In an average year, Americans cut enough grass and other clippings from their yards to equal the weight of 91 Empire State Buildings. All that waste has to go somewhere and more than 40 percent ends up in landfills. Some waste makes its way into our waterways where its nutrients become food for algae blooms that close beaches and recreation areas, produce toxins and create “dead zones”.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation will soon put the final stamp of approval on a plan to require better gas mileage for new vehicles. A new campaign is under way to show support for the new mileage standard – 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The benefits include saving money at the pump, creating jobs in the auto industry, reducing our dangerous dependence on oil, cutting harmful carbon pollution and educating the public about what it all means.
Summertime means that weather conditions are favorable for ground-level ozone formation. Emissions from motor vehicles are the primary source of ozone-causing pollutants, accounting for almost half of our air pollution. Because heat and sunlight are important factors in ozone formation, ozone pollution generally peaks during the months of April through October, on hot, sunny days with little or no wind and no precipitation. On these days, it's particularly important to reduce how much you drive. Travel to work by taking public transportation, share a ride, walk or bike.
Dry cleaners across the country are working to recycle 25 million hangers, enough steel to equal six Statues of Liberty. In addition to her 125 tons of steel, Lady Liberty also contains 31 tons of copper and her base is made of 27,000 tons of concrete. The program was launched in January with the intention of keeping 10 million hangers out of landfills this year. Cleaners volunteered to take in used hangers from customers, reusing those that could be and sending others to a metal recycler. By April, the 10 million goal had been reached. By mid-June the total was up to 13.6 million.
On hot, summer days, surface temperatures of roofs and pavement can be from 50 to 90 degrees warmer than the air temperature! These hot surfaces contribute to “urban heat islands” where temps in cities are hotter than surrounding, less developed areas. The urban heat island effect can be particularly pronounced at night, when city temperatures may be as much as 22 degrees higher than surrounding areas.
Last week, the Sierra Club launched My Piece of America, to encourage Americans to share their favorite outdoor place and take action to protect special areas. Many favorite wild places -- from the striking red rock deserts of the Southwest to the cool, leafy city park where adults relax -- need help to protect them from threats like oil drilling and climate change. You are invited to visit the Sierra Club’s website, choose a special place in the My Piece of America map and take action now to protect it.
The fourth annual Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp photo contest is underway, challenging resident photographers to enter their best snapshots of a Carolina or Black-Capped Chickadee. The winning photograph will be featured on the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp to be issued March 1st.