It’s National Invasive Species Awareness Week

February 27, 2017

snakeheadRemember the snakehead? In 2002, the discovery of this Asian species of fish in Maryland and Virginia brought invasive species to America’s attention.

What is an Invasive Species? Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens in an ecosystem which may cause environmental or economic harm. In 1999, President William J. Clinton issued Executive Order 13112—Invasive Species which established the Invasive Species Council and outlined the responsibilities of Federal agencies for dealing with invasive species.

The National Invasive Species Council spearheads Federal efforts to control invasive species and restore ecosystems. The USDA National Agricultural Library has created the National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC) to help people find more information on this threat. The Forest Service’s Invasive Species Program includes videos and publications about the management of invasive species and research related to them. The video Defending Favorite Places shows how we can stop the spread of these invaders.

invasive-species

Click on image to enlarge.

Federal depository libraries throughout the United States provide the public with free access to reports and hearings that show how the Federal Government is fighting this threat.

GPO’s U.S. Government Bookstore offers the following publications about invasive species.

The following websites also offer information on this important topic.

The Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States is a collaborative project between the National Park Service and the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. The Atlas provides information about non-native plant species that invade natural areas, excluding agricultural and other developed lands.

The Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW) is identified in the invasive species Executive Order 13112 as a key Federal-level organization on which the National Invasive Species Council is to rely for the implementation of the Executive Order and the coordination of Federal agency activities to prevent and control invasive plants.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Cynthia Earman is a Cataloging & Metadata Librarian in the Library Services & Content Management division of the U.S. Government Publishing Office.


Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start

October 7, 2016

An unforgettable fire began in Chicago on October 8, 1871. Legend has it that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lamp which set a barn—and the entire city—ablaze. Tragically, the Great Chicago Fire burned for days, killing scores of people, decimating roughly 3.3 square miles, and leaving more than 100,000 Chicagoans homeless.

1871_great_chicago_fire_destroyed_buildingsThe Great Chicago Fire not only changed public thinking about fire safety, it inspired Fire Prevention Week—an annual commemoration of that devastating inferno. Going back over 90 years, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public safety observance in America. This year it runs from October 9-15.

One theme for Fire Prevention Week has been “Don’t Give Fire a Place to Start.” That’s a message that Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration wants every American, especially children, to take to heart. FEMA’s popular Sesame Street Fire Safety Program Family Guide is available through GPO.

Family coloring book. Fire literacy primer. A get-it-together-you-grown-ups safety guide. It’s all those things. FEMA and Sesame Street really deliver. Everybody do the Elmo happy dance!

064-000-00067-5However, this guide is not just about Elmo. A proper shout out goes to Cookie Monster, Grover, and Telly Monster. Together, the furry fire brigade educates with catchphrases like “hot, hot, stay away. hot, hot, not for play” and “get outside and stay outside!” The playbook covers how to avoid hot things that burn, make a home escape map, family practice time, and what to do if the smoke alarm sounds. There are kitchen safety tips for parents and caregivers, too.

Start a healthy discussion around a scary thing like a fire emergency. Demonstrate that preparation and prevention are skills that the entire family can work on together. Cultivate lifelong fire safety habits. As the guide says, “fire safety begins at home.’ Simple steps make a big difference in staying safe from fires.

Sometime after the Great Chicago Fire, it was discovered that a journalist fabricated the O’Leary cow rumor. The real cause of the fire has never been confirmed. But it did start a national conversation on the basic but essential elements of fire safety. As Fire Prevention Week reminds us, prevention is a big part. Fires are mostly preventable. It’s on everyone to take charge.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


The Future of Energy

September 20, 2016

industry-611668_960_720There’s a great deal of interest in energy issues. Energy is in high demand across the globe. The task at hand is to predict just how the world’s total energy consumption will increase. One government report does that. GPO makes available the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency (EIA)’s International Energy Outlook 2016. Not surprisingly, it shows rising levels of demand over the next three decades.

061-003-01167-5This report presents objective, sophisticated, and useful trend projections for world energy markets through 2040. IEO2016 focuses exclusively on marketed energy sources, divided according to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members (OECD) and nonmembers. Projections are “not statements of what will happen, but what might happen…dependent on the data, methodologies, model structures, and assumptions.”

By 2040, energy consumption will have increased by 1.4% per year; consumers are predicted to use roughly 815 quadrillion Btu. China and India will account for more than half of this usage. Renewable energy will be the fastest growing of all energy sources—wind and hydropower will each account for one-third of this increase. Despite the renewables uptick, fossil fuels will continue to be the prevailing energy provider, supplying 3/4 of the world’s energy needs.

Interesting to note is the growth in natural gas production from shale resources. Shale gas production amounted to more than half of U.S. natural gas production in 2015. By 2030, natural gas will surpass coal as the world’s second largest energy source. By 2040, natural gas, coal, and renewables will each generate close to 30% of all electricity.

power-1549118_960_720EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski states that “with existing policies and regulations, worldwide energy-related CO2 emissions will…increase by 1/3 out to the year 2040.” And much of this will depend upon the uncertain factors of economic growth in developing countries, oil production, technology improvements, and nuclear energy generation.

IEO2016 provides an actionable glimpse into both the current status and the future of global energy production and consumption. Because what happens today will influence tomorrow.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


New Report On Climate Change & Human Health

June 20, 2016

Climate change is a global threat to health, says a new U.S. Government report. About 100 climate-change science and public health experts from eight Federal agencies–including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–got together and combed through a ton of peer-reviewed research. The result is a more robust scientific understanding of how climate change increases risk to human health. The conclusion of this recently released report is as the climate continues to change, it will intensify old threats and precipitate new ones, to include adverse human health effects.

GPO makes available the collaborative and foundational report, Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, as a PDF eBook.

ClimateHealth2016_FullReportThis scientific assessment examines the profound impact of climate change on the health of American people. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, which spearheaded the assessment, says “Every person in the U.S. is vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change at some point in their lives, no matter where they live.”

At global, regional, and local levels, extreme rainfall, drought, heat, and flooding will challenge quality food, water, and air supplies. In turn, the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries, premature deaths, vector-borne illnesses, infectious diseases, and threats to mental health will grow. Page five of the report charts examples of how climate change can affect human health and disease.

Climate Impacts_p5

This diagram shows specific examples of how climate change can affect human health, now and in the future. Excerpt from Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States report. Click on image to enlarge.

Here are a few key discoveries from Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment:

  • Temperature-Related Death and Illness: rising concentrations of greenhouse gases —> more extreme temperature swings —> increase in deaths and illness from heat and cold;
  • Air Quality Impacts: higher levels of air pollutants and airborne allergens —> poor indoor and outdoor air quality —> negative affect on allergies and respiratory health;
  • Impacts of Extreme Events on Human Health: exposure to extreme events —> disruption of essential infrastructure —> health risks;
  • Vector-Borne Diseases: climate change is expected to alter vector-borne disease transmission and infection patterns and spur the emergence of new vector-borne pathogens;
  •  Climate Impacts on Water-Related Illness: affected fresh and marine water resources —> more water-related contaminants —> more water-related illnesses
  •  Food Safety, Nutrition, and Distribution: higher global temps and concentrations of CO2 —> increase foodborne illness, lower nutritional values, and make food less safe;
  • Mental Health and Well-Being: climate change disasters can have serious mental health consequences such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

These experts hope research like this will lead efforts to counter climactic disturbances and proactively manage the health risks of climate change.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS FREE RESOURCE?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


Fish, not trash, should swim!

June 8, 2016

June 8th is World Oceans Day, an annual celebration to honor and conserve a healthy world ocean. Oceans make the planet blue. Oceans interconnect with everything. Oceans belong to everyone. Yet, careless actions of individuals affect ocean life. Humans discard plastic bottles, electronics, metal cans, and food wrappers. When this trash makes its way into marine environments, it’s termed marine debris.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asserts that “wildlife entanglement and ingestion, economic costs, and habitat damage are some impacts of marine debris.” To counter this worrying trend, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program developed Understanding Marine Debris: Games & Activities for Kids of All Ages, Marine Debris 101, a games and activities booklet, to help kids take action against marine debris.

003-017-00558-5Understanding Marine Debris: Games & Activities for Kids of All Ages

This “marine debris 101” booklet pulls together an assortment of 20 puzzles, brain-teasers, and coloring activities suitable to help children of all ages understand hazardous disposal in marine environments. Sample exercises include

  • Picture Crossword—Types of Marine Debris;
  • Marine Debris Matchup—How Long Will It Take? (decomposition times for items such as a plastic bottle, fishing line, Styrofoam cup, and banana peel);
  • Connect the Dots—A Sea Turtle’s Story;
  • A Silly Story—Cleaning Up the Beach;
  • Marine Debris Maze—Getting to the Trash Can.
Understanding Marine Debris P12

Click on image to enlarge

The most sobering page (but still fun—promise!) is the marine match-up memory game. It shows what happens to marine animals when they encounter litter. A dolphin can get tangled in fishing gear. A sea turtle can choke on a plastic bag. A sea lion can become entangled in discarded ropes and nets. It won’t be hard for kids to realize that cute animals and their underwater habitat are toxified by everyday garbage.

Understanding Marine Debris P10

Click on image to enlarge

Although this activity booklet targets kids, it delivers a ton of reminders for adults, too. Think twice before littering. Get involved in community-based clean-ups. If individual actions contribute to dangerous marine debris accumulation, then it will take individual actions to undo it. Because the world ocean is not a dumping ground.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Prepare for the Start of Hurricane Season

June 1, 2016

stormBatten down the hatches! There’s a storm a brewin’ off the port bow. Don’t worry, despite the sailor-y weather warnings, there’s no looming squall to be alarmed about (at least as I write this blog). But there’s plenty to be prepared for as the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is officially underway. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the June 1-November 30 season “will most likely be near-normal…[with a] 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms [with] winds of 39 mph or higher.”

Prepare for hurricane season, and other types of severe weather, with two FEMA publications that provide actionable information about home building tornado- and hurricane-prone areas.

Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction

This FEMA-produced series of 37 fact sheets presents technical guidance and recommendations for construction in disaster-prone coastal environments. To help you weatherproof your habitat from top to bottom, foundation to roof, this resource details construction need-to-knows. Divided into 10 different categories, the fact sheets represent various coastal building components and requirements that are distinct from those for inland.

064-000-00055-1Yes, the coast is pretty. It’s also a high-load, extreme-conditions environment. If living in a coastal home requires more upkeep, then building a coastal home certainly requires special consideration. Know thy flood zones! And follow the real estate credo of “location, location, location.” Homes in coastal areas must be situated, designed, and constructed to withstand the forces of coastal erosion, wind corrosion, and flooding from the ocean. To that end, “a building can be considered a success only if it is capable of resisting damage from coastal hazards and coastal processes over a period of decades.’

Exceeding minimum requirements of coastal building could mean a reduction in storm damage, building maintenance, and insurance premiums. Shoring up a coastal building against shore effects is an economic no-brainer.

Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business; Includes Construction Plans (CD)

064-000-00069-1When extreme winds from hurricanes and tornados threaten person and property, safe rooms can save lives. Building a safe room in your home and small business doesn’t require an advanced design degree or a bottomless bank account. With some sound information and planning, homeowners can work with a builder/contractor to stand up a safe room. As more and more people chose to live in the possible path of storms, a structure that provides “near-absolute protection, or a high probability of being protected from injury or death” is patently worth it.

tornadoThis digital collection constitutes an update to FEMA’s original and impressively helpful guidance. Since the first edition was issued in 1998, “more than 1 million copies of the publication have been distributed, and nearly 25,000 residential safe rooms have been constructed with FEMA funding assistance.” The revised CD contains PDFs of illustrated floor plans, risk assessment criteria, and even a few examples of how safe rooms have saved lives.

Almost every state in the Union “has been affected by extreme windstorms such as tornadoes and hurricanes.” The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implores all citizens to “prepare, plan, and stay informed.” For more hurricane- and tornado-specific guidance, including how to make an emergency plan and supply kit, visit DHS’ https://www.ready.gov/.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Homeowners & Landowners: The U.S. Gov Has You Covered!

April 26, 2016

Homeowners and landowners! The U.S. Government has several useful publications to help you make knowledgeable decisions about your habitat. Reduce the hazards of lead-based paint. Stop up energy-wasting air leaks. Know what you need to know about interstate natural gas projects. Read on!

Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home

055-000-00683-1Lead-based paint is hazardous. You probably know that. The older the building, the more likely the inside and outside surfaces contain the heavy metal (the chemical element, not the music). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development pulled together this brochure to help you identify the many sources of lead and eliminate risks.

First step: “The only way to find out if paint, dust, or soil lead hazards exist is to test for them.” For homes and childcare facilities built before 1978, you have cause to act even quicker. In fact, Federal law requires disclosure of lead-based paint information to prospective buyers and renters of pre-1978 properties. Protect your family from damaging health effects—check your home for lead!

A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Sealing and Insulating with Energy Star

055-000-00684-9Does Aunt Mabel often feel a draft when she’s visiting your home? Better patch up those leaks! The EPA offers this handy guide to locate and seal leaks, specifically in the basement and attic where most problematic leaks are hidden. Pesky leaks love to seek cover behind insulation.

To get started, make a rough sketch of your home’s floor plan. Spatial reference points will help you locate common household air leaks in wiring holes, plumbing vents, furnace flues, etc. Then follow the booklet’s guidance for plugging holes and caulking gaps. Enhance the performance of your insulation, reduce your energy bills, and make your home more comfortable—this government resource will get you there.

An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?

061-000-00967-1_Page_01If these are questions that keep you up at night, then grab yourself a copy of this Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) booklet. FERC is responsible for approving private natural gas pipelines projects. The agency assembled this concise, illustrative pamphlet to let consumers know:

  • How the Commission’s evaluation process works;
  • Landowner rights;
  • Issues involving project location and pipeline construction
  • Environmental, safety, and storage issues.

Bonus: a two-page graphic of a pipeline installation sequence gives visual context to what it takes to move natural gas across state boundaries. It’s quite the process. And FERC is here to tell you all you need to know.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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