U.S. Department of Energy Announces New Solar Research Funding

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享DOE:Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $12 million in new funding for eight projects to advance predictive modeling capabilities for solar generation. These models will lead to more accurate forecasts of solar generation levels, enabling utilities to better manage the variability and uncertainty of solar power and improve grid reliability. “These projects will address a critical gap in our research, which is knowing precisely how much solar electricity to expect at any given hour on any given day,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “These tools are becoming more important as the solar industry continues to grow, and will work to ensure that solar contributes to the reliability, affordability, and resilience of our nation’s electric grid.”Today’s funding will advance solar forecasting technologies in a coordinated way with partnerships between national labs, universities, and industry. Four projects are aimed at making significant advances in predicting solar generation. Another project at the University of Arizona will build a testing framework to allow industry and academia to evaluate and compare the performance of advanced models according to a transparent set of rules and metrics. Finally, three projects will study the integration of advanced forecasting technologies with grid planning and operations systems in partnership with the California Independent System Operator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. This research will validate whether or not these technologies can be efficiently integrated into energy management systems and enhance grid operation efficiency, while working to identify any future research needs. The total DOE investment will spur an additional $2.6 million of private sector funding through cost share requirements, yielding a total public and private investment of over $14.6 million.More: Department of Energy Announces $12 Million to Advance Early-Stage Solar Research U.S. Department of Energy Announces New Solar Research Fundinglast_img read more

Ex-Coal Exec Says Solar Is the Future of Energy

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Time:Jim Lamon is the kind of businessman that Donald Trump would like. And Lamon is the kind of businessman who likes Trump. The CEO of Depcom Power grew up in Alabama, served in the Air Force for six years and spent decades constructing the kinds of coal-fired power plants Trump likes to tout. He’s contributed thousands of dollars to Republican causes, including Trump’s victory fund.But a few years ago, Lamon saw that coal’s future was bleak, and he switched to building solar power plants. Now he’s worried that a pending decision by Trump will imperil his business. The Trump Administration is weighing a tariff on solar panel imports — essentially taxing them more than panels made in the U.S. — a move that analysts say could abruptly raise the price of building new solar power plants in the U.S., potentially killing a rapidly growing industry that primarily employs blue collar workers.That would hit Lamon — and his employees — hard. Depcom Power employs more than 1,600 people designing, building and operating solar farms with projects spread across the country from blue states like California to red states like Mississippi.Trump’s disdain for renewable energy sources was no secret during his campaign for president — the candidate spoke on several occasions about energy saying solar was “not working so good” and wind power “kills all your birds” — but Lamon believed that low-cost solar would continue to serve as a more affordable energy source than coal and often natural gas no matter what came policy emerged from the White House. Indeed, that’s why he began building solar power plants in the first place. Without subsidies, electricity from large-scale solar power plants currently costs about a third the cost of coal and is about even with natural gas, according to data from the financial advisory firm Lazard. It’s even cheaper with subsidies. But a tariff changes the numbers in ways that Lamon could not have anticipated.The Trump Administration has until Jan. 26 to decide on a solution, and all indicators suggest the president favors a tariff. Throughout his campaign and presidency, he has promised to crack down on China, sought to revive coal and touted his desire to restore U.S. manufacturing. A solar tariff can achieve all of those objectives, or at the very least Trump can argue that it does.Lamon, whose company has lobbied the Trump administration, says he thinks the jobs message is resonating in the White House. “They’re all listening,” he says of top officials. “We want American energy dominance,” says Lamon, borrowing a phrase from Trump. But “when the facts are laid out, it’s kind of comes to light why coal is not coming back.”More: http://time.com/5084108/solar-energy-tariff/ Ex-Coal Exec Says Solar Is the Future of Energylast_img read more

Aggregation gives smaller companies access to solar, wind power

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Companies don’t have to be as big as Walmart Inc. or Facebook Inc. to buy solar or wind power anymore.Businesses with more modest appetites for electricity — including Swiss Re AG, Nestle SA and others — are increasingly banding together to line up deals for clean power, broadening a market long dominated by tech giants, according to a report Thursday by Bloomberg NEF.The strategy is enabling more companies to buy wind and solar power at prices similar to those paid by some of the biggest corporate users of renewable energy. It’s also boosting demand for renewables as concerns about climate change grow. Companies in the U.S. have already agreed to buy 5.9 gigawatts of clean power this year, more than double the total from 2017. “It opens the door for so many companies that wouldn’t have bought clean energy otherwise,” said Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst at BNEF.Until recently, three-quarters of corporate power-purchase agreement volumes came from the top 20 buyers, he said. But that’s changing. About 40 percent of the ones signed this year have been though aggregated deals, up from 11 percent in 2015. Buyers have included National Geographic and Etsy, according to the BNEF report.The aggregated deals provide advantages to wind and solar developers, including enabling them to build larger projects and take advantage of economies of scale, BNEF said. On the downside, juggling a large cast of buyers with varying credit histories can pose challenges.More: It’s not just Facebook and Google buying clean power anymore Aggregation gives smaller companies access to solar, wind powerlast_img read more

S&P: U.S. gas-fired capacity additions soared in 2018

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The amount of gas-fired generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2018 nearly doubled the amount added the year before, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.New gas-fired capacity in 2018 totaled 18,550 MW, nearly three-fourths of the 24,808 MW added from all sources. The additions more than offset the 16,900 MW of capacity, mostly coal-fired, that were retired last year. In 2017, gas-fired capacity additions totaled 9,837 MW, about half the 19,367 MW that were added.The largest share of new capacity, totaling about 10,500 MW, was added in the PJM Interconnection region in the mid-Atlantic, and most of those new additions were large gas-fired units. Two of the largest gas-fired power plants that began operating in 2018 are outside of competitive markets and directly serve their utility owners. Duke Energy Corp. added its 1,640-MW Crystal River CC (Citrus County) plant in Florida for its local utility Duke Energy Florida LLC, and the Tennessee Valley Authority added its 1,132-MW Thomas H Allen CC plant to replace a nearly 60-year-old coal-fired plant that was retired.Wind and solar capacity additions declined in 2018 compared to the year before. About 3,081 MW of wind was built in 2018, down from 4,987 MW added in 2017. Among wholesale power markets, ERCOT had the largest amount of wind capacity built, with about 1,080 MW, followed by the Southwest Power Pool, which had 580 MW. Another 705 MW of wind was built in the western U.S. outside of organized markets.The solar industry took a hit when the Trump administration issued tariffs in January 2018 on imports of solar cells and panels. About 2,888 MW of solar was built in 2018, down from 3,964 MW added in 2017. Though California’s policies have encouraged new renewables, only about 446 MW of the new solar capacity was located in the California ISO, but that amount excludes smaller solar system below 1 MW in size. Roughly 47%, or 1,366 MW, was located outside of ISOs and RTOs in areas such as Florida and parts of North Carolina.More ($): Chart Watch: New US gas-fired capacity in 2018 nearly doubles from prior year S&P: U.S. gas-fired capacity additions soared in 2018last_img read more

Shell expands clean energy portfolio, buys home battery supplier sonnen

first_imgShell expands clean energy portfolio, buys home battery supplier sonnen FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Shell will acquire German startup sonnen, staking a claim on the home energy storage market and further expanding its ever-increasing footprint in the clean energy industry.Sonnen distinguished itself in the early home storage market, with thousands of units deployed across Germany, and a notable presence elsewhere in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Besides storing solar power for homeowners, sonnen aggregates its installations into controllable networks of grid resources.It would be hard to overstate the opportunities that arise from teaming up with a global energy giant. Shell manages a full stack of energy services, including generation, trading and customer relationships. It could integrate energy storage with a number of other services.The backing of Shell could propel sonnen to new scale and customer awareness as it competes with Tesla’s Powerwall and LG Chem’s RESU for customers that want to control their home energy.The acquisition escalates Shell’s involvement in futuristic grid startups. In just the last month, the company invested in a novel wind power venture called Makani, and acquired Greenlots, a major U.S. electric vehicle charging company.Shell first invested in sonnen in May 2018 as the leader of a $71 million round. That brought sonnen’s total funding to about $180 million. The companies did not disclose the price paid for full acquisition.More: Oil supermajor Shell acquires Sonnen for home battery expansionlast_img read more

A Day at a Time

first_imgEarl Zook, 90, has hiked the A.T. in every state.PrintHis trail name was Bald Eagle, and when Earl Zook met other hikers, he’d tip his cap to show them why: he is bald as an egg. Then Zook would also pass out business cards soliciting donations to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the cause that spurred him to begin hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2010, at age 87, with no shred of prior hiking experience.“When you do something for somebody else, it makes you feel good right here,” says Zook, patting his 90-year-old heart. “This hike was not about me. This was a means to an end.”Zook drew inspiration for the project after volunteering through the Winchester Kiwanis Club at Camp Fantastic in Front Royal, Va., which runs a summer camp for young cancer patients. He found the campers’ resilience and enthusiasm for life infectious; the hiking bit just popped into his head. Before long he was buying boots and a backpack and studying trail maps.“He was so determined that this was something he really wanted to do,” says Tim Anderson, a neighbor of Zook and a veteran of a 1998 thru-hike.By the spring of 2010, the pair began day-hiking sections of the A.T. in Northern Virginia. That summer, they set off north from Harpers Ferry, W.Va. for a longer session. Zook, then 87, managed up to five miles per day.Zook decided to hike sections of the A.T. in each of the 14 states it crosses between Maine and Georgia. Over the next three years, he chipped away at it, sometimes with Anderson, sometimes with other hiking partners, step by step, a few miles a day, day after day after day. He’s not sure how many days. He didn’t keep track of his mileage. He just had a goal, and he worked until it was done.“You do what you have to do a day at a time,” says Zook, a retired salesman who is convinced that staying active and keeping busy are the keys to a long and healthy life.In 2011, Zook knocked out most of Virginia – his favorite section of the trail – plus North Carolina and Tennessee. In the spring of 2012, he hiked in Georgia, then spent the summer working through the northern states. By late September, he’d finished some hikes in Massachusetts, the last state on the list; on October 2, 2012, he celebrated his 90th birthday at Baxter State Park in Maine, home to Mt. Katahdin and the northern terminus of the A.T.Zook was surprised and delighted by the kindness of people he encountered. Among those he met was a cancer patient and a man who’d just lost his wife to cancer. He saw nine bears, beaver dams, wildflowers, and countless other things of beauty visible only from the trail.So far, Zook’s fundraising efforts have netted a little more than $7,000 in donations to the AICR. His fundraising goal is no less audacious than his decision to take up long-haul hiking deep into his 80s: $5 million, about one dollar for each step it’s estimated to complete the Appalachian Trail.“I hope that when I’m 90 years old, I can do what [Zook]’s been doing the last three years. He’s a tremendous inspiration,” says Anderson. “He exudes enthusiasm … He’s touched a lot of lives along the Appalachian Trail.”last_img read more

Best Guided Trips in the South

first_imgOkay, you have chops. You can ride a bike and climb a mountain. You know things. But you don’t know what the South’s best professional guides know. You don’t know where the secret fields of blueberries are. Where to best anchor that waterfall rappel. Where to find an unlimited stash of backcountry singletrack. If you want the biggest adventures the Southern Appalachians have to offer, sometimes it’s best to go with a pro. Here are six of the best guided trips in the South.linville gorge link upFox Mountain Guides, N.C.foxmountainguides.com The GuideRon Funderburke, head guide for Fox, didn’t discover a love for climbing until studying abroad in France during college. He hooked up with climbing roommates and the rest is history. “I knew I wanted to work in climbing, and started down that path,” Funderburke says. The path eventually led him to Fox, where he leads multi-pitch trad climbs throughout the South and ice climbing in New England.The TripDrop into the 2,000-foot deep, 12-mile long Linville Gorge for a full eight-hour day packed with four miles of steep, rugged wilderness hiking between three big multi-pitch climbs and a grand total of 1,500 vertical feet of rock climbing.Funderburke takes clients to the Amphitheater, a dense area of rock inside the Wilderness boundaries of the gorge. “It’s remote, so it really feels like an adventure,” Funderburke says. “There’s fantastic rock climbing at Rumbling Bald, but you see people water skiing at Lake Lure. The only thing you hear or see on this trip, is the Linville River.” Climbers link up the routes The Mummy (5.5 in three pitches) and the Daddy (5.6 in five pitches) on the Mummy Buttress in the south end of the Amphitheater, then finish the day with the 5.4, six-pitch Prow. “Each time they top out on these climbs, they have to pull up and over a steep vertical wall 500 feet above ground with 2.5 miles of gorge below them,” Funderburke says. “It’s spectacular, and they get to feel that move three times in a single day.”Why Hire a Guide?Because time is money. Hiring a pro is a no brainer for climbing rock, but Funderburke and his colleagues earn their pay on this trip during the bushwhack to the bottom of the crag. “You’re crawling down lots of boulders, falling over trees and briars. It’s easy to be skeptical and start second guessing yourself,” Funderburke says.cascading dolly sods wildernessShenandoah Mountain Guides, W.Va.teamlinkinc.com The GuideAndy Nichols, owner and lead guide of Shenandoah Mountain Guides, grew up next to Shenandoah National Park exploring the backcountry from an early age. “When there are no stop lights, no McDonalds in your county, all you have to do is hike, canoe, and ski,” he says. After an extended stint in the Navy as an officer and then a corporate career, Nichols decided it was time to pursue his passion, and founded Shenandoah Mountain Guides, 20 years ago. He’s helped set the standard for guiding in the Southern Appalachians in the process.The TripNichols puts you at the top of Red Creek inside the 17,371-acre Dolly Sods Wilderness, a unique high-elevation plateau known for its Canadian-esque bogs, then leads you down the belly of the river for two days of rappelling down waterfalls, jumping from ledges, and swimming in deep pools. “This is as good as it gets,” Nichols says. “If there was ever a trademark activity for the Southern Appalachians, cascading would be it.” The two-day trip is only six miles long, but it takes time because the terrain is so treacherous. You camp by the river and take a side trip to cliff-top views, and have plenty of time to explore the coal seams behind the waterfalls. Nichols likes to run the trip in August, when the water is low and the river is more navigable and the blueberries are in abundance in the Sods.Why hire a guide?Because it’s cheaper than a rescue. Nichols and his team are all EMTs who perform search and rescue for the park service. “We see so many people who think they have the skills wind up in bad situations. People make really simple mistakes,” Nichols says. “If you’re with us, we don’t dial 911. We are 911.”canyoneering in the green river gamelandsPura Vida Adventures, N.C.pvadventures.com The GuideJoe Moerschbacher could be the most educated guide in the business. The Louisiana-native got his degree in Wilderness Leadership from Brevard College, then a master’s in Adventure Recreation from Ohio University, then proceeded to stack on guide certifications on top of his formal degrees, most notably the American Canyon Guide Association certification, which makes him one of the few legit ACGA guides in the Eastern U.S. He started guiding professionaly 10 years ago and hasn’t looked back since, founding Pura Vida Adventures and developing some of the most stout canyoneering trips offered east of the Rockies. “I don’t know how I got into this,” Moerschbacher says. “I just didn’t want to work a day in my life, so guiding seemed like a smart path.”The TripPura Vida Adventures pioneered canyoneering in North Carolina, and running clients through the belly of Big Bradley Canyon in the Green River Gamelands has become Moerschbacher’s signature trip. It’s a full eight-hour day of wet waterfall rappels and boulder hopping. The trip starts with a 45-foot rappel to the top of Big Bradley Falls, then a 70-foot rappel down the edge of the waterfall into the canyon floor. After a lifeline traverse beneath the waterfall, you’re set for hours of boulder hopping and swimming with two more smaller rappels mixed in for good measure. Exit the canyon via a 20-foot rock climb to cap off the day.“This is a true canyoneering trip,” Moerschbacher says. “It’s full contact and takes fitness and some technical skill. We start each Big Bradley Adventure with a rappel skills clinic to make sure everyone has the skills they need.”Why Hire a Guide?Because guides spend their free time looking for cooler places to guide you. Moerschbacher spent several years developing the Big Bradley Adventure and knows the ins and outs of the gorge. Even more important, he’s constantly searching for the “next great canyon” for his clients. “We’re on the verge of something great. I’m developing a couple of canyoneering trips that will blow Big Bradley away.”climbing south peak seneca rocksSeneca Rocks Climbing School, W.Va.climbseneca.comThe GuideHead guide Massey Teel has been leading clients up Seneca for seven years. In the process, he’s worked his way to the top of the field, attaining the Rock Guide certification from the American Mountain Guide Association, the highest level of rock climbing certification  a guide can get. “It’s not easy to make a living as a rock climbing guide,” Teel says. “But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I worked a lot of low paying guide and instructor jobs to get to the point where climbing is a legitimate profession for me.”The TripSeneca Rocks is a fin of Tuscarora quartzite rising 300 feet from a ridgeline in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. The rocks form a knife-edge ridge with 360 degrees of climbing over hundreds of high quality routes, making it one of the premier climbing destinations in the East. The multi-pitch routes are steep, but not always difficult; Seneca is known for its diversity of quality climbs, from 5.2 to the stratosphere. Even more impressive, the South Peak of Seneca is a true technical summit, which means you can only reach the top via technical rock climbing. “It’s the tallest technical summit in the East,” Teel says. “There are other pinnacles that demand rock climbing, but nothing of this quality.” Teel likes to lead clients on a full day of trad climbing, linking easy to moderate routes up the South Peak depending on the client’s ability. The approach climb is brutal, as you carry gear and goods up a series of trails and rock steps to the first pitch. You follow Teel up a pitch, cleaning the trad gear as you go, rest on a thin ledge with views of the farming valley below, and repeat for five pitches until you top out. “You’re on top of a skinny ridge with 360-degree views and no-one around,” Teel says. “You’re not going to see the Girl Scouts hiking up there.”Why Hire a Guide?Because guides teach. Seneca Rocks Climbing School is a full-service teaching facility with programs designed to impart lasting wisdom to would-be climbers. A climb with Teel is an opportunity to learn. He gets a bigger kick out of teaching someone how to place trad gear in a cranny than he does leading you to the top of a mountain.to douthat and backShenandoah Mountain Touring, Virginiamountaintouring.com The GuideChris Scott, owner of Shenandoah Mountain Touring, grew up outside of D.C. riding bikes in Virginia and West Virginia. “We had such an enlightening national forest experience out here, but no one was taking advantage of it,” Scott says, discussing his decision to start Shenandoah Mountain Touring and the Shenandoah Mountain 100 fifteen years ago. “The signage was horrible and the trails were in bad shape. We wanted to share it with people. We created the Shenandoah 100 because it was the most amazing trail you could ride in a single day.”  And he created the guide service to keep that stoke going year round.The TripPicture three days riding roughly 150 miles of singletrack over eight mountains deep in the George Washington National Forest backcountry, traveling from Stokesville to Douthat State Park and back to Stokesville. Bikers get to pedal a choice piece of the legendary Shenandoah Mountain Trail, climb to views from Elliott’s Knob, and roll along the Chimney Hollow Trail, a ridgeline path in the Crawford Mountain Roadless Area that’s more fun than Mr. Toads Wild Ride. You need to be fit to pedal with a pack over 50 miles a day, but Scott calls it a “customizable Western Spirit style tour.” A shuttle van runs you from the end of the trail each day to the digs at Douthat State Park, and if you’re not up for the challenge one day, you can opt out. Even better, the whole thing is catered and includes Scott’s famous home-baked bread. Plus, Scott and his crew put in 300 hours clearing those trails before the season starts in May, so the singletrack is pristine, an anomaly for backcountry trails in the Southern Appalachians.Why hire a guide?Because they think of everything so all you have to think about is riding. Shenandoah Mountain Touring runs the support you need to keep your pack weight minimal. Do this sort of thing without the van and the cooks, and you’re looking at hauling 30+ pounds over 150 miles.big day on the bike in pisgahBike Farm, N.C.thebikefarmpisgah.com The GuideCashion Smith is a former Camp Carolina kid turned medical equipment salesman turned mountain bike guide. The Bike Farm is new, but Smith’s knowledge of Pisgah is extensive, and his passion for getting people stoked on biking is contagious. Smith and partner Eva Surls spent several months road tripping all over the West and Canada with the Santa Cruz bike team, an eye-opening trip that prompted the creation of the Bike Farm in Brevard, N.C. “We had these pros and their friends showing us around their favorite areas—it was priceless to get to chase these guys around and not follow a map,” Smith says. “That’s one of the things we want to offer with the Bike Farm. Local knowledge.”The TripPisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest is literally a maze of singletrack and forest roads that have become ground zero for adventurous mountain biking in the South. The trails are remote and littered with roots, rocks and blowdowns. The climbs are frequent, long, and often frustratingly technical. The gravel road connectors are plenty. But the payoff is big with sinuous singletrack, bomber descents, and big views. The Bike Farm’s big ride will take you on a 30+ mile day that hits big-name trails like Squirrel Gap, Laurel Mountain, and Pilot Mountain (think half-track on the side of a slope, followed by boulder-hopping downhills). “It’s tons of technical trail, a few fire roads, and a big finish with a dive into a swimming hole,” Smith says. Then of course, you have the obligatory trip to Oskar Blues in downtown Brevard. If one day isn’t enough carnage for you, tack on a second day for an adventurous ride on the entire Black Mountain Trail, which will likely inspire every single emotion you can have on a bicycle, from hate to love, as you oscillate between hike-a-bike sections and big, sweeping downhills.Why Hire a Guide?Because the guide knows the line. Riding Pisgah with The Bike Farm is like riding with a local on his backyard trails. Smith and Surls know which direction to hit the trails, which lines to take down the mountain, when to hit the brakes, and when to let it out. “There are benefits to following someone who’s a local with intimate trail knowledge. It’s a different ride,” Smith says.last_img read more

Unbridled Kentucky Taylor County Getaway!

first_imgThis contest is over.Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on May 15, 2015. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before May 15th, 6:00 PM EST 2015. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.last_img read more

Stand Up for Nature

first_imgRecently, when Congress proposed HR 621, a bill to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands, we rallied against it. Outdoor enthusiasts who had never posted anything political on social media spoke out against the public land heist. After we successfully killed the bill, many of you promised to stop political chatter and return to adventure posts.Please reconsider.As tempting as it might be to hide in the forest for the next four years, if we want to protect our rivers and mountains, then occasionally our kayaks, bikes, and rods may need to take a backseat to our activism. Nature as we know it is on the chopping block. Public lands are at risk. We face expanding oil and gas drilling in National Parks, weakening of air pollution standards, and fewer clean water safeguards.The peril extends to the continued existence of the Environmental Protection Agency thanks to H.R. 861. The bill consists of one chilling sentence: “The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”For those of us who take refuge in the outdoors, without public lands, we have no place to go. If clean water safeguards no longer protect us, contaminants like lead or flame-retardant chemicals could seep into our drinking water. Air pollution could decimate the tourism that small mountain towns depend on. Without the EPA, regulators at every level could face widespread confusion over how to implement environmental laws.We must act if we want to pass along a healthy world to the little rippers we’re raising.  You paddle difficult rapids, ride technical trails, and catch prized fish – you are already strong. Now it’s time to cultivate our courage.An anonymous source at the E.P.A. said, “Know that there are literally thousands of public servants that will do everything we can to mitigate the damage.”  Anticipating that the branch of the Department of Justice that enforces environmental laws will be downsized, lawyers are organizing across the country to bring lawsuits on behalf of citizens injured by corporations violating environmental laws.We must turn our anguish into action to support those willing to risk their livelihoods. Each small thing we do multiplies in unknown ways, from inspiring others to act, to nudging our representatives to take bold steps.The freedom to use public lands, breathe clean air, and drink clean water brings us great joy and also carries a responsibility. Our love for the outdoors requires our active participation in politics.To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, ask not what the mountains can do for you, but what you can do for the mountains.What Can You Do?Build on the success of public outcry to HR 621. Be relentless in contacting representatives and encouraging them to oppose laws negatively affecting the outdoors.Write editorials and letters to local newspapers. Consider attending the Climate March on D.C. on April 29 or other rallies in your neck of the woods. Use your economic power to reward corporate behaviors that align with your values—and punish those that do not. For example, boycott the products and services of those companies that seek to exploit weakened environmental regulations.A great example of our buying power is the decision of the Outdoor Retailer show to leave Utah due to the state’s withdrawal of support for Bear Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. The show director for Outdoor Retailer, Marisa Nicholson said, “We are in lockstep with the outdoor community and working on finding a new home.” The trade show brings about 40,000 visitors and $45 million to the host city and is looking to partner with a state that values public lands and believes in conserving the outdoors for the next generation, in line with the values of consumers of outdoor gear. Show us the money. When legislation stripping us of environmental protections promises to bolster the economy, we must demand transparency. Politicians claim that if the cost of doing business is lowered, then the working class will benefit. Too often, promises of employing more people or paying higher wages go unfulfilled. Instead, corporations continue to increase their profit margins at the expense of nature and the working class. Stay engaged on social media, which can help movements gather strength and people find their voices. As executive orders and other policies are being passed at a lightning-fast pace, we must all work together to stay informed and mobilized.last_img read more

Carpe the Hell out of Some Beer

first_imgWhen you live in a city with one of the most robust craft beer scenes in the country, it’s easy to get complacent. A new brewery opened up a couple of weeks ago and my wife wanted to go, but I didn’t. Because it was on the other side of town. Roughly 2.7 miles away.“It’s just so far,” I said. “Think about the traffic at this hour. And we could just walk to Wicked Weed. Or Burial. Or Catawba…” Why try new things when there are so many great things that you know you already love right in front of your face, right? Can I get an “amen”? Of course, I’m wrong. Forget the fact that women are usually right and men are usually wrong when they’re squaring off in an argument like this (listen to your lady; that mustache does make you look like a pervert). I was wrong because it’s a great big beer world out there, getting bigger every day, and if you sit back and stop seeking out new boozy experiences that test your taste receptors, you’re gonna miss a whole lot of incredible beer. Look at it this way: there haven’t always been 5,000 craft breweries in this country. For a long time, there were only a dozen or so decent beers out there in the wild. And, if history is any indication, this craft beer boom won’t last forever. There will come a time when you drive into a random small town, with a population of 878, and there aren’t two brewpubs occupying dueling ends of main street. It’s a scary thought, I know, but it’s true. We’re living in the time of Peak Beer right now. It’s never going to be this good again. We owe it to ourselves to drink as much of it as we can. Forget about your liver and diabetes and your kid’s baseball game, the beer is practically vanishing beneath our noses. Carpe the day. Carpe the hell out of it. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself now when I see a new beer on the shelf that I’m not quite sure about. Should I get the new beer? Or should I play it safe and go with the pale ale I always get? It’s a question that plagues my every trip to the store, but now, because of Peak Beer, and an ever-growing sense of mortality in general, I’m getting frisky and risky and opting for the new beer. This week, it paid off. I picked up a six pack of this IPA from Currahee Brewing, out of tiny Franklin, deep in the mountains of North Cackalacky. I didn’t know what to expect, but I liked the can and the name, so I bought it. And the beer is, as the kids say, “sick.” It’s creamy in a way that most IPAs are not, and it has some of that classic, West Coast style bitterness that you don’t find too much of anymore. Everyone’s going for fruit juice with their IPAs these days, but this thing has as much pine as it does citrus. The old school take is refreshing, but I also dig that creamy mouthfeel—makes me wonder if they added wheat or oats to the malt bill. Anyway, needless to say, I carped the hell out of that six pack.last_img read more