Category Archives: Environment

What is Earth Day, and what is it meant to accomplish?

by Kathleen Rogers, president, Earth Day Network

On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.

The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.

One billion people

Earth Day is now a global event each year, and we believe that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, has chosen as the theme for 2018 to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate primarily single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN is educating millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that plastic waste is creating serious global problems.

From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival….

read more at Earth Day Network

When nature harms itself: Five scary climate feedback loops

DW, 4/5/18

The thing about climate change is, the worse it gets – the worse it gets. Feedback loops accelerate the warming process. Now, scientists looking at lakes have found yet another alarming vicious circle to add to the list.

Lakes make a tiny fraction of the world’s water, but they’re home to lots of plants and animals. They’re often situated in the midst of still more biodiversity, in the form of forest. At least, they used to be.

Lately, forests have been vanishing, while aquatic plants continue to thrive. Due to this change, the lakes of the northern hemisphere could almost double their methane emissions over the next 50 years, new research has shown. Why? Climate change.

This increase of emissions will further contribute to global warming, in what scientists call a positive climate feedback loop.

And it’s just the latest addition to a growing list of ways we’re altering natural processes with spiraling impacts on the climate and carbon cycle….

read more, see images and diagrams, and follow links at DW

Uwchlan Township Launches Sustainability Initiatives

Uwchlan Township has started 2019 with a commitment to move toward greater environmental sustainability. On Monday April 8th, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution encouraging township businesses and residents to reduce the use of singe use plastic bags and straws.

This resolution follows a commitment by the township to move toward renewable energy with the ‘Ready for 100’ resolution passed during the February Board of Supervisors meeting. These efforts were led by the Uwchlan Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), which was formed under the leadership of Supervisor Mayme Bauman in 2018.

Supervisor Bauman states “Uwchlan Township is fortunate to have actively engaged citizens who care a lot about their community and are willing to dedicate their time and expertise to help the township tackle various environmental issues. I am proud to support the work of our EAC volunteers, which will help put our community on a path toward a cleaner environment and a more sustainable future.”

The Single Use Plastics resolution kicks off a “Sustainable Uwchlan” campaign planned for the township, including the launch of the Environmental Stewards program. This is a family friendly passport activity created for area families as a fun way to learn more about our environment and encourage environmental stewardship among residents of all ages. Participants are invited to complete environmental tasks and activities throughout 2019 to earn recognition in the fall as an Honorary Environmental Steward of Uwchlan Township.

Uwchlan EAC Chair Laura Obenski said ‘The EAC us excited to host a series of educational events and initiatives to provide guidance on how we can collectively, as a community, work to preserve our most valuable asset- the environment. Modeling and encouraging responsible environmental stewardship and engaging our youngest community members serves an important role in sustaining and preserving our community for generations to come.“

The Uwchlan EAC is also hosting a community event at the township campus this Wednesday, April 17th at 6:30pm featuring Kendra McMillin, Forest Health Program Specialist with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Kendra will be speaking with residents and answering questions about the Emerald Ash Borer and Spotted Lanternfly.

On Saturday May 11th, a Sustainable Uwchlan Open House will be held outdoors at the township building from 11-2p. This family friendly event will provide an opportunity for residents to learn about local environmental initiatives and provide information on a variety of topics such as recycling, native gardening, and renewable energy.

Photo above: Taryn Steinmeyer of Uwchlan Township checks a tree in her yard for Spotted Lanternfly eggs with her mom, Paige, as part of Uwchlan’s Environmental Steward Passport program.

More information on these events can be found on http://www.uwchlan.com.
# # #
Contact:
Laura Obenski
Uwchlan Township EAC Chair
484-947-6149
eac@uwchlan.com
Uwchlan.com/276/Sustainable-Uwchlan

10 Animals Threatened by Climate Change

from Earth Day Network. [N.b. endangered species are the national theme for this year’s Earth Day observance in late April. For Earth Day events in Chester County, see the CCEA calendar.]

Every species worldwide is impacted by climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels, less rain and more droughts. By 2100, an estimated 50% of all the world’s species could go extinct because of climate change.

Bumblebees are impacted by climate change in two related ways: Rising temperatures force populations northward to remain in cool climates and spring flowers bloom earlier than normal, leaving less time for bees to pollinate.

Whales rely on specific ocean temperatures for their migration, feeding, and reproductive habits. As sea temperatures rise, these changes disrupt habits necessary for whale survival.

Asian elephant habitat is negatively impacted by both lower rainfall and higher temperatures. Together, these threats have decreased the reproductive capacity of an already endangered species.

Giraffes have seen their population decline by 40% in the last 30 years. In addition to illegal poaching, two the most pressing dangers shrinking habitat and fewer acacia trees (their main food source) due to climate change.

Insects stand to suffer drastically from climate change. At the current rate of warming (2°C), roughly 18% of all insect species would be lost by 2100; if the planet were to warm by 3.2°C, that number would rise to 49%.

Oceanic bird species are directly threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change. Rising waters can submerge their coastal habitats and nests completely.

Sharks have difficulty hunting and a higher embryo mortality rate as ocean temperature and acidity rise worldwide. In the Pacific Ocean, rising temperatures force sharks northward by an average of 30 kilometers annually, disrupting ecosystems that depend on sharks.

Coral reefs are endangered due to rising sea temperatures. In the last three years alone, 72% of the world’s coral reefs protected by UNESCO experienced severe heat stress. Sustained heat stress causes coral bleaching, an often deadly occurrence in which coral starves from a loss of nutrition.

Monarch butterfly populations in California have fallen by as much as 95% since the 1980s due to habitat loss, increasing use of pesticides and loss of milkweed populations, all related to climate change caused by humans.

Great apes of Southeast Asia, perhaps the most endangered ape species, are in jeopardy of extinction due to deforestation caused by climate change with nearly 75% of forest cover at risk of deforestation.

See Earth Day Network for links and background info.

Uphold PA’s Environmental Rights Amendment & Act on Climate

Petition at MoveOn. (See similarly from Delaware Riverkeeper Network here. See also
See also The Lorax Project in the Classroom) and Send the Lorax to PA.

To be delivered to Gubernatorial and Legislative Winners of 2018 PA Midterm Election

You will serve during the period climate scientists agree is the last chance we have to act if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. You will also be charged with taking on threats to our water, air, and environment that have harmed our communities and natural resources, in some cases, for years.

Pennsylvania’s constitution contains the strongest environmental rights amendment in the country. Article 1, Section 27 says “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

We call on every newly-elected official and every elected official who returns to Harrisburg in 2019 to fulfill their Constitutional obligation to uphold Article 1, Section 27 by taking aggressive action to address the urgent environmental and climate challenges that confront us and establishing policies that prevent new sources of pollution from entering the Commonwealth.

2,427 signatures. NEW goal – We need 3,000! Sign at at MoveOn

Uphold Pennsylvania’s Environmental Rights Amendment & Act on Climate!

email from Delaware Riverkeeper Network, 12/13/18

Pennsylvania’s constitution contains an environmental rights amendment, or a Green Amendment—Article 1, Section 27—protecting every Pennsylvanian’s right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment for both present and future generations.

Since its adoption in 1971, legislators and governors have largely ignored it. In 2013, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, and her team won a watershed legal victory that breathed legal life into the constitutional right of people in the state to a clean and healthy environment. But the battle to fully define and defend the environmental rights of the People of Pennsylvania continues.

It’s time for Pennsylvanians to claim that right.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, along with the Better Path Coalition, invite you to join our campaign to tell Harrisburg that it’s time to uphold Article 1, Section 27 and be the climate and environmental champions we need.

Here’s how you can get involved!

Sign and share the online version of our petition right now!
Circulate a paper petition in your community!
Plan to join us in Harrisburg on January 27th (1/27) to learn more about our Pennsylvania Green Amendment and to be part of our call to the legislators that it is time to honor their oath to defend our constitutional right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment.