| a repost from 5/2013
BREAKING: Just when you thought it couldn’t, fracking in the U.S. is about to get worse — and with government approval. The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management just released new rules for fracking on our public lands that would give gas companies the right to drill without much-needed protections for public health. The BLM’s new rules fail to require full public disclosure of toxic chemicals, baseline water testing or setback requirements of wells from homes and schools.
Fracking our public lands will affect millions of people who live, work and go to school near (or even above) the areas where leases will take place. It is unconscionable for the government to pass new regulations that are fundamentally inadequate to protect our health and safety.
Fracking is a dirty and dangerous process. The proposed BLM rules fail to take obvious steps to provide even minimal protections.
These rules are a gift to the gas companies, who met repeatedly with high-ranking officials before this rule was released.¹ The provisions help the gas corporations profit, while falling short in employing the most basic recommendations of the president’s own shale gas advisory committee, which advocated for transparency, environmental safeguards and pollution monitoring for fracking. Without clear safeguards for public health, no new areas should be opened up to new drilling permits.
Tell Secretary Jewell and the Department of the Interior to put a moratorium on all new gas leases on federal lands.
P.S. If President Obama truly wants to tackle climate change, then he needs to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground as much as possible, and invest more heavily in true clean energy solutions such as wind, solar and energy efficiency. Natural gas is a dirty dangerous fossil fuel, not a climate solution! Tell the administration: no new leasing. We must not use our public lands to generate more toxic pollution when clean energy alternatives are ready here and now.
 E&E News. “White House huddled with industry before changes to BLM fracking rule,” April 12, 2013.
|As the Insider goes to press, the so-called Rim Fire in and around Yosemite National Park — California’s fourth-largest wildfire on record — has consumed more than 235,000 acres of forest and continues to grow, although firefighters say it is now 70 percent contained. The Sierra Club salutes the nearly 5,00 local, state, federal, and volunteer firefighters who are heroically battling the blaze, and our thoughts are with area residents, many of whom have been forced to evacuate their homes.|
Back in May, we called on Sierra Club supporters like you to help shine a light on the 1.3 billion people worldwide who live without access to electricity. In just a few short months, the clean-energy access project we shared with you is now fully funded!
The project raised $15,000 to fund ReadySet Solar Kits from Fenix International for 375 energy entrepreneurs in Uganda. The kits will in turn power mobile-phone charging and lighting for up to 19,000 households. Each ReadySet can power up to 50 phones in a community — while avoiding 12.3 tons of carbon pollution.
Five Green Snack Foods
You’re starving, but the only place to find sustenance is a convenience store. What should you buy if you’re limited to the likes of a 7-Eleven or an E-Z Mart?
Check out our roundup of the greenest grab-and-go snacks to help you navigate the fluorescent-lit aisles of the corner store with ease.
Photo by Lori Eanes
Solar Returns to the White House
The Rooftop Revolution has finally reached the White House. In late August, installation began on the First Family’s roof, making good on President Obama’s commitment three years ago to return solar panels to the White House. It’s been a long road, but thanks to the hard work of the Globama Initiative, led by Sungevity, 350.org, and thousands of clean-energy supporters across the nation, solar power has returned to the White House.
Hundreds of clean-energy supporters turned out for a rally in Asheville, North Carolina, on August 24, to call on Duke Energy to retire its Asheville coal-fired power plant, the largest source of climate pollution in the western part of the state. Speakers included Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign director Mary Anne Hitt and Lost actor Ian Somerhalder, at right, Asheville mayor Terry Bellamy, and former coal miner Nick Mullins, who quit the trade to join the movement to move America beyond coal.
Photo by Sierra Club/Mike Belleme
Last week Sierra Club supporters and friends joined tens of thousands of people for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. That historic day helped push Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act, a key pillar of the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, during the past few years and even months, we’ve seen these same rights come under attack, including in the Supreme Court.
50 Fresh Trips for 2014
Hike among active volcanoes and ancient Buddhist trails in Japan; savor stunning landscapes and delicious food in southern Italy; search for exciting birds in the highlands and lowlands of Ecuador; or choose from a number of trips closer to home including ski/snowshoe/dogsled, canoe/kayak, and service.
Looking for more like this, or something else entirely? Visit content.sierraclub.org/outings to find the perfect trip.
Is Camping a White Person Thing?
Our intrepid interns, Izzy and Daniel, recently explored one of the most fascinating competitions for college students: the solar decathlon.
Then they hustled off to Chicago to hang out with Outdoor Nation folks and ask the question, “Is camping a white person thing?”
Tell the Department of Interior: Protect Bryce Canyon from dangerous coal mining!
Last year, the Sierra Club and our allies submitted nearly 250,000 comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opposing the expansion of the privately owned Alton Coal Mine onto federal land in southern Utah, 10 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park.
At the same time, both the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued formal comments opposing the mine. In addition, Utah’s largest newspaper editorialized against the mine proposal.
We can’t risk the pristine night sky, the local recreation economy, the amazing vistas or the wildlife near the park just to dig more coal out of the earth for a few years of dirty electric power.
But the BLM has never denied a mining expansion request like this before. That’s why we aren’t taking any chances.
Keep up the pressure to halt the expansion of the Alton Coal Mine and protect Bryce Canyon National Park! Send a message to the BLM and Department of Interior Secretary Jewell now!
Ancient Ones The World of the Old-Growth Douglas Fir By Barbara Bash, illustrated in full color by the author Paperback, 32 pages ISBN: 978-1-57805-081-9 Ages: 6-10; Grades: 1-5
Deep in the old-growth forest, the earth is moist and the air is thick with the fragrance of decomposing needles. Lichen-covered logs crisscross the forest floor, and lush green moss clings to the ancient Douglas firs that tower overhead. All is still and silent. Or is it?
Look carefully and you might see the flicker of a bluebird among the branches. Listen closely and you may hear the rustling of tiny mice in the underbrush. For the world of the Ancient Ones is teeming with life — from the Douglas squirrels and marbled murrelets that make their homes high in the forest canopy, to the millipedes and sowbugs that probe their way through the fallen logs one hundred fifty feet below.
In lyrical prose and vivid watercolor paintings, acclaimed author-artist Barbara Bash captures the on-going drama of the old-growth world as she traces the life cycle not only of the Douglas fir, but of the forest itself. Both beautiful and informative, Ancient Ones will inspire reverence and awe in readers of all ages for the last of these majestic giants and the intricate web of life they support.
Barbara Bash has written and illustrated four other children’s books for the Sierra Club, including two previous Tree Tales — Tree of Life: The World of the African Baobab and Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus. She lives in upstate New York.
NOTE: Ancient Ones is printed on paper containing a minimum of 50% recovered waste (of which at least 10% is post-consumer waste) and absolutely no fiber from old-growth trees.
Like Live Music? Help The Sierra Club Foundation Win $75,000!
The Sierra Club Foundation is joining forces with Lost actor
Ian Somerhalder for a five-week online fundraising challenge called
#StartARyot. The Foundation has its eyes on the top prize of $75,000 and
every $1 you can give will help them bring it home. Plus, you could win
cool prizes including VIP tickets to see Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys,
John Mayer, and others at the Global Citizen Concert in Central Park.
What better incentive to support the Foundation’s efforts to protect the
Take the challenge — every dollar counts!
In 2006, An Inconvenient Truth woke the world up to the reality of the climate crisis. But global leaders failed to act, and climate change has accelerated, making the film’s message more urgent than ever. We have curated a collection of activities for you to get informed, get involved, use the power of your wallet, and mobilize your networks to send a message that climate change matters to you. Taken together, these actions will have a huge ripple effect. This is the challenge of our time. It’s up to us to solve it!
Use Your Voice
Tell Your Friends, Family and Networks that Climate Change Matters to You
We listen to our friends and family on the things that really matter, and they listen to us. So start talking. In person and online about what’s happening to the planet. Your opinions will shape others, and soon, everyone you know will be talking to everyone they know about climate change. And that’s how change happens. You can find tips here.
Stand Up to Denial
You don’t let ignorant comments about race or sexuality go unanswered. Don’t let comments like “climate change isn’t real” go unchallenged either. Online resources like Reality Drop and Skeptical Science help combat climate myths while giving you a great resource to stay current on good news.
Tell Your Leaders this Matters to You
Government officials answer to you, so tell your leaders that you will support or strongly oppose them based on what they say and DO about solving the climate crisis. Ask your Congressman, city council, school board, and public utilities commission what they’re doing NOW to solve the climate crisis. Contact your Representatives and Senators.
Use Your Time
Join the Climate Reality Project and add your voice to a global community of nearly 5 million people demanding a solution now. Then get involved with climate organizations in your community, or join some of the nation’s largest environmental advocacy groups like the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, or the World Wildlife Fund.
Take Small Steps
You can do so many things to make a difference and inspire people around you. Things like keeping your car tires fully inflated, not letting your car idle, switching out old light bulbs for LED or CFL options, and walking or biking instead of driving. For more ideas, check out the EPA’s What You Can Do.
Become a Climate Leader
Learn more about climate change and inspire your community to act. Join the Climate Reality Leadership Corps and join a global network that’s changing the world.
Use Your Dime
Use the Power of Your Wallet
As consumers, we have the ultimate power to decide whether our money promotes Dirty Energy or a carbon-free future. Use your smartphone to see what your dollars are doing. After all, money talks.
Support the Good Guys
As a consumer and a shareholder, support companies who are doing good things on climate change. 1% For The Planet is a great resource to learn which companies are supporting solutions. Even better, don’t forget to support the work of your favorite climate advocacy organizations.
Get Your School or Employer to Support Action on Climate Change
Has your school joined the Climate Commitment? Ask your employer to sign the Climate Declaration, which calls on federal leaders to act on climate change. So far, more than 100 companies with combined revenues of $450 billion have signed on. That’s some good company.
|Time to Tell the Truth About Keystone XL
The fight against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline got a major boost this summer when President Obama vowed to reject the pipeline if it would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” Keystone’s hopes now rest on a flawed State Department environmental report that claims the pipeline is harmless, despite mounting evidence that it would have significant negative effects on our climate and environment. And now comes breaking news that State’s own ethics watchdogs are calling the report into question, thanks to a list of problems with the pipeline and the review process presented by the Sierra Club and our partners.
Tell Secretary of State Kerry that the State Department’s environmental report must tell the truth — KXL would be a disaster for the environment!
Ultramarathon runner Ann Trason holds 20 world records in distances between 50 and 100 miles. It has been said that she “seems at times to possess superhuman strength.” Part of that exceptional ability comes from a super-healthy nutrition plan.
We recently spoke with Ann and learned about her favorite vegetarian foods for people with active lifestyles.
Camping With a Roof Over Your HeadIf you’re outdoors-inclined but unsure about camping, a lodge-based Sierra Club trip might be for you. Spend action-packed days hiking, exploring nature, or simply relaxing, and return each night to a lodge for home-cooked meals, good company, and a real bed.
Hike and create works of art on a painting trip in California’s Tahoe National Forest; visit glacier-carved valleys and lakes in Idaho’s rugged Sawtooth mountains; dayhike, stargaze, and discover natural and human history in the magnificent Colorado high country; or help conserve threatened aspen trees during fall in California’s Stanislaus National Forest.
Looking for more like this, or something else entirely? Visit Sierra Club Outings to find your perfect trip.
Joshua Brandon served three tours of duty in Iraq, where he was awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars for valor. But like so many other vets, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and after mustering out of the Army in 2012, he had difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Brandon credits getting outdoors and cultivating a love of wild places with turning his life around. He now works for the Sierra Club’s Mission Outdoors program, where he is helping put together a Sierra Club Veteran Leadership Team.
Environmentalists and veterans are natural allies, Brandon says. Read more about what this vet is doing to foster this powerful alliance.
Few things anger Mark Ruffalo more than fossil-fuel industry accidents, such as the recent explosive blowout of a natural gas drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Ruffalo, an Oscar nominee who played the Hulk in The Avengers, penned this column in The Daily Beast, giving the dirty fuels industry a punch to the gut and asking readers to sign our petition to move the country beyond natural gas.
“Petroleum doesn’t equal patriotism,” he writes. “The real way to put America first is to put bad energy last.”