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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.


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


Climate change not for the birds; poses a threat to US species 

Cover of report courtesy State of the BirdsGilded Flicker. Masked Booby. Western Grebe. Sharp-tailed Grouse. Bicknell’s Thrush.

These bird species usually appear on the life lists of dedicated birders, but a new report adds these—and numerous other avian species—to a list of wildlife highly vulnerable to climate change.

In Austin, Texas yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the new findings, "The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change," a collaboration of research from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and representatives from the nation’s leading conservation organizations.  

“For well over a century, migratory birds have faced stresses such as commercial hunting, loss of forests, the use of DDT and other pesticides, a loss of wetlands and other key habitat, the introduction of invasive species, and other impacts of human development,” Salazar said. “Now they are facing a new threat--climate change--that could dramatically alter their habitat and food supply and push many species towards extinction.”

The report underscores the significant threat climate change presents to birds: “Maintaining healthy bird populations in the United States in the face of accelerated climate change is an unprecedented challenge.” The researchers surveyed 800 species in the United States and ranked them as being low, medium or high in terms of vulnerability to climate change. Overall, coastal and oceanic birds were found to be the most vulnerable, with birds in coastal, arctic/alpine, and grassland habitats displaying intermediate threat levels.

The news isn't all bad--the report also provides solutions by outlining current conservation measures and key next steps that will help ensure the ongoing health of our bird populations. “While there is much to be concerned about in this report, we can reduce the impact of climate change by taking immediate action to reduce carbon emissions and find creative conservation solutions to help birds adapt to the changes that are already in process,” said David Pashley, vice president of the American Bird Conservancy.

The report is the product of a collaborative effort as part of the U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative, between federal and state wildlife agencies, and scientific and conservation organizations including partners from the American Bird Conservancy, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Klamath Bird Observatory, National Audubon Society, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.


Live from APPL: an interview with National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis

Jonathan Jarvis speaking at the APPL conference in San Diego (Photo by Beth Pratt)Jonathan Jarvis was confirmed as the Director of the National Park Service in September of 2009. A 30-year veteran of the National Park Service (NPS), he has served as regional director of the agency’s Pacific West Region, and as superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in Ashford, Washington, Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve in Alaska.

During the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference yesterday, Jarvis updated a standing-room only audience about the latest issues facing the NPS, from climate change to firearms in parks. In our interview, he elaborated on some of his priorities for the agency.

You have called climate change one of the greatest challenges the National Park Service has ever faced. How do you see the service addressing this issue?

The NPS has a unique responsibility with climate change in protecting the special places we have been entrusted to care for. So much of the climate change issue is framed in terms of green energy and carbon sequestration, but we also have to deal with the preservation aspect.

We fulfill many significant roles in the fight against climate change. Our lands straddle large ecological systems—such as the Sierra Nevada and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—in some of the most extreme and sensitive environments in the country. These places provide areas for important scientific studies regarding global warming.

Education is also a crucial role for the NPS. Climate change can be a difficult concept to teach—for example most people do not differentiate between climate and weather. The parks have the advantage of being able to reach large numbers of people—most of whom are not only repeat visitors but also multigenerational ones. They are already seeing the changes in the parks they love; we can help promote stewardship by making the connection between climate change and these impacts.

Our most important role in climate change, however, is providing optimism and hope about the future. So much of the news about climate change is very depressing. The NPS manages an incredible diversity of sites in America, some of them representing our history in times of crisis; these sites offer lessons in the positive change that emerges from challenging events. We should provide centers of hope on the climate change issue as well.

President Obama just signed an executive order that sets sustainability goals for federal agencies with greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. How will the NPS approach these goals?

One of the top priorities on my agenda is that the NPS and its all partners—contractors, concessioners, non-profits—infuse sustainable practices throughout their operations in a comprehensive manner. We need to insist that practices like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building, energy efficient lighting, and extensive recycling programs become standard across all parks. We should be setting the example to our visitors with our sustainable practices, which is another educational tool in the climate change forum.

One specific initiative we’ve been exploring is working with the LEED model and developing a similar criteria that incorporates the special circumstances of historic structures. Historic structures hold a large amount of embedded energy—we believe we can both do good in terms of the environment and maintain the historic integrity of some of our buildings.

What are some other priority areas on your agenda as the new director?

I have too many priorities to count, but I have developed four categories of strategic focus to make better sense of the enormous task we have before us: workforce, education, relevancy, and stewardship.

In the workforce area, we’re looking at the bigger picture of the staff in parks and better incorporating the agency with our concessioners and partners. For stewardship, my goal is to be vigilant about standing up for the resource, even if it means making hard decisions. We are strengthening our educational resources and just hired a new position for the agency, an Associate Director for Education. Critical to all of our efforts is making parks more relevant to the American people—we need to reach new audiences and expand our connections to the broader population to ensure the survival of the parks.

How do partners like APPL and its member organizations fit with your goals for the future?

Our agency at times has made it hard to be a partner. That is going to change. We’re all in this together—working for the common goal of protecting our national parks—and as an agency we should be utilizing all of the tremendous resources our partners provide to us.


New innovative store in Yellowstone educates visitors about climate change in national parks

Cutting the dedication ribbon for the new For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts (photo by Shad Stites)At a special celebration yesterday in Yellowstone, Deputy Superintendent Chris Lehnertz andXanterra Parks & Resorts' General Manager Jim McCaleb cut the unique dedication ribbon—created from bison-dung based paper—for the new store “For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts.”

The store features an innovative approach to green retail: its sole purpose is to educate and inspire park guests to help protect national parks. Lehnertz commended Xanterra for the depth of the company’s environmental commitment and for helping to support the mission of the National Park Service with the store’s important interpretive displays on climate change.

Xanterra’s Director of Environmental Affairs in Yellowstone, Beth Pratt, spoke about the threats climate change presents to national parks and its wildlife such as the pika and grizzly bears. She also introduced what she believes is the most significant aspect of the store: the new sustainability scorecard Xanterra developed that rates all products offered in the gift shop on social and environmental attributes. “We believe this is the first retail store to extensively utilize a transparent and extensive environmental scorecard.”

The celebration also included a sustainable vendor fair with displays from businesses with products sold in the store and suppliers who assisted with the green remodel of the facility. After a dessert buffet that included locally made chocolate, Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, gave a presentation on climate change.

See below for a photo slideshow of the event:


National Wildlife Federation President speaks in Yellowstone about climate change

Larry Schweiger, NWF President, wildlife watching in Yellowstone (photo by Beth Pratt)President & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation Larry Schweiger appealed to an audience inYellowstone National Park yesterday to take action at this important “moral moment” in the fight against climate change.

Schweiger outlined the overwhelming evidence that thousands of peer reviewed scientific reports have documented on climate change, and showed startling images from around the world representing the toll global warming has already taken on this planet. He recently attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and urged attendees to put pressure on their elected representatives to pass comprehensive legislation.

Schweiger also related how he spent the morning on a wildlife watching tour in the park despite the negative 38-degree temperature. “I hope for more days like this. Yellowstone needs 40 below days to remain a healthy ecosystem for its inhabitants like the whitebark pine and the grizzly bears.”

At the end of his presentation, Schweiger displayed photographs of his grandchildren and made a heartfelt plea for Americans to assume leadership in the fight against climate change for the sake of future generations. “I don’t know a single parent who wouldn’t do anything in their power for the sake of their children. But yet we are leaving our children a dangerous inheritance with a rapidly changing climate.” In his new book, Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth, Schweiger echoes this sentiment: “For the sake of all children, please join me in this effort to avoid a climate crisis and keep wildlife thriving.”


Last Chance: National Wildlife Federation President’s impassioned plea for wildlife

Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation (photo courtesy NWF)Since the age of fourteen, Larry Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation(NWF), has been active in wildlife conservation. Over his impressive career, he has spearheaded environmental efforts through his work in non-profit and government service, and since 2004 has led the NWF, America’s largest conservation organization.

Like most environmental leaders, Schweiger realizes the dire consequences that climate change presents toward life on earth, and he recently attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to urge world governments to act. His new book, Last Chance: Preserving Life on Earth, is an impassioned plea for us to combat climate change before it destroys the precious legacy of life that we leave to our children and grandchildren. All author proceeds from the book are being donated to NWF.

Last Chance outlines the threats that wildlife face from climate change, most alarmingly the statistic that “40 to 70 percent of all species could be extinct within our children’s lifetimes if we don’t take action now.” The book, however, is not just a compilation of scientific figures, although it provides an excellent summary of the projected impacts of climate change. Indeed, Last Chance also serves as a call to action for every citizen of the world.  “Global warming is not only an intellectual matter, but also a deeply moral and spiritual issue that lets no-one off the hook. We must all answer, not just with our best thoughts and words, but with our hearts and actions.”

Mr. Schweiger will be speaking on climate change and signing copies of his new book in Yellowstone National Park on January 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

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