By Katy Neusteter
The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Public Health<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUyNDY3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDkxMTkwNn0.pyP14Bg1WvcUvF_xUGgYVu8PS7Lu49Huzc3PXGvATi4/img.jpg?width=980" id="8e577" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1efb3445f5c445e47d5937a72343c012" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2302" />
Wild and Scenic Merced River, California. Bob Wick / BLM<p>Let's begin with COVID-19. More than <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">16 million Americans</a> have contracted the coronavirus and, tragically,<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank"> more than</a> <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">300,000 have died</a> due to the pandemic. While health officials encourage hand-washing to contain the pandemic, at least <a href="https://closethewatergap.org/" target="_blank">2 million Americans</a> are currently living without running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank">aging water infrastructure is growing increasingly costly for utilities to maintain</a>. That cost is passed along to consumers. The upshot? <a href="https://research.msu.edu/affordable-water-in-us-reaching-a-crisis/" target="_blank">More than 13 million</a> U.S. households regularly face unaffordable water bills — and, thus, the threat of water shutoffs. Without basic access to clean water, families and entire communities are at a higher risk of <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2020/08/05/488705/bridging-water-access-gap-covid-19-relief/" target="_blank">contracting</a> and spreading COVID-19.</p><p>We have a moral duty to ensure that everyone has access to clean water to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Last spring, <a href="https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-stimulus-bill-explained-bailouts-unemployment-benefits.html" target="_blank">Congress appropriated more than $4 trillion</a> to jumpstart the economy and bring millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Additional federal assistance — desperately needed — will present a historic opportunity to improve our crumbling infrastructure, which has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">grossly underfunded for decades</a>.</p><p>A report by my organization, American Rivers, suggests that <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Congress must invest at least $50 billion</a> "to address the urgent water infrastructure needs associated with COVID-19," including the rising cost of water. This initial boost would allow for the replacement and maintenance of sewers, stormwater infrastructure and water supply facilities.</p>
Economic Recovery<p>Investing in water infrastructure and healthy rivers also creates jobs. Consider, for example, that <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y9p6sgnk" target="_blank">every $1 million spent on water infrastructure in the United States generates more than 15 jobs</a> throughout the economy, according to a report by the Value of Water Campaign. Similarly, <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyvd2ksp" target="_blank">every "$1 million invested in forest and watershed restoration contracting will generate between 15.7 and 23.8 jobs,</a> depending on the work type," states a working paper released by the Ecosystem Workforce Program, University of Oregon. Healthy rivers also spur tourism and recreation, which many communities rely on for their livelihoods. According to the findings by the Outdoor Industry Association, which have been shared in our report, "Americans participating in watersports and fishing spend over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">$174 billion</a> on gear and trip related expenses. And, the outdoor watersports and fishing economy supports over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">1.5 million jobs nationwide</a>."</p><p>After the 2008 financial crisis, Congress invested in infrastructure to put Americans back to work. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act <a href="https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/25941-clean-water-green-infrastructure-get-major-boost" target="_blank">of 2009 (ARRA) allocated $6 billion</a> for clean water and drinking water infrastructure to decrease unemployment and boost the economy. More specifically, <a href="https://www.conservationnw.org/news-updates/us-reps-push-for-millions-of-restoration-and-resilience-jobs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an analysis of ARRA</a> "showed conservation investments generated 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars," and more than doubled the rate of return, according to a letter written in May 2020 by 79 members of Congress, seeking greater funding for restoration and resilience jobs.</p><p>Today, when considering how to create work for the <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10.7 million</a> people who are currently unemployed, Congress should review previous stimulus investments and build on their successes by embracing major investments in water infrastructure and watershed restoration.</p>
Racial Justice<p>American Rivers also recommends that Congress dedicate <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">$500 billion for rivers and clean water over the next 10 years</a> — not just for the benefit of our environment and economy, but also to begin to address the United States' history of deeply entrenched racial injustice.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.epa.gov/npdes/sanitary-sewer-overflows-ssos" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">23,000-75,000 sewer overflows</a> that occur each year release up to <a href="https://www.americanrivers.org/2020/05/fighting-for-rivers-means-fighting-for-justice/#:~:text=There%20are%20also%2023%2C000%20to%2075%2C000%20sanitary%20sewer,to%20do%20with%20the%20mission%20of%20American%20Rivers." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10 billion gallons of toxic sewage</a> <em>every day</em> into rivers and streams. This disproportionately impacts communities of color, because, for generations, Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color have been <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/flooding-disproportionately-harms-black-neighborhoods/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">relegated</a> to live in flood-prone areas and in neighborhoods that have been intentionally burdened with a lack of development that degrades people's health and quality of life. In some communities of color, incessant flooding due to stormwater surges or <a href="https://www.ajc.com/opinion/opinion-partnering-to-better-manage-our-water/7WQ6SEAQP5E4LGQCEYY5DO334Y/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">combined sewer overflows</a> has gone unmitigated for decades.</p><p>We have historically treated people as separate from rivers and water. We can't do that anymore. Every voice — particularly those of people most directly impacted — must have a loudspeaker and be included in decision-making at the highest levels.</p><p>Accordingly, the new administration must diligently invest in projects at the community level that will improve lives in our country's most marginalized communities. We also must go further to ensure that local leaders have a seat at the decision-making table. To this end, the Biden-Harris administration should restore <a href="https://www.epa.gov/cwa-401#:~:text=Section%20401%20Certification%20The%20Clean%20Water%20Act%20%28CWA%29,the%20United%20States.%20Learn%20more%20about%20401%20certification." target="_blank">Section 401 of the Clean Water Act</a>, which was undermined by the <a href="https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2020/tribes-and-environmental-groups-sue-trump-administration-to-preserve-clean-water-protections#:~:text=Under%20Section%20401%20of%20the%20Clean%20Water%20Act%2C,seeks%20to%20undermine%20that%20authority%20in%20several%20ways%3A" target="_blank">Trump administration's 2020 regulatory changes</a>. This provision gives states and tribes the authority to decide whether major development projects, such as hydropower and oil and gas projects, move forward.</p>
Climate Resilience<p>Of course, the menacing shadow looming over it all? Climate change. <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">More than 100 climate-related catastrophes</a> have pummeled the Earth since the pandemic was declared last spring, including the blitzkrieg of megafires, superstorms and heat waves witnessed during the summer of 2020, directly impacting the lives of more than <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">50 million people globally</a>.</p><p>Water and climate scientist Brad Udall often says, "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQhpj5G0dME" target="_blank">Climate change is water change</a>." In other words, the most obvious and dire impacts of climate change are evidenced in profound changes to our rivers and water resources. You've likely seen it where you live: Floods are more damaging and frequent. Droughts are deeper and longer. Uncertainty is destabilizing industry and lives.</p><p>By galvanizing action for healthy rivers and managing our water resources more effectively, we can insure future generations against the consequences of climate change. First, we must safeguard rivers that are still healthy and free-flowing. Second, we must protect land and property against the ravages of flooding. And finally, we must promote policies and practical solutions that take the science of climate disruption into account when planning for increased flooding, water shortage and habitat disruption.</p><p>Imagine all that rivers do for us. Most of our towns and cities have a river running through them or flowing nearby. Rivers provide clean drinking water, irrigate crops that provide our food, power our homes and businesses, provide wildlife habitat, and are the lifeblood of the places where we enjoy and explore nature, and where we play and nourish our spirits. Healthy watersheds help <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059952" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mitigate</a> climate change, absorbing and reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Healthy rivers and floodplains help communities adapt and build resilience in the face of climate change by improving flood protection and providing water supply and quality benefits. Rivers are the cornerstones of healthy, strong communities.</p><p>The more than <a href="https://archive.epa.gov/water/archive/web/html/index-17.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">3 million miles</a> of rivers and streams running across our country are a source of great strength and opportunity. When we invest in healthy rivers and clean water, we can improve our lives. When we invest in rivers, we create jobs and strengthen our economy. When we invest in rivers, we invest in our shared future.</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes.
Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Sage Lenier
Sage Lenier, an environmental activist and graduate from UC Berkeley, created a wildly popular course at her university dedicated to sustainable solutions and circular systems thinking against the broader backdrop of environmental justice. In Spring 2020, the course enrolled more than 300 students eager to learn how they can drive the shift toward a more ethical and sustainable society. The World Economic Forum sat down with Sage for a quick Q&A.
By Callie Babbitt and Shahana Althaf
It's hard to imagine navigating modern life without a mobile phone in hand. Computers, tablets and smartphones have transformed how we communicate, work, learn, share news and entertain ourselves. They became even more essential when the COVID-19 pandemic moved classes, meetings and social connections online.
Recycling Used Electronics<p>Thirty years of data show why the volume of e-waste in the U.S. is decreasing. New products are <a href="https://apnews.com/article/bb5ff45b98f64123b3d408dd4a336b59" target="_blank">lighter and more compact than past offerings</a>. Smartphones and laptops have edged out desktop computers. Televisions with thin, flat screens have displaced bulkier <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode-ray_tube" target="_blank">cathode-ray tubes</a>, and streaming services are doing the job that once required standalone MP3, DVD and Blu-ray players. U.S. households now produce about <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13074" target="_blank">10% less electronic waste by weight</a> than they did at their peak in 2015.</p><p>The bad news is that <a href="https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling" target="_blank">only about 35% of U.S. e-waste is recycled</a>. Consumers often don't know where to recycle discarded products. If electronic devices decompose in landfills, hazardous compounds can leach into groundwater, including <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10962247.2019.1640807" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lead</a> used in older circuit boards, mercury found in early LCD screens and <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/30/toxins-in-plastics-blamed-for-health-environment-hazards" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flame retardants</a> in plastics. This process poses health risks to people and wildlife.</p>
Disassembling Products and Assembling Data<p>Health and environmental risks have prompted 25 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to <a href="https://www.ecycleclearinghouse.org/maps.aspx" target="_blank">enact e-waste recycling laws</a>. Some of these measures ban landfilling electronics, while others require manufacturers to support recycling efforts. All of them target large products, like old cathode-ray tube TVs, which contain up to 4 pounds of lead.</p><p>We wanted to know whether these laws, adopted from 2003 to 2011, can keep up with the current generation of electronic products. To find out, we needed a better estimate of how much e-waste the U.S. now produces.</p><p>We mapped sales of electronic products from the <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/a-terminal-condition/361313/" target="_blank">1950s</a> to the present, using data from industry reports, government sources and consumer surveys. Then we <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0573-9" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">disassembled almost 100 devices</a>, from obsolete VCRs to today's smartphones and fitness trackers, to weigh and measure the materials they contained.</p>
A researcher takes apart a smartphone to find out what materials are inside. Shahana Althaf, CC BY
This dissected tablet shows the components inside, each of which were logged, weighed and measured by researchers. Callie Babbitt, CC BY<p>We created a <a href="https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3986969" target="_blank">computer model to analyze the data</a>, producing one of the most detailed accounts of U.S. electronic product consumption and discards currently available.</p>
E-waste Is Leaner, But Not Necessarily Greener<p>The big surprise from our research was that U.S. households are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.13074" target="_blank">producing less e-waste</a>, thanks to compact product designs and digital innovation. For example, a smartphone serves as an all-in-one phone, camera, MP3 player and portable navigation system. Flat-panel TVs are about 50% lighter than <a href="https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/06/15/15greenwire-some-see-e-waste-crisis-trailing-switch-to-dig-81110.html" target="_blank">large-tube TVs</a> and don't contain any lead.</p><p>But not all innovations have been beneficial. To make lightweight products, manufacturers miniaturized components and glued parts together, making it harder to repair devices and more expensive to recycle them. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/s10098-020-01890-3" target="_blank">Lithium-ion batteries</a> pose another problem: They are hard to detect and remove, and they can spark <a href="https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/28/21156477/recycling-plants-fire-batteries-rechargeable-smartphone-lithium-ion" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">disastrous fires</a> during transportation or recycling.</p><p>Popular features that consumers love – speed, sharp images, responsive touch screens and long battery life – rely on metals like cobalt, indium and <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-rare-earths-crucial-elements-in-modern-technology-4-questions-answered-101364" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rare-earth elements</a> that require immense energy and expense to mine. Commercial recycling technology cannot yet recover them profitably, although innovations are starting to emerge.</p>
Re-envisioning Waste as a Resource<p>We believe solving these challenges requires a <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2019.05.038" target="_blank">proactive approach</a> that treats digital discards as resources, not waste. Gold, silver, palladium and other valuable materials are now more concentrated in e-waste than in natural ores in the ground.</p><p>"<a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200407-urban-mining-how-your-home-may-be-a-gold-mine" target="_blank">Urban mining</a>," in the form of recycling e-waste, could replace the need to dig up scarce metals, reducing environmental damage. It would also <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105248" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce U.S. dependence</a> on <a href="https://www.cato.org/blog/chinas-critical-minerals-national-security-meaning-supply-chain-interdependence" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">minerals imported from other countries</a>.</p>
Concentration of hazardous (left) and valuable (right) materials within the U.S. e-waste stream. Althaf et al. 2020
"Industrial meat production is not only responsible for precarious working conditions, it also pushes people off their land, leads to deforestation, biodiversity loss and the use of pesticides — and is also one of the main drivers of the climate crisis."
Such were the words of Barbara Unmüssig of green think tank, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, at the Berlin presentation of the so-called "Meat Atlas 2021."
Germany Plays Leading Role in the Meat Industry<p><span>Olaf Bandt, chairman of BUND, says policymakers must take account of society's desire to </span><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/can-you-be-a-good-christian-and-eat-meat/a-55410685" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">restructure the sector</a><span>. "This requires far-reaching political realignment of agricultural policy," he said. "But there can be no agricultural transition without a food transition."</span></p><p>Bandt describes Germany as a key player in the production of pork and milk, with a 20% share of the EU market. </p><p>"Huge amounts of meat are exported," he said, adding that this reliance on international markets is having a detrimental effect on the environment, livestock and farms. "More and more animals live on ever fewer farms, further exacerbating the pollution of groundwater in those regions." </p>
Meat Devours Rainforest<p>Global population and economic growth are the drivers behind increasing demand for meat. In 1960, the planet was home to just 3 billion people and, according to the report, meat consumption at that time was around 70 million metric tons. That equated to an annual per capita global average of 23 kilograms.</p><p><span></span>By 2018, however, when the population had grown to 7.6 billion people, meat consumption had risen seven-fold to around 350 million metric tons — or a global average of 46 kilograms per person annually.</p><p>A key problem with this trend is that <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/eating-meat-is-no-longer-a-private-matter/a-55515722" target="_blank">meat production</a> requires vast areas of land. According to the German Environment Agency (UBA), the country's central environment authority, 71% of global arable land is currently used for livestock feed. That is four times the amount required for direct food growth (18%) or other raw materials such as cotton (7%) and energy crops like corn for biogas (4%). </p>
The Problem With Pesticides<p>Besides revealing the power and global impact of the international meat industry, authors of the "Meat Atlas" also illustrate links to the global chemical industry. They write that dangerous and sometimes banned pesticides are exported by large chemical companies. Among the producers and exporters of such chemicals are European players, Bayer Crop Science, BASF, and Syngenta, as well as U.S. companies Corteva and FMS. </p>
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By Tara Lohan
This holiday season just about everything was different. Vacations were postponed. Parties and family get-togethers were canceled or moved online as folks hunkered down at the request of public-health officials. But one thing continued as usual: President Trump's attacks on the environment.
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By Joe Timmerman
Few leaves are still falling off trees and down the ever-running water of the National Wild and Scenic Little Miami River, where they float through five counties and 111 miles of Southwest Ohio, into the Ohio River and toward the Mississippi before eventually finding their way into the Gulf of Mexico. Today, these 111 miles of Little Miami River are the cleanest that they have been in the last 40 years, and as the world may seem largely disconnected due to the coronavirus pandemic, a connection between people over time is helping to create the river's lasting sustainability.
A ripple in the water caused by a fish moves below fall trees as the sun rises in Loveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. The Little Miami River flows through 5 counties and 111 miles of Southwest Ohio, including Clermont County and Hamilton County where Loveland lies between. Joe Timmerman<p>Since its origin, the conservancy has worked with agencies like the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), who records the condition of the Little Miami River every 10 years by sampling fish life. In the 1980s, only 4% of the Little Miami River was in full attainment of water quality health, but in recent years, the chart has flipped, and as of 2007, the river is at 96% attainment of health, <a href="https://epa.ohio.gov/portals/35/tmdl/Lower%20LMR_TMDL%20Report_FINAL_FINAL_Nov11.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">according to OEPA research</a>.</p>
Eric Partee, executive director of the Little Miami Conservancy, holds one of nine water quality sondes that are found all along the length of the river, this one in Milford, Ohio, on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2020. A water quality sonde uses sensors to measure dissolved oxygen in the river, which is recorded every 15 minutes in 3-month spans and is checked once a week by Partee and volunteers of the conservancy. "Ninety-six percent of the river is in full attainment with exceptional habitat quality, it's just in fantastic condition. The challenge is to keep it that way," Partee said. Joe Timmerman<p>A short walk from the doors of the conservancy is the Loveland Canoe and Kayak Livery, owned by Mark and Robyn Bersani, which is just one of the many businesses along the Little Miami River that rely on its health as their main resource for income. The Bersanis work closely with the conservancy each year by offering and volunteering for cleanups as well as generous donations. This year, along with two other liveries including Rivers Edge and Scenic River, their combined donation to the Little Miami Conservancy's effort was $56,000, according to Bersani.</p><p>"We're involved from a grassroots portion, to actually helping with cleanups, to keeping an eye on the river, as well as donating and continuing to fund the good work that they do," Bersani said in an interview. "It comes down to the people that live along the river, people that visit the river, the people in the community, if the river is going to stay clean. This river is very natural, it looks like it did 300 years ago … it is vital that the citizens all realize they have a role in this."</p><p>Up the road at Loveland High School, Amy Aspenwall, an AP environmental science teacher teaches teenagers the importance of environmental awareness through hands-on experiences in places like the Little Miami River.</p><p>In an interview over Zoom, Aspenwall talked about the importance of students getting out into nature to actually see how humans fit in the environment, because "if you don't see it, it's really not your problem," Aspenwall said. From understanding <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/food-waste">food waste</a> to the water drinking system to sewer treatment facilities, her goal is to allow students the opportunity to realize a sense of civic responsibility.</p><p>"It's important for students to start to think of themselves as a bigger picture rather than just someone following teacher instructions," Aspenwall said. "I want them to start thinking on their own and realize how powerful they are as a consumer."</p><p>Although the Little Miami River is of "exceptional quality," <a href="https://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/LittleMiamiRiver#118215922-monitoring" target="_blank">according to a 2010 water quality monitoring report by the OEPA</a>, "the tributaries were generally of a lower quality."</p>
People bike on a section of the Loveland Bike Trail alongside the Little Miami River in Loveland, Ohio, on Monday, Nov. 8, 2020. Joe Timmerman<p>Between the shared relationships of the Little Miami Conservancy, OEPA, local government officials, developers, landowners, non-profits, teachers, and local business owners, a community has come together and worked toward the common effort to make a positive, sustainable change in the health of the river.<br></p><p>The timelessness of the Little Miami River will carry on as long as its water continues to run. And as it always has been, it's still up to the people alongside the riverbank to make sure that the water runs clean for generations to come. As the late author Nelson Henderson said, and Eric Partee paraphrased when we talked together, "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."</p><p><em>Note: The next OEPA Little Miami River Watershed TMDL Report will be produced and published by 2022, according to the last OEPA TMDL report. </em></p><p><em><a href="https://www.josephmtimmerman.com/" target="_blank">Joe Timmerman</a> is a sophomore journalism and photojournalism student at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the School of Visual Communications at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Joe is passionate about finding natural connections between people and sharing those stories he finds.</em></p>
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By Sean Fleming
What goes around comes around, according to the old saying. And in the case of the circular economy, that's certainly true.
Regenerate, reuse, recycle. Ellen MacArthur Foundation
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The European Union's executive branch on Tuesday announced new rules for plastic waste shipments—including a ban on some exports to poorer countries—that will take effect on January 1 as part of the bloc's Circular Economy Action Plan and European Green Deal.
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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has announced key members of his environmental team, saying that his administration would make a unified response to climate change a priority.
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On December 4, about 1,600 Rohingya traveled across the Bay of Bengal in seven navy boats from Chattogram to Bhasan Char. Bangladesh plans to move 100,000 families to the island.
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Around the holidays, it's estimated that Americans throw out an extra 1 million tons of trash per week – and one of the biggest offenders of seasonal waste is single-use gift wrap.
Use the tips in this eco-friendly gift wrapping guide to cut down your environmental impact this year.
1. Wrap Boxes With Brown Paper Bags<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODEwNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MTk3MjQ1OH0.lkGK1xl0bRqKuI4NcbjNtQxk1a45dFH_kYK-0hL_pT8/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C1520%2C0%2C1520&height=800" id="c2de7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d8195023cd1ceaa122ad09763ee876fb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
2. Reuse Cardboard Shipping Boxes<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQxOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjU1Mjg2MH0.5ZjP3o-ODvXH0fKbwEKD9inQza-qisGF5sox9AkpMLA/img.jpg?width=980" id="9c03f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a928dd386cfa9785c06a8b3118f9fe6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="6000" data-height="4000" />
3. Upcycle Other Shipping Supplies<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ4My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjkxNDA0Mn0.z7aKpl6Vz7y7-oaFUG1zYzFbffG10-pcIB-mU_pOp2E/img.jpg?width=980" id="6094e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3835fe812cc589bc0fe1ec1af3a21128" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3024" data-height="2016" />
4. Make Your Own Stamps<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDMzOTIzMH0.KmPzag9aTA7Rcjat1VYG3KS_Mf4ohwHQXwK1lrdIMOw/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=800" id="84efc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="174c01a0adf5877b937353a0e4b0386d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
5. Add Natural Festive Touches<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODQ4NTE0N30.QPH7jTcTlKfQZc_2aZO08F3ptQUbf1Lor_szK0gKq9Q/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C1440%2C0%2C1440&height=800" id="22df4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="811c947ee0010c432f2a1798d7845155" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
6. Swap Paper for Fabric Gift Wrap<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="490c93b9dc835241815ffb3c0afc1b1a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rxl0X2F2Jiw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Make your eco-friendly gift wrapping part of your present by opting for a scarf, shawl, pocket square, or handkerchief over traditional paper. As the above video shows, it takes just seconds to package items using the Furoshiki method of fabric wrapping – and you don't even need to box the item beforehand, which cuts out another piece of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/waste-free-holiday-2641562236.html" target="_self">holiday waste</a>.</p>
7. Use Biodegradable Paper Tape<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1OTkwMDQ5Nn0.wkjMReu4YTscu60WiK6Dwb4N7tusVZz4JxFqPX8WySY/img.jpg?width=980" id="f2b88" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9bc225e154f806bb190d83e6acd6fa9d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2007" />
8. Ditch the Tape Altogether<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ae8e240fc389d37f7f0facf88dd1082e"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7TA4Whui_xA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>You don't have to be an origami pro to learn the art of tape-free gift wrapping. As you can see in the video above, it's pretty simple to fold your wrapping paper into itself and secure your gift with no tape required. If you <em>do </em>happen to be an origami pro (or if all the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/social-distancing-celebrations-2645538300.html" target="_self">holiday cheer</a> has left you optimistically ambitious), there are ways to incorporate <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccL-e0zJG8w" target="_blank">fun folds</a> into your wrapping, too.</p>
9. Turn Old Clothes Into Ribbons and Bows<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ3Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTc0MTQ3Mn0.IWybrXLdL_z-6QXh4auuvyv0sbUCa0BjILbm_G1ZvPk/img.jpg?width=980" id="a17e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ac16e3a0c4b5de2717b22e8872b3e799" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="6000" data-height="4000" />
10. Tie Gifts Up With Compostable Twine<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ1OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjgzNjcwOX0.zdFSHdFZd1u5zJFMurETn7UZWxROQQBu_UixG4L56bY/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C1376%2C0%2C1376&height=800" id="d6faa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3b213b586ab133aadd3960b4b3cbca9e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
11. Look Through Old Household Items<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ3My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTg1NDkyN30.rerLN_d5X_D0AhYpooxPe5oewX3lUBB87kV3A4vBxfc/img.jpg?width=980" id="50ab1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48d8b9e5b27b8877cf7905159f1eb6bf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2000" />
FAQ: Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping<p><strong>Is wrapping paper recyclable?</strong></p><p>Some wrapping paper is recyclable, and some is not. If it's metallic, has glitter on it, is textured, or has a waxy coating, it can't be recycled. However, plain, unlaminated wrapping papers are usually able to be recycled. Check with your local waste management agency to see specific guidelines for your area.</p> <p><strong>Is tissue paper recyclable?</strong></p><p>Because most tissue paper is made with low-grade paper, it is not typically recyclable. However, some recycling facilities may accept it, so be sure to check with your local waste management agency. Thankfully, tissue paper tends to hold up well year after year, so it can be reused for many holiday seasons.</p> <p><strong>How do you wrap a gift?</strong></p><p>Wrapping gifts is like riding a bike: once you learn, you'll never forget it – but there may be some ugly moments along the way. Check out the video below to learn the basics of wrapping presents (but make sure you implement our eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas, too).</p>
Watch this video on how to gift wrap a box:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ffdda9fd0538c28037dd807fdc02791f"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l_pp-1qu9Ig?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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