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2015 is Earth's warmest year

According to NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, the globally averaged temperature for 2015 was the highest among all years since record keeping began in 1880.

A few highlights include:

  • During 2015, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.62°F (0.90°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 136 years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.29°F (0.16°C) and marking the fourth time a global temperature record has been set this century.
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02/05/2016 01:22:24pm
Climate Change Threatening Pennsylvania Wildlife

Pennsylvania's state tree, state fish and state bird could disappear from the commonwealth altogether by the end of this century, according to a new study that says it's happening right now.

A mini-report by the National Wildlife Federation says every decade the state gets a little warmer, the winters a little shorter.

Ed Zygmunt, an outdoorsman and volunteer for the National Wildlife Federation, has witnessed the impact of climate change over the past 50 years with the decline of hemlock trees....

02/05/2016 10:31:22am
Register For the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count

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The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.  The 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count takes place February 12th thru the 15th.

Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It's free, fun, and easy-and it helps the birds....

02/03/2016 01:10:13pm
Today is World Wetlands Day

Wetlands are essential to the future of our world.  Today, World Wetlands Day, make sure to appreciate wetlands for their importance and value.  Here is why they are vital to the survival of our planet:

  1. Wildlife Nursery. Because of its unique location between water and land, salt and freshwater, wetlands shelter more than one-third of the country’s threatened and endangered species, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Without wetlands, a huge number of songbirds, waterfowl, shellfish, mammals just wouldn’t exist.
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02/02/2016 01:39:34pm
Amazing Organic Fashion Brands

The fashion industry's biggest week in the United States, New York Fashion Week, begins next week starting fashionFebruary 10th.  It will be interesting to see if any of the designers incorporate eco-friendly materials into their collections like Pharrell Williams did when he appeared at Fashion Week in 2014.  Until then, you can find quite a few organic fashion brands that are currently helping consumers make more eco-conscious fashion choices.  Here's a list from Britannia Garment Packaging of the hottest ranges around:

People Tree

People Tree is one of the world’s top organic fashion labels, producing handcrafted garments using sustainable materials and a fairly-paid workforce....

02/02/2016 01:24:30pm
Susquehanna North Branch Named Pennsylvania River of the Year

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pa. Organization for Waterways and Rivers (POWR) recently announced that the Susquehanna River North Branch right here in northeastern Pennsylvania was voted the 2016 Pennsylvania River of the Year:

"Shaping countless community lifestyles in the past while emerging as a recreational treasure of the future, the North Branch of the Susquehanna — like all waterways nominated for 2016 — highlights how Pennsylvania is blessed with a wealth of rivers and streams, and a core of dedicated folks who fight to protect them," said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn....

01/27/2016 12:01:40pm
H&M To Launch Eco-Friendly Beauty Line

According to Racked, fashion retailer H&M is rolling out a new line of skin, body, and hair products with organic ingredients to complement its long-running, eco-friendly clothing line, Conscious Collection:

The new beauty collection spans 30 products, which range in price from $7 to $13. It's everything from aluminum-free deodorant to shampoo to face masks, and as seen in Allure‘s gallery, it's all free of GMOS, parabens, silicon, synthetic perfumes, and dyes.

H&M says it's using certified organic ingredients, incorporating essential oils as fragrance, and then packaging the products in recycled plastic and paper.

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01/27/2016 11:37:04am
Is Your Toothpaste Polluting the Waterways?

On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into law the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015,” which prohibits selling and distributing products containing intentionally-added plastic microbeads.  According to the bill, a microbead is any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters and is used for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing.  They are found in many beauty products from toothpaste to body wash and are designed to wash down the drain, but they do not dissolve and can possibly pose an environmental threat. ...

01/26/2016 12:37:59pm
Sierra Club Sues To Stop The Edge’s Malibu Mansions Project

The Sierra Club is suing the California Coastal Commission in an effort to halt approval of U2 guitarist The Edge’s plans to build five mansions on a Malibu ridge.

The Los Angeles Times reports the action filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court says the commission didn’t properly evaluate the project before granting approval last month.

Among other things, the Sierra Club maintains the commission didn’t consider the impact that putting homes in Malibu’s pristine Sweetwater Mesa area would have on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

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01/25/2016 08:59:34am
Environmentalists Praise Action to Curb Methane Pollution

Environmental advocates are praising Gov. Tom Wolf's proposals for new rules to curb methane pollution as an important step toward protecting the health of all Pennsylvanians.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and accompanying pollutants can have serious health consequences for young people with asthma and for seniors with heart disease. But according to Joe Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, state regulations were not adequate to handle the boom in gas production in recent years.

"We are now trying to catch up to where other states are, the improvements in technology, and what the federal government is going to require for new sources," he said....

01/22/2016 10:19:56am
State Must Spend to Meet Clean Water Goals

The state on Thursday unveiled its new strategy for cleaning up polluted rivers and streams - but it's going to take money to implement.

Pennsylvania has fallen behind in its efforts to clean up some 19,000 miles of polluted waterways. The new plan establishes a number of immediate and long-term actions to get back on track.

Harry Campbell, state director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the state acknowledges that its efforts to date have fallen short.

"So, we have a lot of catch-up to do," he said....

01/22/2016 10:19:03am
Advocates Push for "Long-Overdue" Reform of Toxic Chemicals Law

For the first time in 40 years, the federal Toxic Substances Control Act is being reformed, and advocates for the changes say the results could give Pennsylvanians a much-needed layer of protection.

Chemicals are everywhere, including in children's toys, household products and construction materials.

Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment, points out that since the law passed in 1976, more than 83,000 chemicals have been used in commerce, but the Environmental Protection Agency has only reviewed 200, and regulated just five....

01/22/2016 10:18:00am
Governor Wolf Announces New Methane Rules to Improve Air Quality & Reduce Industry Loss

Governor Tom Wolf announced a nation-leading strategy to reduce emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, and has been implicated in health risks. The plan is designed to protect the environment and public health, reduce climate change, and help businesses reduce the waste of a valuable product by reducing methane leaks and emissions from natural gas well sites, processing facilities, compressor stations and along pipelines

“Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the nation behind Texas,” said Governor Wolf....

01/21/2016 09:59:09am
Gwyneth Paltrow Launches Organic Makeup Line

According to Forbes, Gwyneth Paltrow has launched a certified organic makeup line under the Juice Beauty brand:

An actress frequently on camera and at red carpet events, Paltrow has long worried about the effects of frequent makeup use — everything from its impact on women’s hormones to the potential for premature aging.

Paltrow explains how she “naively” believed in the cosmetics industry to regulate the ingredients in their products, because how, in 2016, is it still legal for American women to unknowingly slather tire lubricants, artificial dye and carcinogens on their face?...

01/20/2016 10:35:07am
The Top Ten Environmental Stories of 2015

From the groundbreaking climate deal in Paris at year's end to the surprising reappearance of wolves in California to the rejection of a certain notorious pipeline project, 2015 had no shortage of major environmental stories. The Sierra Club's Sierra magazine editor-in-chief Jason Mark highlights last year's ten most significant headlines in this slideshow....

01/13/2016 08:09:00am
This is What Sustainability Will Look Like in the Not So Distant Future

From heating and cooling to electronics and appliances, it takes a lot of energy to power our daily lives. Our homes use 37 percent more energy today than they did in 1980. But without energy efficiency — through technology innovation and federal energy conservation standards — this number would be a lot higher. In fact, even though our total energy use has grown, our energy use per household is down about 10 percent, despite that our homes are larger and contain more devices....

01/12/2016 02:03:16pm
Science Advisers Challenge EPA Fracking Report

The Environmental Protection Agency's own science advisers are questioning the agency's finding that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas poses no "widespread systemic risks." In a draft report, the advisers say the conclusion of the EPA study is inconsistent with the data upon which the report was based.

Justin Wasser, campaign representative for the Sierra Club's Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground Initiative, said the scientific panel's findings are in line with many other investigations of fracking.

"When you see these peer-review studies," he said, "they end up all falling on the side of, ‘Fracking is much more dangerous than the industry likes to admit.' "

The scientific advisers' findings are open to public comment through Jan....

01/12/2016 10:32:14am
2016 Fuel Economy Guide

If you're shopping for a new car, the Fuel Economy Guide will help you compare and choose vehicles that save money at the pump and pollute less. http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml...

01/11/2016 09:49:20am
DEP Releases Drilling Rules Documents

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection this week released almost 3,000 pages of documents to support new regulations for oil and gas drillers - rules that haven't been updated since 2001.

Mike Helbing, staff attorney with the environmental group Penn Future, said the new regulations for shale gas drillers include improvements such as letting agencies in charge of schools and playgrounds review and comment on drilling plans in their area.

"Regulations also would eliminate the use of pits to store drill cuttings and waste fluids from unconventional drill operations," he said, "and provide clear standards for remediation of drinking-water supplies that have been contaminated by oil and gas operations."

According to the oil and gas industry, the rules, which will be subject to a vote next month by the Environmental Quality Board, should be scrapped and the whole process started again....

01/08/2016 10:18:21am
EPA Releases the First of Four Preliminary Risk Assessments for Insecticides Potentially Harmful to Bees

First-of-its-kind assessment delivers on President Obama’s National Pollinator Strategy

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. EPA’s assessment, prepared in collaboration with California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, indicates that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.

“Delivering on the President’s National Pollinator Strategy means EPA is committed not only to protecting bees and reversing bee loss, but for the first time assessing the health of the colony for the neonicotinoid pesticides,” said Jim Jones Assistant Administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention....

01/06/2016 09:35:16am