Hour for Conservation – Week of 5/11/2020

May 12, 2020

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

If the forests, trails, and waters could talk I’m sure they would be thanking you for your continued engagement and activism. 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 as always there are many things you can do in the meantime to support conservation from home!

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:

In the last post, the major environmental headlines focused on a blow to the Keystone XL pipeline as well as a victory for Clean Water Act advocates in the Supreme Court. Catch up on previous environmental news here. This past week, reporters at the Washington Post examined how the Coronavirus is disrupting the wind and solar energy industry. The results of an International Energy Agency study of greenhouse gas emissions were released and environmental ministers in 30 European countries began planning for the future. Additionally, the Earth Institute at Columbia University shows how the pandemic has affected our energy usage with an ongoing experiment in Manhattan.

Environmental & Conservation News Updates:

  • On Monday, the Maine Department of Protection issued its permit approving Central Maine Power’s proposed New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project, which would build a 145-mile above-ground transmission line from Quebec to Massachusetts, with 53 miles of the corridor would cross through a portion of northern Maine’s mostly unfragmented forest land. Read about AMC’s reaction here.
  • Also in Maine, the skies are clearer about Acadia National Park. This article from the Schoodic Institute looks into the data, the range of reasons behind the recent changes in air quality, and the longer-term changes driven by the Clean Air Act. a
  • The Coronavirus crisis has put the brakes on burgeoning U.S. wind and solar energy markets. The crisis is “drying up capital and disrupting supply chains for businesses trying to move the country toward cleaner sources of energy.” While there has been some talk about including renewable energy support in future stimulus but so far none of the four economic rescue and stimulus packages have included money for wind or solar energy (Steven Mufson, Dino Grandoni, Washington Post).
  • According to a report released by the International Energy Agency, the world’s CO2 emissions will plunge 8 percent this year, a reduction “six times as large as the previous global record set in 2009 when the financial crisis rocked the world economy.” IEA emphasized that the drop in emissions is not permanent; with previous crises the rebounds in emissions were always larger than decline. The decline in emissions “is because of the premature deaths and economic trauma around the world and in my view it is absolutely nothing to cheer,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said in an interview. But, he said, from a climate and energy standpoint, “the important thing is what happens next year” (Steven Mufson, Washington Post).
  • Environmental ministers from 30 European countries are already working on “what happens next year” with a two-day online conference aimed at making progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). The “Petersberg Climate Dialogue,” co-hosted by the United Kingdom and Germany, is intended to model a sustainable and equitable economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis (Roger Harrabin, BBC).
  • Finally, if you’re curious about how all this time at home is affecting your energy usage, check out this article exploring how 400 special electric meters in New York apartments are responding to drastic changes in our behavior.

Action Items:

The second thing you can do is act. There will be a wide variety of engagement options coming your way in the following weeks, so stay tuned.

  1. For those of you looking to take your outdoor leadership, outdoor skills, and conservation actions to the next level, check out the newly introduced AMC Badging Series. Entirely, self-led, and self-paced, participants complete conservation online learning and a variety of conservation actions to receive badges. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate and sticker for participation. Get started here.
  2. Related to the article from the NYTimes above, try to learn more about your own energy consumption with this great DIY Home Energy Audit resource from the Department of Energy.
  3. Register for Upcoming AMC opportunities to learn and act:
  4. Check out the Global Weirding series on YouTube! This video series tackles the difficult questions surrounding climate change with a combination of simple animation and a concise explanation from host Katharine Hayhoe.
  5. Start a compost bin. I’ve heard this one A LOT and always immediately dismissed it as impossible. Composting in a cramped apartment? No way. However, this two-minute video shows just how simple and easy it is to get started and start reducing waste.
  6. Time yourself setting up and taking down your tent! If you can beat 3 minutes and 47 seconds, I want to hear all about it. In all seriousness, there are some incredible resources across AMC publications to help you keep your outdoor skills sharp while we stay home and stay safe.
  7. Register for the following MassBike webinar on Bikepacking the Bay Circuit Trail! This Lunch + Learn session is on Monday, May 18th from 12pm-1pm and will feature stories from the adventurous bike packers who took on the 230-mi trek through 37 cities and towns that loop the outskirts of Greater Boston. Additionally the webinar will cover some basics of how to plan for bike packing, planning your route, impacting local communities and resources that will help you on your way.