Development of natural areas in the United States, coupled with expected changes in climate, have increased the importance of migration corridors that connect protected natural areas.
EarthShare Honors National Parks Centennial
This year, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park System. To commemorate this special occasion, EarthShare staff members reflected on their favorite memories of our National Parks. These national treasures not only protect the country’s unique biodiversity, but also offer visitors surprising, awe-inspiring experiences.
What’s your favorite memory of the park? Let us know in the comments section below, or post your memory to social media with the hashtags #FindYourPark or #NPS100. Then, visit EarthShare member charity National Parks Conservation Association to find out how you can protect the parks.
I went to Alaska in 2006 and spent two days in Denali National Park. We saw plenty of wildlife in the park itself, but what I remember most vividly was waiting for the train to Fairbanks and seeing a moose in the parking lot of the train station. A wolf on the other side of the train tracks was watching it very closely! We also loved standing on the deck of our cottage in Denali – when it was 11:30pm and there was still plenty of daylight in mid-June.
– Miriam Davidson, Public Campaigns Manager
Yellowstone National Park in autumn is crisp and magical: steam rising in the early morning from hot springs and fumeroles; elk bugling their mating songs, bison wandering the valleys and forests with green garlands in their fur.
As vast as Yellowstone National Park is – it's larger than the states of Rhode Island or Delaware – it sits within a much larger ecosystem that includes humans. These borderlands are where conservation is truly tested. I was inspired to meet a woman named Hilary Anderson who has found sustainable ways to cattle ranch alongside wolves and bears. Hilary represents a new generation of rancher that is rethinking our relationship with the wild from one of fear and destruction, to one of respect and coexistence.
– Erica Flock, Communications Consultant
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
It was like a page cut from Genesis in the days of creation: The entire sky was overcast with big purple clouds lunging down from above with just a small clearing in the western sky for the setting sun to shoot its rays through. New spring growth was everywhere – swaths of bluebells, violets, small wild & spotted flowers smaller than a fingernail, bright new blades of grass, golden asters, and new leaves breaking through from their branches on many of the trees.
This scene all took place on the banks of the Potomac just below the C&O Canal National Historical Park towpath at Carderock where the river bottom causes the water to flow like mini-whitewater rushing from the mountains. The clouds & sunset reflected on the water along with the flowers and trees on the banks provide a truly sacred experience. It was like stepping into Eden, and all just minutes from Washington, DC… in one of our treasured national parks!
– Paul Fitzpatrick, Information System Manager
Last summer my friends and I took a trip to California to visit Big Sur and Yosemite. Yosemite has always been a dream of mine because of the sequoias. I have been an activist for half my life and have worked so hard to protect this ecosystem. It was breathtaking and something that words can’t even explain.
I also saw how climate change is devastating our national parks. Wildfires have destroyed acres and acres of land and waterfalls have dried up. It is more important than ever to invest in and protect our national parks. I want my children to experience Yosemite and not have to rely on pictures of how it used to be.
– Beth Gunter, Campaign Support Specialist
In the Pacific Northwest, roughly 24 million acres of forest are protected from destructive clear-cut logging and managed as part of a vast, intertwined ecosystem that stretches from Northern California to the Canadian border.
The measure would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, protect two wilderness areas in New Mexico and address water supply and river restoration efforts in the Yakima Basin in Washington state.
This amendment, sponsored by Senators Heller (R-NV) and Heinrich (D-NM) supports a smart approach to facilitating wind, solar and geothermal energy in the best places on public lands, representing a balanced view of how our public lands should be used.
A Big Plan to Fight Food Waste
Every year, American consumers, businesses, and farms spend $218 billion growing, processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. That’s 52 million tons of food sent to landfills annually, and 10 million tons that go unharvested or discarded on farms.
Meanwhile, one in seven Americans is food insecure without reliable access to affordable, nutritious food.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
A new report released from Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) – a collaboration of over 30 business, government, investor, foundation, and nonprofit leaders committed to reducing US food waste – analyzes 27 food waste solutions that can cut food waste in the United States by 20% — or 13 million tons annually.
The Roadmap to Reduce US Food Waste is the first national economic study of food waste with a true plan for action. Its implementation would help spur economic growth, create jobs, increase food security and reduce environmental damage caused by food waste.
The Roadmap will require $18 billion of investment over the next decade, but will yield a net economic value of approximately $100 billion through lower food bills, new businesses, additional meals donated to the hungry, and a lower government tax burden.
The ReFED plan would also catalyze more than 15,000 new jobs, annually recover over 1.8 billion meals for the hungry, reduce national water use by over one trillion gallons, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 18 million tons.
“When we waste food, we waste all of the resources it takes to bring it to our plates—from money to farmland, energy and water,” said Dana Gunders, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (an EarthShare member organization and collaborator on the report). “The Obama administration and the food industry should use this roadmap to prioritize actions that keep more food on our plates, and out of the trash.”
To ensure the Roadmap accurately represented the current landscape and included actionable insights, ReFED built an Advisory Board of leading organizations across sectors including Ahold, Bon Appetit Management Company, Sodexo, Walmart, Waste Management, Feeding America, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Harvard University, World Resources Institute (WRI), California State Board of Food and Agriculture, the EPA, and the cities of New York, Phoenix, and Seattle.
“Food businesses are leaving almost $2 billion of potential profit on the table annually,” said Kyle Tanger, a director with Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of its sustainability practice. “It’s crucial for food businesses to take steps to understand where food waste is occurring in their value chains — and invest in solutions to reduce it and recover profits.”
The benefits of fighting food waste are achievable, feasible, and realistic today, but they will not be realized without a concerted effort. Stakeholders must commit to four levers of action:
- New financing to scale proven solutions
- Commonsense policy change
- Adoption of emerging innovations, and
- Consumer and employee education
The Roadmap is just the beginning. In the year ahead, ReFED will build on the efforts of other pioneers in this space and will work to implement these solutions.
Want to help fight food waste in your community and workplace? Visit the ReFED website for helpful tools and resources. Together, we can meet or exceed our country’s goal of 50% food waste reduction by 2030.
The Future of Garbage: Curbside Compost, EarthShare