The Environmental League of Massachusetts and The Union of Concerned Scientists hosted an emergency rally today, prompted by the devastation from super storm Sandy, about Climate Change and its inevitable impact on Boston.  Congressman Edward Markey introduced panelist Mindy Lubber, Pres and CEO of Ceres, Kevin Knoboch, Pres. of the Union for Concerned Scientists, and Tufts University visiting professor of Engineering and Climate Management, Paul Kirshen.

Congess Markey set the tone saying “the human spirit is a fighting spirit” and by reminding us that sitting in that historic Faneuil Hall places us in the unique position that Bostonians have been in before; leading the way for innovation and change-even when faced with the daunting task of convincing government, business and our neighbors of the risks of climate change to our health, security and economy.   Help us put Climate Change back on the National agenda by learning more about what you can do to help, get involved and protect the planet for future generations.

Congressman Markey, Kevin Knobloch and Mindy Lubber (in red) greeting attendees of the Climate Change event on Sunday at Boston's Faneuil Hall

Gobsmacked is a word that Australians and Brits use when they need a combo of amazed, indignant and flummox.  It is a great word and the only word to describe what I felt when a M.A. State Rep shared comments from a constituent regarding her efforts to curb harmful pollution. It reminded me that we have a long road ahead of us and that disseminating accurate information backed my science is so important for spreading the word about the critical issue of pollution effecting our planet and our health.

Here is the note sent to the State Rep. BE GOBSMACKED:

“Really, are you kidding me? You must really have nothing else better to do in our district. Show us some serious hard evidence how it’s harming the environment? It takes more energy and electricity to produce a paper cup than it does a Styrofoam one. Perhaps you should do some research first before wasting the tax payers time and money proposing absolute non sense.”

Everyone that attended the W2O October 23rd Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our Streets and in the Oceans left the auditorium filled with new information about how to choose an ocean friendly low emission car. The feedback on the event was fabulous. Besides sparking more questions about car emissions, climate change and what we can do to make smart choices, there was one other question on everyones lips….How can I get that Chocolate Bark Recipe?  Here it is!! Give Thanks!

Chocolate Bark with Pistachios & Dried Cherries

Recipe by Bill Bradley, Executive Chef,  New England Aquarium

With the news that dark chocolate contains some healthful properties, there is a better excuse than ever to indulge during the holiday season. Specks of green pistachios and red dried cherries in this chocolate confection make for a festive holiday gift.  Try with orange zest or hot pepper flakes as well.  The trick is to have all ingredients ready before you melt the chocolate.  I prefer the microwave since water and chocolate do not like each other.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup roasted, shelled pistachios, (3 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, or dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped fine
  • 24 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Line the bottom and sides of a jelly-roll pan or baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Toss pistachios with cherries (or cranberries), ginger, sea salt and thyme in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture in half.
  2. Melt 18 ounces chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. (Alternatively, microwave on low in 30-second bursts.) Stir often with a rubber spatula so it melts evenly.
  3. Remove the top pan and wipe dry (or remove the bowl from the microwave). Stir in the remaining 6 ounces chocolate, in 2 additions, until thoroughly melted and smooth.
  4. Add the pistachio mixture  to the chocolate; stir to mix well. Working quickly, scrape the chocolate onto the prepared pan, spreading it to an even 1/4-inch thickness with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the remaining pistachio mixture on top; gently press it into the chocolate with your fingertips. Refrigerate, uncovered, just until set, about 20 minutes.
  5. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score the chocolate lengthwise with 6 parallel lines. Break bark along the score lines. Break the strips of bark into 2- to 3-inch chunks.

 

 

Claire

Claire moved to M.A. from the UK with her husband and three boys in 2011. She says she loved the “energy of New England.” She was invited to the our very first W2O event with National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry and loved his inspirational images of our majestic oceans. She then attended Plastic Pollution Coalition founder Dianna Cohen’s “Plastic in the Oceans, Plastic in You” presentation which she found “shocking”.  Claires experiences in the UK regarding the usage of plastic bags is quite different than what she has found here in M.A. “There are only four or five big store chains capturing 90% of the grocery market.  They are influenced by government policy and public opinion and have embarked on a campaign to discourage usage of plastic grocery bags by making them a visible eyesore of bright orange.  Famous designers like Anya Hindmarsh helped promote the image of the reusable bag as a fashion accessory  making it chic to carry to the grocery store.”  Claire agrees that you can’t change peoples habits over night but that bringing attention to the issue and encouraging small steps towards the refusal of single use plastic can help.  She loves that her boys have learned so much at school about conservation…and about fish.

 Our friends at CSIRO in Australia are gearing up for summer. Lucky them!! But summer is beach time and although the beaches of Australia are some of the most beautiful in the world, like here, they are becoming more and more polluted with single use plastic waste. Dr. Denise Hardesty leads a team of scientists, school students and community members who have been working their way around the Australian coastline taking note of the garbage that has washed up on the beach. From light globes to cigarette butts, you name it, they’ve probably found it. And now Denise is offering her time to talk about the project live on our Ustream channel (www.ustream.tv/channel/csiro-events) Thursday at 6pm US time. “Marine debris is a major threat to Australia’s wildlife,” said Denise. “So that we can better manage this problem, we’re studying its sources and effects.”

As a result of their research the team are hoping to achieve three things.

  1. Compile a list of which species are more or less likely to be affected by marine rubbish
  2. Estimate the effects that things like currents, local population, council and state waste management policies (e.g. rubbish bins and bottle refunds) and other factors have on the amount of rubbish in the ocean; and
  3. Identify a set of sites that can be used to monitor both marine rubbish and its impacts on wildlife over the long term and at a low cost.

“Our goal is to support people, both politicians and consumers, in making decisions about their behaviour and their investments that are based on scientific information,” said Denise.

Interested to learn more? Get your questions ready and join us on our Ustream channel tomorrow November 15th at 6pm U.S. time or from 10am till 10.30am (AEDST-Australia). All you need is a computer and internet connection, so no excuses.

Contact: Fiona Henderson fiona.henderson@csiro.au.

The national marine debris research is part of TeachWild, a national three-year research and education program developed by Earthwatch Australia together with CSIRO and Founding Partner Shell.

I think I am a typical Sunday NYTimes reader. I scan the front page, flip to the Style Section (I grab it protectively from the pile in front of my husband-silly really-would he actually be interested in the Style Section!?) and then look for Maureen Dowd (especially interesting today, btw) or Nicolas Kristoff. But lately I am stealing the Sport Section. So unlike me- but I now know that if the Sunday Times has any noteworthy car articles, there is a secret (well, maybe just to me!!) “Automobile” section at the rear of the Sports page.  Every since W2O’s “Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our Streets and In Our Oceans” event last month, I am very interested in how I can get my hands on a Ocean/Earth friendly automobile.  Today’s article (yes, that is at the end of the sports page on page 9-or here -) not only describes the new technology and features of the Prius, but it has a nifty chart (not on line) at the bottom that helps consumers decide which Prius might be right for them. Check it out…and then read Maureen Dowd.

Sandy Destruction at the Jersey Shore

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, costal development and engineering is one of the many issues coming into the light. This article calls attention to how the destruction of the beaches of New Jersey could be partially attributed to the fact that those sands were not naturally occurring, but actually existed solely because of the importation of sand, referred to as “Beach Nourishment” from offshore.

It begs the question, where did these “offshore” sands come from? What sort of ocean environments were disturbed in the creation of these beaches? Additonally, what sort of terrestrial and oceanic environments were harmed as Sandy redistributed these sands? Finally, do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Hillary Chisolm is a senior studying Environmental Studies at Bates College in Maine

Sandy hits the eastern coast 10/29

Seems like every day there is a new reason to discuss climate change. In this Boston Globe article, Hurricane Sandy reminds us that Climate Change is a National Issue that has been overlooked during this years election campaigns. If you want to hear more about Climate Change, come to to this months Lecture Series at the New England Aquarium. Our civic leaders won’t talk about Climate Change unless we demand that they do. By educating ourselves about the topic we can encourage conversation and action.

Lisa Hughes, Bud Ris, Eric Evarts, Ray Magliozzi, Scott Griffith and Herb Chambers

W2O would like to thank Lisa Hughes for her cleaver questions, clear objectives and never ending picture posing at our Roadside Assistance: Driving Change on our Streets and In our Oceans Event on October 23rd.  To our Panel-the day was clearly a success and our audience feedback is that each of the panelists inspired them to think of cars and the purchase of their next car as a catalyst for the opportunity to make a difference for our environment and our oceans.  The big take away-consider changing habits about how we choose when buying a car (and we are reminded that there is so much to look forward to with new technology and design)
and never ever idle!

The W20 event held at the New England Aquarium was not only interesting, but also highly informative and quite entertaining. Each of the panelists brought a wealth of knowledge to the table and presented it in a way that was catchy and easy to understand. As our society has become increasingly dependent upon transportation and automobiles, it is important to be armed with this sort of information to make informed purchase decisions and be smart drivers, no matter what kind of vehicle you are in. Topics discussed ranged from Google’s new driverless cars to simply how long a car should be left idling, giving the listeners a taste of subjects from the cutting edge of science to the seemingly mundane, yet very interesting. In respect to the topic of idling, I learned that this really is never something positive, because your engine doesn’t need to be running and emitting fumes if it isn’t moving. Also, repeatedly starting the car will not damage it, even the fact that you have to warm your car is a myth!

Lisa Hughs, Eric Evarts, Ray Magliozzi, Scott Griffith and Herb Chambers

I found this event particularly intriguing because this is not something that is discussed on a regular basis in my college classes. While I have learned about carbon emissions and the environmental side of things a multitude of times in my science classes and once had a physics class devoted to the internal combustion engine, I have not really had the chance to learn about the mobile polluters that are causing the damage that I have spent so much time focusing on. By learning more about cars, we are deepening our understanding of the issue of climate change and its effects on our oceans by gaining a better understanding of the entire picture. This gives us the capacity to think more holistically, opening up the possibility to come up with projects and solutions for climate change that satisfies everyone.

Hillary Chisholm is a senior at Bates College majoring in Environmental Science