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Letter from the Editors
It’s difficult for any business creating products to fully factor sustainability into their transportation and shipping costs because the fact that products are being moved by fossil fuel-burning vehicles is unsustainable. Enter the company Re-Char, which has created the Shop-in-a-box, a fully functioning, off-the-grid factory inside a shipping container. The company fits a shipping container with the tools and technology needed for manufacturing a specific item, and ships that container to where the demand is located. From there, it only takes a couple of people to run the factory. This design is perfect for third world countries and parts of the world where getting supplies is next to impossible. Besides eliminating ongoing product transportation costs, it is also possible to run the mini-factory off renewable energy. More importantly, Re-Char “factories” can give communities a sense of self-reliance. Shop-in-a-box is another innovative example of recycling old shipping containers. In Amsterdam, and other parts of the world, shipping containers have been turned into economic homes.
Biomimicry is one of the most fascinating, revolutionary, and successful approaches in modern scientific development. It is rooted in, and builds upon, what are already successful in the natural world. Biomimicry looks to nature to solve problems. It analyzes and utilizes design principles and solutions found in natural systems. It attempts to reengineer the industrialized world to be more like the natural world. Examples would be utilizing the durability of teeth and seashells in ceramics, utilizing the lighter-than-steel toughness of bone as a component in vehicles, creating powerful adhesives from mussel secretions, solar fuel cells patterned after the photosynthetic capabilities of leaves, a wind turbine designed to incorporate the bumps on a whale’s tale for durability and capturing more wind, fabrics and clothes weaved from spider silk, and Tsunami early-warning systems utilizing dolphins’ multi-frequency approach to emitting sound waves underwater. There are endless possibilities we can take from nature.
For the wine enthusiasts and oenologists reading along, climate change and warmer temperatures have had both adverse and beneficial effects for wine grapes. Growers in Oregon, one of the leading wine producers in the U.S., are worried about the continuing temperature changes affecting their pinot noir grapes. Pinot Noir grapes are the most difficult to grow because of their fragility, and climate change could destroy the fruit that is the basis of this incredible, multifaceted wine. Though some might argue that wine is not as essential as the other crops, like corn, that are being affected by climate change, adventure novelist of the late 1800s Robert Louis Stevenson once said that“Wine is bottled poetry”.
European targets to replace fossil fuels with biofuels are contributing to spikes in food prices and global hunger, according to the latest analysis by Oxfam. The aid organisation is calling for EU energy ministers to scrap mandates that commit member states to sourcing 10% of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020. It has calculated that the land required to meet these mandates for biofuels for European cars for one year could feed 127 million people.
Biofuel targets introduced in 2009 to help fight climate change have become increasingly controversial. The contribution of biofuel targets to mitigating global warming is also being questioned, as demand for crops for biofuels is pushing agricultural production into forests, peatlands and grasslands that had been acting as carbon sinks. Read more here.
Urban development is set to triple in the first three decades of this century, the largest cityscape expansion in human history, according to a new study that for the first time maps out urbanization hotspots. The rapid urban growth will come at a cost. Researchers predict the sprawl will swallow up a landmass nearly equivalent in size to South Africa (463,000 square miles, or 1.2 million square kilometers), consume delicate habitats, eliminate an estimated 200 endangered species and will mow down carbon-storing vegetation.
“Over the next 18 years, the world will witness an unprecedented boom in urban expansion,” said lead study author Karen Seto, associate professor in the urban environment at Yale University. That boom will impact people worldwide as demand for raw materials and energy resources increases to build infrastructure, including roads and buildings for urban residents, the researchers said. Read more here.
The guys at Re-Char, a small startup that makes carbon-negative products, were faced with a problem. They wanted to ship products to Kenya, but the options available were wasteful, costly, and not nearly as efficient as simply manufacturing near to the customers. To do it, in a place with little industry or infrastructure, Re-Char designed something new – a fully functioning, off-the-grid factory inside a shipping container. It worked. It worked so well, in fact, that Re-Char will now send the self-sufficient, open-source Shop-in-a Box anywhere in the world. It’s hard to exaggerate how significantly life can change for a community once one of these shipping containers shows up.
This could mark a tremendous shift in manufacturing. By decentralizing a facility, making it cheaper and greener, and helping a community evolve as it makes its own products, it’s easy to imagine an independent amateur designer coming up with the next great thing. Without a shipping container factory, he or she might not have ever had the chance to try. This movement, if it catches on, would be nothing short of revolutionary. Read more here.
As Europe’s largest crop-grower, France is under pressure to soften its stance on GMO crops, particularly after experts found this year there was no evidence justifying a ban. French and European farmers have voiced fears the restrictions could make them fall behind in the competitive world grain market, and the EU said in May it was considering ordering the government to lift its moratorium.
However, in a country that is fiercely protective of its agriculture, regarding it as part of its national identity, the government faces strong public resistance to GMO crops, as well as to the use of chemicals in farming. Read more here.
Ridding Israel’s environment of the poop of chickens and cows is a fabulous way to usher in the Jewish New Year. Once it becomes fully operational in the next few months, the recently inaugurated Be’er Tuviya biogas plant will scoop up the waste of 14,000 cows and in total roughly 15% of all chicken and dairy farms in the country. All that manure will then be used to generate electricity for thousands of homes.
Owned by Eco Energy, the $2.6 million Be’er Tuviya plant is not the first in Israel that will convert the energy of farm animals to biogas, but it is the largest. Read more here.
Elephants are being illegally killed across Africa at the highest rates in a decade, and the global religious market for ivory is a driving force.
While it’s impossible to say exactly how many elephants are slaughtered annually, a conservative estimate for 2011 is more than 25,000. And thousands of those are dying to satisfy religious devotion, their tusks smuggled into countries to be carved into religious artifacts: ivory baby Jesuses and saints for Catholics in the Philippines, Islamic prayer beads for Muslims and Coptic crosses for Christians in Egypt, amulets and carvings for Buddhists in Thailand, and in China-the world’s biggest ivory-consumer country-elaborate Buddhist and Taoist carvings for investors. Read more here.
Agroforests contain much higher levels of bird diversity than their open agricultural counterparts, according to new research. If large forests and agroforests continue to be replaced by simple open farms, bird communities will become much less specialized and entire groups may become extinct. Important roles for birds, such as pollination, pest control or seed dispersal, may remain unfilled if ongoing trends toward open agriculture continues and biodiversity decreases.
Forests and woodlands continue to have the highest bird biodiversity, but agroforests-where human crops are grown directly under the trees-are still significantly more diverse than open crops. Read more here.
Nigeria is thought of as one of the most important oil producers in the world, and if unrest there gets really out of hand oil could soar to $150 per barrel and crush the global economy. So, what exactly is going on in Nigeria right now? War, terrorism, and labor unrest. Read more here.
Plans to open up a new Australian “coal export rush” would turn a single Queensland region into the seventh largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet, undermining international efforts to keep global warming below 2C, a new report has warned. Nine proposed “mega mines” in the Galilee Basin would, at full capacity, result in 705m tonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere, according to a Greenpeace Australia analysis. This level of emissions would surpass those of all but six nations in the world. By comparison, the UK emitted 549.3 million tonnes of CO2 from all sources in 2011.
Greenpeace said that the nine mines’ production capacity of 330m tonnes of coal a year for export would represent an “unprecedented” increase in the scale of coal mining in Australia. The mines’ maximum output, primarily aimed at servicing the burgeoning Chinese and Indian markets, would nearly double Australia’s total 2010/11 coal production of 352m tonnes and eclipse its export total of 283m tonnes. Read more here.
Following a series of setbacks, Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced on that it will be abandoning plans to drill for oil this year off Alaska’s coast.
Some environmental groups reacted with hesitant optimism, as Greenpeace declared in a press statement that “the Arctic is proving to be the company’s Waterloo,” but added, “the fight continues.” Greenpeace had previously launched a “Save The Arctic” campaign to create a global sanctuary around the North Pole and ban offshore oil drilling in the Arctic. The group added that this campaign “won’t stop until the region wins protection.” Read more here.
Learn more about what lead to Shell’s halting of drilling in Alaska here.
Most wolves in the continental United States soon will be off federal assistance. For more than 300 years, trappers and settlers did their best to exterminate wolves, for their pelts and to protect livestock. They were so successful that only a few hundred gray wolves were left in the lower 48 states when they were listed as an endangered species in 1973.
Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe called the wolf comeback “a great success,” but it means that wolves are now fair game, and he noted that not everyone likes the idea of killing them. “When you look at our friends in the environmental movement, there are a lot of people out there who just don’t like the idea of animals being shot,” Ashe said. “I understand that, but if you look at the Endangered Species Act, it’s not an animal protection act. It’s a law designed to prevent the extinction of a species.” Read more here.
For growers of Pinot Noir, mild summers tempered by chilly nights and fresh ocean air make for award-winning, fortune-finding wines. Such a climate has turned Oregon into a producer of some of the world’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir. This variety, which seemed to receive a strong sales boost from the 2004 film Sideways, accounts for about 60 percent of Oregon’s wine production and 70 percent of Oregon’s total wine sales. But as global warming nudges average temperatures upward across the planet and causes tumultuous, grape-damaging weather changes, winemakers in Oregon are wondering just how their superstar grape will fare – if at all.
Pinot Noir is a notoriously difficult grape to grow. It has tight, almost seamless clusters that may trap moisture and begin rotting should any late-season rain fall on them. The grapes are also particularly susceptible to sunburn, which damages the complex nuances of flavor and aroma that can make Pinot Noir such a fine and expensive wine. Thus, in a warmer or wetter future, other, hardier grape varieties could be in order. Read more here.
Though it occurred a dozen years ago, the sale of Ben & Jerry’s continues to haunt social entrepreneurs. The sale’s notoriety keeps growing, moreover, because of the central role it plays in current debates over the development and enactment of new US corporate forms-such as low-profit limited liability corporations (L3Cs), benefit corporations, and flexible purpose corporations-that attempt to embed a company’s social mission into its legal structure.
The story of Ben & Jerry’s is a legend in two acts. In Act One, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, two underachievers with counterculture values, open an ice cream store in a renovated gas station in South Burlington, Vt. The company, founded in 1978, becomes a social enterprise icon. It is fair to its employees, easy on the environment, and kind to its cows. The company pioneers the pursuit of business with a double bottom line-profits and people-that Cohen and Greenfield called the “double dip.” In its heyday (circa 1990), the company was a kind of corporate hippie, wearing its convictions on its labels with funky-named flavors like Cherry Garcia, Whirled Peace, and Wavy Gravy. Peace, love, and ice cream! Read more here.
Despite about $1.5 billion in federal grants and loans doled out by the Environmental Protection Agency over 19 years, hundreds of thousands of abandoned and polluted properties known as “brownfields” continue to mar communities across the country. Some sites are contaminating groundwater, while at others the toxins’ impact on the communities is unknown. The shortcomings are due to limited funds, a lack of federal oversight, seemingly endless waits for approvals, and dense bureaucratic processes. These issues make it difficult for poor and sparsely populated neighborhoods to compete against larger and middle-class communities that have the means to figure them out, an investigation by six nonprofit newsrooms has found.
Impoverished neighborhoods are naturally less appealing to developers, and are more likely to be the site of particularly noxious sites to begin with, said Daniel Faber, director of Northeastern University’s Environmental Justice Research Collaborative. “Generally, communities with less economic power are usually targeted for the disposal of hazardous waste” and other unwanted businesses, Faber said. Often, a business may abandon a poorer neighborhood, leaving behind a legacy of toxins and pollutants. As a result, poor Americans are both more likely to live with polluted sites and less likely to be able to attract a means to turn them around, despite the existence of the brownfields program. Read more here.
Arizona has just won a $15 million Department of Energy grant to establish the first ever national algae biofuel testbed in the US, which gives it at least temporary bragging rights to the #1 position as it jockeys with other states to establish the kind of algae-friendly cred that will attract new business into its borders.
The new testbed in Arizona is designed to provide private industry with shared access to a national database for analyzing algae growth and algae biofuel production methods, which will help quicken the pace of research from the lab to fully scaled-up commercial algae farms and biofuel refineries. Read more here.
Which are the most fuel-efficient hybrid and/or all-electric cars available to consumers today (just the affordable ones, please!)?
Given increased environmental awareness, high gas prices and a continually slumping economy, it’s no wonder that more fuel efficient cars are all the rage these days. The best deal going may be Honda’s hybrid, the 42 miles-per-gallon (MPG) Insight ($18,350). Meanwhile, the newest version of Toyota’s flagship hybrid, the Prius ($23,015), garners an impressive 50 MPG. Other solid choices include Toyota’s 41-MPG Camry hybrid ($25,900), Ford’s 39-MPG Fusion hybrid ($28,700), Lexus’ 42-MPG CT 200h ($29,120) and Lincoln’s 39-MPG MKZ Hybrid ($34,755). Read more here.
A wind turbine designed to incorporate the bumps on a whale’s tale. A fast-growing rice that needs half the normal amount of water to grow, thanks to observation of a hot-spring fungi. A video display inspired by the iridescent wings of a blue butterfly. These are just a few examples of biomimicry, which examines nature to solve human problems, and it could change the world as we know it. “Biomimicry looks for how nature performs a function,” Marie Zanowick, a certified biomimicry professional for the Environmental Protection Agency, told Boulder Weekly. “It mimics natural strategy and the best design principles on this planet.”
Biomimicry has been around for decades, but modern scientists are increasingly embracing the concept. Velcro, for example, was inspired by the way burrs grab on to fur. By looking at systems that exist in nature, scientists hope to solve world hunger, create better technologies, and produce more sustainable devices that will improve people’s lives. Read more here.
Cutting through the campaign rhetoric and attack ads, here are five issues we believe should be at the center of the 2012 election, plus one that has no place in the public sphere. Read more here.
The green revolution has slowed since the early 1990s, and it has become harder to bolster crop yields. Agricultural productivity improvements are among the hardest to transmit from one nation to another. For all its importance to human well-being, agriculture seems to be one of the lagging economic sectors of the last two decades. That means the problem of hunger is flaring up again, as the World Bank and several United Nations agencies have recently warned.
For all the virtues of organic approaches, it’s hard to see how global food problems can be solved by starting with a cut in yields. Claims in this area are often based on wishful thinking rather than a hard-nosed sense of what’s practical. WHAT to do? Read more here
The case for technologies that harness renewable resources, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions has never been stronger, and the industry known as clean tech continues to grow at a staggering pace – global revenues for the “Big Three” sectors of wind power, solar PV, and biofuels hit $246.1 billion in 2011 after a decade of annual growth averaging more than 30 percent. But such an all-encompassing classification – spanning clean energy, advanced transportation, advanced materials, and clean water technologies – has lately made the industry an easy target for opposition, especially in the U.S., where divisive national politics have made pragmatism a rare commodity.
Given the noticeable intensifying of false debates surrounding clean tech in the last year, it’s worth taking a moment to examine ways in which the industry’s far-reaching identity has opened the door to some misplaced antagonism. Read more here.
A new study by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, which reviewed nearly 65 years of US tax policy and its impact on the overall economy, has found that though cutting the effective tax rate for the nation’s wealthiest is a great way to increase undesireable economic inequality, it does not do anything to boost employment or fuel economic growth. Read more here.
Five Looming Curses of Privatization
With the breakdown of the private financial industry, and with the decision by corporations to stop meeting their tax responsibilities, and with the dramatic surge in tax haven abuse, less tax revenue is available to state and local governments. Deprived of funding, governments are forced to consider privatization schemes to balance their budgets. But any such scheme comes with adversity and pain.
The futility of diverting public funds into the hands of profitseekers has been well-documented. Here are a few of the gathering curses of privatization. Read more here.
Jill Stein, 62, is a Harvard-educated physician who first entered politics ten years ago as a Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Massachusetts governor, after years of public health activism. Despite her greatest electoral success being a seat on the Lexington, Mass., Town Meeting in 2005 and 2008, Stein will go head to head with Obama and Romney in at least 38 states this November, making her a contender for the votes of environmentally conscious Occupiers nationwide who are dissatisfied with both mainstream parties’ mollifying of the fossil fuel industry.
Stein isn’t naive about her chances for the White House. But she’s running anyway, because in her mind both parties are tarred by the same brush. “Without our voices there is no public interest, it’s just corporate spin campaigns competing with each other for more corporate dollars.” She continues, “For some reason, people still don’t see the connection between environmental and economic justice,” she said in a phone interview with Climate Desk last week. “But gradually we’re seeing that we’re being heard.” Read more here.
Feds declare fishery disaster in New England
The U.S. Commerce Department declared a national fishery disaster in New England, opening the door for tens of millions of dollars in relief funds for struggling fishermen and their ports. Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said the declaration comes amid “unexpectedly slow rebuilding of stocks,” which is forcing huge fishing cuts that are jeopardizing the New England industry. And she said her agency had determined the trouble with fish stocks comes despite fishermen following rules designed to prevent overfishing.
“The future challenges facing the men and women in this industry and the shore-based businesses that support them are daunting, and we want to do everything we can to help them through these difficult times,” Blank said. Read more here.
The Ocearch crew tags great white sharks in an unorthodox way. Unlike state expert Greg Skomal’s team, which has tagged a dozen great whites off the Massachusetts coast with harpoons, Chris Fischer’s Ocearch crew baits the fish and leads them onto a large platform that lifts them out of the water for tagging and collecting blood, tissue and semen samples.
Ocearch, a nonprofit research organization named for a combination of “ocean” and “research,” is crewed mainly by sport fishermen. It is funded by sponsors and donors, and a South Africa expedition was the subject of History channel’s “Shark Wranglers.” Now, Ocearch has come to Cape Cod for a few weeks, minus the reality show and plus local scientists, to help shed light on the sharks’ migration patterns, protect breeding and birthing sites, improve public safety and raise awareness about the threatened species that is a rising presence in the area. Read more here.
DARTMOUTH – Anyone interested in growing their own food and living a more sustainable lifestyle will probably want to check out Friday’s “open garden” behind UMass Dartmouth’s Cedar Dell residence hall complex.
The university’s Office of Campus and Community Sustainability maintains the garden as one of its programs but students are responsible for tilling the quarter-acre plot. The garden yields zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, a variety of herbs and fruits such as strawberries and raspberries. Read more here.
Arsenic’s use in almost all situations has been phased out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – notable exceptions being cotton farms, sod farms, golf courses and highway right-of-ways – but it still lingers in Rhode Island’s soil, which has led to a whole new set of arsenic regulations that focus on the remediation of contaminated sites rather than the prevention of assassinations.
There are 850 sites across the state with soil contaminated by arsenic, according to Kelly Owens, associate supervising engineer for the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Arsenic is a known carcinogen and can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion or absorption, said Owens, who recently presented at a Superfund Research Program Seminar at Brown University. Read more here.
A loyal Dunkin’ Donuts fan has mounted a petition drive to pressure the Canton company to stop selling its coffee in plastic foam cups and switch to a more eco-friendly alternative. The petition launched by 31-year-old IT trainer Paul Kalinka on the Change.org social action website has collected more than 113,000 supporters.
Dunkin’ sells more than 1 billion cups of coffee each year. In its 2010 “Corporate Responsibility Report” – its first and only such report – Dunkin’ said dealing with its plastic foam cup is its “most prominent sustainability issue.” As it stated in that report, the company said there is no “easily recyclable hot cup available in the marketplace today.” Dunkin’ Donuts, along with others in the industry, is actively searching for a more sustainable cup solution,” spokeswoman Karen Raskopf said in a statement to the Herald. Read more here.
Environmental police maintain a presence in local waters
Most people associate the Environmental Police with hunting and ATV’s, but the force has always had a presence on the water, Cullen said, and has boats in Woods Hole, Sandwich and Fall River.
The main mission of the “green police” on the water is to monitor the activities of commercial and recreational fishermen. Fishery management in state waters is no less complex than the federal regulations that begin three miles out. On Friday, for example, the day is closed to commercial scup fishermen, but open for tautog fish. Read more here.
Students may be taking in unsafe levels of mercury with their tuna fish sandwiches at the school lunch table, new research shows. The study is believed to be the first of its kind to examine mercury in school lunches.
Mercury is a neurotoxin that can damage the developing brain of children and fetuses. Power plants and incinerators emit the metal into the air, and the pollutant can travel thousands of miles before falling and washing into waterways. Fish then accumulate the mercury over time and humans can be poisoned from eating too much fish. In Massachusetts and many neighboring states, pregnant woman and children are urged not to eat fish from any lake or pond because of the mercury danger. Read more here.
PLYMOUTH – Like Velcro: That’s how Kandace Rich describes the grip of cyphocleonus achates, otherwise known as the knapweed root weevil. “Lay them on their back with their legs in the air, stick your fingertip into their abdomen,” Kandace said, “and watch them grab onto your finger. They stick like Velcro.” That’s what “bug people” do for fun, she explained, but it’s also illustrative of the behavior the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest (FMSSF) hoped to see as they released these little cyclones this week.
They want these weevils to grab onto the spotted knapweed with a death grip. The spotted knapweed is an invasive species that is native to Western Europe and is now rampaging through the western forests of North America. After that first flowering it sends out runners just under the ground that emit a kind of poison that kills other, competitive and often native plants. Read more here.
FAIRHAVEN – With the town’s 200th anniversary drawing to a close, the sustainability committee is pushing people to wrap up celebrating the past and look toward creating the future.
The committee’s “Beyond the Bicentennial” initiative kicked off Sunday at the Fairhaven Farmers Market. The sustainability committee and bicentennial committee worked jointly on the initiative, which organizers described as a “community building initiative,” for residents to envision where Fairhaven can take itself in 20 years. Read more here.
Obesity in Massachusetts, and related health costs, could rise dramatically, report finds
The number of obese adults in Massachusetts, along with related diseases and health care costs, could rise dramatically over the next two decades if actions aren’t taken now to change the trend, according to a new report. Nearly half of adults in Massachusetts — 49 percent — are projected to be obese by 2030 if the current trajectory continues, concludes the report released Tuesday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, two non-profit organizations that focus on improving health.
Fewer than a quarter of adults in the state, approximately 23 percent, were reported to be obese last year, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2030, Massachusetts could save roughly $14 billion in cumulative obesity-related health care costs, the report estimates, if the state were more aggressive in its anti-obesity programs. Read more here.
Fall River gets $3M state loan pegged for water improvement projects
FALL RIVER – The state treasurer’s office has certified $3 million in low-interest loans for the city to proceed with its Phase 12 construction of water main and improvement projects. The expected funding is part of $77.5 million in state and federal grants and loans for Massachusetts infrastructure projects.
The way the program works, through a State Revolving Fund of eligible projects, the city receives 2 percent loans over 20 years from funds managed by the Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust. The bulk of those funds go toward pollution control for infrastructure improvements like the city’s Combined $185 million Sewer Overlay Project. Read more here.
Mattapoisett – The Mattapoisett Land Trust is in the memory making business. At least that’s how Paul Osenkowski sees it. Osenkowski, Chair of the Stewardship Committee, said his childhood memories of visiting the town are what brought him back as an adult, and he wants to encourage people to have more Mattapoisett memories.
“We hope to create situations that are triggers for people years down the line,” said Osenkowski. He hopes a blueberry patch on the Land Trust’s Brownell Preserve will become a place that keeps locals and visitors coming back year after year. Read more here.
A dam removal is one of many projects underway to restore what was once considered Rhode Island’s dirtiest river. Though the Blackstone River is better known for its role in the Industrial Revolution, the Pawtuxet was exploited nearly as intensively.
The Pawtuxet River Authority (PRA) and Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (NBEP) led the Pawtuxet Falls restoration project. The purpose of the project is to restore migratory fish such as river herring and American shad – once abundant in the Pawtuxet, but wiped out locally for centuries by the dam. Following its removal, the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and PRA stocked the river with thousands of adult river herring and more than a million hatchery-spawned shad fingerlings, a first step toward re-establishing self-sustaining populations of these ecologically important species. Read more here.
Ocean Ave Pops is the brainchild of Josh Danoff, the owner of Culinary Cruisers, a wildly popular bike/kombucha bar that serves as a pop-up watering hole at local farmers’ markets and food events. Launched in May, the fruit ice pops are manufactured in Somerville and often feature local ingredients.
Ocean Ave Pops are in the midst of creating a Boston foodie themed pop that features ingredients from big players in Boston’s local food scene: pickled grapes from Grillo’s Pickles, cucumbers from Stillman Farms, and Groundwork Somerville’s mint. They are also partnering with Pretty Things Beer to create a limited edition pop for the Somerville Fluff Festival and creating fall-themed pops for the Boston Local Food Fest and the Boston Public Market. Read more here.
DIGHTON – Students at Bristol County Agricultural High School took one of the final steps towards completing the school’s two model rain gardens by installing plants in the gardens. The model rain gardens – at one of two locations along the Taunton River Watershed, with the other at Bridgewater State University – were funded in part by The Nature Conservancy as a way to retain and filter stormwater. Watershed management.
In addition to keeping water in the river system, the rain gardens are also meant to retain and filter stormwater, preventing run-off. “(Stormwater) is the nation’s leading water quality problem,” said Scott Horsley, president of Horsley Witten Group, who designed the gardens, adding that sewer systems treat stormwater but run-off allows contaminants to enter the river system unfiltered. Read more here.
This Week in Sustainability
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 email@example.com.
Thursday, September 20, 5PM – 8:00PM, Rhode Island College, Donovan Dining Center, second floor, 600 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence, RI
Friday, September 21, 2012 – 12:00PM – 1:30PM UMass Dartmouth Cedar Dell residence hall complex.
We will be holding an ‘Open Garden!’ Stop by and check out our community garden. Directions: Go down Cedar Dell Road (across from Ring Road from the field behind the library) and take a right. Continue to the end of the road, and the garden will be behind the farm house in front of you. See you there! Contact Katrina Semich at 774-319-0539 or email here for more information.
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.
Saturday, September 22, 3pm to 4pm, Brown University’s Urban Environmental Laboratory, Room 106, 135 Angell St., Providence, RI
Annually, thousands of U.S. emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths can be attributed to climate change. This summer, Dr. Wendy Ring, a 56-year-old family physician, is riding a bicycle across the country to draw attention to these negative health impacts and to “wake people up to the danger we face and the need to move clean energy to the top of our national agenda.” Join her for a fast-paced and informative talk by a family doctor who can translate the science into the plain English. Co-hosted by the Boston and Rhode Island chapters of Citizens Climate Lobby and the Brown University Urban Environmental Laboratory. For more information, contact Alison Glassie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401-848-4008.
Introduction to Geocaching
Sunday, September 23, 1:00PM – 3:00PM, South County Museum, 115 Strathmore St., Narragansett, RI
Find out what geocaching is, what it isn’t and maybe help you figure out if it’s something you want to give a try. This short class will provide a brief overview of the game including how to find and hide caches. After the class, the group will head out into the neighboring woods to find a cache. Bring your GPS receiver or smartphone (you can attend without either) and give the worldwide treasure hunt game a try. This, and all guided walks sponsored by the Friends of Canonchet Farm, is free and open to the public. This walk will be held rain or shine. Call Kathie Kelleher at 401-783-3951 or e-mail email@example.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.
Monday, September 24, 6pm, Mill Wharf Restaurant, Scituate Harbor, MA
Sample dishes from local restaurants, Taste local wines and beers. Listen to Lance Van Lenten’s acclaimed jazz quartet. Now in its third year, this event is one of our favorite and most popular events of the year. Come with a hearty appetite because you will be able to savor incredible food offerings from some of the South Shore’s finest restaurants. The view of the harbor is exquisite from the Mill Wharf. And the jazz wafting through the dining room tops off a most memorable evening. More information at nsrwa.org/Page.138.html.
Monday, September 24, 2012, 8:30AM United Way of Greater Attleboro, 247 Maple St. Attleboro, MA
Do you have clients who are facing foreclosure or are behind on their mortgage? Come to a Loan Scam Alert-Foreclosure Prevention Presentation for Agencies Hosted by South Shore Housing. For more information and to RSVP please call 781-422-4274 or email here.
Wednesday, September 26 2012, 6:00PM How on Earth, 62 Marion Rd., Mattapoisett, MA
Presented by Nutrition Counselor Mona Merolla. Food can impact many facets of your child’s health such as mood, focus in school, endurance in sports, weight, allergies, asthma, and digestion. What your child eats can be the difference between getting sick often and feeling vibrant and well everyday. $10 workshop fee. Call 508-758-1341 for more information.
Thursday, September 27, 1pm to 2:30pm, Online
The Energy Department, in partnership with BOMA International, the Green Parking Council, and IFMA, will present a live webcast titled Overview of the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign on Thursday, September 27, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. This webinar will provide an overview of the LEEP Campaign and it will highlight two case study examples of businesses that have implemented high efficiency lighting projects in parking facilities. Webinar attendees will learn about the benefits of high efficiency lighting technologies in parking applications and strategies to overcoming barriers to implementation of these projects. Register at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/946793095.
Fall Farmers’ Market at UMass Dartmouth
ONGOING: Wednesdays in September and October, 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.
Seeds of Sustainability at BCC Fall Workshop Series
ONGOING: Every Wednesday, 2:00PM-3:00PM, September 26 – November 28 Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA
The student organization Seeds of Sustainability is sponsoring a series of workshops this fall to encourage people to become more self-sufficient and sustainable. Topics/activities for classes include edibles walk, canning and preservation, composting, seed saving, permaculture, the art of brewing tea, and making your own household cleaners. Please note that all are FREE and will be held in room E-101 on the Fall River campus of BCC. Questions? Contact Dr. Jim Corven at (508) 268-2811, ext. 3047 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Zajac, Director of Seeds of Sustainability, here.
Save The Date
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, September 29, 10am, Tihonet Village, A.D. Makepeace Company 146 Tihonet Road, Wareham, MA
Visit the world’s largest cranberry grower during peak harvest season! The A.D. Makepeace Company is offering five public tours for individuals during the picturesque harvest season. Join us and learn all about cranberry farming and see New England at its best! Very little walking is required. Be prepared for wet or muddy conditions. Tours are held rain or shine but severe weather may postone or cancel a tour. Guests will be transported by bus to the cranberry bog areas. Advance registration is recommended. $12 per person Under 7 Free (must still register). Emailkhoudlette@admakepeace.com.
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.
Twilight Grower Education Series: Cover Crops, Season Extension
Monday October 1, 5:30pm to 7pm, White Barn Farm, 458 South Street, Wrentham, MA
Winter cover crops are the main topic for this session as a staple organic growing practice. Farmers Christy and Chris will discuss their farm’s process and purpose for using such methods. We will also sneak a peek at season extension techniques used on the farm. COST: $15/class (NOFA/SEMAP members); $20/class (non-members). For more information, contact SEMAP’s Sarah Cogswell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-542-0434.
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.
Harvest at the Buttonwood Park Zoo Farm
Saturday, October 6, 1pm to 4pm, Buttonwood Park Zoo, New Bedford, MA
Celebrate fall at the farm in the Zoo! Get a farmer’s eye view from the seat of a tractor and look for a needle in a haystack. Join us for harvest-related activities for the whole family. Cost is free with zoo admission. For more information, visit the zoo website at bpzoo.org.
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.
4th Annual New England MREC Technical Conference
Tuesday, October 30 – Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Crowne Plaza, Providence/Warwick, RI
Hosted by the New England Marine Renewable Energy Center, A Center within UMass Dartmouth. Two days of technical presentations on research relating to wave, tide, ocean and river current, offshore wind, environmental monitoring, policy and regulations, industry lessons learned, and more. Now in its 4th year, the Annual New England Marine Renewable Energy Center’s Technical Conference brings together engineers, scientists, policy makers and industry developers to share results of research that will advance the field of water energy.
Join US and international colleagues in a highly technical professionally reviewed and chaired format that is building the body of literature (albeit digitally) on the subject of renewable ocean and river energy generation. There will be ample time for networking with engineers, scientists and policy professionals from government, academia and industry. Technical papers, posters, and exhibits will be available. Graduate students are encouraged to submit abstracts. Attendees are expected from all over the world.
Rates include full access to all technical sessions, keynote addresses, exhibit and poster display area; daily continental breakfast, morning and afternoon coffee breaks, lunch and ticket to hosted reception on Tuesday October 30, 2012. See rates here. Register here.
Just Birds: Artwork by Joe Koger
At the Audubon Environmental Education Center of Rhode Island (1401 Hope Street, Bristol, RI), artist Joe Koger returns with his paintings and drawings of ‘Just Birds’. As a naturalist, Joe has been drawing, painting, and observing birds all of his life. His work reflects the variety of birds that he observes at many of the local refuges and birding areas in Rhode Island. In addition to painting and bird watching, Joe teaches high school science and has been a popular teacher/naturalist at Audubon summer camps for the past 25 years. Joe’s show will run though the end of October. Viewing times Wed-Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 12pm -5pm. Admission: Adult $6.00, Child (ages 4-12) $4.00, Child (under 4) free, Audubon Society of RI Members free. For information about all the Audubon Environmental Education Center has to offer, visit www.asri.org/environmental-education-center/environmental-education-center.html.
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.
Donations Sought for “Earn a Bicycle” program
Mass in Motion-Fall River is seeking donations of used, retired bicycles for a RECYCLE A BICYCLE program being held this summer at Durfee High School, and continuing in the fall with the Applied Physics Class for the Class of 2016. In each case students are taking bicycles and refurbishing them. After bicycle mechanics comes bicycle safety, learning the rules of the road from the Fall River Police Department, and receiving a bicycle helmet. Finally with bicycles restored comes navigating safely around the City. And for those who complete the program successfully, “Earning a bicycle”. Please help us by donating any used and older models, retired bikes stored in your basement or garage. Some will be restored, some will be used for parts. Drop off can be arranged at Durfee High School in Fall River Mass or at Motion-Fall River, the Health and Human Services Division, located at One Government Center.Contact Contact Julianne Kelly, Coordinator for Mass in Motion-Fall River, at email@example.com or 508-324-2405.
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.
10 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste
Through poor portion control or buying too much fresh food that goes off before we use it we create a lot of waste. Follow these tips to help you reduce food waste, save money and protect the environment: Learn more here.
Simple water saving tips
As individuals, there are so many things we can do to reduce our water consumption – and save cash in the process too! Here are some brief and simple tips most of us can apply: Learn more here.
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