Tag Archives: Sierra Club

Why Are People Finally Believing in Climate Change?

By Mukta Patil, Sierra, Feb 19 2019

A climate communication expert talks bad weather, and young Republicans

A record number of Americans—73 percent—now understand that global warming is happening. About 62 percent of them know that humans are mostly responsible. What is bringing this change in understanding? Is it a generational shift? Or just a whole lot of bad weather?

Anthony Leiserowitz is director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC), which is behind this new data. Along with colleagues from George Mason University, the YPCCC has spent the last decade studying American awareness of climate change and how to shift that awareness. Leiserowitz spoke to Sierra about young Republicans, the weather report, and why it’s easier to explain climate change to a person in India than to a person in the US.

Sierra: The most recent survey that YPCCC has done shows awareness of climate change is at its highest since you started collecting data. What is it about right now that is significant?

Anthony Leiserowitz: The number of Americans who think global warming is happening is at an all-time high. We saw an eight percentage point jump in Americans who were very worried about climate change. That’s a big surge. When you do these kinds of surveys twice a year, you’re used to seeing changes that are one, two, or maybe three percentage points. Very rarely do you see that kind of movement.

Questions like “When will climate change start to harm people in the United States?,” “When will it harm you, your family, your community?”—we saw a big jump in those numbers— much more than “How much will it harm future generations or other plant and animal species?,” which are more distant.

We think that in the end, this big jump from March to December 2018 has a few different things that have sort of converged. One is the extreme, record-setting weather—from Hurricane Michael destroying part of the Panhandle in Florida to the terrible wildfires that went on and on in California.

They still have a long way to go, but the media is beginning to use the words “climate change” when they are reporting those extreme events. That’s crucial, because there have always been fires and floods and droughts. Of course, all disasters cannot be connected to climate change, but many can. As the media begins to make that link for people, it helps solidify in people’s minds that this is happening and it’s not some far away, distant thing—it’s tearing apart communities right here, right now, in the United States.

The other thing that happened was the release of two major scientific reports—the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] special report on what it would take to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming, which is a real wake-up call for the global community, saying that we’ve actually got about 12 years to very seriously bend the curves on our emissions if we are to have any hope of staying below 1.5 degrees. That got a fair amount of press coverage….

read more at Sierra

Make Your Grocery Game Zero-Waste

By Mukta Patil, Sierra Club, Feb 4 2019

Five ways to render grocery shopping easier on the planet—and your wallet

Shopping for groceries can be overwhelming. Once you get past the sheer volume of products staring down from the aisles, you’ve got to reckon with their ingredients, prices, and the way the food is packed. For environmentally conscious shoppers, the latter—excessive packaging and the resulting pollution—is especially irksome. Enter the zero-waste grocery store.

These small-but-budding enterprises are increasingly popping up, and they’re promising plastic-free, packaging-free products ranging from grains and produce to detergent and shampoo. The original zero-waste grocery story was the late in.gredients in Austin, Texas, which unfortunately shut down last April after five years of selling exclusively (un)packaged and locally sourced food. In its wake, however, in.gredients hatched a trend. The similarly modeled Package Free Shop cropped up in Brooklyn in 2017. Vancouver’s Nada opened in June 2018. Nada owner Brianne Miller, a marine biologist, says her zero-waste store and cafe was inspired by her research travels, which made her realize just how widespread plastic pollution was. “We want to inspire a better world by changing the way people shop for groceries,” Miller says. “Through these individual actions, we can reduce food waste and plastic pollution.”…

read more at Sierra Club

Against single-use plastic bags

from Sierra Club., Mass. chapter:

“Regulating the Use of Plastic Checkout Bags:
Background information on laws and bylaws proposing a ban on checkout bags.”

Download pdf here: plastic_bags_massachusetts_2018

Noteworthy quotes:

“…the environmental expense of plastic bags far exceeds the cost retailers are currently paying to provide them….”

“The over 100 billion plastic shopping bags used each year in the United States are made from the estimated equivalent of 439 million gallons of oil….”

Sierra Club Applauds Governor Wolf for Setting Statewide Climate Protection Goals

Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, January 8, 2019

Harrisburg, P.A.– Governor Wolf signed an executive order today committing Pennsylvania to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels, consistent with the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. The executive order also includes a provision re-establishing the Green Government Council, co-chaired by the Department of General Services, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Protection. The goals of the council are to reduce energy consumption in state government by 21 percent, procure 40 percent of state agency energy use from renewables, and replace 25 percent of the state fleet with electric vehicles by 2025.

Pennsylvania marks, at least, the 17th state to commit to goals consistent with the Paris Climate Accord in the face of inaction on a federal level. After President Trump took office, the United States became the first country to withdraw from the Accord’s climate goals, drawing intense criticism internationally, and from many cities, states, and businesses here at home.

In response, Joanne Kilgour, Chapter Director of the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, responded with the following:

“The science is clear – climate change is happening all around us and affecting not only communities across Pennsylvania, but around the world. Governor Wolf’s commitment to serious climate action and reinstating the Green Government Council is a bold statement that signals Pennsylvania is going to do its part to curb climate change, which will cut other dangerous pollution and promote job growth across the state. Already, major cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have committed to meeting the Paris climate goals, and communities in Chester and Delaware Counties are leading the way by committing to 100 percent clean energy. Sierra Club is excited to support Governor Wolf in implementing this plan to slash carbon pollution. As an organization, we will continue to work for an energy future that is equitable and powered by 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”

Contact: Emily Pomilio, Sierra Club, (480) 286-0401, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org
Joanne Kilgour, (412) 965-9973, joanne.kilgour@sierraclub.org
Tom Schuster, (814) 915-4231, tom.schuster@sierraclub.or

10 Reasons to Feel Hopeful About Climate Change in 2019

By Wendy Becktold, Sierra magazine, Jan 10 2019

Humanity’s on the brink, but signs are emerging that we’ll pull back

In 2018, hurricanes, floods, fires, and droughts wreaked a level of destruction on the planet that, according to scientists, is just a taste of what is to come. In October, the International Panel on Climate Change issued a report stating that we have about 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change. Meanwhile, global greenhouse gas emissions reached a record high in 2018. So is it still reasonable to hope that we can wean ourselves off fossil fuels in time to avert global calamity?

As David Roberts of Vox points out, that’s the wrong question. Climate change is happening now, and lots of change for the worse is already locked into place. But, as Roberts puts it, “we have some choice in how screwed we are.” Climate change isn’t a binary—safe or unsafe, screwed or not screwed—but rather a spectrum. That will remain true no matter how we respond to the task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or how severe the weather gets. “Yes, it’s going to get worse,” Roberts writes, “but nobody gets to give up hope or stop fighting.” Exactly right. Here, then, are 10 glimmers of hope that humanity will opt for less screwed over more screwed in 2019. …

read more at Sierra

Add Your Name: Support a Green New Deal!

Sierra Club petition

A Green New Deal would put people to work in good union jobs, while enabling communities to invest in projects like removing lead from drinking water, retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, and expanding our clean energy grid. These investments can play a critical role in fighting climate change and reducing racial and economic inequity by prioritizing benefits for working class families, communities of color, immigrants, and others who’ve borne the brunt of the fossil fuel economy.

Many states and cities already have a head start in adopting Green New Deal policies, creating momentum for national action! …

read more and sign petition: Sierra Club

The environmental impacts of Florence we feared

Half a million customers without power. Hundreds of roads washed out. At least thirty-one people killed, including a three-month-old infant. Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones, and all those whose lives are forever changed by this devastating storm.

Now we’re starting to hear news of long-term environmental impacts. There are news reports of coal ash releases and flooding caused by Florence floodwaters in Wilmington and Goldsboro, NC, as well as the threat of overflowing waste pits from hog farms.

The worst isn’t over.

With the threat of waters from coal and hog waste pits flooding downstream towards the ocean, and at least one tornado that spun off of the storm, we’re talking about an impacted area that’s 250 miles from end to end. The health and safety of millions of people are at risk.

They need our help. Local organizations like North Carolina Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, ACT Against Coal Ash Coalition and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC are working on the ground to assist people impacted by this “storm of a lifetime” and address longer-term environmental damage. Your emergency gift of $5 or whatever you can give will go a long way as this punishing storm continues to churn across the Carolinas.

Can you make an emergency gift to the Sierra Club’s Hurricane Florence recovery efforts now? 100% of the funds you donate will go directly to the nonprofits serving the communities affected most by this devastating storm.

While the extent of the environmental destruction wrought by Florence may not be known for some time, we do know that 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash — known to be toxic — was spilled at Duke Energy in Wilmington, compounding what is already a public health crisis.

Just two years ago, Hurricane Matthew caused a massive coal ash breach and submerged dozens of hog and chicken facilities, compromising pits containing millions of gallons of hog manure. We now know what low-income communities in rural areas face — particularly when they don’t know whether their soil and water are safe.

Activists on the ground are already working on a long-term recovery and prevention plan to guard against future weather events — even as emergency and nonprofit workers continue to rescue, feed, house and help our neighbors still suffering in the storm.

Please, donate what you can to the locally-led organizations that will be doing the cleanup AND taking care of our neighbors in the weeks and months to come.

Our thoughts go out to the 20,000 of our neighbors taking refuge in shelters, waiting to see if they have anything to go home to, as well as those still waiting for the worst.

And our thanks go to friends like you for helping make sure our partners on the ground have what they need to save lives and begin to repair the communities hit hardest by this unforgiving storm. We’re grateful for your support at times like this.

Sincerely,

Molly Diggins
Director, North Carolina Chapter
Sierra Club