Friday, March 24, 2017

Environment | Week Highlights

[In the News] | [Meanwhile in Massachusetts]

Week: March 18 - 24 2017

News Highlights

[Main topics of the Week] 2 important international & celebration days: the International Day of Forests & the World Water Day. Some great news: the UN recognizes the impact of the biodiversity crisis on human rights (yes that's great news). The defeat of the week: The Alaskan bill of shame (H.Res.69).

🌳  March 21 was the International Day of Forests. An important day for celebrating all the ways in which forests and trees protect and sustain us. Too often we forget that forests generate oxygen, store water and regulate climate — yet we cut down an area of forest the size of Portugal every year. How good is your forest knowledge? Get your forests facts up-to-date, go hug a tree and spread the words about why we need to protect our forests. Enjoy this great 360 video under the canopy... [Xplore: Conservation International (Forests), Rainforest Action Network, Mongabay (Rainforests)]

πŸ’¦   March 22 was World Water Day. Another important day as the health and productivity of a nation depends on access to safe water and sanitation. Get your water facts up-to-date and help spread the words. [Xplore: World Health Organization | UNESCO (Water Security), UN-Water]

March 21 is also a day of shame: The U.S. Senate overturned a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule that stopped a set of appalling and unsporting hunting methods on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. These cruel and unsporting practices include shooting or trapping whole families of wolves while at their dens with pups, using airplanes to scout for brown and black bears to shoot, trapping bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares and luring grizzly bears with food to get a point blank kill.... The bills? There were a bunch of them covering this, the most infamous one being maybe H.Res.69. We called our senators, we pushed our representatives to oppose those bills, and we sincerely hope many did too. [Xplore: Humane Society (Press release) | NPR (Press report)]

The positive highlight of this week for us is the United Nations going on records for the first time ever acknowledging that biodiversity and healthy ecosystems is essential to human rights. Seems obvious? Not really otherwise it would not be the first ever UN report on this matter. So this is a real big deal, because this finally raises attention to a biodiversity crisis unknown to most, ignored or even dismissed, but that many scientists and conservationists (I included) have pegged as the beginning of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event, and an issue as important as Climate Change. “Biodiversity is really necessary for the full enjoyment of rights to food, water, health — the right to live a full and happy life”, Knox told The Huffington Post on Thursday. “Without the services that healthy ecosystems provide across the board, we really can’t enjoy a whole range of human rights. And healthy ecosystems really depend on biodiversity.” [Xplore: IUCN (communication)]

Want to know what's going on in the Congress? Check my Congress Watch page  This page highlights urgent issues / bills with actionable items (who to call for support or protest).

Meanwhile in Massachusetts


Coalition calls on Vermont to protect water quality. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), along with a broad coalition of municipal, business, environmental, and farming organizations, submitted a letter today to the Vermont General Assembly urging legislators to act this year on water quality funding.

Local Events

Keep an eye for...

03/20/14. If you're in the Boston area, join us on a Walk on the Wild Side with Dave Brown, a nature event organized by our Friends of Alewife Reservation. The perfect opportunity to connect with our local nature...

03/31/17. A day for our rivers! Realizing that we have some D-rated (water quality) rivers, we're definitely not that protected here because we are in Massachusetts. So here is a chance for those who can to join to tell our State representatives that ensuring that our rivers are safe and clean is not an option...

03/31/17. We will be meeting with our State representative Denise Provost to discuss the Clean Energy Purchasing Requirement bill (H.2700) [Title: An Act to Increase the renewable portfolio standard and ensure compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act]. This is a state bill that would increase the rate of increase in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), from the current 1% to at least 2% a year, and require municipal electric utilities – currently exempt - to begin complying with the RPS. Our state wants to reach a target of a decrease of green house emission by 80% by 2050 (w/ 25% by 2020). We are not on target, and increasing our RPS would contribute greatly to meet this goal. Our goal with this meeting is multiple: (1) Making sure she supports the bill; (2) Asking how we can help explicitly; and (3) Recording our notes and passing it to our communities so as to create a tangible civic action. 

Local Legislature & Campaigns

✧ 350 Mass Legislative Agenda
✧ Massachusetts Sierra Club's Legislative Priorities — 2017-2018 (190th session) 
✧ Environmental League of Massachusetts Legislative  — 2017-2018 agenda
✧ Conservation Law Foundation Campaigns 

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