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Letter from the Editors
Climate Change activists are very tenacious when it comes to making their points about switching from fossil fuels to non-greenhouse energy options. In Moscow, protesters dressed up in polar bear suits, sprinkled fake snow, and held signs in front of that country’s largest gas and oil company. They were arrested, but it made for some memorable pictures that are still bringing attention to the issue long after the sidewalk show has been over and done with. Today, it is hard to ignore weekly…even daily headlines about accelerations in the melting of Arctic ice.
A study from Standford University concludes that organic foods aren’t more nutritious than non-organic, processed foods. To clarify, it states organic produce, dairy, and meat products don’t carry more vitamins or minerals than those treated with pesticides, growth hormones, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals. The study doesn’t reveal the long-term benefits between organic and conventional diets. A basic factor in the rise in the locavore movement is common sense: people don’t want to eat foods containing poison and chemical fertilizer residue. Consumers choose organic not just because it tastes better, but because the process of farming and creation isn’t hazardous to the environment.
Desalination, or removing salt and minerals from seawater to create clean, potable water, is a process with much potential for addressing the global water crisis. The problem is it’s an extremely energy-intensive and expensive procedure that produces concentrated brine and toxic byproducts. Well, one scientist may have solved one of the problems by using microorganisms to mine brine of its minerals, producing more potable water. Specific bacteria already collect minerals for natural biological reasons; elements like magnesium, phosphate and sulfur, which already have some commercial value attached. The process pays for itself. Using bacteria to mine and clean is nothing new; they are reliable sources for different methods of wastewater filtration and treatment. It’s a mining operation in balance with nature.
Can the world’s existing farmlands provide enough crops to satisfy the hunger of the nine billion people-up from seven billion currently-that demographers predict will be living on the planet by the mid-21st century? Or will more and more forests and other ecosystems have to be cleared to feed all the extra mouths? A new study, published in Nature, suggests that increasing deforestation could be avoided provided farmers made better use of water and nutrients on land currently under cultivation around the globe.
The central premise of the new analysis is that intensifying agriculture where it already exists is the key to preserving a balance between farming and forests. To do that, the researchers from McGill University in Montreal and the University of Minnesota (U.M.) analyzed the so-called yield gap. That’s the difference between what the highest yielding farm or area within a given region can produce—for example, corn—compared with what the average yield is. The difference between this best-practice farm and the average farm is the yield gap. Read more here.
A cost analysis of the technologies needed to transport materials into the stratosphere to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting Earth and therefore reduce the effects of global climate change has shown that they are both feasible and affordable. It’s called solar radiation management (SRM). Read more here.
The government of India has decided to approve a $4.13-billion plan to stimulate the production of electric and hybrid vehicles over the next eight years. The country is setting for itself the target of 6 million vehicles by the year 2020.
The announced target of 6 million green vehicles by 2020 (most of which are expected to be two-wheelers) is arriving on the heels of China’s announcement that it aims to have 500,000 electric and hybrid cars in use by the year 2015. Read more here.
Two of the world’s last uncontacted tribes are under threat from oil exploration deep into the heart of the Amazon forest in Ecuador, according to conservationists, who say this may indirectly add to the pressure on wildlife. The Tagaeri and the Taromenane – who have fought off illegal loggers and Catholic missionaries with spears and blowpipes to maintain their isolated, nomadic existence – are now at risk from the construction of roads and drilling wells as petroleum firms carve up the Yasuni national park.
Scientists believe Yasuni is the most biodiverse place on Earth and large swaths of the park remain in pristine condition thanks partly to the ferocity of the indigenous people’s resistance to intruders. That is changing. Although the rights of these tribes are recognised by the country’s constitution, their existence has been largely ignored by government authorities responsible for drawing up the boundaries for development, say researchers who have studied their interaction with often-violent and lawless frontiers of globalisation. Read more here.
Twenty percent of invertebrates are at risk of extinction, according to a new report that looks at the 12,621 invertebrates assessed by the IUCN Red List to date. Although invertebrates never garner the same conservation attention as big, charismatic animals such as tigers and elephants, they play an undeniable role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. In addition, since invertebrates make-up 80 percent of the world’s species, the report raises new concerns about global biodiversity decline. Read more here.
Desalination’s no golden ticket to creating water for the Middle East but it’s an approach that more and more countries are turning to as a last resort. Desalination is energy intensive, and what to do with the toxic waste byproducts? Biomineralogist Damian Palin is turning to biology to mine valuable minerals from desalination brine. This new approach uses bacteria to mine sulphur and magnesium from desalination’s polluting brine. Read more here.
Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized.
Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa, dragged out of remote battle zones, easily converted into cash and now fueling conflicts across the continent. Read more here.
Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a study finds that organic produce has no more vitamins and minerals than conventionally grown produce. But the study also confirms that organic produce is less likely to contain pesticides, the real reason Matlack says she buys organic. “We did find that organic produce, so fruits and vegetables, had a 30% lower risk of contamination with pesticide residues compared to conventional produce,” said Dr. Crystal Smith-Spangler of Stanford University.
The study, which used data from hundreds of previous studies, also looked at pork and chicken. Researchers found a 33% greater risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in non-organic pork and chicken, which they say “may be related to the routine use of antibiotics in conventional animal husbandry.” Read more here.
Busting down silos at the University of Iowa has nothing to do with mixing different bushels of corn together. Instead, in the state known for producing the largest corn crop in the U.S., it means pushing different departments to work together to make the university’s campus more sustainable. That goes beyond the paper, electricity and other items expected in educating 30,000 students. It also means keeping food trash from a stadium full of football fans out of the landfill, and finding an eco-friendly means of disposing of the gowns and gloves used in medical care.
In 2010 the university made a commitment to reduce its environmental impact and set a goal to divert 60 percent of its waste from landfill. That meant doubling its diversion rate. By working across silos and adopting a new sort-free recycling program, diversion rates have increased in some areas by almost 50%, said Liz Christiansen, director of the university’s office of sustainability, in a webcast this week produced by GreenBiz. Read more here.
With laptops opened to Web pages of the National Weather Service and the Army Corps of Engineers, the group of farmers, grain brokers and barge operators is engaged in what humans have grappled with for more than 200 years in the Mississippi Delta: puzzling out the latest blow from a stubborn river that refuses every effort to control it.
Drought has reduced the Mississippi to a relative trickle, and even the dozens of inches of rainfall from Hurricane Isaac will change little on the river. The best crops of corn and soybeans in a generation are awaiting shipment by Mississippi barges – and won’t wait forever before spoiling. The window is about 10 days, and once it closes, consumers across the country will feel the bite of higher prices. Read more here.
Molly Steinwald is the director of science education at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, where she has been charged with reimagining urban environmental education and revamping the venerable institution’s outreach programs for at-risk youth.
Molly Steinwald’s basic assumption is this: You don’t have to go to a national park, or even a city park, to connect with the natural world. It’s crawling past you on the sidewalk or drifting through the air right under your nose. That, she says, is where city kids can make a lasting connection with nature – if they’re paying attention. Read more here.
High temperatures increase the risk of everything from asthma to allergies, and can even be deadly. But a researcher in Atlanta also sees this urban heat wave as an opportunity to do something about our warming planet. Brian Stone Jr., director of the Urban Climate Lab at Georgia Tech, leads us into a huge green space, spanning two full urban blocks, leased out as a community garden.
Stone says it actually accomplishes much more than meets the eye. Open, vegetated space like this helps water evaporate throughout the day. And evaporating water carries away heat. Like sweat, it’s nature’s air conditioning, but we’ve managed to interrupt that process in cities. The result is called the urban heat island effect, and it’s adding to our warming woes. “In addition to having increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases globally, which are driving warming at the global scale, at the scale of cities, we have changes in land use that are also contributing to rising temperatures,” Stone says. Read more here.
Student meals have featured apples, peaches, nectarines, plums and oranges from farms only a few miles away – with the help of a new online company that connects local farmers with school districts. California-based Ag Link allows school districts to communicate with nearby farmers and buy their produce with the click of a mouse. It’s helping meet new federal rules requiring more fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias to help prevent childhood obesity.
New rules require among other things that school provide students at least a half cup of either a fruit or vegetable during lunch and at least a half cup of fruit during breakfast. And they must be served a wider variety of fresh produce every week, including leafy greens and red-orange vegetables. Online companies, cooperatives and organizations helping connect local farmers and buyers have cropped up in recent years. Now these so-called food hubs are facilitating relationships between farmers and school districts. Read more here.
The five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified these stages as denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression, and acceptance. With record drought killing our cattle and our corn, West Nile virus sweeping the country, and Arctic ice sheets melting away, it’s no surprise that millions of people are responding to these frightening signs of environmental decline in stages. I’d like to go one step further and suggest a sixth stage: The Work. Read more here.
You wouldn’t think that green jobs and gangs in America have much in common. But that’s before you realize that one has the power to positively change the other.
The notion of job creation as a solution to poverty reduction is nothing new. But what if we could create jobs that are not only sustainable — providing quality jobs for low- and middle-skilled workers — but also help to sustain our planet? What if those same jobs could also support members of our community who are often overlooked and cast aside? Read more here.
I have enjoyed a virtually exclusive organic diet for the past 30 years. But I was deeply unsettled by recent stories casting doubt on the value of an organic diet. In terms of the extra cost and value of eating organically, I have always subscribed to the adage “pay now or pay later.” While my personal experience does not provide much in terms of a scientifically legitimate sample size, in the last 30 years, after suffering from pesticide poisoning prompted my shift to an organic diet, I have exceeded my insurance deductible only once, due to an orthopedic injury. And my doctor keeps telling me how remarkable it is that I, at age 57, have no chronic health problems and take no pharmaceuticals.
Unfortunately, the analysis done by Stanford University physicians profiled in the articles noted above did not look “outside the box,” as many organic farming and food advocates do. Read more here.
Residents and businesses in Boston can pay less for electricity produced from solar energy than conventional sources, thanks to the Solarize Massachusets (Solarize Mass) program. Boston residents will now pay 11 cents per kilowatt-hour as compared to the 15 cents per kWh state average for electricity from traditional energy sources as a result of Boston’s participation in Solarize Mass.
Massachusetts utilities and power providers rely on a mix of coal-fired, natural gas and nuclear power to meet the state’s electricity needs. That’s changing – rapidly – due in large part to state and federal government renewable energy incentive programs and stimulus funding. Read more here.
Next year’s fishing quotas for cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder could be cut by as much as 70 percent after recent studies confirmed those populations of fish are dangerously depleted. According to one study in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, there are only enough spawning fish to meet 8 percent of the area’s target level. The Gulf of Maine was slightly more encouraging, meeting 20 percent of its target level, though still falling well short of its goal.
In light of these events, fishermen in Maine and Massachusetts are hoping the federal government declares their fishing territory a federal disaster area, which would allow them to collect monetary aid and sell their excess fishing boats and permits. Read more here.
Bog Jog gets runners off the roads, into action
Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership wants people to know that when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, eating local is only part of the equation. The message that physical activity is an essential ingredient to healthy living is what SEMAP hopes to get across at its second annual Bog Jog 5k, scheduled Sept. 15 at the Makepeace Bogs in Wareham. “We want to really make that connection between local food and healthy activity,” said Executive Director Bridget Alexander Ferreira, who has led SEMAP for the past 2.5 years. “We tell people to think of food as your prescription. Then if you combine walking or running, you should stay pretty healthy.”
The Bog Jog joins both elements, as participants will enjoy a feast provided by local farmers and farm businesses after taking the trail run through the shady, varied terrain of the bog. Read more here.
Portions of the Atlantic Coast are experiencing sea level rise at a rate of three to four times faster than the rest of the planet, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report published this summer in Nature Climate Change. From Cape Hatteras, N.C., to Boston, scientists have considered this 600-mile coastal stretch a hot spot for sea level rise. Since 1990, sea levels have increased 2 to 3.7 millimeters annually. The report expects sea levels to rise if global temperatures continue to increase.
Rhode Island’s rate of sea level rise is on the lower end of that spectrum, at about 2.7 millimeters a year, according to Janet Freedman, a coastal geologist with the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). Unlike some states with threatened coastlines such as North Carolina, which forbids coastal planners from using the most up-to-date science, Rhode Island is taking proactive steps to prepare for a rising sea. Read more here.
Dartmouth – In the nine weeks since University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s new chancellor, Divina Grossman, started her position, she’s said there are many facets of the university that have inspired and impressed her, such as the academic capital, the school’s engagement with surrounding communities and organizations, and the research-related economic initiatives.
The founding vice president for engagement at Florida International University before being selected as chancellor, Grossman said it is UMass Dartmouth’s commitment to students’ service learning and engagement that captivate her. “The reason why I was interested and then inspired when I heard about this opportunity was because I saw the similarity of the engagement strategy of UMass Dartmouth and what we had at FIU,” Grossman said. Read more here.
DeCosta and his charter boat Albacore are routinely stalked by a seal he calls “Mossy Back.” The old bull, which DeCosta regularly identifies by the green moss growing on its back, has learned to follow the charter boat out into open water, and steal fish from the lines of his customers.
From Muskeget to Great Point, and all around the Cape and Islands region, a great resurgence of gray seals is playing out, and the bull seal that follows DeCosta’s boat is just one of the symptoms of the seals’ comeback. The once-threatened species, under the protection of federal regulations since 1972, has been replenished by the thousands, a cause for celebration among environmentalists and scientists, but drawing the ire of anglers and others concerned about the impact of the marine mammals on fishing, tourism and other marine and animal species. The return of the seals has also brought their predators to the region, as great white sharks have been spotted and tagged repeatedly off the Cape, and blamed for an attack on a swimmer in Truro. “I think it’s clearly over-population,” DeCosta said. “You can’t leave one species unchecked.” Read more here.
Avoiding controversy is balancing act when writing solar bylaw
FAIRHAVEN – Town officials are hoping to avoid controversy similar to one in Dartmouth with a new solar bylaw draft written by William Roth, director of Planning and Economic Development. The draft solar bylaw submitted to the Board of Selectmen would require the Planning Board to use “as-of-right” siting regarding commercial solar farms, a standard that has come under heat in neighboring communities.
As-of-right siting is required by the state for towns hoping to comply with the Green Communities Act, which gives grants to towns with bylaws that encourage alternative energy development. Under as-of-right siting, the development of a solar farm is allowed to proceed without specific town approval as long as it follows state performance and design regulations. In order to avoid a similar controversy in Fairhaven, the draft bylaw includes a “site review process” to accompany the as-of-right siting. Read more here.
The Rhode Island Renewable Energy Coordinating Board recently expressed its commitment to wind energy despite recent setbacks for wind projects across the state. Several new guidelines and services for wind turbines are being finalized just as wind energy is facing growing opposition across the state. Jamestown and Westerly ceased wind turbine projects after spending years and tens of thousands of dollars on proposals that indicated economic viability.
Not all of the opposition has been aimed at municipal wind projects, however. The five-turbine, 30-megawatt Deepwater Wind project off Block Island has been hit with a recent complaint from longtime wind energy antagonist Benjamin Riggs Jr. The Newport resident, a former manufacturing executive, said the deal between Deepwater and National Grid is a violation of the Commerce Clause, which is part of the Constitution. Riggs also opposes the project over higher costs for electricity users. Read more here.
Cape towns join in on EPA wastewater suit
The Conservation Law Foundation and Buzzards Bay Coalition first filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 challenging the agency’s approval for the level of nitrogen in Cape bays and ponds. The environmental organizations sued the EPA again in 2011 alleging the agency failed to adequately oversee the annual update of a regional wastewater management plan.
The EPA filed a motion last week to dismiss the second case, arguing that it was not required to approve annual updates of a regional plan and is not responsible for pollution from non-point source pollutants such as septic systems. Conservation Law Foundation and Buzzards Bay Coalition have until Oct. 11 to file a reply to the motion to dismiss. Read more here.
The Madrona Tree in Arlington Center doesn’t beat around the bush. The slogan “Eat like you give a damn” is plastered on the front of its menu, while the back tells the various origins of your meal. “Folks come in here, like, I don’t want to try that fancy meat, and I’m like, It’s not fancy meat. It’s meat that doesn’t have hormones or nitrates. This is quality product,” says owner and head chef Tanya Abraham, who runs the restaurant with her sister, Shaunda Rheaume, and mother, Cheryl Bleakney. “It’s a real passion that I have in trying to get that message out there that they shouldn’t be injecting our foods with the crap that they do, so [the slogan] is kind of a direct statement. Once they try it, they’re like, Oh my God, and I’m like, Yeah, that’s how beef should taste. That’s how chicken should taste.”
Abraham was raised on the South Shore but soaked up the locally sourced food culture over a decade spent in Seattle. She brought that mentality to her spot in Arlington, where it fits perfectly. The place feels like a hippy daydream, with waitresses in tie-dyed shirts and a languid pace to the service. Read more here.
Marion officials weighing energy saving options for town facilities
Hoping to save money on utilities bills, the Marion Energy Management Committee is getting a plan in order to upgrade the lighting, sensors, insulation and boilers for several town facilities. David Pierce, Chair of the committee, presented the findings from an energy audit of town facilities to the Selectmen. The audit was conducted in January by the Raynham-based company TNT Energy.
The first priority would be to upgrade the lighting and sensors in the Fire Department, Police Department, Department of Public Works, Waste Water Treatment Plant, Music Hall, Elizabeth Taber Library, Harbormaster’s building and the Sippican School. Read more here.
In 1895, entomologist Samuel Scudder called butterflies the “frail children of the air,” saying that where they live is determined by “the massive meteorological conditions which we term climate.”
A study by Harvard Forest scientists found that several more southerly species of butterflies that were rare or not present in Massachusetts a quarter century ago – such as the giant swallowtail, abundant in Florida – may now be breeding here. Meanwhile many northern species are in decline, including the beautiful orange-and-black-spotted Atlantis Fritillary, which has declined by 90 percent since 1992. Read more here.
This Week in Sustainability
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 email@example.com.
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.
Four-legged Photo Shoot to Benefit Forever Paws
Saturday September 8 from 1pm to 4pm, Sunday September 9 from 11am to 1pm, Buttonwood Park, New Bedford
DailyDogBlog.org and Iris Images have teamed up for Pup-a-Razzi, a photo-op fundraiser to benefit Forever Paws Animal Shelter in Fall River. Forever Paws is the contracted facility for New Bedford and Westport for lost or abandoned animals. For $10, dog owners will choose from a variety of photo themes and receive five digital images of their pet; $5 from each shoot will go to Forever Paws. Images will be posted to Shutterfly.com or emailed to the pet owner. The dogs will also receive a special treat to bring home. Participants may also bring their own costumes and props and will assemble near the Warming House to ensure the dogs remain leashed. Details here.
September 11, 9:30-11:30, Bristol Community College, location TBA
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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: Beyond the Bicentennial Series
Ongoing: Every Sunday, Septembers running to October 21, 1:00PM – 4:00PM, Fairhaven High School, 12 Huttleston Ave.(Rt. 6), Fairhaven, MA
Get your greens while “Being Green.” The town of Fairhaven is hosting a special Fall series of Farmers Markets dubbed “Beyond the Bicentennial.” Each Market will carry themes significant to the town: water quality; clean energy; recycling; local food and gardening; transportation, etc. In addition to local/regional food and craft vendors, there will be workshops, recreational activities, informational booths, and organizational participation corresponding to every Sunday theme. Enjoy the local market with family and friends every Sunday afternoon through October 21. 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
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
25 people who are making Boston’s innovation economy better according to Boston’s Innovaton Economy Blog
Learn about who have been the most active 25 people in 2012 to make Boston’s innovation economy better. One blogger has curated that list with names and criteria for whether they were involved with starting something new, taking over an existing entity, or expanding something. Details here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
18 Ways to Beat the Heat
While many heat-wave sufferers would like nothing more than to draw the shades and curl up in an air-conditioned room, there are plenty of other ways to sweat it out (or not, as the case may be) — no energy-gulping air conditioners required. Here are a few things we learned this summer to beat the heat. Learn more here.
Go High with DIY Storage Systems
A lot of storage takes up valuable floor or wall real estate-a particular waste for stuff you don’t need to access all that often. Ideally, stuff you don’t need that often doesn’t occupy proverbial beachfront property. We ran across this simple ceiling-mounted storage scheme from The Family Handyman that uses seldom-used vertical space, perfect for seldom-used items. Learn more here.
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