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Welcome!

As a social entrepreneur, I am dedicated to finding innovative solutions for greening business. As a passionate supporter of National Parks and public lands, I work toward protecting these special places from the impacts of climate change and pollution.

Beth%20in%20Yellowstone.jpg

Join me on this site as I report from Yellowstone on the threats climate change poses toward our beloved national parks, and how Yellowstone and other parks are making a difference in sustainability.

"If we continue to increase our emissions of heat-trapping gases, a disrupted climate will cause the greatest damage to our national parks ever."
Stephen Saunders

"A climate disrupted by human activities poses such sweeping threats to the
scenery, natural and cultural resources, and wildlife of the West’s national parks that it
dwarfs all previous risks to these American treasures."
From NRDC Losing Ground Report

"Business is the only mechanism on the planet today powerful enough to produce the changes necessary to reverse global environmental and social degradation."
Paul Hawken
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01/12/11: "The End of the Wild," Emma Marris, Nature

01/06/11: Climate change threatens Sierra, delta, group says," Kelly Zito, San Francisco Chronicle

01/05/11"Environmentalists pick Snake Basin, Yellowstone among most threatened habitats by climate change," Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman

12/31/10"Yellowstone Grizzlies and the Betrayal of the Public Trust," Louisa Wilcox, NRDC Switchboard

12/26/10: "How a Tiny Beetle Could Decimate Yellowstone," Elizabeth Shogren, NPR

12/21/10: "Once upon a time, whitebark pine . . ." Matt Skoglund, NRDC Switchboard

12/21/10: "Climate Change's threat to the wolverine," Rebecca Waters, High Country News

12/08/10: "Silence of the Pikas, Part II," Wendee Holtcamp, Adventures in Climate Change and Bioscience

12/08/10: "Climate Change Response Strategy Released by NPS Alaska," Alaska Business Monthly

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  • Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth (Speaker's Corner)
    Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth (Speaker's Corner)
    by Larry J. Schweiger
  • Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming
    Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming
    by Anthony D. Barnosky
  • Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
    Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
    by Bill McKibben
  • Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
    Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
    by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity
    Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity
    by James Hansen
  • Climate Change: Simple Things You Can Do to Make a Difference (Chelsea Green Guides)
    Climate Change: Simple Things You Can Do to Make a Difference (Chelsea Green Guides)
    by Jon Clift, Amanda Cuthbert
  • Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis
    Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis
    by Al Gore
  • The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    The Rough Guide to Climate Change, 2nd Edition
    by Robert Henson

Friday
Mar142008

Yellowstone's Inconvenient Truth

Many people still think of global climate change as happening in distant lands: the starving polar bears and melting ice caps certainly give cause for alarm, but most of us feel a separateness from images taken thousands of miles away. Yet our own backyard isn't escaping the heat (pun intended), it's just that the effects can't be captured as easily in a dramatic photograph. The global climate change phenomena is already having significant--and alarming--repercussions in our national parks.

Last night I attended a great presentation by Dr. James Halfpenny at his center in Gardiner on global climate change in Yellowstone. Dr. Halfpenny has been conducting research on climate change since the early stages of his career, and directed the Niwot Ridge long-term ecological monitoring site in Colorado.

I've followed Yosemite's situation closely, and Yellowstone faces similar issues, in general if not in specifics. While the studies I followed in Yellowstone involved mainly water (or the lack thereof given an earlier and earlier snowmelt), Yellowstone's biggest loss may be its wildlife. For example, the invasion of exotic flora that does not provide suitable forage for ungulates may threaten Yellowstone's magnificent bison and elk herds. Warming temperatures have already caused an increase of pine beetle infestations, which have reduced white bark pines, a prime source of grizzly bear food.

Stephen Saunders, author of a recently released report on climate change in the park, observes: "If we continue to increase our emissions of heat-trapping gases, a disrupted climate will cause the greatest damage to our national parks ever." A recent feature article in High Country News: Unnatural Preservation, outlines the tough dilemma public land managers face with the consequences of climate change: they can become "zookeepers and gardeners" or "let wildlife perish."

Imagine Yosemite's waterfalls running dry in February. Or Glacier National Park losing its namesake attraction. How about Yellowstone empty of elk and bison? Now doesn't that make you want to bike to work tomorrow or turn off that computer at night?

Wednesday
Mar052008

Sustainability at Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

or the uninitiated, Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa is the official "IT" spot in southern Montana. Granted, it doesn't have much in the way of competition, but even some destinations in metropolitan areas would be hard pressed to match its charm.

img_0343.jpgThe resort offers two large pools fed by mineral hot springs, a first-class restaurant that offers some of my favorites--including oysters on the half shell--(and the staff cultivates a garden and greenhouse for fresh produce), a relaxing day spa, and according to one sign, "romantically historic" accommodations (I love that phrase). Additionally, the site provides stunning views of Paradise Valley and the Absaroka Mountain Range.

Yesterday, I attended a staff training at Chico--the topic was sustainability. Jim Evanoff, the National Park Service's environmental manager and the person who has provided invaluable leadership for "greening" the park gave a presentation about Yellowstone's environmental initiatives. I spoke briefly about Xanterra's contributions. The Chico Hot Spring staff has been implementing a number of greening programs, from minimizing plastic use onsite, to concerted recycling efforts, to focusing on sustainable purchasing.

For those of you who visit, we'll definitely make a trip to Chico Hot Springs--bring your bathing suit!

Saturday
Feb022008

Yellowstone Business Partnership

A Yellowstone Business Partnership meeting today brought me for the first time to West Yellowstone, a western winter town in the truest sense--snowmobiles buzzed up and down the street during our visit. The low in West Yellowstone was -30F last night, and it didn't warm up much during the day as the windows on our car iced up on the inside even with the heat running full blast. For some reason, the ending of Jack London's famous story, "To Build a Fire" keeps occurring to me.

More about the Yellowstone Business Partnership (YBP)--a truly inspiring organization and I'm honored to now be a part of their training team. The council has done unprecedented work in greening businesses in the Yellowstone area with its innovative "UnCommon Sense" business leadership program. Businesses enroll in a two-year program that features five group workshops along with a learning team leader who offers resources, coaching, and an accountability check.

I carpooled from Bozeman with a great group from the environmental community: the Director of Environmental Affairs for Delaware North, the new Sustainability Program Manager for the YBP, and a manager for the Bozeman MacKenzie Pizza Company (my favorite pizza!) who transformed her company's culture as a result of her participation in UnCommon Sense. Other participants at the meeting included a retired physicist, the environmental manager for the Grand Teton Lodge Company, and a chemist developing products from potato processing by-products. I am really looking forward to working with this group!

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