#conservation
Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Re-Open – But Can Public Parks Safely Meet Increasing Users?

Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Re-Open – But Can Public Parks Safely Meet Increasing Users?

More of the most famous and most visited National Parks are beginning to re-open as summer tourist season looms, but they will open sections of the parks in phases, with concessions and other public spaces also re-opening within the open areas, but there is no requirement for visitors to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Why This Matters: What the pandemic and social distancing requirements are revealing is that many communities do not have enough park and open space — both large cities and suburbs.

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One Adorable Thing: New Red Wolf Cubs Born In NC

One Adorable Thing: New Red Wolf Cubs Born In NC

By Zoey Shipley The North Carolina Zoo announced via a tweet last week that they recently welcomed five new Red Wolf pups.  This is a cause for celebration because Red Wolves are the most endangered canid in the world. The zoo explained that there are only 15-20 red wolves left in the wild, and they are […]

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California Wins Battle With Trump Administration About Water and Endangered Species

California Wins Battle With Trump Administration About Water and Endangered Species

A federal court on Monday put on hold President Trump’s February order that overturned agency scientists and revised federal water supply plans in California, frustrating a political promise he made to farmers in central California to lift water restrictions for the benefit of agriculture there. 

Why This Matters:  This decision is just a temporary hold on the Trump administration’s water grab.  But the time is key for both the species at risk of extinction and for the farmers who will lose out on additional water that they would get to take out of the system for agriculture now, while there is spring runoff happening — water they can’t get back later because it is already flushed through the system.

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Interior Department Approves Largest Solar Project in the U.S.

Interior Department Approves Largest Solar Project in the U.S.

Earlier this week the Trump Administration took a break from its boosting oil and gas (they announced yesterday they are going to buy 1 million barrels of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a “test”) to give final approval to the Gemini Solar Project – a massive $1B solar array and battery storage project situated on federal land near Las Vegas.

Why This Matters:  The project went through a streamlined environmental review process, but the final development and operations plan will minimize and mitigate impacts on visual resources, cultural and tribal resources, recreation access, air quality, native vegetation and wildlife such as the desert tortoise, a “threatened” species.

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A Florida Beach Reopened – People Left It Trashed

A Florida Beach Reopened – People Left It Trashed

The people who flocked to Cocoa Beach in Florida last weekend left behind 13,000 pounds of litter, prompting the police to threaten a crackdown.  Local officials believe that as social distancing and stay in place orders are loosened in parts of the state, there has been an influx of day-trippers who show up and leave […]

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Frontline Communities Lacking Clean Water Can’t Fight Coronavirus Effectively

Frontline Communities Lacking Clean Water Can’t Fight Coronavirus Effectively

Shocking as it may be, there are 2 million Americans living in such poverty that they lack running water, and tens of millions of others may have water in their homes but it is hardly safe to bathe in, much less drink, The Washington Post reports.  These extreme conditions are exacerbating the spread of COVID-19 in minority communities in the deep south and Navajo Country

Why This Matters:  With some states reopening despite Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning today that we are not yet ready, we are all only as safe from the virus as the most vulnerable among us.

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Saving Northern Minnesota’s Forests Through Affirmative Adaptation

Saving Northern Minnesota’s Forests Through Affirmative Adaptation

The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series on climate change highlighting the places where temperatures have already warmed more than 2 degrees has a new installment, this one focusing on how to retain tree cover in Northern Minnesota so it doesn’t become a prairie, which scientists believe is a real risk. 

Why This Matters:  If Minnesota’s residents want to keep their forests, humans must limit greenhouse gas emissions, but even so, scientists are looking for ways to help the state’s forest adapt by changing it from spruce and fir trees to maples and oaks.

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April Ties Record, 2020 Could Be Warmest Year and CO2 Levels Highest in 3 Million Years

April Ties Record, 2020 Could Be Warmest Year and CO2 Levels Highest in 3 Million Years

April’s global average temperatures tied for the warmest on record, with NOAA predicting there is a 75% chance that this year will be the warmest since temperatures records began in 1880 due to much warmer than average temperatures in northern Asia, especially Siberia, across northern and coastal central Greenland, for parts of Antarctica, areas of Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. 

Why This Matters:  As carbon dioxide levels keep going up it is easier and easier to set warmest month records because it stays in the atmosphere for a long time continuing to heat us up.

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New Studies Point to More Extreme Heat and Storms in the U.S.

New Studies Point to More Extreme Heat and Storms in the U.S.

A study by The Earth Institute at Columbia University published last Friday in the Journal Science Advances found that the combined effect of extreme heat and humidity (known as the “wet bulb index”) is already exceeding in some locations for short durations of time the level that scientists thought would be the threshold of human survivability.

Why This Matters:  High heat and humidity combined is happening more frequently around the globe and has already resulted in massive death tolls due to climate change.

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Ethanol Sales Drop With Gas Prices, Producers Begin Making Hand Sanitizer

Ethanol Sales Drop With Gas Prices, Producers Begin Making Hand Sanitizer

To offset a portion of the losses, some of the nation’s largest ethanol producers have switched to making hand sanitizer, even though it costs them.

Why This Matters:  President Trump because the administration is under pressure from the gas companies and refiners to lift the ethanol requirement altogether – something they had been doing often on a case by case basis in the past.

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Europe Making Way For More Bike Lanes

Europe Making Way For More Bike Lanes

May is national bike month when usually there is a big push to get more people in the U.S. to bike to work and shop due to its environmental and health benefits – even during a global pandemic, the popularity of biking continues to rise.

Why This Matters:  Leaders and urban planners in Europe believe that people there are now appreciative of the lack of air pollution and will want to keep the air clear, in addition to the benefits from a health and safety standpoint.

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Is Public Transit Going to Be Able To Recover From COVID?

Is Public Transit Going to Be Able To Recover From COVID?

Public transportation nationwide is taking a huge hit from coronavirus — in California, for example, ridership is down by 90% or more and each week, public transportation systems are losing millions due to social distancing and shelter in place orders. 

Why This Matters:  Public transportation is vital and it is also key for the automobile emissions reductions that we need to combat climate change and air pollution generally.

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