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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 +

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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 +

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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 +

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8
Jun
2016

Shaping the Blue Economy: Leveraging the Oceans for Sustainable Wealth, Globally

by Dr. Charles Colgan Category:

One of the most important but little noticed changes over the past several decades is how our perspective on the world’s oceans has changed. Oceans were first considered mysterious, and then, following centuries of exploration, limitless. Now we think of oceans as finite and fragile ecosystems under pressure from human activities and natural changes. We have recognized that each of our uses of oceans involves real or potential tradeoffs with other uses and it has become critical to understand those tradeoffs. In turn, this means we need a much better and more detailed understanding of the economic values of oceans and coasts. Developing that understanding is the mission of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) of The Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in Monterey, California. The Center maintains the largest and most diverse online data resources on ocean economic values in the U.S. through its National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP), which provides economic data at no charge to a wide variety of public and private parties involved in ocean issues. The Center also provides assistance... read more +

A hog feedlot in Duplin County, N.C. Photographer: Travis Dove for Bloomberg Businessweek

A hog feedlot in Duplin County, N.C. Photo: Travis Dove for Bloomberg Businessweek

6
Jun
2016

Promoting a Sustainable Future for Agriculture in North Carolina

by Cordon Smart Category:

Last week, The Moore Charitable Foundation team attended the 2016 Waterkeeper Alliance Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina. The location of the event underscored Waterkeeper’s significant efforts to address the environmental destruction and injustice caused by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). As part of MCF’s ongoing support of partners and experts addressing this critical water and human rights issue, we are featuring a series of blog posts that look at the CAFOs dilemma from different angles. Speeding down I-40 through Duplin County, NC, many people will pass through the sea of pine trees and farmland without giving it a second thought. But linger here a bit longer and you will quickly learn that Duplin County, located within the Cape Fear River watershed, has the highest concentration of industrial hog farms in the nation. These industrial facilities, known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), are a far cry from our preconceived notions of small family farms in rural America: They raise hundreds­—if not thousands—of animals within confined structures. Along with this industry comes more waste than you can possibly imagine. Located largely within low-income,... read more +

Shark meets ray. Photo by Andy Mann

Shark meets ray. Photo by Andy Mann

18
May
2016

Life’s Better in the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary

by Katie Flowers and Demian Chapman Category:

You have likely heard it somewhere before, an impressive piece of information shared tirelessly and sometimes incorrectly attributed to the impacts of shark finning only: “100 million sharks are killed every year.” Although this is an alarming number, it’s actually more factual to look at the range from the larger study estimating exploitation rates of sharks: 63 million – 273 million sharks killed annually. One hundred million is thus a conservative estimate, and the shark fin trade is not fully responsible for those landings. Data aside, the more important question now is what can we do about these losses? The answer may partially lie in the Bahamas. Before the study mentioned above even came out, the island nation made a progressive choice by fully protecting its sharks from fishing in 2011. Bahamians had put two and two together: many shark species in their waters live there either partially or year-round, and these sharks are worth big bucks alive – a 2007 estimate of $78M US in the Bahamas alone. The Bahamas is one of the best places in the Caribbean and arguably the... read more +

Oil pollutes Clifton Bay in The Bahamas. Photo courtesy Save the Bays website.

Oil pollutes Clifton Bay in The Bahamas. Photo courtesy Save the Bays website.

16
May
2016

Marc Yaggi: Keeping the Magic of the Bahamas

by Marc Yaggi Category:

Growing up in landlocked Pennsylvania, I always was enamored with the marine environment. The Bahamas in my mind were a magical and mythical archipelago of sun-soaked beaches, friendly people, and crystal clear turquoise waters full of a vibrant kaleidoscope of fish. The islands captured our imagination through vehicles like Splash, Thunderball, and Flipper. People around the world have a vision of the Bahamas as paradise. Now having been to the Bahamas a few times over the past decade, I see that all of those things are true.  However, when you look closely, you can see that some of the magic of the Bahamas is getting tarnished. I recently spent a day on Clifton Bay in New Providence with my friends Joseph Darville, Rashema Ingraham, Paco Nunez, and others from Waterkeepers Bahamas, Save the Bays, Clifton Waterkeeper, Bimini Waterkeeper, and Grand Bahama Waterkeeper.  Before joining the Waterkeeper team, I snorkeled at the same reef I had snorkeled about eight years ago.  It was very obvious that the reef had undergone significant stress, as there were fewer fish and the coral... read more +