Grand Canyon to Ban the Sale of Bottled Water

In an effort to deflect (terrible) people from tossing their discarded water bottles into the majestic valleys of the Grand Canyon, the National Park Service has approved a plan that would eliminate the sale of bottled water.

In lieu of selling water bottles, visitors will be able to fill up (hopefully reusable) bottles that they bring from the outside at several water stations throughout the park.

“Our parks should set the standard for resource protection and sustainability,” John Wessels, the park service’s intermountain region director, said in a statement. Continue reading

Straw Wars! UK Restaurants Aim to Reduce Straw Usage

Strawwars.org from Myoo on Vimeo.

Here’s a ‘war’ we could actually get behind. A group in England has started a campaign to encourage restaurants to either get rid of straws completely — or provide them only when requested by a diner.

While a little straw may seem like an insignificant piece of plastic in the grand scheme of disposable items, those little pieces add up. According to the campaign’s website, in the United Kingdom alone, 3.5 million McDonalds drinks with straws are sold every day. Those straws are often not recycled and end up in landfills, or worse in the ocean.

The campaign may seem like a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction. Every little bit counts when it comes to making progress in the reduction of plastic waste.

8 Ways Monsanto Fails at Sustainable Agriculture

Have you heard about Monsanto? They’re the leading producer of genetically modified (GMO) crops and the biggest seed company in the world. And according to Monsanto, they’re also a leader in sustainable agriculture.

What exactly is sustainable agriculture? According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, at a minimum, to be sustainable, an agricultural system must be:

  • economically viable (farmers who use it must be able to maintain thriving businesses);
  • ecologically sound (it must preserve the natural systems and resources it depends on, so that future generations can continue to use them);
  • socially beneficial (it must meet the human needs of both the farm itself and the wider communities it serves).

The Union of Concerned Scientists explores eight ways Monsanto undermines efforts to promote sustainability: Continue reading

First LA Skyscraper to Be Fueled by Energy Cells

According to the LA Times, Century City skyscraper Constellation Place, the first LEED® certified office building in LA, recently became the first Los Angeles high-rise to be served by electricity-generating fuel cells.

What exactly do these fuel cells do? The cells convert air and fuel into electricity which in turn will save the 35-story building about a third of its energy use as well as reduce emissions by 30%. That’s a pretty big deal for an 800,000 square foot building.

Landlords JMB Realty installed two Bloom Energy Servers, each around the size of a parking space, to generate the fuel cells. “These servers, combined with the existing photovoltaic system, enable JMB to offer its tenants a greener office environment while generating significant savings,” Sarah Shaw of JMB said. Continue reading

Al Gore Sees Trouble in Antarctica & Beyond

Al Gore is currently traveling through the Antarctic Peninsula. Below, he reflects on the melting ice and rising sea levels due to the effects of global warming.

The ice on land is melting at a faster rate and large ice sheets are moving toward the ocean more rapidly. As a result, sea levels are rising worldwide. Most of the world’s ice is contained in Antarctica — more than 90 percent. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which lies south of the Peninsula, contains enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by more than 20 feet. Part of the ice sheet, the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, is among the many in Antarctica that are shrinking at an accelerating rate. This has direct consequences for low-lying coastal and island communities all over the world — and for their inland neighbors. Continue reading

EMA, Malin Akerman and Brita FilterForGood Team Up at Sundance

The Environmental Media Association hit the slopes again this year with our return to the Sundance Film Festival. We also brought the season’s first major snowstorm, which we will let you decide if that was a coincidence or some EMA weather magic.

EMA partnered with Brita for the second year to debut a new documentary about the music industry’s growing commitment to sustainable touring. We were also honored to bring EMA Young Hollywood Board Member Malin Akerman with us to host the party celebrating the documentary. Over 300 guests enjoyed great food and drinks before watching Music Sustains.

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From the Desk of Norman Lear…

The logline for the episode is quintessential Happy Days: “Richie goes to a local college and Fonzie takes him to the library to meet some girls.” For a sitcom in the 70s, this is standard stuff, but what happens after this episode airs on September 27, 1977 is far from standard. Millions of kids watching the show see the Fonz take out a library card — his first, mind you, which is a big deal by Happy Days standards. Younger viewers are duly impressed. In the days that follow, according to the series creator, Garry Marshall, requests for library cards zoom by more than 500% nationwide.

Dissolve to eleven years later. Dr. Jay Winsten, director of The Harvard Alcohol Project, comes to Hollywood with a new idea: the “designated driver.” Winsten meets with writers and producers of The Cosby Show, Cheers, LA Law and dozens of other prime time series. He asks them to incorporate story beats that will introduce this new concept to the drinking public. The TV community responds, and starting in November 1988, over 160 prime time episodes include subplots, scenes, or dialogue telling viewers it’s okay to party as long as someone stays sober for the drive home. One year later, a Gallup poll finds 67% of adults surveyed recognize the term “designated driver.” In 1991, Winsten’s new idea is a listing in Webster’s College Dictionary.

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