Tag Archives: Environment
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Join the Movement: Earth Hour 2014

Tomorrow evening – March 29th from 8:30-9:30pm local time – join millions of people around the world to celebrate the 8th annual Earth Hour! Earth Hour is a worldwide movement to unite people in taking just 60 minutes to unplug, shutdown and refrain from doing anything dependent on our planet’s limited resources. The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate that the little things we do in our individual lives make a difference. When everyone is acting to reduce their impact at the same time, it amplifies the power of a single person’s actions. While the event encourages participants to turn off non-essential lights for one hour, it can also be a time to completely detach yourself from anything that depends on fossil fuels. Turn off your computer or television and go for a walk around the neighborhood. Or eat a late dinner by the light of a beeswax candle. Read more…

21 Facts for the 21st Annual World Water Day

This past Saturday, March 22nd, marked the 21st annual World Water Day.  What is World Water Day, you ask? World Water Day has been held annually on March 22nd since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly designated the day as the first World Water Day.  World Water Day is an opportunity to focus on the importance of access to freshwater for everyone on the planet and to highlight the millions of people living without access to clean water around the globe.  This year’s World Water Day focused on the intersection of water and energy, and the crucial impacts both have on alleviating poverty worldwide. Read more…

Senate Slumber Party

Last week, 30 U.S. senators whipped out their nicest pair of pajamas, grabbed their pillows and a copy of The Lorax and headed to the Senate floor for the best slumber party ever: an all-nighter to talk about climate change. As is quite evident, Congress has been slow to move any climate change legislation and while President Obama has taken executive action, his initiatives have met a significant amount of push-back. But, to echo the sentiment of the senators that participated in last week’s event, it is past time to wake up to the reality of climate change!

Throughout the night, the senators talked about the major implications of climate change, citing studies and statistics, showing pictures and graphs, and discussing how climate change particularly affects their home states. Additionally, they promoted the economic benefits of clean energy like long-term savings and job creation. The idea, however, was not to talk about proposing specific legislation, it was aimed at showing that there are members of Congress who do care about the threat of global climate change and want to stir up some action.

As Reform Jews, we fully understand the imperative to safeguard the world for future generations and recognize that what we do in our time now with have a profound impact on the world we leave to our children and our grandchildren. As we read in Ecclesiastes 1:4, “a generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” Read more…

Double Booked: Helping Working Families Breathe Easier

By Rich Cizik

“Dad, I can’t breathe.”  These are words that can strike fear in the heart of any parent.   Our son John, 13 years of age, had just become a teenager.  He had occasionally complained of congestion, but nothing like this.  These were the anguished words of a growing kid who literally was having trouble breathing.

We rushed him by car to a local medical clinic nearby, not wanting to wait a minute for help.  The diagnosis: asthma.  Fortunately, we got John in quickly to see a doctor who would both diagnose his condition and prescribe the medicine and inhaler that he needed then and still does when he works outside.

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Robb Kushner

Why Fracking Gives Me the Heebie Jeebies

By Robb Kushner

I grew up in the heyday of the American post-war boom, when the sky was the limit, and exploitation of fossil fuels was the key to an ever-expanding future. The suburbs were being rolled out everywhere, and the Interstate highway system held the amazing promise of driving from New York to LA without ever stopping at a traffic light. And I remember my parents would say, “Now you’re cooking with gas!” when they wanted to encourage me.

In my adulthood, I’ve come to realize – bit by bit – how we need to be good stewards of the environment – that our future on the planet depends on it. We now know climate change is happening much faster than scientists had predicted. In order to “defuse the global warming time bomb” (in the phrase of climate scientist James Hansen), we must reduce carbon emissions around the world soon or risk the devastating effects of rising seas, more acidic oceans, accelerated species extinction, and more frequent and violent weather events. Read more…

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Climate Conversations: The UN GLOBE Climate Summit

“The planet is warming at an alarming rate. There is no emergency room for sick planets. We have to engage in the preventative care that makes it possible to avoid the worst, most catastrophic effects of climate change.”Senator Markey at the GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit

Last week public officials and leaders from over 50 countries came together in Washington, D.C. for the 2nd GLOBE Climate Legislation Summit hosted by longtime environmental advocate, Senator Ed Markey. The goal of the summit was to discuss how legislators can best develop, pass and implement national laws on climate change and forestry. Participating legislators also discussed the potential for international agreements in anticipation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Paris in 2015. Read more…

frackimg well

Cracking Down on Fracking

Last week, President Obama’s administration moved to address the serious concern of potential water contamination through the controversial extractive process of hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, also referred to “hydrofracking” and “fracking,” is a process of drilling wells deep into the ground and injecting water, sand and potentially dangerous chemicals to rupture the earth and extract natural gas. While there remain unanswered questions surrounding the technique of hydrofracking, in about 2% of fracking wells, diesel is pumped into the ground as part of the rupturing chemicals and there remains no question that diesel, as a cancer causing fossil fuel, poses significant threats to the safety and well-being of the environment and people.

Since Congress passed the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the EPA has held the authority to regulate the use of diesel in fracking through granting permits, but prior to the Obama administration’s motion to exert more control last week, it appears these regulations have not been enforced. Read more…

keystone XL pipeline

Update on Keystone XL Pipeline

At the end of January, the State Department released a report that could potentially push President Obama’s approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline would transport a low grade, impure form of crude petroleum from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. While the State Department officials reported that the pipeline project would not have a negative impact on the environment, for years, environmentalists have argued to the contrary.

Consider the facts. The pipeline would produce 830,000 barrels of oil, which would add anywhere between an extra 1.3 million to 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. This is approximately the equivalent of the CO2 that would be emitted by 250,000 to 5 million cars on the road. These numbers are staggering, but the report from the State Department says that if the Keystone XL were not built to carry oil, railroads would be–actually increasing emissions because of the diesel fuel and electricity needed to transport the oil by train or truck. However, the report also acknowledges that the tar sands oil produces significantly more emissions than standard methods of drilling. Read more…