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Letter from the Editors
In a world where some sustainability issues seem entrenched and immovable, the wonders of evolution are refreshing, and sometimes humorous. The curator of fishes at the National Museum of Natural History said that the male and female pairs of these bizarre fish who carry their genitalia on their heads just behind their mouths look like a pair of scissors when they mate. Found in Vietnam, the evolutionary advantages that brought about this species’ physiology are a mystery.
The long struggle for higher Fuel Efficiency Standards are certainly of immense significance for reducing fossil fuel dependence, cutting CO2 emissions, and combating climate change. In a step forward this week, the United States passed a new standard that will nearly double the current mpg for automobiles over the next 12 years. Standing in the way of such progress have been criticisms that auto prices will increase and fuel savings will only be realized if an owner keeps the car for a long time or racks up a lot of mileage. Nonetheless, the new fuel efficiency standards are projected to save consumers $1.7 trillion in gasoline costs and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels over the period.
Arguably, the news that received the most amount of hits–based on the plethora of headlines created from the content–was the report by leading water scientists that the world’s people will have to switch to borderline vegetarianism within a few decades. As our global population escalates — 9 billion in 40 years — we’re hitting our carrying capacity for food. There simply won’t be enough water for everyone to drink, let alone enough for water-intensive livestock. Water is also a prime ingredient in energy production, and in many of our high-technology devices that we hope will provide solutions to our planet’s environmental and population dilemmas.
China plans on spending $372 billion over the next three-and-a half years on improving energy efficiency, tightening pollution control and expanding its recycling economy.
The government’s ambitious goals include reducing energy consumption by 16 percent per unit of GDP and lowering major pollutant emissions by 8 to 10 percent from 2010 levels, according to an official statement released by Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a government agency. The endeavor also seeks to reduce China’s consumption of coal by 300 million tons each year. Read more here.
Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages. Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world’s leading water scientists.
“There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations,” the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said. “There will be just enough water if the proportion of animal-based foods is limited to 5% of total calories and considerable regional water deficits can be met by a…reliable system of food trade.” Read more here.
The Arctic is a polar region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, the United States (Alaska), Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost. The blanket of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted to its lowest extent ever recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979, according to the University of Colorado Boulder’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSID). On Aug. 26, the Arctic sea ice extent fell to 1.58 million square miles, or 4.10 million square kilometers. The number is 27,000 square miles, or 70,000 square kilometers below the record low daily sea ice extent set Sept. 18, 2007. Since the summer Arctic sea ice minimum normally does not occur until the melt season ends in mid- to late September, the CU-Boulder research team expects the sea ice extent to continue to dwindle for the next two or three weeks, said Walt Meier, an NSID scientist. Read more here.
Read more from the Huffington Post.
Gaza may not be ‘liveable’ by 2020, and its aquifer may be unusable by as soon as 2016, according to a report from the United Nations published Gaza in 2020: A liveable place?, a report launched by Maxwell Gaylard, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory, Jean Gough of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Robert Turner of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) forecasts a worsening situation for the population living under an Israel-enforced blockade, which rights groups have called an “open air prison.” Read more here.
The Cambodian government said it will limit fishing in a zone in the Mekong River to protect critically endangered freshwater dolphins. The Irrawaddy dolphin conservation area will cover a 180-kilometer-long (110 miles) stretch of river from eastern Kratie province to the border with Laos, the government said after the measure was approved in the weekly cabinet meeting.
Fishing will still be allowed inside the zone but the use of floating houses, fish cages and gill nets will be banned as they risk endangering the dolphins. The government estimates there are between 155 and 175 Irrawaddy dolphins left in Cambodia’s stretch of the Mekong River, while WWF last year put the figure at just 85. The newly created zone “will serve the eco-tourism sector and sustainably preserve dolphins,” the statement said. Read more here.
A new study demonstrates that altering the relationship between a predator and its prey can cause wide-ranging ripple effects through an ecosystem, including unexpected extinctions. Species help each other, directly or indirectly, which scientists refer to as mutualism or commensalism. For example, a species’ success may rely not only upon the survival of its food source, but may also indirectly rely upon the survival of more distantly related species.
“Our experiment provides the first proof of something that biologists have argued for a long time: predators can have indirect effects on each other, to the extent that when one species is lost, the loss of these indirect effects can lead to further extinctions.” Read more here.
Security concerns in Libya may be top of the political agenda, but more goodwill could be earned if socio-economic problems such as traffic and trash are tackled says Rhiannon Smith, who is an economic development expert in Libya. Post-revolution, Libya is struggling with pressing security concerns, disunity and division along religious and ethnic lines. As such, political progress away from a long authoritarian past to a more democratic future has been painfully slow. The solution is tackling problems that all Libyans face and there isn’t more that unites Libyans in despair than the traffic and trash problem. Read more here
Oil. The world’s appetite for Canada’s oil resources seems bottomless. While the U.S. debates the Alberta-to-Texas Keystone Pipeline, British Columbia is debating sending oil tankers to Asia. There are currently two proposals to bring more and bigger oil supertankers to B.C.’s coast, so that Alberta’s oilsands crude can be shipped to overseas. In the north, the proposed Enbridge pipeline would bring 225 oil tankers into the coastal inlets of the Great Bear Rainforest. In the south, pipeline company Kinder Morgan proposes tripling the number of oil tankers navigating through Vancouver Harbour.
It is a tale as old as time: The people and the environment bear the risk of spills while oil harvesters enjoy the profits. And some British Columbians are not willing to sit back and watch their resplendent coastline be put at risk of catastrophic spills. They are targeting federal, provincial and local governments to legislate bans and and pass motions to create multi-layer protection against an assult on the beautiful coast. To build support, NoTankers.ca launched an oily ducky campaign. Black, oily rubber duckies are popping up in fountains all over Vancouver. The stunt is part of a campaign to remind British Columbians they have a powerful voice in the debate over the future of B.C.’s coast. Read more here.
Fuel efficiency of U.S. cars and light trucks will nearly double by 2025 under a standard finalized by the Obama Administration. American vehicles will get 54.5 miles to the gallon in the new standard that aims to save consumers at the fuel pump and cut dependency on foreign oil imports.
The rule, strongly opposed by Republicans and some car makers, builds on the standard for vehicles for model years 2011-2016, which requires automakers to raise average fuel efficiency to 35.5 mpg. “These fuel standards represent the single most important step we’ve ever taken to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. Read more here.
Learn more about this milestone in auto efficiency and fuel standards here.
Washington, D.C. – Following its disastrous foray into the housing market, Wall Street’s latest earnings scheme is as close as your kitchen sink: the finance industry is increasingly targeting public water systems. A new report released today by the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, Private Equity, Public Inequity: The Public Cost of Private Equity Takeovers of U.S. Water Infrastructure reveals that as of January 2012, private equity players had raised $186 billion through 276 infrastructure funds and were seeking another $93 billion to take over infrastructure worldwide.
“Like Wall Street’s manipulation of the housing market in the previous decade, private equity firms and investment bankers are increasingly looking to cash in on one of our most essential resources — water,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “These deals are ultimately a bum deal for consumers, who will end up paying the price through increased water bills and degraded service.” Read more here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently declared that our nation’s current drought crisis – our worst in decades – has rendered over half of all U.S. counties “disaster areas.” Farmers and ranchers nationwide are scrambling to cover rising feed costs, lowered crop production, and deteriorating crop quality. According to a report on Alternet.org, a few of those struggling farmers in California are turning to an ancient practice of dry farming to sustain their crops.
The California Agricultural Water Stewardship Initiative (CAWSI) says dry farming goes back thousands of years, when Mediterranean countries first adopted it to produce harvests of grapes and olives. Simply put, it’s the process of producing crops by relying only on the residual moisture in the soil. Read more here.
Americans are throwing away 40 percent of food in the U.S., the equivalent of $165 billion in uneaten food each year, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a time of drought and skyrocketing food prices, NRDC outlines opportunities to reduce wasted food and money on the farm, in the grocery store and at home.
“As a country, we’re essentially tossing every other piece of food that crosses our path – that’s money and precious resources down the drain,” said Dana Gunders, NRDC project scientist with the food and agriculture program. “With the price of food continuing to grow, and drought jeopardizing farmers nationwide, now is the time to embrace all the tremendous untapped opportunities to get more out of our food system. We can do better.” Read more here.
When Republican leadership in Congress tried to torpedo the U.S. Navy’s ambitious biofuel programs last spring, the Navy managed to fight its way around those obstacles. The maneuvers received some media attention at the time, but one strategic ally seems to have slipped under the radar: the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA has been funding a network of eight biofuel refineries in every region of the country while supporting foundational research that will help make biofuels cost competitive with fossil fuels, which will benefit the Navy and farmers alike. Read more here.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection blames a nearby hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operation. It says methane gas has leaked out of the well, which is operated by Chesapeake Energy, and into the Leightons’ and Franklins’ water supplies. The danger goes beyond contaminated water. In a letter to both families detailing test results and preliminary findings, state regulators wrote that “there is a physical danger of fire or explosion due to the migration of natural gas water wells.” A shoddy cement job is usually what’s to blame. Gas wells are lined by a series of steel pipes surrounded by cement. And if the cement pour is rushed or poorly done, methane is going to get out of the well and into the ground. That’s what state regulators say happened in 2009 in the same northeast Pennsylvania county where the Leightons and Franklins are currently dealing with stray gas.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection fined Chesapeake Energy $900,000 for contaminating 16 families’ water supplies. The company disputed the state’s conclusion, but agreed to the fine – the largest environmental penalty in Pennsylvania history. Since then, Pennsylvania regulators put much tougher drilling standards in place, in order to minimize methane leaks. Read more here.
Learn more about the ongoing fracking controversy in Pennsylvania here.
Political convention season is upon us. Thousands of visitors are now descending upon Tampa for the Republican National Convention, which runs from Aug. 27-30. Soon, others will make their way to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention, taking place Sept. 4-6. Over the course of these two massive events, enormous amounts of electricity will be used, countless custom banners will be festooned, and hundreds of thousands of meals will be consumed. While all of this adds up to a potentially enormous environmental impact, there is good news: Both parties are taking steps – some small, some big – to make their conventions more eco-friendly. Read more here.
While cutting food stamps remains atop the Republican agenda, a new Gallup poll reminds us that hunger continues to run rampant in America. According to the poll, over 18 percent of Americans “say there have been times when they could not afford the food they needed” during the last year. In 15 states, that figure jumps to one in five Americans.
There’s an odd political angle to this poll. The top 10 list for states with the highest hunger rates includes the GOP strongholds of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Louisiana. More than half of those states are as red as they come, i.e. even in a landslide these states wouldn’t back Obama. But here’s the kicker: Gallup mapped the percentage of people who “lacked money for food.” What do you notice? Read more here.
Climate shocks are on the way. We’ve already spewed so much carbon into the atmosphere that a cascade of worsening crop failures, droughts, floods, and freak storms is virtually guaranteed. You, your family, and your community will feel the effects. Ironically, however, avoiding climate change also has its costs. It makes sense from a climate-protection standpoint to dramatically and rapidly reduce our use of fossil fuels, which drive global warming. But these fuels largely, well, fueled the spectacular economic growth of the past 200 years, and weaning ourselves from them quickly now — while most industrial economies are over-indebted and starved for growth — could risk financial upheaval.
In the face of impending environmental and economic shocks, our best strategy is to build resilience throughout society. Resilience is the subject of decades of research by ecologists and social scientists who define it as “the capacity of a system to tolerate disturbance without collapsing into a qualitatively different state that is controlled by a different set of processes.” In other words, resilience is the capacity to absorb shocks, reorganize, and continue functioning. Read more here.
In more than 100 years, there has not been a single case of voter identity fraud in the state of Indiana. Yet, in 2008, 145,000 legitimate voters there were turned away from the polls because they could not produce the photo IDs acceptable to state officials on a crusade against “voter fraud.” Approximately two out of three of those voters were black. Ten of them were black and white (nuns from the Sisters of the Holy Cross). One nun, aged 98, had given up her driver’s license as had her “younger” sisters.
Now, 16 states have passed voter ID laws similar to Indiana’s. The story is that legislators are trying to stop an epidemic of people voting under false names or casting the ballots of dead people. But nobody’s come up with more than a tiny handful of cases where that’s happened. Taking away the votes of hundreds of thousands of people to stop one or two fake votes is like killing a flea with a shotgun. Moreover, no fewer than 68,029 Indiana citizens, and 488,136 voters nationwide, had their absentee ballots thrown out on nutty technicalities like using the wrong size envelope or crossing out a bubble instead of filling it in. In all, my fellow investigator, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and I found that more than 5.9 million citizens were wrongly barred from voting or having their ballots counted in 2008.
The emerging advanced energy economy worldwide is already creating millions of jobs and generating trillions of dollars in economic activity. These jobs run the gamut – research and development, engineering, architecture, advanced manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance. They provide well-paid opportunities for low, middle, and high-skill workers.
But are we educating and training Americans to be able to access these jobs? Talk to employers across the advanced energy spectrum, and they’ll tell you we don’t have a workforce capable of matching job needs, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors, which comprise nearly half of the new energy economy. So not only do we need to better educate our children, we need to better prepare our future workforce for highly technical and skill-based jobs in the emerging energy sector. Read more here.
BOSTON – Sitting on an artificial mangrove island in the middle of the ray and shark “touch tank,” Lindsay Jordan, a staff member at the New England Aquarium, explained the rays’ eating habits as children and their parents trailed fingers through the water. “Does anyone know how we touch these animals when we are not at the aquarium?” she asked. The children’s faces turned up expectantly. “The ocean absorbs one-third of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions,” Ms. Jordan said, explaining that it upsets the food chain. “When you turn on your car, it affects them.”
With many zoos and aquariums now working with conservation organizations and financed by individuals who feel strongly about threatened habitats and species, managers have been wrestling with how aggressive to be in educating visitors on the perils of climate change. Surveys show that American zoos and aquariums enjoy a high level of public trust and are ideally positioned to teach. Yet many managers are fearful of alienating visitors – and denting ticket sales – with tours or wall labels that dwell bleakly on damaged coral reefs, melting ice caps or dying trees. Read more here.
NARRAGANSETT – Rhode Island’s coastline is in a natural and constant state of flux. The coastline is altered most during big storms such as hurricanes and nor’easters. High waves wash away or damage dunes that protect land further inland. They also pound sea cliffs saturated and weakened by rain, causing sections to collapse. Narrow barrier beaches, such as Ninigret Beach in Charlestown, can dramatically shift position. If humans weren’t part of the equation, this information would be no cause for alarm. Dunes would recover, debris from cliff walls would slowly erode to sand, and reoriented barrier beaches would continue to protect wetlands and the mainland from the unrelenting ocean. But, when humans interact with the shoreline and alter it in a fundamental way, coastal residents often experience alarmingly problematic effects.
Matunuck is the Ocean State’s best example of what happens when ocean and human development collide. Matunuck’s eroding coast is threatening to undercut Matunuck Beach Road and leave 1,600 homes and businesses with no way to enter or leave the community. To prevent the road from being destroyed, which would create a clear public safety issue, a 220-foot sheet-pile wall will be built in September to hold back the ocean. Read more here.
Whole Foods Market commissary off Route 99, the canola oil used to prepare zucchini fritters and breaded chicken cutlets sold at the grocery chain’s regional stores is no longer just an ingredient. This week, it became the fuel that powers the commercial kitchen.
Whole Foods is recycling used oil from the commissary’s industrial fryers and burning it to run a custom-designed generator that provides nearly all the electricity for the 70,000-square-foot building, which houses the kitchens and another tenant. The system is powering lights, refrigerators, and a long list of appliances and other equipment used to prepare food sold in 62 stores from Maine to New Jersey. Whole Foods estimates that the system, which also eliminates the need to dispose of more than 1,000 gallons of used oil every week, could save the commissary about 20 percent of its energy and waste-disposal costs. Read more here.
Coast Guard assessment puts Buzzards Bay at risk for oil spills, critics say
NEW BEDFORD – Environmental activists and state lawmakers are worried that an environmental assessment by the Coast Guard will result in inadequate regulations for oil barges traveling through Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal.
The Coast Guard’s environmental assessment, released in July, outlines four options for oil barges entering the bay. It designates a “preferred scenario” that only requires an escort tug and pilot present for single-hulled barges carrying more than 5,000 barrels of oil. The environmental assessment is just the latest step in a five-year-long battle between the federal agency and the state over barge regulations. Read more here.
FALL RIVER – At least 15 years since the city has tried to collect back taxes and federal environmental officials have sought hazardous waste penalties against the refinishing company known as Nu-Chrome, the property has been foreclosed and the site designated for cleanup, city officials reported.
The tax consequences of Nu-Chrome Inc. in the Fall River Industrial Park owing $1,746,177 – just over $1 million for interest – remains unclear. The small company with generally 20 to 40 workers – and listed under various corporate Nu-Chrome compositions – has done chrome plating and metal restoration for autos, motorcycles, marine hardware and household products. Read more here.
Rochester – “It was more like going to a different world than a different country,” said Rochester resident Sue Kantner of a recent trip to Dipilto, Nicaragua. With a population nearing 6,000, the rural municipality is comparable in size to Rochester, Marion or Mattapoisett, but there the similarities end, especially when it comes to education.
Now, Sue Kantner and her daughter Angie, a second year Peace Corps volunteer, want to help change that by building up Dipilto’s library and getting their hometown involved. Angie Kantner, a graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School, had the Peace Corps in her sights long before graduating from college. “I have always been drawn toward community service. I want to learn from the peoples I meet, live among them, and do whatever I can to help people where I am,” she said. Read more here.
It began as a farm stand on the back of a trailer in 2006, expanded to a favorite area lunch spot, and now, Makepeace Farms – formerly Tihonet Village Market – is getting back to its agricultural roots. “There’s this whole movement toward local food,” explained Michael Hogan, A.D. Makepeace President & CEO. “We see this as a place to showcase local foods.”
Operated by A.D. Makepeace, Tihonet Village Market closed for the winter season in December and reopened on August 20 as Makepeace Farms. A grand opening is planned for September 1. Makepeace Farms will offer a selection of the fresh sandwiches and salads that made its predecessor a go-to place for lunch – “the favorites,” Hogan explained, but the goal is to “celebrate local agriculture.” Read more here.
Residents eager to fill their recycling bins each week need to leave out the plastic bags because cities and town across the SouthCoast don’t take them. Thin plastic bags like the kind used for carrying groceries are on “not accepted” on recyclable lists in New Bedford, Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Rochester, Wareham, Westport, Marion and Mattapoisett.
The bags can potentially wreak havoc on equipment at some recovery facilities where recyclables are brought for sorting and processing, said Peg Mulloy, spokeswoman for Republic Services Inc., the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based waste management company that operates the Brockton facility where New Bedford and Dartmouth recyclables are brought. “Imagine putting a plastic bag in a bicycle chain,” she said. Read more here.
A new pest has arrived in the Northeast and it’s posing a threat to both backyard fruit growers and commercial ones. The pest is called the spotted wing drosophila, a fruit fly, which has the nasty habit of laying its eggs in ripening small fruit such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. The larvae feed on the fruit and, in the case of raspberries, turn them into mush. This fruit fly is different from other more common fruit flies. The female spotted wing drosophila has an ovipositor – an appendage insects use to deposit eggs – that actually has teeth and thus can “saw” through tougher tissue such as a berry that is not ripe. Common fruit flies on the other hand are attracted only to bruised or soft-skinned fruit.
The spotted wing drosophila does have one thing in common with other fruit flies in that it is short-lived – a generation will last about 10 days. And that poses another problem for fruit growers: there are a number of insecticides that will combat fruit flies – only about two of them are registered for organic growers, however – but because the flies go through so many generations in so short a time, they can build up a resistance to an insecticide quickly, forcing growers to switch sprays periodically. Read more here.
NEW BEDFORD – Fishermen and recreational boaters might have seen a strange sight in the harbor last week as crews assembled a red jack-up barge whose four towering, black legs looked almost like smokestacks rising from the harbor. The vessel will be used this fall to take sediment samples of Nantucket Sound’s ocean floor for Cape Wind, and its legs are essential to the task. They provide extra stability as crews drill samples into Horseshoe Shoal, where Cape Wind’s planned 130 wind turbines will be located.
At 32 feet long, the legs can be lowered to the ocean floor, standing the barge on the shoal as it conducts its tests. The hull can also be raised above the ocean surface to increase its stability during storms. Read more here.
While growing produce without the use of synthetic pesticides and manufactured fertilizers may present its share of difficulties, organic vegetable farms have sprouted up all over southeastern Massachusetts. Alex Houtzager of Berkley converted his small family farm into an organic vegetable farm about eight years ago, citing the health benefits and better taste of vegetables that are grown naturally.
“We were looking for an educational process for the community to know the benefits of fresh food, and to be able to understand how their food was grown,” said Houtzager, 76, who inherited Kettle Pond Farm from his family, who purchased the property in 1943. “We were looking at making people aware that there are pesticides and herbicides being used in the food, and there are alternate ways of providing that food. That was the goal.” Read more here.
This Week in Sustainability
Women’s Full Moon Canoe Trip
Friday, August 31, 2012 from 5:30PM – 8:00PM, Lloyd Center Headquarters, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth
Girls’ night out! Enjoy canoeing the historic Slocum River. Transportation to launching site and all equipment provided. Bring footwear that can get wet, as well as a snack and beverage (non-alcoholic). Price: Members: $20 Non-members: $25
Pre-registration required by noon on Thursday, August 30th Limit: 12 Pre-register online, or call 508-990-0505 x10. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Liz at 508-990-0505 x15, or email her here.
Full Moon Family Walk at Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
Friday, August 31, 2012 from 7:00PM – 9:00PM, Grerat Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Wareham
Join us for an amazing night hike at the Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Guided by a Mass Audubon Naturalist, experience the Sanctuary forest under the light of a full moon. You might spot an Eastern Box Turtle ambling along the trail, or an Osprey hovering over Bass Cove. The open forest also provides shelter for Great Horned Owls while the salt marsh feeds wading herons and egrets. Dress for an outdoor adventure and bring a water bottle and insect repellent. Fee: $6 non-members, $4 Audubon members. Directions: From Exit 21 off Rt 195, go southeast on Rt 28. Stay right before light onto Tremont Road and follow as it merges with Main Street, curves right, and becomes Rt 6 through downtown. Stay left on Rt 6 over bridge to light. Turn right onto Narrows Road. Take 3rd right onto Indian Neck Road, which becomes RD Stillman Memorial Drive. At the T-intersection, turn right onto Great Neck Road and follow for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Stockton Shortcut (becomes unpaved after Little Harbor Country Club) to parking lot on right. Register online or call 508-636-2437 to register by phone.
Friday, August 31, 6:00 pm,Westport Rivers Vineyard, 417 Hixbridge Rd, Westport
From 6pm to 8pm the winery will feature live entertainment by The Becky Chase Duo as the sun sets over the beautiful vineyard. It’s a picnic style event, so either pack in your own food or buy some dinner from our friend Wayne Gibson’s South Coast Local (who will be serving up a variety of BBQ, from pulled pork sandwiches to hot dogs for the kids). Don’t forget a blanket, chairs, bug spray, glasses or a cork screw. Admission is $10 per carload and beer, wine and SoCo local food will be served for a fee. The event is weather permitting and NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL is permitted. For more information, call 508-636-3423 or visit www.westportrivers.com/events.
Sowing Seeds in Autumn NOFA Fall Urban Gardening Series
Saturday, September 1, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Brookline High School Brookline, MA 115 Greenough Street, Brookline, MA
Don’t let summer’s waning days put an early end to your gardening activity! Come learn which established crops will thrive in your garden through fall, and what you can still plant in September (and even October) in order to maximize your garden’s late-season potential no greenhouse needed! This workshop will focus mainly on cold-hardy plant selection and will also include basic tips on planting cover crops for healthy soil. Approaches for mitigating early frosts will be touched on as well. Individuals with existing gardens as well as those with new gardens built late in the season, or school gardens to be planted when students return, will learn techniques to make the most of their growing space before winter arrives. For more information, contact NOFA at (978) 355-2853.
Audubon Environmental Education Center Free Family Fun Day
Saturday, September 1, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol, RI
Thanks to the Citizens Bank Foundation the Environmental Education Center is open free to the public the first Saturday of every month. Join us for crafts, nature stories, animal discoveries, hikes and more. No need to register. For more information, visit www.asri.org.
Art Opening: “Just Birds: Artwork by Joe Koger”
Sunday, September 2, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm,Where Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol, RI
Artist Joe Koger returns with his paiting and drawing of ‘Just Birds’. As a naturalist, Joe has been drawing, painting, and observing birds all of his life. His work reflects the variety of birds that he observes at many of the local refuges and birding areas in Rhode Island. In addition to painting and bird watching, Joe teaches high school science and has been a popular teacher/naturalist at Audubon summer camps for the past 25 years. Joe’s show will run though the end of October. For more information, visit www.asri.org.
Farm To Table Dinner – A collaboration between Bay End Farm in Buzzards Bay and The Blue Room in Cambridge
Sunday, September 2, 2:00 pm farm tour, 3:00 pm dinner,Bay End Farm, 200 Bournedale Road, Buzzards Bay, MA
Know your roots! We are taking back the “farm to table” movement by putting one long table back in the middle of the Bay End Farm in Buzzards Bay. After wildly successful farm dinner series the past three summers, we couldn’t wait to get back to the farm and delve into another amazing season.. 2012 is here! Please join us for organic vegetables at Bay End Farm. you will be sitting anywhere from just a few feet to a few miles from where your dinner will be sourced and only yards from where it will be prepared. We will be setting up our table out in the field and under the sun on a gorgeous summer afternoon to feast on what the earth has offered us . The Blue Room chefs Robert Grant and Andrew Bonner will present a four course menu paired with organic wines from Central Bottle Wine & Provisions. $85 per person, $75 for Bay End Farm CSA members. To make reservations call The Blue Room at 617-494-9034. Please note that is is a BYOP event – Bring Your Own Plate – SAVES WATER!.
Fall Farmers’ Market at UMass Dartmouth
Wednesdays in September, 10:00AM – 3:00PM,Center of Campus, Outside Campus Center Facing Academic Buildings
Vendors selling at the market will be supplying produce, eggs, natural bottled foods, homemade cookies, coffee cakes, oils and vinegar’s, home made soaps, acrylic paintings and much more. Please come and join the fun. Parking available in Lot 7a at UMass Dartmouth. Follow the walkway to the stairs leading towards the center of the campus.
Fairhaven Farmers’ Market
Ongoing: Every Sunday, Running to October 14, 1:00PM – 4:00PM, Fairhaven High School, 12 Huttleston Ave.(Rt. 6), Fairhaven, MA
Get your greens while “Being Green.” Buy fresh local produce from area farmers. Enjoy the local market with family and friends every Sunday afternoon through October 14. Entertainment will be available occasionally during market hours. Access the parking lot off Main Street to the rear of the Academy Building. Handicap parking. Free admission. Coordinated by the Fairhaven Sustainability Committee. Information on vendors here.
Save The Date
Screening of the Documentary “Chasing Ice” — a 2012 Sundance Award Winner
Friday September 7, 7:15 p.m., Rose Island, Narragansett Bay. Aquidneck Ferry will provide free service to and from the island.
Part of newportFILM’s 2012 Outdoor Sunset Series. The 76-minute film is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. A $5 donation is suggested. You can learn more about the film here and watch the trailer here.
Kingston Agricultural Fair
Saturday September 8 from 2PM to 5PM, Town Green, Kingston, MA
Kingston is reviving the tradition of a town-wide picnic during an Old Home Day, Saturday, Sept. 8, and an Agricultural Fair, from 2 to 5 p.m. on the Town Green. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Art of the Raptor: Audubon Raptor Weekend 2012
Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, 2012 from 10:00AM to 4PM, Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street (Route 114), Bristol, RI
Join master falconer Laurie Schumacher from Hamilton, New York, for Talons! A Bird of Prey Experience – a European Eagle Owl, Barred Owl and Harris’ Hawk are just a few of the raptors she presents. Breath-taking free flight demonstrations highlight this program focusing on falconry, raptor biology, and conservation.
Marcia Wilson of Eyes on Owls will introduce the audience to a Snowy Owl, Spectacled Owl and five or six other live owls found in New England as well as other parts of the world. Wilson will also explore the protection of owls and their habitats.
Programs throughout both days include entertaining and educational activities for families. Admission also provides access to the award-winning Audubon Environmental Education Center and entrance to the Center’s 28-acre wildlife refuge, including the scenic boardwalk to Narragansett Bay. For more information, go to www.asri.org/.
Saturday September 8 from 9:00AM to 11AM, Slocum’s River Reserve, Dartmouth MA (Between Horseneck Road and Slocum’s River, 1 mile south of Russell’s Mills Village)
Angela Curry, Certified Yoga Instructor, will lead a quiet celebration of art and nature. Enjoy the natural beauty that is Slocum River Reserve, and the beautiful art that is now on display. Walking meditation allows you to quiet your mind, without the stipulation of stillness. Awaken your senses through a silent stroll, and soak up the peacefulness that surrounds. Please wear comfortable loose fitting cloths, and appropriate footwear. Breathing exercises and yoga postures will be incorporated into the walk. Of course cell phones should be left behind or silenced to maintain a placid climate. All fitness levels are welcome, this will not be a strenuous journey.
Transition Town Conversation and Screening of Transition 2.0
September 11, 9:30-11:30, UMass Dartmouth Woodland Commons
Join your neighbors for a discussion about how a Transition Town project could help our communities and region move toward sustainability. For more information, contact email@example.com
Lloyd Center Sunset Kayak Tour
Wednesday, September 12, 5:30PM – 7:30PM, 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, September 11. Age 14 and up. (10 spaces available) You can also call the Center’s event line at 508-558-2918. Details here.
International Coastal Cleanup
Saturday September 15, 2012 from 9:00AM to Noon, Various Locations Near You!
Coastal debris is not only ugly, it is dangerous to wildlife. For over 25 years, Audubon Society of Rhode Island has been organizing annual beach cleanups. Working with the Ocean Conservancy, we are part of an international effort to clean up our beaches and document trash so we can address the problem at the source. Sponsored by Coastal Conservancy. Join a team of volunteers who care about the coastline just like you do! Download our list of public cleanups or sign up at www.signuptocleanup.org.
Wild Edibles Walk
Saturday September 15, 2012 from 1:00PM to 3:00PM, Copicut Woods, Fall River, MA
Ever wonder how long you could survive in the woods by living off the land? Well, Southeast Massachusetts is home to more than 150 species of wild edible plants and late summer is the season of fruits and nuts. From wild grapes and blueberries to hickory nuts and edible roots, join Education Coordinator Linton Harrington for walk and an all-natural snack. Trustees of Reservations Members-Free; Non-Members-$5. For more information, call 508-636-4693 extension 13, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 1:00PM – 5:00PM, UMass Dartmouth Woodland Commons
What is it that makes you want to stroll a neighborhood? Why do some city centers and town villages draw you to be out on foot? Please join us on September 20th as we host three speakers who will help us envision how Southeastern Massachusetts can transform village and urban areas towards greater walkability. We’ll explore planting trees and other greenery; sidewalks, streetscapes and parking; building designs and vistas for pedestrian centers.
Anyone should come who is interested in greening up their city or town, or sharing how their neighborhood already encourages visitors and residents to park their cars and walk around. We’d like to have participation from municipal planners, environmental activists, and SouthCoast residents. The workshop will include tips and stories of how walkable neighborhoods have been established elsewhere, and it will also offer time for discussion of questions and suggestions from participants. Speakers include
- Wendy Landman, Executive Director of WalkBoston
- Jason Schrieber of Nelson/Nygaard
- Steve Cecil of The Cecil Group
This event is the first in our new series, ‘Sustainable Cities.’ This series, co-sponsored by the Urban Initiative and the Sustainability Initiative of UMass Dartmouth, will involve conversations about the ways we can capitalize on the assets of our urban communities to promote a low-carbon future. Register for the event here. To request more information on upcoming events in this series, contact Colleen Dawicki at email or Susan Jennings at email.
Saturday, September 22, 11:00am to 3:00pm, Slocum’s River Reserve, Dartmouth MA (Between Horseneck Road and Slocum’s River, 1 mile south of Russell’s Mills Village)
Enjoy a free, fun-filled day celebrating The River Project with tours of the sculpture exhibit, kid’s activities, and West African drumming and song by the Kekeli African Music Ensemble. For more information visit the River Project 2012 web page at slocumsriverproject.com.
Elephant Appreciation Day at Buttonwood Park Zoo
Sunday, September 23, 1:00PM – 4:00PM, Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford, MA
Free with zoo admission. We’ll celebrate all elephants with a day of demonstrations, activities and crafts. Join us for a day of elephant-sized fun. Call (508) 991-6178 for more information.
Women’s Full Moon Canoe Trip
Friday, September 28, 2012 from 5:00PM – 7:30PM, Lloyd Center Headquarters, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth
Girls’ night out! Enjoy canoeing the historic Slocum River. Transportation to launching site and all equipment provided. Bring footwear that can get wet, as well as a snack and beverage (non-alcoholic). Price: Members: $20 Non-members: $25
Pre-registration required by noon on Thursday, September 27 Limit: 12 Pre-register online, or call 508-990-0505 x10. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Liz at 508-990-0505 x15, or email her here.
New Bedford’s 3rd Annual Enviro-Action Block Party
Friday, September 28, 2012 and Saturday, September 29, 2012 Downtown New Bedford, the Corner of Kempton/Chancery St. and Emerson St.
Sponsored by New Bedford P.O.W.E.R., People Organizing for Wealth and Ecological Restoration. The annual block party is aimed at inciting connection, creation, and celebration. There will be healthy, real food provided, as well as live performances, children’s activities, good people and good times. This will also be a zero waste event.
The event is divided into two days: FRIDAY evening – Pre-block party, 3pm – 6pm Official ribbon cutting by Mayor Mitchell and Enviro-Action Awards; and SATURDAY September 29, 2012, 1pm – 6pm, The BLOCK PARTY. Rain date: September 30, 2012 1 – 6pm.
New Bedford POWER are local residents of New Bedford who are dedicated to helping our fellow community members restore the Equity, Economy and Ecology of our area and our Nation. POWER is a project of the Green Jobs Green Economy Initiative, a program of the Marion Institute created in partnership with The ESHU2 (Education Should Help Us X Ecology Spirituality Health and Unity) Collective.
For more information, contact Khepe-Ra Maat-Het-Heru, Co-Director at 508-990-1425. You can also learn more at their website.
Sixth Annual Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The fall’s best outdoor event is the Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride. Cyclists choose between a 75-mile or 35-mile ride across the watershed to raise funds for the Bay, as well as create awareness and encourage stewardship of the beautiful watershed we all share. The 75-mile-long route begins at Horseneck Beach in Westport, winding along the coast through farmland, coastal villages, New Bedford’s waterfront, cranberry bogs and the back roads of Cape Cod before ending at scenic Quissett Harbor in Woods Hole. You can ride, cheer or volunteer in support of a healthy watershed and Bay.
In addition to a $30 registration fee, each rider must raise a minimum of $300. Once you register, you will receive additional materials to help you with your fundraising. This information will also have plenty of detail about how the funds help support the work of the Bay Coalition. The fundraising staff at the Bay Coalition is also available to help you with any question you might have. Learn more and register here. If you have questions about the Watershed Ride, please contact Donna Cobert, Director of Membership and Events, at 508.999.6363 x209. or email.
Organic Farming Practices I at BCC
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.
Organic Pest and Disease Control at BCC
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.
Mass. Clean Energy Center Industry Report
The Mass. Clean Energy Center released its second annual study of the clean energy industry in the commonwealth, measuring jobs, companies, revenue, and helping to define the scope of the industry. It is important that the findings show growth in key areas, despite the many headlines and public sentiment that the clean energy is struggling. Massachusetts remains No. 2 in the US (No. 1 per capita) in private clean energy investment (ie., venture capital/private equity), for example.
Key findings in the attached report include:
- Year-over-year growth of clean energy companies, to 4,995 (up from 4,908 – 2% growth rate)
- Year-over-over growth of clean energy employees, to 71,523 (up from 64,310 – 11% growth rate, compared with 1.2% for all Mass. jobs)
- Small businesses – Nearly 2/3 of all clean energy companies employ 10 or fewer people.
- Educated workforce – The report states “Massachusetts employers value educational credentials, expecting higher levels of education than their counterparts in other regions of the country.”
For more information, visit www.masscec.com or download report.
“The River Project: Art & Nature at Slocum’s River Reserve”
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 through May 18, 2013. A companion exhibit featuring models and drawings of the works is at the nearby Gustin Gallery. 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. The Gustin Gallery is located at 231 Horseneck Road in Dartmouth, just north of the Slocum’s River Reserve. For more information, visit slocumsriverproject.com.
“Change Is Simple” is coming to the SouthCoast
“Change Is Simple” is a young and vibrant non profit start-up based in Massachusetts, whose mission is sustainability education for children through schools and community organizations and assisting business and organizations with “greening”. They have enjoyed success on the NorthShore and they are now booking programs on the SouthCoast. For more information, please feel free to contact me, Marylou Clarke at 508-542-3550, or the founders, Patrick and Lauren Belmonte at LBelmonte@changeissimple.org or PBelmonte@changeissimple.org. View an informational video or visit the Change is Simple web site.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Leather and the Environmental Impacts
Firstly, we need to look at our consumption – do we really need 10 pairs of leather shoes, 5 wallets or 8 handbags? Every leather item you don’t buy mean less toxic waste entering into the environment and perhaps an animal not killed – you’ll save some cash as well. We can also reduce our associated impact by asking companies where they source their leather – if it’s outside “developed” countries, assume the worst. Learn more here.
Learning about preparedness
Summer is rapidly coming to an end. Long summer nights are waning, and I notice that I need to turn on lights in the morning now. Berries are ripe for the picking, and there is a slight chill in the air. The Alaska State Fair is coming. It is time to take stock, examining our progress in making ourselves more self-sufficient. Learn more here.
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