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08
Thu, Dec

CLIMATE

BE GREEN---A new study published Wednesday, revealing populations of flying insects like bees and butterflies plunged more than 75 percent in German nature preserves over the past 27 years, has scientists calling for further research into probable causes such as climate change and pesticide use, and raising alarms about a potential "ecological Armageddon." 

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BE GREEN--If you don’t already agree with me on something, odds are I can’t convince you I’m right.

There’s plenty of science showing that the global climate crisis is already affecting us, that vaccines don’t cause autism, and that humans evolved from a common ancestor with apes. Yet many Americans don’t believe in man-made climate change, the safety of vaccines, or hum›an evolution. (Photo above: Cuba after Hurricane Irma.)

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TRIGGER HAPPY WITH TOXINS--For many years, genetically engineered crops were said to be environmentally responsible.

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BE GREEN--A draft report on the current impact of global heating on the United States, produced by 13 Federal agencies, has been leaked to the New York Times.  The scientists who leaked it are afraid that the anti-science Trump administration will suppress the findings to help its friends in Big Oil.

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BEGREEN--Last year was the deadliest in history to be an environmental activist, according to a new report that found, on average, nearly four people were killed per week. (Photos:  ("We are fighting for our lands, for our water, for our lives," Jakeline (right), who has received death threats for protesting mining in Colombia, told Global Witness for the report.)

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BE GREEN--Expanding mass-transit systems is a pillar of green and “new urbanist” thinking, but with few exceptions, the idea of ever-larger numbers of people commuting into an urban core ignores a major shift in the labor economy: More people are working from home.

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BEGREEN— Mayor Eric Garcetti brought Climate Mayors together for the first time since affirming that hundreds of mayors would adopt, honor and uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement in cities across America. While rallying other mayors to join with the network, Mayor Garcetti was also joined in a ceremonial signing of the Climate Mayors' commitment to adopt the Paris goals in their cities.

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BE GREEN--The California High-Speed Rail Authority promises to “achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in construction” and is committed to operate the system on “100% renewable energy” by contracting for “400 to 600 megawatts of renewable power”. These promises may please environmentalists, but they cannot be kept.

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BEGREEN--Friends of the LA River (FOLAR) is pleased to announce that it has broken its own record from last year in both number of volunteers and tonnage of trash collected for the just-completed 28th Annual Great LA River CleanUp: La Gran Limpieza (CleanUp). FOLAR’s annual CleanUp has exploded in recent years, and is the largest urban river cleanup in America. Held the past three Saturdays of April, the 2017 CleanUp attracted 10,000 volunteers—individuals and groups—who collectively removed over 100 tons of trash from 14 sites along the length of the LA River.
 
Focusing primarily on the soft-bottomed and green sections of the LA River which are, in themselves, incredibly diverse, the sites ranged from the bucolic Sepulveda Basin in the San Fernando Valley to the Golden Shore Marine Reserve in Long Beach, where dolphins and seals are a common sight.
 
After the rains this year, there was an increased need for the CleanUp as additional trash was caught in the green sections of the River.  Regularly found trash includes numerous shopping carts, plastic bags (fewer every year), snack wrappers, cups, and mattresses. Volunteers also found more exotic items ranging from car parts to bathtubs to a 6-foot giant Styrofoam head.
 
Volunteers included visitors from across California, but primarily Angelenos of all ages and backgrounds, including families, students, elected officials, and hipsters—many of whom participate each year.  More than 200 volunteer groups turned out, along with the 1000s of individuals, demonstrates the ubiquitous interest in and passion for the LA River.
 
“The CleanUp is an inspiring demonstration of the power of community and shows how far the LA River Movement has come,” states Marissa Christiansen, FOLAR’s Executive Director. “Angelenos are a powerful people and when 10,000 of us come together there is nothing we can’t accomplish.”    
Elected officials who participated in the CleanUp festivities included:  CA Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon; CA Senator Anthony Portantino; CA Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon; CA Assembelymembers Raul Bocanegra, Adrin Nazarian, and Patrick O’Donnell; Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero; Los Angeles City Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu; and Long Beach City Councilmembers Al Austin and Robert Uranga.
 
FOLAR’s Founder, Lewis MacAdams, knew that Angelenos would love their river again and become its stewards. With the creation of FOLAR 30 years ago, he took the lead in making that happen, emphasizing that “each area of the Los Angeles River is unique and requires special attention and appreciation.”
 
FOLAR’s stewardship of the river encourages community engagement, education and enjoying time at the river. To that end, volunteers were entertained during the events by popular local bands that came to the CleanUp to connect with the LA River community. Select sites also featured FOLAR’s 38’ mobile visitor and education center, the LA River Rover, which taught close to 800 volunteers about the LA River’s past, present, and future.  
 
The 2017 CleanUp was made possible through sponsorships from the City of Long Beach Clean Team, long-time partners REI Co-op, Toyota Financial Services, and Rubio’s Coastal Grill, who were joined by new sponsors Soylent and Skanska as well as many others.
 
(Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR): Founded in 1986, FOLAR is a 501c(3) nonprofit whose mission is to ensure a publicly accessible and ecologically sustainable Los Angeles River by inspiring River stewardship through community engagement, education, advocacy, and thought leadership. Learn more at www.folar.org.)

-cw

BEGREEN--It’s no coincidence that Earth Day, the first anniversary of the signing of the climate agreement and the March for Science are all taking place on the same day, April 22. It is the people’s day. It has been the people’s day since 1970, when Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisc.), Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.), and lead organizer Denis Hayes turned out 20 million ordinary citizens in what is still regarded as the largest-ever single social mobilization effort in world history.  

The goal—to put environmental issues dead center of the political agenda by mobilizing citizens—led directly to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and some of the most important environmental laws ever enacted including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.  The modern environmental movement was launched and nearly half a century later, Earth Day continues to be a day of action and mobilization that engages more than 1 billion people in 192 countries. That number grows with each passing year.

"This year, Earth Day will once again serve as a vehicle for mobilization when, in addition to turning out a billion people and celebrating the First Anniversary of the Climate Agreement, the world will march for science."

At first it may not be obvious why Earth Day was the day of choice for the March, but Earth Day was the result of warnings that scientists had made for years about our environment for years. From Rachel Carson in “Silent Spring” to multiple discoveries of the human health effects of fossil fuels and other toxics, Earth Day and the laws that grew out of that huge new movement were all based on the painstaking work of dedicated scientists.

Not that it wasn’t obvious in 1970. With rivers on fire, cities experiencing dangerous levels of air pollution, genetic changes in our wildlife and children suffering from a myriad of diseases and birth defects, scientists’ warnings finally sparked a revolution. 

Last year, the importance of Earth Day was recognized when 175 countries met in New York on April 22nd to sign the Paris Climate Agreement. Scientists, global leaders, corporations and people took a collective sigh of relief that a climate agreement, although imperfect, finally moved forward.  Science was at the heart of the Climate agreement but support from all facets of civil society helped create the political climate that made it possible.  

This year, Earth Day will once again serve as a vehicle for mobilization when, in addition to turning out a billion people and celebrating the First Anniversary of the Climate Agreement, the world will march for science.

So it is not surprising that we are the lead organizer of the national march in Washington, D.C.

The partnership with the March for Science makes sense. Without science, there would be no Earth Day. Without science we would have no Climate Agreement, Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act, or any of the environmental legislation that grew out of the first Earth Day.

It is the cornerstone of our understanding of the world. We rely on scientists to ask questions, form hypotheses, test these hypotheses through rigorous experiments, and ultimately draw conclusions. We rely on scientists to tell us the truth.  

And what makes partnership with March for Science all the more meaningful is that this year’s Earth Day theme is climate and environm ental science literacy. 

Environmental literacy was once the sad stepchild of our movement. Today, countries around the world are discussing and passing laws to create a new generation of educated citizens ready for 21st century green energy jobs. Just as it was true at the dawn of the industrial revolution, the countries that teach science and prepare their work force for a new economy will get the jobs and the investments and become the leaders of the green economy.  And by the same token, those countries that fail to educate their children about the science of the future will not prosper. Earth Day Network’s goal is to support the inevitable move to the post-fossil fuel world economy by educating and preparing the next generation of students to be ready for tomorrow’s jobs.

Which brings us back to People’s Day. As in 1970, people all over the world are faced with a choice. We can rely on real science to illuminate the truth and the way toward a sustainable future, or we can turn our backs on both science and truth. 

We suspect the American people will choose the latter and that on Earth Day people will be marching for both. And not just scientists. Teachers, students, business leaders, elected officials, parents, grandparents and many others will be marching to protect the truth, protect science and protect our planet

(Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, is the lead organizer for the Earth Day March for Science rally and teach-ins on the National Mall. Posted earlier at Common Dreams.) 

-cw

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