Sustainability Almanac for November 29 to December 6

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Leaf Bullet Letter from the Editors

Solar Power Plant in Abu Dhabi It’s fairly obvious that in our global market open spaces are a high commodity. While overwhelming consensus is in favor of increased renewable energy production, there are still communities reluctant to have them based in their own areas, due to negative criticism and inconclusive evidence of environmental and health-related side effects. However, massive installations in fields, deserts, and offshore are usually welcome. The Middle East utilizes their acres of desert for massive solar farms. In Abu Dhabi, The largest single-unit solar power plant in the world will officially open early next year. This is only phase 1 of the solar project, with other phases already in development, and it will generate enough electricity to power at least 20,000 homes. The sheer scope of this solar power plant represents how crucial the world’s open spaces are to power generation and reducing global emissions. Solar and wind farms are growing in size every year because the demand and potential has never been greater.

Many like to imagine how much cheaper life would be if they could eliminate cars from their daily lives. It’s a pipe dream for many because of the long commutes to work many face, but the often insufferable amounts of traffic and construction make it an option to revisit. San Francisco is an example of a city ahead of the curve with public transportation, but it’s car-sharing programs are what truly stand out. Residents in San Francisco work out schedules for car usage and even share insurance plans. It’s a program that requires dedication and compromise, but also creates strong networks of users operating a shared economy. More people carpool, less money is spent on gas, and less cars on the road means less traffic. Peer-to-peer car sharing is working well there because there’s an admirable communal effort to reduce transit crowding and parking issues. Businesses and non-profits like ZipCar have been successful across the globe for these reasons.

Over the last several decades, income inequality in this nation has worsened; it’s the worst since the Great Depression. Rich households’ incomes have grown much faster in every state than have lower and middle-class households. A recent study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows this gap on a state-by-state level, the largest gap increase occurring over the last decade. The study concludes the reasons behind this increased gap are lack of wage growth, persistent unemployment, and government deregulation of trade policies and specific benefits and tax programs, which have contributed to these wage and unemployment issues.

Leaf Bullet Global News

Sushi Inside Japan’s Quest to Make Bluefin Tuna More Sustainable

Bluefin tuna is a sushi favorite but it comes with a hefty environmental price. “This is not the perfect fish,” the producers of the food series The Perennial Plate explain, introducing their latest episode. “It can hardly be considered sustainable (they eat a lot of other fish) … [and] we are dangerously close to killing the last of the wild bluefin tuna.”

Traveling across Japan in its third season, the series makes a stop at Kinki University’s Fisheries Laboratory to learn about the pros and cons of farm-raised tuna. “I don’t regard myself as a conservationist,” the fishery’s rep says. “Maybe a middle-aged man who loves raising fish.” He takes pride in his work but says even people who cultivate tuna only eat it “once or twice a year.” According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, however, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Read more here.

Rising seas Sea level rose 60 percent faster than UN projections, study finds

Projections for sea level rise in coming decades could be too conservative, experts warned Wednesday, saying they found that the rise over the last two decades is much more than predicted by the U.N. scientific body tracking climate signals.

In a peer-reviewed study, the experts said satellite data show sea levels rose by 3.2 millimeters (0.1 inch) a year from 1993 to 2011 — 60 percent faster than the 2 mm annual rise projected by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for that period.

“This suggests that IPCC sea-level projections for the future may also be biased low,” the team wrote in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Read more here (with video).

Solar Panels Largest Solar Power Plant In World Nears Completion In Abu Dhabi

The largest single-unit solar power plant in the world is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and officially open in the first quarter of 2013, solar power giant Masdar has announced. Shams 1 will have a generation capacity of over 100 MW of power, and was built with the stated purpose of providing 20,000 homes in the region with electricity. The project will be followed shortly thereafter by Shams 2 & 3, which are planned to generate similar levels of electricity.

Once finished, it will consist of 258,048 parabolic trough mirrors, 192 solar collector assembly loops with 8 solar collector assemblies per loop, 768 solar collector assembly units, and 27,648 absorber pipes. Read more here.

Shrubs and an Animal Shrubs help assess history of Glaciers

The stems of shrubs have given researchers a window into a glacier’s past, potentially allowing them to more accurately assess how they’re set to change in the future.

Their findings have been published today, 27 November, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, and show how a glacier’s history of melting can be extended way past the instrumental record. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Modern Building Army Corps of Engineers Transforms Old Warehouse into High Tech Showcase

The new Federal Center South Building 1202 is located on Marginal Way in Seattle. It conforms to LEED Gold standards and the USACE is aiming for Platinum. It’s already on track for an Energy Star score of 100.

The new building will use about one-fifth of the energy compared to other air-conditioned office buildings in the region, thanks partly to the use of a stored cold-energy system that reduces the load on cooling equipment. Read more here.

Poster Inside the Rolling Jubilee, the First P2P Bailout

One of the defining features of this economic crisis is massive debt: student debt, medical debt, credit cards and underwater mortgages. The last thirty years have seen a stagnation of actual wages, which, combined with government cuts, outsourcing and off shoring, has meant a stagnation of the real purchasing power of the American people. What solutions can help get people out of these debt traps?

One idea that’s received much attention lately is the Rolling Jubilee. The strategy, developed by Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, involves the abolition of private debt through totally legal market practices. The method is graceful in its simplicity: banks that are holding debt they can’t collect sell that debt really cheap on a secondary debt market, almost always to debt collectors. What Rolling Jubilee does is purchase this debt, and then cancel it, freeing the debtor from the claims of the bank and the debt collection agencies. As of this writing, the Rolling Jubilee has raised almost $350,000, which will abolish just under $7 million of debt, a very impressive achievement. Read more here.

Obama playing ball After a term of hanging around the hoops, Obama could slam dunk for cities

Last March, I found myself talking to David Rothkopf, an international energy consultant and writer who was a bigwig in the Clinton White House. I was describing President Obama’s strategy for reviving American cities: Hamstrung by Tea Partiers in the House of Representatives, the Obama administration had set up what amounted to a set of demonstration projects designed to prove that smart policies on inner-city schools, transportation, and urban development could get dramatic results – and save taxpayer money at the same time. Read more here.

Obama waving Obama signs bill shielding U.S. airlines from EU carbon fees

President Barack Obama signed a bill on Tuesday shielding U.S. airlines from paying for each ton of carbon their planes flying into and out of Europe emit, despite a recent move by Europe to suspend its proposed measure for one year.

The carbon fee bill was the first piece of legislation debated on the House floor after Congress returned from recess on November 13, and had been cleared by the Senate in September in a rare unanimous vote. It directs the U.S. transportation secretary to shield U.S. airlines from Europe’s carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) if he or she deems it necessary. Read more here.

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Family Stockpile How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia

The preparedness industry, always prosperous during hard times, is thriving again now. But amid the alarmism, there is real concern that the world is indeed increasingly fragile – a concern highlighted most recently by Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s aftermath has shown just how unprepared most of us are to do without the staples of modern life: food, fuel, transportation and electric power. Douglas and his partners formed the Red Shed Media Group, a single corporate home for several endeavors: the Self Reliance Expo, conventions that Douglas founded in 2010, dedicated to showcasing survival gear and skills; Self Reliance Broadcasting, an Internet-based channel devoted to the cause; and an entity that controls the rights to publishing “Making the Best of Basics,” a popular survivalist handbook.

But the goal isn’t just to sell to the same old preparedness crowd. Red Shed wants to attract liberals and political moderates to a marketplace historically populated by conservatives and right-wing extremists. “It’s not the end of the world,” Douglas told me last spring, making a bold statement for someone in his industry. “It’s not doomsday.” It’s about showing the gun-toting mountain man in his camouflage and the suburban soccer mom in her minivan that they want the same thing: peace of mind. “We don’t say, ‘Hurry up and buy your stuff because Obama is going to ruin the country,’” Douglas said. “We don’t get into the political crap. We just want to teach people the lifestyle.” Read more here.

Oil Refinery A Thermonuclear Energy Bomb in Christmas Wrappings

Rarely does the release of a data-driven report on energy trends trigger front-page headlines around the world. That, however, is exactly what happened on November 12th when the prestigious Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) released this year’s edition of its World Energy Outlook. In the process, just about everyone missed its real news, which should have set off alarm bells across the planet. Claiming that advances in drilling technology were producing an upsurge in North American energy output, World Energy Outlook predicted that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the planet’s leading oil producer by 2020.

Given the hullabaloo about rising energy production in the U.S., you would think that the IEA report was loaded with good news about the world’s future oil supply. No such luck. In fact, on a close reading anyone who has the slightest familiarity with world oil dynamics should shudder, as its overall emphasis is on decline and uncertainty. Even if governments take vigorous steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the report concluded, the continuing increase in fossil fuel consumption will result in “a long-term average global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees C.” The “good” news is really the bad news. Read more here

Cornucopia How A Cornucopia of Prosperity Can Flow From Carbon Tax

Right now the climate and energy community is stuck. There is a growing consensus, including among conservatives, that it is finally time for a carbon tax. Yet, no politician – especially President Obama – seems ready to advance the proposal. The nation’s main focus is still “jobs, jobs, jobs”. The President has his ear keenly attuned to the public voice, and he is right to insist economic prosperity must flow from any climate proposals.

The price of climate action will be acceptable if it is used to deliver what the public wants. Salespeople never begin by focusing on price, but rather strive to meet what the customer wants. Once the customer decides they want something, they are willing to pay the price to get it. Depending on the level of tax placed on carbon and the amount of revenues thus raised, the following Top 10 benefits can flow to the public: Read more here.

Repairmen The Endangered Repairman

Getting your stuff fixed instead of throwing it away is good for the environment as well as for your bank balance. So why is this craft dying out in America? The polar bears are in danger because of the way we live, because of our abuses to the environment, because of our throwaway consumer culture. While “buy back” programs make a manufacturer appear earth-friendly in the consumer marketplace, they really only stimulate more consumption. A more civic and ecologically sound approach would be to reinstate trainings for independent repair businesses. Locally-owned repair shops help to circulate money throughout the community, but also help residents lower their cost of living, in addition to reducing the volume of consumerism. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

At a press announcement organized by Toxics Action Center, David Dionne talks about the Brayton Point Power Station, which can be seen behind him Somerset’s Brayton Point plant makes ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of filthiest facilities in region

SOMERSET – With coal-burning Brayton Point Power Station as a backdrop, members of the local environmentalist community joined representatives of the group Toxics Action Center to announce their list of this year’s “Dirty Dozen” awards, handed out to facilities they call New England’s most egregious polluters.

Toxics Action Center releases a list every year, but this year, in honor of the organization’s 25th anniversary, they presented a report, “25 Years of the Dirty Dozen: Past and Current Pollution Threats in New England,” that profiles what they identify as 12 of the most notorious pollution threats in the region. Brayton Point Power Station was labeled “one of the biggest polluters for all of Massachusetts and New England” by the group and topped the U.S. EPA’s Toxics Released Inventory list in 2010. The report was released in January 2012. Read more here.

Also read about the proposed marine facility that would redevelop the land of the Somerset coal plant.

State approves power purchase agreement between Cape Wind, NStar

The state Department of Public Utilities approved a 15-year power purchase agreement Monday between the NStar power company and the offshore wind farm developer Cape Wind.

Under the terms of the agreement, NStar will purchase 27.5 percent of the power produced by Cape Wind at a rate of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour. The agreement will last for 15 years and allows for price adjustments as needed.

DPU Chairwoman Ann Berwick, in a statement released Monday, called the contract “another step forward” toward the state’s renewable energy goals. Read more here.

Congressman Ed Markey, amid images from Hurricane Sandy, at the Forum Sandy’s ruin prompts climate-change forum

There could be enough water in Boston for boats to float through parts of the Back Bay and fish to swim across the Public Garden if a super storm were to hit Boston years from now. That was a worst-case prediction displayed on color-coded maps in Faneuil Hall as part of a forum on the potential impact of climate change. The maps detailing potential flooding, on stage as part of a “What If Sandy Happened Here?” forum, factored in rising sea levels and suggested that by 2050 a severe 100-year storm could also send floodwaters into Central Square and Harvard Square in Cambridge.

“Sandy was a warning,” US Representative Edward Markey, a Malden Democrat long active in climate-change legislation, said as about 150 people filled the Great Hall, where he led a town hall-style meeting on the costs Greater Boston could face if a super storm hits. Cast as a gathering to contemplate the havoc climate change could cause, the meeting drew speakers who focus on the issue and an audience that included many area activists. “This reaffirms the need to put greater energy and greater effort into convincing others that this issue is significant,” James Kaufman, president and chief executive of the Laboratory Safety Institute, a health, safety, and environmental affairs nonprofit in Natick, said after the hour-long meeting. Read more here.

Illustration of Waste and Recycling R.I. Working On Making Waste History Again

Victor Bell helped launch Rhode Island’s recycling and waste programs while running the Office of Environmental Coordination from 1978-92. Today Bell owns a sustainable packaging company in Jamestown, and is one of four waste experts advising lawmakers on establishing another first. This latest waste concept would establish a comprehensive trash-reduction program called extended producer responsibility (EPR). In theory, EPR gives incentives to makers and seller of goods to dispose, reuse or recycle all or part of their products and the packaging. Producer responsibility sounds complicated, but it’s already happening in Rhode Island with mercury auto switches and thermostats, electronic waste and soon house paint.

“It’s designed to create a system of shared responsibility from all parties in the consumer chain,” said Jamie Rhodes, director of Clean Water Action Rhode Island, who also serves on the commission. “What this is, is a major shift of the responsibility of recycling and disposal from the local government to private industry,” Bell said. Read more here.

Kendra Bond tends to Precious, the first Peace for Ponies rescue horse. Wareham-based ‘Peace for Ponies’ aims to rescue horses from slaughter

Pregnant, neglected, and stuck in a hurricane. That’s the situation Precious was in when she was adopted by Kendra Bond of Wareham. Precious is a miniature horse, and the first animal to benefit from the new Peace for Ponies shelter at her home in East Wareham. “She was stuck in the hurricane in New Jersey,” said Bond.

Peace for Ponies is a newly-established 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to rescuing ponies and small horses from auction houses. According to Bond, horses are shipped to auction houses, and those that are not sold drop in price. As the price drops, the likelihood that they will end up in a “kill pen,” like Precious was, goes up. Read more here.

The main channel of Wellingsley Brook SALVELINUS FONTINALIS: Wellingsley Brook restoration project nears completion

PLYMOUTH – It’s a little stream that needed a little work that will cost, in relative terms, a little money. But for those with an interest in a particular species of fish, it’s a real big deal. It’s officially called the Wellingsley Brook Restoration Project, and when completed $90,000 will have been spent to remove several small dams, excavate the streambed and add a variety of appropriate new plantings. The real excitement for environmentalists, though, is focused on the return of what is technically called Sea Run Brook Trout into the heart of Plymouth. Read more here.

Sheep at the Teal Farm Teal Farm: Living the ‘good-natured’ life

ROCHESTER – For Susan, an anthropologist, and John, a biological engineer, animal husbandry and farming have been something they did in addition to their day jobs. “Neither of us grew up on a farm, but there are books,” said Susan “We have a lot of energy and curiosity.” The pair learned much of their farming techniques from books and often experimented with new crops and animals, documenting their successes and failures with scientists’ attention.

From the looks of the farm, the Teals’ are apparently quite well-read. Over the years the farm has become a community and a family effort. The Teal’s slaughter their sheep with the help of friends and neighbors who then get a share of the meat. The couple has a similar arrangement with their chickens. Read more here.

Photo Courtesy of National Geographic A bird’s eye view of nature’s flashiest showmen

It took eight years, countless hours crouched high in the New Guinea rain-forest canopy, and new photographic techniques tested out on the turkeys that strutted into Tim Laman’s Lexington backyard to photograph all 39 species of visually stunning and flamboyant birds of paradise. Laman, a field biologist and photographer affiliated with the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, teamed up with Edwin Scholes, an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in 2003. Through rain, floods, and interminable waiting for birds to show up at the right time, on the right branch, in the right light, they sought birds of paradise at 51 field sites. The results, featured in the December issue of National Geographic, are breathtaking, weird, and delightful.

Birds of paradise raise fascinating questions about how evolution could have such gaudy results. New Guinea, Laman explained, is a unique environment. There aren’t natural predators for these birds, the landscape is undeveloped, and the birds live in a world of plenty, so females do not need help from males to raise their young. That has allowed sexual selection – the whims and desires of the females – to go out of control. Read more here.

Students from Dimon aboard the USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove. Diman students help refurbish Battleship Massachusetts gun mounts

FALL RIVER – Refurbishing a World War II-era battleship gun-mount handle may not be your typical assignment for a high school machine shop student. However, for the second consecutive year, the students in Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Machine Tool Technology shop are helping to restore the popular tourist attractions aboard the USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove.

“It’s a valuable experience for the kids, doing that work and giving back to the community,” said Kurt Chouinard, a Diman machine tool technology instructor. Read more here.

Marion approves funding for town’s first Habitat home

MARION – Residents approved funding for the town’s first Habitat for Humanities home. Voters were asked to transfer money from fiscal 2013 town funds to the Community Preservation Committee for a Buzzards Bay Habitat for Humanities home to be located at 185 Wareham St. The transfers are $10,000 from the Open Space account, $10,000 from Community Housing and $10,000 from estimated annual revenues. Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates homes through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials. Homeowners invest 300 hours of their own labor into building their Habitat houses and the houses of others in exchange for an affordable, no-interest, 20-year mortgage. The current Habitat homes closest to Marion are in Wareham. Read more here.


Leaf Bullet This Week in Sustainability

Lecture Series at New England Aquarium: Rise Above Plastics

Thursday, November 29, 2012, 6:30PM New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110
Attendance is FREE. Plastic-it’s all around us. Water bottles, toothbrushes, cell phones, food containers-we can’t seem to go even a few minutes without touching something made of plastic. While greatly advancing convenience in the modern world, the extreme increase in production of single-use plastics has begun to wreak havoc on the marine environment. Join Sarah Lecus as she discusses the effects of plastic on humans and the environment, and how we can all make small changes to rise above plastics. Learn more and register here. Contact (617) 973-5200 for more information.

Public Unveiling of Habitat Sculptures

Friday, Nov. 30, 4:00pm Hazard Conference Room, Coastal Institute, URI Bay Campus, 218 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI
Celebrate the opening of downtown New Bedford’s newest outdoor destination on Friday, Nov. 30 at the new plaza outside the Buzzards Bay Center on Front Street. The sunset ceremony will officially unveil Habitat, an installation of seven 12-foot-tall steel eelgrass sculptures designed by local artist John Magnan. Habitat will remind all visitors to New Bedford’s waterfront about the beautiful, yet vulnerable underwater world just beyond our doorstep. Read more here.

Where Has Everyone Gone? A Hike and Scavenger Hunt

Saturday, December 1, 10:00am – 11:30am Lloyd Center for the Environment, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Bring the whole family to the Lloyd Center and learn ways that animals survive the cold. During this program we set out on a scavenger hunt to discover where animals are spending the winter. Enjoy fun games and learn how animals survive during the coldest time of the year. After hiking we take an up-close look at some critters that live in the nature center and learn how they differ from their wild counterparts.
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, November 29th Price: Members: $4 Non-members: $5 All ages welcome Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen at 508-990-0505 x 14, or email Learn more here.

Trail Walk

Wednesday, December 5, 8:30am – 10:00am Lloyd Center for the Environment, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Be inspired by nature, exercise and discover the Lloyd Center trails. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as the seasons change. Each walk is different and highlights various plants, animals or the history of the Lloyd Center’s property. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring non-alcoholic hydration.
Pre-registration required by Noon on Tuesday, December 4th Price: Members: FREE Non-members: $2 Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen at 508-990-0505 x 14, or email Register here.

USDA People’s Garden Initiative: Engaging Volunteers in the Garden

Wednesday, December 5, 12 noon – 1pm Online
The USDA People’s Garden Initiative promotes growing healthy food, people and communities. It encourages USDA employees and communities to plant gardens because the simple act of planting a garden can make a neighborhood a healthier place to live, work and play, while addressing issues such as hunger and the environment. We are excited to offer our Fall Webinar Series for a second time. This year’s sessions will provide practical gardening advice on such topics as seed saving, gardening with native plants, composting, volunteers, and school gardens. This session will explore best practices for volunteer engagement including how to identify meaningful service opportunities and recruit volunteers with diverse skills and interests. New this year? You can ask the instructor questions during each webinar on Twitter. Tweet hashtag #AskPGI to @PeoplesGarden during the LIVE webinars. We will answer as many questions as time permits toward the end of each session.

Each webinar will be recorded, closed captioned and posted for anytime viewing. Once this is complete, webinars will be available on the People’s Garden website under Gardening Resources and accessible to everyone. Read more and Register here.

‘Slim Your Waste’

Wednesday, December 5, 5pm – 6pm Hope Artiste Village, 1005 Main St., Pawtucket, RI
Learn how to recycle, reduce, and reuse during the Holidays. Hosted by EcoRI Public Works. This event is intended to a general public including Businesses, College/University, Families, Farmers, Homeowners, School Groups, Teachers, Teens, Visitors/Tourists. It’s a FREE event.Read more here. Email Sarah Lester at (401) 312-4250

USDA People’s Garden Initiative – Going Native

Thursday, December 6, 12 noon – 1pm Online
Growing native plants can be fun, challenging, and rewarding. Obtain practical information on the growing and planting of North American (Canada, US, and Mexico) native plants for restoration, conservation and landscaping. Hear how Keep America Beautiful, its affiliates and its partners mobilized Americans this fall to plant native species in support of National Planting Day.
The USDA People’s Garden Initiative promotes growing healthy food, people and communities. It encourages USDA employees and communities to plant gardens because the simple act of planting a garden can make a neighborhood a healthier place to live, work and play, while addressing issues such as hunger and the environment. We are excited to offer our Fall Webinar Series for a second time.
Each webinar will be recorded, closed captioned and posted for anytime viewing. Once this is complete, webinars will be available on the People’s Garden website under Gardening Resources and accessible to everyone. Read more and Register here.

Lecture Series at New England Aquarium: Adventures in Sustainable Seafood

Thursday, December 6, 2012, 6:30PMNew England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110
Attendance is FREE. Bun Lai is the chef and owner of the highly acclaimed Connecticut restaurant Miya’s, one of the first sustainable sushi restaurants in the world. At Miya’s, he has rethought the cuisine of sushi using unconventional ingredients that are farmed or caught in a way that is restorative and regenerative of the planet. In addition to receiving the key to the City of New Haven and the Seafood Ambassador Award from Monterey Bay Aquarium, he has been named Greatest Person of the Day by The Huffington Post and one of Ecosalon’s 11 Eco-Chefs Who Are Changing the Way We Think About Food. The New York Times recently described Bun as “the mad scientist of the sustainable sushi movement.” For fun, Bun likes to go diving for clams and seaweed off of the restaurant’s fishing boat on their 100-acre ocean farm. Learn more and register here. Contact (617) 973-5200 for more information.


Leaf Bullet Save The Date

Bay Adventure: Keith’s Christmas tree farm tour

Sunday, December 9, 2012, 9:00am Keith’s Tree Farm, 429 Main Street, Acushnet
Explore a 148-acre working Christmas tree farm on the banks of the Acushnet River during a holiday Bay Adventure hosted by the Buzzards Bay Coalition. Join Allen Decker of the Bay’s Coalition land protection staff for a guided walk around Keith’s Tree Farm, which was protected in 2003 through a conservation restriction.

The tree farm – a thriving, popular local destination for self-pick Christmas trees – is an excellent example of how permanent land conservation can keep agricultural land in production while also protecting our local waterways. The tree farm owner, Keith Santos, may make an appearance to share his insights on why the conservation restriction was important to his family.

Reservations are requested; please contact Alicia Pimental to RSVP. Learn more here.

Exploring Climate Change Impacts on Vector-Borne Disease

Monday, December 10, 8:30 am – noon Hazard Conference Room, Coastal Institute, URI Bay Campus, 218 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI
This workshop will begin with a review of the natural history of mosquitoes and ticks, the diseases they carry and how this is likely to change as Rhode Island becomes warmer and wetter. This will serve as the basis for a discussion and debate of the best practices for vector control, and the policies that need to be in place to implement these measures. Case studies of current controversies, such as spraying for mosquitoes in Portsmouth and deer control in Jamestown will be discussed. The workshop is free, but register is asked. Read more and Register here.

USDA People’s Garden Initiative – Composting and Compost Use: How, Why and Where

Wednesday, December 12, and Thursday, December 13, 12 noon – 1pm Online
Part of the USDA People’s Garden Initiative Fall Webinar series. Do you want to make your own compost? You can produce high quality compost on a small-scale, but it’s important to use quality control standards from start to finish. Learn how you can get started, what to do with what you produce, and the many benefits and uses of compost. Read more and Register here.

Winter Tree Identification

Wednesday, December 19, 1:30PM – 3:00PM Lloyd Center for the Environment, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Are you curious about tree identification during winter? In this 90-minute program, we introduce methods to distinguish one tree from another. Then we’ll put your new identification skills to the test out on the Lloyd Center’s trails.
Pre-registration required by Noon, Tuesday, December 18. Price: Members: $4 Non-members: $5 All ages welcome Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen at 508-990-0505 x 14, or email Learn more here.

Winter Animal Signs

Saturday, December 29, 11:00am – 12:30PM Lloyd Center for the Environment, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Though you may not see animals during winter they are still all around us. Become a nature detective on this 90-minute family-friendly program and learn to recognize the different clues animals leave behind. Get a chance to discover some of the amazing adaptations that allow these animals to survive in the woods.
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Thursday, December 27th Price: Members: $4 Non-members: $5 All ages welcome Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jen at 508-990-0505 x 14, or email Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

10 tips for creating a healthier workplace

Smart policies, educational programs and the proper equipment can go a long way toward keeping employees healthy. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

How to Start a Tool Library in Your Community

Tool libraries, which have been around since at least the 1970s, offer communities a way to share resources that would otherwise spend the vast majority of the time sitting in drawers and garages. By providing access to tools, these libraries help to build resilient communities, they empower their users, they lessen neighborhoods’ ecological footprints and they help to beautify areas. Learn more here.


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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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