cypress trees NC

Durham cypress swamp. Photo by LFLamb, for reuse


Rural North Carolina: An International Battleground on Forests and Climate Change

by Danna Smith, Founder and Executive Director, Dogwood Alliance Category: , ,

Today, most people understand that transitioning away from fossil fuels toward clean energy is essential to solving the climate crisis. Despite the fact that the Trump administration pulled out of the historic Paris Agreement, it’s been inspiring to see the flurry of activity on the part of states, municipalities and corporations across the nation committed to ensuring the U.S. does its part to meet the ambitious goals by committing to transition toward 100 percent clean energy. While this is certainly encouraging, we must face a harsh reality. Essential, getting off fossil fuels won’t be enough. Every scientific model I have seen proposing pathways to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius includes both a rapid reduction in carbon emissions and a dramatic increase in the amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere. Standing natural forests are the only proven system that can operate at the scale necessary to remove enough carbon from the atmosphere within the timeframe necessary to avoid climate catastrophe. Equally as important, standing forests provide a safety net that can mitigate the effects... read more +

Photo: Kristin Hetterman

Photo: Kristn Hetterman


Why the ocean is everybody’s business

by Clare John, Ocean Unite Category:

The ocean sustains life on earth. It provides half the oxygen we breathe, has absorbed a quarter of our carbon emissions, supports the livelihoods of over three billion people and puts food on our plates. But the ocean is in trouble. There’s more plastic in the ocean than ever before – by 2050 it’s predicted there will be more plastic than fish! Pollution is causing ‘dead zones’, climate change is warming the ocean making it increasingly acidic, overfishing is putting species dangerously at risk and ecosystems are being pushed beyond their limit. Despite covering 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface, only three per cent of the ocean is currently under some form of protection, and much of the remaining 97 per cent suffers from poor management. There is also so much we still don’t know – the ocean is probably the least understood and most biologically diverse of all of Earth’s ecosystems with millions of species yet to be discovered. But it’s not too late. We can change the tide. The ocean is incredibly resilient and it... read more +

On March 16, 2016, Oceana went shark tagging off the coast of Miami, Florida with Dr. Austin Gallagher and Beneath the Waves. Photo: Oceana/Jason Arnold

Photo: Oceana/Jason Arnold


The Value Of Keeping Sharks Alive

by Co-authored by Andrew Sharpless, Oceana's Chief Executive Officer and Louis Bacon, Chief Executive Officer of Moore Capital Management and Founder and chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation Category: ,

How much is a shark worth? That might sound like a strange question. To conservationists, biologists or people who love the ocean, it might be impossible to quantify the value of such a magnificent creature. For fishers around the world, the answer is probably more straightforward. But one thing is now clear: sharks are worth much more alive than dead in the state of Florida. A new, independent report commissioned by Oceana found that live sharks provide significant economic benefits to the state of Florida. Divers and tourists travel from around the world to see sharks in person, supporting a tourism industry that depends on healthy animals. Given the global threats to survival of sharks and the key roles they play both in nature and in some coastal economies, the report commissioned by Oceana, and research by others, highlights the need for Congress to pass the proposed Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act to enact a nationwide ban on the trade of shark fins. The bill, introduced by Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Gregorio Sablan (I-MP), would remove the... read more +


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

Longleaf Pine Forest | Credit: Christine Ambrose for National Fish and Wildlife 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

Photo (c) Taos Ski Valley


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.

81% of registered voters would like a national ban on shark fins (Oceana). Photo (c) John Voo


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 +


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 +