Is Your State Bicycle-Friendly?

By Davis Harper Do you live in the safest or the most dangerous state for riding a bike? The 2017 Bicycle Friendly State Report Card has the answer. Each year, the League of American Bicyclists , an advocacy group founded in 1880 to improve street conditions for bikers, releases a detailed ranking that cyclists can use to track where it’s safe, and not so safe, to hop on wheels. The group also monitors each state’s progress toward increased bicycle safety. The rankings are derived from a variety of factors, including five key bicycle-friendly actions, federal data on bicycling conditions, and summaries with feedback on how each state

Is This How We Save Wild Salmon?

By Jim Yuskavitch Frank Moore is a fly-fishing legend—at least along Oregon’s North Umpqua River, which has been renowned for its summer steelhead since the 1930s, when Western fiction author Zane Grey fished its waters. Moore is a D-Day veteran; he returned after the war to live beside the river with his wife, Jeanne. Together, they became among the North Umpqua’s most vocal and effective advocates. In 1966 they founded the Steamboaters, a group of local angler-conservationists who still zealously guard the welfare of the river and its population of wild and wily steelheads. Now a coalition of fish conservation groups is seeking to extend the Moores’ lifelong contribution into the future with a Frank

Best Astronomical Highlights of 2018

By Kelly Kizer Whitt Astronomical observers will find lots of reasons to mark their calendar in 2018. Two supermoons, two blue moons, five planets at opposition, three meteor showers that could produce more than 100 falling stars an hour, and at least one comet all occur in the year ahead, guaranteeing that you’ll have something up above to get

50 Ways 100% Clean Energy Won In 2017

By Jodie Van Horn We’d never argue that 2017 was a great year, but some really great things did happen! Here are 50 ways (yes, 50!) that clean energy kept winning in 2017 despite Trump’s attempts to roll back the country’s progress. 1. The Republican Mayor Championing 100% Renewable Energy in Louisiana Republican Mayor Greg Lemons made his small town of Abita Springs the first municipality in Louisiana to commit to 100% clean energy. Mayor Lemons said his 100% renewable energy vision for Abita Springs, which has a population of 2,900, aligns with the conservative values of his community—and

Holiday Cheer: Drinking Wine Can Be Good for the Environment!

By Stuart Butler Christmas is just around the corner and with it flying reindeer and over-sized turkeys , carol singing and tinsel covered trees. The holiday season also means wine-drinking (and the younger and more excited your children, the more bottles of wine you’ll likely require). For those of us who imbibe, it’s almost impossible to imagine a Christmas without wine . It would be like a Christmas without a fat man in a red suit trying to squeeze down the chimney. Speaking of

10 Tips for Your First Time Camping in Winter

By Connor McGuigan “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” wrote John Steinbeck. Point taken, but there’s also a certain sweetness to the cold of winter. Cold-weather camping is a great way to savor those tranquil moments and settings only winter can provide—untouched snow-covered landscapes, early nights and early

Soy Meat Is Soy Yesterday: 5 New and Better Options

By Katie O’Reilly Vegetarians , vegans and flexitarians are no longer satisfied with the soy-reliant faux meat of yesterday. Soybeans are almost always genetically modified , and they also contain phytoestrogens, which may increase the risk of some cancers. The good news? Plant-based-food producers have achieved the Holy Grail: savory burgers, deli slices, barbecue and even imitation seafood made from fruits, veggies and other legumes. 1. Beyond Meat Beyond Meat has made waves in the vegan community ever since Beyond Burgers—crafted with pea protein, beets, coconut oil

Hope Trumps Nope: A Blueprint for Resistance

By Naomi Klein LET’S REWIND A BIT , to the week Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election. At that moment, I was reeling from witnessing not one catastrophe but two. And I don’t think we can understand the true danger of the Trump disaster unless we grapple with both of them. I was in Australia for work, but

8 Planet-Friendly Gifts Kids Will Love

By Katie O’Reilly There’s a fine art to setting a mindful example while also providing some good old-fashioned fun. That’s why Sierra scoured toy stores, tech startups, kids’ outfitters and adventure companies for unique gifts that are gentle on the planet, but that also provide developing minds with truly exciting fodder. Behold some of 2017’s most ethically conscious—and awesome—toys, games, gear and more. 1. Piper We’re all about encouraging kids to unplug, but at the same time, we can’t ignore the fact that ours is an increasingly tech-dependent world. So, it doesn’t hurt to instill the fundamentals of coding, engineering and STEM-centric problem-solving at

Congress, Trump Exploit Fire Tragedy to Promote Logging Agenda

By Chad Hanson In the wake of the October 2017 fires in Northern California, which resulted in the loss of so many lives and homes, people affected by the tragedy are grieving and bewildered. Many people are searching for answers about what caused the fires, and a way forward to prevent similar loss of life and property. It’s frustrating, then, to watch Republican leaders in Congress and the Trump administration politicizing the recent tragedy as they push for a sweeping elimination of environmental laws on our national forests and other federal public lands to increase logging and backcountry fire suppression under the guise of community protection. On Nov. 1, the House voted 232-188 to allow for more “salvage logging” and

People Power Will Move Europe Beyond Coal

By Mary Anne Hitt and Bruce Nilles As leaders of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign , we’ve experienced first-hand the power of grassroots movements and civil society to profoundly change the world for the better. We celebrate the news that allies from across Europe are joining together to launch Europe Beyond Coal , a coalition that will advance the work of

Where Have All the Salmon Gone?

By Heather Smith To get to the largest surviving population of wild Spring Chinook salmon on the Klamath River, I drive farther north than I’ve ever been in California, then turn right. Gradually, the highways disappear, and the roads narrow. Commerce becomes more improvisational. Grocery stores and restaurants disappear and in their place there is a farm stand staffed by Gandalf in overalls and a naked baby cooing to itself and scooting along on a tricycle. The roads become more improvisational too, and begin to curve and twist

Chocolate Barons Devastate National Parks in West Africa

By Davis Harper For several years, chocolate barons have devastated forests to make room to plant cocoa, a crop that naturally grows in shade. Now, a report from Mighty Earth —a nonprofit that works to conserve threatened landscapes—shows new evidence that illegal deforestation is occurring in protected areas; specifically, in the national parks of West Africa. The Ivory Coast and Ghana produce a combined 2.6 million tons of chocolate—60 percent of the world’s supply. It’s no wonder so many of these nations’ protected lands are at risk. According to Mighty

The Old, Hidden Pipeline at the Bottom of the Great Lakes

By Conor Mihell At dawn, I launch my kayak and paddle into a velvety expanse of turquoise water . Here, in northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, Great Lakes Michigan and Huron meet like the middle of an hourglass. To the east, the rounded form of Mackinac Island is the centerpiece of an archipelago in Lake Huron. According to an Ojibwe creation

Wildlife Rehabilitators: The Hidden Heroes of Hurricane Season

By Meredith Brown Thousands of people affected by the past two months’ hurricanes owe their lives to the brave emergency responders at state and city police departments, 911 call centers, fire stations, the National Guard, and the Red Cross. But what about the wild animals whose habitats have also been destroyed? That’s where wildlife rehabilitators, or “rehabbers,” come in—specially trained and licensed individuals (often working as volunteers) who typically work in collaboration with local wildlife centers to retrieve and rehabilitate mammals, birds, reptiles and other species in distress. Wildlife centers are often sparsely staffed and underfunded. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, they depend on networks

October Astronomical Highlights: Harvest Moon, Orionid Meteors

By Kelly Kizer Whitt Orionid Meteor Shower October boasts the Orionids, one of the better meteor showers of the year. You can see the meteors between Oct. 20 and 27, with your best bet being the night of Oct. 21. Orionid meteors zip quickly across the sky but leave persistent trains, so if you catch a glimpse of one, keep your eye trained on the spot and you might see a fading yet still luminous glow marking its path. At the shower’s peak, up to 25 meteors an hour

‘Genetic Rescue’ May Be the Secret to Saving This Iconic Tree

By Jake Buehler The wind rips across California’s Santa Rosa Island, howling as it flattens dry grass and sage in unrelenting waves. Downhill, a small group of trees, stark against the cobalt blue of the Pacific, stand firm. Their gnarled branches barely sway, knotted up in a cloud of green needles, perpetually pinned backward like a flag in a storm. The trees seem like an avatar of resilience in an austere environment, but Torrey pines ( Pinus torreyana ) are some of the most rare and critically endangered pines in the world. A century ago, the pines went through a near-extinction-level population crash when the trees, never common

Puerto Ricans Face Uneasy Future After Hurricane Maria

By Wendy Becktold As Hurricane Maria approached Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Sept. 19, Adriana Gonzalez prepared as well as she could. She readied her campstove, a supply of canned food and two seven-gallon jugs of water. By late afternoon, she and two friends hunkered down in her apartment in San Juan. They had a restless

Fly Fishing in Yellowstone: How One Veteran Found a New Life in the Outdoors

By Lindsey Robinson Evan Bogart never wanted to sleep in a tent again. Between 2004-2011, he’d served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman and spent three long combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’d spent a good portion of his years in service living in a tent in hot and hazardous deserts. He’d had enough of the outdoors; he wanted to be in places with air conditioning, electricity and no reminders of the war-torn lands he had experienced. Evan separated in 2011 as an E6 Squad Leader, with an honorable discharge and two Purple Hearts. But his own heart was heavy and troubled. He’d become disillusioned with the U.S. military

Momentum Building to Stop Gas Pipelines

By Kelly Martin In the past few weeks, the Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign and our partners have helped secure game-changing victories in our work to stop fracked gas pipelines . There are more than 10,000 miles and nearly 100 large, multi-state fracked gas pipelines proposed in the U.S. right now. If these pipelines are constructed, fracking will increase, and our communities and waterways will be irreparably harmed, and climate-disrupting methane pollution will increase at a time when we urgently need to act to stop the worst impacts of climate change . And if the utilities and pipeline companies have their way, consumers will end up footing the bill despite more fracked gas pipelines being unnecessary and unjustified. The good

Jimmy Carter Talks Solar Energy

I grew up on a farm outside of Plains, Georgia. It was the Great Depression years; we didn’t have electricity or running water. The first appliance we had was a windmill, for piping water into our house. In fact, we didn’t have any gasoline or diesel motors for a number of decades; mules and horses did all the work. We got all our energy from growing corn—the animals that we worked, the animals

Court Rules FERC Failed to Adequately Review Environmental Impacts of Sabal Trail Pipeline

The U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Tuesday saying that the Federal Environmental Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) failed to adequately review the environmental impacts of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the fracked gas Sabal Trail pipeline , which runs more than 500 miles through Alabama, Georgia and Florida. “Today, the D.C. Circuit rejected FERC’s excuses for refusing to fully consider the effects of this dirty and dangerous pipeline,” said Sierra Club staff attorney Elly Benson. “Even though this pipeline is intended to deliver fracked gas to Florida power plants, FERC maintained that it could ignore the greenhouse gas pollution from

Yet Another Reminder that Dirty Oil Pipelines Are Never Safe

By Catherine Collentine In March of 2013, ExxonMobil’s Pegasus Pipeline sprung a leak, spilling an estimated 210,000 gallons of toxic tar sands crude into a residential neighborhood of Mayflower, Arkansas. This week, a federal court ruled that the Obama administration over-penalized Exxon for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of a pollutant onto the streets of Mayflower and threw out a number of safety violations levied against Exxon on the basis that the company met its legal obligations to consider the risks associated with the pipeline . In the court’s decision, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod noted, “The unfortunate fact of the matter is that