save the environment

Artificial Reefs: Ocean Junk or Help for an Endangered Ecosystem?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 8th, 2013 | 8 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: climate change, coral reefs, Eco Travel, environment, environmental awareness, environmental impact, environmental toxins, Florida, green, Green Living, Gulf of Mexico, health, marine creatures, marine environment, marine habitat, nature, New York, ocean, ocean health, PCBs, reefs, save the environment, travel, World Wildlife Fund

Sea turtle

Coral reefs around the world are in trouble. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about one-quarter of coral reefs are considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat. Some suffer from heavy fishing pressures, while others are succumbing to pollution or careless tourism. Climate change, with its attendant rising sea temperatures, is exacerbating the problem, speeding coral deaths.

More than half a billion people live near corals, relying on them for food, shelter from storm surges and the income that tourism brings. With natural reefs diminishing, artificial reefs are increasingly gaining favor. These structures usually take the form of sunken ships, decrepit oil platforms or other human trash.

But is depositing more human refuse in the oceans in order to create artificial reefs healthy for the environment — and for us?

Should Natural Areas Be Preserved — or Conserved for Our Benefit?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | July 17th, 2012 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: arctic, biodiversity, cities, conservation, conservation efforts, conserve, Eco Travel, endangered-species, environment, environmental, environmental activists, environmental awareness, environmental issues, environmentalism, environmentalist, forestry, Galápagos Islands, Gifford Pinchot, Grand Canyon, John Muir, natural areas, nature, people, Peter Kareiva, preservation, preserve, pristine, save the environment, species, The Nature Conservancy, travel, U.S. Forest Service, wilderness, Yellowstone National Park

Yosemite National Park

In the environmental world, it’s characterized as the classic battle: Should wild areas be preserved for their intrinsic qualities or conserved for their resources? In other words, should nature be used for “the greatest good for the greatest number of people for the longest time,” as nineteenth-century progressive environmentalist Gifford Pinchot put it; or should the wilderness be protected and revered without human intrusions, a view espoused by romantic environmentalist John Muir?

Today, with a burgeoning population encroaching on our remaining wild areas and economic help scarce, many would say that Pinchot’s beliefs are more realistic for the modern world. In fact, there are even those, such as Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist, who would take Pinchot’s notion a step further: Natural areas must be managed to benefit humans, if they are to survive at all.

Hydropower Dams: Clean Energy Source or Threat to Wildlife?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 17th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: American Rivers, bald eagles, carbon dioxide levels, carbon emissions, clean energy, climate change, damming, dams, electricity, environment, fish, fossil fuel emissions, fossil fuels, global-warming, Hetch Hetchy Valley, hydropower, increasing energy demands, renewable, river otters, salmon, save the environment, water, waterways, wildlife watching, Yosemite National Park

Bald Eagle

Your city or town probably either has a large, brand-new hydropower dam or you know of an old one, located on the outskirts; a crumbling relic from an earlier period in your state’s history. I know this because according to the national nonprofit conservation organization American Rivers, on average our country has constructed one dam every day since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers counts approximately 75,000 dams that are greater than six feet along the waterways of the United States. In addition, there are at least tens of thousands of smaller dams spanning our rivers and streams.

Whichever version of the structure is in your area, it seems that dams divide us. While some regard them as a clean energy source, others view them as a danger to river otters and fish populations.

So, are our dams good for the environment, or a threat to wildlife? 

Is Going Green Just a Feel-Good Choice?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | November 18th, 2010 | 5 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: automobiles, bats, bird deaths, birds, Canada geese, canoe, carbon emissions, cars, chemicals, climate change, CO2, eco-friendly, energy, environment, environmental toxins, environmentalist, fossil fuels, green, green building, greenwashing, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, kayak, kayaking, landfills, LEED, LEED buildings, LEED certification, nature enthusiasts, nature photography, nature photos, photography, plastic, power grid, recreation, recycler, recycling, sandhill cranes, save the environment, skyscrapers, songbirds, toxins, transportation, travel, turbines, water sports, weather, wildlife, wind farms, wind power

Sandhill cranes

Buying a kayak qualifies as a “big purchase” for my family, and my husband and I recently took that huge step. Although we’ve had a canoe for a long time, this is our first acquisition of this type of silent-sports, aquatic craft.

Balloons: Party or Pollutant?

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | August 11th, 2009 | 2 Comments
topic: Green Living | tags: balloons, beach litter, eco-friendly, harm to wildlife, litter, marine creatures, pollution, save the environment, trash

balloon-photo

I’m not really a party pooper. I love cake. I adore Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I can even be cajoled into wearing a little pointy cardboard hat. But balloons? Grrr…

Why do I loathe balloons? An unfortunate “pop” in my childhood? A bizarre fear of brightly colored objects? A latex allergy?