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Letter from the Editors
A report this week shows that sea otters are more than just one of the most adorable animals in the world; they are also helping to battle global warming. Sea Otters eat sea urchins, which eat kelp. Kelp is a huge consumer of carbon for photosynthesis, which means less CO2 ends up in the atmosphere. Without sea otters around to keep the population of sea urchins in check, kelp would be over-consumed. This is a clear example of how significant food chains and food webs are and how they impact environmental and atmospheric conditions.
It’s been well-documented that the world’s coral reefs are in danger of dying off due to overfishing, rising sea temperatures from climate change, and pollution from, among other things, agricultural runoff and trash. According to a new report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature only 10% of the Caribbean coral reefs are alive. 90% of these vast underwater ecosystems have fallen victim to bleaching, disease, and starvation. Coral reefs are crucial to the existence of countless species of fish, mollusks, and vegetation, and are a food source, housing system and community. They also provide protection for islands and coastal areas from powerful storm waters. It’s the 11th hour for reducing human impact on the future of coral reefs.
NASA scientists responsible for the Curiosity Rover on Mars are worried parts of the machine are contaminated with microbes and these microbes could survive if the Rover finds water. A little snafu right before the Curiosity blasted off last year resulted in drill bits needed for the mission being exposed to a non-sterile environment. Why do a few surviving microbes matter? Besides scientific ethics, according to the article, “We keep learning more and more about Mars and the amazing durability of life,” said Bruce Betts, a spokesperson for the Planetary Society in Pasadena. “So wouldn’t it be tragic if some future expedition were to discover life on Mars only to discover later that it had actually discovered life from Earth?”
Meet the Whanganui. You might call it a river, but in the eyes of the law, it has the standings of a person. In a landmark case for the Rights of Nature, officials in New Zealand recently granted the Whanganui, the nation’s third-longest river, with legal personhood “in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests”. The decision follows a long court battle for the river’s personhood initiated by the Whanganui River iwi, an indigenous community with strong cultural ties to the waterway.
Under the settlement, the river is regarded as a protected entity, under an arrangement in which representatives from both the iwi and the national government will serve as legal custodians towards the Whanganui’s best interests. Read more here.
It has often been pointed out that our modern world could quickly become cleaner, safer, and more sustainable if only externalities, such as air pollution or carbon emissions, were internalized, so that they could be captured and factored into the economic equation. Then, as the argument goes, free market forces would provide the needed behavioral reforms and technological innovations. Efforts to do this with greenhouse gases, so far, have had mixed results.
That is why the announcement last week, that Australia was going to link up their emissions trading system with the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS), is so important. It represents a major step towards the establishment of a global system. With international climate negotiations now occurring in Bangkok, talks are reportedly underway with California, South Korea, and Switzerland to form a similar agreement. Read more here.
Caribbean coral reefs – which make up one of the world’s most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems – are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover. Coral reefs are a particularly valuable part of the marine ecosystem because they act as nurseries for younger fish, providing food sources and protection from predators until the fish have grown large enough to fend better for themselves. They are also a source of revenue from tourism and leisure.
Warnings over the poor state of the world’s coral reefs have become more frequent in the past decades as pollution, increasing pressure on fish stocks, and the effects of global warming on the marine environment – in the form of higher sea temperatures and slightly elevated levels of acidity in the ocean – have taken their toll. Read more here.
Read this article from National Geographic for more details. Read More Here.
For all the hopes NASA has pinned on the rover it deposited on Mars last month, one wish has gone unspoken: Please don’t find water. Scientists don’t believe they will. They chose the cold, dry equatorial landing site in Mars’ Gale Crater for its geology, not its prospects for harboring water or ice, which exist elsewhere on the planet. But if by chance the rover Curiosity does find H2O, a controversy that has simmered at NASA for nearly a year will burst into the open. Curiosity’s drill bits may be contaminated with Earth microbes. If they are, and if those bits touch water, the organisms could survive.
About 250,000 bacterial spores throughout Curiosity are assumed to have survived the landing, officials said. Nearly all of them are believed to have perished within minutes of exposure to the harsh Martian conditions in Gale Crater – freezing temperatures, intense ultraviolet radiation and an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide. But scientists have learned in recent years that some Earth life forms can live in space and in at least some of the conditions found on Mars. Read more here.
The US law and garden products company, Scotts Miracle Gro, the world’s largest marketer of residential pesticides, is facing $12.5 million in fines for violating numerous federal pesticide laws and for adding illegal toxins to wild bird food. The company pleaded guilty to distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, distributing unregistered pesticides and falsifying pesticide registrations – but the most disturbing was its use of toxic insecticide in its bird food products, including Storcide II and Actellic 5E.
Part of the $12.5 million criminal settlement will go towards restoring some of the wildlife the company may have endangered. Scotts will be forced to contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitats. Other fines include a $6 million civil penalty, $2 million for environmental projects and a $4 million criminal state fine. Read more here.
Degradation and destruction of the world’s seagrasses, tidal marshes, and mangroves may generate up to a billion tons in carbon dioxide emissions annually, reports a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The research looked at the world’s 49 million hectares of coastal ecosystems and attempted to estimate emissions from conversion. Due to high levels of uncertainty about the extent of these ecosystems and the rate of conversion as well as the variance in carbon stocks, the study came up with a broad range of emissions: 150 million to 1.02 billion tons of CO2 per year. At the high end, emissions from destruction and degradation of costal ecosystems would approach the annual emissions of Japan, the world’s fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter. Read more here.
An MIT student proposes to solar-power the Arabian peninsula with more than 10,000 square kilometers of Powerscape – a tensile solar-collecting canopy comprised of inflatable mirrors. It can trace the sun’s movement through the sky and even changes color throughout the day to deflect harsh sunlight. At night, the canopy will be so transparent that stars will be visible through it. It is proposed to cover the desert with an energy-generating canopy that also provides shade and a comfortable microclimate. Read more here.
China will order its dominant electricity distributors to source up to 15 percent of their power from renewable energy including wind, but slow compliance means it may be years before the country’s struggling wind power developers benefit, industry executives say.
China wants to cut its heavy reliance on coal and has poured tens of billions of dollars into wind and solar farms over the last few years to boost renewable use to 9.5 percent of total energy consumption by 2015. Over 70 percent of the country’s electricity is currently produced by coal-fired power stations. China aims to expand its installed wind power generating capacity to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2015 and to 200 GW by 2020. The country currently has 62 GW of capacity, enough to light up all of Australia. Read more here.
Sea otters might be on the frontlines of the fight against global warming, according to a new study showing the fur-coated swimmers keep sea urchin populations in check, which in turn allows carbon dioxide-sucking kelp forests to prosper.
Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, looked at 40 years of data on otters and kelp blooms from Vancouver Island to the western edge of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. They said they found that sea otters have a positive indirect effect on kelp biomass by preying on sea urchins. Read more here.
Come the summer of 2013, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will use one of the world’s most energy efficient data centers to handle complex renewable energy and energy efficiency research. NREL’s High Performance Computer (HPC) center in Golden, Colo., will feature the largest supercomputer dedicated to clean energy research — one that uses more than 3,200 powerful Intel Xeon microprocessors to run super fast (at peak performance it can crunch more than a thousand trillion floating point operations per second).
“At NREL, we have taken a holistic approach to sustainable computing,” says Steve Hammond, NREL Computational Science director. “This new system will allow NREL to increase our computational capabilities while being mindful of energy and water used. We will take advantage of both the bytes of information produced and the BTUs produced….” Read more here.
The current poster child for global warming is a polar bear, sitting on a melting iceberg. Some health officials argue the symbol should, instead, be a child. That’s because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it’s portrayed as a health issue rather than as an environmental problem.
“This is a new topic for public health,” Luber says. “This is emerging largely as a result that the scientific evidence around climate change has evolved to the point that public health feels confident engaging the science – that this is a credible threat.” And health officials are messengers with special credibility. They’re trusted far more than politicians, journalists, environmental activists and other widely heard voices on this topic. Read more here.
David Robau tours the country promoting a system that sounds too good to be true: It devours municipal garbage, recycles metals, blasts toxic contaminants and produces electricity and usable byproducts – all with drastic reductions in emissions.
Already some waste companies and cities like New York have shown an interest in technology similar to what Mr. Robau has been promoting, known as plasma arc gasification. Proponents say the process can break chemical bonds and destroy medical waste, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), asbestos and hydrocarbons, some of which can be hazardous if disposed of in landfills or traditional mass-burn incinerators. Still, some environmentalists are leery. They say the ability to fully dispose of waste will discourage recycling and the development of renewable products, and the gasification will still result in toxic substances like dioxins. Read more here.
Researchers from the University of Rochester and Texas A&M University have found that, over a period of five months following the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, naturally-occurring bacteria that exist in the Gulf of Mexico consumed and removed at least 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas that spewed into the deep Gulf from the ruptured well head.
“A significant amount of the oil and gas that was released was retained within the ocean water more than one-half mile below the sea surface. It appears that the hydrocarbon-eating bacteria did a good job of removing the majority of the material that was retained in these layers,” said co-author John Kessler of the University of Rochester. Read more here.
Climate scientists are getting their fair share of surprises this year, from the record-breaking ice melt in the Arctic to the fact that first-quarter U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have hit their lowest point since 1992. CO2 emissions from energy consumption for the January-March period fell to 1.34 billion metric tons, down 8 percent from a year ago. While the depressed economy and rising renewable energy generation have contributed to emissions reductions in the past few years, the early 2012 low-point is due mainly to a combination of three factors: the relatively warm winter, reduced gasoline demand, and the continued decline in coal-fired electricity. Read more here.
Wildlife encounters throughout Colorado and other states are on the rise as hungry animals – starving from this summer’s terrible drought – enter towns and farms in search of food. Bear activity in Aspen, Colo., alone was up 668 percent in August compared to last year, according to the Aspen Times. The animals are so hungry that they are overcoming their natural fear of humans. “My God, they’re everywhere,” San Miguel County, Colo., Sheriff Bill Masters told the New York Times. “A lot of them just don’t seem to care anymore. They’re just wandering around.”
Bears have been the most aggressive food-seekers, even sneaking into people’s homes and businesses, but elk and mule deer are also dining whole-heartedly on farmers’ corn and alfalfa fields, which are already suffering from the drought. The situation is creating risks for humans, but it is also an indication of how bad things are for wildlife this year. “It’s kind of an emergency,” Utah state wildlife biologist Lowell Marthe told the New York Times. “If there’s not enough food on those winter ranges, we’re looking at potential for heavy die-offs in our deer.” Read more here.
Nearly 100 cities now have curbside composting. While short of the full-service composting in places like San Francisco, 24 states have also passed laws banning yard waste from landfills. Keeping food scraps, leaves, tree limbs, and grass clippings out of the municipal waste facilities preserves limited space, and it saves money. Why don’t more cities and states make it easier for us to compost? The answer: Big Trash. Read more here.
A consumer society is one in which consumerism and materialism are central aspects of the dominant culture, where goods and services are acquired not only to satisfy common needs but also to secure identity and meaning. Framing this situation as a matter of consumer sovereignty–where the customer is always right–is misleading. Consumption patterns are powerfully shaped by forces other than preformed individual preferences–forces such as advertising, cultural norms, social pressures, and psychological associations.
Consumerism is not, and should not be confused with, consumption that satisfies essential human needs. Consumerism is the faith that meaning, identity, and significance can be found in material, commodity consumption, which in turn requires money. But since meaning and self-realization cannot be found there, nor basic psychological needs so met, consumers remain unfilled and are driven ever on to seek more possessions, which requires still more money, all of which is well understood by marketers. Read more here.
Apparently, environmentalism and economic growth really can go hand in hand. According to a new UCLA/University Paris (France) study, companies need not fear being hampered down by adopting green practices and standards. Workers in companies that do so are found to be 16 percent more productive than the average. The increased worker motivation stems from their appreciation for their workplace. This conclusion was obtains through a series of employee surveys at various companies. They found that green companies also had more advanced employee training than other companies, as well as greater interaction between coworkers. Read more here
If food politics seems a little outside of the usual purview here, consider it guest poster’s prerogative, but it’s a bit more complex than that. Food is becoming a looming social issue, thanks to increasing food prices worldwide. More and more people are living in a state of food insecurity, and climate change is putting additional pressures on the food system. It’s part of the cultural, and pop cultural, zeitgeist, and it’s only going to get bigger from here. Awareness of food politics equates not just to a greater understanding of and connection to the food system, but having the tools to work on fixing the system.
Farmers point out that when food is grown on responsibly-managed soil, the soil should contain more nutrients for plants to uptake, which equates to more nutritional value in the resulting crop. The organic label is rather freewheeling when it comes to soil management, and that means that some organic produce may be produced on soil in conditions similar to that used for conventional agriculture, ergo one would expect it to be comparable nutritionally. What would be more interesting to see is a comparison study looking at conventional, industrial organic, and small-scale permaculture farming methods. Read more here.
There seems to be a subtle shift underway in the cultural valence of climate change. If the pendulum swung toward hyper-polarization and looney-tunery in 2009-2011, it seems to have reached its apogee and begun swinging back. It’s not just that a few politicians, including Obama, are daring to say the word, but that the public seems to have grown impatient with the squabbling and delay. A recent survey from Yale [PDF] found that “a large majority of registered voters (88%) support action to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.” Big Democratic donors are pressuring Obama to do more. There are even Republicans sticking up their heads here and there.
Whatever the reason, I’ve started hearing more buzz about politicians, local leaders, and businesspeople who want to speak out on climate. But if climate is going to re-enter the public conversation, it needs to be done in a smart way. And let’s face it, most politicians and local leaders don’t have a lot of great climate rhetoric at their fingertips. They could use help. Read more here.
Activists hope Brayton Point sale could mean an end to coal in Mass.
SOMERSET – SouthCoast environmental activists hope the sale of the Brayton Point Coal Plant could bring an end to coal in the region. Dominion Energy announced that it would sell the coal plant, in part because of a declining market.
“I definitely think this is a sign that coal is ending,” Coalition for Clean Air South Coast leader Pauline Rodrigues said. “Besides being dirty, the economics of today are such that you can’t burn coal profitably.” Read more here.
Dredging in the region’s harbors and channels has been a tricky balancing act since the state started enforcing so-called time-of-year restrictions more than a decade ago. The restrictions, which are based on the presumed presence of winter flounder and other marine life that could be harmed by dredging, left towns and the county-run dredge program struggling to squeeze projects into tight schedules further narrowed by weather and other considerations. Under the regulations, dredging was strictly prohibited in many locations for almost half of the year. Now, based on recommendations released by the state and the dredge working group, town officials know how to seek waivers from the restrictions.
Besides making harbors and salt ponds accessible to boat traffic, dredging can improve the flushing of excess nutrients from local bays and harbors. And dredged material can be used to nourish local beaches. Read more here.
Rhode Island Litter Tax on Businesses Misused and Misplaced
In the past four fiscal years, nearly $8 million has been generated by the Rhode Island litter permit fee. Money generated from the tax originally was earmarked for litter control and prevention programs, but only about a quarter of the cash is actually allocated to such measures. Read more here.
A $100 million redevelopment of shuttered Somerset Power Station includes a partnership with Roger Williams University and the New England Aquarium. At the 21-acre plant site an old warehouse on the northern section of the property will be transformed into the world’s first ecologically engineered “grow-out” facility for the cultivation of ornamental fish and coral.
In the southern portion of the former coal-fired plant, it is said an old coal run-off pond will be transformed into a million-gallon ecologically engineered polyculture and aquaculture pond to commercially produce bait fish, bait worms, shell fish and seaweed.
Fall River – The old adage – “What do you think of them apples?” might be changed by local apple growers this year to – “What happened to them apples?” According to Associated Press reports, apple picking is off to an early start this year due to the effects of some unusual weather last spring. A deep freeze in April killed buds that had formed on fruit trees during a rare summer-like stretch in March.
Growers reported huge losses from parts of New York to Minnesota. Michigan was hit especially hard, losing up to 90 percent of its crop, according to the AP. John Howcroft, of Perry Hill Orchards in Acushnet, seemed to be in agreement with these reports. He said the blossoms of some of his fruit came two weeks earlier than usual. As a result, some of his variety of apples bloomed in late August, rather than mid-September. Read more here.
DARTMOUTH – About 100 volunteers harvested and cleaned produce at the community farm at the YMCA in Dartmouth this past weekend, picking food that will make its way to 25 food pantries as part of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance event.
The Leduc Center for Civic Engagement at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in collaboration with SouthCoast Serves, hosted the event in its fourth year. In addition to partnering with local organizations, the center facilitates students’ service learning and volunteer programs at the university. Read more here.
The Virginia-based Nature Conservancy is researching whether natural oyster reefs, which have largely been wiped out by humans, can be restored with a little help from humans. And the nonprofit has its eye on Wareham’s waterways.
Though the idea may provoke visions of delicious oysters on the half-shell, the Nature Conservancy hopes that an uptick in natural oyster reefs will cut down on nitrogen and other pollution in the waterways, said Jon Kachmar, Southeast Massachusetts Director of The Nature Conservancy Read more here.
NEWPORT – Rhode Island’s economy is driven by tourism, but tourism has an overlooked side effect of creating massive amounts of waste. No place is this more evident than in and around the Dumpsters used by the businesses up and down Thames Street in Newport.
Newport businesses have the option to participate in the city’s recycling collection system, but it’s clear from this video, taken Labor Day morning, that many of the business owners in Newport’s bustling downtown either don’t know this, or more likely, don’t care. Read more here.
Group amends Cape Cod wastewater suit against EPA
The CLF and Buzzards Bay Coalition sued the EPA two years ago and again last year, alleging the agency failed to meet its responsibilities to address the Cape’s wastewater issues under the federal Clean Water Act. In the first lawsuit, the environmental groups challenged the EPA’s approval of 13 limits, or “total maximum daily loads,” that determine how much nitrogen may enter water bodies on the Cape and Nantucket. They argued in the second lawsuit, which they amended Monday, that the agency failed to require an annual update of a regional plan to manage the Cape’s wastewater that was first written more than 30 years ago.
In its motion to dismiss the second suit, the EPA argued that it is an attempt to rewrite parts of the Clean Water Act to create additional powers and responsibilities for the agency. The EPA is not mandated to provide annual approvals of the wastewater management plan, according to the motion. The EPA argued the environmental groups’ grievance should be with the state or the Cape Cod Commission. The lawsuits have become a focal point in the ongoing debate over what to do about damaging levels of nutrients traveling into bays and ponds from septic systems and other sources. Excess nitrogen or phosphorous can cause algae blooms, fish kills and degrade water quality. Read more here.
There is a modern day treasure hunt underway on Boston area beaches. Three hundred one-inch cobalt blue marbles are washing up on shore from Nahant to Nantasket and if you find one, you could win 40,000 points from JetBlue Airways.
The marbles are in celebration of Save the Bay’s 25th anniversary – and yes they are environmentally friendly: They are made of recycled glass, which was made from sand. “(The contest is) a great way to encourage people to take a fresh look at our region’s great public beaches,” said Bruce Berman of Save the Harbor. “They are the real treasures here.” Read more here.
Owen McConnell is hot. With heatproof gloves and protective goggles, he stands over a piece of red glowing steel and proceeds to beat the living daylights out it. McConnell doesn’t have anger issues, he’s honing the medieval craft of blacksmithing. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, even as a kid,” said McConnell, a Marion native and manager of a cell phone store in Swansea. “It always seemed interesting. There’s something about it that is mysterious.”
For McConnell, part of the mystery comes from the simplicity and uniqueness of the arcane trade. “It’s a craft that nobody does, and the tools that you use are unusual. You wouldn’t use them for anything else.” Read more here.
New Bedford Parker site cleanup may put neighbors at risk of contamination
NEW BEDFORD – As the city awaits state and federal approval for remediating former residential properties at the Parker Street Waste Site, some neighbors and experts worry that proposed safety procedures are insufficient to protect residents from contamination while the work is taking place. The former residential properties located on the corner of Greenwood Street and Hathaway Boulevard were purchased by the city in 2008 after high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were discovered there.
The homes on those lots were demolished in 2010 and the properties have been vacant since, surrounded by chain-link fences and considered dangerous eyesores by neighbors and environmental activists. In August, the city proposed a plan to remediate the contaminated properties. Read more here.
A $100 million redevelopment of shuttered Somerset Power Station includes a partnership with Roger Williams University and the New England Aquarium. At the 21-acre plant site an old warehouse on the northern section of the property will be transformed into the world’s first ecologically engineered “grow-out” facility for the cultivation of ornamental fish and coral.
In the southern portion of the former coal-fired plant, it is said an old coal run-off pond will be transformed into a million-gallon ecologically engineered polyculture and aquaculture pond to commercially produce bait fish, bait worms, shell fish and seaweed. Read more here.
This Week in Sustainability
The Amazing Life of Monarchs
Friday, September 14, 2012 12:30PM – 2PM, Stone Barn Farm, 786 Horseneck Road, Dartmouth MA
Monarchs aren’t just pretty orange butterflies – they are amazing endurance athletes! Join Lauren Miller-Donnelly as she walks you through a year of Monarch life, from egg to Mexico migration, and teaches you how to assist them along the way, from planting native plant species to participating in tagging workshops. This is an interactive presentation and kids are encouraged to attend! Instructor: Lauren Miller- Donnelly – Mass Audubon South Coast Sanctuaries Property Manager. Fee: Adults $4.00m/ $6.00nm, Children $4.00m/ $6.00nm. Register online or call 508-636-2437 to register by phone. Email Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary at email@example.com.
Guided Campus Forest Walks
ONGOING: Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Forest behind the Athletics Building, UMass Dartmouth
Other Scheduled Dates: 9/27, 10/12, 10/25, 11/9, 11/29
Fall into the Forest! This autumn season the Sustainability Initiative is hosting six guided forest walks on our extensive trail system and want you to join in! On Friday, September 14th, we’ll be meeting in the parking lot behind the athletics building at 12:30 pm and will take roughly an hour to explore the trails of the UMD woodland. Wear sturdy shoes and grab a friend for this fun and informative walk that will match your interests to the talk of the day. If you have any questions you can contact Chance Perks at email or 508-910-6484
Saturday September 15, 2012 10am – 12:30pm, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary field station parking lot, located at 1280 Horseneck Rd., Westport, MA
Free! Savor the last remnants of summer, enjoy some time outdoors and learn about butterflies at the annual Allens Pond Butterfly Census on September 8th and September 13th from 10am-12:30pm. This annual event welcomes butterfly watchers of all ages and skill levels to help census as many areas of Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary as possible. Members of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club will lead teams into different areas of the Sanctuary and provide expertise in identifying butterflies. Meet at the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary field station parking lot, located at 1280 Horseneck Rd., Westport, MA at 10am to divide into census teams. Participants should wear long pants, sunscreen and bring water and a snack or lunch. For more information, call 508-636-2437 or contact Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Saturday September 15 and Sunday, September 16, 11:00 am to 5 pm, Soule Homestead, 46 Soule Street, Middleborough, MA
Two days of fun, music, and food as we celebrate the fall harvest with activities for all ages. Featuring performers Boxcar Lilies (Saturday) and Jack Williams (Sunday). Admission is $7.00 for everyone – Children younger than 6 – FREE. Please visit www.soulehomestead.org for a full schedule of events, including childrens games and crafts, a trick horse show, historical pirates display, rug weaving, spinning, and crafts for sale plus more. For more information, email www.soulehomestead.org/HarvestFair.html.
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.
Thursday, September 20 – 5:45PM – 8:00PM Fall River Public Library, 104 North Main Street, Bottom Floor
“With 17,500 employees, a 2006 sales figure of $7.5 billion and operations in 46 countries, Monsanto is the world leader in genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as one of the most controversial corporations in industrial history. Since its founding in 1901, the company has faced trial after trial due to the toxicity of its products, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polystyrene, devastating herbicides like Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War, and bovine growth hormones, which are unauthorized in Canada and banned in Europe.” Join us for this eye-opening video and a short discussion. FREE to attend. Snacks provided. Read more here.
Thursday, September 20, 2012 – 7:00 pm, Beal House / Sampson Hall, 222 Main Street, Kingston, MA
Seafood on the Half Shell: Local Shellfish / The first in a new season of South Shore Locavores programs, featuring John and Karen Wheble from Kingston’s own Rocky Nook Oyster Company, as well as Dave Casoni and Beth Casoni from the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association. Always terrific speakers and demos, and resource lists provided for each session. As always, great door prizes! Love to cook? Please feel free to bring a dish to share to any of the gatherings. There will be time at the beginning and end of each meeting for Munching and Mingling. Coffee is provided courtesy of Jim’s Organic Coffee in Wareham. Cider is provided courtesy of South Shore Locavores. FREE, $5 Donations accepted to cover expenses. To request more information, visit the South Shore Locavore web site or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Farmers’ Market at UMass Dartmouth
ONGOING: 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 vinegars, 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. Follow us on Facebook.
Save The Date
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.
Monday, September 24, 2012, 9:15 am – 11:30 am,Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge, Touisset Road, Warren, RI
Audubon Member Fee $8/member, Non-Member Fee $12/non-member. The salt marsh and shoreline at Audubon’s Touisset Marsh Wildlife Refuge in Warren are fascinating and fragile habitats full of unique species and fantastic views of the Kickemuit River. Join Scott Ruhren, Audubon Senior Director of Conservation, and explore one of Audubon’s treasures. This is a rare opportunity to discover normally-restricted spots. The marsh plants should still be in full summer growth and wading birds and diving ducks may be hunting in the inlets and shallow water. It will be low tide, but please wear waterproof shoes or old sneakers and dress appropriately for the weather and occasionally mucky walking. More information at www.asri.org.
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.
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.
Saturday and Sunday September 29 and 30, 11am to 5pm, Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 3 – Steamship Pier, New Bedford
Celebrate Commercial Fishing, America’s Oldest Industry! Join us in New Bedford, America’s largest commercial fishing port, to learn about the men and women who harvest the North Atlantic. Walk the decks of a scalloper, dine on fresh seafood, mend a fishing net and watch a Coast Guard rescue demonstration. Experience the workings of the industry which brings seafood from the ocean to your plate. For details, visit http://www.workingwaterfrontfestival.org/.
Natural Resources Trust 39th Annual Harvest Fair
Sunday September 30, 10am to 4pm, 307 Main St., North Easton, MA
Bring the whole family for a day filled with local crafts, food, entertainment, and more! For details, contact the Natural Resources Trust of Eaton at (508) 238-6049 or email email@example.com.
LLOYD CENTER REGATTA – SLOCUM CHALLENGE
Saturday, October 6th, Begins 9:30 a.m., Lloyd Center Headquarters, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth for whaleboats & pilot gigs; Demarest Lloyd State Park for all other competitors
For guaranteed acceptance, Entry Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 2nd. On the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend, Dartmouth’s Slocum River will once again come alive with activity as rowers and paddlers from all over New England converge for the 7th running of the popular Slocum Challenge, known locally as the “southeastern New England’s Fall rowing & paddling festival.” Races will start promptly at 9:30 a.m. and finish near the Lloyd Center’s waterfront facility, at the mouth of the Slocum River, traversing a two-mile closed-loop course on the tidal waters of one of New England’s most beautiful estuaries. The regatta is open to racing shells, open-water shells, kayaks, canoes, surf-skis, traditional rowing boats, whaleboats, pilot gigs, and stand-up paddleboards, with separate age-categories for competitors under 20, over 50, and over 65, all in Men’s, Women’s and “Mixed” (co-ed) divisions. As always, the emphasis of the regatta will be on good fun and enjoyment of the scenic Slocum River. A light post-race lunch will be provided at the Awards Ceremony, immediately following the races at the Lloyd Center’s headquarters (430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth). Please see Entry Form for detailed information. For more information click here.
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.
Sustainability Office Conducting Trivia Contest
The Sustainability Office will be conducting a trivia contest through its Facebook page. Every week for 8 weeks will be a multiple choice question related to sustainability issues page viewers can answer. Answer correctly for a chance to win a free Sustainability Initiatve Water Bottle. Bottles will be given out every week. The contest will start in the coming weeks. Like us on Facebook to learn more and participate. Click here.
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.
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.
16 Clever Uses for Binder Clips
I’ve always believed that one could fix just about anything with duct tape, olive oil, safety pins, and a Sharpie. Add binder clips to the mix and the emergency hack kit is pretty much complete. As technology changes the nature of office supplies, the good old binder clip is seeing less and less paper in need of binding…so put those isosceles triangles of spring steel to clever use in any of these applications. Learn more here.
Matthew Stein: Advice from the guru of personal resiliency
In this interview, Mat begins with his universal advice for developing basic preparedness — a 72-hour kit covering the basics needs for living, an emergency plan for your family, lining up local and out-of-town contacts, etc. — and discusses specifics on what gear to procure and steps to take in unexpected emergencies. For more protracted periods without access to central services, many more situations are covered in his books and at his website. Learn more here.
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