December 19, 2018

Five companies were recently approved to begin seismic airgun blasting to find oil under the Atlantic Ocean between Delaware and Florida. Seismic blasting is devastating for whales (dolphins included), negatively impacting how they communicate, feed, and mate.

One species that environmentalists are concerned about is the right whale. These whales were cleverly named by whalers who deemed them the "right" whale to kill because they are slow and have a high concentration of blubber, which translates to money and ease of harvest (blubber makes them positively buoyant so they float when they die). Not surprisingly, they are now the most endangered whale in the world!   

NOAA approved of this study saying that blasting wouldn't be allowed during the right whale migration and any boats performing these blasts would be required to have a NOAA observer, just in case. Moreover, NOAA said they would not allow blasts to happen while any endangered animals are within 56 miles. It might see...

August 21, 2018

The origin of many American environmental regulations can be traced back to the 1960's, when policy makers and scientists united in agreement that pollution and environmental degradation needed to be addressed. Over the next two decades much progress happened on that front, including but not limited to, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, the Clean Air Act in 1970, the Clean Water Act in 1972, Endangered Species Act in 1973, the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1976, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act in 1980. 

Before President Nixon created the EPA in 1970, there was one state that saw the need to address air pollution and took aggressive action. That state was California, acting under the leadership of Governor Ronald Reagan. The first recorded episode of smog in California was in Los Angeles in the summer of 1943, during which vi...

February 4, 2018

It's almost here. I can feel it in the air - backpacking season. The snow is finally starting to melt and reveal the well beaten paths that I love so dearly. Realistically, it'll be another month or two before I can backpack comfortably (I define "comfort" on the backpacking trail very loosely but the basic definition includes being able to get out of my sleeping bag without crying due to cold and my tears then freezing). But, with the right preparations, I can start heading into the wild without intense snow gear as early as mid-March. It can be easy to get too excited at the prospect of hitting the trail, but it's important to remember that the woods are different in the spring than the summer, and I'll need a few additional things to survive. 

Take a Peek Into My Pack: My Spring Camping Must Have's

- A Hearty Three Season Tent & Tarp

I make it no secret that I love my Mountainsmith Celestial Tent, but any good three season tent will do. The musts? A bathtub floor that wi...

January 4, 2018

This morning the Trump administration unveiled a proposal to allow offshore oil and natural gas drilling in most U.S. continental-shelf waters, including protected areas of the Arctic and Atlantic. The proposal, called the Draft Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, would open up 47 new areas for drilling between 2019 and 2024, many just off the coasts of Maine, California, Florida, and Alaska. 

This controversial proposal has already garnered plenty of criticism, including plenty of opposition from Trump's own party. The republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, has stated that he's not in favor offshore drilling, and neither is South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, also a republican. Governor McMaster is specifically concerned about drilling's impact on his state's natural resources. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another Republican, has stated his strong opposition to offshore drilling, citing his concerns that it would jeopardize his state's...

November 5, 2017

When I get stressed out or anxious, I know it’s time to get lost in nature. Spending time rafting, river boarding, or romping around the woods does the trick to give my mind and body a reset. My stress was getting to me last week and I needed a nice solo hike to jump back on the positive vibe train. I decided to go to Tumbledown Mountain to hike a 5.6 mile loop trail that I checked out on AllTrails.

To get to the trailhead, I drove five miles of foliage-filled gravel road with nothing but blue skies above me. It was the quintessential Maine autumn day. I parked at the first trailhead, knowing that starting the hike with a mile or so along the road would be much better than ending the day that way.

I walked along the road and got to the second trailhead where no cars were parked. YES! An empty trailhead on an autumn Saturday in Maine is practically unheard of and exactly what I needed after four months of city life! I was stoked and got a move on up the leaf-laden trail.

I made it a ways u...

August 19, 2017

One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable in your everyday life is to carry reusable water bottles and reusable coffee mugs. It's a pretty simple thing - spend less than $10 on a reusable water bottle, wash it every few days, and you never need to buy another single-use plastic bottle of water again. 

The arguments for using a reusable water bottle are pretty compelling. It was estimated by the Pacific Institute that in 2006, Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water. To produce just the bottles for those 31.2 billion liters of water it required 17 million barrels of oil. Bottling the 31.2 billion liters of water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. That's a lot of oil used and carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere - and we haven't even accounted for the energy cost and carbon footprint of transportation. To be completely fair, the carbon footprint of creating one bottle of bottled water is lower than creating a reusable bottle - but once you...

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