Sustainability
Give A Shit About Nature's Sustainability Content

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On Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a panel which called itself “Fake climate news camouflaging an anti-capitalist agenda—and what President Trump plans to do about it,” made some pretty interesting claims about the environmental movement.

The panel was organized by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, which is a group completely funded by the coal industry.

According to this panel, the only goal of environmentalism is to obtain more power, climate change is “fake news,” air pollution doesn’t kill anyone,  recycling is “pretty useless,” and the government corrupts science by “paying for the science it wants.”

There’s a lot to unpack there, I know.

But it’s not all just a bunch of right wing bluster; the Energy and Environment Legal Institute’s legal counsel, David Schnare, is on Trump’s team for the EPA.

The full panel discussion can be watched here. It’s pretty brutal.


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Ever since Trump started forcing through pipelines and rolling back regulations that protect the environment, environmentalists have had to face down a two-dimensional, tired argument:

“Well, if you don’t like pipelines, stop driving your car!”

“If you care about nature so much, stop using polluting electricity!”

“Your computer is made out of plastic you know!”

The worst is when it’s self-identified environmentalists trying to shame others for fighting environmental destruction. Here’s the thing:

It’s fucking bullshit, you’re not clever, and you’re not helping anything.

More than anything, fossil fuel companies, industries that pollute, and the politicians funded by their dirty money want you to believe that it’s either their way or live in an uncomfortable off-grid yurt in the wilderness. And when you take this cheap shot at people who love nature, you play right into the hands of the world’s worst people.

It is up to us to consider the things we do in our daily lives that have an impact on the environment. Don’t let the personal action you take be scrutinized by trolls on Facebook. But it’s also up to us to hold those we give money and votes accountable for their actions.

Don’t get distracted by attempts to paint you as a hypocrite for loving the planet you live on. It’s all a manipulation.

Don’t stop fighting for clean air and clean water. Don’t stop fighting for innovations that make your impact less harmful. Don’t let trolls gaslight you.


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A new poll out from Quinnipiac University has found that a total of 61% of Americans oppose Trump’s rolling back of regulations that keep our air and water clean as well as combat climate change. 29% support the rollback.

The same poll found that 50% of Americans oppose reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, while only 40% support.

Regardless of public opinion being against environmental deregulation, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have launched an assault on any regulation that seeks to keep the environment healthy.

The big question is: will the public remember this when it comes time to vote again in 2018 and 2020 or will they continue to reward the same bad behavior that they oppose? Only time will tell. If you aren’t registered to vote or need to update your voter registration to a new state or address, click here.

The poll surveyed more than 1,100 voters across the country and had a margin of error of +/- 2.9%.


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We hear a lot about oil spills from pipelines and drilling platforms, but we don’t hear all that much about fracking spills. Do they simply not happen all that frequently? Not exactly. States don’t standardize their data on spills, meaning we don’t hear much about them and steps aren’t usually taken to prevent them.

Which brings us to a study conducted by the SNAP Partnership. The study examined available data from four states, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Colorado, and found that in the last decade, there have been over 6,600 spills in just those four states.

But the data itself is fuzzy. For example, in Colorado and New Mexico, a spill only has to be reported if it’s more than 210 gallons. In North Dakota, a spill has to be at least 42 gallons.

What the study found was that there are about 55 fracking spills for every 1,000 unconventional oil and gas wells. The most common spills didn’t have a cause listed. The data states catalog about these spills is spotty and often incomplete, making it difficult for citizens and stakeholders to know the risk of these operations.

This study doesn’t just illustrate the need for more safety measures, but the need for standardized data collection about these spills. The public is being largely left in the dark about it.


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California is fed-the-fuck-up with all this climate change fossil fuel dirty energy bullshit, that much is clear. They’ve been a leader on the renewable energy and carbon-reduction front for years. And in the age of Trump, they’re pulling no punches.

California Senate leader Kevin de Léon has introduced a bill that aims to make California 100% renewable energy-powered by 2045. 50% of their power must come from renewable energy by 2025, 5 years earlier than the current mandate.

California has some good company. Individual cities, tired of inaction from their state and federal governments, have begun pledging to reach the 100% renewable mark. Pueblo, Colorado and Moab, Utah pledged to go 100% renewable.

Nevada also recently moved to join California by proposing an 80% renewable energy grid by 2040. Nevada assemblyman Chris Brooks proposed AB 206, which mandates 80% renewable power instead of the current 22%. That’s quite the leap!

Massachusetts got even more aggressive by proposing a similar bill for 100% renewable energy by 2035.

Do you think they can do it?


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Trump’s new Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao (Senator Mitch McConnell’s wife) has moved to end funding for a major infrastructure project in California to expand high-speed rail in the Bay Area. The federal government had promised $647 million.

The state of California already invested $150 million into the project set to break ground in less than 2 weeks, and most if not all of that money will be lost.

California’s governor Jerry Brown has been an outspoken critic of Trump, drawing the president’s ire in tweet form on more than one occasion. Trump has even suggested “defunding” California, whatever that means.

This may be the first of many federal programs for California that Trump will kill over petty politics.

While running for president, Donald Trump promised to double down and invest in American infrastructure, creating good-paying, permanent jobs. I guess this is just one more broken campaign promises. Add it to the growing list.


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Since the beginning of the year, South Carolina, Kansas, Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire, and Tennessee have all proposed legislation that would require electric vehicle drivers to pay an additional fee each year for exercising their right to drive an electric car.

Of course, this isn’t really a fee. It’s a tax on doing the right thing.

Wyoming, Colorado, Virginia, Nebraska, Washington, Missouri, North Carolina, Idaho, Georgia, and Michigan already charge electric vehicle owners annual taxes ranging from $50-$300.

Much of this legislation has come from the American Legislative Exchange Council, a pro-everything-awful legislation writing organization funded by the Koch brothers and other billionaires.

Proponents argue that the fees help make up for gasoline taxes, but the gas taxes we have don’t even adequately fund infrastructure projects. What’s clear is that oil companies, by way of ALEC, simply want to punish EV owners.

Instead of taxing electric car owners, we should be encouraging them with rebates. In Georgia, you used to be able to get a tax credit of up to $5,000 for purchasing an electric car. Since they replaced that program with a $200 yearly tax, EV sales dropped 80%.

This is all just another attempt by big oil to slow the inevitable. Electric cars are the future whether they like it or not.


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When we think about resource conservation, usually we focus on how to save energy. Water is something most of us take for granted, yet it’s our most precious resource. There are a lot of things you can do to save water and a few bucks in the process.

1. Install a faucet aerator.

The .5 gallon per minute faucet aerator is the most potent water saving device in the conservationist’s toolbox. For the average family, it conserves 18,000 gallons of water, saving around $100 per year. They’re simple to install and the savings start immediately. When I retrofitted my bathroom sink, I noticed a $10/month saving right off the bat.

You can pick one up here. They’re only $5 – a pretty solid investment.

2. Watch for drips.

You might see a drip and not really think much of it, but a dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day – over 7,000 gallons a year! If you see a drip, get out your wrench, replace washers, use Teflon tape – whatever it takes.

3. Use water wisely.

Changing your habits can have a pretty profound impact on your water use. I used to take 15 minute showers, but I found I can get the job done in about 5-7 minutes and save a lot of water and money in the process. Give it a try!

4. Ditch the lawn.

Grass is one of the most ridiculous uses of water I can think of. It doesn’t actually produce anything. It’s just kinda nice to sit on. Consider ripping it out and planting water hardier plants like clover, which also double as food for bees. If you live in a desert, xeriscaping is a great option.

5. Save your gray water.

Gray water is typically non-potable water that can be used for other purposes. One way I harvest gray water is by letting my shower run into a bucket while the water heats up. I then use that water to flush my toilet. You can do this with water used in the dishwasher or the sink as well.


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You only have to know one thing to be able to see clearly what’s going on here: oil is a finite resource. All fossil fuels are finite resources. So it makes sense that Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, is working desperately to get away from oil use.

The Middle Eastern nation, known for its oil production and disgusting human rights violations, has begun a $50 billion push for renewable energy to decrease their demand for oil while meeting growing demands for energy.

This money will go into building more solar, wind, and nuclear power plants in an attempt to diversify not just how they produce energy, but income for the restive country’s government.

Two huge solar projects are being rolled out. The first, in the Al Jouf province, is a 300-megawatt solar farm. The second is a 400-megawatt wind farm in the Tabuk province.

Many audacious thinkers have tried to pinpoint when “peak oil,” the moment where oil production can no longer increase, is going to happen. Some argue it already has and that the world’s governments are simply hiding it well.

You could look at this news and think maybe that’s the case. It’s hard to know for sure. What we can know for sure is that oil is a finite resource and Saudi Arabia’s investment is a smart one. Every nation needs to follow suit.


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Officials in Pennsylvania have confirmed that an earthquake that took place northwest of Pittsburgh last year is a direct result of fracking. Of course, it’s not the first. Another study found that 77 quakes in Oklahoma were caused by natural gas drilling.

“At least within Pennsylvania, this is the first time that we have seen that sort of spatial and temporal correlation with [oil and gas] operator activity,” says chief of well-plugging and subsurface activities for DEP’s oil and gas management program Seth Pelepko.

“There were no faults identified along portions of the well bore where these seismic events were detected,” he continued.

Once DEP alerted the well’s owner, Hilcorp, they shut down the well immediately.

This well is one of 10,000 “unconventional wells” that have been drilled into Pennsylvania. DEP has ordered Hilcorp to stop “zipper fracturing,” a shale gas extraction method, entirely due to the quakes.

Earthquakes are without a doubt one of the more alarming proven side effects of fracking, aside from exacerbating climate change and ruining the land. More and more, communities are moving to ban fracking. How long will it be before we end the practice entirely?


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