New National Forest Program a Good Start
A national report released Nov. 7 on first-year results of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) revealed impressive returns for forests, jobs, water and wildlife. In 2010 the federal program split $10 million among 10 projects on National Forests throughout the country.
As identified in the report, in one year the CFLRP has:
- Created and maintained 1,550 jobs
- Produced 107 million board feet of timber
- Generated nearly $59 million of labor income
- Removed fuel for destructive mega-fires on 90,000 acres near communities
- Reduced mega-fire on an additional 64,000 acres
- Improved 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat
- Restored 28 miles of fish habitat
- Enhanced clean water supplies by remediating 163 miles of eroding roads
The results of the report were heralded by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), original cosponsor of the act in 2009.
“The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program is bringing communities from around the country together to create jobs, to restore forest and watershed health, and to reduce the costs of wildfire suppression at impressive scales,” offered Bingaman. “The program and its many supporters are charting a successful path forward for National Forest management.”
CFLRP is also a political success in that it has won bipartisan support in Washington—both the Senate and House budgets for 2012 have proposed funding CFLRP at the $30 million level. Bingaman, along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Jim Risch (R-ID), is currently circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter supporting an increase to $40 million to allow more landscapes to participate.
Observers say the program is bucking the larger downward funding trend because restoration of National Forests is the new zone of agreement where traditional adversaries in the timber industry, conservation and local county governments are working to advance common goals. This new cooperative attitude links forest jobs to forest health and has emboldened key Western Congressional representatives to cross party lines and support it.
However, without additional support the benefits of CFLRP will be limited to the existing 10 sites, when 26 more sites around the country applied for the program in 2011.
National and local partners also heralded the report, and the benefits that American forests provide the nation.
“Besides the pleasure forests give us on a personal level,” offered Laura McCarthy of The Nature Conservancy, “they also cover one-third of the United States, store and filter half the nation’s water supply, provide jobs to more than a million wood products workers, absorb nearly 20 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, offer 650 million acres of recreational lands that generate well over $15 billion in economic activity annually, and provide habitat for thousands of species across the country.”
“This is an outstanding program because it simultaneously helps forests, water and jobs,” said Kelsey Delaney of the Society of American Forests. “Sometimes a healthy environment is falsely framed against a strong economy—CFLRP is proof that isn’t the case. It’s a win-win-win across the board for our nation.”
“CFLRP projects are cost efficient, mostly because of their long-time frame and larger scale,” added Scott Brennan of The Wilderness Society. “Selected projects are assured 10 years of funding as long as appropriations are available, which provided certainty for businesses their banks and other investors, time for workers to be trained and become skilled, and for product markets to be developed and expanded."
“This program is a new, bipartisan approach with a broad base of support,” said Rebecca Turner of American Forests.
Maia Enzer of Sustainable Northwest said, “CFLRP is about boots on the ground, creating jobs in rural communities. Now is the time to invest in rural communities and restore the health of our National Forests. CFLRP does exactly that.”
The 10 CFLRP sites in 2010 were:
1. Four Forest Restoration Initiative, Arizona, $2 million
2. Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project, California, $829,900
3. Front Range Landscape Restoration Initiative, Colorado, $1 million
4. Uncompahgre Plateau, Colorado, $446,000
5. Accelerating Longleaf Pine Restoration, Florida, $1.17 million
6. Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater, Idaho, $1 million
7. Southwestern Crown of the Continent, Montana, $1.03 million
8. Southwest Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, $392,000
9. Deschutes Collaborative Forest, Oregon, $500,000
10. Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, Washington, $1.63 million
CFLRP is especially needed now. A century of suppressing natural wildfires has resulted in unhealthy forests choked with small trees and brush that can lead to destructive mega-fires. Over the last 50 years the U.S. has only had 5 years with more than 8 million acres burned—all of them are in the last 7 years (including 2011).
Pests and pathogens are decimating wild, managed and urban forests nationwide. Bark beetles alone have killed a New Jersey-sized swath of trees.
A legacy of poorly planned logging roads, sprawling development and a changing climate with extensive droughts is further knocking forests off-balance.
The Nature Conservancy estimates 120 million acres of America’s forests—an area bigger than the state of California—are in immediate need of restoration due to this perfect storm of threats.
The CFLRP annual report was produced by the CFLRP Coalition, which is comprised of 144 member organizations that includes private businesses, communities, counties, tribes, water suppliers, associations and nongovernmental organizations.
Copies of the 2010 CFLRP Annual Report can be requested from Jon Schwedler of the CFLRP Coalition at email@example.com
For more information, click here.
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By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
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Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.