Assessing 2012, Predicting 2013, Negotiating with Polluters, Growing Forests for Health Care, and a Kayak Trip with a Mission

New Nooze for a new year! Peter ThomsonFirst, Peter Thomson with PRI's The World takes a look back at the environment in 2012, and predicts what 2013 might look like:

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Cassandra profitaNext, a couple of stories from Cassandra Profita, with Oregon Public Broadcasting's Ecotrope Blog. In both, she looks at creative, outside-the-box solutions to real-life environmental issues:

Negotiating With Your Neighborhood Polluter

A USA Today report tested for air pollution at schools around the country and found Chapman Elementary in Northwest Portland was among the worst 2 percent in the country for air quality. One of the reasons for the school's polluted air was emissions from the nearby ESCo foundry.(Image by Neighbors for Clean Air)

You don’t have to wait for new regulations to get cleaner air in your neighborhood.

That’s what residents in Northwest Portland proved earlier this year when they signed a Good Neighbor Agreement with the nearby ESCO metal foundry. Their story of negotiating their own clean air deal is next in the series about environmental innovation.

The company, which manufactures steel parts for mining, logging and construction equipment, was in compliance with its state air quality permits. And for years that’s what company leaders had told neighbors complaining about the smell of its operations.

Northwest Portland resident Mary Peveto pushed for a polluter near her home to reduce its air pollution beyond what's required by law and helped form an advocacy group called Neighbors for Clean Air.

But when the poor air quality around neighborhood schools made national headlines in 2009, the complaint department at the ESCOreached its limit. USA Today reported Chapman Elementary School was among the worst 2 percent in the nation for local air quality – and that ESCO was partly to blame... Read more.

 

Growing Forests for Health Care

Scott Russell, a forestland owner near Scappoose, is hoping to sell carbon credits from his forestland to help pay his family's future health care bills. (Photo by Enya Chiu)

Instead of selling or logging their land to pay medical bills as they age, could family forest owners trade carbon credits for health care?

A new pilot program in Columbia County is trying to find way for small forestland owners to pay for healthcare without cutting more trees. It’s next in a series on innovative environmental ideas.

Collectively, small private landowners own a lot of the tree-covered turf in the U.S. But a lot of that forestland – an area the size of Idaho, according to the Pinchot Institute for Conservation – is at risk of being lost to development as owners age over the next 20 years.

The Pinchot Institute found 30 percent of forestland owners are likely to cut more trees to pay for medical bills. The conservation group is partnering with forestland owners in Oregon to see if there’s a better way: Their Forest Health-Human Health Initiative would sell forest carbon offsets from growing trees and put the money onto an “A-Tree-M”  card for landowners to use when they need health care... Read more.

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Ashley AhearnAnd finally, Ashley Ahearn with EarthFix interviews Ken Campbell, director of the Ikkatsu Project, about his kayaking trip in search of tsunami debris along Washington's Olympic Coast.

The Ikkatsu Project: Journey to the Roadless Coast

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