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#FindYourPark and Kick Off National Park Week With a Free Visit Saturday
If you are looking for something to do this Easter weekend, why not visit your nearest national park? All sites run by the National Park Service (NPS) will be free Saturday, April 20 as this year's National Park Week kicks off, USA Today reported.
National Park Week is a presidentially-mandated celebration of the nation's public lands that runs every April. This year, it falls between April 20 and 28. It is a joint effort of NPS and charity group the National Park Foundation, but anyone can get involved in a variety of ways, from donating to the parks to visiting and sharing photos and stories on social media.
"Every year, we invite you to join us and make a difference for the national parks and programs you love. Whether you give, share, join, or do all three, we're grateful that you are part of the parks community!" the National Park Foundation said on a webpage announcing the week.
Saturday, the first day of the week, is the only day on which the parks are free, but there are themed celebrations throughout the week.
Saturday, April 20, Junior Ranger Day
"We don't care what age you are," NPS says, and it's true. A 103-year-old great-great-grandmother was sworn in as a Junior Ranger at the Grand Canyon this January.
Sunday, April 21, Military and Veteran Recognition Day
Monday, April 22, Earth Day
Monday is Earth Day, so the parks are emphasizing their history as part of the conservation movement and their role as a place where Americans can come to connect with nature.
Tuesday, April 23, Transportation Tuesday
On Tuesday, NPS emphasizes how innovations in transportation technology, from trains to cars, have influenced how Americans access the parks. Now, transportation workers at NPS work to protect wildlife while enabling visitor access.
Wednesday, April 24, Wild Wednesday
This day celebrates the wildlife and wilderness preserved in the parks, urging visitors to camp, take hikes, observe plants and animals and do other outdoor activities.
Thursday, April 25, Throwback Thursday
NPS will celebrate Throwback Thursday by emphasizing the history preserved in the parks. Park lovers can participate online by posting side-by-side photos of past and present park visits under the hashtags #NationalParkWeek, #ThrowbackThursday, and #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.
Friday, April 26, Friendship Friday
Friday focuses on all the ways visitors can become friends of the parks by volunteering or donating to a philanthropic organization that partners with the parks. Here is a directory of organizations if you want to get involved.
Saturday, April 27, BARK Ranger Day
Sunday, April 28, ParkRx Day
Outdoor activity is an important boost to mental and physical health, and some doctors have started to make this official by prescribing national park visits to patients. The last day of National Park Week celebrates this growing trend.
Throughout the week, there are opportunities to show your love for the national parks on social media. NPS is bringing back a park ranger emoji that will appear next to the hashtag #FindYourPark. You can also add a park-themed Facebook frame to your profile picture starting today. Just click on your image and choose "update," then "add frame," search for "National Park Service" and click save.
The first opportunity to get involved online starts today at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, as the NPS hosts a live-chat on Twitter.
This year's National Park Week comes after the parks had a difficult start to 2019. They were left open but understaffed during the government shutdown, causing "irreparable" damage to some parks.
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Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.
Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.