SOLAR VIDEOS

Solar DIY Videos on YouTube

DIY Boat Solar Power Solution for LED Lighting

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 12:06 AM

M101 DIY SOLAR PANEL KIT

Fri, 05/9/2014 - 08:14 AM

DIY 15$ 40w Solar Panel

Mon, 05/5/2014 - 12:28 AM

DIY Portable Solar Panel Stand for $10

Mon, 05/5/2014 - 12:10 AM

Homemade Solar Panels Diy tutorial

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 02:12 AM

Solar panel install to SkyMax grid tie inverter DIY How To

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 07:36 AM

Make Solar Panels DIY | Build Wind Turbines Tutorial | How to Build Solar and Wind Energy System

Wed, 03/5/2014 - 07:55 AM

Make Solar Panel at Home | How to Build Solar Panels DIY | Learn to Make Your Own Solar Panels

Wed, 03/5/2014 - 07:14 AM

The DIY World Installing Solar Panels On A Home In Australia PT4

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 10:37 AM

The DIY World Installing Solar Panels On A Home In Australia PT3

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 11:11 PM

Solar Panels - How it Works YouTube Videos

How Solar Power Solar Panels Work by SolarCity mp4

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 07:15 PM

Solar Panel Systems for Beginners - Pt 1 How It Works & How To Set Up

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 05:34 PM

How Solar Panels Work - Aztec Renewable Energy

Thu, 05/15/2014 - 03:03 PM

How Do Solar Panels Work? Bonus! Simple trick to increase your solar output power

Wed, 05/7/2014 - 05:46 AM

[solar energy how it works] Solar Energy 101 - How Solar Panels Work

Tue, 05/6/2014 - 03:43 AM

How Solar Panels Work - Uses The Sun To Create Free Electricity MP4 2

Mon, 05/5/2014 - 04:38 PM

[solar energy for home] How Solar Panels Work

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 12:28 PM

Solar Cell :: How it Works?

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 02:25 AM

Solar Cell System - Solar Cell How It Works

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 03:54 AM

How solar panels work 2

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 12:07 AM

Solar Projects In Google News

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Brewster

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 04:07 PM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email · print. 
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Wellfleet

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 02:00 AM

. But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh  
 

Cape Solar Projects all wraapped up ... - Wicked Local Truro

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 01:53 AM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email print 
 

Georgia Power price plan rattles solar developers - Northwest Georgia News

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 08:06 PM

The latest conflict focuses on how much Georgia Power should pay developers who build small- and medium-sized solar projects. Right now, those projects compete in a lottery to sell their energy to Georgia Power at a fixed cost of 13 cents per kilowatt  
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up ... - Wicked Local Wellfleet

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 06:19 AM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email print.
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Provincetown

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 05:51 AM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email · print. 
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Mashpee

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 05:50 AM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email · print. 
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Harwich

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 02:17 AM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email · print. 
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Orleans

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 02:17 AM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email · print. 
 

Cape solar projects all wrapped up - Wicked Local Cape Cod

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:37 PM

But as of Aug. 29, all the construction work on 17 Round II projects was complete, thanks to G & S Solar Installers of New York and Fishbach and Moore of Boston who did the electric work. It's not quite the seventh day but CVEC can rest. email · print. 
 
 

California Solar Projects In Google News

California set to approve one tower for Palen solar project - The Desert Sun

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 02:25 AM

The California Energy Commission is set to approve the controversial Palen solar project — a dramatic reversal for the proposed 500-megawatt concentrated solar development, which seemed destined for failure less than a year ago. The energy commission  
 

University of California Makes Big Commitment to Solar - PV Solar Report

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 07:53 PM

The project has further benefits. It allows Frontier Renewables to consider education partnerships with UC researchers and students, such as research access to solar fields, the creation of a field station on the project site, internships, technology
 

Google invests $145 million in new 82MW Southern California solar power plant - 9 to 5 Google

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 06:26 PM

Google has agreed to invest $145 million in a 82MW solar power plant project in Kern County, California. Set on top of a former gas and oil field, the 737-acre facility will be loaded with over 248,000 SunEdison mono-crystalline solar PV modules. Once Google Inc. (GOOGL), Sunedison Inc. (SUNE) Impacting People's Life Through Tech InsiderGoogle invests in California solar power plantCharlotte Observerall 42  
 

Google invests $145 million in Kern County solar project - Los Angeles Times

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 05:07 PM

ThinkProgress
SunEdison Inc. is building the Lamont, Calif., solar farm project, known as Regulus, for Maryland-based TerraForm Power Inc., which owns and operates solar power plants throughout the world. SunEdison owns a majority stake in TerraForm, which said its Abandoned California Oil And Gas Field Will Soon Be A Solar FarmThinkProgressGoogle invests $145 million in new 82MW Southern California solar power plant9 to 5 GoogleGoogle Inc. (GOOGL), Sunedison Inc. (SUNE) Impacting People's Life Through Tech InsiderZacks.com -SouthtownStarall 86  
 

Google Inc. (GOOGL), Sunedison Inc. (SUNE) Impacting People's Life Through ... - Tech Insider

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 03:06 PM

Solar Novus Today
Google Inc. (GOOGL), Sunedison Inc. (SUNE) Impacting People's Life Through The investment deal with Sunedison Inc. (NYSE:SUNE) will also help to support the state of California's quest to increase the amount of clean energy in the area through alternative sources, such as solar and wind energy. The Regulus solar project is Google invests in California solar power plantCharlotte Observerall 34  
 

Google Invests In California Solar Power Plant Built On Old Oil Field - Huffington Post

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 02:23 PM

9 to 5 Google
It is the 17th renewable energy project Google has invested in. It has committed to investing than $1.5 billion in projects around the country, the Mountain View, California-based company said. Shares of SunEdison, based in St. Peters, Missouri Google invests $145 million in new 82MW Southern California solar power plant9 to 5 GoogleGoogle Inc. (GOOGL), Sunedison Inc. (SUNE) Impacting People's Life Through Tech Insiderall 52  
 

Google invests in California solar power plant - Charlotte Observer

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:12 PM

Solar Novus Today
The plant will be fitted with nearly 250,000 SunEdison solar panels and generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes. Google said the project will bring 650 jobs to the area. SunEdison Inc. expects the plant to be operational later this year and supply Google invests in SunEdison solar power plantSTLtoday.comSunEdison Announces Google's Execution of $145M Investmentin in Co BenzingaGoogle Invests $145 Million in SunEdison and TerraForm's Regulus Solar ProjectSolar Novus Todayall 16  
 

Google invests in California solar power plant - U-T San Diego

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:49 PM

reNews
It is the 17th renewable energy project Google has invested in. It has committed to investing than $1.5 billion in projects around the country, the Mountain View, California-based company said. Shares of SunEdison, based in St. Peters, Missouri SunEdison Announces Google's Execution of $145M Investmentin in Co Benzingaall 6  
 

University of California System Makes Largest Solar Energy Purchase in US - University Herald

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 08:58 PM

The two Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed with Frontier Renewables will provide solar energy to UC for 25 years. At the same time, the University will supply 206,000 megawatt-hours per year (MWh/year) of solar energy to California's electrical grid. 
 

First Solar starts construction on 250 MW Silver State South PV plant in Primm ... - solarserver.com

Mon, 09/8/2014 - 05:27 AM

ValueWalk
On September 3rd, 2014 federal, state and local leaders joined executives from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, Southern California Edison and First Solar, Inc., to break ground on the Silver State South Solar Project, a 250 Megawatt (MW) solar Work Begins on Massive Solar Power Plant in NevadaDailyFinanceThree solar projects totaling 480 MW planned for NevadaPlattsFirst Solar, Inc. Begins Development Of $1B Plant In NevadaValueWalkReno Gazette Journalall 94  
 
 

New Jersey Solar Projects In Google News

Waterfront value - San Diego Source (subscription)

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 08:29 PM

SEATTLE -- Waterfront home values in San Diego County were worth 240.7 percent than those as little as 200 feet farther inland, according a new Zillow (Nasdaq: Z) report. The report stated that at mid-year 2014, the median price of a resold  
 

Is a Solar Development Boom About to Begin in Texas? - Greentech Media

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 10:14 AM

Under this approach, industrial and commercial customers may choose to buy their power directly from solar projects. This is a new market in Texas, made possible by the declining cost of solar. It is not clear how big this of a “solar boom” in west  
 

Heat ups fire risk - San Diego Source (subscription)

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 09:18 PM

(AP) -- Forecasters say a heat wave building across Southern California will elevate fire danger through early next week. The National Weather Service said temperatures will edge upward to around 100 degrees in warmest areas Friday and the peak of the  
 

Wind Turbines Outperforming Expectations at Honda Transmission Plant - EarthTechling

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 03:38 PM

The Company also provides full sales and service to smaller, on-site wind and solar projects through its Juhl Renewable Energy Systems division. Offering innovative products, financial stability, and a commitment to customer service, the company is  
 

Wind Turbines Outperforming Expectations at Honda Transmission Plant - EIN News (press release)

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 05:56 PM

The Company also provides full sales and service to smaller, on-site wind and solar projects through its Juhl Renewable Energy Systems division. Offering innovative products, financial stability, and a commitment to customer service, the company is  
 

Utilities: Partner with companies like Bloom or watch them take your top customers - Smart Grid News

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 12:10 PM

Roughly two-thirds of all rooftop solar installations are owned by a third party such as a solar leasing company. Exelon subsidiary Constellation Energy already develops, owns and operates distributed energy and distributed solar projects for retail
 

Freeholders to ratify union contract Wednesday - New Jersey Herald

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 03:59 AM

While the specifics of the session were not detailed, the motion to go into executive session states it is for “certain matters relating to Sussex County Solar Projects financed through the Morris County Improvement Authority which involve matters
 

N.C. slips in solar ranking, forecast to remain in top five for 2014 - Charlotte Business Journal (blog)

Mon, 09/8/2014 - 08:46 PM

Massachusetts and New Jersey ranked ahead of the state this quarter based entirely on strong showings in those smaller markets. The 35 megawatts installed in North Carolina, all at utility-scale solar farms, was not a particularly strong showing for
 

OCI Solar Power firing up three new Texas solar projects - SYS-CON Media (press release)

Thu, 09/4/2014 - 01:30 PM

OCI Solar Power's portfolio includes projects in San Antonio, New Jersey and Georgia. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140903/142620. SOURCE OCI Solar Power. Published September 4, 2014. Copyright © 2014 SYS-CON Media, Inc. — All  
 

LG Electronics to Supply 24 Megawatts of Panels to Borrego Solar - Businessweek

Wed, 09/3/2014 - 11:20 AM

The North American unit of LG Electronics Inc. (066570), the world's second-largest television maker, agreed to supply Borrego Solar Systems Inc. with 24 megawatts of solar panels through 2015. Closely held Borrego Solar, based in San Diego, plans to  
 
 

Colorado Solar Projects In Google News

Short Sellers Retreat From Advanced Energy Industries, Inc., First Solar, Inc ... - Benzinga

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:31 PM

The Colorado-based company has a market capitalization near $750 million. Its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is greater The largest U.S. solar panel maker is developing about 250 megawatts of solar projects in Japan. It has a market capitalization  
 

Enphase Energy Joins Philanthropic Partnership with Brian D. Robertson Fund ... - AltEnergyMag (press release)

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:12 PM

PETALUMA, Calif.--Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH), announced today a charitable partnership with the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund (BDR Fund) to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in over 25 schools across the nation at the 
 

Enphase Helps Bring Solar to the Classroom with Charitable Partnership - PV Solar Report (press release)

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 08:26 PM

Enphase Energy has been in the news a lot recently. Its partnership with Vivint helps ensure a large market base for its inverters, while its partnership with Technology Credit Corp. offers financing options to customers. The newest partnership for  
 

Drilling, land rules top County Commission debate - The Durango Herald

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:09 AM

Blake also owns a company that installs large-scale solar projects throughout the Southwest. Roebuck is a land-use County commissioners earn $72,500 annually, and the position can be a springboard into Colorado politics. J. Paul Brown, a candidate
 

Drilling, land rules top debate in La Plata County - The Durango Herald

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 01:09 AM

Blake also owns a company that installs large-scale solar projects throughout the Southwest. Roebuck is a land-use planning consultant who has lived in Durango since 1981. She currently works for Ted Wright, a Durango “We need an advocate for the
 

Enphase Energy Joins Philanthropic Partnership with Brian D. Robertson Fund ... - Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 02:19 PM

Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH), announced today a charitable partnership with the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund (BDR Fund) to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in over 25 schools across the nation at the K-12 level. 
 

Enphase Energy Joins Philanthropic Partnership with Brian D. Robertson Fund ... - MarketWatch

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 02:15 PM

PETALUMA, Calif., Sep 09, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Enphase Energy, Inc. ENPH, +1.01% announced today a charitable partnership with the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund (BDR Fund) to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in over 25  
 

Enphase Energy Joins Philanthropic Partnership with Brian D. Robertson Fund ... - Rock Hill Herald (press release)

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 01:21 PM

PETALUMA, Calif. — Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH), announced today a charitable partnership with the Brian D. Robertson Memorial Solar Schools Fund (BDR Fund) to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in over 25 schools across the nation at  
 

Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air - Record-Searchlight

Mon, 09/8/2014 - 04:01 PM

The proposed plant is on a flight path for birds between the Colorado River and California's largest lake, the Salton Sea — an area, experts say, is richer in avian life than the Ivanpah plant, with protected golden eagles and peregrine falcons and California solar projects plan undergoing major overhaulMynextfoneall 9  
 

California solar projects plan undergoing major overhaul - Mynextfone

Sun, 09/7/2014 - 02:47 AM

"I think of Glen Canyon, and the regret that individuals feel regarding allowing that dam to be built," stated David Lamfrom of the National Parks Conservation Association, referring to the Arizona dam that turned nearly 200 miles of the Colorado River  
 
 

Department of Energy Solar Projects

Clean Energy States Alliance Releases Residential Solar Group-Purchasing ... - AltEnergyMag (press release)

Mon, 09/8/2014 - 09:05 PM

In Massachusetts, the number of small-scale solar projects than doubled in the vast majority of participating Solarize communities as a result of the program. The New England Solar Cost-Reduction Partnership, established with funding from the  
 

GlassPoint Wins $53M From Oman, Shell, VCs for Solar Enhanced Oil Recovery - Greentech Media

Mon, 09/8/2014 - 12:28 PM

This technique has been used for decades and accounts for than 40 percent of U.S. EOR production, mostly in California, according to the DOE. Gas EOR using natural gas, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide injection accounts for nearly 60 percent of EOR  
 

Nabarro LLP | An outlook of change, uncertainty and tough decisions for ... - Linex Legal (press release) (registration)

Fri, 09/5/2014 - 05:42 PM

Analysis compiled by PwC suggests that biomass is expected to be a smaller recipient of renewable energy investment compared to offshore wind and solar projects and most of this investment is likely to be concentrated in large coal conversion projects
 

S&C Electric On Energy Storage Drivers and Roadblocks - Greentech Media

Thu, 09/4/2014 - 08:38 PM

S&C Electric On Energy Storage Drivers and RoadblocksAnother system integrator, Solar Grid Storage, has five 250-kilowatt projects operating within the PJM Interconnection, according to the DOE's global energy storage database. Younicos works with multiple battery partners, including lithium-ion
 

Greensmith to Deploy Aqueous, Lithium-Ion and Flow Batteries for Grid Storage - Greentech Media

Tue, 09/2/2014 - 06:01 PM

Another system integrator, Solar Grid Storage, has five 250-kilowatt projects operating within the PJM Interconnection, according to the DOE's global energy storage database. Younicos works with multiple battery partners, including lithium-ion
 

MIT Energy Storage Spinout Sun Catalytix's Assets Acquired by Lockheed Martin - Greentech Media

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 08:23 PM

MIT Energy Storage Spinout Sun Catalytix's Assets Acquired by Lockheed MartinSun Catalytix signed a contract for than $4 million in funding from the U.S. DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in 2010, and the firm has won than $10 million in VC funding from Polaris, Tata Ltd., and others. 
 

New financing trends — term loan B, green bonds, state green banks, yield cos ... - Lexology (registration)

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:41 PM

If the DOE is a precursor to what you will be dealing with, you have a long road ahead. MR. The third type is a roll up of assets acquired from third parties, like some people are trying to do with solar projects, and then take the company public
 

Fishermen's Energy signs DOE grant - Today's Energy Solutions

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 04:09 AM

Fishermen's Energy signs DOE grantAtlantic City, New Jersey – At the end of Steel Pier, with the ocean as a backdrop, Fishermen's Energy, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, state Senator Jim Whelan, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Jose Zayas, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Director of the 
 

Can These New Small Wind Companies Finally Duplicate the Success of the ... - Greentech Media

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:18 PM

Over the years, Morgan Stanley has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in various funds to support U.S. rooftop solar projects. According to DOE, the weighted average installed cost of a new small wind turbine in the U.S. was $6.90 per watt
 

Can These New Small Wind Companies Finally Mimic the Success of the Solar ... - Greentech Media

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 05:31 PM

Over the years, Morgan Stanley has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in various funds to support U.S. rooftop solar projects. According to DOE, the weighted average installed cost of a new small wind turbine in the U.S. was $6.90 per watt
 
 

The Green Life

Ideas for living well and doing good from Sierra magazine.

Hiking Guru Shares Perfect Paths

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 05:15 PM

Bob Manning at a trailheadRobert Manning is a hiking guru. At the University of Vermont, he researches and teaches park managment, which in practice means that he does a lot of hiking. With his wife, Martha, he cowrote the book Walking Distance (Oregon State University Press), which details 30 walks for any hiker's bucket list. Sierra spoke with Manning about his book, his experience with park management, and the best trail in the world.

The subtitle of your book is Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People. Who's "ordinary"? I mean, what's the face of the American hiker today?

I think it’s quite a cross-section, but the "ordinary people" part of the book is something that Martha and I feel strongly about. That’s the main purpose of the book, really: to get people walking more. Compared with people in a lot of the countries we’ve visited, not a lot of Americans are out there walking. With this book, we’re trying to do something about that, to get people to explore and create and ultimately protect these places.

A section of the Muir TrailYou have a strong connection to the John Muir Trail in particular, which you call one of your top 10 walks in the world.

I have a long and deep relationship with the John Muir Trail. When I graduated from college, it was 1968, and the Vietnam War was raging, and so I joined the Coast Guard. I enjoyed living in the city, but even more I enjoyed getting out to Yosemite. It really convinced me that I wanted something to do with the National Parks. That’s also how I became aware of John Muir and the Sierra Club. 

I always get a kick out of hiking above the tree line, of visiting places that I’d been seeing in Sierra Club calendars for years, thinking, "I really want to go there." Hiking over John Muir Pass and then on to Gifford Pinchot Pass -- the legacy of American conservation is just written into the landscape. To me, there’s no mountain range that’s more beautiful and friendly and engaging than the Sierras. That, combined with the Muir legacy, makes the trail my favorite hike.

Manning views the Colorado river nestled in the depths of the Grand CanyonYou’re an expert in park management. What’s your take on how the John Muir Trail is managed?

It has been around for a long time, so it’s well marked and well managed. One area where it excels is the permit system.

What makes a good permit system? The only innovation I’m aware of is the Grand Canyon's rafting permit system, which switched to a weighted lottery. I should also mention that you profile a hike along the Colorado River in your book.

The rafting waitlist was 20 years [laughs], and that can’t work. The John Muir Trail innovation is the simplicty of a single permit that cuts through two national parks and two U.S. Forest Service areas. It would be daunting if one had to get a permit from those four entities and then had to coordinate the dates. At Yosemite in general, they allocate things in a way that's easy for the user, even when it's not easy for them. 

Hiking the Camino de SantiagoSo nationally, we’ve got some good parks. What about internationally? In Walking Distance, you list a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as El Camino de Santiago, in northern Spain and parts of France.

UNESCO sites are very sucessfully managed. It’s the Parks Service ramped up on a global scale. For a country to get the status, they have to have a plan in place to manage it. And they take that very seriously. 

El Camino de Santiago is a Catholic pilgrimage, and yet there’s a mix of people that there.

The mix, the diversity of people, on the Camino is probably the most on any trail that I’ve walked. We met people from all over the world. Even more impressive, we came across people of all age groups. The religious significance is obviously important, but I’d say that a large portion of the people we encountered were not walking for religious reasons.

In your book, you focus on provencial hikes like the Camino and wilderness hikes like the Muir Trail. What about urban hiking? 

Martha and I have really begun to embrace urban walks. One that we did this summer is what’s called the River Thames Walk in England. It starts at the source in the Gloucestershire and goes right through London -- which takes three days -- and then on to the sea. Martha and I would like to include urban and suburban walks in a future book. We love, for example, that portion of the California Coastal Trail from Muir Beach south to Cliff House. We sort of christened it "the Golden Gate Way."

--interview by Cedar Attanasio / all photos courtesy of Robert Manning

You can learn more about Robert and Martha Manning, and 30 of their favorite hikes -- including Vermont's Long Trail, British Columbia's West Coast Trail, and Florida's Ocala Trail -- on their website.

READ MORE:

6 Most Dangerous Hiking Trails

Pro Hiking Tips: Excercises

Breathtaking Canyons

 

 

Defending The F-Word

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 02:59 PM

Fracking protest sign

The oil and gas industry dislikes the noun fracking, shorthand for hydraulic fracturing. It prefers frac, a literal reduction of fracture, but at this point it's probably out of luc. Last week, Merriam-Webster announced that it was including fracking in its 2014 Collegiate Dictionary (along with spoiler alert, hashtag, selfie, and turducken, among others). Frac hasn’t caught on outside the industry –- it seems vaguely French for starters -- and its verb form, fracing, would be totally confusing. (Some industry sources employ the even more tortured frac’ing.)

Blame it on those impish enviros, always eager to mock their opponents in as few words as possible on 36-by-48-inch protest signs. “No Fracking Way,” “Frack Off,” “Don’t Frack Our Future,” and “Stop Fracking Mother Earth” are just a few of the ways shale-oil opponents have happily turned the emotionally neutral term “hydraulic fracturing” into a dirty word.

It’s clever framing – put “fracking” on the list with “death tax” and “job creator” –- but environmentalists didn’t need to hire a political wordslinger to concoct a winningly charged term. Merriam-Webster traces industry use of the term “fracking” back to 1953.

Image by iStock/Joe_Potato.

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

 

Read More

The Clean Dozen

Surcharge for Smoggers

China Chips Away at its Pollution Problem

 

Not Your Grandparents’ Road Trip: 5 Green Reasons to Visit National Parks

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 01:46 PM

Mount ranier

Wailing children, crotchety parents, sand and sunscreen in uncomfortable places… you get the idea. If this sounds familiar, chances are you’ve been on what feels like an eons-long summer trip with your family. But the National Park Service’s new, sustainable outlook on life may forever change the face of summer vacations, retrofitting the National Parks we know and love with some seriously awesome green technology.

With some of the vastest wilderness resources in the country, National Parks are feeling the brunt of climate change. Extreme flooding, serious drought, wildfires and glacial melt have meant that the severity of climate change is taken very seriously by the NPS. They are growing as a voice for climate change education and activism and are leading the way with green technology and infrastructure. On Earth Day of 2012 the NPS issued the Green Parks Plan (GPP), a comprehensive road map for change that emphasizes engaging visitors and communities in initiatives that mitigate climate change and educate about sustainability.

In the year since the plan’s debut, the National Parks have made impressive progress. Ninety-two percent of construction waste is diverted from landfills and greenhouse gas emissions are down thirteen percent. Here are five clean, green examples of why you should visit and support their efforts:

1.) The Pinnacles National Park West Side Visitors Center received a Platinum LEED certification (the highest available) for energy and water saving features—the building was even constructed using photovoltaic powers sources. Captain Planet would approve.

Sequoia Shuttle

2.) At Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, you can now take a sustainable ride through the forests—the surrounding communities have partnered with park services to implement hybrid and electric buses as transportation. Thirteen other parks have also received grants from the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program to make the switch from fuel hogging diesel vehicles to electric and hybrid technologies. Ah, smell that fresh, clean air! 

3.) Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks also spearheaded an initiative to start illuminating park attractions with solar power—the famous Crystal Cave is now completely lit by solar powered lights, which seriously lower energy consumption.

4.) On the East Coast, Assateague Island National Seashore is using solar power to generate light for the bathrooms, convenience store, campground office, ranger station, and parking lot.

5.) In Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Cottonwood Cove Marina Building on Lake Mohave is the first ever LEED certified floating building, and is highly energy efficient and sustainably constructed.

Cottonwood cove floating buildingJeffrey Olson, an NPS Spokesman, said “There were over 273 million visitors to the parks last year alone, and we hope our sustainable initiative will engage visitors, neighbors and communities and to ask them to participate for the betterment of national parks and our world.”

When asked why Sierra readers should make an effort to visit the parks, Olson responded “visitor participation can have big environmental benefits. We hope our commitment to sustainability spreads and that park visitors, Sierra readers included, find opportunities to take similar steps in their own lives”.

- Photos and video courtesy of the National Parks Service

MAREN HUNSBERGER is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is a rising senior studying biology and environmental science at the College of William and Mary. She loves hiking, running, animals of all shapes and sizes, and wants to be David Attenborough when she grows up. 

 

Read More

Save the Vacation No Vacation Nation: 7 Facts That Will Have You Packing Up Public Transportation Surges in Los Angeles
 

How Can I Save Fuel on Summer Vacation Trips?

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 01:11 PM

Mr GreenHey Mr. Green,

Our family will take a long road trip by car this summer. Now don’t get on your high horse, Mister Know-It-All, and command us to ride bikes to our destination. Here’s the deal: I don’t give a damn if burning fossil fuel causes global warming, but I do want to save money on gas. How can I accomplish this? —Neal, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Enjoy your trip, Neal, and keep the ol’ car radio tuned to your favorite right-wing global-warming-denial talk show so you can pick up some new rhetoric for blasting us climatological Cassandras.

There are a number of ways you can cut your fuel consumption. The first thing to do is to give your vehicle a tune-up if it hasn’t had one in awhile. Following are eight more ideas, with estimates how much they’ll save you, courtesy of the EPA and Car and Driver magazine. (The percentages have a big range because of wide variations in fuel efficiency and driving habits.)

1. Drive sensibly: Chill out, don’t stew about environmentalists or vent your road rage with jackrabbit starts, jamming on the brakes, changing speeds, etc. Aggressive and stupid driving can reduce fuel efficiency by anywhere from 5 percent to 33 percent.

2. Slow down: You can waste 30 percent or more of your fuel by speeding. For every 5 miles an hour you drive over 55, you use 6 percent more fuel.

3. Keep your cargo off the roof, if possible: Wind resistance can squander from 6 to 17 percent of your fuel on the highway.

4. Don’t idle excessively: Don’t leave the engine running when you pop into your favorite fast food joint. A minute of idling can cost 1–3 cents, depending on the type of  engine. You get zero mpg when idling.

5. Keep tires inflated: You can save up to 3 percent on fuel by keeping tires inflated to the recommended level.

6. Reduce air conditioning: You can waste up to 15 percent of your fuel by using the air conditioner. Although driving with windows open creates wind resistance and therefore reduces efficiency, the loss is considerably less than the loss from air conditioning. I once advised rolling up the windows when going over 45 mph. I hereby stand corrected.

7. Shed weight: You can waste 1 to 2 percent of fuel for every 100 extra pounds you carry. This includes human cargo. See my timely blog, “Does Obesity Waste Fuel?”  which cites a study indicating that moving overweight Americans in cars requires a billion more gallons of fuel per year than if we all weighed what health professionals recommend. 

8. Use cruise control except on steep hills, in heavy traffic, on roads that are winding or have sharp bends, or are slippery from rain, ice or snow.

If you want to go way, way deeper into saving gas, delve into "109 tips for Hypermiling.”  But beware, because some of this advice might lead to family squabbles, like “Let the most efficient driver drive,” or sound way too eco-trippy: “Drive like you ride a bike,” or be downright dangerous, like driving barefoot, coasting in neutral, turning off the engine to coast, or pushing your car instead of starting the engine when you’re only moving a short distance. - Bob Shildgen

Got a question? Ask Mr. Green!

 

READ MORE:

How Does Less Gas Become More Emissions? 

How Much Energy to Make a New Car?

Does Obesity Waste Fuel? 

 

5 Blogs about Sierra Club History

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:56 AM

MuirAndRooseveltThe Sierra Club was founded by John Muir and his eco-conscious compatriots 122 years ago this week. Since then the club has sought to explore, enjoy and protect this amazing planet. Together we’ve protected millions of acres of wilderness, saved endangered species and kept natural resources clean. Muir would surely have been proud of the relentless efforts of our members.

To commemorate this anniversary week enjoy these Green Life posts about the Club’s legacy.

1. Women of the Sierra Club: Marion Randall Parsons - A writer, artist, photographer, mountaineer and nature enthusiast, Parsons was a force to be reckoned with. Read all about the first lady to be elected onto our board of directors.

2. Original Beards of the Sierra Club - Beards have come back into fashion, but our earliest members were masters of this style long ago. Take a look at some of our favorite facial hair.

3. Women of the Sierra Club: Allison Chin - After working with an Inner CIty Outings group, Chin stepped up her involvement and eventually became the first board president of color. Learn more about her thoughts on the outdoors, diversity and civil disobedience. 

RetroHikingFashions4.Retro Hiking Style - Early Sierra Club ladies wore dresses and bloomers on outdoor club trips. Check out these fabulous photos from 1896 to 1946.  

5. Chiura Obata and his Sierra Legacy - After Obata was released from the interment camps he took part in Sierra High Club trips, sharing his technique with other clubbers on the trail. The painter left behind inspirational art and a story of resilience.

 

- top image courtesy of the Library of Congress

- bottom image by Joseph N. Leconte

HS_Bianca_BlogBIANCA HERNANDEZ is the Acting Web Editor at Sierra. She recently received her MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California and has written for various publications.

 

 

Environmental Media Draws Kids into the Green Movement

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 01:38 PM

Some act of vision
When you think of sustainability, chances are that young adult novels and comic books are not the first things to come to mind. But getting kids to read new narratives may be the thing that piques their interest in the world's well being. Earth-conscious novels have a long and illustrious history, from Edward Abbey's 1975 The Monkey Wrench Gang to Carl Hiaasen's 2002 Hoot. The newest wave of YA fiction is addressing the reality of contemporary teen life while honing in on green issues, like fracking and environmental justice (you can find a great list here).

Lori Ann Stephens’ new novel Some Act of Vision, for example, is a fast-paced read with a sci-fi lens. It has political and environmental intrigue, teen drama, vivid characters, and a splash of romance—it’s currently a finalist for the National Reader’s Choice Awards in the YA category. Stephens’ novel centers around a young protagonist whose life is disrupted when fracking-induced earthquakes rip her town apart. The geological disturbance destroys a nearby chemical plant, which releases a compound that has a, shall we say, interesting effect on her and her family (that's where the sci-fi comes in--no spoilers here!). Stephens says she was thinking of her own teenage son when she heard a piece about fracking on NPR. She was listening to the piece in her car when it suddenly hit her that he, and many young people his age, probably had no idea what was going on with the fracking industry in their home state of Texas.

She wanted to write a novel with elements that would appeal to young readers while sparking curiosity in real-world issues. Stephens hopes the novel will not only make young people more aware of fracking, but get them to look into it further to understand the reality of the situation. She says “Being aware and educating themselves about the reality of the situation is the first step." When she adds that "youth already feel like their world is falling apart," she's admitting that including environmental catastrophe in her novel felt like a bit of a risk. But despite the seriousness of the subject matter, Stephens hopes readers will see themselves in her protagonist and feel more empowered to explore the issues and take action on their own.

Mayah's lot

The comic book world is also taking a turn for the green and the visual nature of this medium makes it very compelling, especially for younger readers. Comics like Mayah's Lot, about a young girl's fight to keep her inner city community from being exploited by an irresponsible corporation, are created to be both entertaining and educational. The genre has become increasingly popular in the last decade or so, grabbing the attention of educators and students alike. Rebecca Bratspies, one of the authors of the comic, is also the founder of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform. She writes that the main goal comics like Mayah's Lot, is to reach "non-traditional audiences with an environmental justice message." 

Hop on the brain train to get your kids connected to the environmental issues outside their tween bubble.

 

 

 

- Photos coutesy of Lori Ann Stephens and Charlie LaGreca & Rebecca Bratspies, respectively

--Maren Hunsberger is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is a rising senior studying biology and environmental science at the College of William and Mary. She loves hiking, running, animals of all shapes and sizes, and wants to be David Attenborough when she grows up. 

 

Read More:

Peoms to Inspire Outdoor Adventures

Mothers of the Movement: Rachel Carson and Her Sisters

Book Review: EarthArt

 

Environmental Media Draws Teens into the Green Movement

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 10:26 AM


Some act of visionWhen you think of sustainability, chances are that young adult novels and comic books are not the first things to come to mind. But getting kids to read new narratives may be the thing that piques their interest in the world's well-being. The green novel for adults is nothing new (Edward Abbey’s 1975 The Monkey Wrench Gang), and the earth-conscious read for kids and teens has been rapidly evolving (Carl Hiaasen’s 2002 Hoot). The hyper-popular YA dystopian novel is even incorporating elements of eco-awareness: from the coal mines of The Hunger Games’ District 12 to the desolate wasteland outside the walls of the Divergent series, environmental devastation is taking up more space in young adult literature. The newest wave of YA fiction is breaking away from the dystopia and focusing on the reality of the present, addressing green issues like fracking and environmental justice while keeping the focus on teen life.

Lori Ann Stephens’ new novel Some Act of Vision, for example, is a fast-paced read with a sci-fi lens. Currently a finalist for the National Reader’s Choice Awards in the YA category, Stephens’ novel centers around a young ballerina whose life is disrupted when fracking-induced earthquakes rip her town apart on the eve of her big debut. The geological disturbance destroys a nearby chemical plant, which releases a compound that has a, shall we say, interesting effect on her (that's where the sci-fi comes in--no spoilers here!). The political intrigue that follows the disaster is thrilling, and the splash of first romance makes balances out the whole book perfectly.

Stephens says she was listening to a piece on NPR about fracking when she thought of the premise for the novel. It hit her that her teenage son, and many young people his age, probably had no idea what was going on with the fracking industry in their home state of Texas—things like geological instability and water pollution so bad residents could light their tap water on fire. “The first step” she says in reference to eco-awareness, “is being aware and educating [yourself] about the reality of the situation.” She admits that including environmental catastrophe in her novel felt like a bit of a risk, adding that “youth already feel like their world is falling apart”. But despite the seriousness of the subject matter, Stephens hopes readers will see themselves in her protagonist and feel more empowered to engage with their environment and take part in activism on their own.


Mayah's lotThe comic book world is also taking a turn for the green. Like young adult novels, the material is engaging and colorful, with characters so vivid you feel like you could reach out and touch them. Comics like Mayah's Lot, about a young girl's fight to keep her inner city community from being exploited by a corporation that wants to dump toxic waste in an empty lot where she’s growing a garden, showcase teen heroes bringing people together to fight for the good of the city. Rebecca Bratspies is one of the authors of the comic (along with Charlie La Greca), and is also the founder of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform.

The main goal of comics like Mayah’s Lot and YA novels like Some Act of Vision is to reach young people with the messages they may be accustomed to tuning out. As part of a narrative, environmental issues become personal and tangible for teens, ultimately using fiction to deepen their awareness of the real world around them.

 

 

-Photos courtesy of Lori Ann Stephens and Charlie La Greca & Rebecca Bratspies, respectively

MAREN HUNSBERGER is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is a rising senior studying biology and environmental science at the College of William and Mary. She loves hiking, running, animals of all shapes and sizes, and wants to be David Attenborough when she grows up. 

Read More

Mothers of the Movement: Rachel Carson and Her Sisters Books For Young Environmentalists Eco-Activities for Parents and Kids

 

 

Mothers of the Movement: Rachel Carson and Her Sisters

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 04:54 PM

Martha_maxwell Martha Maxwell with her two favorite things.

You may have heard of Rachel Carson, but have you heard the story of Martha Maxwell?  Maxwell married a miner 20 years her senior and followed him through the west, panning for gold.  When their claim was jumped by a German taxidermist she was inspired to pursue taxidermy and began shooting and stuffing animals on her own, building a large collection of species, from foxes to bighorn sheep, which she displayed at museums around the country.  A staunch vegetarian she addressed those who would call her a hypocrite by asking, “Which is the more cruel? To kill to eat? Or to kill to immortalize?”

Maxwell is just one of many inspiring women profiled in Robert Musil’s book Rachel Carson and Her Sisters. Musil had several goals in writing this book. One was to contextualize Silent Spring as the culmination Musil cover of decades of work by other women in science, who were consistently overlooked, underappreciated and dismissed by their male peers and institutions.

These ladies ranged from Victorian garden observers to die-hard chemists and marine biologists. “They are tied together by a fierce sense of activism” and beautiful writing, says Musil. Compelling writers like Rachel Carson and Terry Tempest Williams bred curiosity and bridged the civilian-scientist gap by presenting scientific evidence in a ‘readable’ format. Indeed, their writing is what drew Musil in.  He too wants “people to connect with science in an approachable way.” 

These women were not writing for the sake of writing, they all had political motivations.

Richards_telescope Ellen Richards and her mentor Maria Mitchell.

One of Musil's most intriguing subjects is Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman admitted to MIT. She quickly established herself in chemistry and focused on sanitation.  Not one to mince words, she accused the American Public Health Association of murder for their shoddy upkeep of Boston Public Schools, which until then, had no ventilation or clean toilets. This speech rendered her unemployable, but she continued to teach chemistry and lobby for better sanitation in schools despite being blacklisted.

Women like Richards and Maxwell shattered the idea of the lady as a ‘shrinking violet.' Their dogged activism paved the way for Carson’s crusade against pesticides, argues Musil. Carson’s work has opened the doors for countless other female environmental activists. 

Rachel Carson and Her Sisters is a Rutgers University Press publication and is available on bookshelves and as an ebook now.

 

--top image courtesy of The Colorado Women's Hall of Fame, the second courtesy of Robert Musil and the third courtesy of The Vassar College Observatory

HS_Caitlin_BlogCaitlin Kauffman is an editorial intern at Sierra. She is a sea kayak and hiking guide in the Bay Area and the Greater Yellowstone area. She enjoys good eye contact and elk burgers.

 

Read More:

How Rachel Carson are You?

"Silent Spring"--Told in Vanity License Plates

Women of the Sierra Club: Marion Randall Parsons

 

No Vacation Nation: 7 Facts That Will Have You Packing Up

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 03:18 PM

Cathedral LakeWhen was the last time you took a vacation? How long did it last? These are among the important questions explored in the recent short film The Great Vacation Squeeze, written and directed by John de Graaf. De Graaf has explored the differences in vacation and leisure time between the US and Europe for years, and in 2002 he co-founded the organization Take Back Your Time “to point out the problems connected with overwork in America.”

Supported by Sierra Club Productions, this film is one of his latest projects that examines just how stark these differences are and hopes to inspire people to do something to change it. De Graaf believes that the idea of vacation and leisure is strongly intertwined with the Sierra Club’s mission statement.

“The Sierra Club's purpose is enjoying, exploring, and protecting the natural world, and it's hard to enjoy it or explore it when you don't have any time off. It also leaves you less likely to want to protect it,” he said. “As a member I think it important that the club not forget its commitment to enjoying and exploring nature.”

Which of these facts from the film will convince you it's about time for paid vacations?

Time to catch up. The US is the only wealthy country without paid vacation time, which may be an underlying cause of a whole host of issues, including stress and overwork. “Our lack of policy [mandating paid vacations] contributes to serious health problems, weakens family connections, and [reduces] the opportunity for all of us to get out in the natural world, especially children,” de Graaf said.

Strong ties. “It was John Muir, key founder of the Sierra Club, who, as I point out in the film, was the first American to advocate a paid vacation law, way back in 1876,” de Graaf said. Muir called for a law of rest that would give time off each year for people to reconnect with nature. The idea lived on in the early 20th century when President William Howard Taft suggested of a three-month long vacation for every worker.

So close, yet so far. During the Great Depression, the Labor Department proposed a two-week paid vacation law, but it failed due to business opposition. Still, two-week trips were common in America at this time, whereas they’ve now dwindled into near oblivion.

Practice what we preach. Seventy-three percent of Americans say vacations help recharge their batteries, but fewer actually take this time. Of all working Americans, 28% receive no paid vacation time and 24% get only one week or less.

Vacations are win-win. “They do wonders for us in so many ways, as every other country understands, and they are actually helpful to business productivity and creativity as well,” de Graaf said. On an individual level, vacations can be healing in that they give us relief from stressors of daily life. Time off also promotes reflection. “In idleness there is the opportunity for contemplation, there is the opportunity for soul-searching, and for seeing, for really truly, clearly seeing, what’s around us,” says Yosemite Park Ranger Shelton Johnson in the film.

Europeans have it better. On average, Europeans live longer and are less likely to suffer from chronic illness after age 50, even though they spend less on health care. Having long, paid vacation time may have something to do with this. It's known that taking breaks from work greatly reduces stress and even improves productivity. 

It’s about justice. “Most low-income Americans never have the opportunity and don't even get paid vacations,” de Graaf said. Many believe that a law mandating paid vacations would eliminate this inequality and ultimately benefit all Americans.

If you’re interested in organizing a viewing with your community, school, or local Sierra Club chapter, you can reach de Graaf at jodg@comcast.net.

--Image by David Fox, used with permission of John de Graaf

Jessica ZischkeJessica Zischke is a former editorial intern at Sierra. She is currently studying environmental studies at Dartmouth College. On campus she works as an editor of Dartbeat, the blog of the student-run newspaper The Dartmouth, and as the Sustainability Chair for her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta.

 

READ MORE:

Save the Vacation

Family Vacations: The Good, the Bad, the Eco-Friendly

Holy Green Vacation!

 

A Supercell is Born

Tue, 05/20/2014 - 11:40 AM

While you were watching a CGI Godzilla emerge from the Pacific this weekend, these stormchasers were capturing the birth of a monster storm (no special effects required).

Thanks to the time-lapse video made by Basehunters, we can see this supercell thunderstorm taking shape over Newcastle, Wyoming.  

BIANCA HERNANDEZ is the Acting Web Editor at Sierra. She recently received her MA in Visual Anthropology from the University of Southern California and has written for various publications.

 
 

Compass

Pointing the way to a clean energy future.

400 million more reasons to march on Sept. 21

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 08:58 AM

Climate poster

The facts are in: global carbon emissions are putting us over the edge.

The World Meteorological Organization’s newly-released annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin has confirmed that greenhouse gasses (GHGs)   have reached their highest level ever -- and humans are to blame.

This year’s report shows that in 2013, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) -- one of the most potent GHGs -- reached 396 parts per million (ppm). To put that into perspective, that’s almost 3 ppm higher than 2012 and represents the largest increase from one year to the next that we’ve ever seen. That was, of course, until April of this year. Then, CO2 reached a record 400 ppm, a 4 ppm jump in the first four months of 2014 alone.

If this trend continues, we can undoubtedly expect to break this record anew every year that passes.

But this isn’t an Olympic Track and Field event. Breaking these records comes with dangerous new threats to the health of our families and our communities -- not an endorsement deal.

Experts warn that we must limit our CO2 emissions at around 400 ppm if we have any hope of keeping our global temperature rise below 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit -- and protect the planet from all but certain climate catastrophe. That catastrophe would mean cementing extreme storms, extreme temperatures, and extreme droughts as the new norm, destabilizing migration and immigration patterns, imperiling wildlife and communities, and sending sea levels rising...among numerous other threats.

Princeton University geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer told the Washington Post that reaching 400 ppm is “ the level that climate scientists have identified as the beginning of the danger zone. It means we’re probably getting to the point where we’re looking at the ‘safe zone’ in the rearview mirror, even as we’re stepping on the gas.”

With the climate facts continuing to pour in, our world leaders must be doing everything they can to protect our planet for future generations, right?

Unfortunately -- to what should be the dismay of every person, plant, and animal on the planet -- this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s not even close.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) just released their annual Low Carbon Index which shows that, globally, we’ve been consistently missing our carbon emissions reduction target each year. By how much? While we should be reducing by at least 6.2 percent each year, we’ve only been seeing a 0.9 percent decrease on average.

In fact, the Index concludes that if we continue emitting at the same rate we are today, we’re on track to see a 7.2 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase by 2100. If we do reach those temperatures, we’ll be well past the point of no return.

This could spell disaster for not only our climate, but our shorelines, our wildlife -- including hundreds of bird species -- and our future.

Luckily, there’s still time to make sure this doesn’t happen. What better way to do that than to join with tens of thousands of your fellow activists to let our world leaders know we want climate action now?

That’s exactly what’s happening in New York City on Sept. 21, and you can be a part of it. The People’s Climate March is bringing together environmental, labor, faith, and social justice activists from more than 1,000 organizations and businesses to collectively raise our voices and call for real climate action around the world.

If our leaders won’t act, we have to. And that’s exactly what we are doing in New York on Sept. 21. Join us.  

RSVP for the People’s Climate March today!

 --Sierra Club Media Team

 

Even polling from the Koch-backed group finds support for clean energy

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 07:08 AM

The American Energy Alliance (AEA), a group with deep ties to the Koch brothers, has released a new national poll they claim shows voters are wary of the federal government’s involvement in energy policy. But two of their primary conclusions -- that “many Americans are skeptical of [the] EPA’s proposed power plant rule” and “voters are pretty skeptical of all facets of the wind production tax credits” – are inconsistent with nearly every other national poll I’ve seen recently. In June, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that two-in-three Americans supported new EPA rules limiting carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. And a USA Today poll released in December found 73 percent of Americans favored extending tax reductions for wind companies and other sources of renewable energy. Sure, the samples and questions are not identical to the AEA poll, but the spread between these numbers is stark.

Has public opinion really shifted so dramatically?

For answers, I turned to the AEA’s poll questionnaire (which you can read here). While I found several instances where the question wording and ordering appeared to be biased, I honed in on the questions pertaining to the new carbon pollution standards and wind energy tax credits.

 

After being told that “the Obama Administration recently proposed rules which would require States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their borders,” survey respondents were asked whether they thought it was a “good” or “bad” thing that “as a practical matter, the rule would require States to impose mandates on their citizens to buy certain amounts of renewable energy, whether or not it is cost-effective.” Given this phrasing and its vague – if not scary – implications, it is not surprising that 60% of respondents said this was “mostly a bad thing”. The description of "mandates" (itself a loaded term) could be interpreted in a variety of ways. The respondent could take this to mean that the state government will force them to buy renewable energy themselves (as opposed to through their utility) or even to purchase more energy than they need. Furthermore, there is no benchmark or context given about the price issue, so a respondent could assume that renewable energy costs are much higher than they actually are. With biased language likely skewing responses from those polled, it is not surprising that AEA got the results they were looking for. But, as a result, this poll does not prove that Americans are skeptical of the EPA’s proposed carbon pollution standards themselves.

Some of the poll’s other findings actually seem to go against the anti-wind energy agenda the Koch Brothers have been pushing. While AEA’s press release claims that “the majority of voters are skeptical of preferential subsidies like the two-decades old wind PTC [production tax credit]”, even their own data does not support this.

In a rather ironic twist, their poll actually found majority support for tax breaks for wind energy companies, which help expand and create jobs in this sector. Before being asked for their opinions of wind tax credits, respondents heard a series of questions that framed tax credits in a negative light. One being “Do you think foreign companies should get tax breaks from American taxpayers?” and another being “Do you think that companies that are already making a profit on a new technology should get tax breaks for using or producing that technology?” Even after hearing such questions -- which hardly define the reality of the American wind energy manufacturing across the country -- 51 percent of respondents said still they thought it was a “good thing” that “companies that generate electricity using wind power get a tax credit from the federal government which is paid for by taxpayers.” This level of support is surely lower than the ones found in other national polls (another example), but it is comforting to know that most voters are not easily swayed away from their support for renewable energy -- even when some of the technology’s biggest opponents offer up what they believe are their strongest arguments.

If this American Energy Alliance poll tells me anything, it is that it is tough to hide the overwhelming public support for renewable energy.

--- Grace McRae, Polling and Research Director, Sierra Club

 

The Voice of Bart Simpson Wants You to Check Out Electric Cars Next Week

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:59 PM

Drive-electric
I knew the fourth annual National Drive Electric Week would be big, but I didn't realize it would be this big! We're having free events in 135+ cities September 15-21 to share the fuel cost-saving, clean-air, and fun-driving benefits of electric vehicles (EVs); there is probably an event near you. The Sierra Club, Plug In America, and the Electric Auto Association -- the three national organizers of Drive Electric Week -- are pleased to announce this week that we've hit the quarter million mark of EVs on the road in the U.S. EVs are turning the corner -- and fast.

Even (the voice of) Bart Simpson is excited. "I bought a Nissan Leaf about two years ago," said The Simpsons actor Nancy Cartwright. "I shaved nearly an hour off my driving to The Simpsons set and back because I can drive in the carpool lane. Got lots of thumbs up on the freeway. That said, I am a HUGE fan of Tesla and can't wait to 'fly' with my 'falcon-doored' bird, the Tesla Model X…Aesthetic, functional and sets a great example for safeguarding our environment."  

Chevy-Volt-EV

Ever wonder what it's like to drive an electric car? Have questions about where and how to charge them, whether they're reliable, and whether they are actually better for the environment than conventional cars? EV drivers will be on-hand to offer test drives, provide honest information, and -- in many cases -- feed and entertain you, too. Check out the web site and register for an event near you.

In Scottsdale and Tucson, AZ, Las Vegas, and other cities there will be solar-powered public EV charging stations. In Los Angeles, actor Ed Begley, Jr. will talk about charging his EV with rooftop solar at his home. In Worcester, MA, event go-ers will be able to check out an all-electric transit bus that takes people to work cleanly and quietly. In Cupertino, CA, a group will attempt to set the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest parade of electric vehicles ever held. In Hartford, CT, the state's Commissioner of Energy & Environmental Protection Rob Klee and other leaders will offer test rides and present an award to the state's dealership that has sold the most plug-in cars.

Several mayors, including those in Cupertino and Huntington Beach, CA, Storrs, CT, Charlotte, NC, and Melbourne, FL, are expected to speak and or issue Drive Electric Week proclamations and will talk up the benefits of EVs for their residents. Below, Oldsmar, FL, Mayor Doug Bevis (at right) presents a Drive Electric Week proclamation last week to the city's Sustainability Coordinator, Estevan Baza, with Helda Rodriguez of NovaCharge and Florida Sierra Club organizer Phil Compton. I wish I were closer and could take my kids to the street festival planned for this Oldsmar event.

Oldsmar-proclamation

I'll be attending events in my home state of Massachusetts next week. Then on September 21, I'll be joining an 'EV Bloc' at the People's Climate March. If you're planning to attend the People's Climate March, expected to be the largest climate rally ever, calling on world leaders gathered at the United Nations to take aggressive action on climate disruption, I hope you'll consider joining our EV Bloc; you can register here.

Fossil-free-with-EV

"Clean energy prosperity is on the way and there's no turning back," said Sierra Club director Michael Brune. "National Drive Electric Week and the dramatic increase in the number of plug-in electric vehicles on the road are just the latest examples of how American consumers are demanding 21st-century solutions to energy and the climate crisis, and given the choice would leave dirty fossil fuels in the ground."

Gina Coplon-Newfield is the Sierra Club's Director of Future Fleet & Electric Vehicles Initiative. You can learn more about electric cars at the Sierra Club's online EV Guide.

Top photo from Huntsville, AL, courtesy of Tennessee Valley EV Drivers; middle photo courtesy of the City of Oldsmar, FL; bottom photo courtesy of Christina Rohrbacher. Drive Electric logo courtesy of National Drive Electric Week.

 

EPA Takes Real Steps Toward Curbing Smog Pollution - Now We Need Your Voice

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 11:25 AM

Smogblogpic




The Environmental Protection Agency recently found that we’ve been doing it wrong for years; our air is not as clean or as safe as we once supposed. The agency’s smog pollution policy assessment, released in late August, found that current “safe” levels of smog pollution are actually not strong enough to protect our communities, our kids, or the air we breathe.

Doris Toles could tell you that.The Baltimore resident struggles with serious respiratory issues which are only made worse by the poor air quality in the city.

“I had my first asthma attack when I was two. I’m now living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),” says Doris. “A person gets COPD like I have after years of asthma attacks permanently weaken the lungs, and there is no cure.”

Doctors told Doris that her asthma is triggered by pollution in the air where she lives. “I have to be very careful and keep my inhaler close at hand on days when smog levels are high.”

When smog is inhaled, the harm it does has been likened to getting a sunburn on your lungs. Thankfully, we’ve got a chance to put things right. This December, the EPA will propose new smog pollution protections that can get America’s air quality back on track.

 “Safe” smog pollution levels were first lowered in 2008 from 88 parts per billion (ppb) to 75 ppb, but it turns out those protections were not enough to ensure clean, safe air for children and vulnerable populations living near the sources of this pollution. New recommendations from scientists since the 2008 protections have found that we need to ratchet them down to 60 ppb, in order to guard against dangerous air. The recent smog pollution policy assessment echoed this sentiment, recommending that the levels be reduced to a range of 60 to 70 ppb.   

While we applaud the EPA’s assessment for acknowledging the need to strengthen the current safeguards, it’s important to note that the devil is in the details, which is why we need your help. Thousands of lives hang in the balance between 60 ppb and 70 ppb, and are pushing hard for the EPA to propose 60 ppb protections in December.

At Sierra Club, we have strongly advocated for a 60 ppb standard for years because the science is clear that it will better protect families from smog pollution from power plants and tailpipe emissions. Smog pollution can trigger respiratory problems like asthma attacks and cardiovascular problems. Over time, continued exposure can even lead to premature death.

Doris has lost friends and family to severe asthma attacks. For her and many others, it’s a matter of life and death. “Cleaning up this pollution helps people like me stay alive,” she says.

A 60 ppb standard would safeguard families, especially young children and the elderly, from these health hazards and save roughly $100 billion in health care costs. The EPA also estimates that cutting back to safer levels of smog pollution (60 ppb) would prevent 12,000 premature deaths, 21,000 hospitalizations and the stop the loss of 2.5 million work and school days each year. In view of this, the smog pollution policy assessment is an important step toward holding polluters accountable and lifting this huge burden off our communities.

In the months ahead, we work to secure the strongest possible protections for those who need them most. Let EPA know you support strong standards here.

--Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign Director

 

Should you attend the People's Climate March?

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 02:30 PM

0806-pcm-flowchart_03

 

China’s Coal Imports Drop For The First Time Since Country Became Net Coal Importer

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:40 PM

All is not well with the Chinese coal industry.

A recently published analysis compiled by Lauri Myllyvirta and Greenpeace International showed the unthinkable -- Chinese coal consumption fell for the first time this century in the first half of this year. Even more striking is the fact that China’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth and coal consumption have decoupled, suggesting a structural shift in the Chinese economy.

Taken in sum, with potential policy shifts associated with the upcoming five year plan and China’s war on coal, these look like the first indications of an approaching peak in coal consumption.

Now, new statistics [source in Chinese] from August show another first: Chinese coal imports in the first eight months of 2014 dropped by 5.3 percent. This is the first time the import rate has dropped since the country became a net importer in 2009. More importantly, the industry forecast indicates an even steeper 8 percent drop by year’s end. So much for the Asian supercycle, Peabody Energy.

  .

But there is something far more important happening here than simply putting an end to the last remaining lifeline of the moribund U.S. coal industry. China has single handedly driven the growth in coal consumption we’ve seen over the past decade. But, it is increasingly clear that the time of unending coal growth is nearing an end.

Peak coal consumption is one thing, but avoiding the entrenched emissions of the enormous coal fleet China has already built is another. The crucial decisions to secure a peak in coal consumption -- and reduce that consumption in absolute terms -- will be made in China’s new five-year plan, currently under preparation and covering the years 2015-2020. That means all eyes are on China’s next moves in its war on air pollution.

For citizens struggling under the weight of ‘airpocalypse,’ those moves couldn’t come a moment too soon.

-- Justin Guay, Associate Director, International Climate Program, and Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace International

 

No to Fast-Tracking Harmful Trade Pacts; Yes to a New Model of Trade

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:02 AM

There’s growing opposition to trade deals that the Obama administration is pushing and to so-called fast-track trade authority, an outdated mechanism that would limit Congressional and public oversight over trade negotiations. From national polls showing that a majority of Americans oppose putting the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the fast track to demonstrations across the country against fast tracking such deals, there’s no denying that the tides are turning.

The U.S. is negotiating what could be two of the world’s biggest trade deals -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Pacific Rim nations and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. But the meat of these deals goes beyond traditional trade issues like tariffs -- they deal with important everyday things, like our jobs, the safety of our food, and our access to clean water and air. The dangers of these deals seem endless, yet they’re being rushed through in near complete secrecy.

What is TTIP? Click image to download full infographic.

Trade negotiators are writing these deals behind closed doors, with little to no involvement of the public and our elected officials. Despite this, there is still a push in the U.S. administration and among some in Congress to even further limit public and Congressional oversight of these massive trade pacts. If fast track were to pass, for example, signed trade pacts like the TPP and TTIP could be rushed through Congress with a guaranteed vote in 90 days, a maximum of 20 hours debate, and no possibility for amendments. In other words, fast track makes it impossible for Congress to ensure that trade pacts actually deliver for workers, communities, and the environment.

That’s why today, nearly 600 national, regional, and local organizations are reiterating their opposition to fast track and calling for a new model of trade. The time is now to fix the flawed model of trade that has cost us jobs and degraded our environment.  

Groups including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, the NAACP, and Public Citizen sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) firmly rejecting fast-track trade promotion authority and calling for a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements.

The Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune said it best: “Fast track is the wrong track for Americans who care about the health of our families and access to clean air, clean water, and land. We need a new model of trade -- one that protects communities and the environment while keeping the public engaged in the policy-making process.”

BruneQuoteTrade_02
In January, then-Senator Max Baucus and Congressman Dave Camp introduced a fast-track bill, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, which would strip Congress of its ability to amend or sufficiently debate trade pacts. Sen. Wyden, the current Senate Finance Chairman, is now drafting a new trade authority bill.

In place of the way-off fast-track method of rushing trade deals, the letter calls for a new model of trade authority that includes a number of key elements, including:

A Congressional role in selecting trade partners;

A set of mandatory negotiating objectives to ensure trade pacts deliver real benefits;

Enhanced transparency, including the release of texts; and

Congressional certification that negotiating objectives have been met before trade negotiations can conclude.

Today’s trade agreements affect our daily lives in countless ways. It’s time that the process for negotiating and implementing these trade pacts evolves to reflect that reality. Congress has regularly created new trade authority mechanisms throughout history. Fast track first went into effect under President Nixon in the 1970s. It was last granted during the George W. Bush administration, but that law expired on June 30, 2007. And as our letter to Senator Wyden proves, it’s time for something new.

If this broad coalition of environmental organizations, labor unions, and organizations working at the center of public health, consumer rights, sustainable farming, and more can agree that a new model of trade that supports families and communities is absolutely necessary, then Congress should join with us and bring trade policy into the 21st century.  

Ask your Members of Congress to take action in support of response trade and against fast track by sending them a message here.

--Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program

 

 

David Keeps Winning: 10 Recent Victories That Will Give You Hope for the Planet

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 11:56 AM

Indy beyond coal

Wow. That's the word I repeated over and over this summer, as news rolled in of one clean energy victory after another. These are David and Goliath campaigns, led by community groups fighting for the health of their families, for clean air and water, and for a safe climate. Over and over, against all odds, from the deep South to Oregon and everywhere in between, David keeps winning.
 
Each one of these campaigns represents a major victory for local families, who point to these coal projects as threats to the safety of their kids and communities. They also add up to a sea change in how we make electricity in America: 178 coal plants and 505 coal boilers, one-third of U.S. coal plants, are now retired or slated to retire. On top of that, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just reported that 100 percent of new electricity on the U.S. grid in July was renewable, mostly wind and solar.
 
If you find yourself falling victim to despair or cynicism about the fate of our planet, look no further. These 10 recent clean energy victories will give you hope for the planet. These were made possible by the work of dozens of allies, big and small.

1. Mississippi: After six years of grassroots pressure and legal challenges against the Kemper coal plant, a landmark legal settlement was announced in August that will bring $15 million in energy efficiency and clean energy investments to Mississippi. This was an especially big deal for solar in the deep South - one headline described it this way: "A landmark deal in Mississippi could give a big boost to utility scale solar."
 
2. Indianapolis: The city is home to a polluting downtown coal plant, long targeted by community leaders as a source of dangerous air and water pollution. After an intensive two-year campaign lead by local community groups including the NAACP, the Sierra Club, and dozens of others, Indianapolis Power & Light announced it will stop burning coal at its downtown Harding Street power plant. The announcement came on the eve of a much-anticipated vote by the Indianapolis City-County Council on a resolution calling for the phase out of the plant, which we expected to win. Check out this post for some great photos from the campaign.

3. Oregon: In a decision heralded around the nation, in August the Oregon Department of State Lands rejected a vital permit for one of the last remaining proposed coal export terminals in the Northwest, Ambre Energy's proposed Morrow Pacific coal export project along the Columbia River. The rejection is the first time a Pacific Northwest state agency formally rejected a permit for one of the proposed coal export terminals – some are calling it a "death rattle" for the coal export plan.
 
This comes after years of tremendous pressure from residents of all backgrounds – from doctors, parents, people of faith, small business owners, Tribal communities, and many others.

In total, three out of six proposed Northwest coal export terminals have been abandoned and the fourth is now teetering in the wake of this decision, the result of an electrifying campaign that has turned out 17,000 people turn out to hearings and generated 410,000 public comments opposing the projects.
  St louis beyond coal
4. Missouri: In July 2014, in the hometown of coal giants like Peabody, utility Ameren announced that its board had passed a resolution to phase out the 932 MW Meramec coal plant in 2022, citing that the 61-year-old plant had reached the end of its useful life. This came after a relentless coalition campaign to phase out the plant, which was home to leaking coal ash ponds and a significant contributor to air pollution in St. Louis.

5. Tennessee: The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced in August that it will retire the Allen coal plant in Memphis, which emits thousands of tons of pollutants in the air every year. Local residents had pushed hard to replace the plant with renewable energy, and TVA pointed specifically to community pressure as the reason they chose to go with a smaller natural gas plant and leave room for clean energy options:

TVA president Bill Johnson said TVA evaluated gas plants as large as 1,400 megawatts in their Environmental Assessment, but they went with a smaller plant in consideration of comments received urging TVA to "preserve the opportunity to use other kinds of energy resources such as solar or wind to meet future demands."

6. Illinois: In a partial victory for Illinois activists, in August NRG announced its plan to stop burning coal at two of its coal facilities in Romeoville and Joliet. Our coalition is continuing to work for more clean energy, a solid transition for the workers, and the phase out of additional coal plants that pose a public health threat to surrounding communities, including the 60-year-old Waukegan coal plant on the shore of Lake Michigan.

7. Los Angeles: This summer we scored a major clean energy victory in Los Angeles, when the city utility board voted to increase its 10 year energy efficiency target from 10 percent to 15 percent. To hit that target, the city is going to jump from a low of around 0.5 percent energy savings per year in 2011 to saving two percent per year in the coming years. That puts L.A. on par with the highest achieving energy efficiency savings programs in the nation, creating lots of new green jobs in the process. This victory is the latest accomplishment by an amazing coalition that has been racking up clean energy victories in LA, including successfully pushing the city to end coal use by 2025.

8. West Virginia: In late August, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision and ruled that environmental and historic preservation groups, including Sierra Club, have standing in our campaign to protect the historic Blair Mountain Battlefield, which is threatened by a proposed mountaintop removal coal mine. Blair Mountain was the site of a pivotal battle in the struggle to unionize the coal mines, the largest armed insurrection in the U.S. since the Civil War, where 10,000 miners clashed with paid coal industry operatives.

As Sierra Club's Bill Price put it, “Blair Mountain is an asset to the people of Appalachia. It must not be destroyed. This decision brings us one major step closer to preserving our history.”
 
9. Utah: We won a big solar victory in Utah this summer, when the state Public Service Commission ruled that Rocky Mountain Power could not charge a “solar tax,” a proposed monthly fee to homeowners who go solar. This decision came after months of opposition to the fee from a broad coalition, including Sierra Club, and over 10,000 comments to the PSC opposing the fee.

10. Hollywood: And in some great news for ground-breaking television, in August the Showtime documentary climate series "Years of Living Dangerously" – one episode of which featured amazing coal activist Anna Jane Joyner, TV star Ian Somerhalder, and yours truly – won the Emmy for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series!

I was so honored to be part of this groundbreaking project, and my congratulations go out to everyone on the Years team for this much-deserved recognition. It is such a great series, and in case you haven't seen it yet, it just came out on DVD and iTunes.
 
I'll say it again – wow. I can't wait to see what this fall will bring. These were grassroots powered victories, one and all - thanks to everyone who helped make them happen!

-- Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal campaign director

 

September 10: Slowing Down for Net Neutrality

Tue, 09/9/2014 - 10:41 AM

Avatar-green

It’s estimated that nearly two billion people use the internet each day. In the past two decades alone, it has not only become one our main sources of news, but our social hub, our answer-giver, and our forum to speak up about some of today’s biggest issues.

But what would you do if one day the internet as we know it became impossible to use?

That’s exactly what will happen if big cable companies get their way as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nears the deadline on its net neutrality decision.

But what is net neutrality?

Essentially, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A policy of net neutrality ensures that all governments and internet service providers treat all information on the web equally. So all those cat videos you love to watch in your spare time take the same amount of time to load as, let’s say, your favorite websites and news outlets. The petitions you sign to keep dirty fuels in the ground, support efforts to get kids outdoors, or curb carbon pollution are treated the same as the websites of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world. Basically, you’re able to access all the information you want equally. Sounds pretty common sense, right?

That’s not what big cable providers think. If companies like Comcast succeed in influencing the FCC’s decision, the internet could suddenly be divided into slow and fast loading “lanes.” These big businesses will have the freedom to allow certain websites to load faster than others, encouraging users to only visit certain sites -- sites that internet providers just so happen to make a profit from.

Suddenly, our freedom on the internet is limited at the discretion of big business, which means the throttle on what we search, the sites we visit, and things we post are no longer in our power.

So, why is the Sierra Club getting involved?

For one thing, we’re a grassroots organization of 2.4. million members and supporters that goes toe-to-toe with some of the biggest polluters -- and largest companies -- on the planet on a daily basis. We know how important it is to ensure that the playing fields are level where we stand up for our issues -- whether in the courtroom, the voting booth, or on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

The problem with giving just a few corporations control over all of the information online is akin to the problem of just a few super-rich people have control over the issues that are debated in our government. Yet, we’re seeing the latter every day as big polluters spend billions on politics and skew the priorities of Congress toward one that launches attack after attack on our air, our water, and the health of our families. We can’t let the same thing happen to the internet - a venue of unrestrained expression and debate.

When you look at exactly who would be at the throttle of the internet if we lose net neutrality, the need to act is even more dire. Big companies -- like Comcast -- are a part of groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) - the right-wing “think tank” responsible for writing and pushing legislation all over the country meant to push climate denial, attack safeguards from carbon pollution, and gut clean energy investments. Do you want them with their finger on the button when you are posting a blog about clean energy, sharing an online action about Keystone XL, or emailing your Senator about voting rights?

Net Neutrality keeps the playing field level - and we have to do everything we can to ensure it stays in place. That’s why we’re joining with other organizations like reddit, imgur, Kick Starter, CREDO, Greenpeace, Mozilla, vimeo, and presente.org for an “internet slowdown” to show the FCC and big cable companies that our freedom of speech is not for sale. On September 10, get prepared to see that symbolic “spinning wheel of death” on sites all across the internet. It’s just a preview of what will happen if Net Neutrality hits the dustbin and big cable gets its way -- and our way of saying the internet must remain free and open.

Make sure you take action to tell the FCC that you support Net Neutrality by clicking here.

-- Cindy Carr, Sierra Club Media Team

 

Money Out, Voters In!

Mon, 09/8/2014 - 02:47 PM

Sen. Klobuchar Sen. Amy Klobuchar points to the boxes of 3 million signatures in support of overturning Citizens United.

For Members of Congress, today is Day One back on the job after summer recess. And while the 113th Congress has been labeled “do-nothing,” several members of the U.S. House and Senate did something big on their first day back -- they rallied for democracy.

Under ominously grey skies, Senators Tom Udall, Bernie Sanders, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representatives Ted Deutch and Jim McGovern joined dozens of citizens in front of the U.S. Capitol to send the message to the rest of Congress: We need to get money out and voters in.

The members and citizens were rallying in support of SJ Res 19, the “Democracy for All” bill, which the Senate will vote on tonight. The bill mandates that Congress pass legislation to address the undue influence of money in politics -- money that is drowning out the voices of average citizens who can’t match huge campaign contributions from billionaires. It would help to overturn bad Supreme Court decisions that have given corporate polluters more power and influence in politics.

Senator Udall of New Mexico introduced the bill, and set the stage Monday.

“We are here today to overturn Citizens United,” he said.


Citizens United is one of the bad Supreme Court decisions that stands in the way of democracy. In January, 2010, the Court voted 5 to 4 in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, effectively ruling that corporations are persons under the Constitution, setting the stage big corporations to give unlimited money contributions and essentially buy elections.

Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island, a co-sponsor of the bill, noted that since the Citizens United decision, Republicans have been silent on things that everyday Americans care about, notably, carbon pollution and the climate action needed to reign in that pollution.

“The Citizens United decision is destined for infamy,” he said.

But this is not a partisan issue, as some of the Members like Senator Klobuchar noted. Campaign contributions for Democrats and Republicans alike should be regulated to level the playing field.


ImageBoxes flanking the speakers’ podium contained comments by more than 3 million Americans to overturn Citizens United by supporting a constitutional amendment. The Democracy For All bill accomplishes that and more. These signatures were collected by dozens of organizations nationwide like the Sierra Club, which also sent a letter to the U.S. Senate today urging for passage of the bill.

“Working alongside reform-minded members of the Senate, a diverse and broad coalition of environmental groups, good government groups, and unions are standing up to champion reform and advance bipartisan legislative solutions to make Congress more responsive to the interests of average Americans – not just the super wealthy and corporate interests,” the letter reads. “The Udall-Bennet amendment is one of the critical steps to repairing our democracy.”

These comments, letters, and rallies are positive steps toward getting big money out of politics and restoring democracy in America.

--Sierra Club Media Team

 
 

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