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By: Monica Medina and Miro Korenha

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Friday, June 1st, 2018

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Happy June, ODP readers!  Thanks so much for your comments, tweets, and emails.  We want to thank our partners this week, the World Central Kitchen and Chef José Andrés.  Stay tuned for the results of our drawing for two tickets to Dine-N-Dash!  Have a great weekend and we will be back on Monday.

 Land

Fort River Birding and Nature Trail in Massachusetts is handicap accessible.
Happy Trails to You Tomorrow

Tomorrow, June 2nd is the American Hiking Society's National Trails Day, when they hold activities and events on hiking trails across the country to encourage everyone to take a break and enjoy the great outdoors.  They have an ambitious goal of having volunteers improve more than 2800 miles of trails tomorrow alone. The Society also is asking hikers to take a pledge to leave a trail or park better than you found it and in that way ensure that America’s public lands are preserved for future generations. to enjoy. 

In honor of National Trails Day, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke designated 19 new national recreation trails in 17 states, which increases by more than 370 miles the national recreation trails system.  This system includes more than 1,000 trails, and these traits are located in all 50 states. The Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture both can designate national trails based on applications.  

Why This Matters:  Given the Administration's strong tilt toward developing public lands, it is good to see Secretary Zinke expanding recreation spaces that everyone can enjoy.  So go take a hike!

What You Can Do:  Volunteer to help improve a trail -- you can find projects near you by clicking here. 

To Go Deeper:  You can see the full list of newly designated trails here.  
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 Energy

Europe's Bright Green Energy Future

Europe's renewable energy market is growing and what makes that even more notable is that this growth is not being propped up by governments through long-term power purchases.  Vox reported yesterday that there are at least 12 solar projects currently in development and numerous wind projects too, including:
  • French electric utility Engie is developing 300 megawatts of wind energy across nine wind farms in Spain;
  • Swedish power company Vattenfall will build a 700 MW offshore wind farm in the Netherlands;  and
  • Germany recently held the first competitive power auction last spring with four winning bids amounting to 1,490 MW of offshore wind capacity in the North Sea.
Governments are providing a few "incentives" to renewable producers, such as manufacturing tax credits and some support for research and development.  At the same time, a major investor, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), announced it no longer will invest in three types of energy projects:  coal-fired power plants, Arctic oil and gas projects, and oil sands projects.   Inhabit reports that the Bank's Director of Sustainable Banking Kirsty Britz said, “The RBS of 2018 is very different to the bank we were a few years ago. If we’re going to support our customers in the long run, then it means addressing the challenge of climate change and the risks and opportunities it presents.”

Why This Matters: All this activity in the European renewable energy market demonstrates the staying power (bad pun) of these projects because the technology is much more reasonably priced.  Now even the most conservative private investors appreciate that renewables are good for their bottom line, even without significant government help.  Moreover, investments in coal and other greenhouse gas emitting energy projects are increasingly seen as risky and out of step with public demand.  
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 People

Interview of the Week:  Kristen Sarri, President and CEO, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

The Foundation is the private partner of the national marine sanctuaries and monuments, and it also organizes the single largest ocean conservation event in the U.S. bringing together over 700 global influencers and newsmakers to examine contemporary marine issues and trends. 

ODP:  The U.S. has 13 “blue” parks in the ocean and Great Lakes called National Marine Sanctuaries and your organization supports them.  What is their greatest challenge? 

KS:  Many Americans are unaware of their “blue” parks and how important they are to sustaining a healthy U.S. ocean, preserving our maritime heritage and supporting the national economy. Sanctuaries conserve iconic and endangered species, such as north Atlantic right whales, and ecosystems, from corals to kelp forests. There are no magic boundaries safeguarding these nationally significant areas, and they are not immune to the threats of rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification or plastic pollution. Working to conserve biodiversity at these sites requires taking action locally, nationally and globally and we need more public and private investment in our sanctuaries to expand our knowledge and conserve them for the American people.
 
ODP:  If you could walk into the NOAA Administrator's office and make one request, what would it be? 

KS:  RDML Tim Gallaudet, the Acting NOAA Administrator is a strong supporter of national marine sanctuaries. My one request: keep it up!  Now, more than ever, we need sanctuaries to conserve nationally significant places in our ocean and Great Lakes. I hope over the next few years that NOAA will support new site designations and the expansion of existing sites.
 
ODP:  What do you think about the Trump Administration's proposal to reduce the size of the ocean monuments created by his predecessors?
 
KS:  Our nation’s marine sanctuaries and marine monuments are treasures that have broad support from Americans across the nation. They protect habitats that support healthy fisheries. They conserve clean accessible public waters for recreation, tourism and scientific research. They preserve shipwrecks that tell our Nation’s history and cultural resources that are sacred to indigenous communities. And, they fuel the American quest for exploration – within them lie new Grand Canyons, Mt. Everests and species for discovery. That is why we strongly support maintaining the current protections for them, and provide funding to foster scientific discovery and exploration, conservation of marine resources, and enforcement efforts to protect these ocean gems.
 
ODP:  Why do you support the expansion of the Flower Garden National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico?  What will it take to get that done? 

KS:  Located far off the coast of Texas and Louisiana, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary includes the northernmost coral reefs in the continental United States and plays an essential role in the health of the Gulf of Mexico. Red snapper, mackerel, grouper and wahoo live among the reefs and banks, and 15 threatened and endangered species migrate through the sanctuary every year. Expansion of Flower Garden Banks NMS will ensure more comprehensive and effective protection in these sensitive and ecologically significant areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and benefit commercial fisheries, local tourism operators like dive shops and recreational fishing vessels, the scientific community, and future generations.  The next step is for NOAA to review the proposal. It is important that the Administration hears from the public about their support for expansion.
 
 ODP:  Next week, your organization will put on Capitol Hill Ocean Week.  What do you hope people will get out of the conference? 

KS:  We are excited to host the 17th annual Capitol Hill Ocean Week June 5-7. We are also hosting our first-ever Capitol Hill Day that gives attendees the opportunity to engage and educate their members of Congress. This year there are 3 primary messages for Hill Day: (1) Support Public Investment in Ocean and Great Lakes Conservation and Science; (2) Maintain the integrity of the Antiquities Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act and other legislative authorities that establish marine protected areas in U.S. waters; and, (3) Sustain America’s fisheries through strong science and conservation measures. And we are proud to honor with this year’s Ocean Awards Gordon and Betty Moore for their generous support of ocean conservation, the BBC for its fantastic series Blue Planet II, and Will Benson a volunteer from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We hope attendees at CHOW and our Hill Day will become even more effective local and national advocates for our ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. 

We are looking forward to bringing you the best of CHOW next week in ODP.  
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 Food

Chefs For Puerto Rico Reunited and Cooking For A Cause

To celebrate the amazing effort of the leaders of the group #ChefsForPuertoRico, World Central Kitchen will reunite them in Washington, D.C. on June 6th at their annual Dine-N-Dash event.  A one-night-only pop-up restaurant called Puerto Rico House will feature food and drink from the All-Star Puerto Rican chefs, including Wilo Benet (Pikayo), Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique Restaurant), Xoimar Manning (Yummy Dumplings Food Truck) and Yareli Manning (Meatball Company/Pa’l Pita). The restaurant will also feature the art, music, and other performances from the island of Puerto Rico.  

Chef José Andrés said, “I’m excited to welcome my friends to Washington D.C. to be part of Dine-N-Dash.”  “I’ve experienced firsthand the beauty of this island and the generosity of its people." he continued. "I hope everyone will be inspired to visit and invest in Puerto Rico through this celebration.”

Why This Matters:  Chef José Andrés did not wait for the government to get its act together after Hurricane Maria struck the island.  He just started calling his friends there and they found the food, and water and set up kitchens and they got cooking  The death toll, now estimated at nearly 5000, may have been higher if not for the #ChefsForPuertoRico and the millions of meals they served.    

To Go Deeper: Listen to Chef José Andrés' Ted Talk that tells the story of how Chefs For Puerto Rico all came together.  

There's Still Time to Enter our contest!   The winner will receive two tickets to WCK's annual benefit, Dine N' Dash, which is happening in Washington DC on June 6th. Leave your wallet at home and dine in 30 top DC restaurants in one night, including the chef's favorite dishes and drinks. It's one of DC's best events! To enter the giveaway all you have to do is be a current subscriber and get a friend to sign up for ODP. Then shoot us an email with your name and your referred friend's name and you're both entered! *  We'll pick a winner on Friday. Good luck!!!

*transportation/lodging are not covered so make sure you live in DC or can get yourself here June 6th

The Inspiring Story of #ChefsForPuertoRico
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 Sustainability

Photo: Michael Sullivan/AP
A Super Trashy Problem

For a long time recycling has been viewed as one of the best ways to take environmental action. However, recycling is only environmentally friendly so long as there is a market to buy plastic bottles, yogurt cups, and old newspapers etc and turn them into usable products. China, which has been the largest buyer of American waste, announced last year that it no longer wants to purchase the world's trash--especially plastics. Then just this past month, China temporarily shut down all imports of recyclable materials and warned that it would impose tough, permanent restrictions by the end of the year. This has left America and other developed nations scrambling to figure out what to do with their waste, as China is by far the biggest market for recycled goods. 

The LA Times Editorial Board wrote an insightful piece about the state of California using this time to entirely rethink its approach to trash and packaging. Noting that, even before this development, California's recycling rate (that is, the percentage of recyclable material that didn't get tossed in landfills) was on the wane, down from a high of 50% in 2014 to 44% in 2016. And while trash haulers are starting to better educate citizens about recycling, the ultimate solution is to drastically reduce the amount of packaging we use. 

Why This Matters: Earlier this year, the LA Times Editorial Board urged the state's leaders to start working on comprehensive plans to reduce the use of plastic. And as the adage goes, the future happens first in California so if our nation's most populous state can begin to rethink packaging and reduce its massive amounts of waste it can push manufacturers and retailers to use less single-use plastic. 

Go Deeper: In one of the buzziest social media campaigns since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the United Nations launched a global challenge to #BeatPlasticPollution, the theme of World Environment Day on June 5. The movement encourages you to give up single-use plastics and replace them with reusable and sustainable alternatives. Participants are asked to announce their commitment on social media and tag their friends to help spread the message within 24 hours.
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 Animals   

The Goose Is Not Hurt!

 
Crying Fowl!

This video will make you laugh or cry -- or both!  Wildlife definitely has a mind of its own.  It certainly was a wild goose chase for the groundskeepers in Detroit's Comerica Park.  We've all had a crash like this one!  But it was all fine in the end -- just some ruffled feathers.
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 Hero

Hero of the Week: Sgt. Eddison Alexander Hermond

Air Force veteran and Maryland Army National Guard member Eddison "Eddie" Hermond lived a hero and died a hero last Sunday during the sudden torrential flooding in Ellicott City, MD. Sergeant Hermond was enjoying Memorial Day at a local bar with his friends when he noticed a woman struggling outside in the rising current. He ran toward her, pausing at the edge of an overflowing creek and gestured for her to hold on but tragically was swept away in the powerful waters of the storm. On Tuesday, rescue workers pulled Hermond’s body from the Patapsco River after days of search and rescue efforts. 

Hermond wrote days before he died: 

“Okay kiddos, it’s Friday and the start of Memorial Day weekend, let’s get the hate out of our hearts. Focus on the positives and let’s all, for once, enjoy life as it’s meant to be enjoyed.”

Our deepest sympathy and  thoughts are with Sergeant Hermond's family and friends and all those who are struggling with his loss. If you're interested in helping, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to benefit his family.
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