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January 13-20, 2010

In This Issue


Global, national, and local news

This week:

Free showing of Food Inc.

NOFA conference


Save The Date:

Local food forum

Grow a garden at your school



Learn organic beekeeping

Weekly Green Tip:

Lower your utility bills!

Weekly Quote:

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced" - Kierkegaard

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Leaf Bullet News
Global Bottles
Scientists link plastics chemical to health risks
LONDON (Reuters) - Exposure to a chemical found in plastic containers is linked to heart disease, scientists said on Wednesday, confirming earlier findings and adding to pressure to ban its use in bottles and food packaging.

British and U.S. researchers studied the effects of the chemical bisphenol A using data from a U.S. government national nutrition survey in 2006 and found that high levels of it in urine samples were associated with heart disease. Read more here.

China Tries a New Tack to Go Solar
HONG KONG — As it moves rapidly to become the world’s leader in nuclear power, wind energy and photovoltaic solar panels, China is taking tentative steps to master another alternative energy industry: using mirrors to capture sunlight, produce steam and generate electricity. Read more here.

Antarctic ice
Sea icy off part of Antarctica despite fear of melt
OSLO (Reuters) - Sea water under an East Antarctic ice shelf showed no sign of higher temperatures despite fears of a thaw linked to global warming that could bring higher world ocean levels, first tests showed on Monday.

Sensors lowered through three holes drilled in the Fimbul Ice Shelf showed the sea water is still around freezing and not at higher temperatures widely blamed for the break-up of 10 shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northerly part of the frozen continent. Read more here.

Arctic Ice
Feedback Accelerates Arctic Ice Melt – Canada, Alaska Most Pronounced
Scientists at NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center published research last week in the Journal of Geophysical Research based on satellite microwave data of seasonal Arctic ice thaw from 1970 to 2009. The study indicates the seasonal Arctic sea ice melt melt season is now about 20 days longer than it was 30 years ago. Read more here.

National berries
In Cold Snap, Floridians Shiver, and Pray for the Strawberries
DOVER, Fla. — Icicles hang from the thermometer: 25 degrees, at dawn, and the strawberries that should be on cereal sit suspended beneath hard ice, shiny and clear as lacquer.

Michelle Williamson smiles. The ice, she says, did its job of keeping all but the ripest berries safe, and the worst has been averted. Again. For now. Read more here.

ManureGoogle to Start a Green Utility?
Google is doing a lot these days to help the environment. Now, they have just filed to buy and sale wholesale electricity. Are they looking to enter the utility market?

Google has recently launched software to help track and monitor deforestation, it has coordinated with various environmental organizations and climate activists to give us four great Google Earth climate and rainforest tours on youtube, it is working to create more efficient and cost-effective solar thermal technology, and it has unleashed its PowerMeter energy management software. Read more here.

Highway Barriers Stifle Sound, Sight, and Soot
Highway barriers erected along roadways to block the sound and sight of traffic for the adjoining neighborhoods may also be reducing the amount of pollutants, such as soot from diesel exhaust, reaching area residents.

In a study by NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, researchers released harmless “tracers” – gases that act as a stand-in for vehicle-related toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide and heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds such as benzene -- so scientists can “trace” their movement through the air. Read more here.

Not All Ski Slopes Are Environmentally Equal, Study Concludes
Ski resorts are not as fun for the environment as they are for skiers. The damage to forested hills caused by the construction of ski slopes is obvious. Trees are cut down, ground is cleared, and the resulting slopes are maintained as the foundation for a yearly carpet of snow.

Some ski slopes, however, are more environmentally friendly than others, according to a new study. Cleared ski runs, where trees and other tall, woody plants are cut down to open skiing pathways, cause less damage to the natural ecosystem than graded ski runs, which are bulldozed, leaving little or no vegetation or shrubs. Read more here.

Local Van Laarhoven
Van Laarhoven strives for positive change
Desa Van Laarhoven keeps trying to leave Southeastern Massachusetts to explore the wider world, but work opportunities continue to draw the Lakeville native back home. So instead, she is bringing the world to SouthCoast, and in doing so, helping to make it a better place.

As executive director of the Marion Institute, 31-year-old Van Laarhoven manages the philanthropic group's $1.2 million budget and a host of programs ranging from local to global in scope and seeking "to create deep and positive change for the earth and its inhabitants," according to the group's Web site. Read more here.

Fairhaven not unfriendly to farmers, board says
FAIRHAVEN — The town needs to get the word out that it is not opposed to farmers, Select Board Chairman Brian K. Bowcock said Monday night.

Bowcock read a letter from Ann Richard of the Sustainability Committee saying the town is being perceived as unwelcoming to backyard chickens following a recent lawsuit over a permit denial. Read more here.

BCC Solar
Local food blogger looks at lighter side
Move over, Hungry Girl. The SouthCoast has its own Web-based foodie serving up her favorite recipes for healthy meals. As her alter ego, Ava Catau, a play on avocado, Melissa Tavares blogs about her quest for a world of healthy, sustainable foods that benefit the planet and the consumer.

Tavares, of Swansea, said she started thinking about animal cruelty and food origin after reading the works of author Michael Pollan, who claims most of us these days are eating "edible foodlike substances" in his numerous books including "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food." Read more here.

Participants wanted for 2010 Green Fair
OCHESTER — TEAMS and TRWA are seeking individuals and businesses that would like to display their environmentally friendly services or products at the 2010 Green Fair, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Old Colony Vocational Technical High School at 476 North Avenue in Rochester. Space is limited. Anyone interested should contact TEAMS at teams-info@hotmail.com and visit the web site www.teams-on-web.org for more information. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet This Week in Sustainability

Free Film - FOOD Inc.

January 15th, at 6:30pm, 102 Green Street, Fairhaven, MA
How does food get to your table? The Unitarian Universalist Society in Fairhaven continues the Friday night film series on We start the new year with a riveting, informative and entertaining documentary film about the food industry in America. The film Food Inc. was included on many film critics top ten list for 2009. Join us for this free film on Friday Night in the Parish House of the church on 102 Green Street. Light refreshments will be served. For more information please contact the church at 1-508-992-7081.

NOFA/Mass 23rd Annual Winter Conference - "Food From Farms For Families"

January 16, Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, Ma
Northeast Organic Farming Association Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass) presents their 23rd Annual Winter Conference "Food From Farms For Families". Joel Salatin to present keynote speech and all day seminar "Introducing Livestock to your Farm." Over 40 workshops on organic farming, gardening, landscaping, and sustainable living. Lively exhibit area, NOFA/Mass Annual Meeting, great children and teens program, potluck lunch!

General registration fee $50 with discounts available. Registration for Salatin seminar $115 (includes entrance to entire conference). For more information visit http://www.nofamass.org/conferences/winter/index.php or contact Conference Coordinator, Jassy Bratko, jassy.bratko@nofamass.org or 978-928-5646

Winter Wonderland Walk

January 16, 10 - 11AM, Watuppa Reservation Headquarters, 2929 Blossom Road, Fall River
The harsh New England winter presents a challenge to plants and animals alike. Unable to escape exposure to the wind and cold, the trees of New England’s forests have developed many ways to endure the winter months, while animals have their own strategies for staying warm, finding food and avoiding predation. On this guided walk, we'll join get out into the crisp air and explore an area not normally open to the public along the eastern shore of North Wattuppa Pond. Bioreserve Education Coordinator, Linton Harrington, will help us explore the amazing adaptations that help living things survive the coldest months of the year. This event is free. Learn more here.

Leaf Bullet Save The Date

Presentation on an Economic Framework for Sustainable Agriculture

January 21, 10:00AM - 12:00PM, Kingston, RI (directions)
Michael Hamm, CS Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University will lead this presentation. He'll explore the following questions: If the regional population were to eat the USDA recommended daily portions of fruits and vegetables, what would be the increased consumption? How much of that food could be grown locally? How much more land would have to be in cultivation in order to produce that amount of food? What would be the economic impact of the agricultural expansion? Learn more here.

Calling all South Shore Locavores!

January 25, 7:00 8:30 PM, Kingston Public Library
Loca-what? Loca-vore! Sustainable? Organic? Carbon footprints? Free-range meat? Where does your food come from? And why should you care? These buzz words will be demystified by local organic farmer Ron Maribett, who, for the last decade, has worked to revive organic and sustainable farming on the South Shore. Guest speaker: Ron Maribett, Colchester Neighborhood Farm, Plympton. The series is free, but registration is required. You can register for the program in person at the Library, by emailing kilib@kingstonpubliclibrary.org, or by calling the Library at 781 585-0517 x112.

Eyes on Owls

January 30, 1:00PM, Westport High School
Who's watching you? Find out on January 30th, 2010 at 1pm at Westport High School when Eyes On Owls presents a live owl program in conjunction with WRWA. All who attend are in for some fun with educational close-up views of these secretive birds of prey. Naturalist Marcia Wilson will present "Who's Watching You? Owls of the World."

Wilson introduces the audience to owls found in New England and as well other parts of the world. A slide show begins the program by showcasing colorful wildlife photos by her husband Mark Wilson. Marcia imitates the owls' calls herself, paying special attention to the more common owls that we might encounter in our area. Learn more here. Free for kids, $5 for adults.

RI Local Food Forum

Wednesday, February 3, 7:00AM - 3:00PM, Providence, RI
A networking opportunity for farmers, restaurants and food service buyers.|| This year's theme is "Fresh for All". In addition to general networking and local food discussion, there will be a special focus on the exciting resurgence of RI agriculture is still just a few years in the making, and it's happening in large part due to the renewed interest of Rhode Islanders in where our food comes from. Yet this success presents new questions:
* Who is not being served by this recent success?
* How do we scale up to meet new demand?
Registration online. Free. Details here.

MCAN Green Communities Workshop

February 4, 6:30 - 9:00PM, City Hall Council Chambers, 77 Park Street, Attleboro
Learn how to make your town a ‘green community’ and qualify for new sources of state funding to promote municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Program will include update on statewide implementation of the program and specific challenges faced by communities adopting the “Stretch Code” and other requirements. Free and open to the public. To be held at Attleboro City Hall Council Chambers. Details here

Slocum's River Long Walk

February 6, 1 - 4PM, Slocum's River Reserve (directions)
The extensive conservation efforts led by The Trustees make it possible to walk from the Slocum's River to the Westport River almost entirely on protected land. Before watching the Super Bowl, get outside and stretch your legs on this 4.5-mile walk from the Slocum's River Reserve to the Buzzards Bay Brewery (where you can stock up for the game). Be aware that trails may be icy, snow covered, or muddy. Transportation will be provided back to your car.

Grow A Garden At Your School - This Year!

February 6, 8:30AM - 12:00PM, Bristol, RI (directions)
A Very Special Workshop and Q&A with the Children's Garden Network. The Children's Garden Network Campaign 2010 is assisting communities to grow garden programs at every school in Rhode Island. Here's your chance to learn everything you need to know about year-round sustainable school garden education programs that work! Learn how to form a committed garden team, design a school garden layout, raise funds and access tools and other resources, incorporate garden activities into your class work, create a field guide for your school's environment, and ensure that students with special needs are always included. Bring your visions and questions for an open and exciting discussion - and let's get growing! Learn more here.

Seal watch and island tour - Cuttyhunk Island

February 6, 10AM - 2PM, Cuttyhunk Ferry company parking lot, state pier, off route 18 in New Bedford
Venture out to the Elizabethan Chain to view overwintering seals 'hauled out' at low tide. Seals migrate from colder northerly waters in search of warmer, shallow embayments for wintering habitat - these secluded islands being a perfect topover.

Departing from New Bedford State Pier on the fabulous 'MV Cuttyhunk' vessel, you'll be treated to views of the open bay and the islands, rafts of winter waterfowl, and perhaps a wandering seal. Learn more here.

Animal Tracking

February 13, 9-11AM, Miller Brook Conservation Area, Copicut Road, Fall River
Join Bill Sampson, senior keeper at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, to learn the art of tracking animals in winter. Although the forests of the 13,600-acre Bioreserve might at first appear uninhabited in winter, they are, in fact, full of life all year round. While a few animals do head south or hibernate away the winter months, most remain in New England and are active all year. Most of the Bioreserve’s mammals are out and about, forging 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. Learn more here. FREE.

Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival 2010

February 25 - 28, various locations and times
For the 2nd year in a row, Save The Bay brings you some of the most popular short films from the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival -- the largest of its kind in North America! This year the films will be shown over three days in three locations:
Thursday, February 25
6:00 - 8:00 pm La Grua Center 32 Water St., #7 Stonington Common Stonington, CT
Friday, February 26
6:00 - 8:00 pm Jane Pickens Theatre 49 Touro St., Newport, RI
Sunday, February 28 4:00 - 6:00 pm Avon Cinema 260 Thayer St., Providence, RI Learn more here, or order $10 tickets here

Nest Box Building

February 27, 1 - 3PM, Watuppa Reservation Headquarters, 2929 Blossom Road Fall River
Help to improve bluebird habitat by building nest boxes to be installed at a number of our South Coast reservations. The populations of these beautiful birds have been in decline due to a shortage of natural nesting cavities and competition from non-native species. By helping to build well-designed nesting boxes you can encourage the return of these birds and improve the biodiversity of our region. Learn more here. FREE.

Leaf Bullet Announcements

Learn Organic Beekeeping

Organic Beekeeping Practices course will be offered at Bristol Community College (BCC) in Fall River for beginning beekeepers from February 22 through March 29. Honeybees are responsible for almost 1/3 of our food and we need more beekeepers. It's a great hobby and can be a small business too. More information and registration is available at the BCC website. Look under Noncredit Course Search, "Home & Garden" courses. Questions? james.corven@bristolcc.edu.

Lloyd Center Seeking Director of Development

The Lloyd Center for the Environment, a highly regarded research and educational organization, headquartered in Dartmouth Massachusetts, seeks an experienced Director of Development to work closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors in developing and executing an aggressive fundraising strategy. Learn more here.

Spring Sustainability Courses

UMass Dartmouth is pleased to announce its spring, 2010 sustainability courses. See the course list here.

Winter Study 2009/2010

Mondays at 7 PM (with an option to join us at 6PM for a simple Soup, Salad, and Bread Potluck Supper)

Healthy Crops: A New Agricultural Revolution - Jan 25th through approx. Feb 22nd/March 1st

We'll plan on gathering for 6 evenings for each book, leaving a little room in the schedule for any weather related cancellations.

To register for the either Winter Study (registration is free) please contact Derek Christianson at 508-992-1868 or derekchristianson@gmail.com.

We'll also be coordinating a wintertime garden planning course held in New Bedford in January and February... Planting Seeds in January stay tuned for more details.

Leaf Bullet Weekly Green Tip
Changes that Pay

Changes that pay

Take advantage of rebates and free audits to make your home eco-friendly (and cut utility bills). Learn more here.

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