WBEZ | Environment http://www.wbez.org/sections/environment Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Special Series: Global Activism - 'Worldview' Visits India http://www.wbez.org/sections/water/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/India-series%20620%20good.JPG" title="From bottom-center l to r - Jerome McDonnell and Steve Bynum of WBEZ and Nila Vora of India Development Service in Delhi, India with the NGO Community Youth Collective (Photo by Nilesh Kothari)" /><em>Worldview</em> took <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism">Global Activism</a></em> to India! And we take you along for the ride. For years, India Development Service <a href="http://idsusa.org/">(IDS)</a>, a Chicago-based investment NGO, has brought from India Global Activists to <em>Worldview&nbsp;</em>who work there to make life better. So IDS brought us to India to talk with people doing service and development projects on-the-ground. IDS guided us through big cities like, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, as well as to remote villages and towns. We met people working to overcome challenges like illiteracy, abuse of women and children, class issues and water security.</p><p><strong>Jerome McDonnell and Steve Bynum of WBEZ&#39;s <em>Worldview</em> and </strong><strong>India Development Service (IDS)</strong><strong> share their adventures in India</strong></p><p>Sunday, May 17th, 2015, 5:00pm-7:30pm</p><p>The Meadows Club</p><p>2950 Golf Road, Rolling Meadows</p><p>Free of Charge - Dinner Included</p></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/water/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888 Ice stalls Great Lakes shipping season http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-stalls-great-lakes-shipping-season-111806 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Great Lakes_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the second year in a row, the spring shipping season is off to a slow start. Ice still covers much of the lakes and most ports don&rsquo;t expect to see international cargo ships for another two weeks.</p><p>April is historically the busiest time of year for the more than 100 ports and commercial docks along the Great Lakes.</p><p>Rick Heimann is port director for Burns Harbor in Portage, Indiana.</p><p>Burns Harbor handles more international cargo than any other port along the Great Lakes, including 15 percent of U.S. steel shipments to Europe. But at the end of March, the docks are empty.</p><p>On any given year, an average of 500,000 trucks, 10,000 railcars and 100 ships will pass through the port.</p><p>It was so cold last year, he didn&rsquo;t see a cargo ship until mid-April.</p><p>Around this time last year, more than half of Lake Michigan was covered in ice. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard share the responsibility of clearing the Great Lakes waterways.</p><p>Every year, in early March, they deploy a fleet of icebreakers before the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 22,000-mile-long waterway that connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.</p><p>But U.S. Coast Guard Mark Gill says it was 13 days after opening up the waterway that the first ship was able to reach the locks.</p><p>&ldquo;And a lot of ships incurred damage because they came out and the ice was too hard for them,&rdquo; Gill said.</p><p>Gill says the Coast Guard logged more than 11,000 hours of breaking ice in 2014.</p><p>According to the Lake Carrier&rsquo;s Association, last year&rsquo;s icey waterways cost the economy more than $700 million and nearly 4,000 jobs.</p><p>Mark Baker is president of the Interlake Steamship Company and a member of the Lake Carrier&rsquo;s Association. His boats carry steel. Others along this route carry grains.</p><p>Baker says it took one his ships 23 days to complete a trip that normally takes six.</p><p>&ldquo;And so what happened there was, their inventory levels became critically low. And in some cases, some steel mills last year had to idle plants and cut down on on production,&rdquo; Baker said.</p><p>Baker adds that the the repercussions of a bad shipping season would be felt throughout the U.S. steel industry, which feeds the U.S. auto industry. Baker says his steel is used in small plants in Michigan and Wisconsin.&nbsp;</p><p>The Lake Carriers Association wants the Coast Guard to invest in another heavy icebreaker to keep shipping lanes open during harsh winters.</p><p>But the Coast Guard says last year&rsquo;s winter was unique.</p><p>At the port of Indiana, Heimann says that&#39;s what scary.</p><p>&ldquo;Ice is something that you don&rsquo;t have control over,&rdquo; Heimann said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just say: &lsquo;Ice be-gone or bring the coast guard cutter in all the time.&rsquo;&quot;</p><p>He adds that the delayed start to the 2015 season doesn&#39;t phase him, but he is counting the days until the first ships roll in.</p><p>&ldquo;We are connecting the state of Indiana to the world,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re in the state of Indiana, the heartland of the USA, yet we are only six and a half days away from the Atlantic Ocean.&rdquo;</p><p>Last year, at a time of widespread delays, Burns Harbor recorded its highest cargo volume since the port opened in 1970.</p><p><em>Claudia Morell is a reporter in Chicago. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/claudiamorell" target="_blank">@claudiamorell</a></em></p><p><em>Front and Center is funded by The Joyce Foundation: Improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes region and across the country.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ice-stalls-great-lakes-shipping-season-111806 Climate change brings pests and disease to Great Lakes http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-water/climate-change-brings-pests-and-disease-great-lakes-111805 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/4220922584_ac8db1a31f_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Scientists say the parks and woods throughout the Great Lakes are experiencing shorter winters and displaced wildlife.</p><p>Chicagoans are already seeing bigger storms and less predictable seasons.</p><p>But some scientists predict people will soon see more concrete examples of changing climate: disease.</p><p>Scientists are predicting a greater danger of diseases like West Nile and Lyme disease as temperatures rise. Some even believe dengue fever could become a problem in the U.S.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the things that we&rsquo;re already seeing is a shifting of growing zones,&rdquo; said Josh Mogerman, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re seeing plants and animals that we would expect further south making their way into our region, and they&rsquo;ll have a real impact on our natural environment here.&rdquo;</p><p>Mogerman thinks for a lot of people, it will be a reality check.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, when I think of dengue fever, I don&rsquo;t think of the United States, I think of developing countries, like Heart of Darkness, and that sort of thing,&quot; Mogerman said. &quot;And I think this is one of those issues that really makes people sort of step back and say &lsquo;whoa, this really is a problem.&#39;&rdquo;</p><p>Diseases like Lyme, dengue, and West Nile are known as &ldquo;vector-bound diseases.&rdquo;</p><p>The vectors that carry these illnesses &mdash; ticks and mosquitoes &mdash;&nbsp;didn&rsquo;t used to be a big problem in Chicago.</p><p>But a warmer climate is changing that.</p><p>Dr. Justin Harbison teaches at Loyola University&rsquo;s School of Public Health.</p><p>&ldquo;We know that mosquitoes develop more quickly when it&rsquo;s warmer,&quot; Harbison said. &quot;And pathogens also go through their life cycle faster, and reproduce more quickly. So as the weather gets warmer, typically you&rsquo;re going to get a more rapid disease cycle.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>He says the worst case for disease is a short, warm winter followed by a dry summer. That&rsquo;s what we saw in 2012, when the Illinois Department of Public Health reported almost 300 cases of West Nile virus.</p><p>Warmer weather also drives migrating deer north. They come with hitchhikers: black-legged ticks that carry Lyme disease.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Public Health has been reporting increasing cases of Lyme disease.</p><p>In 2002, there were only 32 cases. By 2012, there were over 200. The deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are now found in at least 35 counties in Illinois. In 2013 alone, they appeared in seven more counties.</p><p>The suburbs are of particular concern for Lyme disease. There, humans are more likely to come into contact with the animals that carry ticks, like woodland mice and deer.</p><p>Mosquitoes are the bigger problem in urban areas.</p><p>On a walk through Busse Woods in Chicago&rsquo;s Northwest suburbs, Harbison pulled open an iron sewer grate to explain.</p><p>&ldquo;This is going to hold water all year round,&quot; Harbison said. &quot;It&rsquo;s polluted. West Nile virus is transmitted by a specific species that does very well in these polluted habitats, essentially.&rdquo;</p><p>This isn&rsquo;t limited to the Midwest, of course. And it&rsquo;s about more than just ticks and mosquitoes.</p><p>&ldquo;Health is where climate change starts to get very personal for people,&rdquo; said Dr. Kim Knowlton, a top scientist for the NRDC. She says Americans are about to see all sorts of public health effects from climate change.</p><p>&ldquo;The hotter it is, the more ground level ozone, which is basically smog,&quot; Knowlton said. &quot;And that is terrible news for people who have asthma. It&rsquo;s making longer pollen seasons. There&rsquo;s more and more of these climate-change-related exposures, and we, as a nation are becoming more vulnerable.&rdquo;</p><p>That&rsquo;s not to say there&rsquo;s nothing we can do about it.</p><p>Public health officials in Illinois recommend getting rid of standing water to cut down on mosquito growth, wearing bug spray to prevent transmission, and knowing the dangers of these new illnesses.</p><p><em>Sean Kennedy is a reporter in Chicago. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/stkennedy" target="_blank">@stkennedy</a></em></p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-water/climate-change-brings-pests-and-disease-great-lakes-111805 With petcoke out in Chicago, Indiana groups worry it's heading their way http://www.wbez.org/news/petcoke-out-chicago-indiana-groups-worry-its-heading-their-way-111595 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/BP Petcoke.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tom Shepherd was celebrating on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side Thursday but it had nothing to do with President Barack Obama&rsquo;s arrival to declare the historic Pullman area a National Monument.</p><p>Shepherd, president of the Southeast Environmental Council, was cautiously optimistic about the news that the area&rsquo;s ongoing petcoke problem is one step closer to being resolved.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, at this point, it&rsquo;s still kind of early in the game,&rdquo; Shepherd told WBEZ. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve just been getting this information. It&rsquo;s been coming in pretty feverishly over the last couple of days. We&rsquo;ve heard from the city, we&rsquo;ve heard from the company.&rdquo;</p><p>On Thursday, the Koch Brothers-owned KCBX Terminals Inc. announced that it was shuttering its North Terminal on the Southeast side within the next five months.</p><p>That means it will no longer accept petcoke on that site but has no immediate plans for the property.</p><p>The company also announced that it will take steps to eliminate petcoke piles at its nearby South Terminal on Burley Avenue by June 2016, a deadline imposed by the City of Chicago.</p><p>Shepherd says the company will continue accepting petcoke from other nearby refineries so the issue is not dead.</p><p>&ldquo;The BP announcement is going to put a dent in their operations but it will still take product from two other refineries in the area. So, that operation is going to continue,&rdquo; Shepherd said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s still a big win.&rdquo;</p><p>But that win could eventually be Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s loss.</p><p>Kim Ferraro, lead attorney for the Hoosier Environmental Council, says she&rsquo;s worried all that petcoke could end up dumped in struggling cities such as Gary, Hammond and East Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;We may see some effort to put petcoke on those sites. And certainly it&rsquo;s a concern for communities here who are already dealing with so much exposure to harmful pollution,&rdquo; Ferraro said.</p><p>All this comes a day after BP announced that it will stop shipping petcoke from its massive Whiting, Indiana, refinery to KCBX by this summer.</p><p>&ldquo;Based on a number of considerations, BP has made the business decision to store the majority of its petroleum coke produced by the Whiting Refinery at a facility outside of Illinois beginning in the second half of 2015. A final decision has not yet been made on where this material will be stored in the future,&rdquo; BP spokesman Scott Dean said in a statement. &ldquo;If necessary for business reasons, BP may consider using limited Illinois-based storage options on a short-term basis if those options are compliant with state and local regulations.&rdquo;</p><p>Earlier this week, the City of Chicago&rsquo;s Department of Public Health announced it would not give KCBX more time to comply with a two-year requirement to enclose coal and petroleum coke piles. &nbsp;KCBX wanted another 14 months.</p><p>But KCBX President Dave Severson says the company wants to stay in Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;We remain committed to Chicago and we are going to work within the city&rsquo;s new rules to try to stay in business,&rdquo; Severson said in a written statement. &ldquo;We expect we&rsquo;ll have to make some adjustments to the services we provide our customers but we hope operating this way will allow us to remain in business and give us the time we need to determine whether we can proceed with the enclosure project.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s been a long struggle for residents on the Southeast side who live in the shadow of the petcoke storage sites. In late August 2013, a huge dust-storm covered nearby homes and businesses with the ash-like substance, a byproduct in the refining of crude oil.</p><p>Residents have been concerned about the long-term health effects of breathing in petcoke dust.</p><p>Activists say even if KCBX covers its piles, petcoke can still become airborne and fall into the lake as it&rsquo;s transported via train or truck from Whiting, Indiana. &nbsp;</p><p>Meanwhile, the Illinois Manufacturers&rsquo; Association continues to defend the handling of petcoke.</p><p>&ldquo;Petcoke is a valuable commodity used in a wide range of manufacturing applications including cement, paint, steel and glass,&rdquo; Mark Denzler, vice president of the IMA, stated to WBEZ. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s extremely important to keep in mind that the United States Environmental Protection Agency does not classify petcoke as a hazardous substance and an August 2014 analysis found no traces of the material in local furnace filters. Elected officials need to focus on creating good jobs and economic development.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/petcoke-out-chicago-indiana-groups-worry-its-heading-their-way-111595 With quakes spiking, oil industry is under the microscope in Oklahoma http://www.wbez.org/news/science/quakes-spiking-oil-industry-under-microscope-oklahoma-111572 <p><p>Out on Oklahoma&#39;s flat prairie, Medford, population about 900, is the kind of place where people give directions from the four-way stop in the middle of town.</p><p>It seems pretty sedate, but it&#39;s not. &quot;We are shaking all the time,&quot; says Dea Mandevill, the city manager. &quot;All the time.&quot;</p><p>The afternoon I stopped by, Mandevill says two quakes had already rumbled through Medford.</p><p>&quot;Light day,&quot; she laughs. But, she adds, &quot;the day&#39;s not over yet; we still have several more hours.&quot;</p><p>Mandevill may be laughing it off, but Austin Holland, the state seismologist, isn&#39;t.</p><p>&quot;I certainly regret starting smoking again, but there are some days when nicotine and coffee are about what get me through the day,&quot; he says. &quot;As far as we know, this has never happened before.&quot;</p><p>Holland says that Oklahoma used to have, on average, one or two perceptible earthquakes a year. Now the state is averaging two or three a day. There were more magnitude 3 or greater tremors here last year than anywhere else in the continental United States, and the unprecedented spike in earthquakes has intensified.</p><p>Holland suspects that modern oil production techniques are triggering the jump in quakes. A few years back, companies figured out how to drill sideways through layers of shale, then break, or frack, the rock, releasing a torrent of oil.</p><p>The combination of fracking and horizontal drilling sparked a massive oil boom here, but the technique produces much more water than oil &mdash; tens of billions of gallons of very salty, toxic water. The only economical way to dispose of it, Holland says, is to force it deep into the earth.</p><p>&quot;That pressure acts as a lubricant,&quot; he says. &quot;It&#39;s not actually the water itself lubricating, but the pressure, and the best way to think about that is an air hockey table,&quot; with huge slabs of rock as the pucks.</p><p>Holland says injecting water near faults can deliver just enough lubricating pressure to set them in motion. It&#39;s called &quot;induced seismicity.&quot;</p><p>The Prague earthquake hit the state four years ago. At magnitude 5.6, it was the strongest ever recorded in Oklahoma.</p><p>&quot;It was coming from everywhere &mdash; I mean the walls, the roof,&quot; says Ryan Ladra, standing in his parents&#39; battered house. &quot;When it hit, it hit so violent and hard that we thought the house was coming down on top of us.&quot;</p><p>The Ladras&#39; stone chimney collapsed, striking his mom, Sandra, who is suing companies that ran nearby wastewater injection wells.</p><p>But Kim Hatfield of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association says he&#39;s not convinced there&#39;s a connection. He says oil companies have been pumping brine down wastewater injection wells for decades. More than 3,200 of the wells dot the state.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;re going to find out that all tornadoes are close to injection wells as well,&quot; he says. &quot;If a meteor strikes the state of Oklahoma, I&#39;m going to guarantee it&#39;s going to be close to an injection well.&quot;</p><p>Still, evidence linking injection wells to earthquakes is building. And though oil industry wields enormous clout in Oklahoma, the agency regulating it is ramping up.</p><p>Matt Skinner, public information manager for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, says that the agency has never denied a permit for a disposal well, but it has recently closed a few bad ones and is scrutinizing applications for new wells like never before.</p><p>&quot;When we say we&#39;re doing everything we can, what we&#39;re really saying is, we&#39;re doing everything we know, today,&quot; Skinner says. &quot;Tomorrow, we may know something more.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dea_medford-61167ff8f4cededddab27c9a2a9e68834208ce8b-s400-c85.jpg" style="float: left; height: 209px; width: 280px;" title="Dea Mandevill, city manager of Medford, Okla., says the earthquakes are worth all the benefits the oil boom has brought: a new park, police cars, construction equipment and ambulances. (Frank Morris/KCUR)" />Mandevill says she worries about an earthquake rupturing the big natural gas pipeline here &mdash; but then beams while looking out over the new park the city recently built with oil boom tax money.</p><p>&quot;We have a new swimming pool, splash pad, new sidewalks and a new basketball/tennis court,&quot; she says.</p><p>It illustrates the complex relationship between oil and earthquakes in Oklahoma.</p><p>&quot;You put up with a few things falling off your walls, a few nights being woken up in the middle of the night with the shakes,&quot; she says. &quot;Overall it&#39;s been good. I&#39;ll take the earthquakes for all the benefits that Medford&#39;s had so far.&quot;</p><p>But those benefits are starting to sag a little. With oil prices low, companies are laying off workers. On the bright side, less oil coming out of the ground means less wastewater going back down deep into it, and just possibly, fewer earthquakes.</p></p> Tue, 17 Feb 2015 08:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/science/quakes-spiking-oil-industry-under-microscope-oklahoma-111572 As rules get sorted out, drones may transform agriculture industry http://www.wbez.org/news/rules-get-sorted-out-drones-may-transform-agriculture-industry-111567 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/img_3297_wide-0eaf22bd10778693f1839956d8a491c74b257934-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On a breezy morning in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors. We&#39;re right next to a corn field, littered with stalks left over from last year&#39;s harvest.</p><p>&quot;This one just flies itself. It&#39;s fully autonomous,&quot; Underhill says.</p><p>Underhill is a drone technician with <a href="http://agribotix.com/">Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone start</a> up that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he&#39;s training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.</p><p>&quot;So if you want to start, we can walk over to the drone,&quot; Underhill says. &quot;It&#39;s got a safety button on here.&quot; And now it&#39;ll start flying.&quot;</p><p>The quadcopter zips 300 feet into the air directly above our heads, pauses for a moment and then begins to move.</p><p>&quot;So it just turned to the East and it&#39;s going to start its lawnmower pattern,&quot; Underhill says.</p><p>What makes the drone valuable to farmers is the camera on board. It snaps a high-resolution photo every two seconds. From there Agribotix stitches the images together, sniffing out problem spots in the process. Knowing what&#39;s happening in a field can save a farmer money.</p><p>At farm shows across the country, drones have become as ubiquitous as John Deere tractors. The Colorado Farm Show earlier this year included an informational session, telling farmers both the technical and legal challenges ahead.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a very exciting time,&quot; says farmer Darren Salvador, who grows 2,000 acres of wheat and corn near the Colorado-Nebraska border.</p><p>&quot;Can you look at disease concern, insect concern, so now you can be more proactive and treat smaller areas and not treat the entire field,&quot; he says.</p><p>Salvador and about 50 other farmers got an earful from Rory Paul, CEO of <a href="http://www.voltaerialrobotics.com/">Volt Aerial Robotics</a>, a St. Louis-based drone start up.</p><p>&quot;We really don&#39;t know what they&#39;re good for,&quot; Paul says. &quot;We&#39;ve got a few ideas of where they could benefit agriculture. The majority of which are still theoretical.&quot; Theoretical because commercial drone use is still widely banned in the U.S.</p><p>On Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/15/386464188/commercial-drone-rules-to-limit-their-speed-and-altitude">released long-awaited draft rules </a>on the operation of pilotless drones, opening the nation&#39;s airspace to the commercial possibilities of the burgeoning technology, but not without restrictions.</p><p>Currently, companies may apply for exemptions from the FAA, but the requirements to get that exemption can be costly. Like requiring drone operators to hold a private pilot&#39;s license.</p><p>&quot;These small drones, that are almost priced to be expensive toys, are not reliable. And that&#39;s the concern of the FAA,&quot; says Eric Frew, who studies drones at the University of Colorado-Boulder.</p><p><a href="http://www.faa.gov/">The FAA </a>didn&#39;t respond to requests for comment for this story, but Frew says the agency is trying to find a balance. Putting a large flying machine in the hands of someone who&#39;s inexperienced can cause big problems.</p><p>&quot;When these systems work, they work fantastically. When they don&#39;t work, they don&#39;t work,&quot; Frew says.</p><p>Back at the corn field in rural Colorado, Agribotix President Tom McKinnon watches as the drone comes in for a landing.</p><p>&quot;So we bash the FAA a lot,&quot; McKinnon says. &quot;I mean the FAA&#39;s job is air safety. And they have delivered on that. But when it comes to drones they&#39;re badly fumbling the ball.&quot;</p><p>McKinnon says until the agency gives solid guidance to commercial drone operators, he&#39;ll be doing most of his work in countries like Australia and Brazil where laws are friendlier to farm drones.</p><p><em><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2015/02/16/385520242/as-rules-get-sorted-out-drones-may-transform-agriculture-industry" target="_blank">NPR&#39;s All Tech Considered</a></em> and <a href="http://harvestpublicmedia.org/">Harvest Public Media</a>, a reporting collaboration that focuses on agriculture and food production.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/rules-get-sorted-out-drones-may-transform-agriculture-industry-111567 EcoMyths: Do scare-tactics motivate people to live greener lives? http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-do-scare-tactics-motivate-people-live-greener-lives-111597 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/EcoMyths-Environmental Scare tactics_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-59fe6f45-a855-e9b0-16ac-4537d9a22910">Kate Sackman of EcoMyths Alliance says that, &ldquo;Many environmental organizations use scare tactics to motivate people to take action...For most people, the end result is that they are overwhelmed and too discouraged to act.&rdquo; &nbsp;For our EcoMyths series, we&rsquo;ll talk with Sackman and Diane Wood, president of the National Environmental Education Foundation&nbsp; (NEEF) about different methods to inspire people to get engaged with green issues.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/188188068&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Many environmental organizations use scare tactics to motivate people to take action to protect the planet and resources we all share.&nbsp; For most people, the end result is that they are overwhelmed and too discouraged to act.&nbsp;</p><p>NEEF and EcoMyths Alliance share the core belief is that people will act in eco-friendly ways when specific actions are relevant and important to their everyday lives. We believe people need the facts and need to be given choices so they can respond in ways that are meaningful to them personally. NEEF and EcoMyths, through a series of stories, examples and games, present science to the public so that it is not only clear, but it also inspires positive action.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NEEF &amp; EcoMyths - Who we are:</strong></p><p dir="ltr">- NEEF&mdash;national organization advancing lifelong environmental learning. We connect people to useful knowledge that improves the quality of their lives and the health of the planet.</p><p dir="ltr">- We leverage resources through dynamic public-private partnerships and provide grants for innovative projects.</p><p dir="ltr">- NEEF embraces the idea that environmental issues can only be solved if all Americans understand how they play a role in addressing these 21st century problems and experience the benefits that come from doing so first-hand.</p><p dir="ltr">- NEEF sees a future whereby 2022, 300 million Americans are actively using environmental knowledge to ensure the well-being of the earth and its people.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NEEF&rsquo;s reach:</strong></p><p dir="ltr">- Reach up to 90 million U.S. households through 350 meteorologists, radio broadcasters and journalists participating in Earth Gauge.</p><p dir="ltr">- Enable 175,000 volunteers at more than 2,000 public lands sites in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico to complete $18 million in park improvements during National Public Lands Day.</p><p dir="ltr">- National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation&#39;s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. In 2015, NEEF will celebrate the 22nd annual National Public Lands Day on September 26, 2015. Toyota will sponsor NPLD for the 17th straight year.</p><p dir="ltr">- Children and Nature Initiative: Train thousands of health care providers on environmental health issues.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Rx for Outdoor Activity</strong></p><p dir="ltr">- Aims to prevent serious health conditions like obesity and diabetes related to indoor sedentary lifestyles and connects children and their families to nature to promote good health, enjoyment, and environmental stewardship. The Initiative educates pediatric health care providers about prescribing outdoor activities to children. The program also connects health care providers with local nature sites, so they can refer families to safe and easily accessible outdoor areas.</p><p dir="ltr">- Reach hundreds of thousands of students and educators with non-biased environmental education materials during National Environmental Education Week.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Americans Face Daunting Environmental Challenges</strong></p><p dir="ltr">- &ldquo;Environment&rdquo; is polarizing, Green issues seen as exclusive</p><p dir="ltr">- The enormity of these problems overwhelms people</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Feel powerless &amp; frustrated, Don&rsquo;t see relevancy to personal life, Don&rsquo;t see the value of individual action</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NEEF&rsquo;s Approach:</strong></p><p dir="ltr">- &ldquo;Know more, Do more, Live better&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">- Empower people with knowledge and practical actions to help them become &ldquo;everyday stewards.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>People want to make a difference: By nature, individuals are motivated to make the world a better place: </strong></p><p dir="ltr">- 78% of US adults volunteer, donate or advocate with a philanthropic organization</p><p dir="ltr">- 6 in 10 US adults take action when they understand environmental issues</p><p dir="ltr">- 71% of Americans consider the environment when they shop</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NEEF wants to start where people are, in an easy, straightforward way (&ldquo;lighten their load&rdquo;)</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NEEF doesn&rsquo;t want to make people uncomfortable, but rather draw them in with welcoming messages</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Why this is Important - We (EcoMyths and NEEF):</strong></p><p dir="ltr">- We respect the intelligence of individuals, so we provide them with the environmental science facts they need to make decisions.</p><p dir="ltr">- We believe people want to do the right thing for the health and well-being of their families and themselves and the long-term health of the planet.</p><p dir="ltr">- We use storytelling to bring facts to life &ndash; e.g.</p><p><strong>ONE GREEN THING: </strong></p><ul><li><u>Individuals:&nbsp; Sign up for the EcoMyths newsletter</u> at <a href="http://www.ecomythsalliance.org">www.ecomythsalliance.org</a> for guilt-free myth-busting articles that make you laugh and give you One Green Thing you can do</li><li><u>Companies: Sign up for NEEF&rsquo;s Business and Environment program</u> at <a href="http://www.neefusa.org">www.neefusa.org</a>.</li></ul></p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 09:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-do-scare-tactics-motivate-people-live-greener-lives-111597 California dairy owners find greener pastures in Midwest http://www.wbez.org/news/california-dairy-owners-find-greener-pastures-midwest-111365 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/0108_california-dairy-624x409.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>California is the nation&rsquo;s number one dairy state. It&rsquo;s branded as the state with happy cows, but not necessarily happy dairy owners. For many of them, drought, feed costs and development pressure mean it&rsquo;s getting tougher to make a living.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why some are some selling their cattle and heading to the Midwest. From the Here &amp;&nbsp;Now Contributors Network,&nbsp;Grant Gerlock&nbsp;of Harvest Public Media reports.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/08/california-dairies-midwest" target="_blank">via Here &amp; Now </a></em></p></p> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 16:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/california-dairy-owners-find-greener-pastures-midwest-111365 Obama will veto Keystone XL legislation http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-will-veto-keystone-xl-legislation-111345 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP434296636482.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="storytext"><p>The White House says President Obama will veto any congressional legislation that approves the Keystone XL pipeline.</p><p>&quot;If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn&#39;t sign it,&quot; White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.</p><p>The House, which has a Republican majority, is expected to vote on a Keystone bill this week. The GOP-dominated Senate is considering a similar measure, which has bipartisan support.</p><p>The pipeline, which would move crude from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico, has been at the center of a long and contentious debate involving politicians, energy companies and environmentalists, <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/11/17/364727163/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline">as NPR&#39;s Scott Horsley and Jeff Brady reported last November</a>.</p><p>Supporters of the pipeline say it will create 42,000 jobs, but opponents cite environmental concerns and are skeptical about how many jobs the project can actually create &mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2014/11/18/364751183/how-many-louisiana-jobs-are-actually-at-stake-in-keystone-debate">with one estimate</a> noting that it would create just 35 permanent jobs.</p><p>A State Department <a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/01/31/269529696/state-dept-delivers-unwelcome-news-for-keystone-opponents">environmental review</a> of the project found Keystone wouldn&#39;t have an significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. As to where Obama stands on the pipeline, here&#39;s more from NPR&#39;s Horsley and Brady:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;The president has unusual leverage over this pipeline. Because it crosses the U.S. border with Canada, Keystone XL requires a &#39;presidential permit.&#39; Obama has guarded that power jealously. Three years ago, when Congress tried to force him to make a decision by issuing a 60-day deadline, he simply rejected the permit application.</p><p>&quot;The political challenge for Obama is that Democrats are genuinely divided on the issue, with construction unions favoring the project and some environmental activists opposing it. No matter what he decides, some constituents will be unhappy &mdash; so the president has basically stalled.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>The U.S. State Department is conducting a review of the pipeline&#39;s route, but that process has been held up because of a lawsuit in Nebraska over where the pipeline will be located.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/01/06/375412544/obama-will-veto-keystone-xl-legislation-white-house-says" target="_blank">via NPR</a></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 14:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-will-veto-keystone-xl-legislation-111345 Chicago 'petcoke' handler says it'll enclose piles http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-petcoke-handler-says-itll-enclose-piles-111252 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Rahm Petcoke 1_0.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO &mdash; A company storing petroleum coke on Chicago&#39;s southeast side says it plans to build a huge structure to contain the grainy black piles and keep them from blowing around.</p><p>KCBX Terminals said Tuesday that it&#39;ll build a $120 million structure about 1,000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 100 feet tall to comply with a city requirement to enclose &quot;petcoke.&quot;</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-pet-coke-handlers-not-wanted-chicago-109694" target="_blank">Emanuel says pet coke handlers &#39;not wanted&#39; in Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Construction would begin next fall and take two years &mdash; even though the city requires that petcoke piles be enclosed by 2016. The company is asking the city to waive that timeline.</p><p>Petcoke is a byproduct of oil refining often used as industrial fuel.</p><p>Many residents want the piles removed, saying they worry about their health. A proposed city ordinance would limit the amount of petcoke stored in Chicago.</p></p> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-petcoke-handler-says-itll-enclose-piles-111252