Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Surprise! Yesterday was Blog Action Day!

Whoopsie! OOTJ nearly missed Blog Action Day (link through the title to this post). A day for blogs all over the world to focus on the environment(October 15 -- we hope they will accept late submissions!). But I didn't see it in the syllabus. My dog died. I lost the assignment.... Fill in your favorite excuse for late hand-ins here: __________

I don't know how much information about environmental issues a librarians' blog needs to have. I include links to major US environmental orgs at the end. I hope you will link through and visit their sites and consider making a donation.

The environment has finally achieved mainstream status as an issue of concern to the public. The modern environmental movement really has its roots with Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold in 1949 and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, in 1962. So, it's been a long time coming. I actually remember the very first Earth Day -- I was in high school (don't do the math!), and we had a fair to promote environmental awareness. I had the privilege of working during college at a volunteer recycling center -- way before you could make any money doing that sort of thing. I remember the amazement I felt when a co-worker predicted that some day cans would be worth recycling and people would pick them out of trash and from along the road. The other thing I learned is that people are really not very good about washing out bottles and cans before recycling them.

Then, during law school, I clerked for Appalachian Research and Defense fund (APPALRED), a legal services group that covered all of eastern Kentucky, from Richmond, east. While my office was a specialty office near the University of Kentucky which did research for all the other branches, we also got to send in comments and attend hearings held by the EPA when they considered new or changing regulations about surface mining (coal). It was quite an education.

The first job I had as a librarian, I was working for the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Both the order of the name (Natural Resources were a MUCH higher priority than environmental protection), and the location of our offices -- right down in the flood plain -- explained every thing I needed to know about the state's commitment at that time to the environment. Still it was a totally cool bunch of people working there -- biologists, chemists, engineers and policy wonks. I really enjoyed working there.

I have been involved with several environmental orgs since then, and these are two that I highly recommend:

National Wildlife Federation (NWF) - I love their educational advocacy, teaching and outreach. This is the organization that created and maintains the Backyard Habitat and Schoolyard Habitat programs. I love these programs that teach you to do simple things to support wildlife in your backyard (or apartment windowsill, even!). It's a wonderful thing to do with children. My kids and I have really enjoyed learning about what is in our backyard in 3 different states.

Nature Conservancy
-- I like their very practical and effective approach to protecting nature in a sustainable way.

The Nature Conservancy's mission is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.
Our Approach

We have developed a strategic, science-based planning process, called Conservation by Design, which helps us identify the highest-priority places—landscapes and seascapes that, if conserved, promise to ensure biodiversity over the long term.

In other words, Conservation by Design allows us to achieve meaningful, lasting conservation results.

Worldwide, there will be thousands of these precious places. Taken together, they form something extraordinary: a vision of conservation success and a roadmap for getting there—the Conservation Blueprint. Simply put, by protecting and managing these Last Great Places over the long term, we can secure the future of the natural world.

The Conservation Fund - A very creative way to make conservation economically viable.
we knew that setting aside America’s special places was not enough. To ensure their future protection, we would need to find sustainable paths for economic development and community growth, and we would need to prepare the next generation to be good stewards of these irreplaceable resources.

Consequently, we invested heavily in sustainable development, and the results are exciting. Our Freshwater Institute is a world leader in researching and demonstrating sustainable aquaculture. Our Natural Capital Investment Fund is expanding into new markets that encourage job creation through the sustainable use of natural resources. Our carbon sequestration program invests private dollars in restoring native forests in previously cleared areas, thereby addressing both the critical need for wildlife habitat and tangible solutions to climate change.

You can visit the Blog Action Day website to see more organizations that they list, including Sierra Club and Greenpeace. I'll bet lots of the readers of OOTJ have their own background and experiences with caring for the environment. I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

Mackenzie said...

Hey Betsy, I think its great how involved you are with nature/wildlife conservation. Do you ever get involved with energy conservation? I am working with this coalition to ensure that congress send the president a strong energy bill which involves signifigant improvements to the environment. this bill is going to guarentee the growth of renewable energy and enact the best fuel economy standards ever. Please check out www.energybill2007.org and sign the petition to help get this legislation passed. I would love to see this bill passed ensuring conservation and environmental protection in our country!