Hour for Conservation – Week of 4/27/2020

April 29, 2020

What could you do with an hour each week to support AMC’s conservation mission and protect the outdoors?

The outdoors needs you as much as ever right now. AMC is urging our members and supporters to limit their outdoor recreation pursuits to brief, local outings in support of the effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are many things you can do in the meantime to support conservation from home!

Thanks for dropping by for Week 2. Last week’s post (4/20/20) was heavily focused on recent EPA regulatory rollbacks while this week the focus is on environmental wins in the U.S. Supreme Court and the district court of Montana. Beyond that, we have additional ways to stay engaged and active at home —whether in an hour a week or an hour a day – whatever works for your time and interests.

The first thing you can do is stay informed. Environmental news is moving fast and to help you keep up, we’re starting with an update on conservation news and developing issues below.

Environmental & Conservation News Updates:

  • The Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that the Clean Water Act applies to some pollutants that reach the sea and other protected waters indirectly through groundwater. In a 6-3 decision led by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court rejected arguments by a county in Hawaii and the Trump administration that only pollution discharged directly into navigable waters requires permits. While the decision is considered a victory for environmental groups, the court took a pragmatic interpretation of the Clean Water Rule in defining “the functional equivalent of a direct discharge” and Justice Breyer listed several factors for courts to consider (Adam Liptak, NYTimes)
  • Also on Thursday, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended a nationwide program used to approve oil and gas pipelines, power lines and other utility work, spurred by a court ruling that industry representatives warn could slow or halt numerous infrastructure projects over environmental concerns.” The decision comes after a U.S. judge canceled a key permit within the Corps program the previous Wednesday for the Keystone XL oil pipeline (Matthew Brown, AP).
  • Last but certainly not least, Jane Goodall discusses the environment after Covid-19 and her upcoming Nat Geo documentary “Jane Goodall: The Hope” in an interview with the Associated Press.

Action Items:

The second thing you can do is act! There are numerous virtual activism opportunities available while we observe physical distancing and other public health protection measures. There will be a wide variety of engagement options coming your way in the following weeks, so stay tuned.

  1. We’re starting small this week. As the weather warms up, why not hang out your laundry on a line or drying rack? Save money, save energy, save the environment. For more info and help getting started head to https://www.clotheslines.com/why (yes, that’s a real and excellent website).
  2. Register for Upcoming AMC opportunities to learn and act:

The Transportation & Climate Initiative – Help Lower Transportation Pollution Across AMC’s Region. Wednesday, May 6, noon – 1:00. Details and registration here.

Mobilize Fellow Environmental Voters with the Environmental Voter Project Wednesday, May 13, noon – 1:00. Details and registration here.

  1. Sign up for AMC’s Conservation Action Network and recruit five of your friends. The beauty of CAN is that AMC will notify you whenever there is action to be taken in your region! Whether that action is writing to a representative or signing a petition, CAN will make sure you’re always informed and able to act on the environment’s behalf.
  2. On a related note, follow your senator/representative on social media and hold them accountable on environmental issues that matter to you. Thank them and retweet their good work and comment and push back when you want them to do something else!
  3. A personal favorite, slay the energy vampires: nearly 5 percent of our total residential electricity usage comes from devices that stay plugged in when they’re not being used. Dr. Ekwurzel in the above article suggests putting devices on a single power strip that you can easily switch off.