Day: September 13, 2019

Inspired by Bob Ross, Michigan is planting thousands of ‘happy little trees’

Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.

It seems like nearly every generation has discovered Bob Ross, the soft-spoken, large-haired star of the public television show, “The Joy of Painting.” From the early ’80s through early ’90s, Ross shared his love for nature as he taught viewers how to paint “happy little trees.”

Now, in Michigan, these happy little trees have come to life.

Bob Ross Inc. and Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have partnered to rename the state’s “prison grow” program as “Happy Little Trees.” The happy partnership is one way the state parks system is celebrating its 100th birthday.

First look: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 55

Explore this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition images from the Natural History Museum London. A sleeping seal, a zombie beetle and a tragic turtle are just some of the Highly Commended pictures from the competition, which is now in its fifth-fifth year.

Fact-checking isn’t enough to change beliefs about climate change mitigation: report

Read the full story in Canada’s National Observer.

More than a quarter of Canadians don’t believe climate change is real and human-caused, and fact-checking is unlikely to change their minds about what needs to be done to combat it.

The findings come from a new report released Thursday by the Digital Democracy Project, a joint initiative led by the Ottawa-based Public Policy Forum and the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University. The report also found a sharp partisan divide in support for climate science — nearly half (45 per cent) of Conservative supporters were classified as climate skeptics, compared to 22 per cent of Liberal supporters and 16 per cent of NDP supporters.

2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Award finalists

Finalists for the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been announced. Take a look at the gallery.

‘Most renewable energy companies’ linked with claims of abuses in mines

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Corporate watchdog urges clean-up of supply chains as analysis finds weak regulation and enforcement has led to lack of scrutiny

White House to Relax Energy Efficiency Rules for Light Bulbs

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The Trump administration plans to significantly weaken federal rules that would have forced Americans to use much more energy-efficient light bulbs, a move that could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The proposed changes would eliminate requirements that effectively meant that most light bulbs sold in the United States — not only the familiar, pear-shaped ones, but several other styles as well — must be either LEDs or fluorescent to meet new efficiency standards.

Climate change the ‘number one’ issue for First Nations: National Chief

Read the full story at iPolitics.

Combating climate change is the top priority that an incoming government should focus on, National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today while announcing the Assembly of First Nations’ priorities for parties in the upcoming federal election.

Commentary: Low-income carve-outs aren’t really making community solar more equitable

Read the full story from Midwest Energy News.

Community solar is often idealized as the magic bullet for many of the issues associated with traditional solar — offering scale to reduce cost, delivering access to clean energy for 51% of the population that rents or lives in homes unsuitable for onsite solar installations, and providing increased local grid resiliency, amongst many others. More recently, community solar has been acclaimed for one of the most important and unique benefits it provides: equitable access to clean and affordable solar energy for low- and moderate-income households who have been traditionally left out of solar. As a result, we are seeing legislators and regulators design programs that specifically set out goals to ensure these households are not just included but are integral players in new community solar projects — a noble goal that the industry is proud of and supports.  

Unfortunately, even the best intentions are causing challenges that can make the promise of equity significantly less attainable. Often, in order for a low-income household to subscribe to these community solar programs, they are subject to unreasonable and oftentimes humiliating verification processes. Similarly, subscriber managers are placed in difficult compliance and security positions, and financiers are deterred by the presumed risk. In order to solve the problem, we must address the unique needs of this community, the true goals of an equitable community solar program, and look to new program models and partnerships that truly provide access to solar for all.  

University of Illinois poised to sign $20 million power-purchase contract for second solar farm

Read the full story in the News-Gazette.

The University of Illinois is poised to sign a $20.1 million power-purchase agreement with an East Coast company to operate the UI’s second solar farm in Savoy.

In dandelions and fireflies, artists try to make sense of climate change

Read the full story at The Conversation.

Climate change is real, it’s accelerating and it’s terrifying. We are adding carbon to the atmosphere at a rate 100 times faster than any previous natural increases, such as those that occurred at the end of the last ice age.

The effects are easily made visible through dramatic images of rapidly shrinking glaciers or the Amazon rainforest on fire.

But pictures like these can distance us from environmental catastrophe, turning it into something spectacular, arresting – even paralyzing. They don’t communicate the everyday impact of climate change, which is also taking place in our own backyards.

In the book I’m currently writing, I’ve made these smaller, less obvious effects my focus. I explore the work of artists and poets who help us understand how the smallest changes to the environment can signal large-scale damage.

They build on a crucial legacy left by Victorian observers of the natural world who emphasized the need to pay careful attention to the tiny details of our surroundings.

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