“Every Kid in a Park,” which provides fourth grade students and their families free admission to all national parks and other federal lands, has been extended through the 2017-2018 school year.
Bee the Change: 10 Simple Steps to Save Bees
Adapted from the Friends of the Earth blog
Bees and other pollinators are essential parts of the food system, and are necessary for about 75% of our global food crops. Honey bees also contribute over $15 billion to the US economy.
That’s why EarthShare member Friends of the Earth was so alarmed to discover that between April of 2016 and March of 2017, beekeepers lost a stunning 33.2% of their bee colonies. This follows a recent trend of alarming bee population decline.
Neonicotinoids, the most commonly used class of insecticides, are a key factor in bee declines. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the dangers of all pesticides, but the Trump Administration has proposed cutting the budget for those programs by 20%.
“Without protections from an adequately funded EPA, beekeepers stand little to no chance of getting the help they need, and this dire problem will only get worse,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “With bee populations declining at such an alarming rate, the EPA should be getting more funding, not less, to protect our critical pollinators.”
Everyone can do their part to save bees and other pollinators that we rely on for one of every three bites of food we eat. You can take the following eight actions to be a pollinator champion:
- Call Congress. The EPA is tasked with ensuring all Americans have access to clean air and water, is already operating with limited funds. They also regulate the pesticides that are killing bees. Call your members of Congress and tell them to preserve EPA funding.
- Ask your city to pass pollinator protection policies. Friends of the Earth and the Responsible Purchasing Network released a new guide called Buyers Bee-Ware to help you make a difference in your community. Encourage your city to follow the example of places like Eugene, OR that have passed neonicotinoid bans.
- Plant native vegetation to attract pollinators using the Xerces Society’s “Pollinator Friendly Plant Lists.” This step will increase the biodiversity of your yard or garden while providing forage for bees, butterflies and birds.
- Mow the lawn less often to let clover and other flowering weeds grow. These will provide a nutritious habitat for bees and other pollinators. Avoid products that are meant to kill these beneficial plants.
- Grow organic. Avoid fungicides, insecticides and other toxic pesticides whenever possible in your yard. To control weeds, use mechanical methods (like barriers or physical removal) and biological methods (like placing nematodes and other microorganisms in your garden).
- Buy organic. Buying organic products ensures that you are not consuming neonics or promoting their use. Organic farms support up to 50% more pollinators than conventional farms.
- Educate your neighbors. Circulate educational materials to teach your peers why pollinators are so important and encourage others to adopt bee-friendly behaviors.
- Provide nesting sites for bees. Giving pollinators nesting and living space on your property. Ask your local beekeepers association for advice and instructions.
- Relocate (rather than destroy) hives. Contact a removal service or a local beekeeping organization to help with hive removal if it is becoming a safety hazard on your property.
- Advocate for green rooftops in your city. Green rooftops are a great way to create pollinator habitat in urban areas! Ask your city council to provide incentives for residents to make their rooftops diverse, pollinator-friendly habitat to support these critical species.
Shirin-Yoku: The Benefits of Forest Bathing
By Allie Wisniewski, American Forests (cross-posted at the American Forests blog)
No, it’s not what it sounds like — forest bathing doesn’t actually involve an exterior physical cleansing. However, it does facilitate a cleansing of the mind and inner body. Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese practice that translates in English to “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” What exactly does that entail, if not a bathtub in the woods?
According to the definition of the term, coined in 1982 by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, forest bathing “refers to the process of soaking up the sights, smells and sounds of a natural setting to promote physiological and psychological health.”
To give you an example of its uses, sufferers of chronic tension or anxiety could turn to forest bathing for some much needed relief. David Yaden, a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, says, “There have been studies comparing walking in nature with walking in an urban environment and testing people on their mood, different aspects of depression, and in some cases, brain scans. In the natural setting, people are more relaxed and less stressed.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg. After years of research, there is now a vast collection of scientific evidence that proves that forest bathing helps:
- lower heart rate and blood pressure
- increases the ability to focus
- accelerates recovery from surgery or illness
- increases energy levels
- improves sleep quality
- reduces stress hormone production
- boosts the immune system
- improves mood and betters overall feelings of wellbeing
It might sound too good to be true, but eco-therapy is truly taking the wellness world by storm. Shinrin-yoku is becoming increasingly popular among prominent health communities. Forest bathing is the new yoga, and now you can even sign up for guided classes to facilitate the authenticity and effectiveness of your immersive experiences. Ready to become a forest bathing master? Consider enrolling in a weeklong certificate program in forest therapy.
Shinrin-yoku is a relatively new revelation in the scheme of things, but Ben Page, a certified forest therapy guide and the founder of Shinrin Yoku Los Angeles, is confident that it will continue to take off. “I think of it like a tree growing. It is still a young practice, but there are new branches forming all the time.”
Mark Carlson of Laughlin Constable Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to EarthShare and Environmental Philanthropy
Carlson is the recipient of the 15th annual EarthShare Earl Blauner Award
Washington, D.C., July 6, 2017 – EarthShare has presented its annual Earl Blauner Award for Outstanding Contributions to EarthShare and Environmental Workplace Giving
to longtime board member and supporter, Mark Carlson, Chief Strategy Officer, Laughlin Constable. The award was created in honor of the founder of EarthShare, Earl Blauner, who first established the organization to build support for the environmental movement more than 30 years ago.
EarthShare is America’s oldest and largest environmental and conservation coalition, and has raised more than $300 million for hundreds of U.S. organizations that protect and preserve our air, land, water, wildlife, and health. Thanks in large part to Carlson’s leadership, EarthShare continues to build bridges between causes and the business sector via new and innovative engagement programs that educate and inspire, while fueling vital environmental and conservation programs.
“I’m so grateful to Mark for the role he’s played in our leadership and organizational transition. He brings a creative spark and innovative approach that are inspirational to our team,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, President and CEO of EarthShare. “I’m continually impressed with his dedication to our mission and vision, and his commitment to ensure a thriving future for all inhabitants of our beautiful planet.”
Carlson previously spent more than 15 years with the Leo Burnett and Foote, Cone & Belding advertising agencies in Chicago, which heralded the start of his relationship with EarthShare. In addition to his current service as EarthShare’s board chair and his leadership on the organization’s Marketing Committee, he played a crucial role in the development of EarthShare’s award-winning public service advertising (PSA) campaign, the largest environmental PSA campaign in the Advertising Council’s history and one that illustrated the meaningful connection between giving at work and caring for our environment.
“The imprint of Mark’s decades of volunteer service to EarthShare is quite remarkable,” said Marci Reed, Chief Development and Communications Officer for Southface Energy Institute and an EarthShare board member. “Most recently, his thoughtful guidance through our strategic planning process has allowed the organization to pivot in a meaningful way toward greater service to its member organizations, affiliates, and chapters.”
As a Naval Officer, Carlson flew S-3 Viking jets off of the USS Ranger, and served on Colin Powell’s staff at the Pentagon. He has a BS in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy was also Top Dog of his graduating class at the Miami Ad School. Carlson has volunteered with both national and local animal rescue organizations, and is a former firefighter with the Volunteer Fire Department in Crozet, Virginia.
“Mark has been much more than a volunteer leader in our organization; he is a valued member of the EarthShare family. We’re so grateful for everything he’s given the organization and our cause, and, by extension, the hundreds of respected environmental and conservation organizations we call members,” said Deb Furry, Partner at Tippens + Furry Consulting and an EarthShare board member.
About EarthShare: For 30 years, EarthShare has supported nearly 600 of America’s most respected environmental and conservation organizations through the original crowdfunding – workplace giving. Today EarthShare is a strategic advisor and programmatic partner to the business sector, executing dynamic engagement and philanthropy programs focused on creating the tangible impact needed to ensure a flourishing future. More information: Robin@earthshare.org
About Laughlin Constable: Laughlin Constable is a 4A’s Top 25, integrated, proudly Midwestern advertising agency, independent since 1976. With offices in Chicago and Milwaukee, Laughlin Constable leverages creativity and technology to take brands From Now to Next®. Its annual billings are in excess of $280 million. The agency's clients include: Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Bon-Ton Stores, Sears Auto Centers, Lung Cancer Alliance, Medela, Northwestern Medicine, Acuity, ManpowerGroup, Master Lock, Paris Presents and Fram Group. For more information, please visit Laughlin.com, www.Facebook.com/LaughlinConstable or follow LC on Twitter @LaughlinAgency.