Tag Archives: environment

From the Field Today – Red Eft

RedEftNCTHICopyright

This eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is  common to eastern North America.  This land dwelling bright orange juvenile, known as a red eft, paid a visit to a Trout Headwaters technician during recent site work in North Carolina.  The newts frequent small lakes, ponds, and streams or near-by wet forests. They can coexist in an aquatic environment with small, noncarnivorous fish, as their skin secretes a poisonous substance when the newt is threatened or injured. They have lifespans of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and may grow to five inches in length.

Smaller Environmental Footprints Spell Profit for Businesses

Dan Upham from Environmental Defense Fund writes recently that environmental progress may come in many forms, “from grassroots political action to international emissions reduction targets. But if you want to make major changes on a grand scale in a relatively short amount of time,”  he says “the marketplace offers some attractive possibilities.”
Upham reminds us that “good for business” and “good for the environment” are not mutually exclusive terms, and calls the notion “an increasingly antiquated and false dichotomy.”  >Read more on companies reducing impacts via http://www.edf.org/blog/2014/09/10/smaller-environmental-footprints-spell-profits-businesses

Now For the Really BIG Story

Margaret Sullivan heralds the planned expansion of environmental coverage by The New York Times recently. Listing the heavy-hitters expected to file reports for science and the environment, editor Barbara Strauch explained: “The idea is that climate change is the biggest story going, and we ought to be on it in a big way.” Sullivan reports that the idea to beef up the team had come from Jill Abramson, before she was fired last spring, and that the new executive editor, Dean Baquet, had put his full weight and considerable enthusiasm behind it. >Read More via http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/07/like-sea-level-times-environmental-coverage-on-the-rise/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1

Restoration Returns – Green Jobs

A recent report from The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) provides a detailed glimpse into the positive economic impacts resulting from environmental restoration activities. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program has contributed $18.6 million to local economies, leveraging $142 million with partner contributions, for a combined total of $161 million spent on PFW program projects. “For every dollar spent by the PFW and Coastal Programs, $7 to $9 of restoration work is happening on the ground,” according to the report.

Looking at only at a single year (FY 2011) for example, the “total economic stimulus created by the PFW program amounted to $292 million in output and 3,500 new jobs” notes the report.

>Read the report http://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/restoration-returns.pdf

Benefits of Big Data for Environmental Management

In a recent interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund points out that what gets measured, gets managed.  By serving markets increasingly interested in green goods and services, the advent of big data presents opportunities for businesses to improve their bottom line and the environment, he says.  >Read Full Story

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/energy_resources_materials/fred_krupp_on_the_benefits_of_monitoring_resource_use?cid=ResourceRev-eml-alt-mkq-mck-oth-1404&utm_content=buffer83730&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Trout Headwaters, Inc. has pioneered big data systems for industry and private users enabling comprehensive analysis of various environmental data sets across a broad range of ecosystem services and markets.  Leveraging the capability to relate many, many, layers of complex data will continue to provide unique insights for our firm and our customers. Get your interactive tools today!  >Learn more about EcoBlu Analyst 

A Strategy for Saving Planet Earth – Doug La Follette

It was my pleasure recently to spend the afternoon with Doug La Follette, Secretary of State in Wisconsin for a tour of some of his work and achievement.  He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia, has worked as Public Affairs Director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and has been board member of Friends of the Earth and other nonprofits.  He was a member of the 1970 National Earth Day organization and continues to speak about the importance of our environment.

As La Follette shared some of his photos and memories with me in his Madison, WI office recently, it became clear that his interests are centered on the outdoors.  Nature is the strong current that flows through his seemingly divergent world-wide adventures.  It follows that La Follette’s “The Survival Handbook – A Strategy for Saving Planet Earth” would remain a pertinent outline for those wishing to help their state (or the Earth) improve its natural, healthy condition.   And despite the 25 years since first published, the environmental issues and approaches in the book remain some of the most significant of our day.

While Doug La Follette would be the first to tell you that some of the specifics of his book may be dated, much remains sadly the same for planet Earth.  This carefully crafted discourse on the true meaning of ecology,  its connection to the economy and humanity’s dependence on a healthy environment deserves a place on every community leader’s bookshelf.  Buy via Amazon.com

U.N. World Water Assessment Program Reports on Water, Energy, Ecosystems

The United Nations (U.N.) and lead author Rick Connor (above) report on our critical freshwater resources and energy development with the March 21 release of the 2014 World Water Development Report (WWDR). Produced by the U.N.’s World Water Assessment Program (U.N.-Water), WWDR 2014 is being released in conjunction with special events sponsored around the world as part of this year’s World Water Day celebrations on Saturday. >Read More via http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/world-water-development-report/en/

At TEDxCharlottesville: Ushering in the Age of Natural Capitalism

“There are two great joys in life: the tilling of the land, and the cultivation of character. One anchors us and one elevates us,” said conservation capitalist Chandler Van Voorhis late last year at TEDxCharlottesville.

Chandler Van Voorhis is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GreenTrees, which plants, grows, and sells permanent forests. He is working to make sure people see what he sees: carbon, water, habitat, air filtration, and soil building mulch – all of the valuable ecological services a tree provides while it is a living part of the ecosystem.

Quipping that his family calls him “The Lorax with a Calculator,” Van Voorhis discusses the evolution of conservation in America from the notion of using our resources wisely, to conservation as a national duty, and now, to an ecosystem marketplace where we attach price and value to nature’s assets.

 

Service and Conservation Corps Will Soon Add “Waders in the Water”

THI-TCN photo 1

The Corps Network is working with Trout Headwaters, Inc. on a new training program to put “Waders in the Water.” THI president Michael Sprague (pictured) says his company is looking forward to readying America’s youth and veterans for work along our waterways. Photo credit: Trout Headwaters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 22, 2014—America’s Service and Conservation Corps have always been known for training a ready and able workforce of Americans, but today’s Corpsmembers will not only provide “Boots on the Ground,” they will also soon have “Waders in the Water.”

Thanks to a new public-private partnership between The Corps Network and Trout Headwaters, Inc., a national innovator in restoring the protective qualities of streams, rivers and wetlands, members of The Corps Network will gain enhanced capacity to complete aquatic restoration projects. Simultaneously Corpsmembers will obtain industry-recognized credentials and additional pathways to a conservation career—all while improving the health, beauty, and climate-resiliency of our public streams, rivers, and wetlands.  Functioning and healthy floodplains, wetlands, and marshes reduce flooding, storm damage, protect infrastructure, and improve water quality and quantity.

Trout Headwaters, Inc. will work with The Corps Network to develop projects and train Corpsmembers, whose 127 member Corps programs engage 27,000 young people and veterans in all states and the District of Columbia.  The partnership, and its nationwide opportunities for workforce development and learning, will be formally announced at The Corps Network 2014 National Conference to be held February 9 – 12, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

“Thanks to the expertise of Trout Headwaters, Inc., Corpsmembers will have another vehicle to obtain valuable experience and industry-recognized credentials while working directly on projects that help conserve and protect waterways, lakes, parks, and other important resources for current and future generations. In addition, it will help us fulfill the goal of the recently-launched 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, which aims to have 100,000 young people and veterans working to improve public lands and waters every year,” said Mary Ellen Ardouny, President & CEO of The Corps Network.

California Conservation Corps

The California Conservation Corps works to restore salmon habitat, while supplying veterans with transitional job opportunities. Photo credit John Griffith.

“We believe deeply in the work of The Corps Network and its focus on creating more opportunities for youth to serve their country while they are likewise trained to be the next great generation of conservation and community leaders,” says THI President Michael Sprague. “As a private company we look for the best opportunities to give back, and what could be better than training young people to love, protect and restore our nation’s natural resources?”

 The Corps Network

The Corps Network’s 127 members operate in all states and the District of Columbia. Each year they collectively enroll over 27,000 Corpsmembers from ages 16-25. Corps organize an additional 289,000 community volunteers who work alongside Corpsmembers to generate 638,684 additional hours of service annually, at an estimated value of $14,140,463. It is the mission of The Corps Network to provide national leadership and promote the growth and quality of its member Corps as they provide education, workforce development, and an ethic of stewardship to diverse youth who address important community and conservation needs.

Trout Headwaters, Inc.
Trout Headwaters, Inc. is the industry leader in sustainable approaches to stream, river, and wetland renewal and repair.  As one of the oldest firms in the industry, THI has pioneered approaches using natural materials and native vegetation that can reliably replace hard, invasive treatments that often damage our nation’s streams and rivers.  Besides developing and refining new techniques THI is a staunch advocates for greater sharing of information and more consistent use of assessment and monitoring tools, providing greater certainty of environmental benefits to restoration.

 

Media Contacts:

Michael Sprague, President, Trout Headwaters, Inc.
(800) 218-8107 mike@troutheadwaters.com

Levi Novey, Director of Communications & Marketing, The Corps Network
(202)737-6272 lnovey@corpsnetwork.org

 

 

 

Greenwashing Takes “Green” Industries to the Cleaners

greenwashingThey used to mean something. Words like “sustainable,” “eco-friendly,” “green,” “low-impact,” and “natural” set apart products and services that were better for our environment.  But once these terms became trendy, the practice of “greenwashing” (so rampant now it has its own Wikipedia page) has rendered these words virtually meaningless.

First reported by Forbes and Business Pundit, now the web-based Greenwashing Index, developed by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, is a clearinghouse for dishonest greenwashing in the media.

But greenwashing products like soda, coal and bottled water may be the most damaging to genuinely “green” companies, practices and products.  As these terms are devalued, how does a company, like Trout Headwaters, for example, set itself apart?

One word we’ve used quite a bit to describe our services is “sustainable.” Once an important identifier, sustainable and sustainability have become junk words that can mean whatever people want it to mean, from environmental perfection to, well, nothing.   As a recent article in a Charleston newspaper pointed out, when Smithfield, the U.S.’s largest factory hog processor announces, “Sustainability is integral to the way we conduct business at Smithfield Foods every day,” and Monsanto, the giant multinational maker of chemicals and genetically-engineered seed, declares it is “A Sustainable Agriculture Company,” all we can say is, “Really?!”

How are consumers to know if products and practices are truly sustainable, green, and eco-friendly, or if they are just being duped by a greenwashed marketing campaign?  We all just have to be more vigilant, and do our homework.

In our industry of freshwater resource renewal and repair, we define sustainable as “works with nature,” “adds multiple values,” “self-sustaining,” “maintenance-free,” and “improves over time.”  Maybe we’ll have to coin a new term.

You may also like: 10 Questions to Ask Before Restoring Your Stream or Wetland