The waste from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, stored in these lagoons, haunts nearby communities.

Working to Protect North Carolina’s Communities and Waters from Industrial Animal Agriculture Pollution

by Geoff Gisler, Senior Attorney, The Southern Environmental Center Category:

Spring is in the air in North Carolina. For many of us, that means opening our windows to let the fresh air in, playing with our kids in the yard, or sitting back and relaxing in a rocking chair on the front porch. For North Carolinians who live near industrial hog operations, however, these rites of Spring are distant memories. The coastal plain of North Carolina is littered with industrial hog facilities—concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the legal terminology. The state is second to only Iowa in annual pork production. Thousands of CAFOs are concentrated in eastern North Carolina, with the greatest densities in Duplin and Sampson counties. Each of these facilities hosts hundreds or even thousands of hogs, which are typically brought in to the facility as piglets and kept on site until they reach slaughter weight. After the hogs are taken away, their waste is left behind. It’s that waste that haunts nearby communities, which are disproportionately low-income communities of color. The waste from the hogs is collected and stored in unlined, open-air storage pits... read more +

In North Carolina, getting more fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem is at the heart of a new partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Orton Foundation

When Forests Burn, It’s Good for Wildlife and Local Communities

by Jay Jensen, Southern Region Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Category:

Southern forests were once covered by the longleaf pine — over 90 million acres of it! Longleaf was the dominant forest type for the coastal plain, and hundreds of plants and animals evolved and thrived within the open, park-like stands that characterize longleaf pine habitat. By the mid-20th Century, that acreage was down to just 3.5 million acres, partially due to a lack of regular fire, which is critical to maintaining the habitat conditions favored by plants and wildlife unique to this ecosystem. But recently, thanks to hard-fought collaborative conservation efforts, the longleaf range has begun to expand again, reaching nearly five million acres. Unfortunately, the decline in the acreage and the quality of longleaf forests has translated into a similar decline for the plants and animals that depend on healthy longleaf habitat, sending many of these species to the emergency triage room that is the Endangered Species Act. But there is a plan to reverse this troubling trend: fire. In North Carolina, getting more fire in the longleaf pine ecosystem is at the heart of a new... read more +

Taos Ski Valley is the world’s first ski resort to become a certified B Corp

Becoming the World’s First Ski Resort B Corporation

by David Norden, CEO, Taos Ski Valley Category:

Skiing has long been a recreation of choice for those who take inspiration from nature. After all, it’s one of the few activities where an ordinary person can find himself two miles above sea level, looking out at hundreds of miles of snowcapped mountain peaks and a spectacular array of natural elements that are so vital to our lives: water, trees, wildlife, sun and wind. Unfortunately, as the ski industry grew over the last few decades, conservationists began pointing out the harm the industry was causing to its surroundings. From an over-reliance on fossil fuels, to employment practices that weren’t always fair to workers and radically distort local economies, the ski industry has received its fair share of public outcry, particularly among the conservation- and social justice-minded. The industry has answered these accusations through a series of approaches, pursuing energy and water efficiency measures and renewable energy sources, working with legislators to enact legislation to address climate change, creatively seeking solutions to employee housing issues, or reducing waste in streams and implementing recycling programs. These have legitimately addressed... read more +

A 2016 national poll commissioned by Oceana found that 81 percent of registered voters said they support the legislation and would like a national ban on shark fins.

Oceana has found that 81 percent of registered voters would like a national ban on shark fins.


Let’s Prove that Americans Don’t Want Shark Fins in The U.S.

by Lora Snyder, Campaign Director, Oceana Category: ,

When most people think of the devastating global trade of animal products, they probably think of elephant tusks or rhino horns – the demand for which has devastated these populations in recent decades. However, with many countries around the world, including the United States, now banning these products, these animals have been given a second chance to recover and thrive. Most Americans do not know though that the U.S. still participates in a global trade that is decimating animal populations around the world: shark fins. It’s estimated the fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global fin trade every year, mainly as an ingredient in the Asian dish shark fin soup. This demand for fins is severely jeopardizing the survival of certain shark populations around the world and can lead to the brutal practice of shark finning – when a fisherman cuts the fins off of a shark and throws the body back overboard, usually to drown, bleed to death or to be eaten alive. Although shark finning has been illegal in U.S. waters... read more +

A bald cypress tree rises from the Cape Fear River near Tar Heel. Photo: Andrew Kornylak


A River Worth the Fight: Visualizing a Healthy, Connected and Respected Cape Fear

by Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear Riverkeeper Category:

The Cape Fear River is North Carolina’s largest and most diverse river, the only river in the state to empty directly into the Atlantic Ocean, and the drinking water supply for one in five North Carolinians. For the river and the people who live along it 2016 was marked with both major victories and ongoing challenges. Already in 2017, many river guardians are working hard to secure more of the former, and mitigate more of the latter. I know the following to be true, as do conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon and The Orton Foundation: this river is worth the fight. An introduction to its specific geography, history and romance can be found in Our State’s story of my eight-day 203-mile paddle from source to mouth. We hope the photos of our trip, maps and videos will inspire you as you learn about its threats and visualize a healthy future. Coal Ash Clean Up North Carolina, home of the nation’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, took center stage in the national fight to clean up toxic coal ash, the... read more +

Rio Grande del Norte. Photo by Irene Owsley

Rio Grande del Norte. Photo by Irene Owsley


Environmental Justice in Colorado’s Conejos Land Grant Region

by Justin Garoutte, Executive Director of Conejos Clean Water Category: , ,

Louis Bacon and The Trinchera Blanca Foundation, an affiliate of  The Moore Charitable Foundation are proud to partner with Conejos Clean Water. It’s another morning in southern Colorado’s Conejos Land Grant Region, a region that has seen more sweat and tears than I will ever know, a region with so much promise, resiliency and aspirations for a brighter future. I walk the aching streets of Antonito, and the warm Colorado sun spreads its blessings upon the adobe houses, houses that were once homes, some that still are, holding on in a town whose heart beats slow and steady for its people, our culture and the land, air and water that give us life. If you walk around town long enough, you’ll eventually find Conejos Clean Water, a grassroots organization, now it its seventh year. Conejos Clean Water came about in 2010 though a struggle for environmental justice when radioactive, hazardous nuclear waste was to be transferred at a site just south of town, right next to the San Antonio River that provides life for our people. We won that... read more +

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A Victorious Year Against Offshore Drilling along East Coast – Thanks to a Grassroots Movement

by Claire Douglass, Campaign Director for Climate and Energy, Oceana Category:

Last week, the Obama administration formally denied all pending seismic airgun blasting permits in the Atlantic, favoring local voices over oil interests in a move that goes against the grain of our historically fossil fuel dependent society and solidifies the path to a cleaner, more sustainable renewable energy future. Although in recent months groups have been making headway, the fight against offshore drilling and exploration in the Atlantic certainly started as a seemingly losing battle. In 2008, the Bush administration lifted a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Done quietly, most East Coast communities had no idea their waters were open to the prospect of offshore drilling, and up until 2014, the only people privy to proposed drilling plans were those who supported it. Virtually unopposed, the government proceeded with plans to open up the Atlantic to offshore drilling – plans that surely would have gone smoothly, except for one little hitch: people like you. In 2014, Oceana planted the seeds of a grassroots movement that would eventually sweep across the East Coast. It all started... read more +


The “Fire Forests” of the southeast need fire the way rain forests need rain.


Fire and the Longleaf Pines of the Southern US: A Bright Future for a Magical Forest

by Angie Carl, SE Coastal Plain Stewardship & Fire Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy Category: ,

The longleaf pine forests of the southern US have a unique and subtle beauty. The secret to this beauty is fire. The “Fire Forests” of the southeast need fire the way rain forests need rain. Most of the plants and animals here have adapted to years of fires that occurred as frequently as every one to five years, through lightning and Native American burning. Without these fires the woods become overgrown, shading out the natural systems and rare plants that therefore can no longer survive. I have been leading burns in the forests of southeast North Carolina for 13 years. They are some of the most beautiful and difficult forest in which to burn. I do it because the health of our unique forests – an amazing array of carnivorous plants, orchids, grasses, birds, bears, bobcats, and many other animals depends on it. A dramatic fact is that the Venus Flytrap, which now only grows here naturally, would die off forever if we ceased to burn. Recently The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased a new tract in Brunswick County,... read more +


An Ode to the Act of Giving Thanks to Dosher Memorial Hospital Grant from Louis Bacon’s Orton Foundation


On December 16, 2016, team members from The Orton Foundation, the North Carolina affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation, visited Dosher Memorial Hospital to deliver a $30,000 contribution for the hospital’s Emergency Department, which treats more than 13,000 patients per year. During the check presentation, Dr. Joseph P. Hatem MD, MPH, gave a kind and poignant speech about the act of giving, the ripple effect of hope, and the spirit of the holidays. Dr. Hatem has graciously agreed to let us publish his wonderful remarks here in their entirety.  On behalf of the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and staff of the J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, I would like to thank the Orton Foundation, Mr. Louis Bacon, Mr. Dillon Epp [Property and Wildlife Manager, Orton Plantation Holding LLC], and Ms. Ann Colley [Executive Direction and Vice President, The Moore Charitable Foundation], for the continued gift of faith they have in our hospital. Again to put this into perspective, the original hospital cost $30,000 to build in 1928, with Brunswick County Hospital Opening, June 2, 1930. James B. Duke and The Duke Endowment... read more +


BGCSLV connects kids to the many environmental wonders of the San Luis Valley


How a San Luis Valley club is helping youth connect to their local environment and impact the future of conservation

by Chris Lopez, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley Category: ,

A group of 50 or so kids are on a pedestrian bridge that connects the east-west dykes of the Rio Grande River as it flows through Alamosa, Colorado. The kids are standing on the bridge looking south and hearing how the river flows to deliver water into neighboring New Mexico and eventually into Mexico at the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border, just 460 miles away. It’s nearing the end of summer and the mountains that surround the San Luis Valley are bare of snow. Generally, the mountains of the Valley are snow-capped beginning around November and continue to keep some snow cover through the spring runoff and into the heat of the summer. By August, though, when the kids from Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley are on their twice-a-week nature walk, the snow has melted completely and the mountains that surround look naked, albeit still inviting. On this day the youth members of Boys & Girls Clubs are learning how the river that they see every day flows. Standing on the bridge looking south helps... read more +