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Trains in the Netherlands Now Run Entirely on Wind Energy

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NS, the Dutch rail operator, has announced that its trains now run on 100 percent wind energy, according to The Guardian. Together with energy supplier Eneco, the railway company—which runs about 5500 trips a day—achieved the global milestone on January 1, substantially before its goal of 2018.

Over the course of an hour, a single windmill can power a train traveling 120 miles. According to NS and Eneco, this enables 600,000 train travelers per day to travel without generating emissions.

NS and Eneco began working on the project in 2015, and ran 75 percent of trains on wind power last year.

The Netherlands isn’t the only European country to attempt to mitigate the environmental impact of its transit systems. Germany plans to launch a hydrogen-powered passenger train this year. The idea has also been floated to some extent in the U.S., a country that lacks widespread passenger train routes. California plans to run its future high-speed railway on renewable energy, though that $64 billion project has encountered multiple roadblocks since it was approved by the state legislature in 2012.

[h/t The Guardian]

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All National Parks Are Offering Free Admission on April 21
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Looking for something to do this weekend that's both outdoorsy and free? To kick off National Park Week, you can visit any one of the National Park Service's more than 400 parks on April 21, 2018 for free.

While the majority of the NPS's parks are free year-round, they'll be waiving admission fees to the more than 100 parks that normally require an entrance fee. Which means that you can pay a visit to the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, or Yellowstone National Parks without reaching for your wallet. The timing couldn't be better, as many of the country's most popular parks will be increasing their entrance fees beginning in June.

The National Park Service, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, maintains 417 designated NPS areas that span more than 84 million acres across every state, plus Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

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environment
How the Planet Has Changed Since the First Earth Day in 1970
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The first Earth Day in 1970 was celebrated with protests, nature walks, concerts, and other activities meant to spark interest and engagement in the planet's well-being. Since then, April 22 has been a day to reflect on our impact on the environment, on broad and individual scales. So just how much has the Earth changed since the first Earth Day 48 years ago? According to this video from the American Museum of Natural History, it's changed a lot, and not for the better.

The world's population has doubled since 1970, from 3.7 billion then to over 7 billion today. While there are more people consuming resources, more resources are also being consumed per person. On average, we're each burning 37 percent more fossil fuel than we were in 1970, eating 60 percent more meat, and taking 495 percent more plane trips. All that consumption adds up to 1.2 trillion tons of CO2 emitted in the past five decades, which contributed to ocean waters warming 1°F and sea levels rising more than 5 inches.

Those numbers look pretty grim, but it isn't all bad news: Humans have also made significant strides toward protecting the environment in that same period, including passing the Endangered Species Act, designating protected marine areas, and signing international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe.

People are also more aware of what can be done on a personal level to reduce their carbon footprint. For tips on how to be greener this Earth Day, check out our list of eco-friendly habits.

[h/t American Museum of Natural History]

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