Letter from the Editors
Bringing healthy, organic food to the masses is still a challenge. Adapting eco-friendly, chemical-free foods to the mass-consumption business of franchises seems like a paradox. Well, the ex-president of McDonald’s doesn’t think so, and he intends to expand his organic restaurant, Lyfe’s Kitchen, to hundreds of locations and completely revolutionize fast food. This article provides insight into the fast food industry and examples of the challenges facing organic farmers and distributors to maintain standards and supply.
The world looked at the nation of India as prophetic when hundreds of millions of people lost power due to, among other things, exhausting its energy supply. As the fourth largest consumer of electricity, India is heavily reliant on coal, and has inefficient infrastructure for the country’s energy needs. Immediate reforms, both technologically and socially, need to occur in order to meet demand, prevent future widescale outages, and make it sustainable.
Those looking for an example the countless, necessary links within the natural world, and just how dependant humans are to these interconnections, can look to the wasp, and its role in the creation of wine. A special kind of wasp is known to spread a yeast and other microorganisms to grapes on a vine, which are crucial to the fermentation process. The timing and concentration of yeast from these wasps is extremely influential to a wine’s taste and aroma. In the complexity of ecosystems, we all need to reconsider what we’ve determined to be “pests”.
Eleven percent of Papua New Guinea’s land area has been handed over to foreign corporations and companies lacking community representation, according to a new report by Greenpeace. The land has been granted under controversial government agreements known as Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs), which scientists have long warned has undercut traditional landholding rights in the country and decimated many of Papua New Guinea’s biodiverse rainforests. To date, 72 SABLs have been granted-mostly to logging companies-covering an area totaling 5.1 million hectares or the size of Costa Rica.
According to Greenpeace, lax governance, corruption, and predatory companies allowed for the massive land grab. Last year, following rising criticism, the government suspended any new SABLs and issued a Commission of Inquiry, whose report is set to go public later this year. As many of the forests are logged, Greenpeace fears they will then be converted to oil palm plantations, a process which is already begun in parts of Papua New Guinea. Read more here.
Despite having a gorgeous coastline of sandy beaches, the oldest ports in the world, and a new offshore bounty of natural gas wells, Israel has contributed very little to Mediterranean Sea research. But the same is true for all countries in the Mediterranean basin including Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and Lebanon. A new national center that will give an anchor to solid Mediterranean research has been slated to open up at the University of Haifa. At the center, scientists from leading Israeli academic institutions will help Israel understand and bank on its onshore and offshore assets.
“The problem is this, and it’s not only true for Israel: There is very little marine research being done in the Mediterranean Sea,” says geophysicist Yitzhak Makovsky of the university’s Leon Charney School of Marine Sciences, one of the core researchers who put together the proposal for the new center. “When Israelis do marine research they usually go down to the [Red Sea] Gulf of Eilat. There, it’s easy, special and fun.” A unifying national center, which can provide the expensive infrastructure marine scientists need, will be most welcome. Lacking up until now have been the critical tools of the trade – ships, robots, wet labs and modeling equipment, Makovsky explains. That will all change with the new Center for Mediterranean Sea Research, which the Israeli government pledged to help build with a $15 million grant. Read more here.
Scientists say they have unraveled the mechanism by which Earth-warming carbon is sucked deep into the Southern Ocean to be safely locked away – a process that may itself be threatened by climate change. Wind, eddies and currents work together to create carbon-sucking funnels, said the research team from Britain and Australia in a discovery that adds to the toolkit of scientists attempting climate warming predictions.
About a quarter of the carbon dioxide on Earth is stored away in its oceans – some 40 percent of that in the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica. At a depth of about 1,000 meters (3,200 feet), carbon can be locked away for hundreds to thousands of years, yet scientists had never been sure exactly how it gets there after dissolving into surface waters. Read more here.
Chinese officials cancelled an industrial waste pipeline project on Saturday after anti-pollution demonstrators occupied a government office in eastern China, destroying computers and overturning cars. The demonstration was the latest in a string of protests sparked by fears of environmental degradation and highlights the social tensions the government in Beijing faces as it approaches a leadership transition this year. It was also the second cancellation of an industrial project this month, as officials buckle under pressure from protests.
Zhang Guohua, city mayor of the eastern China city of Nantong, said in a statement the city would terminate the planned pipeline that would have emptied waste water from a Japanese-owned paper factory via the coastal town of Qidong into the sea. Read more here.
Also read about Beijing’s crippling problem with air polluion.
Anti-nuclear campaigners in Japan have launched the country’s first green party, more than a year after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant created a groundswell of opposition to atomic energy. Greens Japan, created by local politicians and activists, hopes to satisfy the legal requirements to become an officially recognised political party in time for the general election, which must be held by next summer but could come much earlier.
The party said it would offer voters a viable alternative to the two main parties, both of which have retained their support for nuclear power, particularly after the recent decision to restart two nuclear reactors in western Japan. Read more here.
According to a new Berkeley Earth study, the average temperature of Earth’s land has risen by 1.5C over the past 250 years. The good match between the new temperature record and historical carbon dioxide records suggests that the most straightforward explanation for this warming is human greenhouse gas emissions.
The new analysis from Berkeley Earth goes all the way back to 1753, about 100 years earlier than previous groups’ analyses. The limited land coverage prior to 1850 results in larger uncertainties in the behavior of the record; despite these, the behavior is significant. Read more here
Indians have not been strangers to power cuts, which become more common during the summer when demand shoots up. Some of the increased demand this summer has been caused by farmers using more energy for irrigation and other tasks, in part because monsoon rains have been delayed. People are also using air conditioning units more. Some states, particularly those with a lot of agricultural activity, may have been using more than their share of energy.
India relies on coal for much of its energy needs but also uses hydroelectric power, which has been affected by the delay in monsoon rains. Observers say the crisis has exposed the need for India to update its infrastructure to meet the power needs of businesses and the country’s growing population. “Economic growth is constrained by inadequate infrastructure,” among other factors, the U.S. State Department’s country report on India says. Read more here.
The next time you take a sip of your favorite wine, you might want to make your first toast to hornets. Or, more precisely, European hornets and paper wasps. That’s because those big scary flying insects whose stings can be especially painful may be the secret to the wonderful complex aroma and flavor of wine. “Wasps are indeed one of wine lovers’ best friends,” says Duccio Cavalieri, a professor of microbiology at the University of Florence in Italy.
Cavalieri and his colleagues discovered that these hornets and wasps bite the grapes and help start the fermentation while grapes are still on the vines. They do that by spreading a yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae – commonly known as brewer’s yeast and responsible for wine, beer and bread fermentation – in their guts. When the wasps bite into the fruit, they leave some of that yeast behind. Read more here.
I had come to the artisanally fed vale of Facebook and Tesla to sample the first fruits of Lyfe Kitchen, a soon-to-be-chain of restaurants that might just shift the calculus of American cuisine. At Lyfe Kitchen (the name is an acronym for Love Your Food Everyday), all the cookies shall be dairy-free, all the beef from grass-fed, humanely raised cows. At Lyfe Kitchen there shall be no butter, no cream, no white sugar, no white flour, no high-fructose corn syrup, no GMOs, no trans fats, no additives, and no need for alarm: There will still be plenty of burgers, not to mention manifold kegs of organic beer and carafes of biodynamic wine. None of this would seem surprising if we were talking about one or 10 or even 20 outposts nationwide. But Lyfe’s ambition is to open hundreds of restaurants around the country, in the span of just five years.
There is one overriding reason to believe that this venture will work. The cofounder and chief executive of Lyfe is Mike Roberts, former president and chief operating officer of McDonald’s. He and some of his erstwhile McDonald’s colleagues have bet a few million bucks that an eco-embracing, mega-natural startup will blaze the trail to their rightful share of the billions and billions served by Burger King, KFC, Subway, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Wendy’s. Read more here.
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared another 76 counties to be disaster areas as a result of the drought, bringing the total to 1,234. There are 3,033 counties in America. The map of declared disaster areas looks like this: Read more here.
Sustainability within corporate America has become mainstream. Once relegated to the basement office as far as possible from the C-suite just a decade ago, companies from Nike to Ford Motor to yes, Walmart, are taking sustainability seriously. Most companies do not have strategies in place to address climate change and other social, governance and environmental challenges, but change, slowly, is occurring. Companies feel enough pressure from outside stakeholder groups. But what about from the inside?
To that end, the Weinreb Group, VOX Global and Berkeley’s Net Impact chapter together issued a report this week, Making the Pitch: Selling Sustainability Inside Corporate America. The report, based on interviews of thirty-two sustainability executives and managers working primarily at Fortune 100 companies, is an effort to understand the skills, business drivers and collaboration strategies necessary in order to sell, implement execute sustainability and corporate responsibility strategies within companies. The lessons are transferable to just about any practitioner, from the solo consulting shop to a chief executive officer. Read more here.
A new study from NREL finds that solar photovoltaics and concentrating solar power could generate an enormous amount of electricity in the United States.
It is rural utility-scale solar that could be dominant in the future, with 153,000 GW of potential. Texas accounts for about 14% of all the rural solar potential for the whole country. It also has about 20% of all the concentrated solar power potential for the nation. So, it appears this single, huge state could have a very bright future in terms of solar power development, and therefore in economic growth as well. Read more here.
The report, “For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success,” is the result of a two-year investigation led by Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Tom Harkin and looks at institutions including Apollo Group, Inc., which operates University of Phoenix, the largest for-profit college in the U.S., Kaplan, Inc. and Devry, Inc.. The report states that “by 2009, at least 76 percent of students attending for-profit colleges were enrolled in a college owned by either a company traded on a major stock exchange or a college owned by a private equity firm.” The for-profit colleges’ financial success is therefore watched by shareholders, in a situation that incentivizes profits, not student academic performance.
“The investigation found that while certainly not all for-profit colleges are run by investors looking to make a quick return on investment, too many of them are. It also found that even those for-profit colleges that are committed to the educational mission, that invest in their students and in robust support services, and that offer programs in high demand fields, still engage in troubling practices in order to achieve the levels of profitability and growth that keep them competitive with less scrupulous players,” the report states. Read more here.
Read more about the Senate Report here.
The Pacific Northwest may be the epicenter of U.S. coffee culture, and now a new study shows the region’s elevated caffeine levels don’t stop at the shoreline. The discovery of caffeine pollution in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon is further evidence that contaminants in human waste are entering natural water systems, with unknown consequences for wildlife and humans alike, experts say.
Caffeine has been documented in waters around the world, including Boston Harbor, Puget Sound, the Mediterranean, and the North Sea. It might persist for up to 30 days in marine waters, study co-author Granek noted. But the stimulant’s impact on natural ecosystems is unknown. Nonlethal effects may be invisible but could have repercussions up and down the food chain and from generation to generation. Read more here.
Enbridge, a beleaguered Canadian oil pipeline company, spilled more than 50,000 gallons of light crude oil in rural Wisconsin — shortly after the company said it had implemented safety reforms after a massive 2010 spill in Michigan. Environmental groups demanded the U.S. State Department conduct a new, thorough analysis of the risks of transporting oil sands crude through TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline as a Wisconsin oil spill renewed concerns about pipeline safety. The Canada-to-Texas project has become a potent political symbol ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential election, with Republicans using its delay to criticize President Barack Obama’s energy policies, and environmental groups pushing to try to stop a project they see as too risky to the climate and clean water.
The latest criticism comes as the State Department is preparing to undertake a new environmental review of the project. Environmentalists said the department has so far failed to properly weigh the climate change consequences of developing energy-intensive oil sands and the impact of oil sands crude on pipelines. Read more here.
Read more about the recent pipeline spill here.
It’s not easy to wrangle the largest players in any industry to give up competitive advantages. But that’s what the five largest health care group purchasing organizations (GPOs) in the U.S. (Amerinet, HealthTrust, MedAssets, Novation and Premier) did when they agreed to work together on a standardized list of questions for suppliers about their products’ impact on humans and the environment.
It’s a move that can have a big impact on greening the industry’s supply chain: Purchases of the five GPOs represent 90 percent of all GPO purchases and total $135 billion a year, according to Curtis Rooney, president of the Health Care Supply Chain Association. “These GPOs put competition aside to show that they are committed to sustainability,” said Beth Eckl of Practice Greenhealth, a nonprofit organization of more than 1,200 health care organizations (including hospitals and GPOs) aimed at embedding sustainable practices in the health care industry. Read more here.
The United States is now enduring its warmest year on record, and the 13 warmest years for the entire planet have all occurred since 1998, according to data that stretches back to 1880. No one day’s weather can be tied to global warming, of course, but more than a decade’s worth of changing weather surely can be, scientists say. Meanwhile, the country often seems to be moving further away from doing something about climate change, with the issue having all but fallen out of the national debate.
Behind the scenes, however, a somewhat different story is starting to emerge – one that offers reason for optimism to anyone worried about the planet. The world’s largest economies may now be in the process of creating a climate-change response that does not depend on the politically painful process of raising the price of dirty energy. The response is not guaranteed to work, given the scale of the problem. But the early successes have been notable. Read more here.
From Social Security to food stamps to the earned-income tax credit and on and on, we have enacted programs that now keep 40 million people out of poverty. Poverty would be nearly double what it is now without these measures, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. To say that “poverty won” is like saying the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts failed because there is still pollution.
With all of that, why have we not achieved more? Four reasons: An astonishing number of people work at low-wage jobs. Plus, many more households are headed now by a single parent, making it difficult for them to earn a living income from the jobs that are typically available. The near disappearance of cash assistance for low-income mothers and children – i.e., welfare – in much of the country plays a contributing role, too. And persistent issues of race and gender mean higher poverty among minorities and families headed by single mothers. Read more here.
The sad truth is that the world will be filled with Jobs over the next few decades – people who never knew the pain of severe, systematic loss before, but are quickly plunged into exactly those circumstances. There are certainly many people who are already starting to find themselves in such dreadful scenarios, but the numbers will only grow larger and “closer to home” over time. The threat of financial loss will be unprecedented, as will the threat of physical loss from natural disasters, human violence and disease (all things Job experienced).
Evidence of these converging crises is all around us, from the escalating financial/banking stress across the world to the sociopolitical unrest in the Eurozone, Middle East and Far East, to the rapid rates of air/water pollution, soil erosion, radiation poisoning, etc., to the droughts, famines and severe weather events, to the geopolitical uncertainty in the ME, and much, much more. These things are happening right now, and while there may be some positive developments occurring in the opposite direction, they are few and far between. The global financial crisis by itself has the potential to produce devastating consequences across all spheres of modern life in our highly inter-connected, inter-dependent world. Read more here.
Burlington police in riot gear shot protesters with what they described as “pepper balls” and “stingball pellets” as a large, peaceful demonstration turned violent and ugly over the weekend. No arrests were made. It was unclear if any of the protesters were seriously injured.
Six New England governors and five premiers from Canada’s eastern provinces were nowhere to be seen during the melee. There were roughly 500 demonstrators, assembling under the banner “Convergence on the Conference.” At 3:30 Sunday afternoon they were in front of Burlington’s Hilton Hotel on Battery Street to make their voices heard, “No tar sand pipeline.” They flattened themselves on the pavement to create a symbolic human oil spill. Read more here.
Not easy being green: SouthCoast towns lag behind in Green Communities
SouthCoast towns are shying away from applying to the state’s “Green Communities” grant program because of hurdles some officials say are too great. Green Communities is a state program that makes grants available to towns that meet five requirements toward being more sustainable.
The requirements include taking measures like creating bylaws and an expedited permitting process for siting alternative energy like wind turbines or solar farms; purchasing only fuel efficient vehicles; setting requirements to minimize energy costs for new construction projects; and developing a plan to reduce the town’s energy use by 20 percent within five years. To date, the state has distributed more than $20 million in grants to the 103 green communities in the state. But despite many SouthCoast towns using sustainable energy to power municipal buildings (including Dartmouth and Fairhaven), only Lakeville has been designated a “Green Community.” Read more here.
John Bullard has purposely walked into trouble before. In 1986, an hour after being sworn in as mayor of the seaport of New Bedford, he was standing amid police officers, police dogs and a couple hundred angry fishermen, dodging a rock and trying to bring calm during a roiling strike that spawned fires and a bomb threat. Now, he’ll only face rhetorical stones as the new leader of the Northeast office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, starting Aug. 6. But the problems ahead have proven more intractable than the two-month strike he dealt with decades ago.
New England’s fishing industry is in the middle what some fear is a fatal squeeze between fishery science, which shows key species in poor health, and federal law demanding tough cuts to protect the fish. Fishermen don’t trust the science and some believe the regulators Bullard will lead are deliberately driving them off the water. “The relationship between (regulators) and the industry I don’t think has ever been worse, and the relationship between NOAA and Capitol Hill I don’t think has ever been worse,” Bullard said. Read more here.
As New Bedford officials and residents alike praised the South Terminal plans released last week for outlining a project they hope will bring jobs and economic development to the city, environmental advocates are excited about the mitigation aspect of the process. “It’s amazing to have a project that has such wide support and that’s so good for humans but that also is good for the environment as well,” Mark Rasmussen, president of the Buzzards Bay Coalition said. The entire project is expected to cost $35 million, but Massachusetts state officials are unsure of the cost for environmental mitigation.
Whenever a project impacts the environment, through destroying wetlands or other means, the federal Environmental Protection Agency requires that the environmental loss be compensated for by project owners. In this case, the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs put fourth five ways to pay back what the project will take from the site’s natural resources. They include: creating 4.5 acres of sea shore and shallow-water habitat and 15 acres of shallow-water habitat south of the hurricane barrier, creating 1.9 acres of marsh in a tidal tributary along the western end of the hurricane barrier, creation of 23 acres of winter flounder habitat in the Outer Harbor, reseeding of 24.5 million shellfish over 10 years and monitoring the area’s tern population. Read more here.
New ‘Streetwise MBA’ program to benefit SouthCoast’s small business owners
A program for local entrepreneurs operating in lower income communities, which combines street smarts and formal master’s of business administration instruction, is coming to the SouthCoast in October. “For seven months, entrepreneurs will acquire knowledge and know-how to bring their businesses to the next level plus make the relationships their going to need to do that,” said Jean Horstman, head of Boston-based Interise, which developed the curriculum for the StreetWise MBA program. Economic revitalization and job growth is the mission of the national nonprofit, Horstman said.
The program covers topics that include business development, strategic planning, access to capitol, networking, government contacts, marking and sales and human resources, issues that apply to participants’ own company and experiences. Read more here.
The newest version of an emergency plan for Cape motorists to escape a hurricane does little to reassure activists concerned about the lack of a local plan if there were an accident at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. “We’re a population at risk but we’ve been basically ignored,” Diane Turco, a Harwich resident and Pilgrim opponent, said.
Turco, other anti-nuclear power activists and local emergency planners have been pushing officials at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to come up with a traffic plan for the Cape if a problem occurs at the 40-year-old nuclear plant owned by Entergy Nuclear. Read more here.
The students in Room 476 of the science building at Bridgewater State University, however, were busy discussing how increasing the acidity of ocean water can affect different ocean species, such as scallops. The teenagers, all students from New Bedford’s Roosevelt Middle School, were taking part in “Bridge,” an innovative program sponsored by Bridgewater that brought students from the city to spend two weeks living and studying on the university’s campus.
This is the first year of the program, which was a partnership between Bridgewater and the city’s school system. Almost 150 students from Roosevelt participated across two two-week sessions that started in mid-July, with the second to finish in early August. Read more here.
The Charlestown Community Garden, which organizers refer to as a “sustainable hunger solution,” is 9,500 square feet of beets, broccoli, blueberries and bok choy. This bounty is protected from deer, rabbits and other park wildlife by a fence that rises above the garden and sinks below it, to keep leaping deer and tunneling groundhogs from snacking on food destined to feed some of South County’s most needy.
“It’s amazing, and not in a good way, how many people need food,” said Susie Fehrmann, executive director of the Ninigret Park-based garden. “We’re more of a farm than a garden. We’re trying to maximize our produce so we can feed more people. We’re trying to figure out how we can produce more.” The all-volunteer farm with an empty bank account is producing plenty, thanks to the generosity of area residents and businesses and the efforts of people like Fehrmann. So far during its first full growing season, the community garden has grown and delivered nearly 670 pounds of organic produce, including 206 pounds of kale, 179 pounds of lettuce, 38 pounds of squash and 35 pounds of green beans. Read more here.
FALL RIVER – The benches on the corner of Bedford and Main streets were there to rest your weary feet, as long as you didn’t mind branches poking back. That is until a team of volunteers from the YMCA and CD Recreation arrived. Identifying the spot as one of the most traveled in the city, the team decided it would serve as the first area to be cleaned by the group, which dubbed itself “We Care.”
Armed with long-handled loppers, shovels, brooms and trash bags, the group began trimming back the overgrown shrubs at the intersection in an effort to beautify one corner of the city. Organized by Jason Springer, who supervises the YMCA’s Leaders in Training program, and local businessman Kris Donovan, the goal of the group is to clean up downtown in the area of the YMCA and CD Rec. Read more here.
There’s no dog yoga or kitty meditation, but the Animal Rescue League of Boston thinks it can de-stress the lives of the animals at its Dedham shelter and make it easier for them to find new homes around the region.
With features as simple as frosted glass and heated floors, the shelter’s $2.7 million renovation is designed to help animals feel at home in their environment and at ease with visitors who come to view and possibly adopt them. Over time, staffers hope, this will enable more animals throughout Massachusetts to move through the shelter, which handles nearly 400 cats and 100 dogs, along with the occasional horse or rooster, every year. Read more here.
Rochester officials enter into wind turbine agreement
Rochester – With estimated savings of $625,000 over a 20-year period for the town, the Rochester Selectmen entered into an alternative energy resource agreement with a wind turbine project. The Selectmen signed a 20-year deal with Future Generation Wind. Keith Mann, owner the Plymouth-based company and Mann Farms, said that the wind turbines would be constructed on his cranberry farms located just off of Route 25.
Town Administrator Richard LaCamera supported the proposal. Besides the 20 to 30 percent in savings on the town’s electricity bills, LaCamera said that the town would not be responsible for any construction costs. “With no investment required for the town, this certainly is an advantage,” LaCamera said. Read more here.
Marion is also part of this agreement. Read more here.
EASTHAM – Foot trouble for a frail quail? No problem for the “MacGyver” of wildlife rehabilitators, Alexandra Mueller.
With little more than a butter tub lid, a paper clip and a snippet of makeup applicator, Mueller, who works at Wild Care of Cape Cod in Eastham, fashioned an ingenious splint for Theodore, a male Coturnix quail found limping in Harwich. Stephanie Ellis, executive director of Wild Care, thinks Theodore – also known as “Teddy” and “Hobbles” – is suffering from a tendon or ligament injury. Read more here.
Sitting in a parked golf cart near the seventh hole of the Mattapoisett Bay Club, John O’Connor took a moment to marvel at three tree swallows attempting to skim water bugs off the surface of one of the club’s lakes. “These are little ones,” he said of the baby birds learning to catch food for themselves. The small birds flew close to the water, sometimes creating ripples when they got too close.
Of the club’s 150-acre golf course, 50 acres are made up of naturalized grasses – a blend of hard fescue and blue sheep fescue that make up much of the course’s rough. Unlike the blend of Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue grass that makes up other parts of the course, such as the green, the naturalized grasses do not need to be mowed or irrigated and rarely need to be weeded. “We save dramatically in water use, diesel, gas, manpower – and our fertilizer and weeding has been dramatically reduced. We also save on our electricity because it takes energy to pump water through the irrigation system,” O’Connor explained. The naturalized grasses, which reach up to O’Connor’s knees in a “meadow or prairie look,” not only save the club money on expenses but also attract wildlife. Read more here.
Greater Boston Food Bank helping BCC students
FALL RIVER – With campus poverty and hunger a growing problem across the country, Bristol Community College and the Greater Boston Food Bank are teaming up to help low-income students.
Many BCC students are single parents, underemployed or unemployed and struggle to make ends meet as they try to balance school, work and family as food prices rise Read more here.
This Week in Sustainability
Friday, August 3, 2012, 4:30PM – 6:30PM, Goosewing Beach Preserve, 140 South Shore Rd., Little Compton, RI
Free! Bring the whole family for this exciting annual event! Learn from visiting environmental experts, meet surprise animal guests, and explore Goosewing Beach with those who know it best! For more information call 401.331.7110 x. 33 or email email@example.com.
Saturday, August 4, 2012, 8:00AM – 11:00AM, Emma Trip Landing, East Beach Rd., Westport
Paddle along the shores of the most southern section of the East Branch of the Westport River. Visit the Let Conservation Area and view Rams Head Island and other mainland properties protected by the Westport Land Conservation Trust and The Trustees of Reservations. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Members of the Trustees of Reservations, $30; Non-members $40. For more information call 508.636.4693 x13 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 5, 2012, 10:30AM – 11:30AM, Norman Bird Sanctuary, 583 Third Beach Rd, Middletown, RI
Trophic Relationships in Birds: Niche Fulfillment — Birds in temperate zones like ours experience a broad range of climatic variables that make resource abundance changes on a temporal scale. In the tropics, avian species must divide resources temporally and spatially, with many birds adapting arboreal and cursorial lives to monopolize resources. This lecture will explore the difference between species that adopt specialized vs. generalized foraging habits and unique physiological processes that allow them to thrive. Charles Clarkson currently serves as co-chair for the Conservation Committee for the Waterbird Society and teaches Ornithology, evolution, and ecology for The Semester At Sea.” His use of photos and videos make these presentations exciting and interesting for birding enthusiasts of all levels. Free for Members, $4 for Non-members. For more information go to www.normanbirdsanctuary.org/.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 5:00PM – 8:00PM, Sidewalk Ends Farm: 47 Harrison St, Providence, RI
The idea behind the Young Farmer Nights (YFN) is to build a community of young farmers, farm interns, and folks interested in food/farming in the southern New England area. We see each other at conferences and events, but rarely spend time together or see the amazing work we are all doing. YFN are a way for us all to get to see and learn from one another and get off our own farms for an evening. The model for each event (which move around to different farms in the area) is: to eat dinner together (usually potluck style), have a farm related activity (e.g.tour the fields or give a presentation on something that works well on your farm), and hang out (e.g. bonfire or play cards). For more information Contact Laura Brown Lavoie at (401) 709-3659 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Thursday, Aug. 9, 2PM-6PM South Coast Business Center, 200 Mill Road, Fairhaven
Thursday, Aug. 16, 2PM-6PM St. Luke’s Hospital, 101 Page St., New Bedford.
Southcoast Health System is offering a series of farmers markets at sites throughout the region as part of an initiative to urge local residents to pick local produce over processed foods.
Save The Date
Friday, August 10-13, 8:00AM, UMass Amherst
Come for 225+ workshops on organic farming, gardening, land care, draft animals, homesteading, sustainability, nutrition, food politics, activism, and much, much more. Special workshops designed for kids and teens. An educational, fun opportunity for your children to bond with others from the Northeast while you attend workshops and events. Entertainment for the whole family: Music and dance, an old-fashioned Country Fair, farmer’s market, games and fun. Modest registration, inexpensive dorm rooms, camping and delicious, wholesome organic meals. More information at www.nofasummerconference.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call 413-230-7835.
Saturday, August 11, 10:00AM – 1:00PM First Congregational Church of Wareham, 11 Gibbs Ave., Wareham, MA
Artisanal Food Educator/Chef Rosa Galeno grew up in the Italian countryside where canning is a way of life. Rich with tradition and innate know-how, Rosa will show us how easy it is for busy families to prepare and process fresh locally grown tomatoes and enjoy them year round. Imagine the fresh taste of heirloom tomatoes in the darkest winter evening, filling your kitchen with the fragrance of fields bursting with juicy tomato goodness. Participants will learn canning, preservation, and recipes.
Tuesday, August 14, 9:30AM – 11:30AM Smith Farm Reserve, Dartmouth, MA
Come explore Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’s Smith Farm on a walk specially designed for kids. Leader: Sarah Storer Rickson, DNRT Land Manager. The walk will be followed by a visit to Salvadors Ice Cream, and all kids who bring a grandparent will get a free ice cream cone! Smith Farm is located on the east side of Smith Neck Road, south of Salvadors Ice Cream and just north of Round Hill. There is a gate and a DNRT sign at the entrance. Parking is along the side of the road. For more information, visit the DNRT web site at dnrt.org.
Saturday, August 18, 10:00AM – 1:00PM 24K Heirloom Tomatoes – 538 Horseneck Rd., South Dartmouth, MA
This 3-hour workshop will be held at Bob Feingold’s 8-acre property in South Dartmouth and will cover why Bob loves and grows heirlooms, how to select varieties of heirlooms to grow, and tips for successfully growing your own heirloom tomatoes. Cost: $25 per person, $20 for SEMAP Members. Limited to 15 participants. Contact Kristen Irvin from SEMAP at her email for details. Learn more here. Register here
Saturday, August 18, 11AM – 3PM Verrill Farm – 11 Wheeler Road, Concord, MA 01742
Verrill Farm’s annual Festival featuring its two most popular crops – corn & tomatoes! Taste over 30 varieties of our own tomatoes & up to 8 of corn. There will also be samples of dishes made in the farm stand kitchen. Additional food & beverages available a la carte. Pony rides by Giddy Up Ponies & Hayrides Live music by Monadnock Blue Grass. Call 978-369-4494 for more information or go here.
August 18, 5:30PM – 7:30PM Westport Town Farm, 830 Drift Rd., Westport, MA
Join the Westport Land Conservation Trust and The Trustees of Reservations for a family concert on the grounds of the Town Farm. The South Coast Chamber Music Society will perform.Bring your own picnic suppers, chairs, blankets and flashlights. This concert is supported by the Westport Cultural Council through a grant from the Helen E. Ellis Charitable Trust administered by Bank of America. Help us bring more concerts to the Town Farm through your free-will donation!
Donations Requested Details here.
August 18 and 19, Saturday and Sunday, various locations in Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport and Dartmouth
A self guided open studio tour featuring 73 exhibiting artists living and working in the coastal communities of Tiverton, Little Compton, Westport and Dartmouth. Along the way you’ll discover artists working in different mediums, such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography, sculpture, basketry, textiles, shells, ceramics, glass, wood, paper, jewelry and recycled materials. For the map and more information, click here to see a brochure.
Saturday, August 25, 6:00PM – 10:30PM, 253 Horseneck Road, Dartmouth (1 mile south of Russell’s Mills Village)
Please join Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and its local supporters for a fun-filled evening of delicious food and lively square-dancing to benefit land conservation in Dartmouth. Silent Auction. Lowest priced ticket is $85 per person. For more information, to view silent auction items, or to reserve tables and make donations, go to http://www.dnrt.org/sp_event.htm.
August 25, 9:00AM – 3:00PM, Departs from Woods Hole
Join the Buzzards Bay Coalition this summer for a Bay Adventure to Penikese Island. Participants on this full-day excursion will explore beautiful Penikese Island in the middle of Buzzards Bay. Planned activities include an oyster farming demonstration, tour of Penikese Island School, and coastal exploration activities with Bay Coalition education staff. Cost: $60 for Bay Coalition members, $75 for non-members, $40 for children. Reservations required and space is limited. Email Margo Connolly or call 508.999.6363 x224 to make your reservation. Program cost includes boat transportation to and from the island. Details here.
Wednesday, August 29, 6:00PM – 8:00PM, Lloyd Center Headquarters, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth
What better way to end the day than a peaceful paddle along the Slocum River. You’ll feel your stress dissolve as you glide along this spectacular estuary, enjoying the setting sun. Watch wading and shore birds flock to feed, see fish jump and await the multitude of color changes in the sky. This is a wonderful and relaxing way to explore the delicate ecosystem of this salt marsh. Inexperienced paddlers are welcome. All tours include basic kayak equipment and instruction by certified guides. Lloyd Center members: $38, non-members: $45. Pre-registration required by noon on Tuesday, August 28. Age 14 and up. (10 spaces available) You can also call the Center’s event line at 508-558-2918. Details here.
Saturday September 15, 2012 from 9:00AM to Noon, Tihonet Village Market at 146 Tihonet Road, Wareham, MA
Run or Walk through the A.D. Makepeace property and bogs. Run through wooded trails, break in and out of the dense forest into the sunshine, around a bog and then back into the tree-covered trail. Pre-Registration Fee: $25.00. Race Day Registration Fee: $35.00. All registrants receive a race t-shirt at registration. LOCAL FOOD CELEBRATION at the Finish Line! No strollers, dogs, scooters, or roller blades allowed. Race will be professionally timed and posted on-line. Medals for overall winners and each age group. For more information, go to the race website.
Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, September through December, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA
Enrollment is open for all interested in Organic Farming Practices I. The course is designed for serious gardeners and small-scale organic farmers. Topics will include sustainable agriculture in our future world, extensive soils studies including fertility, conservation, management, crop rotation, and more. This Fall semester course will be offered on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from September – December and earns 4 college credits. Tuition waivers may be available for senior citizens and veterans. Questions? Contact Dr. Jim Corven at 508 678-2811, ext. 3047 or email@example.com.
Mondays 6 to 9pm, starting in September, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA
New Course available: Organic Pest and Disease Control. This course is designed for gardeners and farmers who want to prevent pests/diseases and manage their land with minimal chemical dependency. The course will meet on Monday evenings from 6-9:00 pm for 6 weeks starting in early September. The course offers one college credit and tuition waivers may be available for senior citizens and veterans. Questions? Contact Dr. Jim Corven at 508 678-2811, ext. 3047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Books, Arts, and Blooms” at Lakeville Public Library
Content taken from The Standard Times
“Books, Arts and Blooms” is the name of an eye-catching exhibit, currently being showcased at Lakeville Public Library, in which members of the Lakeville Garden Club teamed up with local artists to express their impressions of selected books in the form of floral arrangements and artwork. From sculptures to quilts and collages to acrylic paintings, the various works can be viewed in the Great Ponds Gallery alongside photos of gorgeous bouquets and other floral arrangements.
To view the exhibit, Lakeville Public Library is located on 241 Main Street, Lakeville, MA 02347. Read more about the exhibit here.
The River Project 2012 at Slocum’s River Reserve: Ongoing through May 18, 2013
The beautiful Slocum’s River Reserve in Dartmouth is the inspiration and the setting for six large-scale site-specific sculptures that will be on display from June 16, 2012 through May 18, 2013. The Slocum’s River Reserve is jointly owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations and Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and is located on Horseneck Road in Dartmouth, 1.4 miles south of Russell’s Mills Village. For more information visit the River Project 2012 web page slocumsriverproject.wordpress.com.
Donations Sought for “Earn a Bicycle” program
Mass in Motion-Fall River is seeking donations of used, retired bicycles for a RECYCLE A BICYCLE program being held this summer at Durfee High School, and continuing in the fall with the Applied Physics Class for the Class of 2016. In each case students are taking bicycles and refurbishing them. After bicycle mechanics comes bicycle safety, learning the rules of the road from the Fall River Police Department, and receiving a bicycle helmet. Finally with bicycles restored comes navigating safely around the City. And for those who complete the program successfully, “Earning a bicycle”. Please help us by donating any used and older models, retired bikes stored in your basement or garage. Some will be restored, some will be used for parts. Drop off can be arranged at Durfee High School in Fall River Mass or at Motion-Fall River, the Health and Human Services Division, located at One Government Center.Contact Contact Julianne Kelly, Coordinator for Mass in Motion-Fall River, at email@example.com or 508-324-2405.
ACUPCC Five-Year Report Underscores Profound Impact
The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and its almost 700 signatories have demonstrated a profound and positive impact in negating the affects of climate change and integrating sustainable practices on their campuses since the initiative’s inception in 2007, according to Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership, the ACUPCC’s five-year report. The report quantifies the progress of the initiative, which represents an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action. These actions includes reducing carbon emissions on their campuses; deploying sustainable practices; revising their curriculums and cultures to raise awareness of sustainability in students and graduates; sponsoring research and developing best case practices; and engaging local economies and communities. The report was released in conjunction with the ACUPCC’s annual Climate Leadership Summit , which was held at American University in Washington, DC on June 21st and 22nd.
The report’s highlights include:
- More than 675 signatories, representing 6 million students or 30 percent of the nation’s college and university population, have committed to the ACUPCC.
- Collectively, entire network has reduced gross greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent since 2007.
- By 2022, the signatories are projected to reduce their gross emissions by over 50 percent.
- More than 30 percent of signatories have targeted becoming climate neutrality within 20 years.
- Signatories collectively represent the third-largest purchasers of Renewable Energy Credits in the U.S.-enough green power for 130,000 American households.
- Almost 200 signatories offer nearly 10,000 courses focused on sustainability.
The ACUPCC is a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments from college and universities to accelerate the education, research and community engagement to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate, and eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations.
Massachusetts Audubon Society Offers Free Summer Vacation Guide
From Boston.com The Massachusetts Audubon Society is offering a variety of outdoor activities and events this summer. To help families and visitors plan a trip to one of its 50 wildlife sanctuaries, Mass Audubon has created a new online vacation guide. The vacation guide offers something for everyone of all ages and backgrounds. out the Vacation Guide here.
Clean Air-Cool Planet is Hiring a Campus Program Associate
CA-CP is looking for a program associate to help us support and continue to develop carbon management tools (like the Campus Carbon Calculator) and programs for colleges and universities.
To apply, please send a letter of intent, resume and list of three references (or letters of reference) and a writing sample to Clean Air Cool Planet, attn.: Lynn Sullivan. Details and Job Description here.
New Job Openings at Buzzards Bay Coaltion
The Buzzards Bay Coalition has the following open service positions:
Commonwealth Corps Environmental Educator
The Buzzards Bay Coalition seeks two energetic individuals to join our team as Commonwealth Corps Service Members. This year-long position is as a core part of our Education and Public Engagement department with an overall goal of engaging the community in active and on-going stewardship of the Bay and Watershed. Specifically, service members will be working on our youth education initiatives which seek to strengthen the ethic of environmental stewardship in the region while also improving academic achievement in the classroom through increased school engagement. View the full job description at This Link
Visit Save Buzzards Bay for information on all our positions.
UMass Dartmouth’s Living Classroom Program Profiled in Sustainability Journal
UMass Dartmouth’s Living Classroom program is profiled in the April 2012 issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record. The Journal is published by Mary Ann Leibert, Inc., a leading company in authoritative international publications for the Scientific, Technical, and Medical knowledge and information industries. The profile, written by Pamela Marean from UMass Dartmouth’s Sustainability Office, discusses how The Living Classroom stimulates curiosity in students and local residents alike about how sustainability principles work in our lives by applying higher learning concepts to our immediate environmental resources–namely the University’s hundreds of acreage of forests and wetlands. This article represents a great accomplishment for UMass Dartmouth and is bound to bring greater attention to The Living Classroom, as well as all innovative programs under the umbrella of the Sustainability Initiative. Interested readers can view a copy of the article here.
Buzzards Bay Coalition and YMCA Southcoast launch River Exploration Camp
This summer the Buzzards Bay Coalition and YMCA Southcoast will offer the new River Exploration Camp. The camp will run from August 13 through 17 for ages 12 to 14. This week-long day camp will be full of hands-on activities for kids explore the Mattapoisett River from its headwaters to Buzzards Bay. Campers will spend the week in an in-depth study of the Mattapoisett River. Starting from a home-base at Camp Massasoit at the mouth of the river, campers will travel upriver to YMCA property on Snipatuit Pond in Rochester, where the river begins. Campers will learn what it takes to be a river biologist while hiking, seining, water sampling, and creating a Mattapoisett River Field Guide. Learn more here.
UMass Dartmouth Included in Princeton Review’s Annual Guide to Green Colleges
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was selected for inclusion in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” This free, downloadable book is a one-of-a-kind resource and is published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The comprehensive guide focuses solely on colleges that have demonstrated a notable commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The Princeton Review chose the listed schools based on research it conducted in 2011 of over 700 colleges and universities across the U.S. and in Canada. It provides “Green Rating” scores of colleges for its school profiles in its college guidebooks and website. The institutions in the guide represent those with the highest “Green Ratings.”
Interested readers can download a free copy of the guide at Princeton Review’s site or at the website for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.
UMass Dartmouth Sustainability Courses for Fall 2012 Semester Announced
UMass Dartmouth’s Sustainability Studies undergraduate courses for the fall 2012 semester have been announced and listed. Learn more here.
SouthCoast Energy Challenge Business Rewards Program
The SouthCoast Energy Challenge launched its Business Rewards Program at three Dartmouth businesses: Alderbrook Farm, Baker Books, and Mirasol’s Café. A tidy box near the entrance of each establishment signals to customers, “Save money on utility bills… and earn a $10 gift certificate to this establishment!” How does it work? Any customer who registers for and receives a no-cost, Mass Save home energy assessment by filling out an attached slip and dropping it in the box will receive their complimentary $10 gift certificate to that business! It’s as easy as that! And the perks don’t stop there. Simply getting a home energy assessment can save you 3-5% utility costs. During the assessment, the energy experts at Next Step Living make a few simple, on-the-spot retrofits to increase your home’s efficiency. These retrofits include installing energy saving light bulbs, an efficient showerhead, and programmable thermostats if you don’t have them already. They will also make recommendations to increase the efficiency of your home on a deeper level. Added insulation, air sealing, and weatherstripping are some common recommendations. Furthermore, they will help you make a plan to take advantage of state rebates and funding opportunities available through the Mass Save program. For more information, visit the SouthCoast Energy Challenge.
The Top 10 Peak Oil Books Of 2012
“Peak Oil” is the term for predictions about when we will have passed the mark for extracting oil from the earth in its best quantities. After Peak Oil, extraction supplies will only dwindle. Experts say we already passed that mark three decades ago. For the best, most recent reading on the subject, including its effects on the economy, energy supplies, and other factors expected to peak and dwindle, click here.
Regional Bikeway Conversation
Conversations about the Regional Bikeway are heating up and we need your help! The Fall River, Dartmouth, and New Bedford bikepath committees are seeking members. For more information contact:
New Bedford: Angela Bannister firstname.lastname@example.org or Pauline Hamel email@example.com
Dartmouth: Wendy Henderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall River: Brian Pearson email@example.com
For information about the regional bikeway, contact Adam Recchia firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about upcoming bikerides, contact Brian Pearson email@example.com.
Essay Contest for Kids and Teens
Like A Drop of Water’s writing contest offers young people, ages eight through seventeen, world wide the opportunity to share their ideas on how they and their countries can reduce climate change and pollution. The writing contest is open to all young people in the world from the ages of eight through seventeen (8-17). There is a $400.00 award every month to eight or more young authors with scholarship awards ranging from $25.00 to $100.00 through 2015. In addition, the judges will select the best essay in the calendar year and that young person will receive a $500.00 scholarship award. Yearly the top fifty essays will be sent to the White House and be made available to governments across the world. Bi-yearly, the best one hundred winning essays will be published as an e-book for world wide distribution. Learn about the contest here.
Buy Carbon Credits with the Marion Institute
Offset one ton of carbon emissions for just $7. Your tax-free donation will go directly to the Marion Institute’s Gaviotas Carbon Offset Initiative, which has been reforesting tropical rainforest for over twenty years. Donate here.
Weekly Green Tip
Free Range Chicken and Eggs
Before you pay out extra money for your free range chicken and eggs, learn more about the farms they come from. Criteria that your free range chicken and eggs should meet: Learn more here.
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