Currently, almost two acres of tropical rainforest disappear every second, depleting many of the resources needed for our world’s fresh water, pharmaceuticals, and species. The Rainforest Site Petition, which will be delivered to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development this Fall, urges the UN to enforce the international community’s political and legal commitments to protect the rainforests. It calls upon world leaders, of every nationality, to utilize their power and representation in the United Nations to commit more funds and resources to save the world’s rainforests. All you do is click here to sign. And while you are there, don’t forget to visit The Rainforest Site home page and click on the "Donate Land-Free" button.
The new year-end edition of the State Recycling Laws Update has just been released by Raymond Communications. It describes the latest issues, news, and trends, including:
• More than 90 percent of recycling managers favor some form of "producer responsibility" in the United States.
• Concern about electronic waste is surging, and many expect the development of legislation on the state level to push manufacturers to do more to promote recycling.
• The volume of bills introduced grew by nearly one-third in 1999 over 1998. Bills covered packaging mandates, container deposits, recycled content laws, green labeling, resin coding, landfill bans, heavy metals bans, tax incentives, purchasing preferences for recycled products, flow control of trash, durables recycling and composting, and more.
• Three states enacted or amended heavy metals bans in products, with New Hampshire passing a major ban on mercury in products.
For more details or to obtain the 130-page report with diskette appendix, visit http://www.raymond.com/ye2000rel.html.
A creative example of internet lobbying can be seen on the websites of The GrassRoots Recycling Network and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. These two organizations have joined forces to pressure the manufacturers of computer products to take more responsibility for their old equipment. The problem, as they describe it, is serious but fixable:
"Electronic waste is a growing problem through out the world, and electronics recycling is not working. More than 12 million computers are scrapped every year in the U.S.
"Because computers contain more than 1000 materials, many of which are hazardous, if dumped in landfills, chemicals will leach out of the computers, endangering groundwater and putting he health of local communities at risk. If incinerated, they can generate toxic emissions, such as dioxins.
"The computer industry can clean up. Computers can be safely recycled. But only if consumers demand it."
To add your voice to their campaign, click here.
A new website, the Save Our Environment Action Center, allows visitors to easily send lobbying e-mails on a variety of timely environmental issues. The site is a collaborative effort of many of the nation’s most influential environmental advocacy organizations, including the Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and others.
Visitors may lobby to preserve Arctic lands and wild forests, protect natural lands and waters, restore Snake River salmon and save the Everglades, stop global warming, and in general to preserve and protect the Earth’s natural treasures and quality of life.
The New Watershed Source Book: A Directory and Review of Watershed Initiatives in the Western United States includes case studies of 117 watershed groups, seven case studies of forestry partnerships, and listings for 346 watershed initiatives. It is the result of a two year effort by the The Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
The Directory focuses on the Western United States, and includes analysis of the historical, social, political, and legal aspects of community-based watershed protection initiatives. It is available free in PDF format here or may be purchased for $17 from The Natural Resources Law Center by visiting http://www.colorado.edu/Law/NRLC/purchase.html.
With the release of its third annual report on Recycling America’s Land: A National Report on Brownfields Redevelopment, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has called for a national commitment to "recycle" the thousands of brownfields in America’s cities. The report documents a total of 81,568 acres of brownfield sites in 201 cities across the United States. (Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.)
"We want to see every piece of property in our cities reclaimed and put back into productive use," explains former Conference President and Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. "Brownfield sites are eyesores that blight neighborhoods and negatively impact the economic vitality of the nation. By redeveloping these brownfield sites, we are also able to utilize our existing infrastructure, including our roads and sewer systems, while easing the pressure to develop open spaces and farmland."
The study quantifies the many lost opportunities to the nation in failing to recycle these sites back into more productive uses. According to Recycling America’s Land, brownfields redevelopment could generate 550,000 additional jobs and up to $2.4 billion in new tax revenue for cities.
An online guide, produced by the National Center for Photovoltaics (part of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) provides practical guidelines for purchasing photovoltaic systems. Covering both residential and business applications, the guide is in a question and answer format. It covers everything from system technical basics to setting up a "net metering" agreement with your utility. The guide is available here.
The EPA has an excellent CD ROM of solid waste related resources available at no charge. The CD contains many informative articles and other resources organized into 18 topics -- ranging from buying recycled to municipal solid waste management to public participation.
Copies can be ordered from the RCRA Docket Information Center at 703-603-9230. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Request publication number EPA 530-C-99-002. For more details online, visit http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/cdoswpub.htm.
A new online report from the
Sierra Club, Sprawl
Costs Us All: How Your Taxes Fuel Suburban Sprawl, analyzes
subsidized sprawl at such a basic level for so long, that many
people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral."
"We've subsidized sprawl at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral."
"Sprawl is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes," the report explains. "Sprawl is the result of over five decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer.... We've subsidized sprawl at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false -- what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of sprawling development."
The report includes chapters on roads and highways, schools, utilities, emergency services, corporate subsidies, and solutions. It offers cases studies and suggests solutions involving policies to promote smart growth -- which it defines as "well-planned development that channels growth into existing areas, provides public transportation options, and preserves farm land and open space."
A new and innovative website -- Patterns of a Conservation Economy -- uses the principles of The Natural Step to weave together the urban and the rural, production and consumption, and development and restoration to form a consistent vision for a sustainable Pacific Northwest.
As with many sustainability-based presentations, environmental, economic, and social equity issues are integrated. The site is well structured, well written, and inspiring. It introduces itself best...
"We begin with the magnificent coastal temperate rainforest stretching from Big Sur, California to Kodiak Island, Alaska. Acre by acre, household by household, dollar by dollar, a conservation economy which is both ecologically restorative and socially just is growing in this bioregion.
"This site seeks to understand the patterns which organize this organic growth and to share that understanding broadly with individuals, businesses, and communities as a framework for sustainability.... This bioregional pattern language can be used to help catalyze and coordinate a million acts of individual creativity which heal people and place. It defines the sectors of opportunity - and their linkages - for the emerging sustainable economy of the 21st century."
For more, visit http://www.conservationeconomy.net.
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