Sustainability Almanac for January 3 to 10

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Leaf Bullet Global News

Forest clearance by APRIL Paper giant breaks pledge to end Rainforest logging

Pulp and paper giant Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) continues to destroy large areas of rainforests and peatlands despite a commitment to end natural forest logging by 2009, says a new report issued by a coalition of Indonesian environmental groups. “APRIL’s public commitment to sustainable and natural fiber free operations after 2009 was pure sales talk; greenwashing to win back customers who had left the company due to its dismal sustainability record,” said the report. “Any statements on environmental sustainability made by APRIL today must be viewed with the highest possible skepticism and should not be taken at face value.”

APRIL is a subsidiary of Royal Golden Eagle group, a conglomerate that owns palm oil producer Asian Agri and energy company Pacific Oil & Gas, among others. APRIL and its competitor, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), controls more than 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper production. Both companies have been targeted by environmental campaigners for their forest management practices on the island of Sumatra. Read more here.

Cricket China captivated by tiny tuneful insects that sing for their supper

China has a long history of cherishing insects for their voices and fighting abilities, immortalising crickets and bush crickets in poetry and paintings. After falling out of favour when the Communists came to power in 1949, the pastime re-emerged in the 1990s as people grew wealthier and renewed their interest in Chinese traditions. “It is such fun – it is the sound of nature. Can any musical instrument compare?” said Zhao Boguang, deputy director of the Capital sound-producing insect specialist committee. Selling crickets has become a lucrative industry for farmers from Shandong, which is said to produce the best. A specimen with a particularly fine song might cost 400 yuan. The most exquisite and melodic can command five times that. Volume is most important, but tone matters, too. There have even been cricket singing competitions.

The strongest cricket cultures are found in Beijing, Xi’an and Hangzhou because they were ancient capitals, said Zhao, reflecting the noble origins of the hobby. Other areas near the latter city took it up because of their relative wealth and love of betting, added Yin; gambling is banned but widespread on the mainland. Cricket fighting is an even more addictive pursuit than rearing the insects for their song. Read more here.

Tiger cubs in the Russian far east A few encouraging signs for Asia’s endangered tigers

Make no mistake. Tigers have gone extinct in Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the islands of Bali and Java in Indonesia and possibly in Korea. The iconic big cats remain endangered with extinction in other parts of their range, including China, Russia, Nepal, India and Thailand, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

A few years ago, 13 countries pledged to double the number of tigers from the base population of about 3,200 remaining in the wild. The overall population continues to hover at an all-time low due to the combined threats of habitat destruction, loss of prey and poaching for their pelts and body parts. But a few places see some promising signs of a comeback, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society. Read more here.

Mosquitoes carry diseases As Biodiversity Declines, Tropical Diseases Thrive

Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care – namely medicines and vaccines. But a new paper is a reminder that ecology also has a pretty big say in whether pathogens thrive or die off. Using a statistical model, researchers predicted that countries that lose biodiversity will have a heavier burden of vector-borne and parasitic diseases.

“The general logic is that the more organisms you have out there, the more things there are that can interrupt the life cycle of disease, and the less concentration you’ll have of any vector,” Matthew Bonds, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the paper, tells Shots. But plants, mammals and birds are disappearing fast – one-third of the world’s species are now threatened with extinction, according to the United Nations. And when the creatures that prey on mice, mosquitoes or other vectors of disease go, parasites and other disease-causing agents discover it’s a lot easier to survive. If a country with a relatively high biodiversity (such as Indonesia) were to lose 15 percent of it, the burden of disease would be expected to increase by about 30 percent. Read more here.

Giant jellyfish clogging fishing nets in Japan. Are jellyfish booming and taking over the oceans?

Though some reports suggest jellyfish are taking over the world’s oceans, long-term records of these gelatinous animals fail to show a global increase in jellyfish blooms likely caused by pollution, warming, coastal development and other human influences.

Blamed for stinging swimmers, clogging fishing nets, overrunning ecosystems and wreaking other havoc, jellyfish blooms – when these animals appear in massive numbers – have caught the attention of the media and scientists alike. A number of research papers have suggested that not only are blooms increasing on a global scale, but humans are likely responsible, because humans alter the oceans in ways that favor jellyfish. Read more here.

Other Global Headlines of Interest

Leaf Bullet National News

Facebook's headquarters campus is surrounded on three sides by water, and already requires a levee to keep it dry. Can Silicon Valley Adapt to Climate Change?

Facebook is just one of the well-known companies in Silicon Valley’s technology mecca that will face the effects of climate change in years ahead. Others located near the water here include Google, Yahoo, Dell, LinkedIn, Intuit, Intel, Cisco, Citrix and Oracle. Scientists predict seas will climb as much as 16 inches by midcentury and 65 inches by 2100. Storms are expected to intensify and occur more often. Both pose dangers for businesses and homes near the bay. Yet Silicon Valley, a place that in many ways creates the future through technological advances, largely has yet to tackle the repercussions that climate change will bring in years ahead, several people said.

Much of the Golden State’s coastline is at risk, experts explained, but Silicon Valley — home to 3 million people — is particularly vulnerable. In the early 1900s it was a series of orchards known as Valley of Heart’s Delight. As water was pumped up for irrigation, the ground sank. As a result, Silicon Valley is 3 to 10 feet below sea level, Travis said. Dirt levees exist but don’t ensure protection. They weren’t engineered but were pushed together when businesses later cleared land to create ponds for harvesting salt. A draft study from the Army Corps of Engineers found that an extreme storm coupled with higher seas could top them and devastate homes and businesses. Read more here.

Red wiggler worms are used to manufacture vermicompost at Sonoma Valley Worm Farm in California. Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Growers

New research suggests that a worm-created soil additive called vermicompost, offers an array of benefits for plants – helping them grow with more vigor, and making them more resistant to disease and insects, than those grown with other types of composts and fertilizers. The earthworm’s digestive process, it turns out, “is a really nice incubator for microorganisms,” said Norman Q. Arancon, an assistant professor of horticulture at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. And these microbes, which multiply rapidly when they are excreted, alter the ecosystem of the soil. Some make nitrogen more available to plant roots, accounting for the increased growth. The high diversity and numbers of microbes outperform those in the soil that cause disease. By contrast, Dr. Arancon said, soil that has been heavily exposed to synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides lacks microbial richness and diversity, qualities that can be restored naturally by adding the microbes from worms.

Some experts and entrepreneurs hope earthworms can also help with another problem: the growing piles of animal waste from dairy farms and other agricultural operations. Read more here.

Operator manufactures high-efficiency solar cells Award-winning photovoltaic cell sets world record for solar power efficiency

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and their industry partner Solar Junction, have just set the bar even higher in the race for ultra-high-effiency photovoltaic (PV) cells by achieving another world record of 44% efficiency. The three-layered cell, SJ3, converted 44% of the energy in sunlight into electrical energy – a rate that has stimulated demand for the cell to be used in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) arrays for utility-scale energy production. CPV technology gains efficiency by using low-cost lenses to multiply the sun’s intensity, which scientists refer to as numbers of suns. Success with multijunction cells – layered semiconductors each optimized to capture different wavelengths of light at their junctions – gave NREL a head start.

The SJ3 cells fit into the market for utility-scale CPV projects. They’re designed for application under sunlight concentrated to 1,000 times its normal intensity by low-cost lenses that gather the light and direct it at each cell. In regions of clear atmosphere and intense sunlight, such as the U.S. desert Southwest, CPV has outstanding potential for lowest-cost solar electricity. There is enough available sunlight in these areas to supply the electrical energy needs of the entire United States many times over. Read more here.

A sprinkler is used near Dodge City, Kansas. Residents of the Great Plains have experienced storms reminiscent of the 1930s Dust Bowl. Storms on U.S. Plains stir memories of the “Dust Bowl”

Residents of the Great Plains over the last year or so have experienced storms reminiscent of the 1930s Dust Bowl. Experts say the new storms have been brought on by a combination of historic drought, a dwindling Ogallala Aquifer underground water supply, climate change and government farm programs. Nearly 62 percent of the United States was gripped by drought, as of December 25, and “exceptional” drought enveloped parts of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. There is no relief in sight for the Great Plains at least through the winter, according to Drought Monitor forecasts, which could portend more dust clouds.

A wave of dust storms during the 1930s crippled agriculture over a vast area of the Great Plains and led to an exodus of people, many to California, dramatized in John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” While few people believe it could get that bad again, the new storms have some experts worried that similar conditions – if not the catastrophic environmental disaster of the 1930s – are returning to parts of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado. Read more here.

The Kulluk off the coast of Alaska Shell drill ship runs agrounds off Alaska

A large drill ship belonging to oil major Shell ran aground off Alaska after drifting in stormy weather, company and government officials said. The Kulluk was being towed by a 360-foot anchor handler, the Aiviq, and a tugboat, the Alert. The vessels were moving north along Kodiak Island, trying to escape the worst of the storm. The Coast Guard is planning a salvage operation and possible spill response. It is carrying close to 143,000 gallons of diesel and about 12,000 gallons of lube oil and hydraulic fluid

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who is the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, issued a statement expressing his concerns about the Kulluk situation. “Oil companies keep saying they can conquer the Arctic, but the Arctic keeps disagreeing with the oil companies,” Markey said. “Drilling expansion could prove disastrous for this sensitive environment.” Read more here.

Also read USA Today

Other National Headlines of Interest

Leaf BulletVoices

The Monopoly Man The Financial Elite’s War Against the US Economy

Today’s economic warfare is not the kind waged a century ago between labor and its industrial employers. Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012.) The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enables creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers.

Workers have become so deeply indebted on their home mortgages, credit cards and other bank debt that they fear to strike or even to complain about working conditions. Losing work means missing payments on their monthly bills, enabling banks to jack up interest rates to levels that used to be deemed usurious. So debt peonage and unemployment loom on top of the wage slavery that was the main focus of class warfare a century ago. And to cap matters, credit-card bank lobbyists have rewritten the bankruptcy laws to curtail debtor rights, and the referees appointed to adjudicate disputes brought by debtors and consumers are subject to veto from the banks and businesses that are mainly responsible for inflicting injury. Read more here.

Philippe Galle (Haarlem 1537 - Anversa 1612)/Mazzucchelli Museum Which Kind of Booze Is Best for the Planet?

An inconvenient vermouth: When it comes to global warming, why beer beats tequila, whiskey tops rum, and savvy New Yorkers buy French wine. In terms of greenhouse-gas emissions, US booze manufacturers release the annual equivalent of 1.9 million households. How’s that for a buzzkill? The good news is that you have choices. Here are a few tips for drowning your sorrows sustainably. Read more here

Illustration of Shareable Economy 9 Ways to Kick Off a Shareable 2013

With 2013 upon us, New Year’s resolutions are being scribbled down by the dozens. Maybe your resolutions include a commitment to healthier eating or more family time, kicking a bad habit or volunteering at a local nonprofit. Whatever your pleasure, the beginning of a new year is a fresh start. It feels like pure potential; like anything is possible.

What better way to kick off the year than to commit to more sharing? Whether cars, meals, officespace, childcare, time, skills or your home, sharing, in its many forms, is an excellent way to build community, consume fewer resources and support the sharing movement by putting your actions where your mind is. To stir up some ideas and inspiration, we asked several leaders of sharing communities around the world to offer their thoughts on the best way to kick off a shareable 2013. Here’s what they came up with. Read more here.

Bicyclists How Bicycling is Transforming Business

Cities across the U.S. are discovering that good biking attracts great jobs and top talent to their communities. Young people today are driving significantly less than previous generations, according to a flurry of recent reports. Even Motor Trend magazine notes that young professionals flocking to cities today are less inclined to buy cars and “more likely to spend the money on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and $2,000-plus bikes.” Annual miles traveled by car among all 16- to 34-year-olds dropped 23 percent from 2001 to 2009, according to a study from the “Frontier Group” thinktank – and that does not even count the past three years of recession and $4-a-gallon gas. The Federal Highway Administration found the miles traveled by drivers under 30 dropped from 21 to 14 percent of the total between 1995 and 2009.

These young people represent the “creative class” talent pool that many companies covet. That’s why civic, business, and political leaders around the country are paying attention to the next generation’s wishes for lively, livable places to work and play. This means diverse cultural opportunities, plentiful cafes and restaurants, a tolerant social climate, a variety of housing choices, and ample transportation options like biking – not only for commuting to work, but also for recreation after work and, in some cases, over the lunch hour. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet Local News

Waste incineration plant Massachusetts plan to burn waste is opposed

A state plan to loosen a nearly quarter-century moratorium on new waste incinerators is reigniting a long-simmering trash war in Massachusetts over how to deal with the vast amounts of garbage that residents and businesses generate each day. State officials say landfill space is already so tight that Massachusetts is forced to export significant amounts of trash. By the end of the decade, space will be so scarce that the state could export as much as 18 percent of the garbage it generates. To ease the landfill crunch, officials want to allow new technologies on a limited scale that would turn waste into energy and not emit as many harmful air pollutants as traditional incinerators.

Yet environmentalists are ardently opposed, arguing that the state could find more space for garbage if it stopped allowing banned materials such as recyclables, yard debris, and wood into landfills and incinerators. At the South Hadley Landfill in October, for example, there were at least 50 truckloads of banned material dumped in the landfill, according to town officials. Environmentalists maintain that the new technologies are unproved and environmentally unsound and that loosening the incinerator moratorium will mean the state will not work harder to reduce waste. Read more here.

Lloyd Center receives $10,000 to help Fall River public school students understand the environment

DARTMOUTH – Fall River fifth-graders are going to be getting some hands-on learning opportunities with the help of a $10,000 grant to the Lloyd Center for the Environment. The Boston-based CHT Foundation donated the funds to the center’s Climate Science Learning Project, a program launched in 2011 that teaches science and mathematics in a hands-on environment, a Lloyd Center news release said.

As part of the program, Fall River middle school students are documenting the potential effects of climate change on local wildlife. The students work side by side with Lloyd Center researchers. Read more here.

Bondsville Dam in Belchertown, MA Mass. lawmakers OK bill to repair, remove old dams

BOSTON – Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a bill designed to make it easier for cities and towns to repair or remove crumbling dams and seawalls. The legislation would set aside $17 million for the repair or removal of unsafe, abandoned or useless dams while also helping strengthen the state’s coastal infrastructure.

The bill would require the commissioner of conservation and recreation to issue a report on all dams in the state and require that emergency plans be drawn up for all dams deemed to be at a high or significant hazard. There are about 3,000 dams in Massachusetts. Read more here.

Audubon Society joins new regional Time Exchange

WESTPORT – SouthCoast residents looking to spend more time outdoors while still getting chores done might finally have a solution. The Mass. Audubon Society’s SouthCoast sanctuaries this week joined the Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange. Started in September, the Time Exchange is a way for people to trade something they need done for something they can do without exchanging money.

“If I mow your lawn for an hour, I get a credit that I can then use for anything I want,” said Chris Demers of the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Massachusetts. “Then, if I want guitar lessons or a ride to the doctor, I can use that credit to get anyone who is part of the exchange to do that for me.” Read more here.

Oakdale Farms in Rhode Island What is Economic Impact of R.I.’s ‘Green’ Industry?

Rhode Island is a unique place. It’s the smallest state, but among the most diverse in terms of agricultural production and green-related industries. Estimating the economic impact of these sectors has proved difficult, as evidenced by local industry claims that published federal government estimates are too low.

The Ocean State’s geographic pattern of sizes and types of green-related businesses is a likely cause of estimation error. In order to obtain the most accurate estimates possible, we took a novel approach by counting individual businesses from the bottom-up, an approach made possible by Rhode Island’s small size. Most people hear the term “green-related industry” and immediately assume it refers to recycling, sustainability or restoration. We took green literally. We defined green-related industry to be natural resource or plant-based industries, including agriculture, landscape contractors and designers, retail farm and garden supply, golf courses, and other related and supporting industries. Read more here.

Empty bottles of water Concord girds for ban on single-serving water bottles

Single-serving plastic water bottles will soon be stripped from the shelves of stores, restaurants, and vending machines in Concord as businesses prepare for the town’s ban on the sale of such containers to take effect this week. With its Town Meeting vote last spring, Concord apparently became the first community in the nation to outlaw the bottles in an effort to improve the environment. But opposition is mounting among some residents, business owners, and the bottled water industry.

Some residents are preparing to submit a citizen’s petition for the upcoming Town Meeting in April that would seek to overturn the bylaw. “As a mother of three young kids, I’m in favor of banning assault weapons and school violence, not harmless water,” said Adriana Cohen, who lives in town and is part of Concord Residents for Consumer Choice. “It’s a no-brainer our country needs to focus on the most important priorities facing humanity and that is the health and safety of our children.” Once the new bylaw takes effect in the new year, plastic water bottles 1 liter or less cannot be sold in Concord, said Town Manager Chris Whelan. Even six-packs or cases of individual bottles cannot be sold, he said. Read more here.

Quahoggers return to the bay at the tip of Sconticut Neck Road in Fairhaven, which had been closed since the oil spill that closed the area 10 years ago. For Fairhaven quahoggers, industry needs all the help it can get

Fairhaven only gives 50 commercial quahogging licenses per year, but statistics are not available for how many of them are divers or hand-rakers. Recreational quahogging has been on the rise in Fairhaven in recent years, with more than 500 people holding licences that allow them one peck – a quarter of a bushel – per week. Commercial license holders like Wolfgang and Miller can rake 1.5 to 3.5 bushels of quahogs per day.

Both Wolfgang and Miller blame the difficulties they have in quahogging on what they say are lax regulations that leave the mud flats barren. “I never knew a fisherman who liked regulations, but this here is a great natural resource and we need to make sure it stays this way,” he said. Read more here.

GREEN THUMBS UP: It’s time to analyze your winter landscape

January is a time for reflection, relaxation, resolutions, research and a time to dream. The dormant winter months are an ideal time to analyze your landscape and jot down ideas for the spring planting season. The winter months are perhaps the most important time of the year around which to design our plantings.

During the spring, summer and fall seasons, our woodlands, meadows, roadsides and our landscapes usually offer a wide array of changing colors, but during the winter months, when we yearn for color most, many landscapes appear drab and lifeless. As we examine our surroundings at this time of year, it becomes readily apparent that the scenery, especially in winter, is often viewed from within our homes. Read more here.

Demolished White Pines Hotel Razed motel in Wareham may be replaced with affordable housing units

The White Pines Motel has been razed, and residents may see affordable housing units built in its place. While the project is just getting rolling, potential owner Bob Minichielli is in the process of negotiating the sale of the property with the current owner.

Minichielli acknowledged that there is a certain stigma associated with affordable housing. Namely, that it attracts undesirable people to an area. According to Minichielli, “that’s just not a reality. If you have some young family living in a hotel because they ran into hard times, they’re not bad people.” He pointed out that worrying about attracting people from outside of Wareham who are in need of affordable housing makes little sense, because there are already people in Wareham who need affordable units to rent. “They’re already here,” said Minichielli. “What would be the difference if you moved them from a lousy environment – especially young children – into a better environment?” Read more here.

CertaPro Painters fined $5,750 for pouring waste paint into Paskamansett River

The state Department of Environmental Protection slapped a Fairhaven painting company with a $5,750 fine after investigators found waste paint wash water in the Paskamansett River. CertaPro Painters, located on Lambeth Park Drive in Fairhaven, admitted its employees dumped the wastewater into a storm drain at the Dartmouth Mall, a DEP news release said. Read more here.

Larry Dressler, left, founder of Tomorrow BioFuels and biologist Daniel Matuszek with their carbon dioxide capture system. Carbon Reduction Combined with Algae Fuel

For Larry Dressler biofuels present several promising businesses with dramatic environmental benefits. Dressler, founder of Tomorrow BioFuels, has two primary operations: a carbon-capture system and algae farm. The two are interconnected and offer plausible offshoot businesses. Dressler learned about the energy and biofuel business while growing up and working for his family’s Pawtucket-based vegetable oil refinery, Colfax Inc. The company processed oil for baking and fryer oil for Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Controlling the nutrients, such as CO2, also allows for precise volumes of algae and predictable pricing for customers, something petroleum can’t promise, Dressler said. During the next 18 months, Dressler plans to expand to a 1- to 3-acre facility for producing food products from the algae. About 15 acres would be needed to expand the biofuel development of algae. Read more here.

Massachusetts Home inspector offers a few simple tips to lower energy bills

Chances are very good that the energy bills for your house are too high. There are many low-cost projects you can have done to reduce your bills, and even more for the do-it-yourselfer. As a professional home inspector for the past 25 years, I have a few tips to help lower them this winter. Read more here.

Mattapoisett bike path goes the second mile

The Mattapoisett Bike Path Committee went the extra mile over the past year to get the second phase of the project underway. The current path begins at Mattapoisett Neck Road and extends one mile to connect to Fairhaven’s bike path.

Committee Chair Steve Kelleher said there was some controversy over the path at the beginning. But he said, “Everyone has been gung ho since the first mile was finished.” For second phase of the project, the committee is working to add an additional mile that will bring the path to Depot Street in Mattapoisett Village. Read more here.

Dartmouth ban on tobacco sales in effect

In the spirit of, “You want something right, do it yourself,” a growing number of local communities have given up waiting for the Legislature or Congress to do something about smoking. Yesterday, New Year’s Day, a ban on tobacco sales at pharmacies and other health-related shops took effect in Dartmouth. New Bedford and Fall River have had such a ban since last January, and Westport signed up in October.

It’s all very well-intentioned, and it makes logical sense because it is kind of cynical to be selling cancer sticks while dispensing prescription drugs. I suppose it’s worth making the attempt, because the way we treat tobacco sales has been evolving in this country for the last 50 years. Read more here.


Leaf BulletThis Week

Global Voice Science on a Sphere Evening Series

Wednesday, January 9, 6pm Ocean Explorium, 174 Union Street, Downtown New Bedford
This month, Global Voice Science on a Sphere Evening Series features James T. Griffith, Ph.D., CLS(NCA), Chancellor Professor and Chairperson, Dept. of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, speaking on “Infectious Disease and Climate Change.” Watch the spread of deadly diseases across the globe on Science on a Sphere, then listen as Dr. Griffith explains how climate change can contribute to this phenomenon.
Price: $5/Members, $10/Non-members, $8/Students, $3/Child Pre-register online or call 508-994-5400 for more information. For any questions, please email Ocean Explorium. Learn more here.

SEMAP’s 2013 Annual Winter Networking Meeting

Wednesday, January 9, 6:00pm – 7:30pm Urban Acres Farm 187 Plymouth Ave., Building 8, Fall River, MA 02721
Calling all Farms, Chefs, Schools, Caterers and Businesses looking for local…Join SEMAP at our Annual Winter Networking Meeting!
SEMAP is teaming up with The Carrot Project to share new ideas on farm financing and loan programs, specifically for Southeastern MA farms. Our host, Urban Acres Farm is a new hydroponics operation in the heart of Fall River’s historic mill district. Utilizing and revamping old mill space, the entrepreneurial farmers at Urban Acres are growing traditional crops (with some surprises) in an untraditional setting. Using dutch buckets, lights, and climate controlled settings the farm is able to grow product year round, offering CSA members with fresh tomatoes in the short days of December.
There will be plenty of time for NETWORKING with new faces and old friends with plenty of local food! BRING A SAMPLE / SMALL DISH! If you have a local product available, please bring a sample to share with prospective buyers/suppliers.
Any questions, please contact Sarah Cogswell here. 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 BulletSave The Date

Taste, Memory | Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter

Friday, January 11, 6pm Westport Grange, 931 Main Rd, Westport
The Trustees of Reservations proudly invite David Buchanan to the Westport Town Grange to talk about his new book, Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors, and Why They Matter. David is the author of Taste, Memory, which describes the importance and pleasures of biodiversity and its essential role in sustainable food systems.

Listen to David explore with us the fundamental questions to the future of food and farming. How can we strike a balance between preserving the past, maintaining valuable agricultural and culinary traditions, and looking ahead to breed new plants? What place does a cantankerous old pear or too-delicate strawberry deserve in our gardens, farms, and markets? To what extent should growers value efficiency and uniformity over matters of taste, ecology, or regional identity? Call 774.488.9604 for more information. Read more here.

Star Gazing Walk

Saturdays, January 12 – February 2, 7am Manny Rose Perry Agricultural Reserve, Barney’s Joy Road, Dartmouth, MA
Join Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) and guest leader Gerald P. Dyck for a free “Star Gazing Walk” at DNRT’s Manny Rose Perry Agricultural Reserve at 5:30 pm on Friday, January 18, 2013 (rain date: Saturday, January 19 at 5:30 pm). Mr. Dyck, former music teacher in the Dartmouth Public Schools and life-long active amateur astronomer, will lead participants in orientating themselves to the night sky and identifying major winter constellations and other points of interest. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the evening’s weather and to bring binoculars if they have them. Call (508)991-2289, or email DNRT Read more here.

New Bedford Bicycle Committee Meeting

Wednesday, January 16, 6:00pm – 7:00pm New Bedford City Hall, Room 314
Steve Miller, Executive Director, New England Healthy Weight Initiative at Harvard School of Public Health, LivableStreets Alliance Board Member and avid cyclist, will discuss biking in New Bedford! The committee meets to advocate for safe bicycling and pedestrian paths and lanes for transit and recreational purposes, raise awareness of the need for improved connectivity throughout the city, and represents the City of New Bedford as part of the regional South Coast Bikeway initiative. All those who are passionate about making New Bedford a safer place to ride and getting more people involved in riding are welcomed to attend. Read more and Register here.

DNRT Trail Running Series

Friday, January 18, 5:30PM Destruction Brook Woods Reserve, Dartmouth, MA
Have you ever wanted to try trail running, but didn’t know how or where to go? Are you tired of your same old running route? Do you have a New Year’s resolution that you need to fulfill? We have just the solution! Come down to Destruction Brook Woods starting Saturday January 12 at 7:00 am and give it a try. A group of trail runners (from beginner to experienced) will be meeting at the main lot on Slades Corner Road. The great thing about Destruction Brook Woods is the route you take can depend on your skill level. So, come on and give it a try! As always there is no charge to join the group, but registration is required, space is limited. Call (508)991-2289, or email DNRT Dress to run, wear layers and bring your own water. Read more and Register here.

Seal Watch in Woods Hole Harbor

Saturday, January 19, 9am – 11am Buzzards Bay Discovery Center (21 Luscombe Ave., Woods Hole)
Join the Bay Coalition for a winter adventure to look for harbor seals, one of Buzzards Bay’s most popular winter visitors. The trip will begin at the Buzzards Bay Discovery Center in Woods Hole, where guests will examine a model of a harbor seal and learn about their life in Buzzards Bay and beyond. Then the group will board the M/V Richard Edwards to look for these playful mammals in Woods Hole Harbor. The boat is heated and we will provide binoculars.
Cost: $30 for Bay Coalition members, $40 for non-members, $25 for children
RSVP: Reservations are required for this Bay Adventure. To RSVP, contact Rob Hancock at 508.999.6363 x222. Learn more here.

SEANET VOLUNTEER-RECRUITMENT WORKSHOP

Saturday, January 19, 10:00am – 1:00pm Lloyd Center for the Environment, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
The Lloyd Center is seeking volunteers to join the SEANET (Seabird Ecological Assessment Network) program which involves using patterns of beached bird deposition along coastal shorelines to help detect the impact to our shores, seabird life, and the offshore marine environment. If you are a casual environmentalist, avid birder, and/or simply enjoy walking the beach and want to use your time to help provide important information for use in various marine initiatives, then this project could be for you.
The workshop will feature an indoor session and weather permitting, a beach walk where attendees will put their knowledge to use. Volunteers will leave the workshop with a site location, materials and the background information needed to start surveying. Volunteers will conduct monthly surveys for both beached and live birds at their site of choice and collect basic environment conditions data during their walks. When volunteers find beached birds, they will take measurements and photographs, mark the specimens, and document other findings from the walk.
Pre-registration required by 4:00 p.m., Friday, January 18th This is FREE to the public Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jamie Bogart at 508-990-0505 x 23, or email Learn more here.

Beyond the Barway

Friday, January 25, 1pm – 3pm Westport Field Office, 1100 Main Rd., Westport
Barways are those inviting openings in stone walls and fences that lure us to the fields and paths ahead. Join the Trustees and Westport Land Conservation Trust for a guided walk. Learn about land protection for the experts and get a rare glimpse of open space preserved for Westport’;s future. Be prepared for uneven ground and grand surprises. Meet at 1100 Main Road.
Members: FREE. Nonmembers: $5. Call 508.636.4693 x13 for more information. Learn more here.

Animal Tracking

Saturday, January 26, 9am Freetown/Fall River State Forest HQ, Slab Bridge Rd, Assonet
Although the forests of the 13,600 acre Bioreserve might at first appear unhabitated in winter, they are, in fact full of life. While a few animals do head south to hibernate away the winter months, most remain in New England and are active all year. At the Bioreserve, mammals are out and about, foraging for food and leaving their tracks in the snow. Rabbit, deer, fox, coyote, turkey, and fisher are just some of the animals whose tracks may be found. Join Bill Sampson, senior keeper at Buttonwood Park, to learn the art of tracking animals in winter. Cost is FREE to attend. Call 508.636.4693 x13 for more information. Learn more here.

Dam Removal and River Restoration in Massachusetts

Saturday, January 26, 10am Wareham Library, Wareham, MA
Join Beth Lambert, River Restoration Program Coordinator for the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, for a public program on dam removals and river restoration in Massachusetts. The program is co-sponsored by the Wareham Land Trust and the Buzzards Bay Coalition.
Massachusetts has more than 3,000 dams, many of which have outlived their original purpose. Dam removal can remove out-of-date infrastructure, eliminate owner liability, reduce flood hazards, and restore the ecology of rivers and streams. The Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration emphasizes dam removal as a river restoration tool, and is currently working on over 30 dam removal projects with local, state, and federal partners. This talk will describe the science behind dam removal and the dam removal process including an overview of recently completed projects. Learn more here.

Southeastern Massachusetts Land Trust Convocation

Saturday, February 2, 8:30am – Noon Quality Inn Hotel, Bourne (Canal Club Facility, Trowbridge Rd. off Bourne Bridge Rotary)
Please join fellow conservation professionals, volunteers, and board members for a morning of free workshops. Come hear about:

  • What habitat restoration methods work and where to find financial support.
  • Why special events can be an important fundraising tool for your land trust.
  • When to use alternative, non-traditional techniques for land protection.
  • How to engage new audiences on your conservation land.

Co-sponsored by The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Buzzards Bay Coalition, and the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition Learn more here.

Municipal Wind Energy Seminar

Thursday, February 7, 8:30am – 1:00pm Woodland Commons Building at UMass Dartmouth
Keynoted by Steven Clarke, Assistant Secretary for Energy. Massachusetts has seen a 20-fold increase in installed wind energy generation since 2007, with 61 megawatts installed as of the end of this summer – enough to power nearly 19,296 homes and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from 13,117 cars annually.
With abundant wind resources offshore, along the coast, and in the higher elevations of Central and Western Massachusetts, wind energy presents an opportunity to reclaim much of the approximately $18 billion Massachusetts sends out of the state, to purchase the energy needed to run homes, vehicles and businesses each year. This Wind Energy session will speak to zoning bylaw development as well as other issues that tend to be stumbling blocks. There will be time for discussion about regional initiatives as well as opportunities to interact with Green Communities officials and Energy Savings Companies.
This seminar is part of our 4-part Municipal Sustainability Symposia Series. 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. Learn more here.

Annual Lloyd Center Owl Prowl

Sunday, February 10, 3:30am – 8:00am Lloyd Center for the Environment, 430 Potomska Road, Dartmouth, MA
Are you an owl enthusiast, curious about these mystical birds, or just enjoy a cold New England winter’s night? Then this outing may be just for you. In addition to being fascinating birds, owls are mysterious creatures that are rarely seen and heard only through keen observation. In winter, owls are building nests and establishing territories so they are quite active while most other wildlife sleeps.
Starting at the Lloyd Center’s headquarters, enjoy a series of stops along the country roads of Dartmouth, where we’ll venture into the dark winter woods to attract owls with callback tapes. Screech, great horned, and barred owls are potential species heard and seen. At sunrise, enjoy a refreshing walk along a pristine coastal beach, where other birdlife can be seen. Winter waterfowl are abundant, and other owl species more active during daylight hours can be seen on a lucky day. Coffee will be provided at the Lloyd Center during the outing’s conclusion, when you’re free to either depart or remain on the grounds to explore the trial network in all its winter glory.
Price: Lloyd Center members: $9, non-members: $12 (children under 12: members $4.50 non-members $6). Program is suitable for ages 10 and up Items to bring (if you have them): binoculars, camera, flashlight
Pre-register online, or call the Center’s Event line at 508-558-2918. If you have specific questions regarding the program, please call Jamie Bogart at 508-990-0505 x 23, or email Learn more here.

SEMAP’s 6th Annual Agriculture and Food Conference

Saturday, February 23, 8:30am – 5pm Bristol Agricultural High School, Dighton, MA
Sponsored by the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP). Whether you’re a professional farmer, a backyard gardener, or just curious about locally grown food, this is the event for you! This year we’re expanding the day’s offerings to include workshops for the public and for youth ages 7-12, as well as workshops on organic methods.
Registration includes a locally-sourced lunch (yes, in February!) and at the Resource Fair you’ll learn about local organizations and businesses that provide services and products to help you grow, whether you’ve got a hundred acres or a couple of window boxes. Registration is $35 for farmers, $50 for the public, and $20 for youth and students.
Please Note: Online registration will close on Friday, February 22nd – You may show up at the conference Saturday (cash or check ONLY), but we cannot guarantee a lunch for same-day registrants. Businesses or organizations interested in exhibiting can contact Kristen at (508) 295-2212 x50 or here. Register and get a list of scheduled workshops here.


Leaf Bullet Announcements

Roger Williams University Announces Aquaculture Course Program

The Roger Williams University Center for Economic and Environmental Development today announced it is presently enrolling students to its non-credit course in Practical Shellfish Farming for the winter 2013 semester. This course will provide interested individuals the technical information needed to confidently undertake a small shellfish farming enterprise in Rhode Island and nearby areas of Southern New England. All In this semester-long course, students will learn the basic principles of hatchery, nursery and grow-out operations; as well as risk management, siting and permitting, and business management.
The course starts January 8, 2013 and will consist of a minimum of 12 classes, which will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The fee for the entire 12 + week course, including all handout materials, is $125 per student. Students may attend classes on a drop-in basis at a rate of $10 per evening session. More information and Pre-registration can be done by contacting Cheryl Francis at (401) 254-3110 or email, or Dale Leavitt.

Spring Courses at Bristol Community College offer Organic Agriculture and Natural Beekeeping

Organic Farming Practices
Topics include sustainable farm management and economics, season extension techniques, spring propagation from seeds and transplanting, organic insect & disease controls, and cultivation of specific perennials for New England. This course is designed for home gardeners and small-scale organic farmers. Classes run from January 23 to May 13 and will meet on Mondays (9:30 am – 12:50 pm) and Wednesdays (9:30 am – 10:45 am).

Natural Beekeeping
Aspiring and new beekeepers will learn the essential skills to begin a hobby or small business as a beekeeper including purchasing and establishing a hive, caring for your bees, disease and pest management, and harvesting the honey. The 6-week course emphasizes organic methods of beekeeping. Participants will have the opportunity to purchase their own bees, hives and equipment. The course will be held on Mondays, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, starting February 25. It may be taken as a noncredit course or for one college credit.

Tuition waivers may be available for senior citizens (60+), veterans, members of the military, and state employees. Register online for spring courses here For questions, contact Dr. Jim Corven here or 508-678-2811, ext. 3047.

Spring Courses Announced for Sustainability Studies at UMass Dartmouth

Spring 2013 courses for our Graduate Certificate Program are being offered. Courses include:

  • SUS 500: Introduction to Sustainable Development, Theory, and Practice
  • SUS 520: Strategic Sustainability Leadership
  • SUS 562: Survey of Renewables
  • MGT 600: Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Law
  • POL 661: Environmental Law

You can read course and credit descriptions at Professional & Continuing Education’s listings page. Register through the Center for Professional and Continuing Education.


Leaf Bullet Green Tip

Compost your Christmas Tree

Make a dent in holiday waste this year by “recycling” your fresh Christmas tree after you are done celebrating. Instead of taking up valuable space in landfills, where decay is painfully slow because of a lack of oxygen, Christmas trees can be readily ground into wood chips or made into useful compost. Learn more here.


Leaf Bullet Preparedness Tip

11 Clever Mason Jar Hacks and Mods

Forget about the iPhone, the mason jar, patented in 1858 by John Landis Mason, might be man’s greatest achievement. The humble glass jar has remained relatively the same as the world around it has changed, and yet finds itself very much in vogue. Beyond home canning, the mason jar has many uses. Here are a few of the ways hackers, makers, crafters, and eaters are putting their jars to use. 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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