Monday, December 29, 2014

Accentuate the Positive: December's Green Good News

Eco-novice thinks you've got to accentuate the positive.

It's not all doom and gloom in the world of environmental news. Hope you enjoy this month's edition of feel-good stories.

12 Wins for Wildlife in 2014 That YOU Made Possible
In my own home state of California, President Obama permanently protected 346,000 acres of critical habitat for mountain lions and other wildlife, such as California condors, yellow-legged frogs and Nelson’s bighorn sheep. What wins for wildlife have happened in your area?

Not a fan of fracking? Neither is Governor Cuomo. Despite the tantalizing economic opportunities for depressed communities, the administration has decided that fracking poses "inestimable public-health risks." Acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker said "his review boiled down to a simple question: Would he want his family to live in a community where fracking was taking place? His answer was no."

Christmas tree farms a gift for beneficial bugs
Another reason to choose a real Christmas tree, especially if you can support an organic or no/low-pesticide farm. A study of North Carolina Christmas tree farms found that while tree farms may look like monocultures, researchers have found over 80 species of plants growing alongside the trees. These plants attract important native pollinators, which are declining throughout the U.S. Researchers also found that "when growers use less of the herbicide Roundup to keep grasses from outcompeting their young Fraser firs, groundcovers naturally shift toward woodland perennials that support pollinators and bugs that prey on Christmas tree pests." Win-win!

Consumer choices make a difference! "The view that food animals are simply a commodity is yielding increasingly – albeit haltingly – to the perception that these animals are also sentient beings deserving of more-humane treatment." Article includes a very heartening list of changes that are evidence of this trend. Michael Pollan says that if shoppers saw a photo of living conditions and list of feed/pharmaceuticals administered to livestock when their meat got scanned at the supermarket they would shop very differently. Not sure it will ever be so easy to educate oneself, but as people choose to learn more about how their food is created, they are making more ethical choices.

Obama protects Bristol Bay from oil and gas drilling
While harmful mineral mining is still a possibility, the ban on oil and gas drilling is a promising first step to protecting this unique area, home of 40 percent of the U.S. wild salmon populations as well as Native American sacred lands.

Port of Oakland truck pollution drops 76 percent in black carbon
In just four years (since a state law forced trucks to use cleaner burning engines), lung-damaging diesel air pollution at the Port of Oakland has dramatically decreased. With West Oakland children suffering from one of the highest rates of hospital admission rates for asthma in California, and recent studies linking air pollution to autism and congenital anomalies, this is good news indeed!

Online Charitable Donations Surged on #GivingTuesday in US
"The 2014 initial results indicate that the amount raised during this year’s #GivingTuesday increased by at least 63 percent over the same period in 2013, with the average donation increasing by 6 percent." Hooray for generosity! Wouldn't it be amazing if someday #GivingTuesday were to overshadow Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc


Green Bean said...

These are all just what the doctor ordered. I especially love the Christmas tree story. Look forward to you reporting even more good green news in 2015.

Betsy Escandon said...

Thanks, Green Bean. Here is one more just for you:

Green Bean said...

Ohhh, I loved this one Betsy!


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