0Sustainability Almanac for October 18 to October 25, 2013

 

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Acid Ocean Business urged to do more to save oceans: World Bank study

Businesses should play a bigger role in helping to save depleted fish stocks as part of efforts to prevent irreversible damage to the oceans, a World-Bank backed report said. The study, by 21 experts including government ministers, academics, conservationists and company leaders, said policies for protecting the oceans from over-fishing, pollution and climate change were often ineffective and fragmented.

It recommended more public-private partnerships involving companies, governments, local communities and others to protect ecosystems that are the main source of protein for a billion people, mainly in the developing world. “A paradigm shift is needed in how we use and conserve ocean resources to address current inadequacies,” the report said. The panel, set up by the World Bank, is one of several groups trying to find ways to deal with threats to the oceans. A separate Global 0cean Commission, for instance, is looking at how to safeguard the high seas, outside national jurisdictions. Read more here.

Anti-fracking protest France upholds ban on fracking over fears of environmental damage

France upheld its nationwide ban on fracking due to fears the process may cause long-term environmental damage. The move follows a number of high-profile protests against the practice in Britain, where energy firms have been allowed to undergo exploratory drilling.

But despite efforts by US company Scheupbach Energy (SE) to start drilling into France’s plentiful reserves, the country’s Constitutional Court upheld a 2011 moratorium on the process. Read more here.

Amazon Amazon rainforest is home to 16,000 tree species, estimate suggests

Almost four hundred billion trees belonging to 16,000 different species grow in the Amazon, according to a new estimate. More than 100 experts analysed data from 1,170 surveys to come up with the figures, highlighting the extraordinary scale and diversity of the Amazon rain forest.

The vast size and difficult terrain of the Amazon Basin has historically restricted studies of tree communities to a local or regional level, making it difficult to see the “big picture”. This lack of information about Amazonian flora on a basin-wide scale has hindered science and conservation efforts, according to experts. “In essence, this means that the largest pool of tropical carbon on Earth has been a black box for ecologists, and conservationists don’t know which Amazonian tree species face the most severe threats of extinction,” said research author Dr Nigel Pitman, from the Field Museum in Chicago, US. Read more here.

Somali pirates How Somali Pirates Almost (but Not Quite) Halted Vital Climate Change Research

What do Somali pirates have to do with climate change? Not much, except that the threat of the machine-gun slinging bandits has ended critical oceanographic research on the seabed of the Indian Ocean – research that is crucial to our understanding of how and when, exactly, the world’s largest arid region dried out. Climate investigations off the Horn of Africa were suspended just weeks before September 11, 2001, after a scientific vessel, the Maurice Ewing, was attacked with rocket propelled grenades 18 nautical miles off the Somali coast. But, amazingly, one final research vessel somehow passed through a phalanx of small-craft pirate boats in the Gulf of Aden unscathed.

The Sahara – parts of which get virtually no rainfall – is the most arid region on Earth. But it was not always that way. There was a wet time, beginning around 10,000 years ago (called the African Humid Period), when large parts of the present-day Sahara looked more like the Serengeti plains in east Africa: tree-pocked grasslands which supported a diversity of animals such as giraffes, rhinos and roaming herds of wildebeest, as well as large human populations. But then things began to change – the climate became progressively hotter and drier. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Indian Point Reactor in New York Fukushima on the Hudson: Could a nuclear accident happen near NYC?

The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility again grabbed headlines in recent weeks after reports of radioactive water leaks into the Pacific Ocean and repeated exposure of plant workers to dangerous levels of radiation once more focused attention on the disaster and its aftermath. A massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami in March 2011 damaged the Japanese plant’s reactor containment and cooling systems, triggering explosions and three core meltdowns. After a string of troubling revelations surrounding Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, the Japanese government has finally expressed a more open attitude toward international help to deal with the crisis.

While Japan’s problems seem far away, anti-nuclear activists in the United States say a similar disaster – or perhaps one even worse – could happen at a nuclear plant just 25 miles north of New York City, at Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point Energy Center. Although that is dismissed as fearmongering by the nuclear industry, anti-nuclear campaigners say Indian Point poses a grave risk to 20 million people who live in the New York metropolitan area. Read more here.

Pine Island Glacier field camp staff Post Shutdown, U.S. Tries to Salvage Antarctic Research

The government shutdown came to a close after 16 days. Its effect on Antarctic scientific research may last longer, though, as crucial research time was lost in an already brief summer research season. Many scientists who had spent years lining up funding and equipment to conduct research in Antarctica were left in limbo, unsure whether their work could go forward.

Scientists conduct a wide range of research in Antarctica, much of it focused on understanding the changing climate. The Antarctic ice sheet is a huge wild card in calculating the future rate of sea level rise, with the Antarctic peninsula warming at a rapid clip, and some glaciers melting rapidly. Putting U.S. Antarctic operations, which have an annual budget of about $350 million, on “caretaker status” also created ripple effect of logistical issues for Antarctic researchers from other nations with smaller research programs that rely on U.S. resources such as transport aircraft and other equipment. Read more here.

Mink Farm Anti-Fur Activists Coming Back with a Vengeance

“What we’re seeing now is unprecedented,” Peter Young, a Santa Cruz, Calif., activist who was imprisoned in 2005 for his role in raids on six mink ranches, said in a telephone interview. Though still an outspoken defender of the animal rights movement and mink-ranch raids, Mr. Young says he has no contact with those who raid fur farms or commit other illegal acts and, in fact, does not know who they are. The fur industry is not amused. “Criminal thugs, felons. And they’re committing federal crimes,” said Michael Whelan, the executive director of Fur Commission U.S.A., which represents all of the country’s 300 or so mink farms.

The two camps also call each other terrorists. Indeed, mink liberation is a federal crime under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and animal rights extremism is duly monitored by the Department of Homeland Security, according to a 2012 Congressional report. The activists may be aiming for the farmers’ pocketbooks. Driven by demand from nouveau riche Chinese and Russians, the price of a good mink pelt has zoomed to a record $100, Fur Commission U.S.A. estimates, from just $41 five years ago, and turned a handful of mostly backyard businesses into a $350 million-a-year industry. Read more here

Oil wells in California For oil companies, drilling on an acre of taxpayer-owned land is cheaper than a Starbucks coffee

America owns an enormous swath of the land at the heart of the nation’s energy boom – stunning wildlife territories like the Roan Plateau, where oil and gas can be found alongside rare plant and animal habitats – but American taxpayers are not very much benefitting financially. In the past five years, more than one third of crude oil and more than one fifth of natural gas have been drilled from territories owned by the U.S. taxpayer and leased to the oil and gas majors. Yet the lease rates Big Oil pays for access to this precious acreage, last updated in 1987, are based on valuations from a year when oil prices averaged around $18 a barrel. Since then, the cost of leases has not budged, even as America has witnessed an energy revolution and oil prices have climbed to more than $100.

Americans may be surprised to learn that although leases on taxpayer-owned territories can fetch thousands of dollars an acre in the competitive bidding process, the starting bid for an annual lease to explore for 10 years is just $2 an acre. (That is not a typo.) Put it this way: America charges less for drilling on an acre of taxpayer-owned land for a decade than Starbucks charges for a cup of coffee. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior that manages land leases, there are no plans to change that. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Illustration of science and the Canadian flag Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s war on science continues with a vengeance

This is a government interested mainly in what Canadians use and spend, and only passionate about those parts of Canada it can develop and sell off. It cares little about Canadians as citizens and even less about protecting Canada’s shared public goods and standing on guard for its natural capital.

Harper’s true agenda, pretty much all along, has been to dismantle the government’s great traditions of natural science and environmental stewardship, which until recently made Canada a world leader in both fields. This is a government waging a quiet legislative and administrative war on science – especially those fields of science dedicated to gathering and analyzing data on the health of Canada’s natural environment – and it has undone a century of good work with alarming efficiency since the passage of its sweeping omnibus budget bill in June 2012. Whatever is in this week’s throne speech, that budget remains the government’s most forceful statement of intent and clearest articulation of its overarching agenda. Read more here.

In their use of serviceable land and fresh water, farmers are the largest managers of natural resources on earth World Food Day: A Time to Embrace the Farming We Want

As we recognize World Food Day this week, it is a good time to consider two crucial challenges to humankind: safeguarding global food security in the face of climate change and population growth, and conserving biodiversity – the variety of life forms, and their ecosystems, that sustain life on our planet. Feeding the world is widely seen as the more serious problem, but many scientists believe the greater peril lies in wholesale loss of biodiversity.

So far food security and the conservation of biodiversity have largely been considered separately. In fact, they are intimately connected and hold out the possibility of producing powerful synergies that could boost food production and enhance biodiversity conservation. That is why farmers should care about conservation and conservationists should care about agriculture. Well-functioning ecosystems supply the vital services that allow both crops and humans to flourish. They provide fertile soil, clean air and water, and the pollination essential to make plants productive. At the same time, agricultural biodiversity helps reduce plant pests and diseases and facilitates adaptation to climate change. Read more here.

Climate justice advocates rally across from the White House, July 27, 2013. Fossil Fuel Euphoria: Hallelujah, Oil and Gas Forever!

For years, energy analysts had been anticipating an imminent decline in global oil supplies. Suddenly, they’re singing a new song: Fossil fuels growing scarce? Don’t even think about it! The news couldn’t be better: fossil fuels will become ever more abundant. This movement from gloom about our energy future to what can only be called fossil-fuel euphoria may prove to be the hallmark of our peculiar moment. As a result, the expected boost in energy is predicted to provide the United States with a cornucopia of economic and political rewards, including industrial expansion at home and enhanced geopolitical clout abroad.

This burst of euphoria about fossil fuels and America’s energy future is guaranteed to have a disastrous impact on the planet. In the long term, it will make Earth a hotter, far more extreme place to live by vastly increasing carbon emissions and diverting investment funds from renewables and green energy to new fossil fuel projects. For all the excitement these endeavors may be generating, it hardly takes a genius to see that they mean ever more carbon dioxide heading into the atmosphere and an ever less hospitable planet. Read more here.

Leaf BulletTalk Amongst Yourselves

A hot spot smolders in the burn area of the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park. Fuel In The Fire: Burn Wood For Power Or Leave It To Nature

Yosemite National Park’s recent raging fire brings up questions about thinning forests to control such wildfires that burn out of control when a forest gets overgrown. It also brings up the question of whether “thinned” lumber could be used in biomass plants to provide heat for homes. In this story, National Public Radio considers whether allowing forests to grow and do their jobs of capturing carbon from the atmosphere is the better choice when we consider what wildfires do to decimate landscapes and what controlled culling of lumber could do to support another renewable fuel resource. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Regional News

Home Massachusetts’ Solar-Energy Incentives Rock

Massachusetts – not California nor New Jersey, the two largest solar markets – took the top spot in the most recent Solar Power Rocks “State Solar Power Rankings,” for its solar-friendly policies and incentive system.

Massachusetts most likely took the top spot because of its strong solar incentive program, which the state has continued to expand. For instance, last spring the state hit its 250 megawatt solar target four years early, and the governor announced that Massachusetts would expand the amount of solar in the state to 1.6 gigawatts. Read more here.

'There's this misconception that dams protect properties downstream from flooding,' says Alex Mansfield of the Jones River Watershed Association. 'Removing dams helps prevent upstream and downstream flooding.' Dam Legacy Left Behind Damaged Ecosystems in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ industrial past left behind fragmented rivers, tattered ecosystems and lifeless mill ponds. Putting the ecosystem back together again requires removing dams – lots of them. Massachusetts is, for lack of a better description, constipated. Its 10,000 miles of rivers, streams and brooks are obstructed by nearly 3,000 dams, leaving the state susceptible to flooding, erosion and habitat degradation. On average, there is one dam for every 3 miles of river, but the state’s antiquated impediments typically cluster in areas.

Southeastern Massachusetts, for example, is dotted with dams. The long-ignored, or unrealized, problem with river dams was highlighted during heavy rains in 2005, when the near-collapse of the Whittenton Dam, which holds back the Mill River, garnered national attention. If the 173-year-old wooden structure had breached, a 4-foot-high wall of water would have overwhelmed downtown Taunton. Nearly 2,000 Taunton residents were evacuated, and schools and businesses were closed for several days. Read more here.

Offshore wind turbines Maine Offshore Wind Project Abandoned After Norwegian Energy Company Scraps $120 Million Plans

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Norwegian company Statoil announced that it was abandoning a proposed $120 million wind project off the coast of Maine, which industry officials once said could make Maine a leader in offshore wind power, after Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration maneuvered to reopen the competitive bidding process. The company said in a statement that changes in terms with the state and scheduling delays “made the project outlook too uncertain to proceed.”

Renewable energy industry officials, environmental groups and lawmakers said Tuesday that losing Statoil’s project is a significant blow to the state’s ability to cultivate an offshore wind industry and doesn’t bode well for future investment in the state. Read more here

Homeless Hundreds of Massachusetts families forced back to hotels for homeless as rental assistance program winds down

Avalos is among the 5,400 families enrolled in the state’s HomeBASE rental assistance program that are starting to roll off the two-year program. The assistance is scheduled to end for all recipients by June 30, 2014, according to a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Community Development. Lawmakers and homelessness advocates are worried there could be many more families like Avalos in the coming months as the HomeBASE program comes to an end.

The number of homeless families in Massachusetts seeking shelter in hotels and motels surged over the summer, jumping from 1,230 in April to 1,710 in August. Last week, the number hit an all-time high of 2,038, according to DHCD. State housing officials estimate approximately 20 percent of the people who come off the program will wind up back in shelters. Advocates think the number could be higher. Read more here.

UMass President Robert Caret and UMD Chancellor Divina Grossman UMass president’s statewide tour highlights Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing

The suites and rooms have been carved out, the skylight installed overhead. Most of the drywall is up, ceiling panels and windows installed in the 25,000-square-foot structure at 1 Innovation Way that will soon house the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing (MAB). The air vents, walls and floor – still covered with a little dust and tape – need finishing.

The purpose of UMass President Robert Caret’s tour was to trumpet UMass’ importance as a driver of economic development to state legislators. The university, according to Caret and other university officials, provides students with an education, communities with a resource and businesses with a space to try out new products and work with their potential future employees. Read more here.

phragmites Mighty phragmites make mess of marshes

Called insidious, aggressive, and opportunistic, phragmites is the Rasputin of plants with a root system akin to the Boston mob, and in Marion and Mattapoisett the plant is legion. The invasive reed is taking over many marshes and wetland areas on the South Coast and it isn’t easily conquered. But conservationists say it can be defeated with a good plan and plenty of perseverance.

The tall, hearty plants with the feathery tips have almost no predators in the U.S., said Mattapoisett Land Trust President Gary Johnson, and their root systems are hard to beat. “It creates a massive root structure that becomes impenetrable to native species,” Johnson said. In addition to killing beach views, the matted roots push out cattails and other native plant life and can eventually change the elevation of marshes. They can also impact wildlife. Read more here.

Other Regional Headlines of Interest


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Caulk Now, Before Winter’s Chill

Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weatherstripping. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

How to Store Water in a Compact Space

One practical way if you are planning to bug in, is to get the 275-gallon water totes. They are a heavy-duty plastic container surrounded by a metal cage. Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for October 11 to October 18, 2013

 

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Forest near the village of Arkhiz in Russia's southern Karachayevo-Cherkessia region. From Russia with Climate Love: Abandoned Soviet Farms Saving Environment

Although the early 1990s were marked by economic chaos, Russia’s new “capitalist” oligarchs were able to take lucrative state-held companies private on the cheap. Then came Russia’s oil boom, and suddenly you had a very small group of people making terrible amounts of money by producing more fossil fuels – and emitting plenty of carbon in the process.

While all this was playing out, the vast collective farms that symbolized Stalinist nationalism at home – and were symbolic of the state’s socialist failures abroad – were gradually returning to the wild. The transition of those 111,197,421 acres, the largest land-use change in the 20th century, has played a significant role in offsetting the country’s carbon emission – albeit a completely accidental one. The abandonment of those farms, which amounts to 23 percent of arable land in Russia, is sequestering 42.5 million metric tons of carbon per year. That amounts to a 10 percent offset of the country’s annual CO2 emissions. Read more here.

Graphic of Youth Unemployment Statistics Unemployment Plagues Young People Around The World

In many countries, youth employment is understood as a pressing domestic issue. But the proper lens is global: From Europe to North America to the Middle East, unemployment among young people has swelled into a veritable epidemic, one that threatens economic growth and social stability in dozens of countries for decades to come. Worldwide, some 75 million workers under age 25 were jobless last year, according to the International Labour Office, an increase of more than 4 million compared to 2007.

The crisis is altering family dynamics, as parents find themselves caring for grown children and as unemployed young people defer starting their own families. It is reinforcing austerity, as governments struggle to finance unemployment benefits and large numbers of would-be young consumers find themselves hunkering down in joblessness. Above all, it is assailing the psyches of young people who have been told that education is the pathway to a more prosperous life only to find that their degrees are no antidote to a bleak job market. Read more here.

Garment workers in Bangladesh Can fashion companies use technology to connect with and protect supply chain workers?

In a post-Rana Plaza tragedy world, one can only wonder how best to gauge the ethics and worker safety behind our garment-manufacturing industry. The goliath that the fashion industry has become begs the question whether it’s even possible to ensure suppliers do the right thing. Many of the Rana Plaza workers feared they would lose their jobs if they didn’t go to work at the unsafe factory building. This idea of relying on poorly paid workers, who risk death to be paid little more than minimum wage, brings up the elephant in the room: when people need to survive, they’ll do whatever they have to do.

According to Ineke Zeldenrust, international co-ordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, which focuses on improving working conditions and supporting the empowerment of garment workers, tools such as Labor Link are worthwhile when used in collaboration with credible groups who can ensure workers have an individual voice. In addition to creating binding contracts like the Bangladesh Safety Accord, Zeldenrust says workers should also have the right to freely organise themselves into democratic trade unions. Read more here.

Tropical coral reefs will be among the first ecosystems to shift to a climate hotter than any conditions of the past 150 years. Get Ready for Record Temperatures…for the Rest of Your Life

Within 35 years, even a cold year will be warmer than the hottest year on record, according to research published in Nature. The study, which used 39 climate models to make a single temperature index for places all over the world. The study found that the tropics will reach the point when even a cold year is hot based on past temperatures, referred to by the researchers as “climate departure,” sooner than areas to the north. Climate departure will happen in 2025 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and 2034 in Mumbai, India, for example, compared to a global average year of 2047. In coral reefs, both pH and temperatures are climbing. “Our paper’s showing that pH is already well beyond the historical threshold,” co-author Abby Frazier told reporters Tuesday.

These estimates assumed that there is no major push to curb carbon emissions in the coming years. The study also predicted a second set of temperatures for an alternate future, in which there’s what lead researcher Camilo Mora calls a “strong and concerted” effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That scenario would result in there being 538 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere in 2100, which is significantly lower than the 936 ppm that the researchers estimate will be in the atmosphere without that effort. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Barn Farmers and ranchers build sustainable energy barn in path of Keystone XL

A number of citizen farmers and ranchers pushing against the Keystone XL have actually gone and built a “sustainable energy barn” right in the path of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, in order to show their disdain for and opposition to the Keystone XL while also showing their respect for life and clean energy at the same time. Watch the video: Read more here.

Gas pump Ethanol Blending Mandates May Be Reduced In 2014, Oil Companies Pleased

Federal environmental regulators are expected to significantly reduce their biofuel blending mandates for next year, marking a historic retreat from an ambitious 2007 law, according to industry and trade sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a proposal that would set next year’s target for use of renewable fuels at 15.21 billion gallons, less than the 18.15-billion gallon 2014 target established in the law, according to the sources.

The proposal, if ultimately approved, would mark a significant victory for U.S. oil companies, who have been lobbying regulators and Congress to cut biofuel blending mandates that had been eating into their market share. It would also mark a significant blow to the U.S. corn ethanol industry, which has been urging regulators to stand pat at the ambitious blending targets required under the law. Read more here.

Kogi BBQ Truck Food Truck Pioneer Battles Food Deserts With High Cuisine

Roy Choi is one of Los Angeles’ most admired and charismatic civic leaders, one who is raising the bar on what it means for chefs to serve and feed their communities. For Choi, that means chefs need to find ways to bring healthier food, with the creative flavors they’ve honed in their restaurants, to the people who will never be able to afford their restaurants.

“My dream is that in 20 years we won’t have this same society where inner cities have no options for food except fast food,” he says. “I believe we can change it because of what happened with street food,” referring to the explosive growth of the food truck movement that he helped launch. “But we have to use the same model and framework of fast food, the same economic model, the same price point, to get them there.” Read more here

Drought has caused shortages of water for cooling at Martin Lake, a coal-fired plant in East Texas, according to the Department of Energy. In a Hot, Thirsty Energy Business, Water Is Prized

With so much focus on carbon emitted from the nation’s power plants, another environmental challenge related to electricity generation is sometimes overlooked: the enormous amount of water needed to cool the power-producing equipment. In the United States almost all electric power plants, 90 percent, are thermoelectric plants, which essentially create steam to generate electricity. To cool the plants, power suppliers take 40 percent of the fresh water withdrawn nationally, 136 billion gallons daily, the United States Geological Survey estimates. This matches the amount withdrawn by the agricultural sector and is nearly four times the amount for households.

Battles for water among these competing interests are becoming more common, and power plants are not always winning. A recent analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists revealed many examples from 2006 to 2012 of plants that had temporarily cut back or shut down because local water supplies were too low or too warm to cool the plant efficiently. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Food Bank If We Want a Civilized Society, Charities Can’t Fill the Void Left by Government

Last week, I made an online donation to the Greater Boston food bank. After doing so, I spent several minutes trying to process how I felt. I didn’t feel virtuous. What I felt was intense anger. The donation was following the example of my friend Suzanne Fischer, who had pointed out that the government shutdown meant that WIC was suspended. If you’re unfamiliar with it, WIC is more formally known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and it provides supplemental food vouchers and support to nearly 8.9 million people, mostly women and children under the age of five. Without it, they’re going without food and formula.

We live in an enormous, connected web of systems, and some building blocks of our civilization just can’t be addressed by individuals or small groups of people. Most of us flat-out don’t have the expertise to deal with them. Those groceries are the endpoint of a global supply chain – how do we keep our food safe? Our transportation systems span the continent – how do we get travelers where they’re going, safely and on time? Epidemiologists track diseases that emerge on other continents, long before they reach our neighborhoods. The idea that we live in self-sufficient communities where we can all watch out for each other is long gone. Read more here.

Sharing More Food Doesn’t Guarantee Less Hunger

The corporations that fund the World Food Prize may not entirely drive its agenda, but they certainly influence it. By focusing on the sheer volume of food in the world, they aim to reduce global hunger to a simple matter of science. Then they sell us on the idea that we need their products to increase the amount of food farmers harvest from each acre. But producing more food doesn’t always mean feeding more hungry mouths. The Food Sovereignty Prize recognizes that ending hunger is not a simple matter of growing more food. It involves social science as well as physical science.

Today, we grow more food than we need – and then throw 40 percent of it away. Meanwhile, many Americans can afford to eat enough calories but only by buying cheap junk food that will ultimately make them sick. And that’s just in America, a wealthy nation. What about poor countries? Read more here.

Illustration (The Difficulty of) Looking at Climate Change

Sometimes I wish media stories were organized in proportion to their impact. Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change, there is not paper enough on this planet to properly scale up a story to the right size. If you gave it the complete front page to suggest its import, you would then have to print the rest of the news at some sort of nanoscale and include an electron microscope for reading ease. Hold up your hand. It’s so big it can block out the sun, though you know that the sun is so much bigger. Now look at the news: in column inches and airtime, a minor controversy or celebrity may loom bigger than the planet. The problem is that, though websites and print media may give us the news, they seldom give us the scale of the news or a real sense of the proportional importance of one thing compared to another. And proportion, scale, is the main news we need right now – maybe always.

Given the demands of the task and the muddle of the mainstream media, it’s remarkable that so many people get it, and that they do so despite massive, heavily funded petroleum industry propaganda campaigns is maybe a victory, if not enough of one. Read more here.

Leaf BulletTalk Amongst Yourselves

Svartsengi geothermal plant in Iceland supplies electricity and gases for renewable methanol branded as Vulcanol. Iceland Seeks to Cash In On Its Abundant Renewable Energy

Iceland has the greatest green energy economy on earth with its abundance of geothermal and hydrothermal energy supplies. They turn carbon dioxide from volcanos into a natural non-greenhouse gas and export it in a gasoline form called Vulcanol. Currently, Greenlanders have a plan top lay a deep-sea cable to Scotland to sell power to the U.K., while residents and industries that moved to Greenland for it’s cheap power supply worry that will drive energy prices up. Activists say all sustainability is “local.” Is Greenland’s plan to expand the way things will go in the new green energy marketplace, or is it just a blip on the radar as countries discover their own ways to make green energy? Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Regional News

Brayton Point Station Brayton coal power station to close by 2017

SOMERSET – Just five weeks after closing on the purchase of the Brayton Point Power Station, new owners Equipower, a subsidiary of investment partners Energy Capital Markets of Short Hills, N.J., disclosed Monday that they intend to shutter the plant as of June 2017. The Conservation Law Foundation immediately declared this the “death knell” for coal-fired power plants in New England.

The decision was spurred by failure to agree with the region’s power grid managing company, ISO New England, which cut one-third from Brayton Point’s proposed pricing arrangement for future years. Brayton Point Station, the largest of six coal-fired plants in New England, employs approximately 240 workers. Read more here.

Also read Environmentalists, activists cheer Brayton closing.

The Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence at Johnson & Wales University in Providence was designed with climate change in mind. New England Architects Design for an Unstable Climate

BOSTON – An urban planner, an environmental writer, a hospital manager and an architect shared their visions of how to strengthen the city’s built environment at a recent forum titled “Building a Resilient City: Preparing Our Buildings for Climate Change.” “You have to think about this as a war effort,” said Kairos Shen, chief planner at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He said the cost of addressing climate change will be comparable to that of responding to World War II.

Blake Jackson, sustainability practice leader at TK&A Architects, reminded the audience not to panic. “This building isn’t about fear,” he said, showing a diagram of the Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence at Johnson & Wales University in Providence. The building could potentially face storm surges from two directions and may become a refuge for the nearby community. Read more here.

John MacPherson of Dorchester, a World War II veteran, gets $941 a month in Social Security benefits and has received heating assistance for years. Fuel aid in Mass. halted by shutdown

The US government’s shutdown is cutting off federal fuel assistance to tens of thousands of poor and elderly Massachusetts residents just as the heating season gets underway. With billions of dollars for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, tied up in the budget dispute in Washington, at least one of the 20 agencies in Massachusetts that administer the fuel assistance here has shuttered the program and laid off workers. Other agencies are approaching that point.

At this time of year, Action for Boston Community Development Inc., would normally use the coming federal funds to help people with past-due bills get their heat restored or keep it from getting turned off before the onset of cold weather. ABCD helps funnel heating aid to about 20,000 needy households in Boston, Brookline, and Newton. Just more than $3 billion was allocated nationally to the federal heating assistance program last year. The poorest households in Massachusetts qualified for up to $1,125 in aid. Read more here.

The Salvation Army�s Stephen Golden and Jen Pinto restock the shelves of the pantry. Regional food pantries see increased food demand

In mid-August, for the first time in years, the Dartmouth Council on Aging closed its food pantry after it ran out of food. It didn’t reopen until this month. “The difficulty we are facing is having enough food to meet the needs of the people coming in,” said Debra Raymond, director. “We are just not receiving as many donations as in the past.”

The Dartmouth COA pantry isn’t the only one struggling to keep food on its shelves. Across the region, several food pantries are seeing an increase in demand and a decline in donations as more and more people struggle to make ends meet. “It’s going to be tough leading into the holiday,” said Bill Shell, director of the Hunger Commission of Southeastern Massachusetts under United Way, who delivers food to Bristol County food pantries. Read more here.

John McNulty and his home Newport Resident Fights For Years to Get His Own Wind Energy

John McNulty wasn’t about to give up on a wind turbine. The 72-year-old, lifelong city resident and retired builder with a tireless mechanical mind seems to have won his fight with City Hall, as a new 39-foot-high wind turbine is on its way. McNulty, whose home and yard is awash in quirky signs and construction materials, still had to resolve a lawsuit with the city over four small-scale rooftop turbines he erected without consent. The turbines and other rooftop poles prompted complaints from neighbors, and ultimately forced the Planning Board to write standards.

McNulty’s victory won’t come without a cost. McNulty estimates he spent an estimated $50,000 in legal fees, while the turbine and its installation will cost some $80,000. But the expense seems worth it to McNulty, who dug in after getting resistance from the city. In particular, he was spurred on by Mayor Henry Winthrop, who McNulty said, vowed to prevent a new turbine. “It didn’t stop me,” he said. Read more here

Oliver Anderson, a seasonal worker from Jamaica at Mann Orchards in Methuen, can earn overtime pay only in certain situations. Farmers scared of labor officials during harvests

Heeding advice from industry groups, Fitzgerald has started paying overtime to his Jamaican field hands this year, even though federal law exempts agricultural operations from most overtime pay requirements. He’s not taking any chances, he said. He’s learned that workers become eligible for 1.5 times their usual hourly rate after 40 hours in a work week if they handle even one box of produce from another farm. It is an increasingly common practice for small farmers who rely on other growers to supplement their yields as they meet the demands for fresh produce from Community Supported Agriculture programs, farmers markets, and stores such as Whole Foods.

Under federal rules, an operation is deemed agriculture, and therefore exempt from overtime-pay requirements, when it involves raising or harvesting crops. However, it’s reclassified as another type of enterprise – such as wholesaling or retailing – if the operation involves selling crops from another farm. A worker who handles produce grown on another property becomes eligible for overtime pay after 40 hours, even if most of the week is spent working in the farm’s fields. In Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, the US Department of Labor investigated 30 agriculture-related cases involving the Fair Labor Standards Act in the federal fiscal year. Read more here.

Other Regional Headlines of Interest


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

How to green your wallpaper

Often, “green” seems to mean “boring,” but this isn’t the case with ecologically friendly wallpapers. They come in a huge range of patterns and designs including matte and glossy, flocked and otherwise, and the colors, prints, and design accents are bright, colorful, and fun. There’s lots of room for design inspiration with green wallpapers, allowing you to switch up rooms with bold new color … while making sure to protect the environment. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

Make a portable solar powered outlet that can go anywhere

From camping trips, to powering a drill while making things outside, this outlet can help you make and play with the power of the sun. Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for October 4 to October 11, 2013

 

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Calcified Flamingo Deadly lake turns animals into statues

Unless you are an alkaline tilapia (Alcolapia alcalica) – an extremophile fish adapted to the harsh conditions – Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania is not the best place to live. Temperatures in the lake can reach 60 C, and its alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5.

The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified. Read more here.

Coal World’s Largest Coal Miner To Run Out Of Reserves In Less Than 20 Years, Claims Greenpeace

In a startling revelation, Greenpeace India has claimed that the world’s largest coal miner, and essentially India, could run out of recoverable coal reserves within 17 years. Coal India Limited is the world’s largest coal mining company and enjoys a monopoly in the Indian coal sector.

According to the recently adopted United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Fuel and Mineral Resources, Coal India’s recoverable reserves stand at 17.15 billion tonnes; Greenpeace India pegs recoverable reserves of non-coking coal at 15.4 billion tonnes. At the expected rate of production (government intends to meet maximum demand from domestic sources to keep electricity tariffs low), these reserves will be exhausted by within the next 13 years. Read more here.

The new fishing system is designed to reduce injury and death caused to unwanted bycatch in traditional nets. It’s here – the future of commercial fishing

New trawling technology – billed as “the future of sustainable fishing” – has been unveiled to the New Zealand seafood industry. The system, which has been in development in this country for almost 10 years, uses a large, flexible PVC tube instead of a traditional mesh trawling net.

The net is hauled on to a vessel full of water with the aim of keeping the fish inside alive. Traditional trawling nets kill most of the catch by the time it’s hauled on to a vessel. And trawlers that net more than their entitlement of legal-size fish must also pay penalty rates to the Government, which results in the illegal practice of dumping dead fish overboard. Read more here.

Global Warming Has the U.N. Climate Panel Now Outlived Its Usefulness?

Some scientists are saying the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is overly conservative and fails to mention some of the most worrisome possible scenarios. The panel, they contend, is no longer fulfilling its mission of informing policy makers of the risks of global warming.

There is a narrative about the IPCC that has received less attention. Some of those involved in the report process believe the natural caution among scientists – coupled perhaps with a wish not to repeat some exaggerations that marred some previous IPCC reports, and the effect of politicians looking over their shoulders – has created a report that is overly conservative, even biased, in its conclusions. Rather than lowering its expectations of warming, these scientists say, perhaps the panel should be raising them. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Go home, tourists. What the Government Shutdown Means for Energy and Environment

With the federal government closed for business, what happens to cleanup at hazardous waste sites or critical weather alerts, for example? Here’s a brief rundown on how the closure affects all things green – be they national parks like Yosemite, toxic Superfund sites, or clean tech research divisions within the Department of Energy, for example. Read more here.

Also read During The Shutdown, EPA Is Prevented From Cleaning Up Almost Two-Thirds Of Toxic Waste Sites

Marcellus Shale Fracking site Fracking May Be Polluting Rivers with Radioactive Waste

Fracking may be contaminating a Pennsylvania river with radioactive waste, a Duke University study shows. Scientists found elevated levels of radioactivity in river water at a site where treated fracking wastewater from oil and gas production sites in western Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale is released into a creek.

Studies have shown that energy production, including the waste water associated with fracking – a method of injecting chemicals, sand and water deep underground to crack rock formations to release oil and natural gas – may release significant fugitive methane emissions, helping to drive climate change. Duke researchers looked at sediment samples collected downstream of the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility in Indiana County, Penn., and found that radium levels were 200 times greater in those samples when compared to those collected upstream of the plant. Read more here

Corn Disease Ruining Corn Yields

The disease, named for R. W. Goss, a longtime Nebraska plant pathologist, is caused by a bacterium with the formidable name Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskensis. When a plant is damaged by hail or other heavy weather, the microbe enters the wound and infects its vascular system, scarring the leaves with brownish-yellow lesions sprinkled with black freckles. The infection may or may not kill the plant, depending on when it comes, but it almost always curtails yields. And for farmers who have never seen the infection before, it is deeply disconcerting.

No one is certain why Goss’s wilt has become so rampant in recent years. But many plant pathologists suspect that the biggest factor is the hybrids chosen for genetic modification by major seed companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta. About 90 percent of the corn grown in the United States comes from seeds that have been engineered in a laboratory, their DNA modified with genetic material not naturally found in corn species. Read more here.

Thousands of walruses 10,000 Walruses Converge On Alaskan Beach As Arctic Sea Ice Declines

An estimated 10,000 walrus unable to find sea ice over shallow Arctic Ocean water have come ashore on Alaska’s northwest coast. The gathering of walrus on shore is a phenomenon that has accompanied the loss of summer sea ice as the climate has warmed.

As temperatures warm in summer, the edge of the sea ice recedes north. Females and their young ride the edge of the sea ice into the Chukchi Sea. However, in recent years, sea ice has receded north beyond continental shelf waters and into Arctic Ocean water 10,000 feet deep or more where walrus cannot dive to the bottom. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Dutch Boy When the Levees Break: Disasters Converging on a Finite Planet

By Richard Heinberg

Here in early 21st century there are three dams about to break, and in each case a calamity is being postponed. A grasp of the status of these three delayed disasters, and what’s putting them off, can be helpful in navigating waters that now rise slowly, though soon perhaps in torrents.

The folks in charge will probably continue to buy as much time as they can, for as long as they can, even if doing so makes the situation worse in the long run. Nature is less predictable: humans cannot control the duration of the global warming “pause.” The phrase “living on borrowed time” inevitably comes to mind, with its implication of impending doom. Yet we simply don’t know how serious the impacts of these delayed crises will be within a humanly meaningful timeframe – say, the next ten or twenty years. Doom is possible, but it may be that nature, central banks, and crafty drillers conspire to maintain the appearance of normalcy in the eyes of at least a substantial portion of the population even as the waters rise around our ankles. No collapse here, folks; just keep shopping. Read more here.

Scarecrow Whom to Blame for the Shutdown? How About Ourselves?

So the government is shut down, the inmates are in charge of the congressional insane asylum, and most of the media look like the Scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz” pointing evenly in opposite directions as they place blame.

And this is where the real blame lies – in ourselves, and in our failure as a body politic to end gerrymandering. With the major political parties setting the ground rules for the geographical shape of congressional districts, they ensure that incumbents face easy re-election by gaming the system through amoeba-shaped districts that collect the optimum number of voters for each respective party. Which means minority extremists like the tea party, with some organization and the help of a compliant media that fails to call out lunacy when it sees it, can seize control of the U.S. Congress. Or at least enough of it to shut down the U.S. government. Read more here.

David Defeating Dirty Energy: 5 Inspiring Examples of David Beating Goliath

Okay, so we’re all depressed. The planet is going to hell in a bucket, Congress is a train wreck, the fossil fuel lobby is stomping us into the ground, the Keystone XL pipeline means game over for climate change.

Right? No, wrong. And here’s why. I’ve never been a Pollyanna, but all over the world I see remarkable things happening. In one multi-billion dollar mega-project after another, David is standing up to Goliath – and winning. These projects run the whole gamut of dirty and destructive development, from coal and oil to open-pit mines and giant dams. Read more here.

Leaf BulletTalk Amongst Yourselves

WWF and Coca-Cola have partnered on polar bear conservation. Green NGOs cannot take big business cash and save planet

Can collaborations between, for example, the World Wildlife Federation and Coca-Cola really help save the planet? This author argues that no, the WWF and Coca-Cola team has only succeeded in selling over a billion bottles of soda rather than significantly making changes that save the polar bear that is on the bottle’s logo. When non-profits and big retail hook up, it corporatises the green efforts of the activists and waters down their campaigns, she argues. However, such teams do bring big money to world environmental groups. Does it matter where the money comes from? Is even green investment from oil and gas companies acceptable if it helps the eco-friendly bottom line? Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Regional News

Casco Bay waterkeeper Joe Payne Waterkeepers protect bodies of water, from Maine to Iraq to China

YARMOUTH, Maine (AP) – For 22 years, Joe Payne has patrolled the waters of Casco Bay, improving water quality, restoring clam flats, protecting young lobsters and mobilizing oil spill cleanup efforts. This October, he was honored for his work as Casco Bay baykeeper with a new 28-foot vessel christened in his name. But, he says he’s equally proud of the increased numbers of waterkeepers who oversee and protect bays, rivers, sounds, channels, inlets, lakes and creeks in 23 countries, on six continents.

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Payne with its 2012 Environmental Merit Award for a lifetime of advocacy for clean water. In 1992, Payne and six other waterkeepers formed the Alliance of River, Sound and Baykeepers with the aim of growing their numbers. By 1999, their ranks had increased to 34, and they formed the Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that sets standards for, and certifies waterkeepers worldwide. Read more here

Environmental Technology Lab Learning environment: sustainability rules at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech

Mason, a senior at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, already knows he wants a career in wastewater treatment. And he credits his lessons at Voc-Tech with helping teach him the importance of clean water.

Teaching the concepts of sustainability in tangible ways is definitely a priority. The school walks the walk as evidenced by its geothermal wells, a wind turbine, solar panels, aquaponics and a rain garden. And those are just some of the applied energy and environmental systems in place. The school’s environmental science and technology laboratory sports two 1,000 gallon fish tanks that teach students about self-sufficient energy systems and wastewater treatment. Read more here.

S&S's Urban Acres is selling produce to Whole Foods and the Farm Fresh Market Mobile. Solar-Powered Indoor Farm Sustains Fall River

FALL RIVER, Mass. – In a city with no shortage of concrete and asphalt looms a giant symbol of sustainability. The massive Durfee Union Mills complex in the heart of downtown is home to dozens of locally owned businesses, including a travel agency, an Internet service company and a fleece maker. That’s the intent of the mill’s owner, Greg Squillante, who wants to foster local businesses rather than continue the spread of national retailers.

Another Squillante-owned business, S&S’s Urban Acres, is an indoor hydroponics farm. Read more here.

Pilgrim Power Plant Is Cape Cod lacking in a nuclear accident strategy?

Truro Police Chief Kyle Takakjian said that Cape residents and their public safety leaders are “woefully and inadequately prepared” should there be a radioactive release at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, whether residents decide to stay in their homes or area emergency centers or make a break for the bridges.

The survey, paid for by Entergy Corp., owner and operator of the 41-year-old power plant, revealed most Cape residents had no idea whether their communities fell within the emergency planning zone – a 10-mile radius around the Plymouth plant considered at highest risk in a nuclear incident. Getting residents who live in the emergency planning zone to safety would be the priority after a radioactive release. None of the Cape is in that priority zone. Read more here.

Jen Nersesian, superintendent of New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park, and her staff take their personal items Tuesday from the Visitor Center on William Street in downtown New Bedford. Column: Government shutdown has collateral damage across SouthCoast

It was really, really not helpful – though done with the best intentions – for a Boston TV station to tell people that the New Bedford Whaling Museum would be closed because of the government shutdown. The museum’s marketing director, Arthur Motta, fired off an email to all his media contacts with a couple of basic declarative sentences with a whiff of panic:

“The New Bedford Whaling Museum remains open during the federal government shutdown. Separate and independent of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is a nonprofit institution governed by the Old Dartmouth Historical Society.” Thus is an innocent bystander nearly sucked under by the vortex of the sinking ship that is the federal government this week during the shutdown. Read more here.

Also read SouthCoast agencies hoping for short-term shutdown

Boston Pat yourself on your insulation, Boston.

Too often, people confuse calls for energy efficiency as beckoning us all to shiver in cold homes and take 90-second showers. It’s really not about that. It’s about using energy smarter, in a less wasteful and less expensive way. It’s about doing what we need – and what we want – while still using less energy. And picking up the ten-dollar bill.

At least Boston is trying to get folks to pick up the money, according to the ACEEE. The group noted the city’s efforts to do things like requiring new buildings to meet stricter energy codes, promoting rooftop vegetation, pushing insulation and air-leak retrofitting of old buildings, developing smart metering to show one’s electricity use and promoting bicycling in the city. All of which save consumers money, of course. Read more here.

Other Regional Headlines of Interest


Leaf BulletSave The Date

Forum on Sustainable Land Use

Thursday, October 10, 8:30am – Noon Woodland Commons, UMass Dartmouth
On a planet with populations exploding, land is perhaps our most precious commodity. It supports everything else we do. How do we best use it? Which parcels lend themselves to agriculture, which should be put into conservation protection, where are the hidden aquifers, what’s the best spot for development, and how do we site out newest technologies — renewable energy systems? Does it ever make sense to cut down a healthy forest for new uses of the land? How do we avoid sprawl and conserve ecosystems while still meeting human needs for land?

Join land use expert Dr. Curt Freese for a look at how we might create ecosystem banks that make undeveloped land valuable. He’ll examine systems of payment for ecosystem services as a tool for informing land use decisions. Curt will be followed by Steve Smith, Executive Director of SRPEDD and Katie Goodrum, Senior Planner of SRPEDD for a discussion of how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can inform better land use decisions. Then, listen to two foresters, Mollie Frellicher and Michael Downey, discuss urban and community forestry from the perspectives of both communities and landowners. Case studies in urban agriculture will be presented for Fall River and New Bedford.

For More Information, Contact Susan Jennings at 508-810-6958. You can register for the Land Use Forum here.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

10 reasons why thrift stores are awesome

I know we’ve been talking about the benefits of thrift stores for years, but it is a good time to revisit why we love them. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

How to get rid of stink bugs

Call it what you will, the noxious smell of these bugs will make you gag and likely clear a room. The stink bug is a recent visitor to the United States, and it seems to like it here. As a consequence, many homeowners are wondering about how to get rid of stink bugs. Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for September 27 to October 4, 2013

 

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Sunset What It Means To Be 95 Percent Certain About Climate Change

Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are about as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill. They are as sure about climate change as they are about the age of the universe. They say they are more certain about climate change than they are that vitamins make you healthy or that dioxin in Superfund sites is dangerous.

They’ll even put a number on how certain they are about climate change. But that number isn’t 100 percent. It’s 95 percent. And for some non-scientists, that’s just not good enough. Read more here.

Banana Worker Global Love Of Bananas May Be Bad for Costa Rica’s Wildlife

Americans love bananas. Each year, we eat more bananas than any other fruit. But banana growers use a lot of pesticides – and those chemicals could be hurting wildlife. As a new study shows, the pesticides are ending up in the bodies of crocodiles living near banana farms in Costa Rica, where many of the bananas we eat are .

Of course, there’s a reason why banana plantations rely heavily on pesticides. For one, banana trees are particularly susceptible to infestations. Read more here.

Dolphin activist Satoshi Komiyama holds a sign that translates into 'Freedom for Dolphins' Taking a Stand: One Japanese Protester’s Fight Against the Slaughter of Dolphins and Whales

The whale and dolphin drive in Taiji is now in its fourth week and protests have been staged around the world, including in Japan. But the annual slaughter has always received far more media attention and public outrage outside the country. Within Japan, most people seem to have little knowledge of the cetacean blood being spilled around the archipelago.

Veteran activists from the hunt, such as Ric O’Barry, star of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove and head of Save Japan Dolphins, have long argued that if real change is going to happen in Japan, it will have to come from inside. It cannot be imposed by foreigners – no matter how vocal, well-organized, or well-meaning they may be. Slowly, more Japanese citizens are catching on to what is happening, and each year, greater numbers of protestors who show up at the cove now are actually from Japan. It is important that their voices be heard. Read more here.

Erecting a turbine Dutch Wind Turbine Purchase Sets World Crowdfunding Record

Raising 1.3 million Euros in just thirteen hours, 1700 Dutch households that came together to buy shares in a wind turbine have set a new world record for crowdfunding.

The purchase was organised by Windcentrale, a company that facilitates cooperative wind turbine purchases. Windcentrale says it has enabled more than 6,900 Dutch citizens to buy shares in wind turbines, and according to co-founder Harm Reitsma there is a growing list of several thousand people who have expressed interest in future purchase options. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Expiration Date The date on your food package is meaningless

Nine out of ten Americans needlessly throw away food according to a new report on expiration dates and sell-by dates. Published by The Natural Resources Defense Council and Harvard’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, the report explains the confusion created by the current paradigm of inconsistent food dating policies and proposes improvements.

There are two main reasons why the dates on food packaging are confusing. First, there’s confusion about what the date means. Most consumers think that the dates on the food in their fridge say something about food safety. But most “sell by,” “use by” and “best by” dates are intended to indicate freshness, and says nothing about when food may spoil. “It creates confusion and leads many consumers to believe, mistakenly, that date labels are signals of a food’s microbial safety,” the report says: Read more here.

Neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy How High-Density Infrastructure Makes Us Safer During Natural Disasters

In the face of threats natural or man-made, history has shown that our first impulse is often to diffuse the population. The 1956 Highway Defense Act, for instance, was enacted to achieve two goals: first, to spread Americans out from concentrated inner cities in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack; and second, to create a network of highways with bridges elevated enough to transport American intercontinental ballistic missiles. Today, as we confront climate-related risk, population diffusion may be a knee-jerk response, but it is important to remember that this sprawl only exacerbates the problem. Policies that support the development of dense urban areas are critical tools in mitigating climate-related risks. Cities allow us to be more resilient. Read more here.

Firing Range Lead Poisoning Puts Workers At Risk Thanks To Outdated Regulations

“The OSHA standard is so out of date, it’s just ridiculous,” said Howard Hu, dean of the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Hu referenced the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s current safety limit of 40 to 60 micrograms per deciliter of lead in a worker’s blood, depending on the situation. Scientific studies have hinted that chronic blood lead levels as low as 2 micrograms per deciliter may raise the risk of death from a heart attack or stroke.

Evidence is also emerging of the role tiny amounts of lead may play in cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and kidney problems, along with other health issues common among Americans. Read more here

Arthur Morgan The solution to America’s food waste problem: Feed people

Joe Hamilton and Arthur Morgan belong to a new food recovery organization called Gather Baltimore. Every week – under the direction of the energetic Morgan – volunteers collect some 15 tons of fresh produce that would otherwise end up in the compost, or more likely, the landfill. Then they give it away to people who need it.

In the United States, around 40 percent of the food we produce goes to waste, while nearly 15 percent of American families experience food insecurity in a given year. It wouldn’t take much of an arm to kill those two birds with one stone. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Escalator in mall America’s dying mall culture

I feel at home in dead malls. When I walk inside and absorb the silence, when I see the empty storefronts and walk past second-rate retailers that barely cling to life inside the twilight corridors, the sights stir up a bone-deep memory of a golden age, and the sadness of it gives me comfort.

I think I love dead malls because I am a Midwesterner, a born-and-bred Kansas City man who has lived most of his life within flyover country. I can identify with a place that was once great, a place where you look up and realize that the great herd of humanity has moved on. Read more here.

Solar trees Beating Swords Into Solar Panels: Re-Purposing America’s War Machine

War, the military-industrial complex, and the national security state that go with it cost in every sense an arm and a leg. And that, in the twenty-first century, has been where so many American tax dollars have gone. This reality has slowly sunk into American consciousness, which may be why the public in opinion polls has proven so clearly opposed to jumping into another overseas conflict when tax dollars are desperately needed at home.

Here’s what no one is talking about: maintaining that staggering level of military funding would mean squandering a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Read more here.

Members of the Kuna Yala The Rights of Mother Earth vs. Carbon Trading

The Kuna Yala people of Panama recently prevailed over a threat to their lands, in the form of carbon trading. REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a global program promoted by the U.N., industrialized nations, and international financial institutions like the World Bank. REDD allows countries and corporations to buy “clean-air” credits from countries with undeveloped forests. In exchange, governments, indigenous nations, and other groups agree to preserve areas of their forests, with the rationale that the trees’ absorption of carbon, the element that causes global warming, will counteract damage done by industrial polluters.

Because indigenous nations and communities have preserved their forests so well, they are everywhere being targeted by REDD projects. What may sound like dry policy is in fact a contest in who has control over the land, the air, and future: those who have stewarded the earth for millennia, or those who want to buy and sell it as merchandise. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Regional News

South Coast Rail Project Manager Jean Fox shows a map of a proposed rail line extension from Stoughton to Fall River and New Bedford. South Coast Rail One Step Closer to Reality

NEW BEDFORD – A 75-minute train trip from Fall River to South Station took a step toward becoming reality after Gov. Deval Patrick announced a key federal environmental review was completed, with the recommended route being the state’s favored Stoughton rail line.

Thirty-one SouthCoast communities would be connected to the new Purple Line extension south of Stoughton. The line would include stops in Easton, Raynham, and a pair of stations in Taunton. The line would split into two branches south of Taunton at Cotley Junction in Berkley. On the western spur, one rail station is proposed for Freetown and two in Fall River; on the eastern spur, two rail stations would be in New Bedford. Read more here.

Also read Activists say Stoughton commuter rail route would be environmental disaster

Dunes in Wellfleet Climate change hits Cape, Islands

Rising sea levels and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme storms are three acknowledged effects of higher ocean temperatures because of human-caused global warming. Despite a relatively calm hurricane season thus far, scientists said the overall trend is that an uptick in the frequency of tropical hurricanes mirrors the rise in seawater temperatures.

That is particularly worrisome to those who live on a sand peninsula and islands with some of the most dynamic coastlines in the world. “We are vulnerable,” warned Scott Goetz, deputy director of the Woods Hole Research Center. Read more here.

Pilgrim Power Plant With Vermont Yankee soon to close, will Pilgrim Nuclear Plant follow?

PLYMOUTH – The news that Entergy will decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, together with what seem to be almost daily miscues at the reactor in our own backyard, has created the impression that, despite having just received a 20-year extension to its operating license, Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station won’t be producing power for much longer.

We asked Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, for his perspective on the Vermont Yankee decision, the energy market in New England and the future of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. Read more here.

Bike Lane Providence’s New Bike Plan Embraces Pedal Power

Making the city more bicycle friendly means more than signing and striping bike corridors – which was the main focus of the original Providence bicycling plan. The city’s new bike master plan aims to make cycling a viable option for getting around.

“The idea is for it to be considered normal to use your bike instead of a car,” said Bill DeSantis, the corporate director of bike/pedestrian transportation for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. (VHB). “We’ve turned the corner on bike importance. This plan will keep biking on the city’s radar as Providence grows and changes.” The Bike Providence plan will allow the city, according to its authors, to create a local bicycling vision using the five E’s of bicycle planning: education, enforcement, engineering, encouragement and evaluation. They note that cities with comprehensive bicycling plans have higher levels of cycling participation. Read more here.

Foliage How Climate Change Threatens Fall Colors

First sweaters, now leaves? It’s the beginning of fall, which traditionally signifies the coming of brilliant fall colors. But as climate change drives major shifts – such as higher temperatures and severe drought – experts predict it could spell trouble for that annual burst of color.

Diminished fall colors are not just an aesthetic change – they are a significant economic driver from the Midwest to New England. Last year, fall tourism brought over $1.5 billion to Maine alone, according to LiveScience. And Climate Central points out that “national statistics are hard to come by, but officials in New Hampshire estimate that leaf-peeping tourists pump up the state economy by about $1 billion each year” with the estimate being about the same for North Carolina. Read more here

Turbines Wind power now competitive with conventional sources in New England

The state’s biggest utilities, in a milestone for New England’s wind power industry, have signed long-term contracts to buy wind-generated electricity at prices below the costs of most conventional sources, such as coal and nuclear plants.

The utilities – National Grid, Northeast Utilities, and Unitil Corp. – would buy 565 megawatts of electricity from six wind farms in Maine and New Hampshire, enough to power an estimated 170,000 homes. The projects, in various stages of permitting or development, are expected to begin operations between 2014 and 2016. Read more here.

Other Regional Headlines of Interest


Leaf BulletSave The Date

From Divestment to Reinvestment: Unplugging from Fossil Fuels to Empower the New Economy

Wednesday, October 2, 3:30pm – 6pm Woodland Commons Building, UMass Dartmouth
With Keynote Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Learn how every penny saved on fossil fuels can help build a healthier, more sustainable new economy. Some say without fossil fuels our economy will collapse. We say there is a new economy to be made. When we spend on oil and gas, money is sent overseas and wasted on enterprises that pollute our environment while endangering our future. Divesting from fossil fuels – shifting our spending into renewable and green energy sources, also keeps our spending close to home since green energy sources are necessarily local and nonpolluting. With more money to spend locally, we can keep our towns and cities strong with socially and environmentally responsible businesses.
Panel of Presenters of including:

  • Stephanie Rearick, Director, Dane County Wisconsin Timebank
  • Carlos Espinoza-Toro, Community Organizer of the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition
  • Stacey Cordeiro, Co-op Organizer at Boston Center for Community Ownership
  • Chaired by Prof. Rachel Kulick, UMass Dartmouth

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org). He is a storyteller and organizer best known for his efforts to bridge the stuck national debate about wealth inequality and taxes. His present work also examines how to build community resilience and make a healthy transition to the new sustainable economy. He is co-coordinating Divest-Reinvest, a network of foundations, congregations and individuals moving money out of the fossil fuel sector and into the new economy.

Co-sponsored with The Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability, The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange, Bristol Community College Institute for Sustainability and Post-Carbon Education, and the Institute for Policy Studies Register for the event here.

Forum on Sustainable Land Use

Thursday, October 10, 8:30am – Noon Woodland Commons, UMass Dartmouth
On a planet with populations exploding, land is perhaps our most precious commodity. It supports everything else we do. How do we best use it? Which parcels lend themselves to agriculture, which should be put into conservation protection, where are the hidden aquifers, what’s the best spot for development, and how do we site out newest technologies — renewable energy systems? Does it ever make sense to cut down a healthy forest for new uses of the land? How do we avoid sprawl and conserve ecosystems while still meeting human needs for land?

Join land use expert Dr. Curt Freese for a look at how we might create ecosystem banks that make undeveloped land valuable. He’ll examine systems of payment for ecosystem services as a tool for informing land use decisions. Curt will be followed by Steve Smith, Executive Director of SRPEDD and Katie Goodrum, Senior Planner of SRPEDD for a discussion of how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can inform better land use decisions. Then, listen to two foresters, Mollie Frellicher and Michael Downey, discuss urban and community forestry from the perspectives of both communities and landowners. Case studies in urban agriculture will be presented for Fall River and New Bedford.

For More Information, Contact Susan Jennings at 508-810-6958. You can register for the Land Use Forum here.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Plant a Tree, Pocket $57,000

We often underestimate the value – to the environment and to our pocketbooks – of trees. Spring is a great time to plant a new tree. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

Winterize your home and preps Before You have Problems

It is still September and I see strange weather in many parts of the world. If you live in the northern hemisphere now is a good time to winterize your home and preps.

This is a good time to check out your home to see what needs to be repaired or replaced. Do you have the supplies and tools you need in case of a problem this winter. Is your equipment ready? Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for September 20 to September 27, 2013

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Shark Fins China’s crackdown on extravagant official spending gives sharks a second chance

A crackdown on extravagance and corruption within China’s ruling Communist Party is causing headaches for officials used to splashing the cash on banquets, but it’s proving a lifesaver for sharks. Consumption of shark fin, the key ingredient in the pricey and extravagant banquet staple shark-fin soup, has dropped by 70 per cent since the end of last year, according to Ministry of Commerce data.

More than 95 percent of the annual harvest of shark fin worldwide is consumed in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Read more here.

Grass Could ‘Super grass’ vastly reduce agriculture emissions?

Brachiaria grasses have been found to inhibit the release of nitrous oxide, which has a more powerful warming effect than carbon dioxide or methane, leading them to be called a super grass. Nitrous oxide – largely from livestock production – makes up 38% of agriculture emissions, but this share could be substantially reduced. Read more here.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa Ecuador’s Paradise Lost

President Rafael Correa tried to save the world’s most biodiverse forest, the Yasuni National Park – but rich nations ignored his offer.

Yasuni is scientifically determined to be the most biologically diverse place on earth: researchers here even discovered a fungus that can digest plastic. But Yasuni sits atop a large part of Ecuador’s known petroleum reserves, and that means this global treasure is under dire threat. Read more here.

Campus Protesters Canada bans researchers from discussing research. Scientists protest.

The Canadian government in recent years has banned government scientists from talking about a growing list of research topics including snowflakes, the ozone layer, salmon, and previously published work about a 13,000-year-old flood. Now it seems the scientists are fighting back.

The clashes with the government have been building for some time, as basic science budgets are cut back to divert more funds toward industry-focused research. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Flooding Colorado’s ‘Biblical’ Flood in Line with Climate Trends

The Boulder, Colo., area is reeling after being inundated by record rainfall, with more than half a year’s worth of rain falling over the past three days. During those three days, 24-hour rainfall totals of between 8 and 10 inches across much of the Boulder area were enough to qualify this storm as a 1 in 1,000 year event, meaning that it has a 0.1 percent chance of occurring in a given year.

Extreme rainfall events have become more frequent across the U.S. during the past several decades in part due to manmade global warming. Read more here.

Bacteria Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Superbugs’ Pose Urgent Threat to Public Health: CDC

Drug-resistant “superbugs” have become an urgent public health concern, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned, echoing years of research by groups such has Food & Water Watch who warn that the overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms leads to drug-resistant infections.

As the CDC reports, the overuse of antibiotics on both humans and farm animals is the “most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.” Read more here.

Groceries Where Does The Farm Bill Go From Here?

With a deadline looming, Congress will likely pass another extension of the last version of the law – but anti-hunger and agriculture advocates are hoping for bigger changes. So how will the Farm Bill reflect the new realities of hunger in the wake of the recession, of farmers’ needs coming off of a number of years maked by high prices and numerous ecological disasters? Read more here

School of fish Molasses Spill In Hawaii Keeps Getting Worse

When 233,000 gallons of molasses first spilled into Honolulu Harbor last week, it was hard to imagine the situation getting much worse. The number of dead fish has surpassed 25,000, $3 billion worth of coral reefs have died, sharks have been spotted in the harbor feeding on the dead fish, and Matson, the shipping company that owned and operated the faulty pipeline, is still unable to say when they last inspected the pipe. But the damage isn’t done just yet. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Coins The Myth of the “Free Market” and How to Make the Economy Work for Us

One of the most deceptive ideas is that the “free market” is natural and inevitable, existing outside and beyond government. So whatever inequality or insecurity it generates is beyond our control. And whatever ways we might seek to reduce inequality or insecurity – to make the economy work for us – are unwarranted constraints on the market’s freedom, and will inevitably go wrong.

In reality, the “free market” is a bunch of rules. These rules don’t exist in nature; they are human creations. Governments don’t “intrude” on free markets; governments organize and maintain them. Markets aren’t “free” of rules; the rules define them. Read more here.

Reflection Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower (or How to Build a National Security Blowback Machine)

Dear Whistleblower, I don’t know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere in our future as surely as does tomorrow or next year. When the time comes, you will know that this is what you must do, that this is why you find yourself where you are, and then you’re going to tell us plenty that has been kept from us about how our government really operates. You are going to shock us to the core. Read more here.

Cow USDA’s Reckless Plan to Privatize Food Safety

Since the days of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle — a 1906 novel that brought the abysmal conditions in slaughterhouses to light — some things haven’t changed in the meatpacking industry. Companies increase profits by speeding up their operations. Unfortunately, the faster the workers go, the more mistakes they make.

Under a pilot program used in five hog processing plants for over a decade, the government reduced the number of USDA inspectors. The companies hired some of its own inspectors to replace the USDA ones. And line speeds increased by 20 percent. The result? The company’s own inspectors were more reluctant or slower to stop the lines when they spotted problems. Three of the five plants using this system are among the top 10 worst in the nation for health and safety violations. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Talk Amongst Yourselves

Hurricane A New Test for Climate Change Deniers

In this opinion piece, the gauntlet is thrown down for what are being called “climate change deniers.” The article concludes with a statement that young people want action, not excuses. Are you a climate change denier or a climate change activist? Do you think those labels are fair? Have you made up your own mind about whether or not you believe climate change is manmade and can be averted by human changes in behavior? Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Regional News

A solar installation at the Drydock building in the Boston Marine Industrial Park. Boston tops in energy efficiency, ranking shows

The state’s clean energy industry continues to thrive, according to two separate reports released Tuesday, with more than 20,000 employees working in renewable energy in Massachusetts and Boston ranked the most energy-efficient US city. An analysis for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a quasipublic agency created to support the alternative energy sector, found the jobs in the industry were spread across several energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy, which includes biofuels.

The solar market has boomed here, attracting companies from around the nation, because of state policies that encourage its growth, including incentive programs and a goal to install 1,600 megawatts of solar generating capacity in the state by 2020 – enough to power up to 400,000 homes. Read more here.

Citizens Group Tar-sands oil could be coming soon to New England

Before the heavy, almost-solid bitumen could be piped along the 1,800-mile route, the oil companies would have to thin it with a concoction of liquid natural gas and other hydrocarbons.

ExxonMobil currently holds permits to build twin smokestacks on South Portland’s waterfront, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The stacks would burn off the liquid gas and chemicals used for thinning. Read more here.

An artist's rendering of the proposed food-scrap digester facility R.I. to Get First Food-Scrap Digester on East Coast

Permitting for the East Coast’s first food-scrap digester is expected to begin soon. NEO Energy LLC of Portsmouth, N.H., is scheduled to break ground in about six months on an 8-acre site. When finished by mid- to late-2014, it will turn food scrap into energy and fertilizer. The plant will process about 20,000 tons of food scrap annually. Read more here.

Car-Free Week Poster Massachusetts Car-Free Week Routes Motorists Toward Alternative Transit

Massachusetts has been the only state to expand World Carfree Day into an entire week dedicated to routing motorists toward bikes, shared commuter vehicles and public transit. Outside of Greater Boston’s famous traffic jams, driving is relatively convenient most of the year in Massachusetts. But the benefits of switching to biking, carpooling or mass transit can go far beyond the advantages of saving fuel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read more here.

A seawall collapsed at Plymouth Beach, leaving lots of debris Changing Coastline: Are We Losing Our Shore?

PLYMOUTH – This is the first in a three-part series looking at erosion along the Massachusetts coastline. Staff at our Wicked Local papers up and down the coast, from Cape Cod to Cape Ann, are talking to experts, residents and scientists to determine if our coast is eroding away and what, if anything, can be done to stop it. Read more here.

Chip Tuttle, CEO at Suffolk Downs Mass. casino developers stress energy conservation

Hardly anyone would associate casinos with conservation of any kind. They have well-deserved reputations as temples of excess, including the amount of energy and resources they devour. Some boast laser beams visible from outer space, others feature massive nonstop fountains, and most plug in enough neon lights to turn the darkest night into day.

But developers competing for the chance to open Massachusetts’ first casinos say they understand the wisdom of being kinder to Mother Earth. Instead of giant mechanical flamingos or 300-foot-tall illuminated towers, they are pitching plans for composting programs, solar installations, and rain-harvesting systems. Read more here

Other Regional Headlines of Interest


Leaf BulletSave The Date

Skill Share: Heating with Wood

Saturday, September 21, 10am-12pm Cedar Dell Garden, UMass Dartmouth
Heating With Wood – This skillshare workshop will explore what’s involved with keeping your home toasty using a carbon-neutral energy source. From choosing the trees, felling, cutting, splitting and stacking, to seasoning, storing, burning and maintaining an efficient wood stove, participants will get to hear how it’s done, see how it’s done, and even try their hand at a few aspects of this activity.

Chance Perks, a forester and arborist will cover safe cutting, and chain saw use. Bob Bailey, a homeowner who has been heating with wood for thirty years, will describe the pros, cons, foibles and fun of this ancient yet modern practice.

Co-Sponsored by The Southeast Massachusetts Time Exchange. Call 774-955-0551 for more info.

Regional Priority Workshop

Thursday, September 26, 3-5pm Dartmouth Town Hall, 400 Slocum Road, Dartmouth, MA
Hosted by Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). Over the last several months, SRPEDD has been working alongside the 31 South Coast Rail Corridor communities in order to update Priority Area designations.

On September 26, SRPEDD and other organizations will hold a regional workshop to designate Priority Areas of regional significance from among those selected by the communities. At this time, we hope to seek input from regional environmental, economic development, transportation, and other advocacy groups. Contact SRPEDD for more information.

From Divestment to Reinvestment: Unplugging from Fossil Fuels to Empower the New Economy

Wednesday, October 2, 3:30pm – 6pm Woodland Commons Building, UMass Dartmouth
With Keynote Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Learn how every penny saved on fossil fuels can help build a healthier, more sustainable new economy. Some say without fossil fuels our economy will collapse. We say there is a new economy to be made. When we spend on oil and gas, money is sent overseas and wasted on enterprises that pollute our environment while endangering our future. Divesting from fossil fuels – shifting our spending into renewable and green energy sources, also keeps our spending close to home since green energy sources are necessarily local and nonpolluting. With more money to spend locally, we can keep our towns and cities strong with socially and environmentally responsible businesses.
Panel of Presenters of including:

  • Stephanie Rearick, Director, Dane County Wisconsin Timebank
  • Carlos Espinoza-Toro, Community Organizer of the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition
  • Stacey Cordeiro, Co-op Organizer at Boston Center for Community Ownership
  • Chaired by Prof. Rachel Kulick, UMass Dartmouth

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org). He is a storyteller and organizer best known for his efforts to bridge the stuck national debate about wealth inequality and taxes. His present work also examines how to build community resilience and make a healthy transition to the new sustainable economy. He is co-coordinating Divest-Reinvest, a network of foundations, congregations and individuals moving money out of the fossil fuel sector and into the new economy.

Co-sponsored with The Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability, The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange, Bristol Community College Institute for Sustainability and Post-Carbon Education, and the Institute for Policy Studies Register for the event here.

Forum on Sustainable Land Use

Thursday, October 10, 8:30am – Noon Woodland Commons, UMass Dartmouth
On a planet with populations exploding, land is perhaps our most precious commodity. It supports everything else we do. How do we best use it? Which parcels lend themselves to agriculture, which should be put into conservation protection, where are the hidden aquifers, what’s the best spot for development, and how do we site out newest technologies — renewable energy systems? Does it ever make sense to cut down a healthy forest for new uses of the land? How do we avoid sprawl and conserve ecosystems while still meeting human needs for land?

Join land use expert Curt Freese for a look at how we might create ecosystem banks that make undeveloped land valuable. He’ll examine systems of payment for ecosystem services as a tool for informing land use decisions. Curt will be followed by Steve Smith, Executive Director of SRPEDD and Katie Goodrum, Senior Planner of SRPEDD for a discussion of how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can inform better land use decisions. Then, listen to two foresters, Mollie Frellicher and Michael Downey, discuss urban and community forestry from the perspectives of both communities and landowners. Case studies in urban agriculture will be presented for Fall River and New Bedford.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Protect Your Pipes With Insulation

Reduce energy loss and protect pipes from freezing or sweating, which can encourage mold. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

Do You have a Good Flashlight?

In case of a serious long-term emergency, there are many ways of lighting your home, from solar, kerosene lanterns, generators, etc, now I think these are all good. In fact, I have several different methods, but I still like the convenience of a flashlight. Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for September 13 to September 20, 2013

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Food Waste A third of food is wasted, making it third-biggest carbon emitter, U.N. says

The food the world wastes accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than any country except for China and the United States, the United Nations said.

Every year about a third of all food for human consumption, around 1.3 billion tons, is wasted, along with all the energy, water and chemicals needed to produce it and dispose of it. Almost 30 percent of the world’s farmland, and a volume of water equivalent to the annual discharge of the River Volga, are in effect being used in vain. Read more here.

Crops in Brazil With Climate Change, Brazil Faces Drop in Crops

Higher temperatures, drastic changes in rainfall, lower productivity, more blight and disease – these are just some of the expected consequences of climate change in Brazil if the projections of 345 scientists who make up the Brazilian Panel on Climate Change (PBMC) prove true.

The changes in temperature and rainfall will not be confined to Brazil, the largest country in South America, but will also affect neighboring countries. Read more here.

Rescue workers amid the rubble of the Rana Plaza Bangladesh factory collapse: Can Gap and others pin down worker safety?

Nearly five months after the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza building that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and injured 2,500 in Bangladesh, the reverberations continue to impact the apparel industry. The incident – and it lessons about supply-chain vulnerabilities – has boosted efforts to improve worker and building safety.

Gap is part of an alliance of more than 15 companies which has agreed to require factory inspections (and publicly release the results) in Bangladesh, develop common safety standards, provide loans to factory owners to improve safety, and establish a worker hotline before the end of the year. Read more here.

Chicken Half of China’s Antibiotics Now Go to Livestock

According to a recent analysis by a Beijing-based agribusiness consulting firm, more than half of total Chinese antibiotic consumption goes to livestock. To make animals grow quickly under cramped, feces-ridden conditions, animals there get fed small, doses of antibiotics – creating ideal breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens that threaten people.

By scaling up and concentrating meat production and fueling the process with antibiotics, China’s emerging meat industrialists are merely following the US model. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Coal Plant Biggest Polluters In U.S. Ranked By Greenhouse Gas Emissions

If the 50 dirtiest power plants in the United States were their own sovereign country, they would qualify as the seventh-biggest polluter in the world, according to a new report released. Those power plants alone emit more than all of South Korea or Canada.

The new report, from the group Environment America, ranks the 100 dirtiest power plants in the U.S. Overall, nearly 6,000 different power generation facilities are located in the U.S., which in total account for 41 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions produced here. But the 100 dirtiest alone — all but two of which are coal-fired power plants — create nearly half of those planet-warming emissions. Read more here.

Also read Nuclear power generation in U.S. in decline

Elephant U.S. to Crush 6 Tons of Ivory in effort to stave off poaching

A growing stash of more than 6 tons of ivory from slaughtered elephants, heaped in a warehouse north of Denver, is about to be destroyed as part of a new U.S. push to combat illegal wildlife trafficking worldwide. Publicly crushing the smuggled tusks and carvings will be the first act to end what has become a $10 billion illegal industry with security implications officials liken to those of illegal drug dealing. Read more here.

Senator Jeff Merkley House Republicans Push To Include Monsanto Protection Act In New Spending Bill

House Republicans will include an extension of the so-called Monsanto Protection Act in the spending bill designed to avert a government shutdown. The Monsanto measure was originally enacted into law in March by being slipped into the previous spending resolution, which is now set to expire.

Since its quiet passage, the Monsanto Protection Act has become a target of intense opposition. Monsanto is a global seed and herbicide company that specializes in genetically modified crops. The law effectively prevents judges from placing injunctions on genetically modified seeds even if they are deemed unsafe. Monsanto has argued that it is unfair to single out the company in the nickname for the law, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, when other major agribusiness players also support it. Read more here

Electronic waste E-Waste Trashing Bans Don’t Work, Researcher Says

Simply throwing away electronic waste, or e-waste, presents environmental problems, both in the United States and in developing countries where much of it is shipped for disposal and recycling. But changing peoples’ actions requires changing the disposal system.

The solution may be to institute a deposit system where people pay a little extra when they first buy electronics, and get a little money back if they return it. The improper disposal of e-waste is a growing environmental problem. E-waste often contains heavy metals like lead and mercury and has to be processed carefully, which often isn’t the case. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Cute Panda Why we don’t need pandas

Now I know what you are thinking. Don’t need Pandas!? How dare he! On some days I might even be inclined to agree with you. Even now as I write this I feel I am getting some pretty judgmental looks from the stuffed panda toy at the other side of the room.

Well calm down; I love pandas, perhaps even more than most. Pandas are among the most interesting, charismatic and culturally significant animals in the world and ones that need our protection if they are to survive. So why would I write such a thing? Well as much as I like pandas, I like conservation even more. Read more here.

Syrians praying in a Mosque How Drought Helped Spark Syria’s Civil War – Is it One of Many Climate Wars to Come?

Climate Change is already hurting the world’s most vulnerable populations. Those who live in areas hit hard by drought, severe storms or rising seas and can’t relocate because of economic or social factors bear the brunt of our planet’s increasing volatility.

One way the changing climate has already made itself known is through a devastating drought – and ensuing food shortage – in Syria; it created a powder keg, and played a significant role in sparking the country’s civil war. We can expect to see similar scenarios unfold in the future. Read more here.

Protest The Hidden Rot: We Don’t Fully Understand the Consequences of Budget Cuts

We’re now beginning to see that the consequences of austerity are very real, and only getting worse. Nationwide, states are making severe cuts to their social safety net programs.

A society cannot sustain itself by shutting down schools, cutting pre-K programs, and throwing the poor off food assistance. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Regional News

Lineman on power lines National Grid Massachusetts: Energy efficiency savings totaled almost $1 billion in past year

National Grid electric customers saved more than 424,000 megawatt hours of electricity over a 12-month period, the equivalent of powering 55,000 homes for one year. National Grid gas customers saved 14.5 million therms of gas over a 12-month period, the equivalent of heating nearly 9,000 residential homes for one year, according to the 2012 Energy Efficiency Annual Reports filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Read more here.

Power Plant Mass. Power-Plant Emissions Same as 4 Million Cars

“State and local governments in Massachusetts have taken bold steps to cut carbon emissions, but nationwide, power plants remain the largest contributors to global warming,” said Ben Hellerstein, field associate for Environment Massachusetts. “Tackling the problem of global warming means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants in America.” Read more here.

Groundbreaking ceremony in Plymouth The Wildlands Trust: Historic Plymouth farm to become headquarters of leading land trust

Plymouth is quickly becoming an ecological superhero, and others are starting to take notice. The Wildlands Trust for one. One of the largest regional land trusts in Massachusetts, the organization broke ground on a new combination headquarters and community conservation hall in Plymouth.

Since 1973, the Trust has protected 220 parcels that cover more than 10,000 acres in Massachusetts, all the while working out of a small home in Duxbury. Read more here.

Solar Panels Microgrids in NYC & Conn. – A New Kind of Power Struggle

With the ravages and power outages of hurricanes Irene and Sandy seared in recent memory, soon, a public school, a small private grocery store and a gas station in Hartford, Conn., will be linked by a microgrid designed to keep the electricity flowing in those buildings when the next major storm hits.

Cities such as Hartford are turning to microgrids not only as a way to ensure that vital services remain available to the public, but also to make their electricity more energy efficient, reducing their contributions to climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. But the push to build microgrids is so new that laws and rules governing the sale and transmission of power have yet to fully catch up. That’s true in Connecticut, where state regulations are unclear and new laws enabling microgrids have yet to be tested in court. Read more here.

Shellfish Transforming Scallop Waste Into Medicine

Chong Lee, URI professor emeritus and research in nutrition and food sciences, said the value of sea scallops regionally is significant.

He has been looking at ways to turn byproducts of local fisheries into marketable commodities. Working with funding from the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation and Rhode Island Sea Grant, Lee has spent the past two years studying scallop viscera to find a way to fully develop its commercial potential for such uses as an ingredient in high-value, specialty aquafeed, and for its nutraceutical ingredients. Read more here

Jeffrey Marstaller runs Cozy Acres Greenhouses Maine will soon get its first ‘Net Zero’ Greenhouse

The Cozy Acres Lane business is wholesale only, producing annuals, herbs and vegetables for area garden centers and landscapers. It received USDA funds last year, and put the department’s nearly $49,000 Rural Energy for America Program grant toward installation of a 102-panel solar photovoltaic array and geothermal system for the business’s upcoming greenhouse.

With completion of the geothermal system, Cozy Acres will have Maine’s first “Net Zero” greenhouse, according to a USDA press release. The structure should be complete by the end of October. Read more here.

Other Regional Headlines of Interest


Leaf BulletSave The Date

Regional Priority Workshop

Thursday, September 26, 3-5pm Dartmouth Town Hall, 400 Slocum Road, Dartmouth, MA
Hosted by Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). Over the last several months, SRPEDD has been working alongside the 31 South Coast Rail Corridor communities in order to update Priority Area designations.

On September 26, SRPEDD and other organizations will hold a regional workshop to designate Priority Areas of regional significance from among those selected by the communities. At this time, we hope to seek input from regional environmental, economic development, transportation, and other advocacy groups. Contact SRPEDD for more information.

From Divestment to Reinvestment: Unplugging from Fossil Fuels to Empower the New Economy

Wednesday, October 2, 3:30pm – 6pm UMass Dartmouth
With Keynote Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, And a panel of Presenters of including:

  • Stephanie Rearick, Director, Dane County Wisconsin Timebank
  • Carlos Espinoza-Toro, Community Organizer of the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition
  • Stacey Cordeiro, Co-op Organizer at Boston Center for Community Ownership
  • Chaired by Prof. Rachel Kulick, UMass Dartmouth

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org). He is a storyteller and organizer best known for his efforts to bridge the stuck national debate about wealth inequality and taxes. His present work also examines how to build community resilience and make a healthy transition to the new sustainable economy. He is co-coordinating Divest-Reinvest, a network of foundations, congregations and individuals moving money out of the fossil fuel sector and into the new economy.

Co-sponsored with The Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability, The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange, Bristol Community College Institute for Sustainability and Post-Carbon Education, and the Institute for Policy Studies Register for the event here.

Forum on Sustainable Land Use

Thursday, October 10, 8:30am – Noon Woodland Commons, UMass Dartmouth
WHO: A forum for landowners, citizens and public officials to help improve management of that essential resource that we often take for granted – our land.
WHAT: Tools, techniques and ideas for using our land as sustainably as possible while remaining economically competitive
WHY: We have been developing our land in an unsustainable manner for decades. This forum will highlight the need to change and how we can do that.

More details to follow.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Recycle Used Plastic Bags (Even Ziploc Sandwich Bags)

Who knew? Plastic sandwich and kitchen storage bags can be recycled along with plastic shopping bags in supermarket recycling bins. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

How Much Food to Store in Your Preps?

How much food to store is always a big question? There are a couple of ways to solve this problem. The first and a good one is to figure out your calorie needs. Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for September 6 to September 13, 2013

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Chinese shipping yard Study reveals ‘true’ cost of imports

 

Current methods of measuring the full material cost of imported goods are highly inaccurate say researchers. Many developed nations believe they are on a path to sustainable development, as their economic growth has risen over the past 20 years but the level of raw materials they are consuming has declined. But this new study indicates that these countries are not including the use of raw materials that never leave their country of origin. Read more here.

A waste-to-energy incinerator in Hesse, Germany. Incineration Versus Recycling: In Europe, A Debate Over Trash

 

Increasingly common in Europe, municipal “waste-to-energy” incinerators are being touted as a green trash-disposal alternative. But critics contend that these large-scale incinerators tend to discourage recycling and lead to greater waste. Read more here.

Leaky storage tanks Japan facing leaking radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant

 

Japan pledged nearly $500 million to contain leaks and decontaminate radioactive water from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, stepping up government efforts to cope with the legacy of the worst atomic disaster in a quarter of a century. Hundreds of tons of radioactive underground water have been leaking into the sea daily since early in the crisis, caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several leaks from storage tanks in recent weeks have added to concerns that the plant is unable to manage the radioactive water. Read more here.

Moonfish Mercury fingerprint of Pacific fish points to Asia coal power plants

 

Mercury found in high levels in deep Pacific Ocean fish such as swordfish has a chemical fingerprint, and it implicates coal-burning power plants in Asia, according to a new study.

Prevailing winds carry atmospheric mercury from Asia, where countries such as China have greatly increased their use of coal to generate electricity. Further bolstering the role of Asian coal burning are previous studies that have show drops in organic mercury levels in deep Atlantic fish — in areas adjacent to countries where mercury emissions have been reduced. Read more here.

 

Other Global Headlines of Interest

 

Leaf Bullet National News

Ohio State Football Hundreds of U.S. Colleges and Universities Pledge to Green Athletics Programs

 

More than 200 colleges and universities are trying to make their athletic programs greener. At the first Green Sports Alliance Summit in Brooklyn, six hundred representatives from college and professional athletic organizations discussed ways to take chemicals out of lawn care, equip huge stadiums with low-flush toilets, treat wastewater on site and use it to irrigate the grounds, and reduce energy bills with wind turbines and solar panels.

Sports have a long way to go before all franchises and institutions can be credited with dramatically shrinking the mountains of pollution they generate. But Alice Henly, a resource specialist and coordinator of college sports at Natural Resources Defense Council, said the summit is proof that the ball is rolling in the right direction. Read more here.

The Wallula Carbon Capture Storage Basalt Project in Washington State. Carbon Storage Studies Grapple with Politics, Geology

 

Studies are underway to determine the feasibility of large-scale carbon sequestration efforts and are part of a national discussion grappling with the political, economic and technical challenges they pose. The projects are contributing to the emerging debate about the costs of storing carbon, the risks of leakage from carbon dioxide storage sites and whether the gas should be stored on land or offshore where it is more distant from population centers and possibly more secure – all issues that require more study. Read more here.

Also read What is Carbon Capture and Storage?

Construction worker Labor Day 2050: Global Warming And The Coming Collapse Of Labor Productivity

 

A new NOAA study projects that heat-stress related labor capacity losses will double globally by 2050 with a warming climate. This loss of productivity is by no means the most life-threatening of climate impacts. But it is one of the most important unmodeled climate impacts that makes the likely cost of climate change far higher than standard economic models suggest. Read more here

Fracking site Fracking Practices to Blame for Ohio Earthquakes

 

Wastewater from the controversial practice of fracking appears to be linked to all the earthquakes in a town in Ohio that had no known past quakes, research now reveals. Scientists have known for decades that fracking and wastewater injection can trigger earthquakes. For instance, it appears linked with Oklahoma’s strongest recorded quake in 2011.

A furious debate has erupted over the safety of the practice. Advocates claim fracking is a safe, economical source of clean energy, while critics argue that it can taint drinking water supplies, among other problems. Read more here.

You can also read Oil & gas industry fears more deep-sea well leaks linked to corrosive drill fluid.

 

Other National Headlines of Interest

 

Leaf BulletVoices

 

Glacier Why Unions Need to Join the Climate Fight

 

Our current economic model is not only waging war on workers, on communities, on public services and social safety nets. It’s waging war on the life support systems of the planet itself. Read more here.

 

Garment factory Women, Garment Work and Safety: Clothes to Die For?

 

There are thousands of unsafe garment factories globally. Their owners employ mostly young women, paying them appallingly low wages. For the women, these jobs are probably their best option to support themselves and their families. Documented cases of work-related illness and deaths occur routinely every year at these factories.

There is no compelling reason to keep reliving this sad history. Making somebody’s T-shirt or jeans should not be a death-defying act for anyone. Similarly, safety also need not be a competitiveness-killer. Read more here.

 

Looking at the ground One Thing College Alumni Can Do about Climate Change Right Now

 

I’ve respectfully informed my alma mater that, until it divests its holdings in the fossil fuel industry – coal, oil, tar sands, and fracked natural gas – I will not donate another cent. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Talk Amongst Yourselves

 

Refrigerated Truck A Greener Way To Cool Your Foods On The Way To The Grocery Store

 

Your produce and frozen foods could soon arrive at grocery stores in trucks that release fewer emissions. Researchers are developing a clean technology to keep your food cool while it travels.

Engineers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are working to replace refrigerated trucks’ diesel-burning cooling system with fuel cells. These fuel cells mix hydrogen and air to create energy; the byproduct is water. Researcher Kriston Brooks says that means fewer greenhouse gas and particulate emissions than diesel engines. “From the big picture of how much carbon dioxide we produce and other emissions, it’s pretty small. But it’s a start,” Brooks says. Read more here.

Question: Replacing diesel engines with hydrogen fuel cells will only save about 10 gallons of fuel per day per truck. Like many green innovations, some might argue that it’s not enough to move forward with the change. However, changes that start small can spark other changes that someday make a big difference. Do you think that refrigerating food on trucks that use hydrogen fuel cells is a smart idea?

Leaf Bullet Regional News

 

Lilly Boyd checked out one of the four ultra energy-efficient homes completed in her neighborhood near Dudley Square. Boston gives green light to more efficient housing

 

Boston officials are moving to expand construction of ultra energy-efficient homes following the completion of a pilot development in Roxbury where the units produce nearly twice as much power as they consume. Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s housing chief marked completion of those first four homes near Dudley Square on Tuesday by saying the city intends to approve construction of another 40 in Mission Hill. “There is no downside to this type of housing,” said Sheila Dillon, head of neighborhood development under Menino. “The technologies provide savings for the homeowners, and it’s good for Boston, which is a very densely packed city that consumes a lot of energy.” The homes use efficient building materials, double-thick insulation, and solar equipment to generate more power than they consume. Read more here

 

Rita Couto Dartmouth woman is trying to revive a local Transition Culture movement

 

DARTMOUTH – Picture a town where the food consumed is locally grown, not shipped in from God-knows-where. Envision a community meeting its energy needs… getting the power to heat its homes and run its machinery locally, and not being reliant on the vagaries of overseas politics. Imagine a group taking the initiative for these things instead of relying on government to get them done; where the visible change is simply an outward manifestation of the change within. This is all part of the vision of the Transition Culture, and Rita Couto of Dartmouth wants to see it happen here. Read more here.

 

Sophia Academy Students Providence Girls Academy Says No to Styrofoam

 

PROVIDENCE – Sophia Academy is an all-girls middle school with less than a hundred students. During the 2011-12 school year, the academy’s 62 girls sent 10,000 Styrofoam lunch trays to the landfill. Last summer, Wood began to consider transitioning Sophia Academy away from Styrofoam lunch trays. After a school-wide assembly last October related to waste-stream issues and Rhode Island’s ever-shrinking Central Landfill, Wood began to “plant the seed” in her students’ heads about the waste generated by Styrofoam lunch trays. Read more here.

 

Kenly Hiller worked along the shore at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Falmouth. Scientists calling on the crowd for funding

 

Facing a stark federal budget to support scientific research, Hiller and other scientists have begun experimenting with crowdfunding their research. It is scientific funding for the social media age, with pitches made in brief videos, funders often kept updated on results through blogs, and the normally secretive “peer review” process used to vet proposals taking place in public as funders decide whether to contribute.

The results so far? Scientists who were used to turning to government agencies to fund their work are learning that friends, family, and strangers are willing to chip in small and large sums. They are finding that a wide range of projects can win support. Read more here.

 

Quahog Boat Signs of Trouble for R.I. Quahog Industry

 

Despite a healthy resource, there are signs of trouble in the quahogging industry. According to Grant, the price has dropped by half since he started quahogging 16 years ago. In large part, the price-drop has resulted from seasonal irregularity in the number of quahogs landed. Because of this problem and others identified by the shellfish industry, Rhode Island Sea Grant, Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) have teamed up to coordinate a Rhode Island Shellfish Management Plan. This two-year project, which began in January, will examine a range of issues and opportunities related to the state’s shellfish resources. Read more here.

 

Donald Croteau, the managing director of Vertex FD in Middleboro Wind turbine tower business paying off for Middleboro manufacturer

 

Imagine trying to move a 60-foot-long carbon steel cylinder weighing 7,000 pounds that is part of a wind turbine tower. The workers at Vertex FD in Middleboro, a manufacturing company specializing in fabrication and design, are putting the finishing touches on the project this week.

This section of the tower will be part of a wind turbine being installed at Lynn’s wastewater treatment plant. When it is complete, the structure will stand 175 feet tall. Read more here.

 

Other Regional Headlines of Interest

 

 


Leaf BulletSave The Date

 

From Divestment to Reinvestment: Unplugging from Fossil Fuels to Empower the New Economy

 

Wednesday, October 2, 3:30pm – 6pm UMass Dartmouth
With Keynote Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, And a panel of Presenters of including:

  • Stephanie Rearick, Director, Dane County Wisconsin Timebank
  • Carlos Espinoza-Toro, Community Organizer of the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition
  • Stacey Cordeiro, Co-op Organizer at Boston Center for Community Ownership
  • Chaired by Prof. Rachel Kulick, UMass Dartmouth

 

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good (www.inequality.org). He is a storyteller and organizer best known for his efforts to bridge the stuck national debate about wealth inequality and taxes. His present work also examines how to build community resilience and make a healthy transition to the new sustainable economy. He is co-coordinating Divest-Reinvest, a network of foundations, congregations and individuals moving money out of the fossil fuel sector and into the new economy.

Co-sponsored with The Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability, The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange, Bristol Community College Institute for Sustainability and Post-Carbon Education, and the Institute for Policy Studies Register for the event here.

 

Forum on Sustainable Land Use

 

Thursday, October 10, 8:30am – Noon Woodland Commons, UMass Dartmouth
WHO: A forum for landowners, citizens and public officials to help improve management of that essential resource that we often take for granted – our land.
WHAT: Tools, techniques and ideas for using our land as sustainably as possible while remaining economically competitive
WHY: We have been developing our land in an unsustainable manner for decades. This forum will highlight the need to change and how we can do that.

More details to follow.

 


 

Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Build a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening

 

Greenhouses are usually glazed structures, but are typically expensive to construct and heat throughout the winter. A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a “place of warmth”), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse. This method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in the coldest of climates. Learn more here.

 


 

Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

How to make a Survival Candle

 

Learn how to make a candle that will burn for days. Learn more here.

 


0Sustainability Almanac for June 21 to June 28, 2013

 

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

detour signs Wildlife Migration Detours

 

Migration is a strategy used by many mammals in order to take advantage of food, shelter, and water that vary with seasons. Interestingly, there is strong evidence that genetics plays a role in migratory behavior that animals inherit. Many species rely not only on their senses to help them navigate, but they can also use mental maps to guide them to where they are supposed to go.

But with considerable human development, how are animals supposed to find their way? According to research conducted by the University of Washington, half a dozen areas could experience heavier migration traffic compared with the average species-movement across the Western Hemisphere in response to a warming climate. Read more here.

Offshore oil rig Norway opens Barents Sea area to offshore oil drilling in new move into Arctic

 

Norway’s Parliament has opened up a new area on the fringe of the Arctic Ocean to offshore oil drilling despite protests from opponents who fear catastrophic oil spills in the remote and icy region.

Most of the Norwegian sector of the Barents Sea, which the Nordic country shares with Russia, is already open to petroleum activities. But environmentalists and some opposition lawmakers say the risk to Arctic sea ice is higher in a Switzerland-sized area straddling the Russian maritime border, and wanted to make parts of it off limits to oil and gas drilling. Read more here.

Red ribbons H.I.V. Tests Urged for 800 Million in India

 

Despite India’s enormous population, it would be cost-effective to fight its growing AIDS epidemic by testing all 800 million sexually active adults in the country every five years and treating all those infected, a new statistical study has concluded.

The study, published online in May by PLoS One, notes that testing there costs only $3.33, and that first-line antiretroviral therapy is about $100 a year. The World Health Organization measure for a medical intervention’s cost-effectiveness is whether it saves one year of life for less than three times the per capita gross domestic product. In India’s case, that is $3,900 per year-of-life saved. Read more here.

Equations on blackboard The Industrial Internet: An Eco Future

 

The Industrial Internet is a new term being thrown around that describes the correlation between corporate internet usage and the energy grid. Currently, we’re living in the “consumer internet”, according to General Electric’s CEO Jeff Immelt. Basically, it means the internet today has predominantly been designed to function for consumers. However, in the not-so-distant future (perhaps 10 years from now), this consumer internet age will pave the way for the industrial internet era, and”Big Data”.

That means that companies will use the internet to cut down on waste and exorbitant spending in all areas of company functions, in order to create a more efficient environment. Immelt recently spoke at the D11 Conference a couple of weeks ago to discuss his vision of the future. Read more here.

Woman in field GM even safer than conventional food, says environment secretary

 

GM crops are probably safer than conventional plants, according to the Environment Secretary.

Making the strongest call yet for the adoption of the technology, Mr Paterson told the BBC that that GM has significant benefits for farmers, consumers and the environment. He said the next generation of GM crops offers the “most wonderful opportunities to improve human health.”

But green groups say this new push is dangerous and misguided. Read more here.

 

Other Global Headlines of Interest

 

Leaf Bullet National News

Woman collectiing plant samples To Rebuild NYC’s Beaches, A Native Plant Savings And Loan

 

Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York’s beaches.

When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That’s because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island. Read more here.

Few states have genetically modified food laws

 

HARTFORD – Maine has joined Connecticut in requiring labels on genetically modified food, but more states must do the same for the laws to take effect. In all, 28 states considered genetic labeling this year, but so far the two New England states are the only ones to pass legislation.

Legislation adopted in Maine last week, like Connecticut’s landmark law, requires at least four other states — including one sharing a border — to pass similar laws before labels are required. Read more here.

Nuclear plant Nuclear Plants, Old and Uncompetitive, Are Closing Earlier Than Expected

 

WASHINGTON – When does a nuclear plant become too old? The nuclear industry is wrestling with that question as it tries to determine whether problems at reactors, all designed in the 1960s and 1970s, are middle-aged aches and pains or end-of-life crises.

This year, utilities have announced the retirement of four reactors, bringing the number remaining in the United States to 100. Read more here

Traffic The Shrinking Road: Have We Hit ‘Peak Cars’?

 

BOULDER, Colo. — Remember the concept of “peak oil”–that the world will soon achieve the maximum rate of petroleum extraction possible, if it hasn’t already? Now the question may be have we reached an era of “peak cars”? brbr In a recent webinar held by Navigant Research, analysts shared their projections on the potential and impact of long-term static and declining automotive sales. While North America has not yet hit its “peak”, Navigant Research believes it is next in line. Read more here.

Obama Readying Emissions Limits on Power Plants

 

WASHINGTON – President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, senior officials said Wednesday. The move would be the most consequential climate policy step he could take and one likely to provoke legal challenges from Republicans and some industries.

The administration has already begun steps to restrict climate-altering emissions from any newly built power plants, but imposing carbon standards on the existing utility fleet would be vastly more costly and contentious. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

 

Girl on road Raising Kids for a Resilient Future

 

We are heading into a future that does not follow the rules and expectations that the past few generations have been raised to expect. Parents and caregivers, relatives, friends, mentors – it makes no difference; we are raising the current generation together. We are all newcomers to this changing landscape. How can we teach young people to thrive in a future we do not yet fully understand ourselves?

In a shifting cultural and economic landscape, which values and priorities will remain steadfast? Which ones can we confidently impart to the young people in our lives? Many people have a hard time digging deep inside themselves to really uncover the roots of their beliefs, but this is the most important step we can take to lay the foundation for the next generation. Read more here.

 

dinosaur model Does Life Have A Purpose?

 

I don’t mean our private lives, our personal choices and hopes, the plans we make along the years. I imagine that each and every one of us believes our lives do have a purpose, or many. What I mean is life as a natural phenomenon, this strange assembly of matter endowed with autonomy, capable of absorbing energy from the environment and preserving itself through reproduction.

All life forms have one essential purpose: survival. To be alive is to want to remain alive. This is an essential difference between living creatures and other forms of material organization, such as stars or rocks. If the environment changes drastically, life will respond. Read more here.

 

Red rope The Tie Between Brand Value and Sustainability is Getting Stronger

 

Does a company that invests in sustainability increase its brand value? What parts of sustainability performance seem to drive brand? This is the first of five posts about a new, broad, multi-year study that shows that the connection between sustainability performance and brand value has increased dramatically during the past year. The study has also revealed that some aspects of sustainability are more closely related to brand, than others. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

 

Selectman and solar panels Scituate renewable energy: Harnessing sun and wind

 

The Town of Scituate has set the bar for other communities across the state when it comes to renewable energy.

With the Scituate Wind turbine in operation since March of 2012, and work having started on the town’s solar array, Scituate will receive 100 percent of its municipal power from ‘green’ energy by this fall. Read more here

 

Toxic chemical drums Massachusetts Reduces Use of Carcinogens

 

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) recently released a report showing that Massachusetts companies have dramatically reduced use and environmental releases of chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer.

Over the last two decades, use of carcinogens by Massachusetts industries reporting to the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program declined 32 percent while releases to the environment declined 93 percent, according to the new report. Read more here.

 

Your View: Harbor cleanup plan remains inadequate

 

The South Terminal project underway in New Bedford is full of jobs and opportunity. But with all the talk of millions invested, millions to be earned, why is there not enough money to take the dredged-up cancer-causing PCBs completely away from our harbor? Why on earth would it make sense to stir up polluted silt in another part of the harbor and bury it there? Of course it doesn’t, but that is what the government is doing. Read more here.

 

Waterfront facility Local group compiles country’s top greenhouse gas polluters

 

Want to know who’s killing the planet? A research group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has pulled together a nifty list called “The Greenhouse 100″ of the top climate polluters in the country.

No surprise: the list is dominated by major power companies, primarily those that create electricity from burning coal and other fossil fuels. What is intriguing is the massive amounts of greenhouse gases they produce. The top three power companies alone produce more than five percent of all of the greenhouse gases emitted in the country. Read more here.

 

Think about opening areas to scallopers, reps say

 

NEW BEDFORD – Eight congressmen led by Rep. William Keating have written to fisheries managers asking for a close look at the effects of reopening some areas closed to scallopers for 209 years.

Keating, along with Reps. Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, all D-Mass., wrote that the northern edge of Georges Bank has an estimated 30 million pounds of harvestable scallops, worth $300 million at today’s prices.

“Being able to open that area, and others like it, while protecting groundfish habitats would be a great benefit for fishing communities in New England,” they wrote. Read more here.

 

Danish company promises $200 million to Cape Wind

 

A Danish pension company has promised to invest $200 million in Cape Wind providing the project’s financing is closed by the end of the year.

PensionDanmark has financed a number of offshore wind farms in Europe, including the Anholt Wind Farm which was visited by a number of New Bedford and Massachusetts officials in April. Read more here.

 

View of wind turbine Wind energy developer defies shutdown order

 

FAIRHAVEN – The developer of Fairhaven’s two wind turbines decided Friday night to resume overnight turbine operation just five days after the Board of Health ordered the turbines be turned off overnight.

Palmer Capital Corporation President Gordon Deane wrote in a letter to town officials that the while the turbines had been “voluntarily curtailed” since Monday, “at present there is no legal obligation for Fairhaven Wind to curtail or alter its operations.” Read more here

 

With South Terminal construction underway, Cape Wind permits list Rhode Island port for turbine staging

 

NEW BEDFORD – Cape Wind’s federal permits list Quonset Point, R.I., as the staging area for its planned 130-turbine wind farm to be located in Nantucket Sound.

The offshore wind developer has said publicly it will use New Bedford’s South Terminal to stage its materials and equipment provided the port facility is completed within its 19-month timetable.

In order to use the new facility, Cape Wind would need to revise its construction plan with the federal Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, something it has not yet done. Read more here.

 

Shark hunters set to return

 

CHATHAM – Chris Fischer and his crew from the ocean research group OCEARCH will return to Chatham in August, hoping to put sophisticated electronic tracking and data-gathering devices on 20 great white sharks.

It’s good news for state shark researcher Greg Skomal, who, as the official holder of the research permit, will also be on board the OCEARCH vessel. Now in his fifth year tagging Cape Cod’s great white sharks, Skomal has been struggling this year to find the money to go back tagging with his local partners, Cape Cod Sharkhunters. Read more here.

 

Fish Some Local Fish May Have Higher Mercury Content

 

BRISTOL – The federal government advises women who are or may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children not to gorge on several marine species, namely swordfish, albacore tuna, shark, king mackerel and tilefish, because of the concentration in the tissue of these fish of methylmercury, a highly toxic organic compound of mercury.

But what about fish that are more commonly caught in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound, especially by recreational anglers? Since 2005, Roger Williams University marine biologist David Taylor has been studying the methylmercury content in the tissue of bluefish, striped bass, black sea bass, tautog, and winter and summer flounder. Read more here.

 

Stormwater drain Massachusetts Plays Key Role in Keeping Narragansett Bay Healthy

 

Stormwater rushing off the many acres of impervious surface that covers much of the Narragansett Bay watershed sends bacteria, nutrients and other contaminants into the Ocean State’s signature resource. Much of that polluted runoff originates in Massachusetts.

While each state is dealing with stormwater runoff in both expensive and commonsense ways, the problem impacts Rhode Island more directly. About 60 percent of this critical watershed resides in Massachusetts, but 90 percent of Narragansett Bay’s waters are in Rhode Island. Narragansett Bay is 148.6 square miles – 140 of which are in Rhode Island. Its watershed encompasses 1,754 square miles, with 1,024 in Massachusetts. Read more here.

 

Forest winners and losers in changing climate

 

New Englanders would seem, at first, to be in an enviable position. Climate change will bring both winners and losers, and New England forests are likely to experience a longer growing season, warmer temperatures, more moisture, and an increase in the carbon dioxide that trees convert to food.

“There will be effects that sound like a good deal. Some of the effects will lead to increased growth,” said David R. Foster, head of the Harvard Forest, a 3,500-acre research tract in Petersham. Read more here

 


Leaf BulletThis Week

 

Copicut Woods Summer Solstice

 

Friday, June 21, 7pm Copicut Woods, Indian Town Rd., Fall River, MA
Celebrate the arrival of summer and the quiet beauty of Copicut Woods at twilight with a candlelit walk down Miller Lane. We’ll begin by making candle lanterns that will light our way down the trail at dusk. The call of whippoorwill often marks the arrival of summer on this magical night that you’ll never forget.
FREE. EMail for more information. Learn more here

 

First Day of Summer Sunset Hike

 

Friday, June 21, 7:30pm – 9pm Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Watch the sun setting over the estuary and tour the grounds to discover the creatures that are coming to life as the sun sets and the forest goes to sleep. Bring a flashlight if you have one and be ready to enjoy the sunset and views over the river. At the conclusion of this hike light refreshments will be served to celebrate the arrival of summer. All ages are welcome on this family friendly hike.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$4 Non-members: $5
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 19. Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

 

3rd Annual Fishing For A Cause Tournament

 

Friday, June 21 to Saturday, June 22 Pope’s Island Marina, located at 102 Pope’s Island, New Bedford
Fishing For a Cause is organized by and for the benefit of the Schwartz Center for Children. The Schwartz Center is a not-for-profit organization located in Dartmouth, MA that provides comprehensive medical and educational services for children with special needs.
The awards dinner will be held seaside under a tent at Pope’s Island marina. The Schwartz Center anticipates that close to 400 people will attend this year’s catered dinner, which will be prepared and served by Pepper’s Fine Catering, and feature music by the popular Providence-based band Santa Mamba. The dinner is complimentary to participating anglers and open to the public with the purchase of a ticket.
Learn more here

 

Creative Connections: Art in the Outdoors with Anastasia Azure

 

Thursday, June 27, 5:30pm – 7pm East Beach, New Bedford, MA
Join nationally-recognized artist Anastasia Azure on a creative journey at East Beach in New Bedford. Anastasia will lead participants in the exploration of “land art,” a process in which the landscape and work of art are inextricably linked. Deepen your connection to the watershed and discover a new way to enjoy your Bay.
FREE Event. Reservations Required. Contact Margo Connolly, Senior Educator at (508) 999-6363 x224 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

 

Buzzard’s Bay 25th Annual Meeting

 

Thursday, June 27, 6pm – 8pm The Beachmoor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 11 Buttermilk Way, Buzzards Bay, MA
The Buzzards Bay Coalition invites you to our 25th Annual Meeting at the Beachmoor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Thursday, June 27. The evening will begin with a reception for members at 6 p.m., followed by the Annual Meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will include a discussion of our accomplishments in 2012, election of board members, and presentation of the 2013 Buzzards Bay Guardian awards.
Contact Maureen Coleman, Vice-President of Operations, at (508) 999-6363 x202 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

 

SEMAP’s 6th Annual Farm to Table Dinner

 

Friday, June 28, 5:30pm – 9pm Alderbrook Farm, 1213 Russell Mills Rd., South Dartmouth, MA
Join us on a culinary adventure set between the soil & the stars! Support SEMAP in its mission to preserve & expand access to local food & sustainable farming in Southeastern Massachusetts.
The Farm to Table Dinner consists of a multi-course, all-local, gourmet dinner, occuring beneath the stars in the summer air at the beautiful Alderbrook Farm in South Dartmouth, MA. There will also be a Live Auction!
The Manley family has run the 16-acre Alderbrook farm for over four generations. The farm was recently made a Massachusetts Century Farm. With your help SEMAP continues to grow its educational offerings to the public and farming community.

$175.00 per person
$120.00 for SEMAP Farm Members
Contact Kristen Irvin, SEMAP Executive Assistant, or call 336-509-0044 for more information. Learn More and Register Here

 


Leaf BulletSave The Date

 

Fairhaven Homecoming Fair

 

Saturday, June 29, 10am – 4pm Center St., Fairhaven, MA
Fairhaven’s largest annual event features about 175 booths of handmade crafts and delicious foods in addition to live entertainment, an art exhibit on the west lawn of the Unitarian Church, and children’s activities, including the very popular fire engine rides. Sponsored by the Fairhaven Improvement Association. Learn More Here

 

Seining in the River

 

Saturday, July 6, 10am – Noon Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Discover all of the creatures that are living in the estuary. During this action packed program we will use nets to find animals hidden in the water, learn about common species in this area and how animals from the tropics wind up in Massachusetts. Bring shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet!
All Ages Welcome. Price: Individual : Members: $5 Non-members: $7 Family of Four: Members:$15 Non-members:$20
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Friday, July 5. Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

 

New Bedford Summerfest/Folk Festival

 

Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 Downtown New Bedford, Historic Waterfront District
The New Bedford Folk Festival features the best in contemporary, traditional, and Celtic folk music. NBFF is an affordable destination for families seeking a fun-filled Independence Day weekend. Hosted by the City of New Bedford and The Standard-Times, the New Bedford Folk Festival offers an exciting atmosphere with great music, beautiful arts and crafts and fun activities for the whole family.

Lining the cobblestone streets of the New Bedford’s Whaling National Historical Park, the Artisans’ Marketplace showcases the handcrafted work of many local artists as well as crafters from Maine to California. Handmade items in every imaginable medium are available including photography, painting, ceramics, textiles, wood, metal, glass and stone. Shoppers find jewelry, musical instruments, clothing, lamps, stained and blown glass, nautical crafts, wooden and cloth toys, pottery, baskets, furniture and more. There is truly something for everyone!

Want some terrific food? We have fresh seafood, quick snacks, and other tasty treats in our Festival Food Vendor area. Within and around the festival grounds are many of New Bedford’s great restaurants serving local seafood, hot soups, homemade ice cream, cafe cuisine and much more. Learn More and find out about Ticket Prices and Schedules Here

 

New Bedford Whaling City Festival

 

Friday, July 12 to Sunday, July 14, 9am – 8pm Buttonwood Park, New Bedford, MA
Whaling City Festival has been running for 42 years. Over 150 thousand people visit the festival every year. At the festival you can shop over 200 flea market and craft vendors and eat at one of the 26 food vendors. Enjoy music and entertainment from local bands and local radio stations. The festival wouldn’t be complete without taking a ride on one of many Mark Fanelli’s Carnival rides. Learn More Here

 

Buzzards Bay Swim

 

Saturday, July 13, 7am – 11am Davy’s Locker Beach, 1480 E Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA
Celebrate clean water and support a healthy Buzzards Bay at the Buzzards Bay Swim. You’ll join hundreds of swimmers, of all ages and ability levels, for a 1.2 mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. Funds raised support the work of the Buzzards Bay Coalition to protect and restore your irreplaceable Bay. Join us as a swimmer, supporter, or volunteer.
Reservations Required. Donna Cobert, Director of Membership and Events at (508) 999-6363 x209 or EMail for more information. Learn More and Register Here

 

Men Who Cook Benefit for The Women’s Center of Fall River

 

Sunday, July 14, 5pm – 7pm Shipyard Park, Waterstreet, Mattapoisett Center, Mattapoisett
What is the Men who Cook Event? It’s a great fun event where you can get a taste of the community. At this event there are all types of different dishes being showcased. There will be different ethnic cuisines available appetizers, main dishes and deserts. This event is a tasting event, come join us Soak in the sun, eat and drink and help raise money for The Women’s Center!
Men from the South Coast who like to cook in their spare time or as their profession are welcome to volunteer. Want to know more? or volunteer? Call Annie @ 508-996-3343 EXT 38 or EMail. Learn More Here

 

Greater Providence Community Gardens Field Trip

 

Saturday, July 20, 8am – 12pm Southside Community Land Trust
The Regional Council on Sustainability in coordination with the Southside Community Land Trust will be hosting site visits to the community gardens of the Greater Providence area. We will provide transportation from New Bedford to Providence and we hope you folks will use this opportunity to see an urban garden network in action! As we try to increase our regional intergarden cooperation we look to organizations that have a working system to use as our template. Please RSVP to rcs.gardens@gmail.com for more information and feel free to send along any questions. There is no limit on attendees so spread the word!

 

Stewards of Summer: The Bogs

 

Sunday, July 21, 9am – Noon Acushnet Road, Mattapoisett, MA
Come team up with the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Stewards of Summer! We will be spending one day a month helping with Coalition stewardship and restoration activities at our properties in Acushnet and Mattapoisett.
We will be working on removing invasive aquatic plants as well as other important land stewardship tasks. Please dress appropriately for field work. Be prepared for ticks, poison ivy and thorns. If possible, please bring your own garden gloves, loppers, pruning shears and water bottle.
Please RSVP. Call (508) 999-6363 x217 or Kevin Farrell, Land Steward for more information. Learn More and Register Here

 

The Warren Quahog Festival

 

Sunday, July 21 to Monday, July 22 Warren, RI
Showcasing a variety of fresh cooked seafood, chowders, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes. Arts and crafts vendors, live musical entertainment. Hosted by Warren Quahog Festival at the South Water Street: South Water Street, Warren, RI. Contact Warren Quahog Festival Organize at (401) 247-0232 for more information. Learn More Here

 

Summer Night Hike – Bats and Fireflies

 

Friday, July 26, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Listen for coyotes, search for bats in the sky and discover all the creatures that come to life at night in the forest. During this 2 hour hike we will focus on bats and fireflies participating in games and activities to learn all about these creatures. Then we will test our senses and a walk along the Lloyd Centers trails to see how the forest changes after dark.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$5 Non-members: $7
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 25 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

 

2nd Annual Summer River Exploration Camp to Explore Buzzards Bay and Watershed!

 

July 22-26 (Session E) and July 29-August 2 (Session F). Various places such as YMCA SouthCoast and Camp Massasoit
River Exploration Camp, delivered in partnership with YMCA Southcoast, will allow nature-loving youth to get up-close and personal with wildlife in and around Buzzards Bay and the Mattapoisett River. “River X” campers will learn how to catch blue crabs, net fish, identify plants, and wrangle toads at Camp Massasoit and at the Y’s Rochester property at Snipatuit Pond. Campers will get wet and dirty while exploring! In addition to swimming and boating, campers will participate in traditional camp activities at Camp Massasoit throughout the week.
River Exploration Camp is open to campers ages 9 to 12.
Cost: $238 per week for YMCA and Bay Coalition members. $264 per week for general public. Register through YMCA SouthCoast or The Buzzards Bay Coalition. Learn More Here

 

Adult Program: EXPLORING OUR COAST: GOOSEBERRY ISLAND, WESTPORT

 

Sunday, July 28, 8am – 10am Gooseberry Island, Westport – parking lot
The communities of the South coast of Massachusetts are a part of the sea: they have been geographically, historically, and biologically shaped by its presence. Join us on this series of local beach walks to learn about these relationships while rediscovering the magic of the shoreline. All walks are weather-permitting. Dress according to weather and please bring a non-alcoholic beverage.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$7 Non-members: $9
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 25 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

 

2013 MITS Summer Professional Development Institutes for Upper Elementary & Middle School Educators

 

Monday, June 17 – Tuesday, July 30 MITS, Inc., 1354 Hancock St., Suite 302, Quincy, MA
ONGOING
Investigating Interdisciplinary Pathways Through Engineering Design and the Natural World

After registering, participants will receive enrollment forms for optional graduate credit which must be completed prior to the first day of the Institute. This Hybrid Course combines 10 hours of online instruction with a one-week, on-site component. During the on-site component, spend a day at each partner institution’s site participating in hands-on inquiry investigations combined with content sessions. “Science, Technology and Engineering Meet Literacy and Social Science.” Learn More and Register Here

 


Leaf Bullet Announcements

 

Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange Accepting Applications for Americorp VISTA Position

 

UMass Dartmouth’s Sustainability Office invites applications for a VISTA position, (federal AmeriCorps grant-funded workers). Be part of a team working on alternative ways for people to meet their economic needs by expanding a time and talent bartering system going into its second year with 150 individual and institutional members. Time Banking is being used in communities around the world. The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange particularly targets the cities of New Bedford and Fall River. Time Banking is a very successful solution to restoring self-sufficiency and dignity to anyone suffering unemployment or insufficient income, as well as an effective way to strengthen communities.

VISTAS work part time at the University and part time in the community hosted by two partnering community groups — United Neighbors of Fall River and the Community Economic Development Center in New Bedford. The successful applicant will learn cutting-edge economic solutions for a changing world, and will be helping disadvantaged citizens find a pathway to hope for the future and improved self-esteem. Although the VISTA will have support from University staff, graduate students, and community leaders, this project is also an opportunity to shine with independent research, organizing, and problem solving skills. Duties include maintaining web based records, performing orientations with those new to Time Banking, tabling at local and regional events, performing various forms of outreach, coordinating and developing special projects, as well as organizing volunteers.

This is a one-year, full-time position with the potential to reapply for another year. Benefits include Health Insurance and an End-of-Service Educational Award. Read the full job description and apply here

 

Got a Garden? Tell Us About It For Our Database

 

The Regional Council on Sustainability in collaboration with the Island Foundation is collecting data on community and public gardens for a directory accessible to everyone. In attempts to increase use and public knowledge of garden locations and operations we are looking for your input about a garden that you may know of. If you know of a publicly accessible garden that you would like to have recorded in this directory please send the following:

  • Garden Name
  • Contact Person
  • Contact Phone Number
  • Garden Location
  • Garden Size
  • Any other information such as plot sizes available, fees, cultural ties, and crop preferences

 

Please E-mail us to be added to our directory.
This is an ongoing project. Check out our ever-evolving Island Foundation Garden Database here.

 

Sustainable Agriculture Program at Bristol Community College, Fall River

 

Enrollment is open for fall semester courses leading to a new Associate Degree in Sustainable Agriculture. This program is for new farmers, gardeners, landscapers, community organizers, and environmentalists. Graduates will be prepared to enter farming, gardening, community organizations, agricultural businesses, or to continue their education in sustainable food, agricultural or environmental professions. Courses that begin in September include OFP 114: Organic Farming Practices I, SCI 115: Science and Care of Plants, SOC 116: Food, Farming, & Famine. Course descriptions, schedules, and registration are available online at www.bristolcc.edu. Tuition waivers are available for senior citizens and veterans. More details? Contact Dr. Jim Corven: james.corven@bristolcc.edu.

 

Farmers market coming to Tobey Hospital

 

Southcoast Health System will host public farmers markets at Tobey Hospital Mondays, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., from the week of June 17 to the week of October 25.”We know from research that a large percentage of people on the South Coast do not have the benefit of regular access to fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables,” said Kerry Mello, Community Benefits Manager for Southcoast Health System.”This summer’s farmers’ markets are the kick-off to a range of Southcoast programs that provide our employees and our communities with easy access to healthy, locally grown food.” Local businesses will sell products that include fruits, vegetables, soups, jams, artisan breads and more. For more information visit www.southcoast.org/farmersmarket.

 


 

Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Portable evaporative air conditioner

 

A portable air conditioner with energy efficiency and living off the grid in mind. Learn more here.

 


 

Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

Developer says future of human race could rely on massive RV park in eastern Kansas hillside

 

Could used RVs buried underground be a surival strategy for catasrophic Earth events? Learn more here.

 


0Sustainability Almanac for June 14 to June 21, 2013

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

Corn Field Hungary Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn Fields

Hungary has taken a bold stand against biotech giant Monsanto and genetic modification by destroying 1000 acres of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds, according to Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar. Unlike many European Union countries, Hungary is a nation where genetically modified (GM) seeds are banned. In a similar stance against GM ingredients, Peru has also passed a 10 year ban on GM foods.

Planetsave reports: Almost 1000 acres of maize found to have been ground with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said. The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added. Read more here.

Ship in canal Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal

Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications.

The president of the country’s national assembly, Rene Nunez, announced the $40bn project, which will reinforce Beijing’s growing influence on global trade and weaken US dominance over the key shipping route between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Read more here.

Squid Squid Threatened by Ocean Acidity Caused by Rise in CO2

LONDON – That jet-propelled cephalopod of the seas, the squid, could be in for a hard time. As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, so the oceans become more acid, and this is not good news for one of the most important animals of the ocean ecosystem.

Aran Mooney of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the U.S. and other colleagues decided to take a look at what changing pH levels might do for the creature sometimes served up diced into rings, and fried, as calamari, or sometimes as the sauce in a pasta, cooked in its own ink. Read more here.

Cement factory smokestacks in China Carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012, IEA report says

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent to 31.6 gigatons in 2012, setting a record and putting the planet on course for temperature increases well above international climate goals, the International Energy Agency said in a report scheduled to be issued Monday.

The agency said continuing that pace could mean a temperature increase over pre-industrial times of as much as 5.3 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), which IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned “would be a disaster for all countries.” Read more here.

Nuclear plant EU proposes mandatory nuclear reviews every six years

The European Commission on Thursday published a draft nuclear safety law that includes mandatory EU-wide reviews every six years in response to lessons learnt from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

In the aftermath of the Japanese nuclear tragedy, the European Union carried out a series of stress tests to examine the resilience of nuclear power stations and Thursday’s proposals build on conclusions drawn from the tests. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Water tank Texas Oilfield Town Slammed By Drought Runs Out Of Water

A small town in West Texas suffering drought and increased water demands from oil and gas drilling has run out of water, and the residents are “pretty P.O.’d.” [Texas Tribune]

Barnhart, a small community in West Texas, has run out of water. John Nanny, an Irion County commissioner and an official with Barnhart’s water supply corporation, said on Thursday that the situation was serious. When reached by telephone, he was working on pumping operations and hoped to have a backup well in service Friday morning. A load of bottled water was on its way to the community center, he said. Read more here.

NASA rocket NASA goes green with reusable rockets

Since the space shuttle’s retirement in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian rockets to launch its astronauts to space. But the United States plans to have its own homemade spacecraft again soon. Called the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle, the new vehicle will be able to carry astronauts to Earth orbit, to the moon, asteroids, and eventually to Mars.

Though it looks similar to the gumdrop shape of the Apollo moon-bound capsules, the Orion spacecraft is a whole new machine. Unlike the old capsules, Orion – set to make its first test flight in 2017 – can be reused. Read more here

Groundhog Climate Change versus Groundhogs: Even Common Species Will Suffer

A warming world will present Punxsutawney Phil and his cousins with a host of new challenges, possibly enough to put some species at risk of extinction. According to research published last month in the journal Natural Science, climate change will bring temporary benefits to several of the world’s 15 marmot species (including the groundhog), but any gains will quickly be offset by climate-driven drought, shifts in edible vegetation and habitat loss. “If climate change is not mitigated, then extinction becomes a real threat,” says the paper’s author, Kenneth B. Armitage, professor emeritus at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, who has spent the past 40 years studying marmots. Read more here.

Geothermal plant $278 Million A Year In Geothermal Benefits For US

The annual health and environmental benefits to the United States from geothermal energy have been estimated to be $278 million a year, according to the Geothermal Energy Association. Binary geothermal energy plants produce almost no fossil fuel emissions, and other types only trace amounts of pollutants. Argonne National Laboratories found that hydrothermal binary plants have some of the lowest emissions of any energy technology, in their 2010 life-cycle emissions study. Most new geothermal plants that have recently come online in the US are this type. Read more here.

Dairy farmer and cows Turning cow dung into electricity

Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier’s 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the last three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia.

He installed a nearly $1-million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm. In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Market offerings Top 10 Reasons to Bring your Kids to the Farmers Market

The Farmers Market is a great place to bring your kids for so many reasons! The Farmers Market allows you to provide your family with wholesome, healthy food while supporting your local community at the same time.

Here’s the reality – Family farmers need your support! Now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy. Read more here.

Gasoline Price Sign Dangerous Times As Energy Sources Get Costlier To Extract

Remember the term “peak oil”? With all the oil now available from oil shale, tar sands, and other new sources, many analysts assume that the old talk of peak oil has been proven dead wrong. They buttress this conclusion with statistics showing decreased per capita oil usage, a signal, they say, of our entry into a golden era of rising supply and falling demand that will cut energy prices and fuel economic growth. Read more here.

Playground set The Village Green

There was a time when each village of Old Dartmouth were villages of Friends who worked together to build the community through hard work, equity, and reliance for the common in community. Their farms, workplaces and homes followed the daily cycles of the seasons. As in nature they reused everything and found their own niche to follow for the good of their family, neighbors, and community.

This spirit can enliven the community again by integrating sustainability and green economy into our daily lives, actions and work – like our grandparents lived as stewards on the land. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

Local farmers, local grocery stores forging a great partnership

A mutually beneficial relationship has sprouted between local farmers and small, locally owned grocery stores, according to the executive director of the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership.

Bridget Alexander said grocery stores like Lees Market in Westport and How On Earth in Mattapoisett are committed to local farmers and have a relationship with them that is “continuing and growing.”

The smaller, independent stores understand that they are investing in the community when they buy from local farmers and their purchases pay dividends, she said. Read more here

Developer, Fairhaven could see turbine revenue halved

FAIRHAVEN – Owners of Fairhaven’s two turbines could stand to lose a lot of money from the Board of Health’s motion Monday to shut off both turbines overnight.

Last year, the town paid the developer more than $700,000 over a 12-month period for electricity produced by the turbines, according to town Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch. The developer’s future annual revenue could be halved, depending on wind conditions, if the Board of Health’s ruling stands. Read more here.

Shellfish on dock State program cleans shellfish, brings more quahogs to towns

Shellfish wardens in Mattapoisett and Fairhaven are happy as clams to be participating once again in the state’s “shellfish relay program” this week. The program allows towns to take quahogs from the Taunton River and use them to seed local shellfishing spots.

“It helps our population considerably,” said Mattapoisett Natural Resource Officer Kathy Massey, who is seeding the town’s Shining Tide area with 200 bushels of quahogs this week. “Without this program we couldn’t allow as much shellfishing.” Read more here.

Senate farm bill amended to help fishing industry

The 2013 farm bill emerged from the U.S. Senate this week with two amendments to help the fishing industry, introduced by Massachusetts Sen. William “Mo” Cowan, his staff announced Monday.

One amendment calls for some sort of catch insurance similar to crop insurance used by farmers. The other would make low-interest loans available to the fishing industry to cope with the economic disaster declared in the fishery last year by acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. Read more here.

Gray seal in net on beach Successful Chatham seal tagging a first in US

CHATHAM – Twenty scientists and assistants helped tag an adult female gray seal this morning, the first adult gray seal in U.S. waters to have such a monitor placed on her.

The researchers used a specially adapted gill net with soft nylon twine and knots that wouldn’t cut into its skin as it struggled. They actually caught four seals while surrounding a group of approximately 100 seals on a slim sand bar in Chatham Harbor. Read more here. Also watch video on seal tagging in Chatham.

Vote on Rochester waste recycling facility set for June 25

ROCHESTER – The Planning Board will vote June 25 on whether to approve construction of an 89,000-square-foot, solar-powered, waste recycling facility on Cranberry Highway.

The board met with representatives of Zero Waste Solutions LLC Tuesday and members decided to delay a vote to take more time to review the order of conditions, which include improved paving, fencing and storm-water drainage. Read more here.

Fairhaven residents worry about PCBs in air

FAIRHAVEN – Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency heard criticism from Fairhaven residents about the EPA’s air monitoring practices during an informational meeting in Town Hall Thursday night.

The EPA monitors the air for contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during all of its dredging activities in the harbor. If airborne PCBs reach dangerous levels, the EPA is supposed to stop all dredging. Read more here.

SouthCoast leaders react to AG’s call in favor of AVX settlement

NEW BEDFORD – Attorney General Martha Coakley threw her weight behind a $366 million settlement with AVX Corporation, angering some SouthCoast leaders who reject the “cash out” deal. “It’s a step in absolutely the wrong direction,” said Mark Rasmussen, president of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. “This community has said this is not a settlement we want.”

AVX – a subsidiary of the Japanese electronics giant Kyocera – is the successor to Aerovox Corporation, which operated at a Belleville Avenue facility from 1938-73. In October, the company reached a settlement for $366.25 million to fund the cleanup of New Bedford Harbor. Although the Attorney General’s Office says the settlement will cover 90 percent of the cleanup, opponents say it won’t be enough. Read more here

Rhode Island Renewable-Energy Program Creates Jobs

PROVIDENCE – A new report from the state Office of Energy Resources shows that Rhode Island’s groundbreaking renewable-energy incentive program is creating local jobs. The distributed generation (DG) contracts program, passed in 2011 by the General Assembly, helped launch 23 large wind and solar projects statewide through its fixed electricity-pricing system. The 15-year-pricing guarantee with National Grid provides consistent revenue for developers and helps secure financing for their projects and ultimately attain profitability. Read more here.

School of tuna URI Developing Techniques for Tuna Aquaculture

NARRAGANSETT – Swimming around in a 20,000-gallon tank at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus are several large yellowfin tuna captured last fall about 100 miles off the Rhode Island coast. The fish are part of the first effort in the United States to breed tuna in a land-based aquaculture facility to meet the growing demand for one of the ocean’s top predators.

“Worldwide demand for tuna increases yearly, even as tuna stocks are dwindling precipitously,” said Terry Bradley, a URI professor of fisheries and aquaculture. “What we’re trying to do is produce fish in captivity and take the pressure off the wild stocks.” Read more here.

Kingston Wind Independence agrees to wind turbine testing

KINGSTON – An acoustic study of the Independence wind turbine conducted by the state Department of Environmental Protection will go forward.

Kingston Wind Independence co-owner and manager Kially Ruiz said that while there is still disagreement over the methodology, the monitoring will go forward as soon as MassDEP is ready to begin compliance testing. “We are fully cooperating with DEP to conduct acoustic monitoring,” he said. Read more here.

Grant program urges cities such as Brockton to think collaboratively

BROCKTON – The Boston Federal Reserve is overseeing a competitive grant program that could land Massachusetts’ smaller-postindustrial cities serious cash to help them recapture some of their former vitality, but those involved are hopeful that regardless of where the money goes, the process will lead to positive changes.

The Working Cities Challenge is designed to bring together leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors and get them working collaboratively to reverse decades of economic decline, said Boston Fed Vice President for Regional and Community Outreach Prabal Chakrabarti. Read more here


Leaf BulletThis Week

Dedication Ceremony and Bike Ride for Taunton River Trail

Saturday, June 15, Beginning at 8:45am Commuter parking lot at Riverside Avenue and old Route 6 in Somerset (at the Somerset side of the Old Brightman Street Bridge).
You are invited to the Dedication of the Taunton River Trail On Saturday morning on June 15th, the Taunton River Trail will be initiated with two dedication events. The first event will be a bike ride along the Taunton River Trail bicycle route in Somerset and Dighton. The bike ride will begin at 8:45 am at the commuter parking lot at Riverside Avenue and old Route 6 in Somerset (at the Somerset side of the Old Brightman Street Bridge). The ride will continue to the Sweet’s Knoll State Park in Dighton, where riders will join the dedication ceremonies for a new kiosk at the park site. The bike ride is being sponsored by the Fall River Bicycle Committee.

At 10:00 am, the dedication of a kiosk at the new Sweet’s Knoll State Park will be held. The Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Edward M. Lambert, will speak at the Sweet’s Knoll ceremony. The kiosk is one of four along the Taunton River that is being funded by the National Park Service as part of the Taunton Wild and Scenic designation. The address of the Sweet’s Knoll State Park is 1387 Somerset Avenue (Route 138) in Dighton.

The short ceremony at Sweet’s Knoll will be followed by coffee and refreshments. An optional walking tour of the future bike path will occur following the ceremony. The event is free and open to the public. We hope to see you at the bike ride at 8:45 am and at the Sweet’s Knoll dedication ceremony at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 15th. The Taunton River Trail is an on-road bike route and an off-road bike path that will eventually extend from the City of Fall River to the City of Taunton along the Taunton River. In addition to a bikeway, the Taunton River Trail will include an initiative to preserve an extensive greenway along the Taunton River and to interpret the rich human and ecological history of the river. Learn more here.

The Mission with Chicken with Chef Rosa Galeno

Saturday, June 15, 9am – 3pm Silverbrook Farm, 934 Main St., Acushnet, MA
Silverbrook Farm officially begins it’s long awaited Silverbrook Home Education Sessions. Come and learn three wonderful traditional recipies using old word herbs and techniques, and then take a SILVERBROOK LIVESTOCK FREE RANGE CHICKEN Home with you to try out your new found knowledge with your family!
This culinary class will depict two variables of cooking an amazing chicken dinner with a twist in flavor and ease. In addition we will explore the art of rendering and a few family secrets that keep cooking easy and stress free. Each student will have an opportunity to learn mindful methods when cooking chicken that gives the most flavor, and Family recipes to pass on to the keeper of food traditions shared at the dinner table.
Price is $49 and space is limited. Learn more and Register here.

Art on the Green: Pinehills

Saturday, June 15, 10am – 4pm The Pinehills, 33 Summerhouse Drive, Plymouth, MA
Art on the Green – an art exhibit and market featuring over 80 local and regional artists showcasing their paintings, wood and glass art, photography, sculptures, eclectic jewelry, wearable art and more! Art on the Green is an outdoor festival on The Village Green at The Pinehills. The event runs from 10am to 4pm and will also feature live steel drum music and food for purchase at The Market, Cafe Olio, Rye Tavern and East Bay Grille at The Pinehills Golf Club. Children are invited to visit the Kids Corner for face painting and to “Make a Tie for Dad”. Purchase a $5 white tie to decorate for Dad in honor of Father’s Day and support The Home for Little Wanderers, Southeast Campus where all proceeds will be donated. All exhibitors are under tents, so visitors will be shaded or dry pending the weather conditions. Patrons can also visit The Summerhouse Welcome Center for information on The Pinehills and to tour more than 10 model homes that are open daily, 9am-5pm. Due to new construction in the Village Green, parking in that area will be very limited for this event. All Event Attendees and Artists parking will be located at the Beaver Dam Road Parking Lot. Shuttles will be running throughout the day from the Village Green to Beaver Dam Road Parking Lot. Learn more here

Copicut Woods Summer Solstice

Friday, June 21, 7pm Copicut Woods, Indian Town Rd., Fall River, MA
Celebrate the arrival of summer and the quiet beauty of Copicut Woods at twilight with a candlelit walk down Miller Lane. We’ll begin by making candle lanterns that will light our way down the trail at dusk. The call of whippoorwill often marks the arrival of summer on this magical night that you’ll never forget.
FREE. EMail for more information. Learn more here

First Day of Summer Sunset Hike

Friday, June 21, 7:30pm – 9pm Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Watch the sun setting over the estuary and tour the grounds to discover the creatures that are coming to life as the sun sets and the forest goes to sleep. Bring a flashlight if you have one and be ready to enjoy the sunset and views over the river. At the conclusion of this hike light refreshments will be served to celebrate the arrival of summer. All ages are welcome on this family friendly hike.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$4 Non-members: $5
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 19. Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

3rd Annual Fishing For A Cause Tournament

Friday, June 21 to Saturday, June 22 Pope’s Island Marina, located at 102 Pope’s Island, New Bedford
Fishing For a Cause is organized by and for the benefit of the Schwartz Center for Children. The Schwartz Center is a not-for-profit organization located in Dartmouth, MA that provides comprehensive medical and educational services for children with special needs.
The awards dinner will be held seaside under a tent at Pope’s Island marina. The Schwartz Center anticipates that close to 400 people will attend this year’s catered dinner, which will be prepared and served by Pepper’s Fine Catering, and feature music by the popular Providence-based band Santa Mamba. The dinner is complimentary to participating anglers and open to the public with the purchase of a ticket.
Learn more here


Leaf BulletSave The Date

Creative Connections: Art in the Outdoors with Anastasia Azure

Thursday, June 27, 5:30pm – 7pm East Beach, New Bedford, MA
Join nationally-recognized artist Anastasia Azure on a creative journey at East Beach in New Bedford. Anastasia will lead participants in the exploration of “land art,” a process in which the landscape and work of art are inextricably linked. Deepen your connection to the watershed and discover a new way to enjoy your Bay.
FREE Event. Reservations Required. Contact Margo Connolly, Senior Educator at (508) 999-6363 x224 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

Buzzard’s Bay 25th Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 27, 6pm – 8pm The Beachmoor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 11 Buttermilk Way, Buzzards Bay, MA
The Buzzards Bay Coalition invites you to our 25th Annual Meeting at the Beachmoor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Thursday, June 27. The evening will begin with a reception for members at 6 p.m., followed by the Annual Meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will include a discussion of our accomplishments in 2012, election of board members, and presentation of the 2013 Buzzards Bay Guardian awards.
Contact Maureen Coleman, Vice-President of Operations, at (508) 999-6363 x202 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

SEMAP’s 6th Annual Farm to Table Dinner

Friday, June 28, 5:30pm – 9pm Alderbrook Farm, 1213 Russell Mills Rd., South Dartmouth, MA
Join us on a culinary adventure set between the soil & the stars! Support SEMAP in its mission to preserve & expand access to local food & sustainable farming in Southeastern Massachusetts.
The Farm to Table Dinner consists of a multi-course, all-local, gourmet dinner, occuring beneath the stars in the summer air at the beautiful Alderbrook Farm in South Dartmouth, MA. There will also be a Live Auction!
The Manley family has run the 16-acre Alderbrook farm for over four generations. The farm was recently made a Massachusetts Century Farm. With your help SEMAP continues to grow its educational offerings to the public and farming community.

$175.00 per person
$120.00 for SEMAP Farm Members
Contact Kristen Irvin, SEMAP Executive Assistant, or call 336-509-0044 for more information. Learn More and Register Here

Fairhaven Homecoming Fair

Saturday, June 29, 10am – 4pm Center St., Fairhaven, MA
Fairhaven’s largest annual event features about 175 booths of handmade crafts and delicious foods in addition to live entertainment, an art exhibit on the west lawn of the Unitarian Church, and children’s activities, including the very popular fire engine rides. Sponsored by the Fairhaven Improvement Association. Learn More Here

Seining in the River

Saturday, July 6, 10am – Noon Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Discover all of the creatures that are living in the estuary. During this action packed program we will use nets to find animals hidden in the water, learn about common species in this area and how animals from the tropics wind up in Massachusetts. Bring shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet!
All Ages Welcome. Price: Individual : Members: $5 Non-members: $7 Family of Four: Members:$15 Non-members:$20
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Friday, July 5. Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

New Bedford Summerfest/Folk Festival

Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 Downtown New Bedford, Historic Waterfront District
The New Bedford Folk Festival features the best in contemporary, traditional, and Celtic folk music. NBFF is an affordable destination for families seeking a fun-filled Independence Day weekend. Hosted by the City of New Bedford and The Standard-Times, the New Bedford Folk Festival offers an exciting atmosphere with great music, beautiful arts and crafts and fun activities for the whole family.

Lining the cobblestone streets of the New Bedford’s Whaling National Historical Park, the Artisans’ Marketplace showcases the handcrafted work of many local artists as well as crafters from Maine to California. Handmade items in every imaginable medium are available including photography, painting, ceramics, textiles, wood, metal, glass and stone. Shoppers find jewelry, musical instruments, clothing, lamps, stained and blown glass, nautical crafts, wooden and cloth toys, pottery, baskets, furniture and more. There is truly something for everyone!

Want some terrific food? We have fresh seafood, quick snacks, and other tasty treats in our Festival Food Vendor area. Within and around the festival grounds are many of New Bedford’s great restaurants serving local seafood, hot soups, homemade ice cream, cafe cuisine and much more. Learn More and find out about Ticket Prices and Schedules Here

New Bedford Whaling City Festival

Friday, July 12 to Sunday, July 14, 9am – 8pm Buttonwood Park, New Bedford, MA
Whaling City Festival has been running for 42 years. Over 150 thousand people visit the festival every year. At the festival you can shop over 200 flea market and craft vendors and eat at one of the 26 food vendors. Enjoy music and entertainment from local bands and local radio stations. The festival wouldn’t be complete without taking a ride on one of many Mark Fanelli’s Carnival rides. Learn More Here

Buzzards Bay Swim

Saturday, July 13, 7am – 11am Davy’s Locker Beach, 1480 E Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA
Celebrate clean water and support a healthy Buzzards Bay at the Buzzards Bay Swim. You’ll join hundreds of swimmers, of all ages and ability levels, for a 1.2 mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. Funds raised support the work of the Buzzards Bay Coalition to protect and restore your irreplaceable Bay. Join us as a swimmer, supporter, or volunteer.
Reservations Required. Donna Cobert, Director of Membership and Events at (508) 999-6363 x209 or EMail for more information. Learn More and Register Here

Men Who Cook Benefit for The Women’s Center of Fall River

Sunday, July 14, 5pm – 7pm Shipyard Park, Waterstreet, Mattapoisett Center, Mattapoisett
What is the Men who Cook Event? It’s a great fun event where you can get a taste of the community. At this event there are all types of different dishes being showcased. There will be different ethnic cuisines available appetizers, main dishes and deserts. This event is a tasting event, come join us Soak in the sun, eat and drink and help raise money for The Women’s Center!
Men from the South Coast who like to cook in their spare time or as their profession are welcome to volunteer. Want to know more? or volunteer? Call Annie @ 508-996-3343 EXT 38 or EMail. Learn More Here

Greater Providence Community Gardens Field Trip

Saturday, July 20, 8am – 12pm Southside Community Land Trust
The Regional Council on Sustainability in coordination with the Southside Community Land Trust will be hosting site visits to the community gardens of the Greater Providence area. We will provide transportation from New Bedford to Providence and we hope you folks will use this opportunity to see an urban garden network in action! As we try to increase our regional intergarden cooperation we look to organizations that have a working system to use as our template. Please RSVP to rcs.gardens@gmail.com for more information and feel free to send along any questions. There is no limit on attendees so spread the word!

Stewards of Summer: The Bogs

Sunday, July 21, 9am – Noon Acushnet Road, Mattapoisett, MA
Come team up with the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Stewards of Summer! We will be spending one day a month helping with Coalition stewardship and restoration activities at our properties in Acushnet and Mattapoisett.
We will be working on removing invasive aquatic plants as well as other important land stewardship tasks. Please dress appropriately for field work. Be prepared for ticks, poison ivy and thorns. If possible, please bring your own garden gloves, loppers, pruning shears and water bottle.
Please RSVP. Call (508) 999-6363 x217 or Kevin Farrell, Land Steward for more information. Learn More and Register Here

The Warren Quahog Festival

Sunday, July 21 to Monday, July 22 Warren, RI
Showcasing a variety of fresh cooked seafood, chowders, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes. Arts and crafts vendors, live musical entertainment. Hosted by Warren Quahog Festival at the South Water Street: South Water Street, Warren, RI. Contact Warren Quahog Festival Organize at (401) 247-0232 for more information. Learn More Here

Summer Night Hike – Bats and Fireflies

Friday, July 26, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Listen for coyotes, search for bats in the sky and discover all the creatures that come to life at night in the forest. During this 2 hour hike we will focus on bats and fireflies participating in games and activities to learn all about these creatures. Then we will test our senses and a walk along the Lloyd Centers trails to see how the forest changes after dark.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$5 Non-members: $7
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 25 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

2nd Annual Summer River Exploration Camp to Explore Buzzards Bay and Watershed!

July 22-26 (Session E) and July 29-August 2 (Session F). Various places such as YMCA SouthCoast and Camp Massasoit
River Exploration Camp, delivered in partnership with YMCA Southcoast, will allow nature-loving youth to get up-close and personal with wildlife in and around Buzzards Bay and the Mattapoisett River. “River X” campers will learn how to catch blue crabs, net fish, identify plants, and wrangle toads at Camp Massasoit and at the Y’s Rochester property at Snipatuit Pond. Campers will get wet and dirty while exploring! In addition to swimming and boating, campers will participate in traditional camp activities at Camp Massasoit throughout the week.
River Exploration Camp is open to campers ages 9 to 12.
Cost: $238 per week for YMCA and Bay Coalition members. $264 per week for general public. Register through YMCA SouthCoast or The Buzzards Bay Coalition. Learn More Here

Adult Program: EXPLORING OUR COAST: GOOSEBERRY ISLAND, WESTPORT

Sunday, July 28, 8am – 10am Gooseberry Island, Westport – parking lot
The communities of the South coast of Massachusetts are a part of the sea: they have been geographically, historically, and biologically shaped by its presence. Join us on this series of local beach walks to learn about these relationships while rediscovering the magic of the shoreline. All walks are weather-permitting. Dress according to weather and please bring a non-alcoholic beverage.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$7 Non-members: $9
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 25 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

2013 MITS Summer Professional Development Institutes for Upper Elementary & Middle School Educators

Monday, June 17 – Tuesday, July 30 MITS, Inc., 1354 Hancock St., Suite 302, Quincy, MA
ONGOING
Investigating Interdisciplinary Pathways Through Engineering Design and the Natural World

After registering, participants will receive enrollment forms for optional graduate credit which must be completed prior to the first day of the Institute. This Hybrid Course combines 10 hours of online instruction with a one-week, on-site component. During the on-site component, spend a day at each partner institution’s site participating in hands-on inquiry investigations combined with content sessions. “Science, Technology and Engineering Meet Literacy and Social Science.” Learn More and Register Here


Leaf Bullet Announcements

Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange Accepting Applications for Americorp VISTA Position

UMass Dartmouth’s Sustainability Office invites applications for a VISTA position, (federal AmeriCorps grant-funded workers). Be part of a team working on alternative ways for people to meet their economic needs by expanding a time and talent bartering system going into its second year with 150 individual and institutional members. Time Banking is being used in communities around the world. The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange particularly targets the cities of New Bedford and Fall River. Time Banking is a very successful solution to restoring self-sufficiency and dignity to anyone suffering unemployment or insufficient income, as well as an effective way to strengthen communities.

VISTAS work part time at the University and part time in the community hosted by two partnering community groups — United Neighbors of Fall River and the Community Economic Development Center in New Bedford. The successful applicant will learn cutting-edge economic solutions for a changing world, and will be helping disadvantaged citizens find a pathway to hope for the future and improved self-esteem. Although the VISTA will have support from University staff, graduate students, and community leaders, this project is also an opportunity to shine with independent research, organizing, and problem solving skills. Duties include maintaining web based records, performing orientations with those new to Time Banking, tabling at local and regional events, performing various forms of outreach, coordinating and developing special projects, as well as organizing volunteers.

This is a one-year, full-time position with the potential to reapply for another year. Benefits include Health Insurance and an End-of-Service Educational Award. Read the full job description and apply here

Sustainability Summer Camp at UMass Dartmouth Now Accepting Applications

Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 19
This summer, become a Speaker for the Trees! We all are Speakers for the Trees; we care about building sustainable communities and lifestyles. Through this week, campers will learn more about taking care of our trees, recycling, climate change, ecosystems, environmental science, renewable energy technologies, and food systems.

At Sustainability Summer Camp, you learn through hands-on projects in the university classrooms; outside in the campus forest; and on field trips in our community. Speakers for the Trees create and present projects on the last day of camp to prove their skills. After camp they are invited to share what they have learned with their family and friends within our camp community.

For Whom: This Summer Camp is for Middle school students entering grades 6, 7, and 8 (in September 2013).
Where: At UMass Dartmouth’s Main Campus. School bus transportation to and from camp will potentially be available for campers from Dartmouth and New Bedford areas. Please indicate if your child will need transportation.
Cost: $80 per child. Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Time: 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Contact: Martha Yules at (508) 904-2372 or EMail Her.
Register Here. You can also contact the Martha Yules or The Sustainability Office for Registration Forms.

Got a Garden? Tell Us About It For Our Database

The Regional Council on Sustainability in collaboration with the Island Foundation is collecting data on community and public gardens for a directory accessible to everyone. In attempts to increase use and public knowledge of garden locations and operations we are looking for your input about a garden that you may know of. If you know of a publicly accessible garden that you would like to have recorded in this directory please send the following:

  • Garden Name
  • Contact Person
  • Contact Phone Number
  • Garden Location
  • Garden Size
  • Any other information such as plot sizes available, fees, cultural ties, and crop preferences

Please E-mail us to be added to our directory.
This is an ongoing project. Check out our ever-evolving Island Foundation Garden Database here.

Sustainable Agriculture Program at Bristol Community College, Fall River

Enrollment is open for fall semester courses leading to a new Associate Degree in Sustainable Agriculture. This program is for new farmers, gardeners, landscapers, community organizers, and environmentalists. Graduates will be prepared to enter farming, gardening, community organizations, agricultural businesses, or to continue their education in sustainable food, agricultural or environmental professions. Courses that begin in September include OFP 114: Organic Farming Practices I, SCI 115: Science and Care of Plants, SOC 116: Food, Farming, & Famine. Course descriptions, schedules, and registration are available online at www.bristolcc.edu. Tuition waivers are available for senior citizens and veterans. More details? Contact Dr. Jim Corven: james.corven@bristolcc.edu.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Share Seeds, Save Heirloom Plants

Grow local knowledge of your native plants, soils, and gardening conditions. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

What is the Survivalist Mindset?

Learn what it means to make “survivalism” a way of life. Learn more here.


0Sustainability Almanac for June 7 to June 14, 2013

 

Leaf Bullet Global News

U.S. Delays While 65 Other Countries Sign 1st Global Arms Trade Treaty

More than 65 countries have signed the first-ever treaty regulating the global arms trade. The United States, which is the world’s top arms exporter, has delayed signing it after being accused of weakening the treaty before its approval last month. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States would sign as soon as the official translation process is complete. The treaty would not control domestic weapons use but still faces a tough battle for ratification in the U.S. Senate. On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged countries that export arms to embrace the treaty. Read more here.

Woman with basket Indigenous knowledge is a form of science — don’t ignore it

Science and technology have always been an important part of growth and development plans. But accepted ‘scientific expertise’ is Western, standardised and homogenous. From this viewpoint, the vast body of scientific expertise developed in diverse societies and cultures is discounted and ignored.

Referred to as indigenous or traditional knowledge, this is a knowledge system distilled from generations of scientific work anchored in rural and tribal communities. It is different to the Western system of empirical, lab-based science — but is equally valid and efficacious. Read more here.

Burning Tree Hotter Planet Creating ‘Extraordinary’ Wild Fires

Climate change is worsening wildfires, lengthening the wildfire season and increasing their size, the head of the nation’s forest service warned Congress on Tuesday. In testimony to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell said:
Around the world, the last two decades have seen fires that are extraordinary in their size, intensity and impacts. In Australia in 2009, the Black Saturday Bushfires killed 170 people. Domestically, Florida, Georgia, Utah, California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, have all experienced the largest and/or the most destructive fires in their history just in the last six years. On average wildfires burn twice as many acres each year as compared to 40 years ago, and there are on average seven times as many fires over 10,000 acres per year. Read more here.

Small island states told to build wider ocean expertise

With rising concern about ocean degradation and the sustainable use of ocean resources, small island states must build scientific expertise that goes beyond their national needs and that benefits the oceans generally, a meeting of UN scientific experts has heard.

Small island developing states (SIDS) are the “custodians” of vast ocean spaces that are important for global food security, biodiversity, natural resources and carbon sequestration, and broader sustainable ocean policies will in turn enhance their own economic development, say experts. Read more here.

Image of Antarctica without ice Naked continent? See Antarctica without ice

The hidden face of Antarctica, concealed for more than 30 million years beneath thick ice, is revealed in a new map and video of the continent’s rocky surface, released today by NASA.

The project, called BedMap2, is part of an international collaboration led by the British Antarctic Survey to calculate the total extent of ice in Antarctica – an essential step in predicting potential future sea level rise. To do so, researchers needed to know the details of the continent’s underlying topography, from broad valleys to buried mountain ranges. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Woman holding sign Connecticut Becomes First State to Require GMO Labeling

In a landmark act, Connecticut has become the first state to require the labeling of genetically modified (gmo) foods. The gmo labeling bill overwhelmingly passed in the House in a 134 – 3 vote on Monday.

As the Hartford Courant reports, the bill entails a sort of trigger in order for it to take effect:
For the legislation to take effect four states – including those bordering Connecticut – must pass a similar bill. In addition, any combination of northeastern states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania or New Jersey), with an aggregate population of at least 20 million people, must approve labeling legislation. Read more here.

Food Waste Americans Throw Out 40 Percent Of Their Food, Which Is Terrible For The Climate

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency announced their plan to tackle food waste in America, a problem that has grown by 50 percent since the 1970s. Today, as much as 40 percent of food produced in America is thrown away, amounting to 1,400 calories per person per day, $400 per person per year, and notably, 31 million tons of food added to landfills each year.

The USDA’s and EPA’s solution is a program called the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, which invites food producers, retailers, consumers, nonprofits and government agencies to sign up and “list the activities they will undertake to help reduce, recover, or recycle food waste in the United States.” Read more here

18 Of America’s Biggest Companies Using Tax Havens To Skirt $92 Billion In U.S. Taxes

Apple may be getting all the attention from lawmakers and the news media for its offshore tax practices, but a new report finds that other major companies are using similar tactics to avoid paying taxes on billions of dollars in profits.

At least 18 companies, including Nike, Microsoft and Apple, are stashing profits in offshore tax havens likely in a bid to avoid paying taxes, according to a new report from the Citizens for Tax Justice, a left-leaning research group. If the companies brought that money home, they would pay combined more than $92 billion in U.S. taxes, the report found. Read more here.

Helicopter and wild horses Report Criticizes U.S. Stewardship of Wild Horses

A new report catalogs a range of problems with the way the federal government is managing thousands of wild horses and burros that roam the American West, supporting the position of animal rights advocates who have long argued that the program is ineffective and needlessly cruel.

The report, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences at the behest of the Bureau of Land Management and released Wednesday, concluded that the bureau’s methods of counting the thousands of wild horses and burros that wander rural stretches of the United States were inconsistent and most likely inaccurate. Read more here.

Arkansas oil spill from pipeline Arkansas pipeline spill casts shadow over Keystone XL

MAYFLOWER, Ark. – On warm spring evenings, North Starlite Drive buzzed with children. They cycled around the cul-de-sac at the end of the wide, block-long road, shot baskets in driveways and inevitably wound up on the swing set and trampoline behind the Bartletts’ large brick house.

These days, there are no children. Yellow police tape stretches across the turns from the main road onto the street. All 22 families who lived there are gone.

About 2:45 p.m. on March 29, an underground ExxonMobil oil pipeline ruptured in the woods behind the cul-de-sac. An estimated 5,000 barrels – or 210,000 gallons – of oil splashed down North Starlite into a drainage ditch, snaking into a cove off Lake Conway. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

The Obama climate move that nobody noticed

The Obama administration just made a fairly significant move on climate change, and it flew right under the radar. To explain, let me back up a bit. How much damage does a ton of carbon emissions do? That dollar figure is known as the “social cost of carbon” and it is, as economist Frank Ackerman put it a few years ago, “the most important number you’ve never heard of.” Why does it matter? Because the U.S. government uses it to assess the costs and benefits of regulatory action.

The federal government just bumped up the cost of carbon by 60 percent. This will, all things being equal, increase by 60 percent the amount of carbon mitigation that can be economically justified. That’s a big deal, especially in light of the fact that EPA regulations are going to make (or break) Obama’s second-term climate legacy. Read more here.

Promise or problem? A debate on nuclear power

On Tuesday, Ash over at Curious Wavefunction blogged about “Pandora’s Promise,” a new documentary about the intersection between nuclear power and the environmental movement. I haven’t had a chance to see the documentary because despite the internet, Australia is still very, very far away in movie-miles. But Ash raises a number of interesting points about the state of nuclear power – and the institutions that surround nuclear power – that are worth talking about and investigating a little further. In the interests of disclosure, I am pro-nuclear in principle, but I think that a lot has to be done before nuclear becomes more credible as a solution to anything. Read more here.

Playground set ‘Plastic Wood’ Is No Green Guarantee

Ishmael Tirado watches as his fellow construction workers rebuild the Steeplechase Pier, a central feature of New York’s iconic Coney Island boardwalk. Planks of tropical ipe wood that were torn asunder by last year’s Hurricane Sandy lie in grey stacks behind him, ready to be scrapped or recycled, but fresh boards are tellingly absent. When the pier reopens this summer, visitors will encounter a shiny expanse of recycled plastic jutting out to sea on a platform of steel-reinforced concrete. “I think it’s a good idea,” Tirado says. “It’s more durable, and we are saving trees.”

But some researchers fear that a knee-jerk shift away from tropical timber could backfire on the environment. “If it’s sustainable, the timber trade is generally a good thing,” says Duncan Brack, an environmental-policy analyst at Chatham House, a think tank in London. “There’s a real danger of pushing people towards things with higher environmental impacts.” Read more here.

Why Master Limited Partnerships Are A Lousy Policy For Solar, Wind, And Taxpayers

If you follow the renewable energy industry and haven’t been sleeping, then you’ve probably heard about one of the few pieces of federal legislation purported to help clean energy that’s actually moving: expanding Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) to cover wind and solar energy. (H.R.1696) This is not a good thing.

MLPs originated in 1986, when Congress decided that to allow certain businesses (oil and gas pipelines) to avoid paying corporate income tax. These partnerships function a lot like publicly traded corporations, with publicly traded stock, but don’t pay income taxes. Most folks who’ve touted expanding MLPs to include renewable energy projects see this move as “leveling the playing field.” And it will, allowing big energy corporations to avoid paying taxes on their renewable energy projects just like they do for pipelines. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

ARPA-E, a US agency that helps firms commercialize clean energy technologies, has awarded grants US agency fuels Massachusetts clean tech companies when others don’t

As private investors shy away from new energy technologies that require millions of dollars and many years to commercialize, Massachusetts companies are getting much-needed infusions of capital from a little-known federal agency modeled after a Defense Department program that developed the Internet and GPS technology. The agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, has awarded more grants in Massachusetts than in any other state except California, providing a total of $97 million to 31 projects at Massachusetts companies and universities. The grants are helping local firms commercialize new technologies in solar power, biofuels, and energy storage. FastCap Systems of Boston, for example, received $5.3 million to move its storage technology out of an MIT lab in 2010. The company is making a fast-charging, battery-like device called an ultracapacitor for use in hybrid vehicles and oil and gas drilling. It is just beginning to bring the product to market.

Financing has become a major challenge for clean technology start-ups in recent years. Private investors, once enamored with the potential of alternative energy, have pulled back as both products and markets developed more slowly than anticipated. At the same time, the overall level of government funding has diminished since 2009 as high-profile failures – such as the California solar company Solyndra – make political leaders reluctant to commit taxpayer money to support the industry. But ARPA-E has generally received support from both Republicans and Democrats. Congress authorized a budget for this year of $275 million, which was reduced by $25 million because of the automatic budget cuts know as sequestration. ARPA-E is now filling the financing gap for many companies. It follows a similar approach to the storied Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, backing far-out ideas and risky research in the hope of developing and commercializing game changing technologies, such as the Internet. Read more here

Mass. ranks second for clean-energy technology

BOSTON – Massachusetts ranked second in the nation behind only California for its commitment to clean-energy technology, according to an annual index released that also placed Boston as the 10th best city for clean technology innovation and expansion. The report, published by Clean Edge Inc., with The Energy Foundation and Wells Fargo, said Massachusetts is one of only a few states to consistently compete with California, showing strong leadership in early-stage technology development and an ability to attract capital.

Massachusetts eclipsed Oregon for the first time since Clean Edge started tracking state activity four years ago. “Massachusetts has become a premier destination for clean-energy innovation and investment because we are shaping that future rather than just waiting for it to happen,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. “There is more to do, and now is no time to let up. In order to be winners in the 21st century, we must increase the pace of innovation and deepen our commitment to being good stewards of both our environment and our economy.” Read more here.

New Bedford earns energy honors

NEW BEDFORD – New Bedford is among three cities the U.S. Department of Energy is recognizing for its energy efficiency efforts. According to the release, New Bedford used energy efficiency funding to develop and expand energy programs for both municipal buildings and homes. The city efforts include installing energy efficiency measures in nine buildings for $350,000 in annual savings. In addition, more than 1,500 residents requested home energy assessments; so far, 900 have been completed and more than 175 homes have had work done. Read more here.

Nina Maxwell Maxwell Smart About Unifying Power of Food

Maxwell’s passion for local and sustainable food drove her to design a business plan for a small grocery store. The plan was boldly optimistic, but despite a conspicuous lack of funds and business experience, the group responded with enthusiasm. Today, Maxwell and her team have imagined and created a suite of Fertile Underground initiatives, including community gardens and a worker-owned grocery, all with the goal of delivering local and sustainable food to urban Providence. Although Maxwell lacks a traditional business background, she and her partners have managed to develop a unique business plan with persistence, dedication and an audacious disregard for the way things are usually done.

For Maxwell, the inspiration for the Fertile Underground initiatives sprang from her desire to support local farmers and her concern about food deserts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 10 percent of America qualifies as a “food desert” – an area where residents are hard-pressed to find healthy, fresh food. Communities in food deserts may have to settle for an unhealthy diet, or travel for miles to the nearest grocery. Read more here.

More Cape Cod children live in poverty

BARNSTABLE – The percentage of young Cape Cod residents who are poor has jumped since 2006 even as the region continues to age, according to a report released Monday by the Barnstable County Department of Human Services. “The increase, in general, is shocking,” the department’s director, Elizabeth Albert, said about the fourfold increase in the percentage of residents under 18 who are living in poverty. Among the more dramatic findings of the report is that the percentage of children under 18 living in poverty increased from 3.4 percent in 2006 to 17.8 percent in 2010. That figure dropped to 16 percent, or 5,691 children, in 2011. Poverty in 2011 was considered an income of below $14,710 for a family of two and below $22,350 for a family of four.

At the same time, the number of people younger than 15 in the county continued an ongoing decline, dropping nearly 21 percent from 37,618 in 2000 to 29,759 in 2010, according to the report. The findings, which rely heavily on U.S. Census data, show another more well-known demographic trend on the Cape: The region’s median age is on the rise, having climbed from 44.6 years in 2000 to 49.9 years in 2010. Read more here.

Emily Hamilton, an urban forester contracted by Fall River, checks a label on one of the trees growing at the city's new tree farm. Fall River hoping to add spots of green with tree planting program

FALL RIVER – An ambitious urban tree farm initiative is taking root in the city, and organizers hope it will bring beauty and environmental benefits to all neighborhoods. Dubbed the Fall River Street Tree Planting Program, the idea took shape last year, said Perry C. Long, neighborhood outreach coordinator. Planting started more than a month ago. “We talked about the need for a system that would allow us to get trees into the neighborhoods,” Long said.

And the benefits don’t stop at just a greener Fall River.The project is located on an abandoned piece of city-owned property that was once a storage area for heavy equipment used in the Sewer Overflow Project on Bay Street, next the Tiverton line. “We’re taking an vacant lot that was once a nuisance and turning it into a project that will also improve the area,” Long said. “It’s really an exciting project.” Read more here.

Installing a smart meter Utility smart meters raise health, privacy concerns

Utilities across the country are installing so-called smart meters in homes and businesses to allow them to better track and manage energy use by their customers, aiming to increase efficiency, lower costs, and reduce pollution. But the advanced meters, which use wireless and digital technologies to send frequent consumption data to utilities, face opposition from customers and others who see them as a threat to health, privacy, and security. Already, eight states, including Maine and Vermont, have adopted laws or regulations that make it easier for customers to opt out of smart-meter programs and keep old analog meters. Eight others, including Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., are considering similar measures. Representative Thomas Conroy, Democrat of Wayland, has filed a bill in the Legislature that would give Massachusetts residents the right to say no to smart meters.

The opposition to the meters represents a hitch to one of the key energy initiatives of the Obama administration in Washington and Governor Deval Patrick’s administration in Massachusetts – the smart grid. Smart grid proponents hope to incorporate information technology and advanced communications into the production, distribution, and consumption of electricity to make the power system more efficient, less costly, and more environmentally friendly. A Massachusetts law requires all utilities in the state to undertake pilot programs to test how smart grid technologies, such as advanced meters, can help cut energy use. By more effectively managing supply and demand, smart grid advocates say, the power system can avoid the costs of building new plants and transmission while reducing pollution emitted by plants. Read more here.

NOAA being sued twice by environmentalists

NEW BEDFORD – For the second time this week, NOAA has been sued – this time twice – by two environmental groups troubled by relaxation of fishing rules aimed at helping fishermen struggling under severe groundfish catch limits. In U.S. District Court suits filed in Washington, D.C., the Conservation Law Foundation and Earthjustice maintain that the National Marine Fisheries Service went too far when fishery regulators approved both the reopening of two closed groundfish conservation areas and the carryover of some unused catch permits to ease the effect of sharp cutbacks in quota for cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder.

The environmental groups had registered their complaints about the closed areas during meetings of the New England Fishery Management Council earlier this year. Peter Shelley, senior counsel of the CLF, said that “Managers should be acting conservatively to steward the remaining fish and the places they have retreated to, not making them more available to the fishing fleet. “Opening up protected areas will not magically create new fish.” Read more here

EPA's Waste Hierarchy Looking Ahead: Rhode Island Waste in 2035

What will Rhode Island’s trash and recycling operations look like 20 years from now? According to Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC), which manages the Central Landfill, it will likely mean more recycling, a heavy reliance on composting and maybe even getting out of the trash business all together. The Central Landfill runs out of space in 21 years. Recycling more plastic and glass and diverting about 200,000 tons of food and other organic material from the landfill annually is the most straightforward approach.

An upgrade of the new recycling sorting system at the landfill’s Materials Recycling Facility to process all trash is one solution. Incinerator is not. It would cost about $400 million to build a waste-burning, electricity-generating incinerator in Rhode Island. The debt service would add about $50 to the price of disposing a ton of waste at the landfill. Rhode Island cities and towns currently pay about $32 per ton to deliver waste to RIRRC. Read more here.

Shark Expert takes a bite out of shark myths

Forget what you know about “Jaws” – sharks are not out to get you. At least that’s what researcher Dr. Greg Skomal says, and with 30 years of experience he knows a thing or two about the toothy predators. “They’ve evolved feeding on seals,” said Skomal, a Marion resident. “Humans are not their preferred meal. Humans are boney.” A researcher with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and an environmental analyst with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Skomal has spent the last four years studying great white sharks in the northeast.

As recent as 2009, no one had tagged a shark in the northeast, said Skomal. In 2012, scientists tagged 32. “Everything we know about white sharks, for the most part, came from the East,” said Skomal. As research goes, “we’re lagging behind out eastern counterparts.” The influx of great whites on Cape Cod, which was highly publicized last summer, has everything to do with the population boom of gray seals. The animals were nearly hunted out, but the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972 allowed them to make a comeback. Read more here.

Black bear FOCUS: As bears press eastward, state counsels debate coexistence

Raccoons and foxes? Fine. Coyotes? Old news. Fisher cats? Getting used to them. Yet as much as eastern Massachusetts residents might try to coexist with the wildlife roaming through their back yards, few expect to encounter bears raiding their bird feeders. At least twice in the past year, bears have made high-profile appearances well inside the I-495 belt. This spring, an ursine visitor surprised residents and spurred police calls as he roamed through Weston, Wayland, Sudbury and Lincoln. Last summer, wildlife officials removed a bear who had wandered onto Cape Cod, only to find him back in Brookline two weeks later for another date with a tranquilizer dart.

According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife, Bay State residents may have to get used to their furry new neighbors. The population is growing quickly, with an estimated 4,000 black bears in the state today. As their numbers grow, the animals are pushing farther east in search of their sovereign turf. The MassWildlife and Environmental Police Large Animal Response Team only responds to situations where bears turn up in heavily populated areas. Given time, a bear usually will just make its way back into the woods. Read more here.

Students from Friends Academy Ecologically-sound practices are ‘varsity sport’ at Friends Academy

DARTMOUTH – At Friends Academy, there’s a major focus on the Three Rs. Times two. It’s not just reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic – though students are getting plenty of those. At Friends, it’s also about another set of Three Rs – in this case Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Working toward Department of Education Green School Status, the Friends family has numerous efforts under way to use ecologically sound practices at its Tucker Road campus.

One of Friends’ initiatives was a Low Impact Lunch Challenge pitting homeroom against homeroom in reducing trash and opting for reusables. Youngsters were encouraged to pack their lunches in reusable containers and offered other tips for eliminating waste. As part of the project, all lunch trash for a week’s period was mixed, collected and weighed. Then, for the following week, each homeroom was given two BioBags, one for trash and one for recyclables. Read more here

BCC plans to install solar canopy over parking lots

FALL RIVER – Bristol Community College will join a new solar energy program, along with Endicott College and two public school districts, when it installs a 2.5 megawatt solar canopy in its campus parking lots. That’s enough energy to power more than 500 homes. The canopy will be capable of providing about 50 percent of the campus’s electricity, said Steven Kenyon, vice president of administration and finance at BCC.

“Solar is the best value these days,” said Kenyon, while adding that the college has pledged to reduce the amount of energy consumed on campus and the amount of fossil fuels it needs to cover that consumption. If approved by the city, the canopy would cover about three acres, or lots 6 through 10, Kenyon explained, essentially transforming the currently open lots into covered lots. Read more here.


Leaf BulletThis Week

Monster Hunt: In Search of Snapping Turtles

Saturday, June 8, 10am – Noon Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Spend your time searching for these amazing and prehistoric creatures. During this program learn the ways that snapping turtles are unique, meet a live snapping turtle and then go on a hunt to try and spot them in the ponds and rivers where they live.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Individual Members: $4 Non-members: $5 Family of Four Members: $12 Non-members: $15
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, June 6th Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

Learn to Quahog

Saturday, June 8, 12pm – 2pm Round Cove, West Island, Fairhaven, MA
Join the Buzzards Bay Coalition on West Island to learn to harvest your own quahogs. Representatives from the town of Fairhaven and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will teach you the basics of local quahogging — what you need, how to do it, and where to go. This will be a fun and educational event for the whole family.
FREE Event. Reservations Required. Contact Margo Connolly, Senior Educator at (508) 999-6363 x224 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

Pastoral Landscape Drawing

Saturday, June 8, 10am – Noon Westport Town Farm, 830 Drift Road, Westport, MA
Grab your canvas and choice of media and get ready to explore the natural landscape. Enjoy the company of others as you share and show off your artwork. All ages welcome, drawing pads are available but feel free to bring your own supplies.
FREE. EMail for more information. Learn more here

World Oceans Day at Buttonwood Park Zoo

Saturday, June 8, 1pm – 4pm 425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford, MA
Buttonwood Park Zoo is joining forces with The Ocean Project and Dr. Seuss to create a splash for World Oceans Day!
Cost: Free with Zoo Admission. Contact Buttonwood Park Zoo for more details. out their calendar here.

“PAWS-itively PURR-fect Day” Fundraiser

Sunday, June 9, 10am – 3pm Boyden Wildlife Refuge, 1298 Cohannet St, Taunton
The Friends of the Taunton Animal Care Facility will be holding its fifth annual “PAWS-itively PURR-fect Day” on Sunday at the Gertrude M. Boyden Wildlife Refuge. The pet-oriented event is taking place from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m., featuring tables set up by local businesses and local nonprofit organizations. All the profits from the event benefit the Taunton Animal Shelter, organizers said. The Taunton Animal Shelter will be manning one of the information and sale tables, alongside rescue groups, crafters, animal-related businesses, raffles and more. There will also be a pet sitting service, dog biscuit vendors, crafters, rescue groups, pet portraits from photos, pet grooming and more.

Work at Reconnects Meeting

Monday, June 10, 7:30pm – 9pm The First Unitarian Church of New Bedford, MA Parish House, 71 Eighth Street; corner of Union and County Streets
We’ll experience together our own and others’ passionate thoughts and feelings about today’s eco-destructive practices, knowing that whether you choose to speak or witness, or do both, you are among people who share your concerns and respect you for your participation in this healing exercise. We’ll also keep in mind the healing processes for example, ‘business as usual’ systems breaking down as preparation for emerging creativity) which are happening for individuals, communities and nations. Next, we’ll explore how we are already helping the Great Turning happen, and our visions for future engagement. I hope you’ll come share with us.
Contact Emily Johns at 508-994-2164 or EMail if you are attending. Learn more here.


Leaf BulletSave The Date

Dedication Ceremony and Bike Ride for Taunton River Trail

Saturday, June 15, Beginning at 8:45am Commuter parking lot at Riverside Avenue and old Route 6 in Somerset (at the Somerset side of the Old Brightman Street Bridge).
You are invited to the Dedication of the Taunton River Trail On Saturday morning on June 15th, the Taunton River Trail will be initiated with two dedication events. The first event will be a bike ride along the Taunton River Trail bicycle route in Somerset and Dighton. The bike ride will begin at 8:45 am at the commuter parking lot at Riverside Avenue and old Route 6 in Somerset (at the Somerset side of the Old Brightman Street Bridge). The ride will continue to the Sweet’s Knoll State Park in Dighton, where riders will join the dedication ceremonies for a new kiosk at the park site. The bike ride is being sponsored by the Fall River Bicycle Committee.

At 10:00 am, the dedication of a kiosk at the new Sweet’s Knoll State Park will be held. The Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Edward M. Lambert, will speak at the Sweet’s Knoll ceremony. The kiosk is one of four along the Taunton River that is being funded by the National Park Service as part of the Taunton Wild and Scenic designation. The address of the Sweet’s Knoll State Park is 1387 Somerset Avenue (Route 138) in Dighton.

The short ceremony at Sweet’s Knoll will be followed by coffee and refreshments. An optional walking tour of the future bike path will occur following the ceremony. The event is free and open to the public. We hope to see you at the bike ride at 8:45 am and at the Sweet’s Knoll dedication ceremony at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 15th. The Taunton River Trail is an on-road bike route and an off-road bike path that will eventually extend from the City of Fall River to the City of Taunton along the Taunton River. In addition to a bikeway, the Taunton River Trail will include an initiative to preserve an extensive greenway along the Taunton River and to interpret the rich human and ecological history of the river. Learn more here.

The Mission with Chicken with Chef Rosa Galeno

Saturday, June 15, 9am – 3pm Silverbrook Farm, 934 Main St., Acushnet, MA
Silverbrook Farm officially begins it’s long awaited Silverbrook Home Education Sessions. Come and learn three wonderful traditional recipies using old word herbs and techniques, and then take a SILVERBROOK LIVESTOCK FREE RANGE CHICKEN Home with you to try out your new found knowledge with your family!
This culinary class will depict two variables of cooking an amazing chicken dinner with a twist in flavor and ease. In addition we will explore the art of rendering and a few family secrets that keep cooking easy and stress free. Each student will have an opportunity to learn mindful methods when cooking chicken that gives the most flavor, and Family recipes to pass on to the keeper of food traditions shared at the dinner table.
Price is $49 and space is limited. Learn more and Register here.

Art on the Green: Pinehills

Saturday, June 15, 10am – 4pm The Pinehills, 33 Summerhouse Drive, Plymouth, MA
Art on the Green – an art exhibit and market featuring over 80 local and regional artists showcasing their paintings, wood and glass art, photography, sculptures, eclectic jewelry, wearable art and more! Art on the Green is an outdoor festival on The Village Green at The Pinehills. The event runs from 10am to 4pm and will also feature live steel drum music and food for purchase at The Market, Cafe Olio, Rye Tavern and East Bay Grille at The Pinehills Golf Club. Children are invited to visit the Kids Corner for face painting and to “Make a Tie for Dad”. Purchase a $5 white tie to decorate for Dad in honor of Father’s Day and support The Home for Little Wanderers, Southeast Campus where all proceeds will be donated. All exhibitors are under tents, so visitors will be shaded or dry pending the weather conditions. Patrons can also visit The Summerhouse Welcome Center for information on The Pinehills and to tour more than 10 model homes that are open daily, 9am-5pm. Due to new construction in the Village Green, parking in that area will be very limited for this event. All Event Attendees and Artists parking will be located at the Beaver Dam Road Parking Lot. Shuttles will be running throughout the day from the Village Green to Beaver Dam Road Parking Lot. Learn more here

Copicut Woods Summer Solstice

Friday, June 21, 7pm Copicut Woods, Indian Town Rd., Fall River, MA
Celebrate the arrival of summer and the quiet beauty of Copicut Woods at twilight with a candlelit walk down Miller Lane. We’ll begin by making candle lanterns that will light our way down the trail at dusk. The call of whippoorwill often marks the arrival of summer on this magical night that you’ll never forget.
FREE. EMail for more information. Learn more here

First Day of Summer Sunset Hike

Friday, June 21, 7:30pm – 9pm Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Watch the sun setting over the estuary and tour the grounds to discover the creatures that are coming to life as the sun sets and the forest goes to sleep. Bring a flashlight if you have one and be ready to enjoy the sunset and views over the river. At the conclusion of this hike light refreshments will be served to celebrate the arrival of summer. All ages are welcome on this family friendly hike.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$4 Non-members: $5
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 19. Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

3rd Annual Fishing For A Cause Tournament

Friday, June 21 to Saturday, June 22 Pope’s Island Marina, located at 102 Pope’s Island, New Bedford
Fishing For a Cause is organized by and for the benefit of the Schwartz Center for Children. The Schwartz Center is a not-for-profit organization located in Dartmouth, MA that provides comprehensive medical and educational services for children with special needs.
The awards dinner will be held seaside under a tent at Pope’s Island marina. The Schwartz Center anticipates that close to 400 people will attend this year’s catered dinner, which will be prepared and served by Pepper’s Fine Catering, and feature music by the popular Providence-based band Santa Mamba. The dinner is complimentary to participating anglers and open to the public with the purchase of a ticket.
Learn more here

Creative Connections: Art in the Outdoors with Anastasia Azure

Thursday, June 27, 5:30pm – 7pm East Beach, New Bedford, MA
Join nationally-recognized artist Anastasia Azure on a creative journey at East Beach in New Bedford. Anastasia will lead participants in the exploration of “land art,” a process in which the landscape and work of art are inextricably linked. Deepen your connection to the watershed and discover a new way to enjoy your Bay.
FREE Event. Reservations Required. Contact Margo Connolly, Senior Educator at (508) 999-6363 x224 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

Buzzard’s Bay 25th Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 27, 6pm – 8pm The Beachmoor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 11 Buttermilk Way, Buzzards Bay, MA
The Buzzards Bay Coalition invites you to our 25th Annual Meeting at the Beachmoor at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Thursday, June 27. The evening will begin with a reception for members at 6 p.m., followed by the Annual Meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will include a discussion of our accomplishments in 2012, election of board members, and presentation of the 2013 Buzzards Bay Guardian awards.
Contact Maureen Coleman, Vice-President of Operations, at (508) 999-6363 x202 or EMail for more information. Learn More Here

SEMAP’s 6th Annual Farm to Table Dinner

Friday, June 28, 5:30pm – 9pm Alderbrook Farm, 1213 Russell Mills Rd., South Dartmouth, MA
Join us on a culinary adventure set between the soil & the stars! Support SEMAP in its mission to preserve & expand access to local food & sustainable farming in Southeastern Massachusetts.
The Farm to Table Dinner consists of a multi-course, all-local, gourmet dinner, occuring beneath the stars in the summer air at the beautiful Alderbrook Farm in South Dartmouth, MA. There will also be a Live Auction!
The Manley family has run the 16-acre Alderbrook farm for over four generations. The farm was recently made a Massachusetts Century Farm. With your help SEMAP continues to grow its educational offerings to the public and farming community.

$175.00 per person
$120.00 for SEMAP Farm Members
Contact Kristen Irvin, SEMAP Executive Assistant, or call 336-509-0044 for more information. Learn More and Register Here

Fairhaven Homecoming Fair

Saturday, June 29, 10am – 4pm Center St., Fairhaven, MA
Fairhaven’s largest annual event features about 175 booths of handmade crafts and delicious foods in addition to live entertainment, an art exhibit on the west lawn of the Unitarian Church, and children’s activities, including the very popular fire engine rides. Sponsored by the Fairhaven Improvement Association. Learn More Here

Seining in the River

Saturday, July 6, 10am – Noon Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Discover all of the creatures that are living in the estuary. During this action packed program we will use nets to find animals hidden in the water, learn about common species in this area and how animals from the tropics wind up in Massachusetts. Bring shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet!
All Ages Welcome. Price: Individual : Members: $5 Non-members: $7 Family of Four: Members:$15 Non-members:$20
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Friday, July 5. Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

New Bedford Summerfest/Folk Festival

Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 Downtown New Bedford, Historic Waterfront District
The New Bedford Folk Festival features the best in contemporary, traditional, and Celtic folk music. NBFF is an affordable destination for families seeking a fun-filled Independence Day weekend. Hosted by the City of New Bedford and The Standard-Times, the New Bedford Folk Festival offers an exciting atmosphere with great music, beautiful arts and crafts and fun activities for the whole family.

Lining the cobblestone streets of the New Bedford’s Whaling National Historical Park, the Artisans’ Marketplace showcases the handcrafted work of many local artists as well as crafters from Maine to California. Handmade items in every imaginable medium are available including photography, painting, ceramics, textiles, wood, metal, glass and stone. Shoppers find jewelry, musical instruments, clothing, lamps, stained and blown glass, nautical crafts, wooden and cloth toys, pottery, baskets, furniture and more. There is truly something for everyone!

Want some terrific food? We have fresh seafood, quick snacks, and other tasty treats in our Festival Food Vendor area. Within and around the festival grounds are many of New Bedford’s great restaurants serving local seafood, hot soups, homemade ice cream, cafe cuisine and much more. Learn More and find out about Ticket Prices and Schedules Here

New Bedford Whaling City Festival

Friday, July 12 to Sunday, July 14, 9am – 8pm Buttonwood Park, New Bedford, MA
Whaling City Festival has been running for 42 years. Over 150 thousand people visit the festival every year. At the festival you can shop over 200 flea market and craft vendors and eat at one of the 26 food vendors. Enjoy music and entertainment from local bands and local radio stations. The festival wouldn’t be complete without taking a ride on one of many Mark Fanelli’s Carnival rides. Learn More Here

Buzzards Bay Swim

Saturday, July 13, 7am – 11am Davy’s Locker Beach, 1480 E Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA
Celebrate clean water and support a healthy Buzzards Bay at the Buzzards Bay Swim. You’ll join hundreds of swimmers, of all ages and ability levels, for a 1.2 mile open-water swim across outer New Bedford Harbor. Funds raised support the work of the Buzzards Bay Coalition to protect and restore your irreplaceable Bay. Join us as a swimmer, supporter, or volunteer.
Reservations Required. Donna Cobert, Director of Membership and Events at (508) 999-6363 x209 or EMail for more information. Learn More and Register Here

Men Who Cook Benefit for The Women’s Center of Fall River

Sunday, July 14, 5pm – 7pm Shipyard Park, Waterstreet, Mattapoisett Center, Mattapoisett
What is the Men who Cook Event? It’s a great fun event where you can get a taste of the community. At this event there are all types of different dishes being showcased. There will be different ethnic cuisines available appetizers, main dishes and deserts. This event is a tasting event, come join us Soak in the sun, eat and drink and help raise money for The Women’s Center!
Men from the South Coast who like to cook in their spare time or as their profession are welcome to volunteer. Want to know more? or volunteer? Call Annie @ 508-996-3343 EXT 38 or EMail. Learn More Here

Stewards of Summer: The Bogs

Sunday, July 21, 9am – Noon Acushnet Road, Mattapoisett, MA
Come team up with the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Stewards of Summer! We will be spending one day a month helping with Coalition stewardship and restoration activities at our properties in Acushnet and Mattapoisett.
We will be working on removing invasive aquatic plants as well as other important land stewardship tasks. Please dress appropriately for field work. Be prepared for ticks, poison ivy and thorns. If possible, please bring your own garden gloves, loppers, pruning shears and water bottle.
Please RSVP. Call (508) 999-6363 x217 or Kevin Farrell, Land Steward for more information. Learn More and Register Here

The Warren Quahog Festival

Sunday, July 21 to Monday, July 22 Warren, RI
Showcasing a variety of fresh cooked seafood, chowders, stuffed quahogs, clam cakes. Arts and crafts vendors, live musical entertainment. Hosted by Warren Quahog Festival at the South Water Street: South Water Street, Warren, RI. Contact Warren Quahog Festival Organize at (401) 247-0232 for more information. Learn More Here

Summer Night Hike – Bats and Fireflies

Friday, July 26, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Lloyd Center Bond Building, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Listen for coyotes, search for bats in the sky and discover all the creatures that come to life at night in the forest. During this 2 hour hike we will focus on bats and fireflies participating in games and activities to learn all about these creatures. Then we will test our senses and a walk along the Lloyd Centers trails to see how the forest changes after dark.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$5 Non-members: $7
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 25 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

2nd Annual Summer River Exploration Camp to Explore Buzzards Bay and Watershed!

July 22-26 (Session E) and July 29-August 2 (Session F). Various places such as YMCA SouthCoast and Camp Massasoit
River Exploration Camp, delivered in partnership with YMCA Southcoast, will allow nature-loving youth to get up-close and personal with wildlife in and around Buzzards Bay and the Mattapoisett River. “River X” campers will learn how to catch blue crabs, net fish, identify plants, and wrangle toads at Camp Massasoit and at the Y’s Rochester property at Snipatuit Pond. Campers will get wet and dirty while exploring! In addition to swimming and boating, campers will participate in traditional camp activities at Camp Massasoit throughout the week.
River Exploration Camp is open to campers ages 9 to 12.
Cost: $238 per week for YMCA and Bay Coalition members. $264 per week for general public. Register through YMCA SouthCoast or The Buzzards Bay Coalition. Learn More Here

Adult Program: EXPLORING OUR COAST: GOOSEBERRY ISLAND, WESTPORT

Sunday, July 28, 8am – 10am Gooseberry Island, Westport – parking lot
The communities of the South coast of Massachusetts are a part of the sea: they have been geographically, historically, and biologically shaped by its presence. Join us on this series of local beach walks to learn about these relationships while rediscovering the magic of the shoreline. All walks are weather-permitting. Dress according to weather and please bring a non-alcoholic beverage.
All Ages Welcome. Price: Members:$7 Non-members: $9
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, July 25 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen Wimmer at 508-990-0505 x 14, or via E-Mail.
Learn more here

2013 MITS Summer Professional Development Institutes for Upper Elementary & Middle School Educators

Monday, June 17 – Tuesday, July 30 MITS, Inc., 1354 Hancock St., Suite 302, Quincy, MA
ONGOING
Investigating Interdisciplinary Pathways Through Engineering Design and the Natural World

After registering, participants will receive enrollment forms for optional graduate credit which must be completed prior to the first day of the Institute. This Hybrid Course combines 10 hours of online instruction with a one-week, on-site component. During the on-site component, spend a day at each partner institution’s site participating in hands-on inquiry investigations combined with content sessions. “Science, Technology and Engineering Meet Literacy and Social Science.” Learn More and Register Here


Leaf Bullet Announcements

Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange Accepting Applications for Americorp VISTA Position

UMass Dartmouth’s Sustainability Office invites applications for a VISTA position, (federal AmeriCorps grant-funded workers). Be part of a team working on alternative ways for people to meet their economic needs by expanding a time and talent bartering system going into its second year with 150 individual and institutional members. Time Banking is being used in communities around the world. The Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange particularly targets the cities of New Bedford and Fall River. Time Banking is a very successful solution to restoring self-sufficiency and dignity to anyone suffering unemployment or insufficient income, as well as an effective way to strengthen communities.

VISTAS work part time at the University and part time in the community hosted by two partnering community groups — United Neighbors of Fall River and the Community Economic Development Center in New Bedford. The successful applicant will learn cutting-edge economic solutions for a changing world, and will be helping disadvantaged citizens find a pathway to hope for the future and improved self-esteem. Although the VISTA will have support from University staff, graduate students, and community leaders, this project is also an opportunity to shine with independent research, organizing, and problem solving skills. Duties include maintaining web based records, performing orientations with those new to Time Banking, tabling at local and regional events, performing various forms of outreach, coordinating and developing special projects, as well as organizing volunteers.

This is a one-year, full-time position with the potential to reapply for another year. Benefits include Health Insurance and an End-of-Service Educational Award. Read the full job description and apply here

Sustainability Summer Camp at UMass Dartmouth Now Accepting Applications

Monday, July 15 – Friday, July 19
This summer, become a Speaker for the Trees! We all are Speakers for the Trees; we care about building sustainable communities and lifestyles. Through this week, campers will learn more about taking care of our trees, recycling, climate change, ecosystems, environmental science, renewable energy technologies, and food systems.

At Sustainability Summer Camp, you learn through hands-on projects in the university classrooms; outside in the campus forest; and on field trips in our community. Speakers for the Trees create and present projects on the last day of camp to prove their skills. After camp they are invited to share what they have learned with their family and friends within our camp community.

For Whom: This Summer Camp is for Middle school students entering grades 6, 7, and 8 (in September 2013).
Where: At UMass Dartmouth’s Main Campus. School bus transportation to and from camp will potentially be available for campers from Dartmouth and New Bedford areas. Please indicate if your child will need transportation.
Cost: $80 per child. Scholarships are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Time: 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.
Contact: Martha Yules at (508) 904-2372 or EMail Her.
Register Here. You can also contact the Martha Yules or The Sustainability Office for Registration Forms.

Got a Garden? Tell Us About It For Our Database

The Regional Council on Sustainability in collaboration with the Island Foundation is collecting data on community and public gardens for a directory accessible to everyone. In attempts to increase use and public knowledge of garden locations and operations we are looking for your input about a garden that you may know of. If you know of a publicly accessible garden that you would like to have recorded in this directory please send the following:

  • Garden Name
  • Contact Person
  • Contact Phone Number
  • Garden Location
  • Garden Size
  • Any other information such as plot sizes available, fees, cultural ties, and crop preferences

Please E-mail us to be added to our directory.
This is an ongoing project. Check out our ever-evolving Island Foundation Garden Database here.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Use a Clothesline, Save Up to $85

Save energy, and make your clothes and linens smell extra fresh, by putting up a clothesline, just like your grandparents did. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

Make a bicycle powered generator in 9 steps

How to make your own bicycle powered generator for charging your electronics with clean energy for every day or as an emergency power supply. Learn more here.


Quote of the Week

"We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do."
~ Barbara Ward, Economist

Clip of the Week

Urban Air Billboard Garden
To artist Stephen Glassman, billboards are a canvas, and a potential tool for confronting pollution challenges as cities grow. To understand how it'll look, picture a simple billboard, but instead of an advertisement, imagine tall stalks of bamboo and other native plants that gobble up carbon dioxide and create a tiny, cool microclimate.

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