The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Volunteers Protect Our National Parks During Shutdown
At Joshua Tree National Park—which nearly closed due to a buildup of trash, human waste and vandalism—a team of volunteers have helped clean the park's overflowing toilets and dumpsters on just about every day of the government impasse, Outside Online reported.
"I feel pretty good about what's going on in the park and the state of it now," Seth Zaharias, the owner of climbing company Cliffhanger Guides, who helped spearhead the cleanup campaign with the nonprofit Friends of Joshua Tree National Park, told Outside. "They only have between five to seven regular maintenance staff. On a big day, we had just shy of a hundred people come out. Our park was ours again."
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, the nation's largest mens' Muslim youth organization, is also making headlines for tidying the nation's parks, including Joshua Tree; the National Mall; Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia; Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park, near Cleveland and Akron; Everglades National Park in Florida, according to CityLab.
Dan Little, who is married to Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, recently scoured the bathrooms at the Sno-Park at Mt. Hood National Forest and sent President Donald Trump a $28 bill for his services.
"This is just one of the many reasons I love my husband," the governor tweeted about the gesture.
Many national parks are open but since staff are furloughed amid the longest shutdown in U.S. history, services such as maintenance, visitor services, and law enforcement are not being performed, or are severely limited.
These parks aren't just missing key services, they're losing a lot of money. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) said that the parks usually make an average of $400,000 a day in fee revenue, but since the start of the shutdown, the National Park Service service has lost more than $6 million in fee revenue.
The park service said in an online statement on Jan. 6 it will dip into reserved money from visitor fees "to provide immediate assistance and services to highly visited parks."
The agency's deputy director, P. Daniel Smith, noted that the visitor fee money "would typically be used for future projects at parks."
Until the federal government gets its act together, there are ways you can help mitigate the impacts of park recreation during the shutdown.
You also might want to consider making a donation to your favorite park.
"By supporting the Parks Restoration Fund, your donations will go to the parks that need help the most," the National Parks Foundation states. The foundation also allows you to sign up for volunteer efforts on its website.
However, Emily Douce, who works in government affairs at the NPCA, told CityLab that for safety reasons, members of the public should wait until the shutdown is over and for park staff return to work before organizing larger cleanups.
- Government Shutdown Is Now The Longest In U.S. History : NPR ›
- National parks face years of damage from government shutdown ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jared Kaufman
Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.
mevans / E+ / Getty Images
Calls for Radical Climate Action Grow Louder as NOAA Reports Last Month Was Hottest June Ever Recorded
By Jessica Corbett
As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.
By John R. Platt
For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.
Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.