ENVIRONMENT

Saving Bears by Saving Forests

Reducing Cooling Costs Giving Back to the World Saving the Environment and Money An Energy Diet for Your Home Worth From Waste Understanding Recycling Ethanol and Your Engine

American Forests Endangered Western Forests Initiative

(NAPSI)—Josh Westerhold, 36, is a grizzly bear hunter. His weapon is a camera. And over the years, he’s shot grizzlies by the dozens.

Despite growing up in Cody, Wyo., Josh did not catch grizzly fever until his college days during hikes and mountain trips with friends. It was then that he learned how and where to find the threatened bears by talking with hunting outfitters, U.S. Forest Service members and fish and game experts. The key piece of advice was to go where the bears go for food. In the Mountain West, this meant at or above the timberline, as grizzlies feed on seeds from whitebark pines growing there.

Whitebark pine seeds are essential for many birds and animals. For bears, they are a rich, preferred food source that provide a high calorie content — more calories per pound than chocolate — that is vital for hibernation. In bumper crop seasons for whitebark cones, they can dominate the food habits of bears for the entire next year. In bad years for whitebark pine, according to Josh, you can fairly accurately predict the increased number of incidents of grizzly and human interactions, as the bears travel down the mountains for food.

With this knowledge, Josh began finding grizzlies — lots of them — and took to photography to illustrate these amazing sights. “I kept telling people about all the stuff I was seeing, and I realized I needed to document it. I was witnessing things like 35 grizzlies in one place - males, females and cubs all together. Because of the abundant food source, they’re pretty tolerant of each other. It is very unusual.”

But things are changing in the West, including in the iconic Greater Yellowstone Area, Josh says. “Over the course of the last decade, I’ve seen the progressive deterioration of the forest. Not just the whitebark pine, but the whole upper canopy, right at the timberline. In certain drainages, more trees are dead than alive.”

What Josh is seeing, according to Dr. Bob Keane, American Forests Science Advisory Board member and U.S. Forest Service research ecologist, is the combined impact of mountain pine beetles, white pine blister rust and excessive past fire suppression. “We are seeing an urgent situation in the process of turning catastrophic,” says Dr. Keane. “In the last decade of warmer summers and winters, the decline of this critical ecosystem has greatly accelerated in all parts of whitebark pine’s range.” It is estimated that 41.7 million acres of pine forests in more than 10 states are dying due to abnormally large mountain pine beetle outbreaks. These affected forests contain the headwaters of some of America ’s most prominent rivers, which serve as major water resources for more than 33 million people in 16 states, including cities like Los Angeles.

The whitebark pine is a keystone species critical to the health of these at-risk, high-elevation ecosystems. The American Forests Endangered Western Forests initiative is a collaborative program designed to find solutions to and address these threats. Funded in part by a U.S. Forest Service grant, the initiative has created a partnership between American Forests, federal agencies, local communities and other nonprofits to protect and restore forest ecosystems in the West devastated by these threats. The initial phase of the initiative is focused on the Greater Yellowstone Area by planting 100,000 naturally disease-resistant whitebark pines and protecting another 10,000 with pheromone patches. The program is supporting researchers and scientists testing the best techniques for rehabilitation; managers implementing these restoration actions on the ground; and the public learning about these forests, their threats and the level of damage. The organization has a track record of success in these areas and has planted 125,000 whitebark pines since 2010.

“We are at a critical point in ensuring the future of these beloved forests,” says Dr. Keane. “With new research and management techniques, we hope to restore whitebark pine across most of its range and, in turn, create resilient landscapes that can weather future climate change, but time is of the essence.”

And not just for the forests, but for the species that make their homes there. The Greater Yellowstone Area is home to approximately half of the threatened grizzlies found in the lower 48 states.

“I love grizzlies because they are what make the wilderness wild, but they’re a threatened species,” says Josh. “The survival of the bears is an indicator of the health of the environment and how we’ve taken care of the forests.”

To learn more about the American Forests Endangered Western Forests initiative, visit the website www.americanforests.org/EWF or call 202-737-1944. Please support the work of this initiative and help save our western forests. Your contribution can make a critical difference.

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NASCAR Star Beats The Heat At Home

(NAPSI)—You may have more in common with a race car driver than you realize. Consider this: When he’s not busy at the racetrack, NASCAR star Greg Biffle likes to slow down and unwind at home. Like other homeowners, Biffle and his wife Nicole are eager to create a warm, welcoming environment for guests while protecting their investment.

“We spent a lot of time searching for the right furniture, window treatments, flooring—even furnishings and artwork we take great care in preserving,” said Nicole Biffle.

The Biffles are also interested in minimizing their HVAC costs and reducing hot spots to keep their North Carolina home comfortable.

What They Found

In their search for a solution, the Biffles made a surprising find-window film. The couple found that applying high-quality window film to their home’s windows could not only help protect their furnishings from fading in the sun’s glare, but help reduce cooling costs and improve temperature consistency in the house. After checking out the options, the Biffles chose 3M™ Sun Control Window Films, which can reduce cooling costs by up to 25 percent while blocking up to 99 percent of harmful UV rays. With this technology, they can enjoy the sunlight streaming into their home without feeling excess heat.

“What I’ve noticed since we installed the window film in our home is there are no hot spots in the house and the temperature is more even,” said Greg. “It’s much cooler inside and a lot more comfortable. The HVAC system runs much less now, which is definitely reflected on our electric bill.”

While the film rejects up to 50 percent of the heat coming through the windows, it doesn’t change the appearance of the home or the view of the scenery outside. In fact, it still allows up to 69 percent of the visible light through the window.

“When we were looking at window film options, we decided to go with the 3M window film. It didn’t impair aesthetics or darken the room, preserving our beautiful view,” Nicole said.

The Biffles are so pleased with their choice that they encourage other homeowners to see if it’s right for them.

“I’d recommend the window film for people who want to reduce their electric bill, make their house much more comfortable, keep the heat out, and UV protect their furnishings,” Greg said. “It’s just a great option for us.”

Learn More

For further information, visit www.3M.com/windowfilms.

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Fair-Trade Gifts From Around The World

(NAPSI)—When you buy handmade crafts from Third World countries, you are doing so much more than just shopping: You are helping people in these countries support their families, gain dignity and develop their villages while maintaining their ancient cultural traditions. You’re giving back to the world.

One place to get such sought-after treasures is Worldstock Fair Trade, Overstock.com’s socially responsible department. From the Overstock.com website, you can get beautiful, Third World, handmade crafts, furniture, home decor and jewelry while helping many artisans in destitute regions. These unique products come from over 50 countries, where thousands of artisans are improving their lives, their health, the educational systems and local communities.

Through Worldstock, Overstock.com provides international market exposure for artisans’ unique product offerings and the opportunity for customers to support and preserve these artisans’ valuable cultural heritage and traditions. Consider handmade goods from the rural suburbs of Kathmandu, Nepal . While some of these artisans work in shops, most of them produce these goods in their homes. About 20 families in Kathmandu sell goods through Worldstock. This has allowed for one of the artisans, Dipak, to sponsor and fund several Modern Newar English Schools in the area.

In Indonesia , Jumanah lived in a 430-square-foot home with 15 other relatives. Jumanah performs finish work on furniture made of local woods and sold on Worldstock. Through her work, she has been able to earn enough money to build a separate house for her own family.

Among the almost 20,000 unique gift ideas on Worldstock are handmade bronze singing bowls from Nepal, whose sound vibrations aid concentration and bring a Buddhist influence to the home; handcrafted brass and copper hammered cuff bracelets from India designed by Kirti and his blacksmith family from Nagpur; wooden, hand-carved walnut oil twist stools from Thailand created by Khun, who learned how to carve wood from her father, who learned from his father; and leather messenger bags from Colombia that help women from a poor and violent neighborhood work their way out of that vicious cycle.

Worldstock returns between 60 and 70 percent of the sales price on each item to the artisans, double the customary amount returned by most importers. So far, nearly $100 million has gone to artisan suppliers of Worldstock goods. Over the years, Over stock.com has also donated Worldstock profits to charities such as Solace International that support international humanitarian efforts by bringing schools, clinics, drinking water and sustainable cottage industries to artisan communities in Afghanistan, Colombia, Nepal, Malawi, Liberia, Guatemala, Ghana and Kenya.

In addition, all Worldstock orders come with Carbon Neutral Shipping at no additional cost to customers. This process balances the carbon emissions of shipping to promote clean energy and reforestation. All orders over $50 ship free.

You can learn more and see all the items available at www.worldstock.com.

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Tips On Being Green At Home And Away

(NAPSI)—Today, finding ways to be more energy efficient and eco friendly isn’t just good for the environment—it can be good for your home, your family and your bottom line. Here are hints on how:

• Reduce, reuse, recycle: Take a look around—a simple mental checklist of reusable, recyclable items can make a world of difference with no more effort than a weekly drop-off. For example, take old books and donate them to a school or library. If you buy eggs in cartons, drop the empties off at an elementary school or after-school center to be used for art projects. If you’re renovating your home or even just planning a few small home improvement projects, remember that just about everything, from old flooring to doorknobs and light fixtures, can be repurposed by a charity if not by you.

• Eat and drink your way to a healthier planet: How (and what) you eat can make a big impact on the environment and the community. Farmers’ markets are often bursting with fresh produce. Supporting one helps preserve the vitality of community agriculture. Buying local means produce is fresher—it hasn’t been shipped from hundreds of miles away. To keep those fruits and veggies fresher longer, you can get a refrigerator with humidity-controlled crispers. Using your refrigerator’s water dispense system and a reusable bottle instead of bottled water can keep up to 300 plastic bottles a year from ending up in landfills.

• Let the housework do the saving for you: New home appliances are far more efficient than older models. New washers such as the Energy Star-certified Amana 3.6-cu.-ft., high-efficiency washer use 75 percent less water and 82 percent less energy than those manufactured just a decade ago. If you’ve been considering a new washer or dryer, the good news is it could save you money on your utility bills.

• Learn more: You can find additional facts on efficient appliances at www.amana.com.

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Putting Your Home On An Energy Diet

(NAPSI)—When budgets are tight and homeowners feel squeezed by higher electric bills, there may be a simple solution: Put the house on an energy “diet.” Here are some helpful tips:

• Install new bulbs and dimmers. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR-approved LED bulbs offer similar light quality to traditional incandescents and use about 20 to 25 percent of the energy, while compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs use about 75 percent less energy.

To go the extra mile in savings and to create ambience, homeowners can install dimmers that are specifically designed to work with the most popular bulb types (incandescents, LEDs and CFLs). These dimmers have been tested and designed to alleviate common problems associated with dimming LEDs and CFLs, such as fading and flickering.

Now it’s possible to save energy with LEDs and CFLs without giving up the desired ambience that many homeowners have come to expect from dimmers. Plus, dimmers are affordable and simple to install.

• Control temperature. Homeowners can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by simply turning the thermostat back seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

• Turn off the lights. Occupancy/vacancy sensors can be installed in rooms where light is needed only occasionally. They can tell when people enter or leave a room and turn the lights on and off automatically. According to Dr. Brent Protzman, energy researcher at Lutron Electronics, sensors can save up to 50 percent in lighting costs. He recommends installing sensors, such as the Lutron Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensing switch, in bathrooms, children’s rooms, garages and laundry rooms. Sensors are as easy to install as a standard light switch and are economically priced.

• Treat the windows right. Using proper window treatments and adjusting shades with the seasons can help keep heating and cooling expenses from going through the roof.

For example, Serena shades are designed to provide superior insulation all year round. They’re remote controlled, so they’re great for hard-to-reach windows that may let unwanted sun or cold air inside. Multiple shades can be controlled with a single remote. With do-it-yourself installation, these shades can replace existing window treatments in about 15 minutes.

Visit www.lutron.com to learn more.

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Creating Worth From Waste

(NAPSI)—There’s genuine excitement in rural America about what to many may seem a surprising subject: livestock manure. That’s because farmers can get improved nutrient efficiency from it as a natural fertilizer source, the animal waste is easier to handle and apply, and some of the odors associated with release of ammonia gas are being reduced—all thanks to some recent technology available to livestock producers.

When farmers have hundreds or thousands of hogs or dairy or beef cattle, millions of tons of waste are generated that must be managed in an environmentally sound way. In most cases, the manure is held in pits or lagoons before being applied to fields as a rich source of vital nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N), both of which are essential to crop growth and health.

Technology Benefits

The recently developed technology that helps livestock producers manage all this waste more efficiently is More Than Manure® (MTM®) Nutrient Manager, from SFP®, a company that specializes in products that improve fertilizer efficiency. When added to in-ground manure pits and lagoons, MTM can help break up “solids,” making the manure easier to pump, transport and apply. It can also significantly reduce ammonia levels both in livestock confinement areas and on the fields where manure is applied.

For example, take Dean Strauss, who milks roughly 1,900 cows at two Wisconsin locations. He recently tried the product, applying it in and around manure pits and through the direct system that pumps into the pits. “It cut the odor dramatically,” Strauss said. “Anything we can do to address odor issues is good for our workers and our cows, and it helps us be better neighbors to the people who live close to our farming operation.”

In a short time following application, Strauss witnessed a breaking up of crusts and solids in the pits. “The uniformity of the manure for spreading was greatly improved,” he added. “I know we are now getting a better distribution of nutrients across the soil.”

Better Crop Yields

This technology can also help improve nutrient efficiency and plant uptake of P and N from manure used as fertilizer, which leads to better overall crop health and yield increases. Reducing the amount of P that gets locked up in the soil and N losses due to leaching, volatilization and denitrification makes more of both elements available for crop use.

Consider Jack Wyttenbach, a hog producer who has about 1,500 sows and finishes about 25,000 hogs a year. He has experienced a yield increase of 8 bushels per acre on fields of corn fertilized with manure that was treated with MTM. “This yield increase is due to improved nutrient efficiency and uptake,” he said.

Wyttenbach also tries to be environmentally proactive about livestock odors that can wear thin on neighbors. “We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of ammonia gas coming off the manure after using MTM,” he observed.

Learn More

For more information, see a fertilizer dealer, call 1-888-446-GROW or visit sfp.com.

SFP, More Than Manure and MTM are registered trademarks of Specialty Fertilizer Products (SFP), LLC. © 2013 SFP. All rights reserved.

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Understanding Recycling

(NAPSI)—Here’s good news, for a change, about our environment: Americans have more than tripled the amount of materials they recycled in the 1980s—more than a third of the country’s household waste—thanks to technological advances by the waste industry that collects, sorts and processes America ’s recyclables.

How It Works

Nearly 10,000 communities nationwide now have curbside recycling pickup, taking recyclables directly from bins at homes. Many communities use single-stream recycling, through which all recyclables are placed into the same bin for collection and sorting.

From there, recyclables arrive for sorting, either at a community transfer station or a materials recovery facility (MRF). High-tech innovations at MRFs help automate and streamline the sorting and separating of commingled recyclables, while dedicated workers oversee the process. Sorting recycled materials lessens the chance for contamination and better prepares the materials to be repurposed.

With screens, optical scanners and conveyor belts, MRFs sort materials with precision. These facilities also employ magnets and electric currents, called “eddy currents,” that separate aluminum cans from the rest of the waste stream. Materials are then baled, shredded, crushed or compacted before being shipped to manufacturers to be turned into new products.

These innovations make recycling more affordable for communities, reduce the amount of waste going to landfills, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the environmental impact of household waste. Simplifying the recycling process also encourages greater participation.

“The items you place in your recycling bin or cart-aluminum and steel cans, newspapers, glass bottles and jars, plastics, cardboard and corrugated boxes-do, in fact, make it to a recycling facility,” explained Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association. “Americans who recycle should rest easy that by recycling they are helping save energy and conserve vital natural resources.

“There are still communities where curbside recycling isn’t being offered. Consumers who want these services should get in touch with community officials to encourage more recycling,” said Kneiss.

Learn More

Visit www.beginwiththebin.com for further facts and stats on state-of-the-art recycling systems and how they work.

 

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Ethanol-Blended Fuel And Your Engine

(NAPSI)—The conversation around fuels, technology and conservation can sometimes get confusing. It doesn’t matter if you are running a motorcycle, watercraft, snowmobile, outdoor power equipment or a car—trying to balance the need to keep your engines running well with a concern for the environment can sometimes get complicated.

To help, here are some points to consider:

For starters, remember that most gasoline contains up to 10 percent ethanol, a type of alcohol that is renewable and blended with gasoline to help reduce exhaust emissions and our dependency on fossil fuels.

However, ethanol is also a solvent and ethanol-blended fuels, such as E10, can remove accumulated fuel tank debris, which can enter the fuel system and engine. Ethanol can affect fuel system components. It contains sulfate salts that corrode fuel system metals, and its solvent properties can cause hoses and gaskets in engines to shrink or become brittle over time.

Also, moisture is in the atmosphere and ethanol attracts moisture. If the amount of water absorbed into the fuel reaches just 0.5 percent of the total content, the ethanol/water mix can settle to the bottom of the fuel tank, where it can be ingested into an engine. This is called phase separation and it can prevent an engine from running properly or at all.

Also, it’s important to remember that gasoline has a short shelf life of about 30 to 90 days. Over time, the fuel can degrade and become a contaminant. All this can lead to engine damage.

How To Avoid Ethanol-Related Engine Problems

The good news, according to Steve Friedrich with Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. , is there are some practical solutions. First, buy fuel from a name-brand, reputable source and always try to buy from the same place. Avoid fueling when the station is taking delivery from a tanker. Hundreds of gallons of gas dumped into the tanks will stir up sediment that can end up in your fuel system.

Finally, regularly use a fuel stabilizer and other fuel additives that are formulated to help address these ethanol-related issues, and use it with anything that runs on gas like a motorcycle or ATV, yard equipment or cars and watercraft.

For example, two new products, Fuel Med RX and Engine Med RX, have metal corrosion inhibitors that help protect engines from the effects of using fuels with ethanol. Both are sold at Yamaha dealerships nationwide.

For additional information, go to www.yamalube.com.

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