[ Statement from The Wilderness Society regarding President Obama’s expected trip to Alaska to discuss climate and tour coastal areas ]
President Barack Obama is expected to visit Anchorage, Alaska on Monday, where according to the White House he will address the State Department’s GLACIER conference focused on a conversation around the A
8 Ways to Celebrate Climate Week
The next three months will be pivotal for the climate. In December, world leaders will gather in Paris at COP21 to hash out a plan to cut carbon emissions. Will it be enough to solve the climate crisis? It remains to be seen, but as citizens, we have power too. We can take action and hold our leaders accountable.
Participating in Climate Week from September 21-28 is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to a healthy world. In New York, leaders and citizens from business, government and nonprofits will gather to talk solutions but even if you don’t live in New York, you can still get involved. Here’s how:
Attend a Climate Week event in New York City. NYC is the place to be during Climate Week. Last year, the city saw the largest ever climate march with over 400,000 people calling world leaders gathered at the UN to take action on climate. While we won’t see a major climate march this year, there are events taking place around the city. Check out the calendar here.
Host a film screening for friends and family and use the event as an opportunity to call your representatives or donate to a climate advocacy group. There are lots of great movies to pick from. Our favorites? Chasing Ice, Years of Living Dangerously, Disruption, and Merchants of Doubt.
Volunteer. Want to help install solar in your community, join a demonstration, or press your member of Congress to act on climate? Sign up to volunteer with organizations like the Sierra Club, Grid Alternatives, 350.org or Citizens Climate Lobby.
Throw an assembly on climate change at your local high school. Alliance for Climate Education has reached over 200 million students with their engaging and inspiring climate presentation. Want them to come to your school? Fill out this form.
Commit to joining the National Day of Action. People across the world will draw attention to the climate crisis on October 14. Start planning your action now! The People’s Climate Movement has lots of ideas on their website.
Brush up on COP21. Can nations keep carbon emissions in check to save the climate? All eyes will be on Paris in early December 2015 when the city hosts the 21st annual UN climate conference (COP21). Not sure what COP21 is and how you can participate? Watch the Climate Countdown video series and browse the UN Paris Portal to get up-to-speed.
Get your workplace to offer Earthshare @ Work. EarthShare charities like NRDC, EDF, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the World Resources Institute and many others fighting for a clean future every day of the year. Make it possible for them to continue their work by enrolling your workplace in the Earthshare @ Work program.
A 30-Year Quest for Trash-Free Seas
This September, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (Cleanup) celebrates its 30th anniversary. Over the past three decades, the Cleanup has seen more than 10 million volunteers remove nearly 200 million pounds of trash from 350,000 miles of coastline. The time, energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by these volunteers are a true testament to the devotion so many people feel for the ocean.
As legwarmers were replaced by skinny jeans and Walkman Radios became iPhones, the Cleanup evolved into something new. With ocean plastics increasingly at the forefront of public concern, the data collected during the Cleanup sparked a global dialogue on developing solutions to keep debris out of the water. Ocean Conservancy recognized that the cleanup is just one piece of a greater strategy for keeping our ocean trash free.
This need for new and innovative solutions was recently underscored by a study in Science, which estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastic debris enters our ocean each year from land-based sources—primarily due to a lack of fundamental waste management systems. Without steps taken to manage this waste, it is estimated that there will be 1 ton of plastic in the ocean for every 3 tons of finfish by 2025. This is simply not acceptable.
The problem of plastic in the ocean is a global phenomenon; no country or region can claim to be untouched by the issue. But we now have research that suggests a significant proportion of this plastic enters the ocean from a relatively concentrated geography. The majority of it comes from rapidly growing economies, where there is a mismatch between the amount of plastic being used and the capacity of the in-country waste management system to handle this greater influx of waste.
Cleanup volunteers have witnessed this mismatch for decades. They have been the ones who have scoured beaches and waterways around the world tirelessly working to prevent as much debris from entering the ocean as possible. Their efforts have not only kept more than 200 million pieces of trash from entering the ocean; the data they have collected during the Cleanup has been instrumental in informing policies at the local, national, and international level ranging from bag bans to product redesigns to zero waste communities.
The ocean plastic challenge facing our marine environments is immense, but solutions built on the actions of individuals, companies and elected officials are at hand. What remains is the will to build a collective movement to make a lasting difference. Doing so will not be easy, but enhanced individual responsibility, new industry leadership, innovative science and smart public policy represent the needed components of a comprehensive solution to the ongoing challenge of marine debris.
The International Coastal Cleanup continues to be a critical part of the solution for ending marine debris. The global volunteer effort for our ocean is unparalleled by any other. After 30 years, our Cleanup volunteers are still going strong. We certainly could not have reached our many milestones without them.
Together, we can make the 30th International Coastal Cleanup the most effective Cleanup yet. And if all goes well, then in a not-too-distant September, we can celebrate our greatest milestone of all: gathering at the beach for the International Coastal Cleanup only to realize that there is no trash to pick up.
Senator Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has scheduled a hearing in Seattle on August 27 to examine wildfire issues.
While one northwest Colorado plan does not do enough to protect wildlands, a neighboring management plan highlights how the agency can adopt new practices to protect and preserve wild areas.
When President Obama visits Alaska at the end of August, climate change will be a key focus of his trip. The Wilderness Society developed the following memo to provide a brief primer on key Alaska public lands where the effects of climate change can already be seen.