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Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, American household waste increases by more than 25 percent. Trash cans full of holiday food waste, shopping bags, bows and ribbons, packaging, and wrapping paper contribute an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills.
As we celebrate the holidays, it pays to be mindful of sustainable consumption and materials management practices. The Environmental Protection Agency has come up with some creative ways to cut your holiday waste and reduce the strain on our natural environment:
- Less is more. Choose items of value, purpose, and meaning – not destined for a yard sale.
- Give treasure. Pass on a favorite book, plant start, or antique. Check estate sales, flea markets, and resale shops for unique finds.
Give “anti-matter.” Focus on the experience, rather than wrapping and shipping. Share event tickets, museum memberships, gift certificates, or even your time and talents.
- Impart values, not wastefulness. Start a child’s savings account, or make a donation to a favorite charity in the recipient’s name.
- DIY. Handmade food and gifts display your creativity and demonstrate your dedication.
- Consider the source. Choose recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Shop local to support area shops, makers, and artisans while reducing shipping costs and impacts.
- Recharge. Consider rechargeable batteries (and chargers) with electronic gifts.
Use a reusable cloth bag for your purchases. Avoid bags altogether for small or oversized purchases.
- Plan ahead. Consolidate your shopping trips to save time, fuel, and aggravation. You’ll have more time for careful gift choices.
- Rethink the wrap. Reuse maps, comics, newsprint, kid art, or posters as gift wrap. Wrap gifts in recycled paper or a reusable bag. Or skip the gift wrap, hide the gifts, and leaves clues or trails for kids to follow.
- Trim the tree. Consider a potted tree that can be replanted, or a red cedar slated for removal during habitat/farm maintenance.
- Light right. Choose Energy Star energy-efficient lighting. LED outdoor holiday lights use 1/50th the electricity of conventional lights and last 20 to 30 years.
Make it last. Choose and reuse durable service items.
- Keep it simple. For larger gatherings, choose recyclable or compostable service items. All food-soiled paper products are commercially compostable, unless plastic- or foil-coated.
- Reduce. Donate outgrown clothes, old toys, and unwanted gifts.
- Reuse packing and shipping materials. Save ribbons, bows, boxes, bags, and décor for the next holiday.
- Recycle old electronics and batteries with an e-steward.
- Replant, mulch, or compost your live tree. Compost food scraps.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency
Media are reporting that President Trump will arrive Dec. 4 to make the long-expected proclamation, declining either to visit the monuments or consider the sizeable majority of Utah residents who opposed his administration’s punitive review of these and other public lands in the first place.
General operating grants are the Sanctuary’s most important form of support, underwriting all Hawk Mountain conservation science and education programs, visitor services, and Sanctuary operations and maintenance.
The $5,000 funding provided by the PPL Foundation will contribute to the numerous educational events, workshops, and lectures that are provided for members and the public, as well as continued support for ongoing conservation research.
“This type of grant supports everything we do at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, from global training and research to leading school groups to welcoming hikers,” says Director of Development Mary Linkevich. “We couldn’t be more grateful.”
“We at PPL believe in environmental stewardship,” said Carol Obando-Derstine, PPL Electric Utilities’ regional affairs director. “We commend Hawk Mountain for working towards creating lasting change through their educational programs and conservation research, which is why we are pleased to support their efforts. They are also contributing positively to the region by making it a great destination to visit.”
For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary website or call 610-756-6961.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s has introduced riders to the 2018 Senate Interior Appropriations bill would exempt Alaska’s two national forests, the Tongass National Forest and Chugach National Forest, from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
Conservationists say opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling would be forcing wildlife to pay for tax breaks for the rich.
The refuge, known as ANWR, is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and many other animals.
It may also contain billions of barrels of oil that have been off-limits to drillers since 1980.
In an attempt to offset the estimated $1.5 trillion of tax cuts being considered by the U.S. Senate, a provision has been added to allow selling leases for drilling in part of the refuge.
It’s a move David Imgrund, an outreach consultant for the National Wildlife Federation, says would put some of the nation’s most important wildlife habitat at risk.
“I don’t think this is a good bargain for the wildlife,” he states. “I don’t think this is a good bargain for the American people.
“I feel this is a shortsighted, short-term fix for a problem that can be fixed in so many other ways. ”
Imgrund says among the species at risk are migratory birds that spend part of their year in Pennsylvania.
Supporters of drilling say technological advances make it possible to drill safely with minimal environmental impact.
But Imgrund points to the recent leak of more than 200,000 gallons of oil from the hotly contested Keystone XL pipeline as an example of risks he says are inevitable.
“There is no way to make sure that something doesn’t happen,” he states. “They will happen. And it’s devastating anywhere it happens, but it would be extremely devastating in such a fragile arctic ecosystem.”
Opponents of the drilling also argue that the oil simply isn’t needed.
The U.S. is on track to be a net exporter of energy by 2026, and Imgrund notes that renewables such as wind and solar are rapidly replacing fossil fuels.
“In 10 years, when we’ve actually reduced our appetite for oil and carbon even more, people will look back and say, ‘Why did we do this?'” he states.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to bring the tax reform bill to the Senate floor shortly after senators return from the Thanksgiving holiday.
-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection
The Public Utility Commission Tuesday encouraged consumers to add electric and natural gas shopping to their Black Friday “To Do” lists, and offered its “Top Five” list of tips for energy savings and shopping.
“With winter on our doorstep, now is a good time for consumers to review their energy bills and explore ways to reduce both usage and costs,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “That includes taking time to shop for their electric and natural gas supply, both of which can be easily done using PUC websites from the convenience and comfort of their homes.”
Chairman Brown encouraged consumers to visit the PUC’s PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com websites for detailed information about energy shopping and current offers from various energy suppliers, and provided a “Top Five” list of Black Friday tips for consumers, including: Shop for Energy Offers; Consider Conservation and Energy Efficiency; Ask for Assistance; Monitor Energy Bills; Report Problems; and Shopping for Energy.
Read more from PA Environment Digest here.