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National Parks Strive to Become Carbon Neutral

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Officials at national parks across the U.S. are trying to reduce their greenhouse gas
emissions by cleaning up their own operations, with the help of federal stimulus dollars,
according to Associated Press. “We know we have to green our own house,” said Sonya Capek,
the Pacific West region’s environmental program coordinator. “It’s part of our mission to
protect and preserve the resources.” The National Park Service and the Environmental
Protection Agency have started the Climate Friendly Parks network program to help parks
address climate change. Parks must measure their amounts of emissions, come up with plans
to curb them and educate the public on what they can do to help. Seventeen parks, including
the Everglades in Florida and Fire Island National Seashore in New York, have already
created plans. Sixty parks are developing their own plans. National parks, like other
federal agencies, have already been under orders to reduce energy and gasoline use. But the
Obama administration has pushed greening parts of government further, including replacing
government fleets with more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. Parks are turning down
thermostats and sealing windows, providing loaner bikes to employees and installing food
composting and recycling bins. One recent morning at Mount Rainier, workers climbed atop
the park’s emergency operations center and installed 48 solar panels to provide energy to
the building. They have also added dual-flush toilets that reduce water use and use
electric vehicles to pick up trash at campgrounds.

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