The Grand Canyon. Yosemite. Yellowstone. Mount Rainier (my personal favorite). The Appalachians. In a win-win-win scenario, American’s beautiful national parks receive funding to make them more accessible!

Each week we summarize three headlines that give us hope for a greener, brighter future. If you’d like to have Hopeful Headlines sent right to your inbox, sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Congress approves billions for US national parks in rare bipartisan push

Valerie Yurk, The Guardian, July 22, 2020

  • In a rare bipartisan effort, US Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act. The bill secures $9.5 billion for repairs to national parks over the next five years. It also sets aside $900 million/year “to acquire land for conservation and continue maintenance.”
  • The funding will enable maintenance in the Appalachian national scenic trail, Cap Cod national seashore and Death Valley national Park, among other places. It also enables the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect sacred indigenous sites like the Valles Caldera in New Mexico and caves used by the Ute people in Colorado.
  • From the article: “Some conservationists also argue that because the new funding comes from revenues from the energy industry, national parks are protected at the expense of the climate. Others say that using fossil fuel money for conservation signifies a victory.”

Why it matters: There’s no better way to appreciate the beauty of nature than to dive right in. Well-funded and maintained national parks are just the way to do it!

“Solar For Coal” Swaps: The New Financial Innovation Accelerating Utility Coal-To-Clean Transitions

By Michael O’Boyle, Forbes, July 29, 2020

  • The faster-than-expected cost decrease in renewable energy has made it not only the environmental-friendly energy option, but the economically wise one. “Solar for coal swaps” have proven particularly beneficial for municipalities and publicly owned utilities.
  • The model has also proven effective for “industrial or commercial customers, such as large casinos in Nevada, or communities or institutions with zero carbon or 100% renewables goals directly seek to procure clean energy resources for themselves at savings and lower risk than incumbent utilities can provide”
  • From the article: “More than half of cooperative- or muni-owned coal plants are likely already uneconomic compared to local wind or solar assets, with that number growing if non-local clean replacements are considered.”

Why it matters: Coal to solar swaps could not only accelerate the transition to renewable energy, but handcuff the fossil fuel industry’s attempt to use natural gas as a transition fuel. (It’s methane. Natural gas is just methane.)


From The Nature Conservancy, July 28, 2020

  • MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and ex-wife to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, announced a $25 million gift to The Nature Conservancy in Washington state. $10 million will go toward Blue Bonds for Conservation and $15 million will go toward U.S. Climate Action.
  • The gift is part of Scott’s pledge to donate a majority of her wealth in her lifetime. She’s already donated $1.6 billion since divorcing Bezos in 2019, focusing especially on gender and racial equality, public health and climate change.
  • TNC will use the money to invest in “advancing state-level policy impact to reduce emissions now” and helping coastal countries refinance their debt so they can “use their savings to create marine protected areas and conserve huge areas of the ocean.”

Why it matters: MacKenzie Scott is already making good on “The Giving Pledge.” Meanwhile, Bezos is the only one in top five wealthiest people in the world not to sign the pledge.

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Feature photo: Mount Rainier from the Nisqually Bridge. Photo by Sam Wigness.