On September 28, 2016, science ministers from across the globe will gather in Washington, DC, for the first-ever White House Arctic Science Ministerial.
Understanding the rapid changes that are affecting the Arctic—as well as the impacts of these changes on the rest of the world—requires a cooperative, global approach based on research partnerships involving participants from Arctic and non-Arctic nations, including, of course, the people who call the Arctic home. That’s why, on September 28, 2016—just after the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s historic trip to Alaska—the Administration will host the first-ever Arctic Science Ministerial.
The White House Arctic Science Ministerial will bring together ministers of science, chief science advisors, and other high-level officials from countries around the world, as well as representatives from indigenous groups, to expand joint collaborations focused on Arctic science, research, observations, monitoring, and data-sharing. The goals of the event are to advance promising, near-term science initiatives and create a context for increased international scientific collaboration on the Arctic over the longer term.
Specifically, the Ministerial will focus on four key themes:
Arctic Science Challenges and their Regional and Global Implications
Strengthening and Integrating Arctic Observations and Data Sharing
Applying Expanded Scientific Understanding of the Arctic to Build Regional Resilience and Shape Global Responses
Arctic Science as a Vehicle for STEM Education and Citizen Empowerment
Life on Earth depends on the ocean. A healthy ocean is central to human wellbeing. The ocean feeds billions of people, employs millions of workers, and generates trillions of dollars in the world economy.
Yet, as vast as our ocean and its resources are, they are not infinite. And today the ocean is under tremendous pressure from human activity – including unsustainable and illegal fishing, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts.
Secretary of State John Kerry will host the 2016 Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C., on September 15 to 16 to catalyze actions to protect our ocean from these threats and to empower a new generation to lead the way toward a healthy and sustainable ocean.
President Obama: The United States Formally Enters the Paris Agreement
SEPTEMBER 3, 2016 AT 10:41 AM ET BY TANYA SOMANADER
Last December, more than 190 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. In order for the agreement to take effect and enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions need to formally join the Agreement.
Today, the United States and China deposited with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon their respective instruments to join the Paris Agreement, marking a significant contribution towards the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement.
Today’s action by the United States and China to formally join is a significant step towards entry into force this year with countries representing around 40 percent of global emissions having now joined and more than 55 countries having already joined or publicly committed to work towards joining the agreement this year.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education. IUCN’s mission is to “influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.”
Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to gender equality, poverty alleviation and sustainable business in its projects. Unlike other international NGOs, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation. It tries to influence the actions of governments, business and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, and through lobbying and partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
IUCN has a membership of over 1200 governmental and non-governmental organizations. Some 11,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis. It employs approximately 1000 full-time staff in more than 60 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland.
The Congress is the world’s largest environmental and nature conservation event.
The Congress is the highest decision-making body of IUCN and instrumental in setting the direction of conservation efforts.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 will be the largest gathering of environmental policy-makers since the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals in New York – a major opportunity to start deciding how to put those deals into action.
6,000 delegates from around the globe, including representatives of 170 governments, leading scientists, NGOs, indigenous peoples and business will convene to take part in the biggest networking opportunity in the environmental sector.
The Congress will bring together top professionals from all regions and expertise to share knowledge on how our natural environment should be managed for the continued well-being of humanity and all life on Earth.
Past IUCN Congresses have been important in building consensus that have led to CITES, CBD and Ramsar Convention.
IUCN Congresses have also identified issues ahead of their time e.g. warning about the impact of insecticides in the 1950s; discussing impacts of climate change in the 1960s; and advocating ‘sustainable development’ in the 1970s
The Congress theme – planet at the crossroads – frames the debate between meeting the immediate needs of human civilization and the long-term impacts doing so may have on the planet’s capacity to support life.
Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, they are proud to safeguard these nearly 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But their work doesn’t stop there.
They are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.
Taking care of the national parks and helping Americans take care of their communities is a job they love, and they need – and welcome – they help and support.
On August 25, 1916 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service. That marks 100 years of preserving, restoring, and sharing some of America’s most special places — from gorgeous, iconic landscapes like Yellowstone and Yosemite to the sites across the country that tell the stories of people and events that have shaped our history. Our parks are an essential part of our heritage and a source of great pride. And, most importantly, our parks belong to all of us.
That’s a lot to celebrate, so we’re starting now. Last month, President Obama kicked things off when he launched Every Kid in a Park — an initiative that will give every fourth-grade student and their families a free pass to National Parks and all other federal lands and waters for a full year.
And today, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation are continuing the celebration with the launch of #FindYourPark, a new campaign to encourage Americans to connect to our astounding network of parks and public lands — whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth.
First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush are spearheading this effort. As honorary co-chairs of the Centennial celebration, they’re challenging every American to get out and #FindYourPark.
You can find out more about the campaign at FindYourPark.com – a new website that features ways to find your park, share your park experiences and memories, and check out the stories others have shared. Already, celebrities like Bill Nye, Bella Thorne, Roselyn Sánchez, Terrence J, and Mary Lambert have posted their stories. And there’s more to come.
Pollinators, such as most bees and some birds, bats, and other insects, play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables.
Examples of crops that are pollinated include apples, squash, and almonds. Without the assistance of pollinators, most plants cannot produce fruits and seeds. The fruits and seeds of flowering plants are an important food source for people and wildlife. Some of the seeds that are not eaten will eventually produce new plants, helping to maintain the plant population.
In the United States pollination by honey bees directly or indirectly (e.g., pollination required to produce seeds for the crop) contributed to over $19 billion of crops in 2010. Pollination by other insect pollinators contributed to nearly $10 billion of crops in 2010.
A recent study of the status of pollinators in North America by the National Academy of Sciences found that populations of honey bees (which are not native to North America) and some wild pollinators are declining. Declines in wild pollinators may be a result of habitat loss and degradation, while declines in managed bees is linked to disease (introduced parasites and pathogens).
Bee Deaths May Have Reached A Crisis Point For Crops
May 07, 2013 6:03 PM by DAN CHARLES – NPR
Pettis says beekeepers can afford to lose only about 15 percent of their colonies each year. More than that, and the business won’t be viable for long.
According to a new survey of America’s beekeepers, almost a third of the country’s honeybee colonies did not make it through the winter.
That’s been the case, in fact, almost every year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began this annual survey, six years ago.
Over the past six years, on average, 30 percent of all the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died off over the winter. The worst year was five years ago. Last year was the best: Just 22 percent of the colonies died.
“Last year gave us some hope,” says Jeffrey Pettis, research leader of the Agriculture Department’s Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.
But this year, the death rate was up again: 31 percent.
Six years ago, beekeepers were talking a lot about “colony collapse disorder” — colonies that seemed pretty healthy, but suddenly collapsed. The bees appeared to have flown away, abandoning their hives.
Beekeepers aren’t seeing that so much anymore, Pettis says. They’re mostly seeing colonies that just dwindle. As the crowd of bees gets smaller, it gets weaker.
“They can’t generate heat very well in the spring to rear brood. They can’t generate heat to fly,” he says.
The most obvious need for pollinating species is a diversity of nectar and pollen sources. Consider the following when choosing plants for your garden:
Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season
Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract pollinators
Provide a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators. NAPPC’s Pollinator Syndrome table provides information on the types of flowers that different pollinator groups (bats, hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, etc.) find attractive.
Pesticides can kill more than the target pest. Some pesticide residues can kill pollinators for several days after the pesticide is applied. Pesticides can also kill natural predators, which can lead to even worse pest problems. Consider the following when managing pests in your garden:
Try removing individual pests by hand if possible (wearing garden gloves)
Encourage native predators with a diverse garden habitat
Expect and accept a little bit of pest activity
If you must use a pesticide, choose one that is the least toxic to non-pest species, does not persist on vegetation, and apply it in the evening when most pollinators are not as active. Read and follow label directions carefully.
Follow these simple steps to create a pollinator-friendly landscape around your home or workplace.
Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall.
Help pollinators find and use them by planting in clumps, rather than single plants. Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. Do not forget that night-blooming flowers will support moths and bats.
Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with “doubled” flowers.
Often plant breeders have unwittingly left the pollen, nectar, and fragrance out of these blossoms while creating the “perfect” blooms for us.
Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.
If you must use a pesticide, use the least-toxic material possible. Read labels carefully before purchasing, as many pesticides are especially dangerous for bees. Use the product properly. Spray at night when bees and other pollinators are not active.
Include larval host plants in your landscape.
If you want colorful butterflies, grow plants for their caterpillars. They WILL eat them, so place them where unsightly leaf damage can be tolerated. Accept that some host plants are less than ornamental if not outright weeds. A butterfly guide will help you determine the plants you need to include. Plant a butterfly garden!
Create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees.
Use a dripping hose, drip irrigation line, or place your bird bath on bare soil to create a damp area. Mix a small bit of table salt (sea salt is better!) or wood ashes into the mud.
Spare that limb!
By leaving dead trees, or at least an occasional dead limb, you provide essential nesting sites for native bees. Make sure these are not a safety hazard for people walking below. You can also build a bee condoby drilling holes of varying diameter about 3 to 5 inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber mounted to a post or under eaves.
You can add to nectar resources by providing a hummingbird feeder.
To make artificial nectar, use four parts water to one part table sugar. Never use artificial sweeteners, honey, or fruit juices. Place something red on the feeder. Clean your feeder with hot soapy water at least twice a week to keep it free of mold.
Butterflies need resources other than nectar.
They are attracted to unsavory foodstuffs, such as moist animal droppings, urine and rotting fruits. Try putting out slices of overripe bananas, oranges and other fruits, or a sponge in a dish of lightly salted water to see which butterflies come to investigate. Sea salt provides a broader range of micronutrients than regular table salt.
Learn more about pollinators
Get some guidebooks and learn to recognize the pollinators in your neighborhood. Experiment with a pair of close-focusing binoculars for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.
The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign’s Pollinator Partnership™ has launched a new curriculum, Nature’s Partners: Pollinators, Plants and You, designed to help students in grades 3-6 study the interactions of plants and pollinators. The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign is coordinated by the non-profit Pollinator Partnership, formerly known as the Coevolution Institute. The Fish and Wildlife Service has partnered with the two groups to protect pollinators by working together to help conserve pollinators and raise awareness of the importance of pollinators.
6/24/14 American Beekeeping Federation President Tim Tucker “On behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, I would like to express our appreciation to President Obama for his recent Presidential Memorandum, “Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.”
The Antiquities Act resulted from concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts – collectively termed “antiquities” – on federal lands in the West, such as at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Removal of artifacts from these lands by private collectors – “pot hunters,” in the language of the time – had become a serious problem by the end of the 19th century. In 1902, IowaCongressmanJohn F. Lacey, who chaired the House Committee on the Public Lands, traveled to the Southwest with the rising anthropologistEdgar Lee Hewett, to see for himself the extent of the pot hunters’ impact. His findings, supported by an exhaustive report by Hewett to Congress detailing the archaeological resources of the region, provided the necessary impetus for the passage of the legislation.