Sustainability Almanac for October 4 to 11



Leaf Bullet Letter from the Editors

Google Map Underwater Most of us have been to Google Earth if only because we want to see what happens when we type our home address. It’s amazing technology that makes one feel more in sync with the world. Well, Google has upped the ante by offering Underwater Street Views of the world’s major coral reefs … down to the last detail. Google Underwater gives viewers interactive panoramic imaging of these beautiful reefs, which were captured and surveyed by researchers, even with incorporated stills of sea turtles, fish, sharks and other creatures. This technology offers just a little taste of what few of us have seldom experienced. The world’s coral reefs are rapidly dwindling due to the warming of waters and pollution. It is for that reason that Google Underwater is being seen as a means to promote marine conservation and get more people to care. Despite more than 70% of the planet being covered in water, we’ve only actually explored 5% of it. On a related note, click over here to see some of the most surreal images of plankton ever photographed.

CO2 emissions in the United States have been dropping over the last several years. Some of the reasons are because of continued improvements in energy efficiency, less reliance on burning fossil fuels, and increased natural gas production and renewable energy. Unfortunately, another factor is the recession. Less jobs means less people consuming oil for cars. Troubled economic conditions mean more businesses shutting down, meaning less energy consumption. It’s a dismal finding because a rejuvenated economy, coupled with increasing population rates, could mean we’ll be unable to counteract consumption rates this will bring over the next several decades. Because of this population and eventual economic growth, as well this nation’s 80 percent reliance of on fossil fuels, there’s great concern that we’re not changing fast enough. Our current low-carbon energy strategies and rates of reduction will not provide the level of change needed by 2050, which scientists and analysts speculate is the point of no return.

There are lots of “eco-friendly” products out there for purchase, but exactly which ones are the real deal? The Federal Trade Commission has said very few products deliver the “far-reaching environmental benefits that consumers associate with such claims.” It’s for this reason that they finally revised their green marketing guidelines for the first time in 14 years. It’s a way to reduce deceptive marketing of the ‘Green’ label on consumers, which happens often. The Green Guides are not rules or regulations, but general principles. Businesses, however, can be punished for false advertising. The FTC has imposed fines and taken other actions in recent years involving deceptive recyclability, biodegradable and environmental certification claims.

Leaf Bullet Global News

Google Maps Underwater View Google’s Underwater ‘Street View’ Turns Users Into Ocean Explorers

Google has aspirations to map the world, and as of this week, they’re one step closer to their goal. The company has released its underwater “Street View,” which enables users to view panoramic images of six of the world’s most stunning coral reefs, all from the comfort of their couches.

Will the new underwater ‘Street View’ promote conservation? Read more here.

In other tech-driven news, learn how Pinterest is becoming the latest popular green marketing tool.

Fish Fish to shrink as global warming leaves them gasping for oxygen

Fish are likely to get smaller on average by 2050 because global warming will cut the amount of oxygen in the oceans in a shift that may also mean dwindling catches, according to a study on Sunday. Average maximum body weights for 600 types of marine fish, such as cod, plaice, halibut and flounder, would contract by 14-24 percent by 2050 from 2000 under a scenario of a quick rise in greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

“The reductions in body size will affect whole ecosystems,” lead author William Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Canada, told Reuters of the findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. His team of scientists said a trend towards smaller sizes was “expected to have large implications” for ocean food webs and for human “fisheries and global protein supply.” Read more here.

Plants need enriched soil to make use of increasing carbon dioxide. Plants’ Carbon-Sinking Capacity Is Much Lower Than Thought

As carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to climb, most climate models project that the world’s oceans and trees will keep soaking up more than half of the extra CO2. But researchers report this week that the capacity for land plants to absorb more CO2 will be much lower than previously thought, owing to limitations in soil nutrients.

A new long-term field study shows that plants grow less under elevated carbon conditions owing to limitations in soil nutrients–bad news as atmospheric CO2 increases. Read more here.

Renewable power generation, such as wind turbines, can produce electricity when it is not in demand Liquid air ‘offers energy storage hope’

Turning air into liquid may offer a solution to one of the great challenges in engineering – how to store energy. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers says liquid air can compete with batteries and hydrogen to store excess energy generated from renewables.

IMechE says “wrong-time” electricity generated by wind farms at night can be used to chill air to a cryogenic state at a distant location. When demand increases, the air can be warmed to drive a turbine. Engineers say the process to produce “right-time” electricity can achieve an efficiency of up to 70%. Read more here.

Illegal logging and the Congo conflict. Organized Crime Is Responsible For Most Illegal Tropical Deforestation, U.N. Report Indicates

llegal logging accounts for 15-30 percent of forestry in the tropics and is worth $30-100 billion worldwide, alleges a new report published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL. Consuming countries play a major role in the trade, which is increasingly sophisticated and in some places is facilitated by the expansion of industrial plantations.

“Illegal logging is not on the decline, rather it is becoming more advanced as cartels become better organized including shifting their illegal activities in order to avoid national or local police efforts,” wrote Achim Steiner and Ronald Noble – the heads of UNEP and INTERPOL – in the report’s preface. Read more here.

Plankton A Tiny Ocean World With A Mighty Important Future

As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton. They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life. And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

It’s Bowler’s mission to learn as much as possible about plankton – before the tiny creatures disappear. Bowler is the scientific coordinator of an around-the-world voyage named the Tara Oceans expedition. Aboard an 118-foot schooner, a team of marine scientists culled the world’s waters for 21/2 years, studying plankton. “By understanding the plankton communities, which are associated with areas that are more or less polluted, or more or less acidic, we hope that we’ll get a feel for what sort of organisms prefer which kinds of conditions,” Bowler says. Read more here.

Polar Bear Activists push for international ban on legal trade of polar bear fur

Environmental activists in the United States and Russia have come together to push for unprecedented protection for the polar bear, hoping to stave off the decline of its already dwindling population. With Arctic Sea ice at record low because of climate change, polar bears have been deprived of a key habitat and feeding ground. Legal trade in polar bears, mainly in the form of trophy skins and furs, remains legal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), leading to the death of hundreds more each year.

Activists from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Human Society International (HSI) are hoping to change that by supporting government initiatives to upgrade the polar bear’s status from appendix two to one within the convention, thus banning all international commercial trade. Read more here.

Finland Finland May Phase Out Coal Use in Power by 2025

Finland may phase out the use of coal in energy production by 2025, the first European country to do so. Finland imports all of its coal, mainly from Russia and Poland. During the past 15 years, Finland has shipped in an average of 5 million metric tons of coal annually. Imports of the mineral cost 70 million to more than 300 million euros ($388 million).

“Investments into renewable energy will play a key role” Economy Minister Jyri Haekaemies said during a parliamentary debate, according to Bloomberg. “All the imported energy which we can replace with domestic energy sources not only creates jobs, but also cuts emissions and improves our current account.” Read more here.

Leaf Bullet National News

Elephant Grass Elephant Grass Could Be Secret Weapon in Biofuel Wars

Corn ethanol was once the undisputed darling of the biofuel industry, but the drought that withered last summer’s corn harvests down to the bone has highlighted the unsustainable tension between corn for fuel and corn for food, lending new urgency to the search for alternatives. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been egging things along with new research, and the latest contender it has tapped is elephant grass, aka napiergrass or Pennisetum purpureum, a gigantic tropical grass that was introduced to the U.S. from Africa in 1913. Read more here.

Also read about another biofuel alternative: Seawater. Read more about the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Anti-Fracking Protest in New York Is New York Gonna Ban Fracking?

New York Mayor Cuomo has been facing fierce opposition to fracking, with the anti-fracking movement gaining the support of environmental activist and writer Bill McKibben as well as filmmaker Josh Fox, who documented the impacts of fracking in Gasland, among others. Read more here.

Dunkin Donuts Logo Dunkin’ Donuts Opens Supply Chain to Cage-Free Eggs and Humanely Raised Pork

Dunkin’ Donuts, the beverage-snack chain, said it will begin transitioning to cage-free eggs nationwide while requiring its pork suppliers to phase out pig-breeding cages called gestation crates as part of its corporate social responsibility commitment. Dunkin’, which has more than 10,000 locations in the United States and 31 other countries, expects that 5 percent of its eggs used in its breakfast sandwiches will come from cage-free chickens by the end of 2013.

The Canton, Mass.-based chain, which is owned by Dunkin’ Brands Inc. also said it will require its U.S. pork suppliers to present a plan that would enable the brand to formulate a timeline for eliminating the gestation crates. Read more here.

Picture and Graph Report: Can U.S. Carbon Emissions Keep Falling?

A Climate Central analysis of the American energy economy shows that the nearly 9 percent reduction in annual carbon emissions in the U.S. since 2005 is unlikely to continue in the years ahead without major departures from the ways energy is currently produced and used.

Recent declines in carbon emissions are the result of a combination of factors including the recession, increased natural gas production and the related decline in coal-fired electricity generation, continuing improvements in efficiencies of energy use, and growth in renewables, particularly wind power. The recession, however, appears to be the most significant factor in the decline. Read more here.

GMO Corn ‘Superweeds’ Linked to Rising Herbicide Use in US GM Crops

A study published this week by Washington State University research professor Charles Benbrook finds that the use of herbicides in the production of three genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops — cotton, soybeans and corn — has actually increased.

In the study, which appeared in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe, Benbrook writes that the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds is strongly correlated with the upward trajectory in herbicide use. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names, glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds. Approximately 95 percent of soybean and cotton acres, and more than 85 percent of corn, are planted to varieties genetically modified to be herbicide resistant. “Resistant weeds have become a major problem for many farmers reliant on GE crops, and they are now driving up the volume of herbicide needed each year by about 25 percent,” Benbrook said. Read more here.

Green Products in a store Federal Trade Commission’s Updated Green Guides To Limit Deceptive Marketing

Expect to see fewer products pitched as “environmentally friendly” if the government has its way. Hoping to limit the number of deceptive claims, the Federal Trade Commission on Monday released an updated version of its green marketing guidelines that hold companies to truthful standards in marketing their products.

The revision to the Green Guides is the first since 1998, when phrases like “carbon offset” and “renewable energy” were not widely used. The revisions include some changes to the proposed guidelines that the FTC circulated in October 2010 and reflect input from consumers and industry groups. New sections address the use of carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims. Among the updates, the guides warn marketers not to make broad, unqualified claims that their products are environmentally friendly or eco-friendly. Read more here.

Aluminum Pallet Lightening the Load for Manufacturers

SHIPPING pallets, those slatted platforms that fill warehouses, are intended to move heavy loads, not people. But innovations in their design and manufacture may play an important role in creating a fleet of more environmentally sustainable cars and trucks.

Ordinary pallets are made of wood; these prototypes are made of aluminum, which lasts longer. The aluminum pallets are also much lighter than wood pallets, which saves fuel during shipping. Aluminum is also significantly more expensive than wood, which means that the designs are unlikely to become the industry norm soon. But the technology behind them could be useful to carmakers, which have started to embrace aluminum as a means of building lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Read more here.

Leaf BulletVoices

Bacon Fish Forget Baconpocalypse-Fishageddon Will Be Worse

While it’s true that a catastrophic drought in US corn and soy country means higher hog-feed prices and thus higher pork prices next year, the effect on American consumers will be minimal. Mother Jones’ own Asawin Suebsaeng showed that the alleged great bacon shortage will shave just a pound per capita off of US bacon production in 2013-leaving us with an ample 45 pounds of bacon per person to make do with over the year. Overall, US pork prices will rise just 2.5 to 3 percent next year, the USDA projects. Wendy’s will likely continue peddling its “Baconator” burger unimpeded.

While editors and bloggers gorged on a trumped-up baconpocalypse, they largely ignored a story with real implications for global food security: a new report on how how climate change will sharply reduce the productivity of the oceans, particularly in the global south, where hundreds of millions of people rely on the sea as a primary source of protein. Read more here.

Large crowd Urban living: Good for the planet, but bad for our brains?

Fun fact: If you could convince the entire world to live like New Yorkers, you could pack all 7 billion of us into the state of Texas. That might be good for the environment, but what about our mental health?

Maybe I don’t have the right attitude – the right constitution – for New York. I’m impatient and short-tempered, and New York exacerbates those tendencies. But other New Yorkers seem impatient and short-tempered too. Is it us, or is it the city? Could urban living be harming our brains? Several studies seem to suggest a link between city living and mental illnesses. Read more here

Solar Farm Debunking The Supposed Decline In Clean Energy

Here’s a surprising new fact about energy in the United States: the percentage of our electricity coming from the greenest sources – that is, the non-hydroelectric renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass – has doubled in just four years to nearly 6 percent. This significant win for clean energy has gone mostly unnoticed in the press. If anything, the story has been the opposite: recent reports herald the decline of wind, and for a year the media has made a big deal out of the demise of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

Given this negative drumbeat, it’s not surprising that the business world tends to perceive renewable energy as an altruistic, rather than fiscally prudent, investment. But this view is dead wrong. The renewable energy industry is growing very fast… and not because it’s a philanthropic effort. Read more here.

Blind Spot Why “Green” Consumer Choices Aren’t Enough

Middle-class people are often socialized to believe they are responsible for improving their neighborhoods, their communities, and the world itself. Helpful as that often is, it creates a blind spot when it comes to global warming.

These blind spots are not unusual in the middle class. Another of the narratives has been that the unemployed could be working if they would stay in high school or complete job training programs. But working-class people recognize that’s a physical impossibility. The jobs don’t exist. The leadership of the U.S. economy exports millions of jobs. It’s the 1 percent that decides the number of jobs available, not high school drop-outs! Responsibility should be assigned according to degree of power in decision-making, and when it comes to energy, it’s clear who in the U.S. is most influential in the biggest decisions. Why not hold the 1 percent accountable for the enormous power that they now have-and which they fight to retain? Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

Silverbrook Farm In Dartmouth was honored by Boston Magazine as best fall vegetable CSA. (community supported agriculture) program. Andrew Thornhill works the farm stand on Chase Road in front of Silverbrook Farm Dartmouth farmer part of rising movement to grow year-round

DARTMOUTH – As farms increasingly move to sell their green goods year-round, a local grower landed in Boston magazine as a source of fresh food in the fall. The issue now on news stands features Silverbrook Farm of Dartmouth, along with four other operations that provide fall, or all-year, Community Supported Agriculture programs.

CSAs are an agriculture retail model that allows growers and consumers to split farming’s risks and rewards. Different farms offer various payment plans, but buyers traditionally purchase “shares” of produce or other products upfront. “People are trying to move to a year-round model, so there’s been really a lot of interest in winter markets,” said Silverbrook’s Andrew Pollock, whose fall CSA will start in November. Read more here.

Mosquito Safety of EEE mosquito spraying questioned

A vocal array of critics is demanding state health officials verify that aerial spraying of pesticide is an effective means of wiping out mosquitoes infected with the Eastern equine encephalitis virus. The state Department of Public Health has blanketed 21 communities south of Boston with pesticide to prevent mosquitoes from spreading EEE, which kills more than 30 percent of humans who contract the disease and is at its highest level in three decades in Massachusetts.

Environmentalists, organic farmers, and wildlife specialists say they are as sensitive as others to the public health threat posed by mosquitoes carrying the EEE or West Nile viruses. But state health officials should find a smarter solution than spraying pesticide from planes, they say. Read more here.

Ames Estate in Easton, MA Trustees of Reservations Working to Raise Awareness

Barbara Erickson is a proud owner of 26,000 acres. Not that the new president of the Trustees of Reservations actually “owns” World’s End, Weir River Farm, the Norris Reservation and 103 other properties throughout the state. But Erickson is on a mission to increase the public’s awareness of places that collectively are theirs to enjoy.

Over the year, Erickson plans to get people excited about the possibilities for outdoor appreciation and recreation, as she speaks with a variety of audiences about the 121-year-old conservation organization, one of the oldest in the country. “The organization has a great reputation, and it’s property care is stellar, so it’s always mystified me why it is not as well-known as it should be,” she said. Read more here.

SouthCoast politicians not as ‘green’ as they could be, study finds

SouthCoast voters wondering about candidates’ records on the environment this election season need look no further than a report from the Boston-based Better Future Project released this week. Titled “Politicians and Their Professors,” the report compares the environmental stances of Massachusetts politicians running for federal office with what professors at their alma maters say about climate change.

The report looked at 203 professors who have published in peer-reviewed journals. The candidates’ views were then compared to those of the professors from their respective universities. Read more here.

Solar Panels Hurdles High for R.I. Wind and Solar Companies

While Rhode Island’s small-scale solar industry is hurting, it’s thriving in Massachusetts, which offers grants and other incentives for such projects – incentives that appear to be working. Massachusetts has reported an 11 percent increase in clean-energy jobs. Approval for a new solar or wind project can take up to six months in Rhode Island. In Connecticut, it takes about two days. Read more here.

The Salvation Army had to close the New Bedford pantry for three days last week because it ran out of food. SouthCoast food pantries squeezed; demand and prices rise, donations drop

For three days last week, the flow of people headed into The Salvation Army’s food pantry on Purchase Street in New Bedford stopped. No one was cheering. The organization had simply shut its doors because all of the groceries were gone. “In my 17 1/2 years of doing this work, I’ve never seen The Salvation Army (run out of food),” said Bill Shell, the director of the Hunger Commission of Southeastern Massachusetts, which is run by United Way. “That really set the tone for me … because I think they’re in a better position than most organizations.”

About 300 families per month are using The Salvation’s Army’s pantry, up from 117 in 2008, and funding cuts have left the organization struggling to keep pace, said officials. The group, which used to order about 7,000 pounds of food a month, now tries to get by with about 4,000, something last week’s closing shows isn’t enough, said Major Gilbert Parkhurst. “We had so many people come in that it cleaned off our shelves,” he said. “Then we had to wait for the new order to come in, which was less than what we would usually get.” Read more here.

Cape cranberry growers get specialty crop grant

A number of specialty crop projects in Massachusetts – including one involving the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association – are set to receive a total of $440,000 in grants made available through the federal farm bill, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday. The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association was awarded a grant of just under $30,000 to continue a project examining the relationship between bogs, where cranberries are grown, and adjacent ponds, which flood the bogs as part of the growing process.

“The Pond Water Quality Project,” now in its second year of operation, involves a database to track water quality in ponds where the cranberries are harvested. Around 90 percent of cranberries grown in Massachusetts are harvested in this manner, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association. Read more here.

Michael McBrien is exploring his creative side since a disability put him out of work. Homeless artist turns disability into career

Having lost his sight in one eye, Michael McBrien is without a job or a home. But, he has chosen to use his disability to his advantage. “I spent my whole life cutting trees off of power lines. I ended up with a blind eye so I had to come up with something pretty quick,” said McBrien.

Originally from Norfolk, McBrien moved to Mattapoisett in 2004. After his disability left him jobless and sleeping at a shelter in New Bedford, he turned to drawing. “I don’t see three dimensions, but that helps me in my art,” he said. “I just draw the lines as I see them.” Read more here.

The Clothesline Project exhibited some of its shirts paying tribute to domestic violence victims and survivors. Clothesline Project T-shirts exhibited in downtown Taunton

TAUNTON – T-shirts emblazoned with poignant messages about domestic violence adorned clotheslines set up at Church Green in downtown Taunton on Monday as part of a display drawing attention to the issue of domestic violence.

The Clothesline Project allows victims of domestic violence and their families who have received help from New Hope – a local domestic violence and sexual violence counseling agency with an office on Broadway in Taunton – to express their feelings about what they went through. There were about 60 shirts on display, waving in the wind, with such messages as, “You took everything I had and you drained me,” along with “You ruined my sister’s life. I don’t know you, but I hate you,” and “Mom, why won’t you leave him, he scares me, he hurts us.” Read more here.

Elephant at BP Zoo New Bedford’s elephants featured in National Geographic

NEW BEDFORD – Wrinkly, with gray complexions and pronounced, whisker-flecked noses, these two city characters might not initially seem the stuff of a glossy magazine feature. But a recent stint in National Geographic has made Buttonwood Park Zoo elephants Ruth and Emily famous. “Emily and Ruth, they’re large, charismatic animals and so easily recognizable, and they’re an animal that just fascinates people,” said Shara Crook, the zoo’s acting director.

The short article in the October issue of National Geographic highlights a unique partnership between the zoo and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. As reported by The Standard-Times earlier this year, the students created playthings specially suited for the Asian elephants’ interests and anatomy. Read more here.

Aquidneck Island High Nitrate, E-coli Levels Threaten Island Health

Open space and water quality issues on Aquidneck Island are coming into sharper focus as growing development pressures and unregulated use of chemical fertilizers on lawns and at farms threaten local waterways and public health. More than 65,000 island residents and visitors drink treated surface water, and early data from a long-term study reveal a high level of pollutants.

Local beaches are sometimes closed to swimming during the summer because of high e-coli levels – virulent strains of which can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections and neonatal meningitis. High nitrates and phosphate in waterways can cause algae blooms that threaten both aquatic environments and public health. High-density development heightens the threat, according to the Aquidneck Island Watershed Council. And council members claim local officials aren’t adequately addressing that threat. Read more here.

Assistant Professor Lucy Hutyra A Chance to Shape the World’s Expanding Cities

Within twenty years, the world’s urban areas are going to grow – a lot. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predict that urban areas will expand 463,000 square miles by 2030, especially in China and India. That’s a lot of new roads, buildings, and hospitals and the study by researchers at Yale, Boston University and Texas A&M estimate somewhere between $25 and $30 trillion worldwide is expected to be spent on infrastructure.

To help understand what this all means the Green Blog asked Lucy Hutyra, an assistant professor at BU and one the study’s co-authors to answer some questions. Here is an edited version of her responses. Read more here.

UMD library flood repairs cost more than $250,000

Repairs to the UMass Dartmouth library caused by an August flood cost more than $250,000, according to the state Department of Capital Asset Management.

The library is in the midst of a $43 million overhaul that includes renovations to a number of the floors, the outer shell of the building and its plumbing, windows, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, electrical and lighting. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet This Week in Sustainability

Special Screening: “An Ecology of Mind: A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson”

Thursday, October 4, 6pm – 8pm 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300 – UMass Dartmouth, Science & Engineering Lecture Hall, Room 228 (Parking Lot 13)
The Center for Indic Studies, in co-sponsorship with Sociology, Anthropology & Crime and Justice Studies, along with Campus Sustainability Initiative, will be presenting a special screening of “An Ecology of Mind” a film by Nora Bateson. Open and free to public. Refreshments at 5:45pm. Read more here.


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.

Archaeological Canoe Trip

Saturday October 6, (rain date October 7) at approximately 9:30 a.m. Launch will be in Bridgewater from the Town River, a tributary of the Taunton River
The Taunton River was known as the “Great River” or Tetequet by native people. Along with its tributaries beginning in the north in Easton and Brockton and flowing through the Bridgewaters, the rivers provided a wide range of natural resources to support a sizable prehistoric population as its course continues to Mount Hope Bay through Middleboro, Taunton, Dighton and Berkley. The Taunton River Watershed encompasses 43 communities in Southeastern Massachusetts, including Bridgewater, Raynham, Easton, Norton, Mansfield and Stoughton. Participants in the archaeology boat tour may use their own canoes or kayaks. Boats will also be available for rental.

The cost of the tour is $30 for non-members; $20 for TRWA and MAS members; and $10 for children under 12 (includes lunch). For more information and reservations (required), call (508) 828-1101. Read more here.

URI Fall Gardening School: Cooking with Melissa

Saturday, October 6, 2012, 10am – 11am Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI 02906
URI Master Gardeners are good at growing, but did you know some are also amazing chefs?! With her cooking equipment at her side Melissa will demonstrate how to create quick and tasty salad dressings, pesto and even gluten-free cuisine. Tips on cooking with fresh & dried ingredients, what foods pair best and a discussion on pickling will also be a part of the mix. Recipes will also be exchanged so be sure to bring extra copies to share with the group! Saturday, October 6, 10am-11am $15.00. Read more here.

The Ice Cream Barn at Baker Farm – Grand Opening!

Saturday, October 6, 11am 289 Locust St. Swansea, MA 02777
There’s a new model for sustainable business celebrating its Grand Opening this weekend in Swansea, MA. The Ice Cream Barn at Baker Farm is having a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Saturday (October 6th) at 11 A.M. followed by an antique car show from 1 P.M.- 4 P.M. On Sunday, Cat Country 98.1 is broadcasting live from 2 P.M.- 4 P.M. with lots of free prizes. And on Monday there will be an antique tractor parade and show starting at noon. We focus on using ingredients grown locally, including ingredients like dairy, mint, maple syrup, berries, and other delicious flavorings for our ice cream. Next year, we will begin pasteurizing the dairy from our own farm to make into ice cream. Read more 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

The Work That Reconnects

Monday, October 8, 7:30pm – 9:00pm New Bedford Unitarian Church, 71 Eighth Street, New Bedford, MA. Please enter at the rear of the Church, off the Parking Lot. There is also parking on Eighth Street.
“The Work That Reconnects ” meeting will be happening on Columbus Day this year. We’ve decided to convene a “Council of All Beings” During a Council, each participant speaks for another of the interconnected parts of the magnificent web of life: perhaps a particular creature, or a place, an element, etc. Let your imagination soar! As Council members, we speak about the wonders of our chosen beings, remind us all of how they interact with Earth, as well as how they have been, and are being, impacted by our polluting human ways. Again, we feel free to express whatever fabulous feelings evolve! Come join us, and find your magic. A ‘free will donation’ is requested; some of this money will help will be donated to the Church for so generously hosting us, some will provide seed money so that Joanna Macy’s publications are available at our The Work That Reconnects workshops, and the rest will reimburse all for ‘out of pocket’ expenses.
Facilitators: Emily Johns and Mary Rapoza RSVP: If we know you are coming, it helps in our planning! Contact: Emily Johns 508-994-2164 or Emily Johns. Read more here.

Special Screening: “How to Start a Revolution”

Thursday, October 11, 6pm – 9pm 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300 – UMass Dartmouth, Science & Engineering Lecture Hall, Room 228 (Parking Lot 13)
Film Screening and Discussion with the filmmaker, Ruaridh Arrow: “How to Start a Revolution”. Co-sponsored with Center for Indic Studies and The Frederick Douglass Unity House.
HOW TO START A REVOLUTION is the remarkable untold story of The Right Livlihood Award winner Gene Sharp, the world’s leading expert on non-violent revolution. This new film (from first time director Ruaridh Arrow) reveals how Gene’s work has given a new generation of revolutionary leaders the weapons needed to overthrow dictators. It shows how his 198 steps to non-violent regime change have inspired uprisings from Serbia to Ukraine and from Egypt to Syria and how his work has spread across the globe in an unstoppable wave of profound democratic change. How To Start A Revolution is the story of the power of people to change their world, the modern revolution and the man behind it all. Read more here.

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 or Mark Zajac, Director of Seeds of Sustainability, here.

Leaf Bullet Save The Date

Coastsweep 2012

Saturday, October 13, 12 noon & Saturday October 27, 1pm Please contact Sarah Porter or Buddy Andrade (see contact information below) for information on the location of the event.
The City of New Bedford Conservation Commission, Hands Across the River Coalition, Ben Rose Recreation and Education Center, Latino Coalition, Greenfleet, Old Bedford Village, Buzzards Bay Coalition and Youthbuild invite you to participate in the Palmer’s Island Cleanup. For more information contact: Sarah Porter New Bedford Conservation Agent, here or Tel-508-991-6188; or Buddy Andrade at Tel-508-993-8500.

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.

Sustainability Film Series: Farmageddon

Tuesday, October 16th, 6:30 PM UMass Dartmouth Woodland Commons CR1, Dartmouth, MA
Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.


Saturday, October 20, 10:00am – 12:00pm Slocum’s River Reserve – Between Horseneck Road and Slocum’s River, 1 mile south of Russell’s Mills Village.
Take a guided walk with sculptors from The River Project and learn about their creative process. For more information visit the River Project 2012 web page. Read more here.

Harvest Festival

Saturday, October 20, 2012, 12-4pm Westport Town Farm, 88 Drift Road
Bring your family to celebrate the third annual harvest at the Westport Town Farm’s Community Gardens. Enjoy a festive day of local food, music and activities for all ages. Read more here.

Bioneers By The Bay: Connecting For Change

October 26 – October 28, 2012 Downtown New Bedford, MA
The 8th Annual Connecting for Change Conference is a three-day SOLUTIONS-BASED gathering that brings together a diverse audience from all over the globe to create deep and positive change in their communities. Presented by the Marion Institute, Bioneers is an unforgettable weekend filled with: live keynote speakers – including Sandor Katz, Judy Wicks and Bill McKibben, afternoon workshops, FAMILY programming, Youth Initiative program, exhibition hall featuring sustainable businesses and organizations, farmers’ market, films and live music, an open mic night; seasonal, local and organic food; art installations and more. Join the Movement. Visit or call (508)748-0816, to register, apply for a scholarship or to volunteer. Read more here.

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.

Fairhaven Community-Building and Visioning Forum

Sunday, November 4, 2012, 1:00PM – 4:00PMFairhaven Town Hall, Center St. Fairhaven, MA
The “Beyond the Bicentennial” campaign’s Community Visioning Forum concerns all residents of Fairhaven, MA. It will be a professionally facilitated action-planning session and opportunity for community members to have their voices heard regarding their idealized vision for Fairhaven’s future. It’s a means to officially determine what the people of Fairhaven want and believe their town needs, and how to attain and/or preserve them. From all this sharing of ideas and acknowledgment of the issues, groups and strategies will be formed to continue courses of action. This forum is true community participation meant to bring about real change. Don’t miss out on the chance to shake up Town Hall. This forum is sponsored by the Fairhaven Sustainability Committee and the Fairhaven Bicentennial Committee. For more information, go to our website, or email here. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Sustainability Film Series: A Sea Change

Wednesday, November 7th, 6:30 PM Woodland Commons CR2
This film follows the journey of retired history teacher Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the world’s oceans. After reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Darkening Sea,” Sven becomes obsessed with the rising acidity of the oceans and what this “sea change” bodes for mankind. His quest takes him to Alaska, California, Washington, and Norway as he uncovers a worldwide crisis that most people are unaware of. Speaking with oceanographers, marine biologists, climatologists, and artists, Sven discovers that global warming is only half the story of the environmental catastrophe that awaits us.

Leaf Bullet Announcements

Massachusetts Honored for Second Year in Energy Efficiency

Originally appeared in the Boston Globe

Massachusetts is the most energy-efficient state for the second year in a row, according to rankings by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. This is the sixth year the council, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, has rated states according to criteria such as utility programs, state initiatives, policies, and building codes aimed at improving energy efficiency. The council said the state’s Green Communities Act – one of several pieces of environmental legislation passed in 2008 – contributed to Massachusetts’ keeping the number one spot. “The Act laid the foundation for greater investments in energy efficiency programs by requiring gas and electric utilities to save a large and growing percentage of energy every year through energy efficiency,” the report said.

Massachusetts surpassed California as the most energy efficient state last year. California held the top spot for the first four years of the council’s ranking, while Massachusetts was ranked second in 2009 and 2010. “We are proud to have maintained the number one spot in the nation because of our continued focus on innovation and investments in energy efficiency,” Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement. “Our Green Communities Act is cutting our dependence on imported energy sources, creating jobs, and leading the way to a more sustainable future for Massachusetts.” Read the full story 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 or download report.

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.

Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Plant a Tree, Pocket Thousands of Dollars

Planting trees is one of the most basic of environmental acts. It embraces the beauty of nature, helps clean the environment from the moment of planting forward, and sets one’s mind on the well-being of future generations. It also happens to be a smart economic decision. Learn more here.

Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

8 Tips for Editing Your Life that Work for Any Budget

Let’s be clear: excess is far from a rich man/woman’s dilemma. Watch an episode or 2 of Hoarders for proof. Cheap housing and consumer goods have made virtually every socioeconomic bracket victims of excess…and crippling debt. The average American household carries $16K of credit card debt! And sure, we love great architecture and product design-much of which has a steep buy-in cost-but there are infinite things you can do for little or no money to start living an edited life. Here are 8: Learn more here.


Quote of the Week

"We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do."
~ Barbara Ward, Economist

Clip of the Week

Urban Air Billboard Garden
To artist Stephen Glassman, billboards are a canvas, and a potential tool for confronting pollution challenges as cities grow. To understand how it'll look, picture a simple billboard, but instead of an advertisement, imagine tall stalks of bamboo and other native plants that gobble up carbon dioxide and create a tiny, cool microclimate.

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