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[1THING] Blog: Archive for February, 2016

[ Leonardo Dicaprio’s Oscar Speech About Climate Change ]

At the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony, held Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Leonardo Dicaprio took home his first Oscar.  He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant.   During his acceptance speech, Dicaprio, an ardent environmental activist, used The Revenant‘s extreme filming conditions to talk about climate change:

“Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in reported history — our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.  Climate change is real.  It is happening right now.  It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.  We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters and the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this.  For our children’s children.  And for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.  I thank you all for this amazing award tonight.  Let us not take this planet for granted, I do not take this night for granted.”

Earlier this year, Dicaprio received a Crystal Award, which celebrates the achievements of leading artists who have shown exemplary commitments to improving the state of the world, at the World Economic Forum.  He also pledged “$15 million in new commitments” from his foundation “to fast-track cutting-edge sustainability and conservation projects around the world.”

Jenny Beavan, who won best costume design for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” also spoke about the environment during her acceptance speech:

“I just want to say one quite serious thing, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but actually it could be horribly prophetic, ‘Mad Max,’ if we’re not kinder to each other, and if we don’t stop polluting our atmosphere, so you know, it could happen.”

The speeches weren’t the only platforms used to focus on the climate:

Sophie Turner, one of the stars of HBO’s Game of Thrones, walked the red carpet in a gown from the UK brand Galvan that was green in more ways than just the color.  Sophie and the designers at Galvan teamed up with the Red Carpet Green Dress Initiative to create an eco-friendly garment. The piece was described as “an ethically-made” crepe dress with a built-in corset and Swarovski crystal details.  You can see a photo of the dress here.

Actress and supermodel Lily Cole(The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Snow White and the Huntsman) donned a Vivienne Westwood creation made from recycled plastic bottles.  Check out the photo here.

Michael Fassbender, nominated for his role in Steve Jobs, wore a black grain de poudre tuxedo designed exclusively by Tom Ford for the Green Carpet Challenge, a movement co-founded by Eco-Age creative director Livia Firth to raise the profile of ethical fashion on the red carpet.  See it here.

 

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[ A Solution for Plastic Pollution in NYC ]

A Solution for Plastic Pollution in NYC

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polandeze/Flickr

 

Guest post by Will von Geldern of EarthShare of New York member charity New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (NYLCVEF)

Since their creation in the 1960s, plastic bags have plagued cities. Despite their supposed usefulness, their proliferation has interfered with the wellbeing of ecosystems and municipal functioning – so much so, in fact, that the United Nations has called for an effort to stop producing them. Because the damage done by plastic bags greatly outweighs the benefits, some cities have sought to either tax their usage or ban them altogether. Can New York City follow suit?

A Nuisance for Animals and Humans Alike

Plastic bags first arrived on the scene in the 1960s when petrochemical companies sought a use for the by-products of natural gas. Swedish inventor Sten Thulin first filed a patent for bag material in 1962, and though the public remained reticent to accept the new product, by the 1980s they became a cheap alternative to paper bags. At the time, many saw the use of plastic bags as a means of avoiding the destruction of trees that paper bags entailed.

In the decades since, plastic bags have had an obvious, detrimental effect on the environment. Because they do not biodegrade, plastic bags have immense longevity, taking as long as a millennium to break down in landfills. They can choke animals, and waterborne bags have carried invasive species to new areas. Because animals cannot digest plastic bags, an ingested bag can kill or interfere with their bodies’ functioning.

In cities, sanitation departments struggle to pick up all the bags that flutter in the wind, and even if properly discarded, plastic bags can follow air currents, spreading them across large areas. Although in theory people can reuse plastic bags, the world goes through more than a trillion annually. In New York City, so many plastic bags get disposed of improperly that it interferes with regular recycling.

What Have Other Cities Done?

With New York currently weighing the options of banning or taxing the use of plastic bags, policymakers have looked to other parts of the country for guidance.

Most notably, California moved to ban the bags statewide until a petition by trade groups forced the measure to go to a vote in 2016. In Chicago, an attempted ban ended in disappointment when retailers utilized a loophole in the law to continue using bags. The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson in New York, meanwhile, faced a lawsuit in response to its attempt at a ban.

In Washington D.C., by contrast, the implementation of a five-cent tax per bag cut the number of single-use bags from 22.5 million monthly to just three million, and all while raising $2.5 million for other environmental efforts. For this reason, some have argued that fees have a better chance of success than outright bans.

To Fee or Not to Fee

The question of whether to ban bags completely, or simply tax them, has remained a contentious discussion. The sweeping nature of a complete ban, as evidenced by the current controversy in California, makes it a somewhat impractical option.

By contrast, a 10-cent bag fee would cut down on their use immensely without running afoul of industry advocates. Further, as seen in Washington, D.C., the revenues accrued from the endeavor would help to fund other environmental initiatives.

Attempts on the other side of the Atlantic have shown similar successes for the tax model. In both Wales and Ireland, fees for plastic bag use cut their prevalence down by 96 percent and 90 percent, respectively. For this reason, NYLCVEF has advocated for a fee in New York City and will continue to do so in communities across the state.

Learn more:

Cities Winning Against Plastic Bag Pollution, EarthShare

Plastic Bag Bans and Fees, Surfrider Foundation

The DC Bag Fee Is Cleaning Up the Anacostia River, Anacostia Watershed Society

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[ Protecting wild places helps public health in the Arctic ]

For the first time since the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska was established in 1923, a company is producing oil in the w

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[ Rep. Labrador’s bill would cede public lands to extractive industries ]

Michael Reinemer

One bill (H.R. 2316) is sponsored by Idaho’s Rep.

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[ Autopublish Test ]

Autopublish Test

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[ “Sportsmen’s” Act would erode bedrock conservation laws and policies ]

Michael Reinemer

“The Wilderness Society, along with numerous other national conservation groups, opposes H.R. 2406, ‘Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015,’” said Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for The Wilderness Society.

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[ House considers devastating public lands takeover bills ]

A hearing hosted on Feb. 25 by the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands showcased legislation that would severely undermine national public lands, elevating industrial uses over the conservation and protection of our parks, refuges, and forests.

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[ Comments for House Subcommittee on Federal Lands ]

Feb 24, 2016

The Wilderness Society writes to express views on the legislation being considered in the Subcommittee on Federal Lands on Feb. 25, specifically H.R. 2316, H.R. 3650 and H.R. 4579.

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[ Test Banner Page ]

Test Banner Page

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[ Liz Putnam, founder of Student Conservation Association, receives high honor from The Wilderness Society ]

Michael Reinemer

The award is the organization’s highest honor bestowed on one person each year who has never held public office but has had notable influence upon conservation and the fostering of an American land ethic.

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