Indigenous and environmental activists will fight pipeline decisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Trump administration approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica issued the following response:

Donald Trump has made it clear that his America does not include the millions of Americans who fought to protect our land, water, sacred cultural sites and climate from dangerous pipelines. Trump has emphatically pledged his allegiance to the oil companies and Wall Street banks that stand to profit from the destruction of public health and the environment.

The movement to defend Indigenous rights and keep fossil fuels in the ground is stronger than oil companies’ bottom line. Friends of the Earth and our allies will not give up the fight to stop Trump’s agenda and these destructive pipelines.

Background on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines:

Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil daily from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, along with the risk of spills and environmental destruction. The pipeline would traverse across six states and through forests, rivers, and areas that support Indigenous populations, farmers, and ranchers. When rejecting Keystone XL, President Obama said the pipeline would neither improve the economy nor energy security, and that we must transition to a clean energy economy.

The 1,168-mile Dakota Access pipeline would carry up to 450,000 barrels of fracked crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois, cutting through communities, farms, sensitive natural areas, and under the Missouri River, threatening the drinking water and ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For months, thousands of Water Protectors camped on the banks of the Missouri River in North Dakota in a historic display of resistance to the pipeline’s construction. Prior to leaving office, the Obama administration committed to an environmental review process to explore alternative routes for the pipeline.

This information was provided by and shared with permission via Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

EPA pollinator plan does not go far enough to protect bees

Friends of the Earth calls for agency to suspend bee-toxic pesticides

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products, which prohibits applications of acutely toxic pesticides under certain conditions when pollinators are present. The final policy is less stringent than the initial proposed policy in May 2015.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner at Friends of the Earth, issued the following response:

This policy fails pollinators. The science is clear—pesticides are killing bees, which are essential to food production and many ecosystems. Based on the growing body of science that has been published since EPA released its proposed policy, EPA should have strengthened not weakened this policy. This policy does not address the fact that many bee-toxic chemicals stay in our environment for months to years. If EPA is serious about protecting bees, the livelihood of beekeepers and our environment, the agency should take bee-toxic pesticides off the market.

Info given via Friends of the Earth and shared with permission.

Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

Why Won’t My Garden Grow? Gardening When You Don’t Have a “Green Thumb”

My son and I love to garden, and dad gets in on it as well- at least on the vegetable gardening portion. I’ve always wanted one of those amazing, fragrant rose gardens (of course, with other flowers in the mix as well) and my son shares this dream, perhaps oddly.  He loves to run around in gardens, and now that he’s older, take photos of all of his favorite flowers. Roses top that list.

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We plant seeds inside each year as well, and transplant the ones that can live outdoors outside when the weather is right.  My son loves watching his little greenhouses grow.  They are also fun 4H projects for the end of the year now that he’s old enough to participate in those clubs.  There are all sorts of cute kits we like to try, as well as the traditional seeds and dirt.

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We also grow a fruit and (mostly) vegetable garden every year.  We don’t have a large yard, and neither of our gardens are huge- just rows along the fences. But we enjoy it, and that’s what matters. Some of the plants we grow from seeds, others from “starter” plants from home stores, and this year from these interesting pods from Miracle Gro. (Read about them here if you want.)  I hadn’t seen them before, but he likes them, and most of them are growing pretty well so far.

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We are also going to pick up some hanging baskets this year for strawberries and hulaberries- which are similar, but have a pineapple flavor. We usually grow them on the ground, but thought we’d try something new this year since we are growing both blackberries and blueberries this year as well.

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Last year, I didn’t do much with the garden.  It has quickly become over-run with weeds and growth.  My bushes, plants, and flowers (bulbs too!) have just not been doing well, and it’s frustrating.  The bulbs have been rotting in the ground, 2 out of 4 rosebushes have died over the past 4 years, 1 out of 2 azaleas have died (and the other won’t grow), and neither hydrangea is growing or doing well. I’ve been composting, tilling the soil, fertilizing, and winterizing the plants- and with no luck.

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This year, as gardening season finally gets started here in NJ, I’m really making an effort to figure out what’s going on with my poor garden.  Is it the soil, the sunlight, some kind of bug- or just a terrible gardener?

We started with 2 days of garden cleanup, weeding, tilling, etc, and put a few new plants in.  Let us see how this season progresses.

Wish me luck, please!