9541913551_2f7e0a7ef8_b

A fine balance: a healthy forest counters living trees with those dead and dying.

1
Sep
2016

Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities, Healthy Landscapes – Letting Fire Back In

by Tony Cheng, Professor of forestry and director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University Category:

My kids are at an age where they still like to hang out with me. My work as a forestry professor at Colorado State University, where I’m also the director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, takes me out into the woods a lot. I frequently drag my kids along on field trips, where I give presentations to a variety of audiences. Unlike calculus, forestry is a tangible science, where even kids can immediately grasp concepts. On a recent field trip that my son attended, he afterwards said, “Fire is actually good for the forest, right dad?” The simple answer is, “Yes.”  But it’s obviously more complicated. Like anything in the natural world, simple answers belie how complex things really are. Like in virtually every place on the planet, the forests of the Rocky Mountains are facing an uncertain future. Wildfires, large insect outbreaks, and other climate-induced die-offs are changing the complexion of the region’s forests. This has led to a common refrain: we are facing a “forest health crisis.”  But what exactly is a healthy forest?  There... read more +

Colorado River Canyon Gorge Grand Canyon
1
Aug
2016

Six Ways Save The Colorado River is Saving the Colorado River, Right Now

by Gary Wockner, PhD, Executive Director, Save The Colorado River Campaign Category:

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the Southwest. From Denver to San Diego, the entire region lives off its water, slurped out in unsustainable ways from top to bottom. The two big reservoirs in the system, Lakes Mead and Powell, have shrunk to their combined lowest level in history. Further, that slurping has endangered fish, severely depleted river flows, and drained the Colorado River bone dry – all 5 trillion gallons are drained out before the river meets the Gulf of California. Here are six ways that Save The Colorado is turning back this tide and working to not just protect, but restore, the Colorado River. We support stopping all new proposed dams and diversions of water out of the Colorado River and its tributaries. Even though the river system is in severe decline, more dams and diversions are planned along the river in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. We oppose these new dams and diversions and are prepared to fight to stop them in court. We support dramatically ramping up water conservation programs in cities across the... read more +

7621053332_3127234d3e_b
18
Jul
2016

In Wilmington, NC and Everywhere: Economic Development Is More Than Just Growth

by Scott Johnson, Chairman, Cape Fear Economic Development Council Category:

The following blog post is the second entry of a series in WilmingtonBiz.com Insights and reflects the opinion of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council. Written by Chairman Scott Johnson in support of adopting the improved community-focused Industrial Special Use Permit (SUP), it advocates for clean and responsible economic growth for New Hanover County. Cities and towns recognize the need to pursue economic growth and adopt policies and programs, including incentives, that are designed to enhance economic development opportunities. Most residents understand there is a relationship between the successful function of the local economy and the quality of life they enjoy. They also know that many community services, including public schools, are often defined by the amount of local taxes collected. But how we implement and define what economic growth means to us will be the tipping point for how an older industrial area, such as ours, will remake and rewrite the story of the power of economic innovation. Historic concepts of economic growth in American cities like Wilmington can be viewed in many ways. One view has been that all... read more +

318

Private landowners across Colorado work with public lands for greater public benefit.

11
Jul
2016

How a Web-based Tool Can Stimulate Land Stewardship on Private Lands in Colorado

by Amos S. Eno Category:

While land conservation in the early twentieth century was dominated by the designation of public lands at the federal and state levels, private land conservation is and will be the conservation market of the 21st century, particularly in the west. Almost half of the western landscape (47 percent, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report) is managed by five federal agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Department of Defense. However, even in a state like Idaho, where 62 percent of the land is under federal management, private landowners play a critical and important role in conservation. This is not a new concept. In 1949, Aldo Leopold postulated in A Sand County Almanac: “The geography of conservation is such that most of the best land will always be held privately for agricultural production. The bulk of responsibility for conservation thus necessarily devolves upon the private custodian, especially the farmer.” This is certainly true in Idaho, where private landowners hold 93 percent of the most productive soils, but... read more +

22178918366_d63c94318f_b
5
Jul
2016

Collaboration, Teamwork and Commitment: A Formula for Reducing Wildfire Danger

by Christopher Topik, Director of NA Forest Conservation, The Nature Conservancy Category:

Once again we are witnessing tragic fires in the western United States that are harming people, water, and wildlife. In recent years, bemoaning our severe fire seasons has become an all-too common annual lament, heard from the coffee shop to Congress.  Since 1960 the shoulders of the fire season have broadened by nearly two additional months each year, due to hotter, dryer, and more dangerous forest conditions. But unlike hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes, fires are unique; they are the one natural disaster about which we have a choice. We tend to think of fire management in terms of the massive mobilization of firefighters, air tankers, supplies, and slurry drops; instead, what if we could mobilize the social and political will to perform wide-scale proactive forest treatments, to better inoculate our communities, forests, and waters from the worst of fire’s destructive effects? This is exactly the possibility 75 of the nation’s leading experts gathered at the White House to discuss on May 18. The room included first responders and fire experts, land managers and government officials, conservationists and business... read more +

Dusk on the Cape Fear: Wilmington, N.C.
3
Jul
2016

Using the Triple-Bottom Line to Define Best Practice Resource Management in the Cape Fear

by Scott Johnson, Chairman, Cape Fear Economic Development Council Category: ,

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is leading the My Community, My Voice Campaign to engage citizens and business leaders to help adopt the improved community-focused Industrial Special Use Permit (SUP), which advocates for clean and responsible economic growth for New Hanover County. The vote is in the fall; as such, this blog will feature articles and thoughts from business leaders who are in support of this important initiative.  The following entry is the first of a series in WilmingtonBiz.com Insights and reflects the opinion of the Cape Fear Economic Development Council, written by Chairman Scott Johnson. The Cape Fear Economic Development Council (CFEDC) is a nonprofit 501c3 based in Wilmington. For the last eight years we have explored new concepts for addressing our region’s economic growth strategies, while helping identify more suitable and practical alternatives in economic development, land use, energy use and environmental management. CFEDC is neither a think tank nor an academic endeavor, but a group of citizens who believe by using the “triple bottom line” framework (people, profit, planet) to define best practices in land and resource management, we... read more +

Students in Panama City participate in Panama Audubon's Aulas Verdes (Green Schools) initiative,

Students in the environmental education program, Aulas Verdes (Green Classrooms), in Panama City.

27
Jun
2016

Aulas Verdes/Green Classrooms Grows Across Panama

by Rosabel Miró, Executive Director, Panama Audubon Category:

Nine years ago, Panama Audubon, focused on creating education, research and community programs that forward the appreciation of birds as a means of conserving habitat, began the Aulas Verdes (Green Classrooms) program. An environmental education program, Aulas Verdes has helped to facilitate the inclusion of environmental issues within the curriculum of primary schools throughout Panama City. We started with just one school and have grown the program to 15 schools, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education and local and international donors. Since the start of the program, school principals and teachers have provided testimony in meetings, forums and casual conversation on how interesting and successful the project has been. This has resulted in the program’s rapid growth. With the support of the Islas Secas Foundation in partnership with the National Audubon Society, we now have the opportunity to spread our wings to a new area: the beautiful coastal towns in the Chiriquí province in Western Panama. But what is Aulas Verdes and why do so many teachers want to participate in the project? To share the... read more +

27779922792_8755d04daf_b
25
Jun
2016

Congress Introduces Bill to Ban the Trade of Shark Fins in the United States

by Lora Snyder, Campaign Director for Responsible Fishing, Oceana Category:

Sharks are in big trouble. Between 63 and 273 million sharks are killed every year due to human activities like overfishing and bycatch. As predators, sharks have played a vital role in maintaining healthy oceans for hundreds of millions of years, and any decline in populations can create a domino effect of unintended consequences. According to a new Oceana report released yesterday, the demand for shark fins is one of the biggest threats to shark populations worldwide. In fact, it’s estimated that fins from as many as 73 million sharks are bought and sold in the global shark fin trade every year, although it is unclear how many of those sharks have been finned.  Shark finning involves cutting off the fins at sea, often while the shark is still alive, and then dumping the body overboard to drown, bleed to death or to be eaten alive. Many of the shark species popular in the fin trade are slow to recover from unsustainable fishing because they have long lifespans, mature slowly and produce relatively few young. In fact, of... read more +

12485802263_9c68d83620_b
13
Jun
2016

Winning Protections from Offshore Drilling, but Atlantic Still Threatened by Seismic Airgun Blasting

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

After years of hard work and loyalty to the fight against offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, Oceana and citizens along the East Coast have won a historic victory. This March, the Obama administration announced its decision to remove the Atlantic from its oil and gas leasing plan. It was not only a huge day for the oceans, but also for democracy. By yielding to the overwhelming opposition from East Coast communities, President Obama proved that good old-fashioned grassroots organizing makes all the difference. It was not easy, and at first, it was a lonesome fight. Most cast it off as a losing battle, but Oceana jumped in when few other groups would take the plunge to fight Atlantic drilling. 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 vulnerable to the prospect of offshore drilling. Virtually unchallenged, President Obama proceeded with the past administration’s plans to re-open the Atlantic. They didn’t see what was coming next. Years ago, Oceana... read more +

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of the Waterkeeper Alliance

Robert F. Kennedy, Junior, Founder and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance

10
Jun
2016

CoastLine: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the Origin of CAFOs, Environmental Justice

Category: ,

Robert F. Kennedy, Junior is Founder and President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization of nearly 300 waterkeepers spanning the globe.  He serves as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper, is a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at Pace University School of Law’s Environmental Litigation Clinic, and he is co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. He came to Wilmington, North Carolina for the annual conference of The Waterkeeper Alliance.  There he sat down with Rachel Lewis Hilburn, News Director and Host of CoastLine, to discuss the origins of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), and environmental justice – issues that are inextricably intertwined. Here is the transcript of that interview, first published here and available as an audio file. RLH:  Robert Kennedy, your journey as a champion of clean waterways began on the Hudson River.  For that work, you were named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Planet. You’ve held that up as an international model of ecosystem protection.  How is it that?  What changes were you able to make in New York? Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:  Well, It... read more +