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

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

Doc Physics - How Solar Panels Work - Convert Sunlight to Electricity in Your Own Backyard

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:30 PM

Solar Projects In Google News

NYSERDA Announces Availability of Information About Nearly 10000 Solar ... - NewsLI

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 05:27 PM

(NEW YORK) The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the availability of details for nearly 10,000 solar projects that have participated in NYSERDA's open enrollment solar incentive programs over the past 10 
 

Westar awards grants for solar projects to 4 local entities - Kansas.com

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 05:19 PM

Four local organizations have won grants to install solar energy projects as part of Westar Energy's Solar Photovoltaic Project. Westar Energy awarded 15 grants in all, totaling just over $1 million, for projects that will generate between 10 and 30
 

Nexamp and NuGen Complete 2.4 Megawatt Solar Array at Massachusetts Farm - Power Engineering Magazine

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 01:55 PM

These solar projects complement our leadership in renewable energy and climate-related research programs, our goal of carbon neutrality, and our nationally recognized green campus operations. These projects are also providing important financial  
 

REITs for renewables: Wind, solar farms are being put into new companies ... - Fox Business

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 04:17 PM

He's invested $15 billion in the same type of wind and solar projects that yieldcos own, and he plans to double that amount. But analysts caution there are risks for yieldco investors because their popularity has inflated share prices and the concept  
 

Idaho Power files solar contracts under PURPA - Fierce Energy

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 02:04 PM

Idaho Power has filed contracts with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission for two solar projects proposed by private developers who will sell their output to the utility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) -- a federal law which  
 

Brazil continues solar surge as national auction attracts 400 solar power projects - PV-Tech

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:08 PM

In response to the drought, last year's A-5 and A-3 energy auctions were the first national auctions in Brazil to include solar projects; however zero were contracted last year due to the ceiling prices proving too high for solar projects to compete in  
 

Future grows darker for solar energy growth in Japan - Reuters

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 11:15 PM

"There have been declines in costs of building solar projects since the FIT (feed-in-tariff) system started, and the cost declines have been reflected in the price, while the internal rate of return has not been changed," the official added. Feed in Japan's Solar Future Beginning to Look Less BrightEnergy Digitalall 119  
 

9 solar projects getting more than $442K - BurlingtonFreePress.com

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 08:48 PM

My Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22
WAITSFIELD – Nine solar projects in Vermont are going to get than $442,000 in grants to help provide power for schools and communities. The money is coming from the Clean Energy Development Fund, which was created to increase cost-effective VT Receiving Clean Energy Grants For Solar ProjectsMy Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22Clean Energy Grants Announced On Governor's Summer Solar TourVermont Public Radioall 7  
 

9 Vermon solar projects getting more than $442K in grants - Brattleboro Reformer

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 05:17 PM

WAITSFIELD (AP) - Nine solar projects in Vermont are going to get than $442,000 in grants to help provide power for schools and communities. The money is coming from the Clean Energy Development Fund, which was created to increase 
 

Solar Farms Register 10.8 Gigawatts for Brazil Auction - Bloomberg

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 04:55 PM

Recharge
Solar energy developers in Brazil applied to sell power from 400 power plants in the country's first national energy auction with a specific category for photovoltaic projects. The solar projects have 10.79 gigawatts of capacity, Brazil's energy Brazil State to Purchase Solar Power After Failing to Lure BuyerBusinessweekBrazil shortlists 10.8GW of PVRechargeWind, solar dominate Brazil reserve round catalogBusiness News AmericasPV-Techall 6  
 
 

California Solar Projects In Google News

Former Employees Allege Widespread Illegality at Taxpayer-Backed Solar ... - Washington Free Beacon

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 06:31 PM

Its Mojave project was bound by similar terms. “In order of consideration, Mojave Solar would search for qualified candidates from Barstow, Victorville, and Adelanto, other small nearby communities, San Bernardino County, California, nationwide, and if 
 

SunPower breaks ground on new solar plant in California - Renewable Energy Focus

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 08:28 AM

In addition, than $5 million of tax revenues will also be generated as a result of the project, SunPower estimates. The 135 MW system1 will generate power for Southern California Edison's customers, under a long-term power purchase agreement.
 

Cenergy Power And Greenleaf-TNX Successfully Commission 1.8MW ... - ElectricNet (press release)

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 05:15 AM

San Mateo, CA /PRNewswire-iReach/ - Cenergy Power and Greenleaf-TNX are pleased to announce that they have successfully commissioned a 1.8 MW DC solar facility in Cloverdale, California, known as the "Cloverdale Solar" project ("Cloverdale Project") 
 

How to fit a wind farm into your portfolio - The Courier-Express

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 05:20 PM

3, 2011 file photo, a worker looks over solar panels at the NRG Solar and Eurus Energy America Corp.'s 45-megawatt solar farm in Avenal, Calif. Energy companies are wrapping renewable energy projects and other power-related assets that generate steady  
 

How to invest in renewable energy - San Jose Mercury News

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 04:51 PM

And assets go beyond wind or solar projects, or even ones that generate power. Abengoa Yield owns power transmission lines in Peru and Chile along with solar farms in Arizona and California. NRG Yield owns a coal-fired plant in Delaware. Because these  
 

SunPower Starts Construction on 135-MW Quinto Solar Project in California - AZoBuild

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:31 AM

SunPower Corp. today announced it has started construction on the 135-megawatt Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, Calif. The system will generate power for Southern California Edison's customers, under a long-term power purchase agreement.
 

PV in California: SunPower breaks ground on 135 MW Quinto Solar Plant - solarserver.com

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 05:26 AM

(San Jose, Calif.) on July 29th, 2014 announced it has started construction on the 135 megawatt Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, Calif. The solar photovoltaic (PV) system will generate power for Southern California Edison's customers, under a SunPower Breaks Ground on 135-Megawatt Quinto Solar PlantMarketWatchConstruction starts on 135-Megawatt solar plant in Merced CountyCentral Valley Business TimesSunPower launches Quinto worksRechargeBusinessweekall 30  
 

California Bill Would Streamline Solar Construction Permitting - KPBS

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 02:16 PM

It could soon be easier to install solar panels on your house. A bill now in the California legislature would require cities and counties to adopt an ordinance that streamlines the permitting process for residential solar projects. Democratic
 

SunPower Breaks Ground on 135-Megawatt Quinto Solar Plant - MarketWatch

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:08 PM

(NASDAQ:SPWR) today announced it has started construction on the 135-megawatt Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, Calif. The system will generate power for Southern California Edison's customers, under a long-term power purchase agreement.Hannon Armstrong to Finance SunPower Home Solar ProjectsBusinessweekall 18  
 

California Bill Would Streamline Solar Construction Permitting - Capital Public Radio News

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 05:25 PM

A bill now in the California legislature would require cities and counties to adopt an ordinance that streamlines the permitting process for residential solar projects. Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi says his bill would require cities to draw up
 
 

New Jersey Solar Projects In Google News

New Jersey Resources Announces Fiscal 2014 Third-Quarter Earnings ... - Wall Street Journal

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 11:07 AM

Equipment manufacturing is underway for NJNG's Howell, New Jersey, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, which will give the company the ability to liquefy pipeline natural gas for peak-day use and reduce LNG transportation costs. . to increased  
 

Boost for Solar Energy in Illinois - JD Supra (press release)

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 06:57 PM

States with aggressive SREC programs, like California and New Jersey, have seen substantial solar energy growth over the past decade. To ease the administrative burden, the IPA will solicit the use of third parties to aggregate distributed solar  
 

Boost for solar energy in Illinois - Lexology (registration)

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 04:38 PM

States with aggressive SREC programs, like California and New Jersey, have seen substantial solar energy growth over the past decade. To ease the administrative burden, the IPA will solicit the use of third parties to aggregate distributed solar
 

Over the Transom: Climate Scientologists destroy nature in order to save it ... - The Star-Ledger

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 04:13 PM

These people are learning the less so many New Jerseyans have already learned: Wind and solar projects can be much irritating and ugly than any other source of power. I wrote here about how some beautiful farm fields and tree stands at Mercer 
 

New Jersey's solar industry starts to rebound from decline caused by market ... - Press of Atlantic City

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 10:00 PM

New Jersey's solar industry starts to rebound from decline caused by market The expiration of the federal tax credit is expected to slow solar projects nationwide, he said, but there's no reason New Jersey has to follow suit. “As the price of solar has gone down and utility rates have increased, we're nearing the tipping point
 

We Energies drops protest over groups joining rates case - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 05:03 PM

SunVest develops solar projects in Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin. "Unfortunately, 90% or of that work is being done in other states," said SunVest owner Matt Neumann. "We're creating these jobs in other states and our tax credits
 

New Jersey Launches $200M Energy Resilience Bank for Microgrids and ... - Greentech Media

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:39 PM

The names of these institutions vary across Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, but the idea is similar: leveraging public and private capital and the authority of the state to fund energy projects that provide cleaner, reliable sources of
 

NC Solar Industry In Jeopardy If Utilities Get Their Way - WFAE

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 03:57 PM

In the span of five years, the solar industry in North Carolina has grown from nearly non-existent to fourth-largest in the nation, behind California, Arizona, and New Jersey. The pace is accelerating, Nearly all solar projects in North Carolina
 

Greenskies unveils $25m PV fund - reNews

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 03:50 PM

Connecticut-based Greenskies has teamed up with the state's United Bank of Glastonbury to create a $25m fund for large commercial solar projects. The cash will go to schemes in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, said Greenskies 
 

PSEG Solar Source ventures into Vermont with acquisition of solar facility ... - Your Renewable News (press release)

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 07:00 AM

To date JSI has built large-scale solar projects in Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas, totaling than 100 MWs of operating capacity. JSI also provides operations, monitoring, and maintenance services  
 
 

Colorado Solar Projects In Google News

Renewable Energy Stock News: FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq:FCEL) Announces ... - InvestorIdeas.com (press release)

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 02:25 PM

Artesia Daily Press
CEC established the first community-owned solar garden in the country in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado. Since that time, CEC has built or has under development 40 community solar projects with 18 utility partners across eight states, representing 26 MW How to fit a wind farm into your portfolioMontana Standardall 23  
 

How to fit a wind farm into your portfolio - Montana Standard

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 05:14 PM

He's invested $15 billion in the same type of wind and solar projects that yieldcos own, and he plans to double that amount. But analysts caution there are risks for yieldco investors because their popularity has inflated share prices and the concept  
 

The Solar Foundation Recognizes Community Solar Model with Award - InvestorIdeas.com (press release)

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 02:37 PM

CEC established the first community-owned solar garden in the country in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado. Since that time, CEC has built or has under development 40 community solar projects with 18 utility partners across eight states, representing 26 MW
 

Clean Power Plan draws all kinds to testify before EPA - The Colorado Independent

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 02:31 PM

“Energy conservation and wind are cheaper than coal or gas, and big solar projects are as cheap. We have options here.” The senator also noted that due to a decade-long commitment to relatively strict energy standards, renewables and conservation  
 

SunEdison Acquires 156 MW DC Comanche Solar Project from Community ... - AZoCleantech

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 09:44 AM

"This large-scale Comanche Solar generating facility will deliver clean, renewable energy for our customers at a price that is right," said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "Solar energy is an  
 

SunEdison partners with Community Energy on Colorado's largest solar PV plant - solarserver.com

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:46 AM

SunEdison partners with Community Energy on Colorado's largest solar PV plant"This large-scale Comanche Solar generating facility will deliver clean, renewable energy for our customers at a price that is right," said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "Solar energy is Xcel reveals winds of changeIntelligent Utilityall 66  
 

Xcel reveals winds of change - Intelligent Utility

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:14 PM

At one point in May 2013, wind accounted for than 60 percent of the power on the Colorado system, setting the national record. This commitment to wind has helped Xcel Energy earn its standing as the No. 1 wind-energy provider for 10 and  
 

Solar could make state shine - Worcester Telegram

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 08:32 AM

Massachusetts is extremely competitive with other states for solar development, ranking sixth in the country in terms of installed solar capacity and ahead of much sunnier states like Colorado and New Mexico. Despite solar's momentum in  
 

Three local towns light the way in latest round of Solarize Mass - Berkshire Eagle

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 04:19 AM

MassCEC officials report of the 932 solar projects in 15 cities and towns across Massachusetts, 84 property owners enrolled in the Great Barrington/Egremont collaboration, 18 in Adams, the Whatley/Williamsburg/Chesterfield partnership with 85 and  
 

Lighthouse Solar is getting off the Solarcoaster - RenewablesBiz

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:52 PM

Lighthouse Solar, a Boulder, Colorado based solar installation business, announced today that it is getting out of the installation business in Colorado. Market conditions created by Xcel Energy and the PUC have The company is shifting its focus to  
 
 

Department of Energy Solar Projects

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities ... - Fort Mills Times

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:34 PM

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities In accordance with Fitch's criteria for investment grade solar projects, Opco debt service coverage ratios (DSCR) average 1.98x under a one-year P99 generation scenario, demonstrating strong resilience to low solar resources. (Revenue Risk- Volume
 

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities ... - The Herald | HeraldOnline.com (press release)

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:05 PM

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities In accordance with Fitch's criteria for investment grade solar projects, Opco debt service coverage ratios (DSCR) average 1.98x under a one-year P99 generation scenario, demonstrating strong resilience to low solar resources. (Revenue Risk- Volume  
 

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities ... - DigitalJournal.com

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 09:52 PM

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities In accordance with Fitch's criteria for investment grade solar projects, Opco debt service coverage ratios (DSCR) average 1.98x under a one-year P99 generation scenario, demonstrating strong resilience to low solar resources. (Revenue Risk- Volume  
 

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities ... - Business Wire (press release)

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 09:50 PM

Fitch Affirms Genesis Solar LLC's $852MM Total Trust Ctf and Bank Facilities In accordance with Fitch's criteria for investment grade solar projects, Opco debt service coverage ratios (DSCR) average 1.98x under a one-year P99 generation scenario, demonstrating strong resilience to low solar resources. (Revenue Risk- Volume  
 

QBotix Announces Over 80 Megawatts Of Projects Under Contract Globally - ElectricNet (press release)

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 05:27 AM

in solar PV project economics with the optimized Robotic Tracking System (RTS), today announced at Intersolar North America (Booth #9711) that it has than 80 megawatts (MW) of solar projects under contract, with several already under
 

India powers toward renewable energy: Part III - Renewable Energy Focus

Wed, 07/9/2014 - 08:13 PM

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have developed an online Indian Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy Database (IREEED) that aims at disseminating information  
 

WWF Disputes FEF Figures on Solar Projects - Manila Channel

Wed, 07/9/2014 - 08:08 AM

When WWF's own energy experts computed the cost of the new solar projects based on Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) rates and current electricity prices – the cost was just a little over PHP3 billion. “WWF is ready to show its computations. FEF should immediately
 

As the Solar Industry Eyes Storage, Experts at Intersolar Talk About Key ... - Greentech Media

Wed, 07/9/2014 - 12:31 AM

DOE is supporting research that aims to drive the cost of grid-scale energy storage technology to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour -- a tenfold decrease from today's typical costs of $1,000-and-up per kilowatt-hour. Most of today's grid-scale storage  
 

QBotix Announces Over 80 Megawatts of Projects Under Contract Globally - AltEnergyMag (press release)

Tue, 07/8/2014 - 05:52 PM

in solar PV project economics with the optimized Robotic Tracking System (RTS), today announced at Intersolar North America (Booth #9711) that it has than 80 megawatts (MW) of solar projects under contract, with several already under  
 

QBotix Announces Over 80 Megawatts of Projects Under Contract Globally - Virtual Press Office (press release)

Tue, 07/8/2014 - 05:34 PM

in solar PV project economics with the optimized Robotic Tracking System (RTS), today announced at Intersolar North America (Booth #9711) that it has than 80 megawatts (MW) of solar projects under contract, with several already under  
 
 

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.

Bangladesh ‘Long March’ to save Sundarbans featured in a new documentary

Thu, 07/31/2014 - 07:24 AM

Last September, thousands of Bangladeshis joined the five day “Long March” from the capital city, Sundarbans Dhaka, to the city of Rampal to protest a proposed new coal-fired power plant. Now you can join the walk in a new documentary, “Long Live Sundarban,” available on YouTube.

The proposed coal project threatens the Sundarbans -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site which translates to “beautiful forest” in Bengali -- home to the largest reserve for endangered Bengal Tigers. It is also the world’s largest mangrove forest and plays an important role in the local economy and agriculture. More importantly though, the Sundarbans are a critical natural defense against cyclones, and it is estimated that every time one of these powerful storms hits Bangladesh, the forest saves hundreds of thousands of lives.

And the danger from these cyclones will only increase. At less than 20 feet above sea level, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable nations to the effects of climate disruption. As sea levels rise and storms worsen, the country will need the Sundarbans more than ever.

But this could all change if the proposal from India’s state owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Bangladesh’s Power Development Board (PDB) to build this proposed 1,320-megawatt coal-fired power plant moves forward. This coal project will not only contribute to the climate disruption threatening Bangladesh, it will also endanger their main protection against it.

But local activists are working hard to make sure this doesn’t happen.

“This proposed power plant at Rampal is hazardous in terms of economy, in terms of national equity, in terms of protection and utilization of national resource and in terms of public health,” Pinaki Bhattacharya, a teacher of environmental toxicology at AIUB, said in the documentary.

“If this consciousness develops, if people realize that this coal-fired power plant will bring disaster, they will definitely be active and government must be forced to abstain from this,” Shahed Kayes, a poet and social activist, added in his commentary in the documentary.

The massive turnout for the Long March shows that these efforts to win over the public are paying off.

Bangladesh is already demonstrating that there is a way forward without coal. There are over 80,000 new solar system installations each month in Bangladesh, and this growing clean energy industry offers an innovative solution to energy poverty while protecting the resources the people of Bangladesh rely on.

It’s time for NTPC and PDB to support this clean energy revolution and stop putting Bangladesh at risk from the ever-increasing effects of climate disruption. Until then, the thousands of activists who joined the Long March and countless others across the country will work to protect the Sundarbans.

As Shyamoly Shill, an assistant professor of sociology at Jagannath University, explains in the documentary, “Sundarbans is the integral part of the whole nature and ecosystem of Bangladesh. We have no way but to fight for conservation of Sundarbans.”

--Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program

 

Big Coal Doesn't Get It

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:57 AM

 

As thousands rally this week in support of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, one thing is clear – people across the country are united in their demand for cleaner air to breathe. It’s fitting then that the final hearing starts in Pittsburgh on Thursday, an area that suffers from some of the worse air quality in the nation.

Every summer more than 53,000 children in the Pittsburgh region suffering from asthma are told to stay inside on bad air days because playing outside is a risk to their health. Summer is especially difficult for these kids and other vulnerable people -- including seniors and people with respiratory disease -- because the hotter temperatures lead to more smog, one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution.

Climate disruption is making this problem even worse with more hot days, longer heat waves and higher temperatures. That means even more smog.

The Sierra Club made this connection in the radio ad posted above that was launched this week in the Pittsburgh region, declaring that it’s time we did something to clean up our air. And that something is support the Clean Power Plan.

Coal-fired power plants, like those that dot Southwest Pennsylvania, are one of the primary sources of both smog-causing nitrogen oxides, soot and the carbon pollution that’s fueling climate disruption. In fact, while most of these plants could cut their pollution right now,  they simply choose not to, putting our kids at greater risk.

But when the coal industry heard our ad, they did what they do best -- deny and smear. An industry group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity issued a press release claiming carbon pollution has nothing to do with public health, thereby again putting polluters soundly on the opposite side of science and reality.

If big polluters are denying reality and abdicating responsibility for wreaking havoc on our public health, it must be a day that ends with a “y”. Check a scientific study, big coal: carbon pollution from burning coal worsens smog which triggers asthma attacks. That's part of why the Clean Power Plan's curbs on carbon are expected to prevent 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

But Americans shouldn't expect big polluters, the same companies that have been dumping toxins into our air and water for years, to care about public health. That's why we are doing our best to cut through their smears with these latest ads.

--Kim Teplitzky, Sierra Club Media Team, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Poll: Communities of color overwhelmingly support climate action

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 07:49 AM

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds public hearings across the country on the proposed Clean Power Plan, national polling continues to show strong support for climate action. And a new survey released by Green For All and conducted by the firm Brilliant Corners suggests that the desire for government action to combat climate disruption is especially high among minority communities. In fact, three quarters of voters of color surveyed said that they have become more interested in climate issues over the past several years and are paying closer attention to new information.  
Green for all report

The survey, which was conducted in nine battleground states and surveyed registered voters of color including African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans, found that many voters of color feel climate disruption is a prominent issue that cannot and will not wait for action in the distant future. Almost seven in ten voters said they feel it is an issue "we need to be worried about right now, not something we can put off into the future," with another 62 percent saying that the country is not devoting enough to combating climate disruption. When asked to rank the importance of climate disruption on a scale from zero to 10, the average response was 7.9.

"People of color care deeply about the environment and the impacts of climate change. We understand the urgency of addressing these threats because we experience the effects every single day," Nikki Silvestri, executive director of Green For All, said in a statement. "We have an obligation to one another to make sure that everybody enjoys a healthy planet."

Looking ahead to November, this survey suggests that political candidates who advocate for climate action will have an advantage among voters of color. An overwhelming 70 percent of voters surveyed said they would be more likely to support political candidates who are willing to expand resources to tackle climate disruption and grow new industries over a candidate who argues that climate action will cost jobs and hurt the economy. After all, many voters of color think that climate action is a moral imperative. When asked what the most important reason to support the EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards, the most common reason was that the rule would be fulfilling a moral duty to our children in the future.

-- Christopher Todaro, Sierra Club Polling and Research Intern

 

First Day of EPA Carbon Pollution Standard Hearings a Success!

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 06:54 AM

Atlanta EPA rally

Hundreds and hundreds of people gathered in Washington, D.C., Denver, and Atlanta Tuesday for the first day of public hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. The EPA proposed these first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants just last month.
Senator Markey at the DC rally

In Washington, D.C., crowds gathered to speak out in favor of the carbon pollution standard, packing the hearing all day. Supporters also gathered at a rally outside the hearing (see above photo) to hear from a variety of great speakers, including Senator Ed Markey, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Latino Victory Project president Cristobal Alex, Green Latino president Mark Magaña, Hip Hop Caucus president Rev. Lennox Yearwood and others.
DC EPA rally kids - Photo by Javier Sierra
Kids were out and about in force as well, thanks to coalition partner Moms Clean Air Force.

Atlanta EPA march - Photo by Anna Jane Joyner
In Atlanta, hundreds marched through the city streets after a powerful rally (the first photo in this blog post is of the Atlanta rally). There supporters also outnumbered opposition to EPA's standard by large number. Business owners, farmers, parents, clergy, and many more spoke in favor of EPA's Clean Power Plan.

Even a former NFL player got in on the action, writing a supportive op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Denver rally
In Denver, activists kicked off the day with a press conference with local clean energy business leaders highlighting clean energy jobs in Colorado and the opportunities that the Clean Power Plan presents for the growing clean energy industry.

Later in the morning there was clean air rally with Mom's Clean Air Force, Colorado Mom's Know Best, Climate Parents, and other groups.

At the hearing, one leader estimated the hearing speakers in favor of EPA's carbon pollution standard outnumbered the opposition by around 50 to 1. Retired military, kids, local clean energy business owners and more testified in support of limiting carbon pollution.
Denver hearing speakers
All in all - day 1 of the hearings was a huge success. The hearings continue today in all three cities and later this week in Pittsburgh.

If you can't make it to a hearing, please send in your comments to the EPA right here!

Enjoy more photos from DC, Atlanta, and Denver below. We also encourage you to check out the twitter hashtags #ActOnClimate, #DCEPA, and #AtlEPA to see more great photos and quotes from yesterday and to follow the rest of the week's hearings!

DC EPA hearing bike

Biking the message around in DC!

Green Latino president Mark Magaña speaks at the DC rally - photo by Javier Sierra

Green Latino president Mark Magaña speaks at the DC rally. (Photo by Javier Sierra)

Rev Gerald Durley

The Rev. Gerald Durley rallies the Atlanta crowd. (Photo by Jenna Garland)

Denver kids- photo by Conservation CO

Some sign-making kids at the Denver rally. (Photo courtesy of Conservation Colorado)

DC EPA rally - photo by Javier Sierra

More of the crowd from the DC rally. (Photo by Javier Sierra)

 

Irony Alert: A Delaware Oil Company Feels Threatened by Sea Level Rise

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 07:40 AM

Oil companies seem to think they have the most to gain by denying climate disruption. Just look at the lengths that the oil-rich Koch brothers have gone to in order to suppress climate action, spending and saying anything to derail any policy tackling the climate crisis.

Why? Well, carbon pollution caused by burning fossil fuels is a key cause of the climate crisis -- and without action, they’ll be free to drill, extract, frack, refine, transport, and burn oil as much as they want. Apparently, it’s easy for them to ignore the cascade of problems their polluting behavior creates when they’ve got profits to be made. But, as it happens, such irresponsible, deeply flawed logic eventually comes full circle.
Tar-sands-free-delaware-200
In Delaware, severe storms are eroding the shoreline and affecting homes and businesses up and down the coast - including the business of an oil refinery. The functioning of the Delaware City Refining Company property just south of New Castle, a division of PBF Energy, is threatened by increasing extreme weather. In other words, climate disruption is hitting the doorstep of its source.

The refinery has tried to get help, submitting an application with the Coastal Zone Management Act seeking shoreline protections due to “tidal encroachment” -- which is one way of saying sea level rise.

“The extent of the shoreline erosion has reached a point where facility infrastructure is at risk,” says the permit application from the company.

You read that right -- an oil company feels jeopardized by sea level rise. And they’re asking for assistance. That’’s like a cigarette company asking for help paying for ventilators for it’s executives after they’ve pedalled tobacco for decades.


Of course it took an immediate threat to its business for the Delaware City Refining Company to confront the problem. Nevertheless, this is yet another example of climate coming home -- in this case to an oil company exposed to the very threat it poses to others.

And this is not just any oil company.  The Delaware City Refinery is one of the first refineries to shift its crude oil supply to rail and is refining tar sands -- one of the most carbon-intensive fuels known to man.

To add insult to injury, the sea level rise preparations the Delaware City Refining Company is proposing could negatively affect the community by directing more storm surge toward the town of Delaware City, the small coastal community near where the refinery is located. But who could be surprised by an oil company with such a poor sense of irony acting with no regard for the people around it?

The Delaware City Refining Company is now in a wait period, after it issued a draft proposal in May 2014 that considers different solutions to address its new climate-induced problem. The Sierra Club’s Delaware chapter submitted comments on the plan, but there’s more to be done.

Our solution? Stop helping create climate-induced problems in the first place. Climate disruption has proven to be indiscriminate in the destruction it causes -- as this refinery and millions and millions around the globe are learning first hand. Denying climate disruption only exacerbates the problem -- we need to start working to move beyond dirty fuels.

Amy Roe, conservation chair of the Sierra Club's Delaware chapter.

 

Why VATs on Solar Energy Hinder Progress on Energy Poverty

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:05 PM

Zambia.jpg

Photo credit: SolarAid

What difference can a value added tax make to the lives of those living in energy poverty?  A big one.

Currently, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa apply a value added tax (VAT) to clean energy products like solar lanterns and solar home systems. While it is critical for all countries -- particularly developing countries -- to develop a strong and diverse tax base to pay for public services like healthcare and education, VATs are usually regressive, meaning that they hit the impoverished the hardest.

As the anti-poverty organization Christian Aid explains in its Tax Justice Advocacy Toolkit, “unless a comprehensive set of exemptions is applied to the basic goods and services consumed by poor people, they will spend a much higher percentage of their minimal incomes on the goods and services that carry this tax than those with large disposable incomes.”  

Tragically, VAT is holding up a key development and climate objective: increasing clean energy access for all, both on and off the grid.   

According to Lighting Africa, solar components and products in many geographic areas continue to be hit with duties, VATs, and surcharges which can lead to price increase on solar products of upwards of 30 percent. That means, in practice, the VAT is an unnecessary barrier to sourcing affordable solar products for off-grid and rural populations.

Even worse, thanks to high subsidies for kerosene, VAT exacerbates an already unequal energy playing field. The end result is that those desperately seeking energy access turn to heavily polluting and ultimately more expensive forms of fuel-based lighting - like kerosene.

As such, many governments have begun to update their tax code to include VAT waivers and exemptions that support, not hinder, solar energy deployment. This includes leaders from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali, and most recently Kenya.  The result? The off-grid solar industry is thriving in these countries, and solar energy is affordable for low-income people who most need access to energy.

sales of lighting global quality-verified PLSs in Africa.JPG

But many more countries must implement these kinds of exemptions to expand solar power for everyone.

Zambia currently exempts off-grid solar products -- like solar lanterns -- from a VAT that is typically applied to imported goods. They do this because 42.3 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty and only 22 percent are connected to electricity. Affordability of solar products is therefore critical for those living beyond the grid. The existing VAT exemption has allowed solar products to remain within the budget of low-income individuals and families.  

The Zambian government will soon be setting its budget for 2015, a process which will decide the fate of this exemption.  Solar energy access providers like SolarAid are strongly encouraging the government to keep the VAT and tariff exemption in place. Zambian solar lighting customers who buy $10 solar lights save an average of $75 a year, with savings spent on food, school fees,  and building small businesses.

But more solar products are needed in Zambia and across sub-Saharan Africa. While no panacea, reducing and eliminating solar VAT supports the ability of entrepreneurs and NGOs -- like SolarAid -- to get these services into the hands of those who need them most. In this specific case, solar VAT does nothing but harm those who need clean, reliable energy access the most.  

A VAT exemption on off-grid solar products is the obvious choice, and we support SolarAid’s push to ensure it remains in place.   

--Justin Guay, Associate Director, International Climate Program, and Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

 

The EPA's Clean Power Plan: A Chance to Get it Right for Workers, Communities, and our Climate

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 10:41 AM

ActonclimateLast month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed its Clean Power Plan, the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants.   Besides re-establishing the United States as a leader in the drive to reduce the carbon pollution that is disrupting our planet's climate and threatening civilization itself, the Clean Power Plan will spur the growth of cleaner energy sources and energy efficiency, maintain and create family-sustaining jobs, and ensure America's infrastructure is prepared for the impacts of climate change.

Next week, the EPA is holding four hearings around the country; in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Denver, and Washington DC. Some people will be arguing for protecting the environment. Some people will be arguing for good jobs. What we all need to keep in mind is that these two things are not in conflict -- the Clean Power Plan lets us do both.  

From a union perspective, the Clean Power Plan presents a tremendous organizing opportunity in every state of the nation. That's because the EPA has structured the plan to give each state, or groups of states, enough time to comply in a way best suited for their local economies, meaning they can create their own plans to protect existing jobs and spur the creation of new ones all while reducing pollution. In fact, states have until 2015 to put a plan in place, until between 2020 and 2029 to meet reduction goals, and until 2030 to meet final targets, meaning they have time to make any needed adjustments to accommodate local needs.  

We should use the next two years to come together, talk through our differences, and find common ground to get this done in the best way possible. That's because both the Clean Power Plan and the transition to a clean economy are NOT about "jobs versus the environment" --- they are about creating good jobs in healthy communities on a living planet.   

The tools states can use include making existing plants more efficient and effective, increasing renewable energy sources, and increasing energy efficiency. And all of these can help create jobs.  As Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) said about the Clean Power Plan,

"It seems pretty clear that you're giving an incentive for states to put in more solar panels, erect more wind turbines, weatherize more homes, install more energy-efficient appliances and machinery. This is the direction we're heading -- these are jobs that pay well, they can't be exported, they're here to stay.”

That's one of the reasons the BlueGreen Alliance (a coalition of 15 unions and environmental organizations representing nearly 16 million people) is supporting the Plan. BlueGreen Alliance leaders have also been urging the EPA - and the administration broadly - to consider how working families have been affected by America's energy transition, and how they will be affected. The President responded by appointing Jason Walsh (formerly of the BlueGreen Alliance) to head an interagency effort to help ensure the Clean Power Plan does just that, by protecting workers affected by the transition away from fossil fuels to good-paying clean energy jobs.

The good news is that renewable energy and energy efficiency investments create far more jobs per dollar spent than fossil fuels -- including natural gas.  Specifically, a clean-energy investment agenda generates more than three times the number of jobs within the United States as does spending the same amount of money in the fossil fuel sectors.   And, the clean energy sector is growing at a rate nearly double the growth rate of the overall economy.  In fact, according to 2010 analysis from the Brookings Institution and Battelle, the clean energy economy already directly employs 300,000 more people than the fossil fuel industry.  These numbers will only increase as the clean energy economy grows.

If done properly, retooling our economy for clean energy - which the Clean Power Plan would help do -- will lead to a massive expansion of good jobs, providing one of the biggest opportunities for growth of the labor movement over the next generation.

However, the market alone will not create a fair and just clean energy economy. For that to happen, we must reverse the destructive policies of at least the past 35 years, that have seen workers' rights eroded as manufacturing moves offshore, union density at historic lows while the middle class is endangered, and a widening chasm between the wealthiest one percent and everyone else that has disproportionately hurt people of color, undocumented immigrants, and women.

That's why the Sierra Club and our allies are determined to work to ensure the implementation of the Clean Power Plan is strong AND JUST. That means:

Ensuring that workers and communities affected by the phasing out of fossil fuels are treated fairly and justly; The jobs the Plan creates are family-sustaining union jobs; Disadvantaged communities receive equitable access to clean energy-related economic opportunities.

The Sierra Club has been involved for many years in discussions with our partners in the labor movement about how to make a fair and just transition that protects workers and communities that have depended on fossil fuels. Now is the time for all of us to turn those discussions into action.  

In developing and advocating a strong and just Clean Power Plan, we should be guided by working with representatives of the affected communities, like the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). We need to build momentum for a major funding stream to help workers and communities in Appalachia and other hard-pressed regions to heal their land and water and have real family-supporting jobs,.  

Most of all, we need to continue working together, and refuse to be divided by our common enemies. Beyond some unions that legitimately fear harmful effects on their members, the attacks on the Clean Power Plan are coming from the same anti-union corporate polluters that have sought to destroy the labor movement and fought any attempt to address global climate disruption for decades.

Anytime there’s a proposal to protect workers or clean up air or water pollution, you can count on the Chamber of Commerce and their ilk will come out with a forecast of economic disaster. You can also count on them to be dead wrong. The Washington Post Fact Checker gave the Chamber's dire prediction that the Clean Power Plan would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars Four Pinocchios, the rating received for only the most egregious whoppers. Its history repeating itself, as the Chamber has made false claims about economic costs on everything from  acid rain protections in 1990, to smog reduction measures of 1997, to mercury standards of 2011.
 
Having endured recent years where climate disruption contributed to damaging floods, widespread wildfires, record drought, and Superstorm Sandy, which together cost Americans hundreds of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, we can't afford to wait any longer to act. For the health and welfare of Americans, for the nation's economy, and for the stability of the planet, now is the time for the labor and environmental movements to come together for a Plan that dramatically reduces pollution from America's power plants, increases the energy efficiency of our economy, and reduces the threat of climate disruption.

-- Dean Hubbard, director of the Sierra Club's Labor Program

 

Organizations Call on Major U.S. Corporations to Ditch Tar Sands

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:00 AM

Stop-using-tar-sands-fuel

Today, leading environmental groups and corporate campaigning organizations released an open letter to major corporations -- the biggest consumers of tar sands, the dirtiest oil on the planet -- calling on the corporations to take responsibility for the disastrous effect that lax to non-existent corporate purchasing policies are havin on the climate. Check out the letter here.

Unless a company has a specific policy in place not to purchase tar sands oil, the company is in practice supporting the destructive tar sands mining industry that is polluting our water, air, communities, and climate. The letter puts companies on notice that it's time to do the right thing.

Over the past year, corporations have come under increasing public pressure to stop using tar sands oil. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola were the first among them, due to the amount of tar sands oil used to fuel the companies' massive vehicle fleets. Just Monday, people began asking the question across social media: "How much water is poisoned to produce one barrel of tar sands? Just ask Pepsi."

"Tar sands crude is the dirtiest oil on the planet. Nineteen major companies have already adopted policies not to purchase oil from tar sands, so it's high time that the rest of America's corporations follow suit," said Michael Bosse of the Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign. "This letter puts the biggest corporate consumers of oil on notice that there's no excuse not to invest in cleaner, more efficient fleets, and that it's simply wrong to source oil from the tar sands, which is fouling the land and water in communities across the country, from Maine to Kalamazoo to Utah."

Amanda Starbuck, the Climate Program Director at Rainforest Action Network, put it this way: "Many big corporations that sell commodities far removed from oil extraction are nonetheless enabling the nightmarish expansion of the tar sands by refusing to purge tar sands oil from their fuel supply chains. Huge companies with massive operating budgets have ample resources to ensure they are not contributing to the worst environmental disaster on Earth, and until they do so, we will consider them complicit."

With this letter, it should be clearer than ever to America's corporations that they need to take note, take a look at how PepsiCo has been dragged into the spotlight over its use of tar sands, and take action. It's time for America's corporations to step up to the plate, say no to tar sands, and move beyond oil.

-- Rachel Rye Butler, Sierra Club Beyond Oil Campaign

 

Rallies Next Week! Your Voice is Needed to Support Climate Action

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 01:32 PM

Cut carbon signLast month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever national standard to clean up carbon pollution from power plants. Now the EPA is holding public hearings on the proposed standard in four cities. If you live near DC, Pittsburgh, Denver, or Atlanta, we hope to see you next week!

Join Sierra Club and our allies as we march and rally outside these hearings. We've all got to do our part to show strong support for the EPA to take bold action on climate disruption! Polluters are gearing up to try and stop this standard in its tracks, so it's especially important that everyone concerned about our climate shows up, raises their voice, and gets involved.

Here are the dates and locations of the hearings and rallies - click on each to learn more and to RSVP:
 
Washington, D.C (July 29 and 30)

Denver, Colorado (July 29 and 30)

Atlanta, Georgia (July 29 and 30)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (July 31 and August 1)
 
As I've said before, this carbon pollution standard gives all kids a fighting chance at a safe and promising future. The Clean Power Plan will save lives and money.
 
We applaud the EPA's Clean Power Plan and will work to make it even stronger. It creates a framework that, once in place, could mean significant reductions in carbon pollution. States will make plans to reduce power plant emissions, and boost renewable energy and energy efficiency; states could also pledge retirements of dirty, outdated power plants.

The Clean Power Plan also sends an important signal to the world that the United States is serious about addressing climate disruption, and it could help clear the way for international climate action.
 
I’ll be in Atlanta for the events there, and I can't wait to see the huge crowds gathered to support the Clean Power Plan. I hope you'll join us -- either in Atlanta, Washington, DC, Denver, or Pittsburgh as we rally, march, testify and make our voices heard!
 
If you can't make it, please submit your supportive comments here!

-- Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal Campaign director. Photo courtesy of Josh Lopez.

 

Coal Exports: "You Don't Know Longview"

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 09:10 AM

Coal export hearing5Last week we highlighted the amazing work of the Longview, Washington, community in standing up against coal exports and speaking out for a strong clean-up of a toxic port site in their town. Residents packed a hearing to say as much.

We want to share the powerful testimony from one of those Longview residents, Mary Lyons:

Tonight, July 16, 2014, is an important anniversary for me, in that 27 years ago this evening I was in Intensive Care at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle after surviving a Sudden Cardiac Arrest while playing softball with friends. I was on life support and comatose and based only upon the statistics, the neurologist told my friends and family that I would probably be a vegetable if I ever regained consciousness.

But my friends and family kept telling her;
"Doctor...you don't know Mary."

As you can see, the doctor's dismissal of my role in that prognosis was a crucial misstep. She didn't make an effort to learn about my personal strengths and skill set. She didn't consider that "optimistic energy and stubbornness" could have a major impact on "outcome." That lack of insight caused her name to later be used in our family as a derisive slur for "short-sighted pessimism."

And tonight, I have one phrase to leave the Department of Ecology with as you consider the elements of this Clean Up, and that is:

YOU DON'T KNOW LONGVIEW.

The level of Clean Up the DOE chooses to enforce could have the ability to not only clean up this site, but also this region AND this country as we lead in holding polluting industries responsible for ALL the damage they do. Level 6 is the only level which returns this site to the competitive playing field it occupied when Reynolds Aluminum moved in. And if you think this is a community which will slip back into the shadows and be satisfied with sub-par repairs for damages done

YOU DON'T KNOW LONGVIEW.

The commercial value of this deep-water port so close to the mouth of the Columbia River AND Portland could LEAD the West Coast in its efforts to turn this country into a more economically-powerful and cleaner nation. Lowering the bar to Level 4 models the defeatism of a dying vision and a cynical world steeped in denial of the fast approaching train ahead.

Don't get me wrong: this city will survive, no matter what level you choose for the Clean Up. But here's a tip: Supporting this community as we DETERMINEDLY rise from the ashes of the last fifty years is an investment which will pay off in spades.

And if you don't believe me,

YOU DON'T KNOW LONGVIEW.

Thank you.

Mary Lyons

 
 

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