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Earth Day in Delaware 2021 Delaware Business Times

Earth Day in Delaware 2021 Delaware Business Times

Earth Day Earth Day 2021 in Times – Delaware Delaware Business

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0700

As Chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, State Sen

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Stephanie Hansen routinely brings the public and experts togehther to craft policies that 

State Sen. Stephanie Hansen | PHOTO COURTESY OF STATE OF DELAWARE

By State Senator Stephanie Hansen Guest Columnist

Picking one important issue to highlight on Earth Day is almost impossible because all environmental issues are so inter-related.  As Chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, I have the privilege of bringing together the public and experts to craft policies that address both our energy demand and our desire to protect our environment.

You can help.

As we craft policies that move us away from fossil fuels and towards renewables, we need the passion of the interested public, and the intellectual firepower of our local and regional experts, in a deepening and evolving conversation through our virtual Energy and Climate forums and stakeholder meetings.  These have been, and will continue to be, the launching pad for legislation involving our renewable-energy portfolio, commercial-scale and community solar, onshore and offshore wind, and emerging energy technologies.

This work is critical for addressing our imperiled ecosystems. Research from the University of Delaware and Professor Doug Tallamy has found a loss of nearly 40% of our native bird species that depend on forest cover, a loss of 31% of our native reptiles and amphibians, and a loss of 20% of our native fish.  We’ve seen a 50% reduction in bird population sizes over the last 50 years and 40% of our native plants are either threatened or already lost. The drivers are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, climate change and invasive species.  When a non-tidal wetland is filled in to make fast land for new development or dug out for the development’s stormwater management system, many of the species that needed that environment to survive are lost.  The loss of protection of our non-tidal wetlands and the paucity of protection for our threatened and endangered species is unraveling the tapestry of our ecosystem.  These are difficult development issues that we must rededicate ourselves to solving.

An osprey perched on a nest outside of Rehoboth Beach. | PHOTO BY ALEXIS GETHIN ON UNSPLASH

The threatening presence of invasive species is one issue in which everyone can participate in the solution. Since only about 25% of the plants sold at retail home-and-garden stores are native, chances are you have an invasive plant or two in your own yard.  Although the passage of Senate Bill 22, which I sponsored, will now halt the sale of invasive plants in 2022, this does not address the presence of many of these in our own yards and open spaces that continue to contaminate our forests, roadsides, and open areas.  If you have a Bradford pear tree, cut it down. Now. If you have English ivy, or a Burning Bush, or a Japanese Barberry, pull it up and replant with a native plant.  By all means, ask for native plants at the home and garden store where you shop. Visit the website of the Delaware Invasive Species Council for a list of invasive species.

Lastly, the impact of plastic pollution and emerging contaminants such as PFAS (the chemical found in fire-fighting foam and many other applications) affect all of us.  Recent studies have shown that microplastics have been found in every environment, including our own bodies, and have become a menace to terrestrial and marine life.  We need to do more than just reduce our plastic usage and dispose of plastics properly.  To truly make a dent in cleaning up the waste that exist, plastic waste needs to become a commodity, whether by becoming a sought-after raw product, fuel source, or something else.

So for Earth Day, try moving the needle a little by committing to adjusting your own habits.  Bring your own cloth or reuseable bags to the grocery store this weekend. Go online to determine if you have any invasive plants in your yard and replace them with a native plant.  Commit to giving up a little bit of your mowed lawn for meadow or plant a new native tree. Participate in a tree planting. Join us for the next virtual Energy and Climate forum and speak your mind on our state’s energy policy.

There is so much to do, but together we are making a difference.

Sen. Stephanie Hansen represents the 10th Senate District, which includes portions of Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown and other communities along the western side of Southern New Castle County. She currently services as chair of the Senate Environment & Energy Committee.

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Earth Day

Thu, 22 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0700

"While some advocate that humans should become a multi-planetary species because Earth is not salvageable and should be abandoned, I kindly disagree," 

Space is vital to the mission and spirit of Earth Day. One might even say that Space is really all about Earth. From Space, we monitor forests, deserts and regions under stress in order to better protect them. Space provides precision navigation of long distances to reduce fossil fuel consumption, Space greatly enhances agriculture, reducing hunger. And, Space exploration helps us better understand our place in the Universe.

The Environmental Movement, of which Earth Day is a centerpiece, was sparked into existence by a single photograph. In 1968, an Apollo 8 astronaut snapped a simple picture of the Earth over the Moon’s limb and dubbed it “Earthrise.” This image of our fragile, blue, jewel-like home amidst the vast emptiness of black space, altered the perception of millions of people, leading to an awareness of humankind’s vulnerability and stewardship of our precious planet. While not the original mission of Apollo, this unexpected societal revelation only happened because of the unique viewpoint provided by Space.

Earth Day serves to remind us how lucky we are to call Earth our home and how important it is for us to be responsible caretakers of this planet. For those of us in the Space industry, it is also important that we remind our fellow humans of the importance of Space’s current and historical role in our understanding of the Earth. All Americans believe that properly caring for our natural environment is vitally important. Our planet’s climate is a global system that cannot be effectively monitored, understood, and protected without Space. The public expects this to be an essential part of NASA’s mission. The Space Industry and agencies like NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should take this Earth Day to reaffirm their commitment to remain leaders in developing aerospace solutions to global challenges like climate change.

I am making that personal commitment at ULA. We will continue to play a crucial role in the advancement of Earth science and the observation of our changing climate. We have built our fleet of launch vehicles to meet the needs of the scientific community. We have achieved 100 percent mission success, delivering over 140 missions to orbit and beyond, ensuring our nation’s most advanced space-based scientific instruments successfully reach their destination and return the accurate, honest, and meaningful data that is essential to this mission.

For example, we’ve launched NASA and NOAA environmental missions into polar orbit, helping provide essential data to study the Earth’s climate. These next-generation missions have provided scientists with real-time weather data as well as information on how the changing climate is affecting sea ice levels and tropical forests.

ULA will continue this legacy by launching Landsat 9, Lucy and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) later this year — all missions that will further contribute to our understanding of Earth. We will launch Landsat 9 this September, allowing researchers to further observe the effects of climate change on the Earth’s surface. In October, ULA will launch NASA’s Lucy mission that will be the first mission to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids and potentially help us learn more about the origins of our solar system, and the origin of life on Earth. We will cap off December by launching the joint NASA-NOAA GOES-T mission that will monitor both Earth weather including hurricanes, tornadoes, and air quality, as well as space weather and its effect on Earth.

Launching these missions is a national effort. To ensure we safely deliver these treasures to their intended destinations, ULA depends on small businesses across the nation to deliver reliable hardware and services on time. The quality of our vast supplier network, as well as the world-class, dedicated, unionized manufacturers and operators at ULA, ensure mission success every single time.

While some advocate that humans should become a multi-planetary species because Earth is not salvageable and should be abandoned, I kindly disagree. Earth is a pretty darn good place to live, and our efforts to conserve and maintain its beauty by planting trees or launching a climate observing satellite are not just worthwhile, it’s every person’s duty. This should not be a question of do we invest in protecting the Earth or do we abandon it for Mars. We will be good stewards of our home and we will also continue to explore new worlds.

We must all do our part so that future generations can witness their own versions of “Earth Rise,” that will be just as beautiful and inspiring as the one taken in 1968.

Tory Bruno is the president and CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA).

– April 22, 2021