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Friday, May 23, 2014

Long Weekend TV Pick: Years of Living Dangerously


Showtime's hit documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, explores the current effects of climate change around the globe. The star studded cast is fun to watch and gets you fired up to take action! If for some reason the long weekend is rainy, plop on your couch and get caught up on this amazing series. (I am OBSESSED!) If you don't have Showtime, the first episode is FREE on the Years of Living Dangerously website (which is also fun to explore, BTW).




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Get published on Boston Green Blog

Boston Green Blog posts content from all types of sources to maintain a well-rounded point of view. If you're a regular reader of Boston Green Blog you may have noticed that the New Perspectives column has moved from Monday to Thursday. A guest author will be featured each Thursday to help build a stronger sense of community and engagement in Boston's green community. If you are interested in submitting a post, please check out the guidelines for guest bloggers. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Healthy Home Manicures


Today's Green Tip Tuesday is to treat yourself to an all natural mani! I'm hoping for some good beach weather over Memorial Day weekend, so I need nail polish that can withstand the sand and surf and still look fresh for an evening BBQ. The non-toxic nail care brand, Scotch Naturals has a great "sticky" base coat and shiny top coat that keep your nails from chipping. Scotch is perfect for people that bite their nails or are trying to detox their beauty routine. Unfortunately, Scotch products are not yet rated on the EWG Skindeep Database, Think Dirty, or GoodGuide, but the fact that these products don't contain the chemicals listed above is a good sign!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eco Events in Boston This Week

source image courtesy of British Prep

MONDAY
TUESDAY 
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY

MEMORIAL DAY
  • Take it easy and enjoy the outdoors. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Takeaways from #FutureofNature Investing in Nature: Conservation and the Bottom Line


This past Monday was the second installment of The Nature Conservancy's #FutureofNature series - Investing in Nature: Conservation and the Bottom Line. The evening featured a lively discussion of how well thought out investments can both protect the environment and drive the economy. The evening was hosted by Mark Tereck and Howard H. Stevenson, both of whom have a long history in business and a passion for preserving our natural environment.

Here are the top 10 takeaways from the event:

1. We need more people and more money to be invested in nature.

2. Climate Change and conservation can be addressed collaboratively with big businesses

3. Investing in sustainable infrastructure has a quick ROI and provides "real, hard, cash."

4. Every investment is a bet.

5. Big business CEO's believe in climate change but are hesitant to speak up. We need more people to take a stance on climate change.

6. Preserving something is often cheaper than cleaning it once its already destroyed.

7. American voters need to be louder and more engaged on environmental issues.

8. Its easier to talk about weather than climate because everyone agrees on weather (small talk, anyone?). Frame climate change in terms of weather for tough conversations.

9. Big businesses want to do the right thing. They are not evil. Many CEO's are passionate and are looking for ways to make sure their investments protect the environment.

10. Nature as capital is too often ignored.


We look forward to seeing you at the next #FutureofNature event on June 9!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Squeaky Leaks Project & Fundraiser


Did you know old pipes cause natural gas to leak into our air? The Squeaky Leaks Project is tackling this issue in Cambridge and Somerville. In June, their team will drive down every street in Cambridge and Somerville with a high-precision methane analyzer. With the information they collect, they will post the maps of the leaks to the public, pinpoint the worst leaks, and create a national website where any community can post a map of their leaks and organize citizens to call those leaks in until they are fixed.

Why is this important?

  • Natural gas (before it is burned) is a potent greenhouse gas; 34 times more destructive than CO2.
  • The gas is delivered through pipes under our streets.  Many of these pipes were installed pre-1950. These ancient pipes rust and leak gas, damaging our climate, suffocating our trees, and potentially cause explosions.
  • The utilities pass the cost of this waste onto you in your gas bill, forcing you to pay for hurting the planet.  The total cost for lost gas in Massachusetts alone is $640 million per year at the minimum (according to Sen. Ed Markey).

Help further support this initiative by attending their upcoming fundraiser!

The Asgard Irish Pub and Restaurant
350 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Startup, Climatestore, Makes Sustainable Shopping Easy


In October, I joined a startup company with the mission of making it fun and easy for people to reduce their carbon footprints. We took on this task by building an e-commerce website with products that reduce electricity use or have a lower impact during manufacture or disposal. We also set up Learn pages that include all of the basics on climate science including all of the latest consensus reports. Another section of the website focuses on personal action: in My Plan, customers can learn about easy, money saving activities they can do to reduce their contribution of greenhouse gasses.

I am excited to announce that we launched ClimateStore.com on Earth Day and are hoping to start making an impact this summer. Join the climate conversation with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#SaveCitySoil Day of Action


Zoo New England, under pressure from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), has formally asked City Soil to leave their land in Mattapan.

City Soil staff has a meeting with Secretary Sullivan on Wednesday, May 14th, but the formal eviction letter is not a good sign. Before the meeting we need to make sure that Governor Patrick understands that our community stands with City Soil;

ON TUESDAY, May 13th, please call AND e-mail Governor Patrick and respectfully ask him to stop the eviction of City Soil.

Phone: 617-725-4005

Please let Everett of City Soil (everett@citysoil.org) know when you've called/emailed so that they can keep track of our impact.

If the meeting does not go well, there will be a rally on Saturday:

Rally to #SaveCitySoil!
SATURDAY, MAY 17th
11 a.m.
City Soil & Greenhouse site
415 American Legion Highway, Mattapan 02126

Stay tuned to learn how the meeting goes and if we will need to mobilize. Thank you so much for your support!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Victor Douieb Sculpts the Invasive Lionfish

source image courtesy of epicdiving

In April, artist and conservation activist Victor Douieb gave a lecture at the New England Aquarium as part of their free lecture series. Victor, who was never formally trained in the arts, started his career as a dental assistant making molds of patients' teeth. As an art enthusiast and diver, he wanted to purchase a sculpture of a hammerhead shark for his home, but was unable to find one - so he made his own! Since he began sculpting in 2008, he has created pieces that portray both endangered species and invasive species. My personal favorite is the pop art rhino: 



Victor also talked about his latest work - sculptures of the Lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species originally from the South Pacific that can now be found all along the east coast. They are highly detrimental to the habitats they invade because they eat almost anything, and have no predators. So how did Lionfish get here? Most likely they were released by humans into coastal waters - theories target the Atlantis resort in approximately 1985. And because they live in reef areas where many endangered species live, it is incredibly hard for people to catch Lionfish without threatening other fish. While there is no immediate solution to the problem, Victor is bringing awareness to the issue through his art in the hopes that people will take notice and come up with innovative ways to reduce Lionfish numbers.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Museum of Science Educates Boston on Bee Decline

source image courtesy of DIYdreamer

Boston's Museum of Science is concerned alongside farmers, agriculturalists, economists and consumers with the sudden decline of the honey bee population.  Bees are responsible for the pollination of flavorful goods such as almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, cherries and many others.  They are commercially shipped en masse across the U.S. often for rental by farmers.  The bee population has fluctuated over time but this recent extreme loss of bees can is defined by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  The main factor in this phenomenon is that the bees seem to disappear.  In CCD Cases, there are very few dead bees found in the hive or around the apiary and sometimes the bees leave behind larvae and eggs.

Honey bee pollination supports an estimated $25 billion worth of agricultural production.   As of now, there isn’t an explanation for this drop in bee population.   A Museum of Science representative, Erin Ross, mentions that one theory may be, “Varroa mites, viruses, climate change, pesticides, and other factors - combine to create the ‘perfect storm.’” Many organizations, private and government funded, are committed to finding an explanation.

The Museum of Science’s Hall of Human Life offers a section on the bee’s role in food production, their social structure and their unique ability to reverse aging and return to a former body type.  Our Discovery Center allows children to dress up as bees and do the “waggle dance” in order to teach them about how bees communicate the location of pollen and nectar.  From this exhibit you can see three working hives located on the roof, one of which should be very active as the weather warms up. There is also another hive on display in the Museum.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spotlight: Operation Blue Pride



When our veterans come home from war, many struggle with what to do next. They have often endured immense physical pain and sometimes also suffer from PTSD. Approximately 22 service members commit suicide each day. One organization is trying to heal our heroes and our planet at once. Operation: Blue Pride teaches veterans how to scuba dive and educates them about shark conservation. Scuba training has proven to be a very effective self-healing and empowerment tool helping veterans regain their independence and sense of purpose. One of the first vets to participate in the program was Boston native, Sgt. Chris Maddeford, who spoke to a group at the New England Aquarium in April. "Operation: Blue Pride enriches the lives of severely wounded veterans, and helps save our oceans."



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Take Action Now to #SaveCitySoil

source image courtesy of The Boston Globe


City Soil operates its composting site at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan. They have partnered with the Suffolk County Conservation District to develop the Mattapan Ecovation Center, an enclosed composting system and intensive 4-season urban agriculture demonstration on state-owned land leased from Zoo New England.

Unfortunately, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently announced a plan to evict City Soil from 50% of their leased site – including the area dedicated for the innovative urban agriculture project. Why? An out-of-town corporation, Landscape Express, has strong-armed the DCR into evicting City Soil and awarding the leased land to them for sales and parking space, under a no-bid expansion of their contract to manage the DCR’s neighboring site.

To prevent this eviction, hundreds of City Soil supporters such as the Conservation Law Foundation, Higher Ground Farm, Boston Natural Areas Network and more called State Senator Pacheco and Environmental and Energy Affairs Secretary Sullivan. Pacheco called the founder of City Soil that day and let him know that he heard the message loud and clear, but he's not sure  he can do anything about it. City Soil then made its next move and collected over 200 signatures on a petition to send to Governor Patrick.


You can help support city soil by joining the twitter campaign #savecitysoil and by calling Secretary Sullivan or Governor Patrick's Office:

Secretary Rick Sullivan
Phone: 617-626-1101

Governor Deval Patrick
Phone: 617-725-4005

Monday, May 5, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lessons from #FutureofNature Population


Monday night was the first event in the 2014 Future of Nature Series hosted by The Nature Conservancy. The topic was population and how to deal with the projected growth to 10 Billion people by 2100. Included in the panel were academics, economists, activists, and aid workers who shared their experiences and predictions.



SHOCKING STATISTICS:

  • 1 million people are added to the global population every 4.5 days
  • For every $1 spent on family planning, $6 is saved
  • The population of Pakistan is approximately 400 million. The country is the size of Texas, which is home to just 26 million.
  • The "ideal" population for the planet - for everyone to have a high quality of life without putting strain on natural resources, and without incorporating future developments in technology - is 2 billion.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Overpopulation is a threat to global security
  • Family planning is now legal and supported by many governments and religions around the globe
  • Managing population growth while encouraging economy growth may be a challenge
  • Consumerism and first-world lifestyles are much more devastating to environmental resources than overpopulation
  • As populations urbanize, population growth rates will go down
  • Educating men as well as women will encourage better support for family planning
  • The biggest challenge in healthcare and family planning services is distribution - getting to remote communities is costly. 

While the talk was somewhat unnerving (10 billion people on earth would be insane!) it was also hopeful. Through education, funding, and technological development, we can hopefully find a solution to this global worry.

Join the next #FutureofNature conversation:

Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, Roberts Theatre
527 Tremont Street, Boston
Reception 5:30 p.m.; panel 6:30 to 8 p.m.
How can environmentally sound investment provide competitive economic and ecological return for businesses and for society? Can market-based solutions create a stronger economy and a healthier environment?

Speakers will include: Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy and author of Nature’s Fortune; and Howard Stevenson of Harvard Business School.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Boston Races to Solar


In April, Mayor Walsh launched the Race to Solar, a program for local non-profits and small businesses to increase the adoption of solar power installations and energy efficiency measures. Race to Solar is a partnership with Renew Boston, NStar, National Grid, and Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) to promote energy efficiency upgrades and make solar power more affordable and accessible for non-profits, including houses of worship and schools, and small businesses that own their buildings.

Through the Race to Solar, organizations will be able to take advantage of a competitively priced option for installing solar power. To participate, non-profits and small businesses must own their buildings, have suitable site conditions for a solar installation, and be in good financial standing.  The goal of Race to Solar is to promote and facilitate the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems on the buildings of 40 local non-profit organizations, adding approximately 1 megawatt of clean, renewable electric power capacity to Boston and Cambridge.  SunBug Solar was selected as the solar installer.  

To learn more about the Race to Solar and speak directly with program providers, please attend an upcoming technical workshop:
  • Wednesday, April 30th, 10am to 12pm, Cambridge City Hall Annex, 344, Broadway, Cambridge
  • Thursday, May 1st, 6pm to 8pm, St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 239 Harvard Street, Cambridge
  • Thursday, May 15th, 6pm to 8pm, Curtis Hall, 20 South Street, Jamaica Plain
  • Tuesday, May 20th, 6pm to 8pm, Carpenter’s Center, 750 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester