Tag: sustainability

Groundwater a huge factor in sustaining Colorado River flows

New study helps resource managers plan for climate change

Evening clouds along the Yampa River in northwestern Colorado.
Groundwater is a huge factor in assessing climate change impacts on the Colorado River. @bberwyn photo.
Resource managers need as much information as possible about Colorado River flows to make sustainable management decisions.

Staff Report

Resource managers grappling with the vexing question of how to allocate Colorado River water to the thirsty cities, ranches and farms of the Southwest have some new food for thought. A new U.S. Geological Survey study published this week in the journal Water Resources Research shows that more than half the streamflow in Upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater.

The information is especially important in the context of how climate change — through increased temperatures and evaporation, as well as changing precipitation patterns — will affect the river. One recent study, for example, showed that warmer spring temperatures are reducing flows independently of winter precipitation. In 2014, another study found that groundwater depletion threatens the sustainability of the Colorado River. Continue reading “Groundwater a huge factor in sustaining Colorado River flows”

Feds propose regs to tackle seafood fraud

Advocacy groups say the proposal leaves a few loopholes

Proposed new rules could lead to less seafood fraud. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Consumers in the U.S. may soon get some help in figuring out if their seafood comes from sustainable fisheries. A national group that’s been tackling illegal fishing this week announced a proposal for creating a U.S. seafood traceability — another step toward ensuring that global seafood resources are sustainably managed and not fraudulently marketed. The proposal aims to trace the origins of imported seafood by establishing reporting and filing procedures for imported fish and fish products entering U.S. commerce. Continue reading “Feds propose regs to tackle seafood fraud”

Mountains matter!

Dec. 11 is International Mountain Day

Celebrate mountains! @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Mountains are much more than just a scenic backdrop for tourist snapshots.They are reservoirs of biodiversity and water, helping to sustain life in the valleys and plains below. And since the dawn of humankind, high peaks have drawn people as places of profound insight, spiritual awakening and inspiration.

Once a year, led by the UN, the world celebrates those gifts with International Mountain Day. This year’s theme is focused on mountain products, especially in developing countries, where the creation of sustainable mountain economies will contribute to a better future for what traditionally have been some of the poorest areas in the world. Continue reading “Mountains matter!”

President Obama highlights ‘moral obligation’ to future generations in sustainability memorandum

This was one of the Snake River shots that never made into a daily post.
A presidential memorandum could mean more institutional love for America’s natural resources. @berwyn photo.

Federal agencies must target ‘no net loss’ in new projects

By Bob Berwyn

Federal agencies will be expected to make natural resource sustainability a key focus under a new presidential memorandum released this week.

Outlining a moral obligation to future generations, President Barack Obama said Americans have the ingenuity and tools needed to “avoid damage to the most special places in our nation and to find new ways to restore areas that have been degraded. ” Continue reading “President Obama highlights ‘moral obligation’ to future generations in sustainability memorandum”

Study eyes hotel industry ‘greenwashing’

How green is your hotel really?
How green is your hotel really?

Consumers catching on to self-serving industry practices

Staff Report

Environmentally savvy travelers aren’t necessarily buying the hotel industry’s green claims, according to a trio of Washington State University researchers, who said there’s growing skepticism that towel re-use programs and other superficial measures are truly a sign of sustainable hotel operations.

The study, published in the Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, suggests that some of those practices are nothing more than greenwashing, referring to the “deceitful practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs while hiding ulterior motives.” Continue reading “Study eyes hotel industry ‘greenwashing’”

Global summit highlights crucial role of forests in climate change, economic development efforts

Slowing deforestation requires integration of forest planning with other sectors like water and agriculture

Global forests are a key resource that require more attention, experts said at the UN’s forest congress in Durban, South Africa. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Management of the world’s forests must be integrated with other land use planning efforts in order to address the root causes of deforestation, and forests should be recognized as “more than trees,” experts concluded at last week’s World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.

With good management, forests have great potential to help end hunger, increasing wealth and improving livelihoods in developing countries, as well as in slowing climate change, the delegates from around the world said in the session-ending Durban Declaration.

Continue reading “Global summit highlights crucial role of forests in climate change, economic development efforts”

‘Earth League’ scientists call for moral leadership on climate

The Blue Marble, courtesy NASA.

‘The window of opportunity is closing fast …’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Some of the world’s leading scientists say it’s time to get serious and take bold action now to ensure completion of an effective climate treaty this year.

Banding together as the Earth League, the scientists released a statement spelling out what’s needed to give the world a good chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. The first essential element is a commitment to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, which requires transition to a zero-carbon society by mid-century.

“The window of opportunity is closing fast. We are on a trajectory that will leave our world irrevocably changed, far exceeding the 2 degrees Celsius mark,” said Johan Rockström, Chair of the Earth League, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and board member of the Global Challenges Foundation. Continue reading “‘Earth League’ scientists call for moral leadership on climate”