Get Involved: Contact Congress — Sugarcane Ethanol, the Sweeter Alternative

Get Involved: Contact Congress — Sugarcane Ethanol, the Sweeter Alternative.

Information included in the link above to contact your members of Congress!!!!

Leading environmental officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in California agree: ethanol made from sugarcane is an ideal renewable fuel that can help reduce greenhouse gases while diversifying America’s energy resources. EPA has designated sugarcane ethanol as an Advanced Renewable Fuel – an important category of superior biofuels that, along with cellulosic biofuels and others, will make up 21 billion gallons of America’s fuel supply by 2022. This is equal to about 15% of today’s gasoline market. In California, the state’s air regulators have classified sugarcane ethanol as a “low-carbon” fuel that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s transportation sector.

What is it about sugarcane ethanol that makes the fuel so environmentally friendly?

  • Renewable – Sugarcane ethanol, unlike coal or oil, is produced from sugarcane plants that grow back year after year.
  • Sustainable – Since sugarcane only needs to be replanted every five to seven years – as a semi-perennial crop it can be harvested without uprooting the plant, its cultivation has less impact on the soil and surrounding environment. Learn more about sustainable sugarcane agriculture in Brazil.
  • Energy-Intensive – Sugarcane is highly efficient in converting sunlight, water and CO2 into stored energy.  Sugarcane produces seven times more energy compared to corn when used in ethanol production.
  • Lower Carbon Emissions – Compared to gasoline, sugarcane ethanol cuts greenhouse gases by more than 60%. That’s better than any other liquid biofuel produced today in large quantities.

In addition to these significant environmental benefits, sugarcane ethanol also is more affordable compared to other alternatives. That’s why many observers point to sugarcane ethanol as a good option for diversifying U.S. energy supplies, increasing healthy competition among biofuel manufacturers and improving America’s energy security.

 

Get Control of your Private Information!

Hear Us Now : a project of Consumers Union:.

Send a message to your representative through the above link.

Bills have been introduced that will put you in control of your personal information while online or on your smartphone!

Now we need to get these online privacy bills passed, and we need consumers like you to weigh in. Opposition is expected to be strong, since online tracking of your private information is big business!

This latest bill would require companies to honor your decision if you do not want to be tracked online. And it would hold tracking companies accountable if they go against your wishes. The rules also would apply to smartphones, too.

No Species Is an Island – Coming Clean: Michael Brune’s Blog

No Species Is an Island – Coming Clean: Michael Brune’s Blog.

For several years now, the U.S. Senate has proclaimed the third Friday in May to be Endangered Species Day. This year, the day has extra significance. The Endangered Species Act (the only thing standing between countless species and extinction) has come under unprecedented attack.

To paraphrase John Donne, “No species is an island.” Humans, too, depend on biodiversity and the richness of the web of life. Aldo Leopold, compared the loss of species to “throwing away, one-by-one, the engine parts of an airplane while flying.”

What’s more, the airplane’s facing some serious turbulence. All living things — including humans — face new and daunting challenges in a world where the climate has been disrupted. Habitats are shifting and pressures on species are increasing. You can’t preserve that web of life without also protecting the places it lives. We might think we’re protecting habitat for this or that creature — but in truth we’re doing it for all living things, not least ourselves. That’s the basis for the Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats campaign, which is working to protect places where plants, animals, and people can survive and thrive.

Full article at above link.

Defenders of Wildlife: Compromised the Battle but the War is Not Over

Northern Rockies Wolf Settlement

Message from the President of Defenders

Dear fellow Defenders of Wildlife,

Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife
Rodger Schlickeisen
President
Defenders of Wildlife

Since last fall, it has become increasingly likely that Congress would pass legislation that would be disastrous for wolves and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although Defenders has steadfastly opposed that legislation, we became convinced that the only real hope of stopping it was to reach a settlement of the litigation we brought in 2009 successfully challenging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s illegal decision to remove federal protection from wolves in the Northern Rockies.

Accordingly, on March 18, 2011, we joined with nine other conservation organizations in filing with the U.S. District Court in Montana a settlement agreement we negotiated with the Interior Department. Like any settlement agreement, this one is a compromise, but one that we are convinced was necessary to help avert what could easily be the most disastrous assault on the ESA since that monumental law took effect nearly four decades ago. We are also convinced that, if the agreement is approved by the court and all parties live up to their responsibilities, it will provide a path in which wolves will continue to recover in the Northern Rockies and science, not politics, will prevail.

Whatever happens now, we will continue to lead the effort both for wolves and the ESA going forward. Below you will find more detailed answers to questions about the settlement and what our next steps will be to ensure the long-term future of wolves across the Northern Rockies.

All of us at Defenders of Wildlife are extremely grateful for your continued support in our ongoing efforts to save America’s wolves.

Sincerely,
Rodger Schlickeisen

Frequently Asked Questions About the Settlement

Why are you settling?

As we entered the current congressional session, the politics surrounding this issue could not have been worse. Since August 2010, when a Montana federal court restored ESA protections for wolves across the Northern Rockies, anti-wolf sentiment in the region has continued to grow. In particular, anti-wolf extremists have provoked political responses from state governors and the Idaho and Montana congressional delegations, including federal legislation to permanently remove Northern Rockies wolves from the protection of the ESA.

Though we were able to block bad wolf bills last session, pressure continues to mount in Congress to resolve the issue through legislation. Barring some alternative resolution of the controversy, wolf delisting language would almost certainly be included in any final bill to fund the federal government this year. In an effort to avert damaging legislation that would not only be very harmful to wolves but would establish a very dangerous precedent of political interference with species protection under the ESA, Defenders pursued a settlement agreement with the Interior Department that will allow for wolf recovery to continue and eliminate the rationale for legislation delisting wolves.

What would happen if Defenders didn’t settle?

At the very least, we would expect Congress to pass legislation that would reinstate the same 2009 wolf delisting rule that was struck down twice by the courts, allowing Idaho and Montana to resume killing wolves without any additional scientific safeguards to ensure the long-term survival of the species and without any legal recourse against it.  If that’s not bad enough, other bills have been introduced that seek to permanently delist wolves throughout the Northern Rockies, including Wyoming, and throughout the entire lower 48 states. This means wolves in Washington, Oregon and Utah would have no federal protection whatsoever, even though populations there have just started to recover. And wolf recovery in the Southwest, where there are currently only 50 Mexican gray wolves remaining in the wild, would effectively grind to a halt.

What does the settlement mean for wolves now?

If approved by the Montana federal court, this settlement will allow wolf recovery to continue across the Northern Rockies, especially in places like Wyoming, where an adequate state management plan has yet to be approved, and Oregon, Washington and Utah, where wolves have only started to recover. Idaho and Montana will be allowed to resume managing wolf populations within their states, but with critical scientific safeguards in place to make sure wolves are protected, including monitoring and independent scientific review. Now it’s up to Idaho and Montana to hold up their end of the bargain and demonstrate that they can manage wolves responsibly. If they fail to do so, wolves could once again be placed under the protection of the ESA.

What are the terms of the settlement?

The agreement reached will provide a critical scientific safety net that will allow wolves to be delisted in Idaho and Montana while retaining protections across the rest of the region. The Interior Department will help ensure that the states are adequately managing wolves by monitoring the status of wolves in Idaho and Montana on an annual basis. After three years, the Interior Department will also seek an independent scientific review of the status of wolves in the region to more clearly define what constitutes a viable and genetically connected wolf population in the Northern Rockies. Finally, when Wyoming develops a wolf management plan that meets the requirements of the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue a new delisting rule based upon the best available science.

What are the next legal steps?

If the court accepts the terms of the settlement, wolf management will be returned to state fish and wildlife agencies in Idaho and Montana. If the court does not accept the terms of the settlement, wolves will remain protected under the Endangered Species Act throughout the Northern Rockies as they are currently, but only so long as Congress does not adopt delisting legislation.  We would expect that, if the settlement agreement is not approved, anti-wolf sentiment would continue to grow, making it nearly inevitable that Congress would adopt damaging delisting legislation.

How will Defenders continue to protect wolves?

Regardless of what happens with this settlement, Defenders will continue fighting to ensure the successful long-term recovery of wolves across the Northern Rockies. We will continue to oppose efforts by anti-wolf extremists to strip vital protections for wolves where the long-term survival of the species is still in jeopardy. And we will also continue to work closely with ranchers to develop and implement the tools and techniques they need to coexist with wolves, including expanding our program into Oregon and Washington where wolves have only recently returned.

If the settlement is approved, we are prepared to work together with the states to make sure sustainable wolf populations are maintained. Idaho and Montana have made commitments in the past to manage wolves responsibly and we plan to hold them to their word. And if populations are ever threatened with serious decline in the future, we will petition the federal government to restore ESA protections once again.

If the settlement is not approved, we will continue to oppose federal delisting legislation and work toward a solution that protects the long-term recovery of the species and upholds the scientific principles of the Endangered Species Act.

What can you do to help wolves now?

We need your support now more than ever. This settlement provides a path forward that upholds the scientific principles of the ESA and ensures continued wolf recovery across the Northern Rockies. But we need to send a strong message to Congress that legislating away protections for wolves is the exact WRONG approach. For many years, the American people, and members of Defenders of Wildlife in particular, have shown support for wolf recovery and protecting imperiled wildlife. Please, continue to tell Congress that you support wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies and the Southwest, and you oppose any efforts to place politics above science in the conservation of endangered species.

Protecting Livestock, Saving Wolves

The Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Coexistence Partnership is demonstrating ways that conservationists and ranchers can work together to protect livestock and save wolves by avoiding and minimizing conflicts.

The program helps prevent conflict between imperiled wolves and humans by supporting the use of nonlethal deterrents and best management practices, including:

  • Range riders or cowboys to protect livestock
  • Guard dogs to alert herders and range riders of nearby wolves
  • Portable fencing or fladry (brightly colored flags strung across a rope or electrified wire that scare wolves) to secure livestock overnight
  • Nonlethal hazing techniques, such as shining bright lights or firing a loud starter pistol, to drive off wolves
  • Good husbandry practices, such as removing carcasses, which attract wolves
  • Moving livestock to grazing pastures away from wolf dens

Check out our video above, Keeping Wolves out of Harm’s Way, to see some of these successful techniques in action.

The program works directly with landowners and communities to:

  1. reduce conflicts between wolves and humans;
  2. keep wolves from being unnecessarily killed by agencies in response to human conflicts; and
  3. increase general acceptance of wolves across the landscape.

What Defenders Is Doing

To date, Defenders has implemented wolf and livestock co-existence projects throughout wolf ranges in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Alberta, and Oregon. These include four major range rider projects in key corridor wolf conservation areas: northwestern Montana (connecting the USA and Canadian northern Rockies); Greater Yellowstone ecosystem in southeastern Montana and northwestern Wyoming; and, most recently, the first ever rider project in northeastern Oregon.

Our project partners include ranchers, state and federal agencies, livestock associations, and other conservation organizations.

Revealed: US Spy Operation That Manipulates Social Media | Common Dreams

Full article is at the above link.

The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media using fake online personas designed to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.

General David Petraeus has said US efforts to spy on social media are aimed at ‘countering extremist ideology and propaganda’. (Cliff Owen/AP) A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with the US Central Command (Centcom) to develop what is described as an “online persona management service” that will allow one serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities at once.

The contract stipulates each persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 controllers must be able to operate false identities from their workstations “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries”.

Once developed the software could allow US service personnel, working around the clock in one location, to respond to emerging online conversations with a host of co-ordinated blogposts, tweets, retweets, chatroom posts and other interventions. Details of the contract suggest this location would be MacDill air force base near Tampa, Florida, home of US Special Operations Command.

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sock puppets” – could encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

More information is available under the Freedom of Information Act at FedBizOpps.com

 

Texas Board of Education: Creationists War on Science! [Petition] | Demand Progress

Tell the Texas Board of Education: End the War on Science! | Demand Progress.

This is a link to Demand Progress and a petition to the Texas Board f Education.

There’s a national war on science, and the Texas Board of Education is the front line:  They want to put Creationists in charge of the content of science text books. The board has influence beyond Texas because the state is one of the largest buyers of textbooks — so their decisions could undermine what gets taught across America.

The nominees to the science curriculum review team are absolutely ridiculous: They don’t believe in evolution — and some of them admit that they don’t even believe in science at all!

One said, “I can find physical and written testimony that the Earth is only 6,000 years old … Studying natural history can be an interesting, fun, and adventure-filled pursuit, but it is not real science” and another puts it even more bluntly:  “As a creationist, I believe naturalism in the sciences to be science-fiction.”

These people are making a mockery of science education, which could have severe ramifications across the country.  Will you help us fight back by signing our petition to the Texas Board of Education?

PETITION TO TEXAS BOARD OF EDUCATION: Texas needs to end its war on science. Your embarrassing insistence on trying to teach Creationism will hurt not only children in Texas, but will encourage changes in text books that could undermine science education across our country.

How Climate Change Became A “Liberal Hoax”: Big Business vs. Science

Photograph of Noam Chomsky

Image via Wikipedia

The sixth video in the series “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate” from The Nation and On The Earth Productions.

Linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky talks about the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and other business lobbies enthusiastically carrying out campaigns “to try and convince the population that global warming is a liberal hoax.