Kroger is doing away with single-use plastic bags, replacing them with reusable bags across all stores.
As part of the company’s recent green initiatives, the major grocery retailer plans to phase out all of the plastic bags by 2025. The QFC brand of stores will be the first to lose the bags, followed by all other lines in the family of stores, according to today’s company announcement.
“As part of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, we are phasing out use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags and transitioning to reusable bags in our stores by 2025,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “It’s a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations.”
Some experts estimate that 100 billion single-use bags are thrown away every year in the United States. Less than 5 percent are recycled, according to the release.
“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s executive vice president and COO. “That’s why, starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options. This decision aligns with our Restock Kroger commitment to live our purpose through social impact.”
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Trekking through some of the country’s most beautiful terrain just got cheaper.
Thanks to the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid in a Park program, fourth-grade students can enter any of more than 2,000 of the nation’s national parks and other federally managed lands and waters for free for one year.
Fourth-grade students can sign up for the free pass at everykidinapark.gov.
The first three members in a group with a visiting fourth-grader will be granted free entry as well at sites that charge per person. For those that grant payment and entry by car, any accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle with a fourth-grader will be allowed to enter at no charge. Educators can also obtain free passes.
The Every Kid in a Park program encourages children to be active and explore nature at a time when more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas and young people are more tethered to electronic devices than ever.
According to the program, the goal of the promotion is to “inspire fourth graders nationwide to visit our federal lands and waters, whether it is a backyard city park or a national forest, seashore, or marine sanctuary. By targeting fourth graders year after year, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.”
In June, the inter-agency program announced that Every Kid in a Park has been renewed for the 2018-2019 school year. Passes will be available Sept. 1.
Learn more and get a pass at everykidinapark.gov.
In more ways than one, Dayton resident Jason Evatt’s invention is a testament to the saying “growth comes from discomfort.”
The idea for the Bitterroot, “the world’s first 3-in-1 dry bag,” came to Evatt — a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and founder of Airborne Outfitters — while hiking through the high-country of the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana.
As anyone who has ever hit the trails has experienced, Evatt found himself looking for ways to lighten his pack’s load without getting rid of essential gear.
Spreading out his equipment at camp while hunkering down for the evening, Evatt realized there was opportunity to combine uses for items he needed for a comfortable and safe trip.
“If you piece and parted it out, you could probably find three pieces of gear that will do all this for probably about the same price,” Evatt said. “You can’t find one piece of gear that does the same functions.”
What was born from that trip was the first multi-functional outdoor equipment to keep gear dry, filter water and inflate air mattresses and air pads, all made from “National Sanitation Foundation approved water potable material.”
Along with actual physical baggage that was made lighter from his new invention, the Bitterroot was an outlet for Evatt to lighten the weight of less tangible baggage he had been carrying for years.
As a veteran of 22 years in the military, Evatt wanted to commit to producing and assembling all components of the Bitterroot in the United States.
“That was honestly part of the reason I wanted to do it — because it was hard,” Evatt said.
After years of deployment and intense dedication to the service, Evatt was struggling to make sense of the struggles he was battling internally. That was until 2014, when the diagnosis of PTSD gave him some answers.
“It was exhilarating to be told — this sounds morbid maybe — but when I found out that PTSD was it, I was so happy that I was able to point to something and go, “It has a name,” Evatt said. “Because it was this abstract thing that I couldn’t put my finger on before.”
Still, the process of ongoing therapy was taking its own toll on Evatt. Compartmentalizing a laundry list of experiences was leaving the veteran with no outlet while his thoughts began consuming him. That’s when sewing became an unexpected release for Evatt, as he could actually hold a physical product of a new skill he was practicing— an outcome, he said, that an information job in the military was never able to give him.
His new hobby and his lifetime love for the outdoors came to a head during a deployment to South Korea in 2016. A visit to a Korean gear and tactical bag shop yielded some unexpected direction when he purchased a duffel and gave the owners some suggestions as to how they might adjust the pockets to be more practical.
“I went back to the shop the next day and offered some suggestions ... a week later (they) brought my ideas to life, and I was hooked,” Evatt said.
Evatt knew he wanted to be in the outdoor industry and immediately purchased an LLC for Airborne Outfitters in April of 2016 when he returned to the U.S.
“I had no idea what my business was gonna do, but it was going to do some business,” Evatt said. “My theory, if I wanna lose weight, I’m gonna buy a pair of pants that are too small and eventually they will fit. That was my approach with this.”
Fast forward to a backpacking in the Bitterroot Mountains and a single idea — Airborne Outfitters would soon take flight.
“I’m not going to lie. I absolutely want to make money. But I also want to show that for people who are struggling with PTSD or depression or whatever the case may be — alcohol, self medicating and suicide is not the answer,” Evatt said. “That does not fix the problem because I was there.”
Pouring energy into a passion project like the Bitterroot can, however, be the answer.
“I wanna say, that dude was on the brink in one point in his life, he made a decision, and this is what came as a result of that.
Evatt is campaigning a Kickstarter fund to get the Bitterroot off the ground and finally running. Full production and delivery of the product will begin after the campaign ends on May 31st. To learn more about the Bitterroot, join the campaign and pre-order, visit kickstarter.com.
and visit airborneoutfitters.com for more information about Jason and his company.
The Australian government on Sunday announced a multimillion-dollar investment aimed at protecting the Great Barrier Reef from the effects of climate change.
Officials hailed the $500 million (about $377 million USD) effort as the government’s largest single investment for reef conservation
The bulk of the money -- $444 million (about $335 million USD) -- will go toward reducing pollution in the reef, mitigating the impacts of climate change and dealing with coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish through a partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, officials said.
"We'll be improving the monitoring of the reef's health and the measurement of its impacts," Australian Environment Minister Josh Freydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it."
John Schubert, chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, told the news station that the new government funding “brought real solutions within reach,” but some criticized the government for not focusing further on tackling climate change.
“There’s a huge missing piece in the puzzle,” Australian Marine Conservation Society campaign director Imogen Zethoven told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "The reality is, hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars has gone into reef rescue packages for nearly 20 years to deal with poor water quality. Yet we've had very little gain, so it's extremely important that this time around the money is spent properly and we start to see the tide turning."
The government released the following breakdown of the spending:
Aerial surveys conducted last year showed widespread coral bleaching across the Great Barrier Reef, an indication that water temperatures stayed too warm for coral to survive. Officials found severe bleaching in the central part of the reef, an area that was spared the severe widespread bleaching seen in 2016.
Bleaching occurs when coral, invertebrates that live mostly in tropical waters, release the colorful algae that live in their tissues and expose their white, calcium carbonate skeletons. Bleached coral can recover if the water cools, but if high temperatures persist for months, the coral will die.
Eventually the reef will degrade, leaving fish without habitats and coastlines less protected from storm surges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This year's Lyrid meteor shower reached its peak this weekend, and photographers flocked to social media to share some stunning snapshots of the celestial display.
Sunday is Earth Day 2018, and more than one billion people across the globe are expected to celebrate with environmentally friendly events.
But what exactly is Earth Day? Here's what you need to know:
1. When did Earth Day start?
The first Earth Day celebration took place 48 years ago, in 1970, after a devastating oil spill in America brought environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 22 million people across the country came out in support of environmental reform.
"That day left a permanent impact on the politics of America," Gaylord Nelson wrote in the April 1980 edition of the EPA Journal. "It forcibly thrust the issue of environmental quality and resources conservation into the political dialogue of the nation.
"It showed political and opinion leadership of the country that the people cared, that they were ready for political action, that the politicians had better get ready, too. In short, Earth Day launched the environmental decade with a bang."
Since then, celebrations have only grown. This year, organizers estimate more than one billion people in 192 countries will participate in events the world over. The day is celebrated each year on April 22.
2. Is there a theme for Earth Day 2018?
This year, organizers are focusing on curbing plastic pollution.
"Our goals include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics," the Earth Day Network, which partners with tens of thousands of organizations in 192 countries to organize Earth Day events, said on its website.
The organization also said it "will educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems."
3. How are people celebrating?
In Tokyo, thousands of people will attend beach cleanups, concerts, art exhibits, classes and other events coordinated by the Green Room Festival, according to the Earth Day Network. In India's Karnataka state, a "no plastic" event will feature workshops led by "organizations that are champions of environmental sustainability in fields including electric vehicles, solar power and zero-waste living," the network said. Cleanups also were scheduled in Palm Beach, Florida; New York; New Jersey and other locations across the United States and worldwide.
4. What are businesses doing?
Google marked Earth Day with a "video doodle" featuring primatologist Jane Goodall.
“It is so important in the world today that we feel hopeful and do our part to protect life on Earth," Goodall said. "I am hopeful that this Earth Day Google Doodle will live as a reminder for people across the globe that there is still so much in the world worth fighting for. So much that is beautiful, so many wonderful people working to reverse the harm, to help protect species and their environments. And there are so, so many young people, like those in JGI’s Roots & Shoots program, dedicated to making this a better world. With all of us working together, I am hopeful that it is not too late to turn things around, if we all do our part for this beautiful planet.”
Apple also joined in on the celebrations, announcing on April 19 that "for every device received at Apple stores and apple.com through the Apple GiveBack program from now through April 30, the company will make a donation to the nonprofit Conservation International."
In addition, Apple "debuted Daisy, a robot that can more efficiently disassemble iPhone to recover valuable materials," according to a company press release.
“At Apple, we’re constantly working toward smart solutions to address climate change and conserve our planet’s precious resources,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social Initiatives, said in a statement. “In recognition of Earth Day, we are making it as simple as possible for our customers to recycle devices and do something good for the planet through Apple GiveBack. We’re also thrilled to introduce Daisy to the world, as she represents what’s possible when innovation and conservation meet.”
5. How can I get involved?
There are multiple ways to get into the Earth Day spirit, from participating in a local event to changing your bills from paper to paperless. Here are some suggestions from the Earth Day Network:
Urge your local elected officials or businesses to make a substantial tree planting commitment by starting a letter-writing campaign or online petition.
Lead a recycling drive to collect as much plastic, metal, and glass as possible.
Pick up trash at a local park or beach.
Set up a screening of an environmentally themed movie. Consider supplementing the screening with a speaker who can lead a Q&A following the film.
Perhaps the best way to experience nature’s beauty and appreciate our natural resources in the Dayton area is through our robust networks of parks.
Beyond the recreation and connection with nature, they’re also key to some of the region’s top investments in conservation, reforestation and preserving and protecting wildlife -- and they all boast unique features.
Here’s our guide to Dayton’s beautiful MetroParks.
Aullwood Garden MetroPark
Location: 955 Aullwood Road, Englewood
Why visit: Perfect for history buffs, here you’ll find a burr oak tree with a 1913 flood watermark, and a twin sycamore aged when Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492.
Carriage Hill MetroPark
Location: 7800 E. Shull Road, Dayton
Why visit: If you love fishing and trails, add this park to your must-visit list. Oh, and if you want a taste of Dayton’s past -- visit their blacksmith shop, woodshop, historic house and bank barn where you’ll find historic breeds of farm animals.
Cox Arboretum MetroPark
Location: 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton
Why visit: With over a dozen specialty gardens, including a Butterfly House with native butterflies and moths, this MetroPark has so much to explore. There are also 2.5 miles of trails and a Tree Tower that rises 46 feet high for an incredible view.
Deeds Point MetroPark
Location: 510 Webster St., Dayton
Why visit: Calling all bird watchers, this park has a variety of migratory and resident birds can be seen here, including bald eagles. The park has a bronze statue of Wilbur and Orville Wright as a fixture along the trail, and an aviation timeline exhibit. The park also has a monument — Dayton Peace Accord — that symbolizes the agreement for peace between Bosnia and Herzegovina struck in Dayton on Nov. 21, 1995.
Location: 1385 Harshman Road, Dayton
Why visit: Are water sports your call to the wild? Here you can boat, paddle, kayak, canoe and fish. There are also numerous scenic trails that connect to many others in the area.
Location: 4361 National Road, Vandalia
Why visit: This park blends scenic and sporty. Forest areas, wetlands and woodlands, grasslands, rivers and 12 miles of trails are all within reach. Follow a boardwalk into this wet area that supports an unusual population of trees including black ash, swamp white oak and pumpkin ash. This wetland has been dedicated as a State Natural Landmark in recognition of the occurrence of pumpkin ash, a tree rarely found in Ohio.
Location: 7101 Conservancy Road, Germantown
Why visit: Looking to camp among rare species of plants and animals? The park’s 22 miles of camping-friendly trails are for you. Don’t miss the “Window on Wildlife” with benches where visitors can sit, watch and listen to native birds through microphone-equipped windows.
Hills & Dales MetroPark
Location: 2655 S. Patterson Blvd., Kettering
Why visit: Great for hiking beginners and families, this walkable park features hills and ravines covered in mature and young hardwood forest, spring seeps and associated small wetlands. Don’t miss the “Staged Gates” landscape sculpture.
Location: 4439 Lower Valley Pike, Dayton
Why visit: Looking for a new spot to walk or hike? This 110-acre grassland is one of the largest prairie remnants in Ohio, which is maintained and restored in partner with Wright Patterson AFB. There are various trails and paths to explore, most of which connect to others in the area.
Location: 101 E. Helena St., Dayton
Why visit: This park offers a unique opportunity to explore nature, bird watch and walk trails. There is also a playground area, interactive waterplay system during summer and a bandshell for live music.
Possum Creek MetroPark
Location: 4790 Frytown Road, Dayton
Why visit: This is one of the largest and most diverse planted prairies in Ohio. In striving to become a leader in sustainable innovation, here you can help grow a garden in the approximately 100 community garden plots. Walking and hiking trails are plentiful, and fishing and ice fishing are also available.
Location: 111 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
Why visit: Diverse in both recreation and wildlife, this spot is a must-visit to experience fun and exploration in nature. Free summer weekend concerts, parent and preschooler programs, major community festivals and an ice skating rink. The Dayton Inventor’s River Walk includes seven invention stations along Monument Avenue and Patterson Boulevard that celebrate Dayton inventions. Bike and kayak rentals available. Daytonian Paul Laurence Dunbar’s famous poems are etched in stone at the top of the staircase at the west end of the park.
Location: 4178 Conference Road, Bellbrook
Why visit: Here you’ll find 550-year old white oaks, a planted prairie, scenic bird walks, meadows, and Sugar Creek. Be sure to snap a few photos in the “living tunnel” created by the large arching branches of Osage Orange trees, which date back to the 1800s.
Location: 50 Edwin C. Moses Blvd., Dayton
Why visit: Get active in nature! Located at the juncture of Wolf Creek and the Great Miami River in Dayton, this small park is an excellent place to watch wildlife, walk trails, skate, run, bike ride and fish.
Location: 2000 State Route 40, Vandalia
Why visit: This park has unique history and typography. Wooded ravines, massive rock outcroppings, historic ruins and the Great Miami River make this large 1,300-acre park a must-visit. There are also approximately 13 miles of scenic trails. Available activities include fishing, kayaking, canoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing.
Twin Creek MetroPark
Location: 9688 Eby Road, Germantown
Why visit: Don’t miss the winding prehistoric Indian mound and scenic hilltop vista. The park has over 20 miles of camping-friendly wooded trails, including seven miles of equestrian trails. Fish, backpack, hike and explore waterways.
Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark
Location: 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton
Why visit: This one you’ll want to the kiddos to. The Children’s Discovery Garden inspires little ones to play and explore texture, creatures, sounds and more. The beautifully planted Forman gardens, community gardens and boardwalk-navigation wetlands make for a great spot to see native birds and wildlife.
Location: 1441 Wesleyan Road, Dayton
Why visit: This 55-acre park features numerous scenic spots, making it a great choice for your next family photo session. The park is the home of Adventure Central, an innovative partnership between MetroParks and Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Youth Development. Here, urban youth learn about the environment and develop life skills through after-school programs, clubs and camps. There is also a playground and fishing available.
Caesar Creek State Park
Location: 8570 E. SR 73, Waynesville
Why visit: Known as one of the state’s premier outdoor recreation destinations, this 7,900-acre park offers more than 40 miles of hiking trails (ranging from mild to extremely rugged) that provide beautiful and striking views of the lake and the surrounding area. There are also opportunities for boating and camping.
John Bryan State Park
Location: 3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs
Why visit: John Bryan State Park is perhaps the most scenic State Park in western Ohio. Long ago, the limestone gorge, a portion of which is a national landmark, was cut by the Little Miami River (a state and national scenic river). On your hike along the 10-mile trail, you can see more than 100 different species of trees and shrubs, 340 species of wild flowers, 90 different varieties of birds, white-tail deer, beaver, coyotes, gray squirrels, fox squirrels -- and even an occasional white squirrel.
Location: 2535 Ross Road, Tipp City
Why visit: Discover uncommon plants and a unique waterfall originating from small underground springs. The 216-acre park features an observation boardwalk near the falls, a limestone cave, wildlife pond, tall grass prairie and nearly 4 miles of trails.
What do you love most about Dayton’s Metro Parks? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Video of an alligator along Wolf River in Fayette County, Tennessee, has many residents on the lookout.
Residents said an alligator in their neighborhood is alarming. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said the 7-foot alligator was captured on video by agents in the area.
Wildlife agents said alligators are naturally migrating into Tennessee from the southern border states.
The video below is one spotted in Fayette County along the Wolf River:
In the Facebook post, the agency said:
"Recently a seven-foot alligator was videoed by TWRA Region 1 personnel at the Wolf River WMA in Fayette County. This latest sighting is one of several confirmed sightings of alligators in Southwest Tennessee.
"Alligators are naturally migrating into Tennessee from the southern border states. TWRA has not stocked any alligators in Tennessee. Alligators migrating into Tennessee is just another species that we must learn to coexist with like many of the other southern states.
"Alligators are opportunistic feeders that prey on fish, turtles, snakes, frogs, and waterfowl. Occasionally they will feed on larger animals such as possums, raccoons, and deer.
"Alligators can survive Tennessee winters by going into a hibernation-like dormancy called brumation. They can withstand periods of ice by sticking their snout out of the water before it freezes which allows them to continue breathing.
"TWRA would like to remind everyone that alligators are a protected species and catching or shooting one is a violation of the law. If you come across one while exploring the outdoors in West TN, leave it alone and enjoy Tennessee’s unique biodiversity."
Julia and Cole Stonebrook live in Fayette County.
"We live on the Wolf River like right there,” Cole said.
TWRA said alligators migrating into Tennessee is just another species that we must learn to coexist with like many of the other southern states.
TWRA could not give a number of alligators that may be in the area.
"People knew they were out there. This is just TWRA finally getting footage,” Cole said.
TWRA said alligators are a protected species, and catching or shooting one is a violation of the law.
Wildlife agents said if you see a gator, don’t approach it. Please call wildlife agents.
From the Sydney Opera House to Paris' Eiffel Tower, landmarks around the world went dark Saturday night for Earth Hour.
The "symbolic lights-out event," which began in Sydney in 2007, is designed to raise awareness about climate change, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Trappers removed a 9-foot-long alligator from the front doorstep of a Cocoa, Florida, apartment complex Monday afternoon.
Cocoa police responded to the apartments around 3:30 p.m. at 1612 University Lane after residents called concerned about the large gator roaming about the complex.
Police found the gator on the front doorstep of unit 903.
A gator trapper arrived around 20 minutes after police and removed the gator.
According to state wildlife officers, it’s common for gators to roam around during warm weather looking for water.
If a gator is seen outside its normal habitat, experts advise not to feed it or attempt to go near it.
Instead, officials said to call local law enforcement or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service to have the gator removed.
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