Sustainability Almanac for December 6



Letter from the Editor

Stringed instrument made from guns confiscated from Juarez, Mexico The illegal firearms markets and associated gun violence are serious problems threatening the welfare of peaceful citizens everyday. Nowhere is this more prevalent than Mexico, where the drug wars between cartels and the government’s military bring bloodshed and death daily. Many are looking to fight and protest the carnage everyday through peaceful action, such as artist Pedro Reyes. He, along with a group of musicians, have turned thousands of confiscated firearms into musical instruments. Together, they took the weapons apart and re-welded them into flutes, xylophones, guitars, harps, and other stringed and percussive instruments. The video on the article page and associated Imagine Blog show the team welding the different parts together and performing with them. Artist Pedro Reyes states on his site: “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.”

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and other debris islands have received worldwide coverage. They’ve become symbols of the impact of pollution and litter in our oceans, society’s wasteful habits, and human apathy. Desert garbage patches also exist; some inhabit national parks. Like ocean currents, wind patterns blow discarded plastic bags, bottles, balloons, cans, and other waste into these areas, threatening the ecosystems of various vegetation and wildlife. People still think they can throw their trash away with no consequences. Pieces of litter can break down into smaller pieces, decompose and mix in with the soil and water sources.

Leaf Bullet Global News

Olive picking Organic Farming Boom in Palestine

A back-to-the-land movement is blossoming in the Palestinian Authority, the United Nation’s newest nonmember observer state. “The Palestinian future is in the land.” Farmer Khader Khader said, standing in his organic olive grove in the northern West Bank village of Nus Jubail. Many Palestinian farmers are switching to organic farming methods, and selling their oil to high-end grocers in the US and Europe.

According to the aid group Oxfam, an estimated 17,000 tons of olive oil is produced annually in the West Bank by thousands of farmers, some of whom are producing fair trade olive products. Olive oil has unique traditional and cultural significance in the region. Most Palestinian olive oil is produced for local consumption. But this product is becoming increasingly important for Palestinians’ connection to the global economy. Read more here.

Smokestacks at sundownCO2 Emissions Output Reaches Record High Worldwide

Carbon dioxide emissions from industry rose an estimated 2.6% this year, according to a study of global carbon emissions. The research by the Global Carbon Project, an annual report card on mankind’s CO2 pollution, also says emissions grew 3.1% in 2011, placing the world on a near-certain path towards dangerous climate change, such as more heat waves, droughts and storms.

Current emissions growth is placing the world on a path to warm between 4C and 6C, says the study, with global emissions jumping 58% between 1990 and this year. The study focuses on emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production. A few big developing nations are fuelling the emissions growth, the study says, even though the global financial crisis spawned long-term green stimulus plans by China, India, the United States and others to attempt to curtail CO2 output. Read more here.

A string instrument made from guns confiscated in Juarez, Mexico From Weaponry to Symphony: An Artist Makes Music from Confiscated Guns

Mexican artist Pedro Reyes transformed 6,700 used weapons into an orchestra of musical instruments as an act of protest against gun violence and a firearms industry he says is killing his people. As part of a project Reyes calls Imagine, he worked with six musicians over several weeks to reimagine the weapons into objects that could create beautiful sounds. Together, they took the weapons apart and re-welded them into a variety of playable instruments that include wood, strings, and percussion.

According to the artist, over the last six years, there have been 80,000 deaths in Mexico due to gun violence. However, Reyes says that the more insidious problem lies with the gun industry; the suppliers who are on an endless circuit of trade shows, the ones who ignore assault weapon bans by continuing to sell them, while counting profit above responsibility, are the ones that need to be legislated. Read more here.

Scooping waste from water Ghana Explores a Truly Renewable Fuel Resource: Human Waste

Sewage isn’t for dumping anymore. Millions of gallons of raw sewage streaming into the world’s treatment plants have begun attracting a handful of people interested in turning the sludge into an alternative energy source, particularly in developing countries reliant on money-draining oil and gas imports.

Ghana’s renewable energy czar, Kwabena Otu-Danquah, plans to tap one of the country’s more plentiful resources–the 1,000 tons of sewage Ghana dumps into the ocean off the coast of its capital Accra every day–by building its first “fecal sludge-fed biodiesel plant.” The facility will essentially cook human excrement into biodiesel. Read more here.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon U.N. climate talks tell extreme weather is new normal

Extreme weather is the new normal and poses a threat to the human race, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, as he sought to revive deadlocked global climate change talks. Ban’s intervention came as efforts to agree a symbolic extension of the U.N. Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that obliges about 35 developed nations to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, looked to be faltering.

Ban said that Kyoto should be a platform for future climate change action even though Russia, Japan and Canada are pulling out, leaving a group led by the European Union and Australia that account for only 15 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions. The defectors say Kyoto is no longer relevant because emerging nations led by China and India will have no targets to curb their soaring emissions from 2013. And the United States, the second biggest emitter behind China, never ratified Kyoto. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Desert U.S. climate aid reaches across globe

At NASA headquarters, part of a map of Kenyan waterways blinks repeatedly in blue-gray, indicating where stream flow is heaviest and likely to cause flooding over the next 72 hours. Halfway around the world, officials at Kenya’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation can see the same data, which they use to try to reduce the loss of life and property from increasingly frequent floods linked to global warming.

The mapping technology is part of a collaboration by the space agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development that helps cash-strapped nations deal with the challenges of a changing climate. Over the past three years, the United States has ratcheted up support for foreign countries to cope with global warming, spending nearly $1.4 billion. A small slice of the total, $18 million, has transformed the satellite-based mapping program, called SERVIR, from a modest effort targeting seven countries in Central America to one serving 32 countries worldwide. Read more here.

Turtle in a Desert Park Great Desert Garbage Patches

Ocean garbage patches get a lot of attention, but a lot of trash is blowing across some of the most treasured and remote parts of America’s desert wilderness, according to a new study out of the University of Arizona.

Biologist Erin Zylstra mapped and added up all the wind-dispersed plastic trash bags and latex balloons in two protected parts of the Saguaro National Park in Arizona. She was surprised to discover that these particular kinds of very mobile trash outnumbered desert tortoises and western diamondback rattlesnakes. Like in the oceans, the bags and balloons pose potential threats to wildlife. Read more here.

Crop Dusting Are Pesticides and Food Allergies Linked?

People who are exposed to higher amounts of chemicals used to chlorinate water and kill crop pests are also more likely to suffer from food allergies. The new finding doesn’t prove or even suggest that pesticides or water chlorination cause food allergies. But it’s possible that a class of chemicals called dichlorophenols could alter the population of microbes in the human body, in turn influencing the immune system’s reaction to food triggers.

“Both environmental pollution and the prevalence of food allergies are increasing in the United States,” said lead author Elina Jerschow, a practicing allergist in New York City. “The results of this study suggest that these two phenomena might be linked.” Read more here.

The Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina Nuclear Power Whistleblowers Charge Federal Regulators With Favoring Secrecy Over Safety

Richard H. Perkins and Larry Criscione are precise and formal men with more than 20 years of combined government and military service. Now both men are also reluctant whistleblowers, stepping out publicly to accuse the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of being both disconcertingly sluggish and inappropriately secretive about severe — and in one case, potentially catastrophic — flood risks at nuclear plants that sit downstream from large dams.

Documents and charges shed new light on an agency that has been repeatedly criticized for allowing plant owners to delay crucial safety improvements for years, and for diligently withholding information not as a way of protecting the public interest, but as a way of protecting itself. Read more here.

Long Beach, N.Y., which decided not to build protective sand dunes along its beach, experienced at least $200 million in losses. Resisted for Blocking the View, Dunes Prove To Be Natural Hurricane Barriers

LONG BEACH, N.Y. – Surfers railed against the project because they said it would interfere with the curl of the waves. Local businesses reliant on beach tourism hated it, too. Who would flock to the historic Boardwalk, they asked, if sand dunes were engineered to rise up and obscure the ocean view? So, six years ago, after the Army Corps of Engineers proposed to erect dunes and elevate beaches along more than six miles of coast to protect this barrier island, the Long Beach City Council voted 5 to 0 against paying its $7 million initial share and taking part. Many of Long Beach’s 33,000 residents would come to regret it.

The smaller neighboring communities on the barrier island – Point Lookout, Lido Beach and Atlantic Beach – approved construction of 15-foot-high dunes as storm insurance. Those dunes did their job, sparing them catastrophic damage while Long Beach suffered at least $200 million in property and infrastructure losses, according to preliminary estimates. The Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency charged with maintaining the nation’s coastline, said some of the 100 miles of barrier dunes in the region were built by the corps, others by local governments themselves. Many of the projects were built to withstand storms less powerful than Hurricane Sandy, the corps said, and even in places where the surge cut through the sand, the dunes helped to soften the blow. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

Rural coops have received strong federal support for decades; could they now be the answer to urban poverty as well? Rural Coops Show the Way to Urban Job Growth

The US government’s success in boosting rural economies through cooperative development is a largely forgotten story that couldn’t be more relevant today. For instance, in creating jobs. Member owned cooperatives are a proven economic development strategy the world over, and were recognized as such by the United Nations which declared 2012 The International Year of the Cooperative. The democratic ownership and management of cooperatives creates stable enterprises and jobs. Yet, none of the $20 billion in loan programs available to rural cooperatives are available to urban ones. This is despite the fact that 80 percent of Americans now live in cities, with some of the highest poverty rates in the country.

a bill developed by cooperative groups – the National Cooperative Development Act – aims to bring technical assistance, revolving loans, and startup capital to coops in cities across America, recognizing that coops are a vital and long-term economic development model. Read more here.

An Occupy Sandy relief hub in the Rockaways, Queens In Hurricane Sandy Relief, a Reminder of Occupy’s Original Spirit

Commentators in the mainstream media have said the effective hurricane relief accomplished by Occupy Sandy represents a new direction in the movement. In fact, nothing could be closer to its founding ideas and actions. In an era in which we are increasingly coming to terms with the fact that essential technologies such as the Internet have been built and sustained not by the government or the private sector but by “peer networks,” Occupy’s emphasis on sustainable networks and grassroots connectivity was not incidental to the early success of the movement. The slogan “We are the 99%” provided the baseline for a new political discourse in the simple point that everyone-working-class, middle-class, and homeless; black, white, and Latino-both contributes to and benefits from our society.

Perhaps the biggest shift in public perception that has taken place over the last few weeks is the realization that the Occupy movement is as good at cooperating with communities as it is at protesting inequality. One of the main obstacles that the movement has confronted in the last year has been its tendency to use a stereotypical image of the activist as its public face, failing to accept that anyone who builds truly democratic community structures should be considered part of the project. It is heartening to see real cooperation between Occupy participants and grassroots organizations in the rebuilding efforts, from community relief networks and local churches to immigrant centers. Read more here

Shop Small The Gift of a Sustainable Economy

The holidays, once considered a sacred time for family and celebration, have been hijacked by big companies sending out a message to the American people, playing on an endless loop from as early as November 1st all the way to the New Year: “Buy, buy, buy!” Think of all of those products that millions of Americans are purchasing as gifts for their friends and family. Where were they manufactured? Who profits from their sale? What happens to them when they break or become obsolete? Despite the iron grip of major corporations on the consumer dollar, local businesses have managed to maintain a foothold in local economies, as many consumers grow weary of the processed foods and goods the retail chains provide. Farmer’s markets, community gardens, small shops and cooperatives are trendy now, and many are springing up in cities and towns across America.

This holiday season, instead of venturing out to the big retail chains to do your shopping, try thinking alternatively. Ask yourself what you, your friends, your neighbors and your family really need. There are real benefits to establishing local self-reliance — both short and long term. By supporting local shops, businesses and co-ops that have a tangible investment in the local community — far more so than the powerbrokers running national retail giants — and by encouraging new ideas and programs that focus on sustainability, you’ll do far more good for your community. What’s a better gift than that? Read more here.

The Economic Costs of Food Monopolies How Consolidated Agribusiness Harms The Organic Sector

The pioneers of organic agriculture probably did not foresee the day when consumers could buy organic junk food at the supermarket. But now organic is a $31 billion a year big business and the biggest food companies are eagerly moving to capture the profitable and high-priced organic food label. Although many consumers and farmers moved to organic to avoid corporate-controlled and unsustainable industrial food production, the Big Food monopoly is catching up.

In the past decade, the organic food sector has consolidated rapidly, and it now closely resembles the conventional food industry. Major food companies have snapped up organic brands and launched their own organic versions of popular foods. These conglomerates are also diluting the definition of organic and selling meaningless “natural” substitutes for organic foods. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

This Lobster was never seen again Lobster Cannibals Captured On Film Along Maine Coast

This summer lobsters exploded in number along the Maine coast. There were so many crustaceans crawling along the ocean floor – and into fishermen’s traps – that lobster prices plummeted. Many fishermen tied up their boats, and a price war even broke out between Canadian and Maine seafood distributors.

But lobster-loving New Englanders weren’t the only ones scarfing down the record-breaking harvest. Lobsters even started eating lobsters. Maine scientists witnessed what they say is the first direct evidence that that lobsters practice cannibalism. Read more here.

Massachusetts start-ups explore the more efficient side of clean tech

Sagewell is just one of a handful of Massachusetts companies developing software to assess energy use, and ideally help reduce it. Sagewell uses cameras that are designed to take pictures of heat seeping out from the windows, eaves, and inadequately insulated walls of any home. Rather than Google’s StreetView, this was what you might call HeatView. The company could collect thermal images of more than 10,000 homes a night. While Sagewell targets consumers, using the images it collects to help homeowners prioritize energy-saving upgrades and find contractors to perform them, others target commercial buildings or architects designing new structures. And at a moment when investors (and politicians) seem tapped out on supporting ambitious new energy technologies – remember Evergreen Solar, Konarka Technologies, and A123 Systems? – start-ups promoting energy efficiency suddenly have more luster than ever.

Raising $100 million and dedicating 10 years to creating a better wind turbine or solar panel is a tough task right now. Raising a couple million to create a new software product that can be sold profitably in a year or two is more realistic – and many of these energy efficiency start-ups are doing just that. Read more here.

EPA cleanup of 46 Parker Street Site properties complete

NEW BEDFORD – The Environmental Protection Agency has completed its testing and cleanup of 88 residential properties that sit on the former Parker Street Waste Site, EPA officials announced at a meeting Tuesday night. “We have taken a big step here towards a broader cleanup,” said Department of Environmental Protrection Deputy Regional Director Millie Garcia-Serrano. “But there are different laws as to what we can and cannot do and, legally, this is as far as the EPA’s involvement goes.”

Members of Citizens Leading Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) who were present at the meeting expressed concern that the completion of the testing represented an end to EPA involvement at the Parker Street Waste Site as a whole. “To say that the cleanup of this site is anywhere near completion is flat-out wrong,” said CLEAN Vice President Tom Derosier. He cited issues such as the continued leaking of PCB-contaminated groundwater into the high school mechanical room. Read more here.

The wind zone off Rhode Island and Massachusetts is 10 miles off the coast. U.S. Opens R.I. Coast to Offshore Wind

The Department of the Interior recently said it was proposing to offer competitive lease sales on nearly 280,000 acres – about 430 square miles – off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia. The sale is expected to go ahead in the first half of next year.

The area of mutual interest proposed for leasing off the shore of Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers about 164,750 acres and is 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coast. This acreage could support enough electricity to power 700,000 homes, according to the Department of the Interior. Read more here.

State giving New Bedford $300,000 to build walkway atop hurricane barrier

The state is giving the city more than $300,000 to build a walking path on top of the hurricane barrier, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan announced today.

“The project will not only have a positive economic impact but will also improve the quality of life to the citizens of New Bedford and its surrounding communities by opening up the beauties of our harbor to the public and further increasing public land dedicated to recreation,” Sen. Mark C.W. Montigny said in a release. Read more here.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey SouthCoast rail dominates local DOT public hearing

MassDOT staffers have fanned out across the state with plans to hold 19 public hearings with the goal of soliciting input that could guide future transportation planning. In no surprise, the stop at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Monday, the 17th on the tour, had many of the more than two dozen commenters calling for the expansion of commuter rail to the SouthCoast. Whether they lived to the east or the west of the Dartmouth campus, residents spoke of the economic development opportunities the rail will spur and opportunities it will create to shorten commute times for those who travel between the SouthCoast and Boston.

But while the commuter rail has long been a topic of interest in the region, two other issues were on the minds of most of the commenters. Many in the room called on MassDOT to improve biking opportunities throughout the region, saying that current bike paths lack connectivity. A number of speakers called on the state to eliminate the restriction on having a bike lane along active railroad lines, saying other states have used the concept with success. Read more here.

MassNeeds braces for rough winter

The economic upswing has yet to trickle down to thousands of working families, leaders of nonprofit charitable organizations say. Every day they see the plight of people struggling to get by: fishermen who need help paying for car registration so they can drive to the docks; families that heat their kitchens by boiling pots of water; and parents who can’t afford the copayments when their child has a cold. “I know that they talk about recovery,” said Brenda Swain, executive director of the Falmouth Service Center. But requests for food and financial assistance remain high.

On the state level, Gov. Deval Patrick recently ordered spending cuts across state government in response to slower-than-expected growth in state tax collections. With federal fuel subsidies declining, families are wondering if they will run out of fuel oil in November or make it to April, said Kathy Tobin, energy programs director for Action for Boston Community Development. Read more here.

Website built with Gateway Cities data

DARTMOUTH – A new home is being created for current, up-to-date data on the SouthCoast’s two Gateway Cities. The Urban Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth went live this month with a website aimed at providing indicators of Fall River and New Bedford’s health, currently providing data on everything from education to safety.

The data are being collected from sources including the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state’s Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports. Dawicki said additional categories will also be added including topics such as the manufacturing sector, environment, transportation and housing. Read more here.

Loggerhead Turtle Turtles stranding at record pace

QUINCY – With winter just a few weeks away, the 97-pound loggerhead sea turtle should be living it up somewhere in the warm Gulf of Mexico, or perhaps the Caribbean. Instead, the young male – less than 5 years old – is in a plastic tub filled with a few inches of water at New England Aquarium’s Animal Care Center, fighting for his life.

Stranding season, usually between mid-October to the end of December, occurs when inexperienced juvenile sea turtles migrate up the East Coast in the spring primarily to feed on crab and become trapped in Cape Cod Bay, unable to navigate the 20 to 25 miles north past the tip of the Cape to swim south for the winter. Depending on the winds, the immobile turtles will wash ashore during high tide. This year, the winds are good for rescuing turtles, said Bob Prescott, director of the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The organization has a team of volunteers and staff who use a directional wind formula to pinpoint exactly where sea turtles will wash up on beaches. Read more here.

A part of the ground mounted solar installation that is being built in front of the property of Manheim New England on Route 44 in Taunton. Solar panels on Route 44 in Taunton part of green energy project

A large-scale solar panel field has appeared in the front of the Manheim New England auto auction property facing Route 44 in Taunton on the border with Dighton.

Cox Enterprises, the company that owns Manheim along with Cox Communications, says that once fully completed the ground-mounted system will have a direct current peak power of 3 megawatts. The construction of the solar field started several months ago, and the company is working with the Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant (TMLP) to sell back solar energy to the utility company for use in the power grid. Read more here.

Shark Illustration Keeping an ear on the Cape’s sharks

ORLEANS – Ten Cape towns and Nantucket are banding together to find out more about the great white sharks cruising their shorelines. Officials hope the state will approve a $262,500 grant to expand a tagging program and create signs and brochures to warn and educate beachgoers. Although there has been evidence of increasing shark activity over the past decade, the problem came to the forefront with the tagging of five great white sharks off Chatham in 2009. It is likely more sharks are coming to the Cape every year.

Researchers hope that by linking these signal detections with information on the surrounding area, they will find patterns and clues to white shark behavior. Read more here.

City mom and pops eligible for technology funding

NEW BEDFORD – The planned creation of an International Marketplace along Acushnet Avenue in the city could draw a whole new customer base to the neighborhood. But many area businesses aren’t yet ready to take advantage of the opportunity, according to one local nonprofit that would like to change that situation.

Corinn Williams, executive director of the Community Economic Development Center, estimates that less than 40 percent of Acushnet Avenue businesses have broadband access or use technology for customer transactions, paying vendors, or managing their finances. Their owners often arrive at CEDC offices carrying notebooks of hand-written information and financials, looking for help with tasks like writing invoices, paying sales taxes online, or creating promotional flyers, she said. But technology can make both customer and vendor interactions faster, easier, and cheaper, she said. Read more here.

Providence is getting three new wind turbines that will be used to power a city wastewater plant. New wind turbines will power RI wastewater plant

Providence is getting three new wind turbines that will be used to power a city wastewater plant. The Narragansett Bay Commission built the turbines at a cost of $14 million. Federal clean water funds were used for the project. “This facility will reduce our carbon footprint by more than 3,000 tons and with the good Lord as our partner because he’ll make the wind blow. We should generate electricity to the extent of $1 million a year to the benefit of our ratepayers,” said Vin Mesolella of the Narragansett Bay Commission.

Field’s Point is the oldest sewage treatment plant in the country, but it’s now celebrated as one of the most environmentally advanced plants. Read more here.

Equestrians in Plymouth Plymouth equestrians say drivers are endangering their lives

PLYMOUTH – Most folks also slow down and pass bicyclists with caution, and know enough to come to a complete halt when a school bus stops. But many equestrians in town say a growing number of drivers are actually accelerating as they pass horses and riders on the road. And, in some cases, drivers are deliberately trying to spook the horses into rearing.

Speeding by a horse and rider can cause injury and even death. Riders tossed from their horses have wound up paralyzed – the most noteworthy of which may be actor Christopher Reeves, who became a quadriplegic after breaking his neck in a fall from his horse. So, why on earth wouldn’t drivers slow down when they see a horse on the road? Read more here.

Leaf Bullet This Week in Sustainability

Organizational Meeting for Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange

Thursday, December 6, 2012, 4PM – 7PM Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center, 151 Martine St. Fall River, Mass.
A time exchange, or timebank, is a system where members of a community-both individuals and organizations- with different needs and skills, can exchange services with one another. When one Time Exchange member performs one hour of service for another, they receive credit for that hour, called a ‘Time Credit’. A Time Exchange member can then use that Time Credit to receive an hour’s worth of work from another member.
We’d like to get a group of about 25 people together to identify volunteers who can act as local coordinators (or even pairs of coordinators) in their neighborhoods and form a team to move forward. We will also talk about specific projects the time exchange might pursue to address local needs. The meeting will start with an introduction to timebanking and the story of what we have to be done and how each person can help. Contact Bob Bailey, VISTA or Christoph Demers, VISTA to learn more about the Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange

Lecture Series at New England Aquarium: Adventures in Sustainable Seafood

Thursday, December 6, 2012, 6:30PM New 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.

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. For information or questions please contact: Robert Vanderslice , Healthy Homes and Environment Team Lead, RI Department of Health. Phone: 401-222-7766

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.

Capture the Geminids Meteor Shower with your Camera!

Thursday, December 13, 9:30 pm – 4:30 am Stone Barn Farm, 786 Horseneck Road, Dartmouth MA
Get ready for an amazing nighttime photography workshop! The Geminid meteor shower is approaching and you won’t want to miss the chance to take some amazing shots! Be sure to take a late afternoon nap as the start time for the program is 11:30pm! We’ll start with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chocolate in the Stone Barn as we discuss the shower and how to best photograph it and then will head out into the field. There will be time afterwards to review shots and discuss best practices and the experience.
Instructor: Myer Bornstein – Photographer & Naturalist Audience: Adult Fee: $24.00 member/ $30.00 non-member
Registration is required Read more and Register here.

Leaf Bullet Save The Date

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.

22nd Annual New Year’s Day Beach Walk

Tuesday, January 1, 10:00am – 12:30PM Gooseberry Neck Beach Parking Lot in Westport, MA
Join Research Director Mark Mello for this Lloyd Center tradition of celebrating the start of the New Year with a relaxing walk on Gooseberry Neck beach! With a focus on coastal ecology and bird identification, Mark will identify winter waterfowl and ‘washed up’ marine life. January is a wonderful time of year to walk the coast and observe the effects of wave action on the slope and shape of the beach. This is a very informal outing, and those that simply want to walk are more than welcome. Participants should dress warmly and wear hiking boots; binoculars and cameras are recommended as well.
This Event is FREE and no registration is required. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Mark at 508-990-0505 ext.22, or email Learn more here.

Municipal Solar Energy Seminar

Thursday, January 10, 8:30am – 1:00pm Woodland Commons Building at UMass Dartmouth
Solar energy projects are being developed everywhere throughout Massachusetts – and for a reason. At the end of the energy pipeline, Massachusetts imports from other states, regions and countries about 80 percent of the approximately $22 billion the state spends on energy to run homes, vehicles, and businesses each year. Currently, 340 of the state’s 351 cities and towns have at least one solar photovoltaic project. Massachusetts is now more than halfway to Governor Deval Patrick’s goal of 250 megawatts of solar power by 2017.

Keynoted by Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia, this seminar will feature workshops on how to write and adopt municipal solar energy zoning/siting by-laws, renewable energy requirements for becoming a Green Community, information about the state’s Solarize Mass pilot project currently underway in 17 cities and towns, issues relating to utility interconnection of solar power, the growth of solar installations on closed municipal landfills, and more. Come to hear from state, regional, and local officials and also to share your own stories and concerns.
Sponsored by NORESCO, The Southeastern Massachusetts Council on Sustainability, SRPEDD, The Southcoast Energy Challenge, and UMass Dartmouth’s Office of Campus and Community Sustainability. Contact the Sustainability Office for more information. Register here.

Leaf Bullet Green Tip

4 ways to create a sustainable holiday

A sustainable holiday season is definitely in reach, and it starts with all the merchandise. Do you really need to buy all that stuff just because it’s on sale? Well, maybe. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have an eco-friendly Christmas come Dec. 25. So what would a sustainable holiday look like? Have a look: Learn more here.

Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

Emergency Kit for Your Car

Emergencies and disasters occur, and you can’t always make it home. What will you need for three days if you are stuck on the freeway–or even on a bridge? 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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