasch)

One of the particularly exciting ways in which we are able to understand the very real effects of climate change on the Earth is through collaborative research involving students of all ages around the world collecting, sharing, and analyzing data alongside scientists. The Internet is making it possible as never before for these citizen scientists to share observations taken in their own backyard with thousands of others doing the same measurements in different global locations. Here are just a few ongoing projects that you can easily get to and even join on the Web.

  1. Thousand Eyes Project – From 1900 to 1923, Dr. Alexander MacKay set up a program in Nova Scotia for students and teachers to observe and record certain natural history events such as plants flowering, birds returning from wintering grounds, frogs peeping, and weather events over time. This data has now been placed on the Internet and the project continues today.
  2. Bird Sleuth – Students in 4th through 8th grade can engage in scientific study and real data collection through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s exciting citizen science projects. Data observed and collected is sent directly to research scientists at Cornell.
  3. Project Budburst – Changes in when flowers bloom gives clues about our changing climate. Project BudBurst engages thousands of people across the United States in making careful observations of first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening of a diversity of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses in their local area.
  4. Journey North – Migration patterns of monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, whales, and other creatures are collected and tracked from citizen scientists across North America.
  5. Frogwatch USA and Frogwatch Canada – Around 1,400 volunteers monitor nearly 2,000 sites observing over 79 species of frogs and toads.
  6. Bonanza Creek Schoolyard Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) – A project in Fairbanks, Alaska where students extract tree cores and examine the tree rings to see how boreal forests are responding to climate change.
  7. Student Partners Project – Unites students, teachers, and scientists in creating opportunities to experience the life of a polar scientist while doing real research.

How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate shows the science behind the headlines – evidence from flowers, butterflies, birds, frogs, trees, glaciers and much more, gathered by scientists from all over the world, sometimes with assistance from young “citizen-scientists.” And here is what young people, and their families and teachers, can do to learn about climate change and take action. Climate change is a critical and timely topic of deep concern, here told in an age-appropriate manner, with clarity and hope. Kids can make a difference!

5 Reasons Not To Drink Bottled Water

(ref: http://chrisbaskind.greenoptions.com, 6/20/2007)

Lighter Footstep editor Chris Baskind explored this issue in a popular blog posting. We’ve summarized his list here…

1. Bottled water isn’t a good value. It works out to 5 cents/ounce. Compare that to the price of gas which at $3.80/gallon works out to less than 3 cents/ounce.

2. No healthier than tap water. Because 70% of bottled water never crosses state lines, it is exempt from FDA oversight. Municipal water systems on the other hand are extremely well regulated.

3. Bottled water means garbage. Bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year and the bottles require up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce.

4. It means less attention to public systems. The less people drink tap water, the less attention they pay to the purity and safety of their local water.

5. It causes corporatization of water. Multinational corporations are purchasing groundwater and water distribution rights wherever they can. Access to clean water is becoming a commodity for sale rather than a basic right for people and other living creatures  on this planet.

17 Ways You Can Help End Global Warming

(Excerpted from a poster published by Syracuse Cultural Workers and available from Reach and Teach)

  1. Get excited about an energy revolution
  2. Visualize our Earth from space.
  3. Know that it is fragile.
  4. MAKE YOUR HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT
  5. Don’t drive unless you have to
  6. Walk more – Cycle more – Skate more
  7. Switch to energy star appliances
  8. Turn off lights when you leave a room
  9. Avoid drive-thrus
  10. Install solar panels…they work
  11. Build political will for local change
  12. Demand better mass transit
  13. Use buses, trains and trams
  14. Share cars Carpool
  15. Avoid fast foods; eat less meat
  16. Share what you have; buy less stuff
  17. REUSE BEFORE YOU RECYCLE

This and other ideas can be found at Reach and Teach – The Peace and Social Justice Learning Company

Additional resources:

24 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

(ref: Low Carbon Diet: A 30 day program to lose 5000 pounds by David Gershon)

The primary cause of global warming is carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels. The typical American household generates 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Through our purchases, we are also indirectly responsible for another 17%. By contrast, the typical German household contributes 27,000 pounds and the average Swedish household only contributes 15,000 pounds. Clearly, there’s room for us to improve! Here are some ideas for going on a Low Carbon Diet.

  1. Reduce garbage/solid waste
  2. Reduce hot water when you take a shower
  3. Reduce water when washing dishes
  4. Wash and dry clothes efficiently
  5. Turn down the thermostat
  6. Turn appliances all the way off
  7. Cool your house more efficiently
  8. Reduce vehicle miles traveled
  9. Drive more fuel efficiently
  10. Eat lower on the food chain
  11. Make your water heater more efficient
  12. Install energy efficient lights
  13. Seal air leaks in your home
  14. Tune up your furnace
  15. Achieve maximum energy efficiency
  16. Switch to renewable energy
  17. Maintain an efficient car
  18. Buy a fuel-efficient car
  19. Neutralize your carbon footprint by planting trees and purchasing carbon offsets
  20. Encourage people you know to go on a Low Carbon Diet
  21. Help your workplace reduce its CO2 footprint
  22. Help your community go on a Low Carbon Diet
  23. Help your community set up CO2 reduction systems
  24. Help children adopt environmentally sustainable lifestyles

Read Low Carbon Diet: A 30 day program to lose 5000 pounds by David Gershon to learn more details and other practical ways to go on a low carbon diet.

Also check out Justlists’ 17 Ways You Can Help End Global Warming