Tag Archives: protection

Help for pollinators – from the simple to the sublime

pollinator friendly actionsNational Pollinator Week (June 15-21) just ended but nobody’s going to mind if you keep supporting beautiful bees and butterflies all year round. Your kids will actually thank you one day.

For inspiration, check out the probono project With Honey In My Heart is leading to transform a paved San Francisco street into a pollinator sanctuary but remember – the power to save our pollinators lies within easy reach of most of us.

Pollinator Blvd

Obama calls on NEPA to create awareness of environmental costs

enviro impact assessment
Source: NEXCO East
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law New Year’s Day of 1970 by President Nixon. And, it’s what Obama committed to use before Christmas 2014 for bringing commonsense guidance to every sort of government construction project. Wildlife Defenders writer Noah Matson points out: “NEPA is one of the most important environmental laws that most people have never heard of.”

Obama isn’t calling for government agencies to pick the most eco-friendly approach to development. But he wants NEPA protocol to be followed: it calls for an analysis of the environmental impact of every project being planned, giving government staff the chance to weigh the financial costs of building against the environmental ones. This brilliant approach will forever change the development game, as truth is an irresistibly compelling force and when people are forced to look upon it, they can’t avoid being transformed. Until now, environmental costs of construction have been disregarded through the simple expedient of ignoring that they exist.

Matson says:

One of the key ways that NEPA advances this policy is by instituting a sound, transparent planning approach to large-scale government decisions. Before taking an action that could have a significant effect on the environment, NEPA requires those involved to develop alternative ways to achieve the same goal, and to evaluate the environmental impacts (good and bad) that each different approach would have. For instance, if the goal is to enable commuters to travel between two cities, the alternatives might be a highway that cuts straight through a wetland, a longer highway going around it, or a new rail line. NEPA requires the agency to lay out and weigh the pros and cons of each approach.

We can expect GOP politicians to stand on their heads and bawl like babies to protest meaningful ecological analysis of any development project. They’re only about profit at this point; are owned by major corporate interests and have put concerns for nature, clean air and water on the shelf. But NEPA is a good thing, and pulling it more effectively into play is a characteristically impressive Obama policy move.

Other Resources:
View NEPA compliance documentation
More on NEPA by Environmental Law Institute

Did Christie & mystery legislator team up to destroy Liberty State Park?

Liberty State Park at dusk
Christie has been caught red-handed trying to set Liberty State Park up for privatization by giving it to the Meadowlands Regional Commission he created, of which 9 out of 13 seats are occupied by people the governor handpicked. The commission now oversees the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority.

After Gov. Christie made a similar move to take control of the Highlands Commission, the appointees he placed on that commission began systematically and intentionally sabotaging the guidelines that previous commissioners had put in place to protect the region and its pristine water sources, which provide water to half of New Jersey. Christie’s newly appointed commissioners have allowed development throughout the Highlands, endangering our water source as well as the health of residents who depend on it for drinking water.

It is feared that a similar travesty of justice will be inflicted on Liberty State Park and the residents who rely on it for recreational space and relief from the urban concrete jungles surrounding it. The Record in a Jan 15 article warns,

Three sentences, buried in the 80-page legislation that combines two Meadowlands agencies, allow a new commission to “evaluate, approve and implement any plan or plans for the further preservation, development, enhancement or improvement of Liberty State Park” in Jersey City.

It is unclear who added the paragraph. A spokes­man for Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, the bill’s primary sponsor, would not say.

“It came out of nowhere, because no one knew this was happening until after it passed,” said Sam Pesin, president of the 800-member Friends of Liberty State Park, a volunteer group. “There’s no reason to put the park under a new commission unless you want to build on it.”

Since opening in 1976, LSP has hosted a free, green, open park space behind Lady Liberty and is considered by millions to be an important and vital public asset – one which New Jerseyans aren’t ready to give it up without a fight. The Ironbound Super Neighborhood Council, urges you to act on the following calls to action to save Liberty State Park:

  1. Please read the news coverage about this issue:
  2. Please call the Gov at 609-292-6000 and urge him to veto the “Hackensack Meadowlands Consolidation Act” immediately.
  3. Organization Admins, please consider signing onto this letter protesting removal of Liberty State Park from public purview. Here’s the Sign-on form.
  4. Please ask your friends and family to visit the Friends of Liberty State Park (FOLSP) website. A high visitor count will help make the case that the public cares about this issue.

Ironbound Super Neighborhood Council will hold its regular meeting on Wednesday, February 4th at 7pm. Meetings are held at St James Church School at the corner of Madison and Elm Streets, Newark NJ

At TedX, Congwoman Pingree talks as a sustainable organic farmer

Cong Chellie Pingree on Twitter
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree is the type of modern Democrat we need to keep in Washington, representing the American People’s interests at the federal level. Like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Cong. Pingree is a thoughtful, well educated, hard working and egalitarian woman with a quirky (but fun) sense of humor. She too believes that the American people can triumph over corporate greed and interests and works very hard to make sure this becomes reality.

One of the businesses Cong. Pingree owns is an organic chicken processing operation. She says she never fails to remind her colleagues that she’s an “expert chicken eviscerater.” Pingree jokes, “that’s a useful skill to have in Congress.”

In this TEDX Talk, Pingree talks about her history as a Maine Farmer and her ongoing work reforming national food policy and the federal Farm Bill. She challenges us to support the production of sustainably grown organic food in any ways we can, and charges us with helping to protect the butterflies and bees we need to help our food get naturally pollinated and thrive.

Hat tip to Theresa Lam for the find!