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How the midterm elections will affect environmental legislation

Yikes.

John Boehner, the new speaker of the House, once said: "The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical."  Congresswoman-elect Vicky Hartzler has called global warming a hoax.  And I don't want to get started on the Tea Party again -- but the victorious Rand Paul does not believe in man-made climate change.

Meanwhile, Washington Republican Doc Hastings who is likely to become the new chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, wants the Obama administration to keep on drilling for oil and gas, both offshore and on federal lands.

The House of Representatives now only has FOUR Republicans who have publicly admitted that global warming pollution is real.   (Yet, NONE of them voted in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act!!!)... read more

Help Save Public Broadcasting!

Sarah Palin and other right-wingers have been exploiting the Juan Williams story as an excuse to convince Congress to defund NPR.  Conservatives have wanted to defund public broadcasting for a long time.  This isn't a new issue at all, sadly -- in fact, none other than Mister Rogers stood before the Senate in 1969 to defend public broadcasting.  

NPR, PBS, PRI, and Pacifica have always been big supporters of environmental causes.  While most other mainstream news stations don't cover a whole lot of environmental stories, public broadcasting does.... read more

The Tea Party & the Environment: Unkeen, Ungreen

christine o'donnell tea party

I'm sure many of you are tired of hearing about the Tea Party.  I'M tired of hearing about the Tea Party.  We know what they stand for:  free markets, limited government, etc.  

But, what are their platforms when it comes to the environment?  It comes as no surprise that many Tea Party candidates seem to be anti-environment.  

Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate, Dan Maes, a Tea Party darling, opposed Denver's bike sharing program.  In fact, he accused Denver's Mayor John Hickenlooper of "converting Denver into a United Nations community" via the bike sharing program.... read more

What can one person do? Take little steps!

I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and 350.org's posted the pictures for a visual essay by Franke James.  The visual essay is called 'What Can One Person Do When 6.8 Billion People on the Planet are Frying' and the whole thing can be found here.  My personal favorite is the pondering the irony of being destroyed by fossil fuels part.  

While this is a kind of humorous look at what you can do, I think it makes some great points.  Whatever the solution to climate change is, the best plan is to be doing something. I have this discussion with my sister all the time -- she is convinced that the small things won't really make a difference in the long run.  Ok, fine, changing your lightbulbs isn't going to stop countries like Bangladesh or the Maldives from ending up underwater.  But at least it's something! And it's that first step to making your lifestyle a little bit greener.  ... read more

Banning and Charging for Single-Use Bags

Back in July, Emily wrote about AB 1998, which would have banned single-use bags in California.  A few weeks ago, it was rejected by the California Senate.

I hate single-use bags as much as the next green person, especially plastic ones, but I think think a small fee might have less backlash and more general support than a flat-out ban. It made me think about what other cities, states, and countries are doing to reduce the amount of disposable bags used. 

When I was in Washington D.C. last spring, they charged 5 cents for each bag.  I actually thought this was a great idea.  If you forget your reusable bags (which I do more frequently than I care to admit) you don't have to spend 99 cents on each bag.  If you do forget your bags, I think it helps cashiers and baggers go less "bag happy."  How frequently do stores unnecessarily double-bag things before you can even tell them to stop?  Or sometimes they'll put just one or two items in each bag.   

Does this fee on plastic bags work?  YES!  In Washington D.C., the use of plastic bags has declined by half!  ... read more

Vote for the Environment

Voting green - for candidates who care about the environment

You hear about voting "blue" or "red," but what about voting green?

With many important U.S. elections coming up in less than two months, it's really time to think about which candidates care about the planet the most.   Here are some resources to help you:... read more

Sign the Petition to Improve America's Walk Score

Why is the U.S. so far behind most of the world in terms of public transportation?  Here in Boston, a city with public transportation better than many other cities throughout the country, the MBTA is running extremely outdated subways and trains on many of their lines.  And then you go to other parts of the country with little to no public transportation options at all.   

82% of voters say that "the United States would benefit from an expanded and improved transportation system."  [source]  Meanwhile, only 5% of Americas live within walking distance of decent public transit.  [source]

That is horrible.  It's time that a huge change is made.... read more

Green Book Review: The Blue Economy, by Gunter Pauli

The Blue Economy, 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs is a phenomenal book I have been reading lately by Gunter Pauli, founder of Ecover, and The Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives organization. The philosophy behind the book is the recognition and emulation of the interconnectedness of the five kingdoms of nature. Pauli presents an alternative economic system where human processes are modeled after natural systems, and work with nature, rather than against her. ... read more

Interview with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, Author of AB 1998 - Ban the Bag

I have had the wonderful opportunity to connect with Assemblywoman Julia Brownley regarding the pending legislation bill that if passed, would BAN THE BAG!! This issue hits very close to home for me because UCSB friends and I have spent a lot of time and effort raising awareness of the detrimental effects single-use bags have on our local environment while also promoting reusable bags. Assemblywoman Brownley is taking initiative in addressing this issue through AB 1998. If passed, the bill will be a milestone California can be proud of in terms of environmental protection in the form of prevention instead of mitigation... This interview is a great follow-up to a recent post I made about AB 1998. (Keep your eyes open for an upcoming Company profile with ChicoBag!)... read more

Ban the Bag! California's effort to ban the use of single-use plastic bags

Over 19 billion plastic bags are used annually in California, and constitute one of the largest forms of urban litter pollution. Urban litter pollution is the primary component of marine litter, which feeds into the North Pacific Gyre - also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.... read more

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