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January 6 to 13, 2011

In This Issue


Global, national, and local news

This week:

Startling Sprout Nutrition

The Haunted Cry of a Long Gone Bird


Save The Date:

NOFA/Mass 24th Annual Winter Conference

Wilderness First Aid



UMass D Sustainability Assessment

Explorium seeks volunteers

Weekly Green Tip:

Give (or Take) 10% Extra in 2011

Clip of the Week

7 Billion
With the worldwide population expected to exceed seven billion in 2011, National Geographic magazine offers a 7-part series examining specific challenges and solutions to the issues we face.

Weekly Quote:

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
- John Muir

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Leaf Bullet News
Jammed On China's Roads (and Rails), a Move Toward Greener Transit
How can more than a billion people travel to and fro, around and through some of the world's most populous and fastest growing cities—without creating epic traffic jams, tapping imported oil or exacerbating noxious air pollution? That's the challenge facing China as it develops a transportation system for its increasingly urban, car-buying population.

A few decades ago, China's city streets teemed with bicycles, earning it the nickname "bicycle kingdom." But today the country's capital ranks as having the worst traffic on the planet, according to a report from IBM. Last summer, a 10,000-vehicle traffic jam snarled more than 60 miles of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou freeway and lasted for 10 days. Read more here.

Cancun Did Cancun Prove the UN Irrelevant in Tackling Climate? Enter Plan B
The Cancun conference is being credited with keeping international climate talks alive. But the real potential for bringing emissions under control may lie in a Plan B, with nations acting on their own in moving toward a low-carbon economy.
The almost universal conclusion from those who attended the Cancun climate conference last month is that it "put the negotiations back on track" and that after the diplomatic meltdown in Copenhagen, the good temper on show in Cancun means there is now a real prospect of a full deal next year in South Africa. Read more here.

Flooded town Australia floods cause "catastrophic" damage
Australia's record floods are causing catastrophic damage to infrastructure in the state of Queensland and have forced 75 percent of its coal mines, which fuel Asia's steel mills, to grind to a halt, Queensland's premier said on Wednesday.

The worst flooding in decades has affected an area the size of Germany and France, leaving towns virtual islands in a muddy inland sea, devastated crops, cut major rail and road links to coal ports, slashed exports and forced up world coal prices. Read more here.

River The Wandle Trust: restoring London's 'hidden gem' river
The transformation of the Wandle from polluted waterway to one of the capital's most loved rivers shows what communities and rivers trusts can achieve together

Forty-five metal pipes and poles, 22 tyres, 15 shopping trolleys, 12 bicycles, nine carpets, five traffic cones, three suitcases, two mattresses, two vacuum cleaners, two safes, one car door, one washing machine ...

This is just a selection of the rubbish pulled from a 50-yard stretch of South London's Wandle river in November by 65 hardy volunteers, all organised by the river's self-appointed guardians, the Wandle Trust. Read more here.

Chips Solar Cells Integrated Into Microchips
What would be better than very low power chips that allow you to have hours and hours of battery life? How about chips that don't even need a battery, instead generating their own solar power to run off indefinitely?

That's what researchers in the Semiconductor Components group at the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology are working on. Working with Nankai University in China and Utrecht University, they plan to achieve it by adding photovoltaic cells directly to the top of microchips allowing them to function as a standalone unit without the need for an external power source like a battery. Read more here.

Resource Curse Leviathan Gas Discovery Could be The Mother of All Resource Curses
They say that fossil fuel riches become a curse to any country that possess them. Where fossil fuels flow – corruption, reduced democracy and increased inequality follow. It is such a recognized pattern that it has become a cliche: the resource curse. No nation is immune. Even one-time staid and fair-minded Canada has now succumbed to this corruption of democracy, under the pressure from its oil sands provinces.

So when Houston-based Noble Energy today confirmed that its Leviathan gas find under the water off the shore of Israel is easily the largest exploration discovery in its history, with an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – it is not a moment of rejoicing – but one of trepidation. Read more here.

TunaGrowing Atlantic dead zone shrinks habitat for billfish and tuna, may lead to over-harvest
A dead zone off the coast of West Africa is reducing the amount of available habitat for Atlantic tuna and billfish species, reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a study published in Fisheries Oceanography. The zone is growing due to rising water temperatures and is expected to cause over-harvest of tuna and billfish as the fish seek higher levels of oxygen in areas with greater fisheries activity. Read more here.

Oil Blunders Abounded Before Gulf Spill, Panel Says
The Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was an avoidable accident caused by a series of failures and blunders by the companies involved in drilling the well and the government regulators assigned to police them, the presidential panel named to study the accident has concluded.

The companies — BP, Transocean and Halliburton, and several subcontractors working for them — took a series of hazardous and time-saving steps without adequate consideration of the risks involved, the commission reports in a chapter of its final findings, released on Wednesday in advance of the full report, to be published early next week. Read more here.

Steam Can Geothermal Energy Pick Up Real Steam?
Steam rising from a valley just north of San Francisco reminded early explorers of the gates of hell. Others saw the potential healing powers of the naturally heated water, and still others realized the steam could drive turbines to generate electricity.

It's been 50 years since power plants began running off the pools of steam that sit under California's Mayacamas Mountains. The pioneering plants in the area known as The Geysers highlighted the promise of geothermal energy, internal heat from the Earth with vastly greater energy potential than that of fossil fuels. Read more here.

Solar Cost of Solar Dips to All-Time Low in US
A complex mix of market forces and policy incentives contributed to a historic low for the average cost of installing solar panels in the U.S. in 2009, according to a new study. But perhaps the most important finding of the study is that decreases in the cost of solar module production, which traditionally lag behind a few years before they are passed on to the consumer, are contributing to a "significant decline in average installed costs" for 2010. Read more here.

U.S. court denies delay for EPA carbon rules in Texas
A federal court on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Texas to delay the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to impose carbon regulations in the state early next year.

The state of Texas is suing the EPA to prevent the agency from forcing it to issue greenhouse gas permits for the biggest polluters when national carbon rules take effect in early January. Read more here.

Follow up: Texas files again to block EPA carbon rules in state

Oil rigs U.S. to ease requirements on some deepwater projects
The Obama administration on Monday eased new environmental barriers to some oil and gas deepwater projects, but companies will still have to meet stringent regulations before drilling resumes.

Oil companies and Republican lawmakers have complained that regulations imposed after the BP oil spill have brought Gulf of Mexico drilling to a standstill. Read more here.

Coal's burnout
The headline news for the coal industry in 2010 was what didn't happen: Construction did not begin on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States for the second straight year.

This in a nation where a fleet of coal-fired plants generates nearly half the electricity used. Read more here.

Coal Why We Might Fight, 2011 Edition
Countries thirst for oil, compete for minerals and confront climate change. The American military, with surprising allies, worries that these issues represent a new source of conflict.

Rare minerals. Food and water. Arable soil. Air-cleansing forests.

In the intellectual heart of the American military and policy-making world, these are emerging not just as environmental issues, but as the potential stuff of conflict in the 21st century. Read more here.

LEED Is LEED No Longer in the Lead?
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." Is that what they will be saying about the LEED standard for green buildings, a few years from now? Was it perhaps a bit ahead of its time when it was first developed back in 1998? Has our collective understanding of what it takes to make a building truly sustainable evolved over the past few years to the point where a different standard is needed?

As more and more people are moving into the green space, new requirements are emerging. Questions are being raised that a LEED certification doesn't necessarily answer. Read more here.

Green Up Your Fitness
There are many things owners, managers, trainers and instructors can do to make the fitness world more sustainable.
Fitness professionals are already leaders in promoting health for the body and mind. Now, with the increased worldwide emphasis on sustainability and "green" practices, it is time for us to show our leadership skills in promoting practices that increase the health of our environment. Read more here.

Chart Ocean Energy on the Verge of Rapid Growth?
Surge of prototype projects could signal dramatic growth in ocean energy industry
Is the global ocean energy industry at a turning point? With all the attention focused on energy efficiency and smart grid, and with more mature renewable sectors like wind struggling, we haven't heard much about ocean energy in the last year or two.

Financing is tight and venture capital is extra-cautious as the world struggles to get through this tough recession. It's not the best time for a new industry to gain footing. Read more here.

Lionfish A Cookbook Is The Latest Weapon In Fight Against Lionfish Invasion
Those beautiful lionfish, native to Asian waters, are wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and off the coasts of a bunch of Southeastern states.

The species got a finhold over here about 20 years ago. Hurricane damage to a Florida aquarium may have let them loose, though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it's not exactly clear how the lionfish got established in our territory. Read more here.

Gary Brown You might say Old Colony energy savings are through the roof
ROCHESTER — Three years ago, when Gary Brown became superintendent of Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School, he placed a high value on learning and innovation.

And now that is paying off. Instead of handing utility companies $5.2 million in energy costs over the next 15 years to run outdated boilers, air handling systems, and inefficient lighting, Old Colony is changing course and investing $3 million to upgrade the school's 40-year old energy systems at no cost to the school district members. Read more here.

Outgoing RI AG Lynch urges groups to fight Deepwater Wind
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- In his last official act as the state's attorney general, Democrat Patrick C. Lynch sent out a letter to a group of local nonprofits urging them to join with him in challenging the constitutionality of the Deepwater Wind Block Island wind-farm project, calling it "an inside deal" pushed by outgoing Governor Carcieri and embraced by the General Assembly.

Although Lynch's successor, outgoing state Rep. Peter F. Kilmartin, says he favors the project and plans to end the state's current appeal of its approval, Lynch said last week that he'll adopt the brief filed by his staff and continue the appeal as a private citizen. Read more here.

Lohrenz Lohrenz named new dean of UMass Dartmouth marine sciences
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has named a scientist who helped respond to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year as the new dean for its marine science school, it announced Wednesday.

Steven Lohrenz, who now leads the Department of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, will join UMass Dartmouth full-time in July. He will start as the School for Marine Science and Technology as it plans a major expansion to its facility in New Bedford. Read more here.

Editorial: In clean tech, governor has led, but more needs to be done
LAST WEEK'S flurry of speculation about $5 per gallon gasoline — as oil analysts prepared for an uptick in demand in a recovering economy — underscored two important realities for energy-dependent Massachusetts. First, fossil-fuel prices can be extremely volatile, meaning that today's relatively modest oil prices and recent lows for natural gas can't be relied on forever. And second, whoever develops renewable energy that is safe and affordable is going to make a lot of money. Read more here.

Greenhouse Follow the NorthStar for Year-Round Produce
WESTPORT, Mass. — In a town known for its lobsters and tourist-friendly beaches, one local farm is helping cultivate the community's reputation for agriculture.

NorthStar Farm Organic Veggies and Other Local Treats has a long name, but in an age of sprawling single-crop farms, it sits on a modest 5 acres. NorthStar, however, has an advantage over the bigger farms: an expansive greenhouse covering almost 2 acres. Read more here.

Patrick grows impatient waiting for fishing relief
Political pressure is building on U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to send some regulatory relief and emergency funds to the suffering New England fishing industry.

Gov. Deval Patrick told The Standard-Times Tuesday that he has had phone conversations with Locke in recent days to vent his frustration with waiting for Locke to decide what to do. Read more here.

Gas No end in sight for rising gas prices
Carlos Rafael doesn't really want to know how much rising fuel costs are hurting his fishing business.

The New Bedford businessman, who owns 33 vessels, prefers to follow a "what I don't see doesn't hurt the heart" philosophy.

But Tuesday night, after another week of climbing prices, he gave in and added up some numbers. Read more here.

Wind turbine opponents turn out in North Kingstown
Several hundred people showed up at the North Kingstown High School auditorium Tuesday night for a Planning Commission hearing on a proposal to build a controversial 427-foot wind turbine at Stamp Farm on Route 2.

Richard Pastore, chairman of the commission, said it was one of the largest turnouts he had ever seen. The turbine is one of two proposed for North Kingstown by Wind Energy Development, founded by Mark DePasquale. Most of the people in the auditorium appeared to be opposed to the Stamp Farm turbine. Read more here.

Leaf Bullet This Week in Sustainability

NRCS Funding Workshop for Farm & Woodland Owners.

January 6, 7 p.m.- 8:30 p.m., Little Compton Grange, 32 Commons, Little Compton
Do you own or manage farmland or forest land in Rhode Island? Funding may be available to eligible applicants to protect, restore, or enhance your land! The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides conservation planning and financial and technical assistance to help you composting animal and plant waste, preventing soil erosion, protecting crop fields, enhancing woodlands, controlling invasive plant species, reducing irrigation water use, and improving water quality along among other resource concerns. Funds are available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Details here.

Free Family Fun Day

January 8, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol.
Thanks to the Citizens Bank Foundation the Environmental Education Center is open free to the public the first Saturday of every month. Join us for crafts, nature stories, animal discoveries, hikes and more. No need to register. Details here.

Cedar Swamp Exploration

January 8, 10AM - 12Noon, Copicut Woods
Join Bioreserve Education Coordinator, Linton Harrington to explore the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp being restored at Copicut Woods. Once common in southeastern Massachusetts, cedar swamps are becoming increasingly rare. Since 2003 The Trustees have been growing seedlings in a restoration nursery and in 2010 volunteers and youth corps students began transplanting cedars into the swamp. The swamp at Copicut Woods has nearly 200 mature trees some of which are well over 100 years old. Come discover the beauty of the cedar swamp in winter and learn how you help with the restoration project. Boots are highly recommended. Details here.

Startling Sprout Nutrition!

January 8, 11:00am – 11:45am, Mattapoisett Library
Join Bioreserve Education Coordinator, Linton Harrington to explore the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp being restored at Copicut Woods. Once common in southeastern Massachusetts, cedar swamps are becoming increasingly rare. Since 2003 The Trustees have been growing seedlings in a restoration nursery and in 2010 volunteers and youth corps students began transplanting cedars into the swamp. The swamp at Copicut Woods has nearly 200 mature trees some of which are well over 100 years old. Come discover the beauty of the cedar swamp in winter and learn how you help with the restoration project. Boots are highly recommended. Details here.

The Haunted Cry of a Long Gone Bird

January 13, 7pm, The Coalition for Buzzards Bay
The Coalition for Buzzards Bay's Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center is the newest destination in Downtown New Bedford, but who is Richard Wheeler? As a teacher and historian Dick Wheeler has dedicated his life to spreading the word of conservation and maritime heritage. Come meet Dick and learn the story of his 1,500 mile kayak journey from Newfoundland to Buzzards Bay following the path of the extinct Great Auk by watching the NOVA documentary "The Haunted Cry of a Long Gone Bird". Showing at 7pm with questions before and after. Details here.

Leaf Bullet Save The Date

NOFA/Mass 24th Annual Winter Conference

January 15, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Worcester Tech High Schol
Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts' conference brings together farmers and agricultural luminaries for this highly-anticipated conference. Featuring Keynote Speaker: Michael Phillips of Lost Nation Orchard, Groveton, NH. Including All-Day Seminars by Michael and Nancy Phillips on Organic Apple Orcharding and Herbs for Family Health. 60 Workshops, Dozens of Exhibitors and Vendors, Children's Program, Potluck Lunch. Details here.

Preschool Story Hour

January 15, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Lloyd Center Headquarters
What happens to animals in winter? Join Educator/Naturalist Amanda Wilkinson for  an 'Animals in Winter' story hour. Parents and children will be treated to a story about how animals survive the cold, followed by a related craft. You might even catch a glimpse of one of these crafty critters outside the Center's Visitor Center! Children must be accompanied by an adult. Details here.

Green Drinks Providence

January 20, 5 p.m.- 8 p.m., Location varies
Green Drinks is an international organization that allows people in the "green" and environmental community to come together. Through this network people have made friends, found jobs, exchanged information, developed new ideas and have helped others in the field with special projects. Green Drinks Providence meets the third Thursday of every month at a different location in our capital city. Info: Contact Bill Mott at bmott@theoceanproject.org. Details here.

Wilderness First Aid Course

January 22-23, 9am-5pm, Old Southworth Library
The Westport River Watershed Alliance and Bristol County Agricultural High School are hosting a Wilderness First Aid Course. This course is a must for anyone traveling in the wilderness, from the outdoor enthusiast to the trip leader. This wilderness emergency medical course will be coordinated in partnership with SOLO Wilderness Medicine, leaders in the field of rescue and emergency medicine both in the US and abroad. Participants completing the course will receive a certification in Wilderness First Aid. Call WRWA to register or register online. Cost $150. Details here.

Animal Tracking

January 29, 9 - 11AM, Bullock Rd., East Freetown
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 actually 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 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. Details here.

Slocum's River Long Walk

February 6, 1 - 4PM, Slocum's River Reserve
The Trustees' extensive conservation efforts in this area make it possible to walk from the Slocum's River to the Westport River almost entirely on protected land. Here's your chance to experience it all – and get a little workout before the Super Bowl. We'll head outside before the big game to stretch our legs on a 4.5-mile walk from the Slocum's River Reserve to the Westport Rivers Winery for a tasting. Be aware that trails may be icy, snow covered, or muddy. Transportation will be provided back to your car. Details here.

RI Local Food Forum

February 8, 8:30AM - 2:30PM, Providence
A networking opportunity for farmers, chefs, food service buyers, and public health professionals. This year's theme is "Fresh Where We Work". In addition to general networking and local food discussion, there will be a special focus on efforts to get fresh local food into hospitals, schools, workplace cafeterias and other institutional food service. Registration online. Free. Details here.

Gulf Oil Spill Presentation

February 10, 7pm, The Coalition for Buzzards Bay
Last summer the country watched in disbelief as oil spilled from BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico. While different in scale, the event brought back memories of similar disasters here on Buzzards Bay, most recently the Bouchard 120 oil spill in 2003. Former Coalition staff member and oil spill response planner Ben Bryant, who spent the summer helping to contain the impact from the BP spill, will compare the response to both events and discuss how prevention and response planning are both essential for protecting our natural and economic resources from oil spills. Presentation at 7pm with questions before and after. Details here.

Leaf Bullet Announcements
Sustainability Assessment: Responsibility and Renewal
Our sustainability assessment, "Responsibility and Renewal," the work of dozens of UMD community members, was published a few weeks ago. Packed with information about our current state and our collective dreams, the publication is available online at: http://issuu.com/umdpublications/docs/responsibility_renewal_assessment We also have beautiful printed copies for use in classes and offices--call us for more information. Download it here (PDF).
Sustainability Newsletter for Fall/Winter
We've launched out fall/winter newsletter! Check out articles about our Living Classroom project, the restoration of the Cedar Dell Vista, our partnership with John Perkins, our mill project in New Bedford, and much more. Download it here (PDF).
New Bedford's Ocean Explorium seeks volunteers
The Ocean Explorium is currently in need of adult volunteers for our admissions and gift shop operations.

All volunteers for the Ocean Explorium receive training, uniform shirts and other benefits. Volunteers are invited to learn about aquarium operations, behind the scenes as well as in the public eye. Learn more here.
Brix Bounty Farm Hosts 3rd Annual Winter Studies Series 2010/2011
Mondays at 7 PM (with an option to join us at 6PM for a simple Soup, Salad, and Bread Potluck Supper) 2 Six-week Sessions Session I: Mondays Dec 13th – Jan 24th. Focus on Community, Economics, & Agriculture Projects.

Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money:  Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered by Woody Tasch.  Published in 2009 to coincide with the launch of the Slow Money Alliance.

Toward an Associative Economy in the Sustainable Food and Farming Movement by Robert Karp. Originally Published in the Biodynamics Journal.

With excerpts from Riane Eisler’s The Real Wealth of Nations  Creating a Caring Economics

Perhaps no topic currently receives more focus within print than Economics… amidst the broad and diverse offerings we have selected a few books/essays which shine brightest among those considering alternative scenarios.

Join us we examine 3 pieces which explore future possibilities for a more complete and viable economic system focusing on sustainable wealth and community connections. Learn more here.

SEMAP Announces First-Ever Membership Drive!
At Thursday's Annual Meeting, SEMAP's executive director, Bridget Alexander Ferreira, announced SEMAP's first-ever membership drive. "We want to keep the momentum from the relaunch going," said Alexander Ferreira. "Our goal is 500 new and renewing members by January 1, 2011," she continued. With SEMAP's newly established 501(c)(3) designation as a charitable non-profit, donations are now tax deductible and with the new website, memberships can be taken on-line. Invest in your community – invest in you - support SEMAP. See "Get Involved" above to become a member, volunteer or sponsor. Projects Learn more here, or join here.
EPA Webcasts and Podcasts: Local Climate and Energy Webcasts
The Local Climate and Energy Webcast Series assists local governments as they explore topics related to local government climate change and clean energy efforts. These monthly webcasts highlight EPA resources available to local governments and present examples of successful climate and energy programs and policies implemented locally. Presentations, recordings, and other supplemental materials are available sorted by topic or sorted by date. Learn more here.
Coalition Seeks Communications and Outreach Associate
The Coalition for Buzzards Bay is growing and we are looking for talented, energetic, and passionate staff members and volunteers to help further our mission. Check out the opportunities below: Learn more here.
Take Action: Help Support EECBG Funding
We need your help. In order to secure ongoing funding for the EECBG program, we must show how cities and counties are effectively using their EECBG dollars to create jobs, reduce energy consumption and curb carbon pollution. The Energy Block Grants Work! campaign invites you to join us in showcasing how your community and your colleagues throughout the nation are effectively using your EECBG funding. Right now we need information on how your community is using its EECBG funding. We will develop a profile of your clean energy projects for our national report and include your locality among the many EECBG stories we intend to promote.

The EECBG program will not be funded again if cities and counties sit on the sidelines. With your support, we can successfully demonstrate that Energy Block Grants Work! Learn about the grants here.
Essay Contest for Kids and Teens
Like A Drop of Water's writing contest offers young people, ages eight through seventeen, world wide the opportunity to share their ideas on how they and their countries can reduce climate change and pollution. We hope parents, grandparents and teachers will feel free to share their ideas with their young author. Teachers and their students may submit a class essay as well as serve as judges. Learn about the contest here.

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. Details here.

Leaf Bullet Weekly Green Tip
Give (or Take) 10% Extra in 2011
So you've cleaned up the gift giving detritus, reduced the reducible, reused the reusable, recycled the recyclable and generally tried to mitigate the environmental impact of your personal holiday choices. Now that we've gotten through another holiday of consumption without trampling our neighbors at the local Target, it's time to turn our collective eyes to 2011, and what we can do all year long to reduce our daily ecological side effects. Learn more here.

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