List of U.S. Environmental Organizations

CC Flickr photo of the EPA courtesy of mccready.

The environment is kind of a big deal — it’s the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. It should be no surprise that there are a bunch of different, diverse organizations set up to protect, advocate for and regulate the environment.

Here’s a list of environmental organizations that are based in the United States. Included are both government and non-profit groups.

Sierra Club
Founded by famed naturalist John Muir in 1892, the Sierra Club is America’s oldest and most well-known conservation society. They are leading voices in the national discourse about the environment.

National Audubon Society
The Audubon Society was incorporated in 1905 and named after renowned ornithologist James Audubon, whose name is synonymous with the wealth of birds that he described, painted and cataloged. The society advocates for habitat protection for birds, among other programs.

Based in New York, Riverkeeper is devoted to the rehabilitation and preservation of the Hudson River and the watersheds that provide New York City with its drinking water. They belong to the international Waterkeeper Alliance, an umbrella group for water conservation.

National Geographic Society
Based in Washington D.C., NGS is one of the most venerable non-profit scientific organizations in the world. Their focus is on natural science, archeology and conservation. They also publish National Geographic magazine

Sea Shepherd
Using direct action, Sea Shepherd employs a fleet of seafaring vessels to intercede against whaling and protect ocean life. Founded by former Greenpeace member Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd was the focus of Animal Planet’s television series Whale Wars.

The Nature Conservancy
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is a conservation group concerned with protecting vital wildlife habitats and bodies of water. Through the purchase of land and its community and corporate partnerships, the Conservancy has protected 17 million acres of land in the U.S.

Rising Tide North America
RTNA uses strategies that include non-violent direct action to combat the root causes of global climate change. This has included protesting at coal-fired power plants and highlighting the practice of “greenwashing,” a tactic used by corporate polluters where marginal environmental policies are implemented to mask environmentally-destructive practices.

Appalachian Voices
Seeking the protection of the Appalachian mountain range from mountaintop-removal coal mining and preserve their traditional culture, Appalachian voices was founded in 1997.

The Big Green Bus
The Big Green Bus was founded by Dartmouth students in New Hampshire, in 2005. The bus runs on waste vegetable oil and tours communities as a conservation demonstration project.

With their motto that “the economy of man and the ecology of nature are inseparable,” Ecotrust finds novel approaches to community development and investment that works alongside traditional means of conservation. They seek to orient communities towards recognition of natural wealth.

The Rainforest Action Network
The Rainforest Action Network was founded in 1985 to protect rainforests and natural habitats being threatened by development or resource extraction. They have highlighted global financial and corporate connections to large, polluting projects and policies.

Environmental Protection Agency
Founded in 1970, by Richard Nixon, the EPA is the main regulatory and protective body for the environment in the U.S. The agency’s mandate has been both weakened and strengthened by subsequent presidential administrations and congresses.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The main U.S. scientific body regarding oceans and climate, NOAA conducts vast research and advises the government on the best practices for administering oceans and coastal areas.

Department of the Interior
The DOI administers most federal lands (including national parks and recreation areas) and oversees land sales and extraction of natural resources. They also have jurisdiction in dealing with indigenous groups that reside within the United States.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement
Formerly known as the Minerals Management Service, The BOEMRE oversees offshore extraction of natural gas and oil on the Outer Continental Shelf. The organization was reorganized and renamed following its criticism during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment and let us know so that we can update the list and keep it comprehensive.

How to Save Energy at the Office

Wondering how to save energy at the office?

Look around your office. How old are your computers and printers? Is the refrigerator in your break room from 1972? Is the air conditioning on full blast during the summer?

People are becoming more and more conscious that their workplaces are wasting energy. Older buildings may not use power and retain heat or cold air as well as newer ones. Older equipment may not be as energy-efficient. A large workforce that drives to work creates a lot of air pollution.

Save Energy at the Office
CC flickr photo courtesy of Phillie Casablanca

Improving the environmental standards at your job doesn’t have to be a difficult process. By using some quick, low-cost improvements and committing to implementing others, you can start to help our environment and shrink your carbon footprint at work. And remember, while there may be some sticker shock over buying new, energy-efficient equipment, they’ll save money in energy costs over time.

10 Fun Facts About Electric Cars

Tesla electric car
CC Flickr photo of Tesla electric car courtesy of faceme.

Electric cars are getting a lot of attention lately. With a growing concern about the impacts that driving has on our environment, consumers and automakers are moving towards more sustainable models. Electric cars are just like regular cars, but they have electric motors that run on electricity from a battery, instead of (or sometimes in addition to) an internal combustion energy that burns gasoline. This means reduced or no greenhouse-gas emissions. While some electric vehicle models feature a small gas engine to compliment the electric drivetrain, some models run on battery power alone.

Here’s a list of 10 fun facts about electric cars:

Top 10 Worst Environmental Disasters in the United States

Worst Environmental Disasters in the United States
TVA Coal Ash Spill courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. is a relatively young country, in terms of world history, but its rapid rise as an industrial superpower has not come without consequences. Sheer ignorance, coupled with poor government oversight and pure-old greed, is often a recipe for disaster. Here are some of worst instances of man-made, large-scale pollution in American history. While it’s hard to qualify “the worst,” the ones with the most far-reaching effects on the environment and human health were prioritized. Not included were intense climate events such as Hurricanes Andrew or Katrina, although there is a growing scientific consensus about climate change amplifying storms.

10. Lead Contamination (Picher, Oklahoma) – Picher was a successful lead and zinc mining town in the 1920’s with a population of over 14,000 people. Now it sits abandoned at the base of giant hills of excavated mining waste. The citizens suffered from lead poisoning from the lead dust that covered the land and town’s groundwater was contaminated with acidic water from the mines. The town is now nearly deserted and is part of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. A documentary film called Tar Creek tells more of the story.

Eco-Friendly Graduation Gifts for the Green Graduate

Graduation is a special time to celebrate the accomplishments of friends and family members. Why not honor their success with a green gift that is earth-friendly and useful too?

Keeping it simple

Organic Seeds and Gardening Books – Growing one’s own food is easier than most people know. Your grad will save on grocery bills and get enormous satisfaction in growing their own ultra-local produce. Territorial Seeds and Seeds of Change are great sources for seeds and organic gardening books like Grow Great Grub and Gaia’s Garden are excellent references.

Eco-Friendly Graduation Gifts
CC flickr photo courtesy of cheeseslave

Reusable Shopping Bags – Reusable bags are all the rage as disposable plastic bags are declining in popularity, due to the amount of waste they contribute. We particularly like the Baggu Grocery Kit and the Reuseit Earthtotes. Go buy a bunch of reusable bags and send your grad down to the local co-op in style.