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[1THING] Blog: Archive for November, 2015

[ Check Out What Dundee Gardens is Doing for Trees ]

If you aren’t familiar with Dundee Gardens, they are a self-described ‘lifestyle destination’ located on the Sans Souci Parkway in Hanover Township.  They carry everything you might possibly need to plant, perk-up or expand the garden of your dreams.  I recently received an e-mail from them regarding something they are doing to help Mother Earth and wanted to share it with you:

Dundee Gardens is proud to announce our “Replant the Tradition” campaign. The initiative is simple: The first 100 customers purchasing a fresh cut Christmas tree at Dundee Gardens receive a Canaan Fir tree seedling to take home. Participating customers have the opportunity to nurture their seedling indoors where it can be potted until warmer weather arrives and replanted outdoors for year long cheer.  

Dundee Gardens is proud to launch the “Replant the Tradition” campaign as part of our Growing Greener Project. A seedling may seem like a small gesture but we believe this is a leap toward caring for the world we live in. We are all stewards of the environment and Dundee Gardens is proud to encourage the thoughtful action of replanting a tree.   

In addition to this new tradition, Dundee Gardens continues its longstanding “Recycle a Tree” program. Customers purchasing a fresh cut Christmas tree at Dundee Gardens receive a coupon redeemable upon the return of their Christmas tree after the holidays (until January 31st). When a customer returns the tree, the coupon is presented and exchanged for a $10.00 in-store gift certificate to be used anytime before May 15, 2016. Just one more way we hope to encourage thoughtful actions and healthier life choices for this holiday season and many more!

You can follow Dundee Gardens on Instagram and Facebook or get more information at www.dundeegardens.com.

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[ Carbon County Mine Fire Update ]

Harrisburg, November 24, 2015 – The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded Hazleton Shaft Company a $9.35 Million contract to extinguish the Jeanesville Mine Fire in Banks Township, Carbon County.

Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) issued the following statement:

“The awarding of the contract to extinguish the Jeanesville mine fire follows an extensive assessment by DEP and the formulation of a comprehensive plan to attack the fire,” said Senator John Yudichak. “We will continue to work closely with DEP and Banks Township officials to monitor the progress of the work and keep the residents living near the fire informed.”

Funds for the project are from the Federal Abandoned Mine Land Grant Program and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The money comes from fees paid by active coal mine operators on each ton of coal mined.

Project Update

Officials from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR) briefed Banks Township residents November 5th on their plan to deal with the mine fire that is burning in Jeansville.

At the one-hour session in the Tresckow Fire Company social hall, officials said a 20-acre east-west trench — about 190 feet long, varying in depth from 50 to 200 feet, and at least 100 feet wide — will be dug under a federal contract, next to the portion of the fire burning in abandoned coal spoils.

A north-south trench will be excavated by Hazleton Shaft Corp, which is mining and has been helping to extinguish the fire on the northern end of the site.

Mike Korb, a BAMR environmental program specialist, said the east-west trench is being dug for two reasons — to contain the fire to its present location, and to help extinguish it and prevent it from spreading.

Approximately 200 acres will be cleared. The trees removed will be chopped up by the contractor and taken off-site.

A pre-bid conference with prospective contractors to dig the east-west trench has been held. The work is slated to begin later this month and last about two years.

View the full DEP briefing »

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[ 5 anti-conservation pet projects Congress is using to hijack the budget ]

Congress is working on a deal to fund our government for the coming year, but this fundamental congressional obligation may be hijacked by anti-conservation interests.

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[ Mitigation strategy is key to protecting the western Arctic ]

Today, that work is focused on developing a Regional Mitigation Strategy that will help offset the negative environmental impacts of future oil and gas development in the reserve under the IAP, which allows industry access to 72 percent of the reserve’s economically recoverable oil.

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[ The Wilderness Society Statement on Badger-Two Medicine Oil and Gas Leases ]

Anastasia Greene

“Secretary Jewell is on the right track. The plan to pursue cancellation of this oil and gas lease sets the stage for getting rid of the remaining leases in the Badger-Two Medicine region,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society

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[ Do People in Pennsylvania Love Earth the Most? ]

Across the nation, Americans are going green – and they’re heading online for more information. Even their search results prove it, as they type in terms such as “how to save energy,” “eco-friendly,” and “electric cars.”

Brianna from Save On Energy recently contacted us here at [1thing] Northeastern Pa.  She wanted to share the data they recently collected from around the country showing which states are most environmentally friendly.   Save on Energy researched action phrases people may search for when looking into certain environmentally friendly activities; then they used Google Trends to rank the results by topic and state. Read on for the interesting – and sometimes surprising – results:

REUSING

Old bottles can become candleholders; empty egg cartons can store holiday ornaments. Reusing is all the rage for eco-conscious Americans. When it comes to the phrase “how to reuse,” a high cost of living may explain the top two results: California took the lead, followed by Hawaii. Washington State, Georgia, and Utah rounded out the top five.

WIND POWER

The East and Midwest breezed to the top for “wind power” searches. Maine, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, and Connecticut displayed the most interest in this unique power source. Maine’s wind power initiative (Wind for ME) helps explain its top spot. Iowa draws a quarter of its electricity from wind, Indiana is an up-and-comer in the wind power sector, and Kansas is second only to Texas in terms of wind power potential. In Connecticut, wind power is a controversial topic: Attempts to construct turbines have met with local opposition, and in 2014, the Supreme Court weighed in to approve wind farms. (This could explain the high volume of searches.)

SOLAR POWER

The top five hotspots for “solar power” searches were Vermont, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii. Vermont is an up-and-coming solar champ, with a 63% increase in money spent on solar installations between 2013 and 2014. In rural Utah and Idaho, where running power lines to some remote locations can be too pricey, solar energy often is an ideal solution. Nevada is home to the most solar jobs per capita. Finally, in Hawaii, almost one in eight homes has installed solar power.

GARDENING

The top four states that searched for the term “how to garden” have something in common: Idaho, South Dakota, Montana, and Utah are all states with low population density. Presumably, that means many residents may have the space to garden.

COMPOSTING

Composting involves diverting kitchen waste from the landfill and instead tossing it into bins (possibly with worms) where it can decompose to become a rich additive to soil. “How to compost” was a popular search among Colorado and Washington residents. Colorado cities, such as Denver and Boulder, provide a great deal of outreach on the topic of composting. Washington State is no surprise, either, as a new policy forces Seattle residents to compost food waste or have it sent to a processing site to avoid warnings and even fines.

ELECTRIC CARS

In a search for “electric cars,” California and Hawaii were first and second respectively. These stats align with the number of electric car owners in the nation as well: As of 2014, approximately 5.5 out of every 1,000 registered vehicles in California were electric, while 4.2 out of every 1,000 registered vehicles in Hawaii were electric.

Check out more of the data they collected and explore some informative infographics from Save on Energy here.

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[ Which is Better for the Environment- A Real or Fake Christmas Tree? ]

Before you know it, Christmas will be here.  That means for many of us, we’ll soon be putting up and treedecorating our Christmas trees.  According to a 2004 poll by ABC News and The Washington Post, approximately 60 percent of Americans set up fake trees for the holidays.  But is that what’s best for the environment?  Well, it turns out in most instances, whether you buy a farm-grown tree or an artificial one doesn’t change how much of an environmental impact you’ll have on the planet.

According to The Weather Channel, what matters is how far you drive to get your evergreen, how you dispose of it and how long you use the artificial tree.

“Consumers should not be concerned about the environmental impact of having a Christmas tree,” Thomas Harman told weather.com. “Compared to their other impacts, it is very tiny.”

Harman is the founder of Balsam Hill, which sells artificial Christmas trees. He’s also on the board of the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA), a nonprofit whose self-proclaimed goal is to educate the public about these holiday flora. Two years ago, the ACTA commissioned a life-cycle analysis study (from an outside organization) to look at both real and artificial options from seedling or oil, as the case may be, to tree.

That fake trees, which are typically made of plastic and end up in landfills, have essentially the same carbon footprint as something from nature is a hard concept for many to wrap their heads around, Harman said. “If you purchase a farm-grown Christmas tree and use it for a year and throw it away, and purchase an artificial and use it for a year and throw it away, then the farm-grown is going to be better. But nobody does that.” Rather, they tend to use it for nearly a decade, on average, typically passing it along for a second life.

The minimal use necessary to make an artificial tree green is about seven years. Use it for three and a real tree is better, Harman said. You should also pay attention to distance driven and greenery disposal, he added. If you’re driving round-trip 60 miles, say, to cut down a tree from a farm but would walk around the corner to purchase your artificial tree, the latter rules. The winner in terms of disposal is composting in your community.

For some people, this issue isn’t quite so gray, with real trees beating out fake ones every time. Rick Dungey is the public relations manager for the National Tree Growers Association, an organization for tree growers. In his mind and in his organization’s position, there’s no question.

“You should always choose a plant over non-biodegradable plastic. A plant is a renewable resource, 100-percent biodegradable and easily recycled,” Dungey told weather.com. “The plastic tree-shape decorations, those are made of non-recyclable, non-degradable plastics and metals. They never decompose. Every one we buy is going to end up in the landfill.”

Harman has an answer for that: “If you use an artificial tree for 10 years, you need 10 trees, and that is 70 years’ worth of growing trees. You have 70 years of water and pesticide consumption. Those have environmental costs, too.”

The bottom line is, don’t fret. If you have an artificial tree, keep it in the family for at least a decade. If you want a real tree, try to get one nearby to where you live and recycle or compost it.

Get the full story from The Weather Channel here.

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[ Badger-Two Medicine: Too sacred to drill ]

“Today’s decision is a turning point in the decades-long fight to protect the Badger-Two Medicine area of Montana.” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “The Interior Department recognizes that the Badger is simply too sacred and too wild to drill.

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[ Badger-Two Medicine: Our partners ]

Badger-Two Medicine: Our partners

Protecting and preserving the Badger-Two Medicine area requires a strong collaboration between the Blackfeet people and local and national conservation groups and political leaders.

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[ Badger-Two Medicine: Work we are doing ]

Badger-Two Medicine: Work we are doing

The Wilderness Society has a long-standing commitment and an impressive track record when it comes to working in this part of Montana.

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