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Media advisory for Nov 16: Diverse outdoor groups ask Secretary Zinke to “walk the talk” on public lands

Michael Reinemer

Telephone Press Conference Thursday, November 16, 2017 – 1 pm ET, 11 am MT, 10 am PT


How Much Food Do You Really Need For Thanksgiving Dinner?

According to the New York Post, Americans throw away roughly $165 billion in uneaten food every year, dreamstime_xs_57983005according to government data. And about $277 million of that waste will happen during Thanksgiving.

Food waste causes severe damage to the world around us, so this year plan your Thanksgiving meal using SAVETHEFOOD.com.  You can estimate how much food you really need to buy based on the amount of guests you’ll be having for your Thanksgiving feast.  Enter the appropriate data and you’ll have enough food to keep your guests happy and full!

Get started here.

Your City Can Go Straw-Free Like Seattle

Your City Can Go Straw-Free Like Seattle


Max Pixel

Straws are one of the most common items found during beach cleanups. It’s not hard to understand why: Americans use over 500 million straws every day. And a large portion of those straws end up floating in the ocean’s giant garbage patches, or eaten by animals. An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs.

When it comes to plastic pollution, straws are low-hanging fruit: they’re usually offered by restaurants out of habit more than need. All we need is a cultural shift to reduce straw use and luckily, we’re already making progress.

In September, Seattle became the first major city to ban plastic straws. By next summer, the city won’t allow restaurants and other businesses to offer plastic straws to patrons. Many are already making the switch. The move in Seattle alone is expected to save as many as one million straws per month.

Banning plastic straws is a great idea for cities that have already seen much success banning and taxing plastic bags.

Seattle was supported in its new law by the environmental group Lonely Whale Foundation. Building on Seattle's example, Lonely Whale now wants to ban straws in other cities through its #StopSucking campaign.

Do you want to bring #StopSucking to your city? There are several ways to get involved.

First, place your vote for the next cities you want to see ban plastic straws.

Second, accept and challenge someone else to #stopsucking through social media. Visit Lonely Whale to learn how.

Third, get your favorite bar, restaurant, or coffee shop to #stopsucking by sending them this toolkit for managers.

At the very least, get in the habit of telling your server “No plastic straw, please!” before you order a beverage, And be ready to tell them why.


Learn more:

Rise Above Plastics, Surfrider Foundation
Seattle Stopped Sucking—So Can You, Sierra Club 
Cities Winning Against Plastic Bag Pollution, EarthShare

PA Trump Supporters Want National Monuments Protected

Most Trump voters in Pennsylvania think the president is doing a good job, but when it comes to protecting national monuments they have a sharply different opinion.

The president has announced that he wants to reduce the size of two national monuments that span millions of acres of wilderness in Utah. Others he’d like to open to commercial fishing, mining and grazing.

But according to David Kochel, co-founder of RABA Research, its survey of Trump voters in Pennsylvania found that 90 percent of them support preserving the size and number of monuments, or creating even more.

“The voters on the one hand support President Trump and on the other hand take a set of issues like this and say, ‘Well, that’s not exactly what I thought I was going to get or what I had in mind,'” Kochel states.

Polling of Trump voters in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin produced similar results.

Supporters of the president’s plan say it would help the economy by boosting industries.

But Kochel points out that more than 70 percent of those polled have visited one or more national monuments or parks such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty – and they see them as symbols of national pride.

“The ethos is very much America first,” he stresses. “We’re going to preserve our heritage, we’re going to preserve our monuments and our lands.

“They take a lot of pride in things that are uniquely American.”

Kochel adds that, even in these politically polarized times, support for national monuments is leading to coalitions that cut across the left-right divide.

A report by the president’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, proposed reducing the size of several national monuments and opening more for commercial extraction.

With midterm elections coming up next year, Kochel suggests this is an issue that could influence voters.

“It is something that voters would act on and it might spell a bit of trouble for some candidates who want to pursue policies like Secretary Zinke has talked about,” he points out.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

Children Sue to Stop Climate Change

The federal government is ignoring the threats to life on this planet presented by climate change – that’s the claim of a lawsuit against Trump administration officials. The suit was filed in federal court in Philadelphia this week, on behalf of the Clean Air Council and two Pennsylvania children.

According to Joseph Minott, executive director and chief counsel of the Council, when Donald Trump became president, he took on the responsibility of protecting future generations from the effects of global climate change. But his executive orders and the actions of his appointed administrators are going in the opposite direction.

“They are using ‘junk science’ to undo environmental protections that were created to protect public health and the environment,” he challenges. “And that, we feel, is unconstitutional.”

President Trump has called climate change a hoax and has spearheaded a new emphasis on the development of fossil fuels, including coal and oil.

Trump is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, but Minott points out that the president isn’t acting alone.

“The people that he’s appointing in very sensitive positions are the ones that will develop the rules and regulations going forward that will impact public health and the environment,” he explains.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry also are named as defendants.

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the administration from taking actions that would be likely to increase what it terms the life-threatening effects of climate change. Minott says the real science is well established.

“You don’t have a choice as to whether you want to believe it or not believe it,” he says. “And all regulations developed, all policies developed, should keep in mind the impact this will have on future generations.”

Last week, the National Climate Assessment was released, reinforcing the scientific consensus that human activity is the dominant contributor to climate change.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

How Will You Celebrate America Recycles Day Nov. 15?

aaDid you know when you recycle one aluminum can enough energy is saved to power a laptop for 5.2 hours? Celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15 and learn about the power of recycling.
America Recycles Day recognizes the benefits of recycling while providing an educational platform that helps raise awareness about the value of reducing, reusing and recycling – every day – throughout the year.
To celebrate, you can–
— Hold an event in your area to educate your community on the benefits of recycling.
— Attend An America Recycles Day Event near you.
— Take the Recycling Pledge to find out about recycling in your community, reduce the amount of waste you use and buy products made with recycled content.
“Keep America Beautiful is determined to end littering, improve recycling, reduce waste, and beautify America’s communities,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. America Recycles Day is a key fall initiative to educate, motivate, and activate individuals and entire communities to better understand what to place in recycling bins and the many environmental, economic, and social benefits of recycling.”
America Recycles Day is an educational program of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful helps promote the initiative in the Commonwealth.
Visit the America Recycles Day website for more information and ideas for setting up events.
For more information about recycling in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s Recycling webpage or contact your County Recycling Coordinator.
Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s new Electronics Waste website.

5 reasons Election Day 2017 was a win for climate action

A year after Donald Trump won the presidency, the electoral backlash has arrived – and it’s good news for the environment.


Murkowski bill to drill the Arctic Refuge released

Tony Iallonardo

In response to today’s release of a bill making the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain available for leasing, The Wilderness Society issued the following statement from Alaska Regional Director, Nicole Whittington-Evans:


Prepare Now For Your Cold-Weather Energy Bills

As part of its 15th year of “Prepare Now” education efforts, the Public Utility Commission Thursday urged utilities to help Pennsylvania consumers who may struggle with the cost of cold-weather energy bills.

The PUC’s 2017 Prepare Now campaign continues the focus on educating consumers about the availability of low-income programs; increasing awareness of ways to reduce winter heating costs; educating consumers on energy conservation; encouraging consumers to check electric and natural gas bills and supplier contracts; and informing consumers about PAPowerSwitch.com and PAGasSwitch.com as resources to shop for energy suppliers and learn more about efficiency and conservation measures.

Read the full story from PA Environment Digest here.

Sustainable Seafood At Your Favorite Restaurant

Oceana recently posted an article about Smart Catch: A program from the James Beard Foundation that educates dreamstime_xs_101415995chefs about ocean-friendly seafood:

Smart Catch began two years ago in Seattle, as the brainchild of Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen, in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation and the nonprofit FishChoice, which connects seafood buyers to sustainable suppliers. The program was Seattle-based and included about 60 chefs until this summer, when it expanded nationally. Now, more than 300 chefs are involved.

Any professional chef can join Smart Catch, to help his or her restaurant become more sustainable. It’s free online through the FishChoice website. Every three months, chefs submit information about the seafood they serve, where and how each species was caught and how much of each they buy. Then FishChoice assesses each restaurant based on recommendations from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Chefs can talk with a sustainable seafood expert to identify problems with their menu and find alternatives. Essentially, it’s a green audit.

Read the full story from Oceana here.