NPR’s Richard Harris’ report about the talks in Doha this month continue to highlight the need for countries to step up efforts to support treaties that will unite nations in the fight against climate change.  There are so many complicated issues; can there be a single agreement, how will wealthy nations support vulnerable ones and protect them from loss, damage, disaster or even disappearance because of rising sea levels.  2020 is too late to rein in global warming.

 

 

Anne Peacher

Anne Peacher is a woman on a mission. She is direct, meets your eye and is passionate about her role as advocate for reducing plastics in the Weston Public Schools. You want her on your team-she is clear, driven, and will negotiate her way past any obstacle. A resident of Weston for twenty years, Peacher says that the W2O event, “Plastics in the Ocean, Plastics in You” with Plastic Pollutions Coalition’s Dianna Cohen “jump started her towards advocacy” and encouraged her start of Weston Plastic Free Campuses.

Traveling with her family, she has witnessed first hand how much plastic washes up on once pristine beaches and shorelines. She recommended that her kids give up water bottle usage last year for lent and having her family on board helped her delve further into action.  “I have incredible support from the Superintendent of Weston Public Schools, Dr. Cheryl Mahoney and all the principals in the district. I am working alongside the Director of Athletics, Mike McGrath and Head of School Food Services Tess Sousa. This group, along with the tremendous efforts from Students for Environmental Action, helped make changes like replacing plastic milk bottles with cartons, creative pricing of water bottles to discourage usage and including essential “plastic free” items on back to school lists for children and parents. We are using the positive messaging of Reduce, Recycle, Reuse and REFUSE to get the message out to children and we couldn’t do this without a fabulous team of students, faculty and parents.”

Anne is taking the plastic free model one step further-to the entire Weston community. As committee member for the Weston 300 Celebration next year-she is insisting that the events be plastic free! Go Anne!

Maybe it is the bit of her mom’s British heritage that gives board member and head of our Finance Committee Dianne Brown an air of humble responsibility that she calls her “avocation to protecting the ocean.”  Land locked in Ohio growing up, you might wonder how she came to be drawn to the ocean and especially her passion, its mammals.  “Yes, I love the fish, but its the ocean’s mammals that inspire me to want to leave a legacy of healthy oceans for my children.” That inspiration came from visits to England, hiking with parents and grandparents with a keen sense of responsibility towards the natural world, and time spent on the ocean in Ct and RI, kayaking and learning more about marine ecology with her two girls.  She feels that being interested in conservation and especially the ocean is a choice that allows her to help take responsibility for what she believes in, while showing her girls how to make good choices and encouraging them to take leadership roles to educate others on the importance of  protecting our oceans and its inhabitants.

Friends contemplating W2O holiday gift ideas

Happy Holidays from W2O. Here are Ocean friendly gifts inspired by suggestions from our members. We would love to hear from you about what fun unexpected things you have found that will inspire others to care for our beautiful oceans-please share! Here are some suggestions that we hope you will enjoy.

  • Membership to W2O! Give the wonderful gift of a W2O year membership to your friends and loved ones and receive a W2O car magnet. Members will receive invitations to members only events (such as a Jan. sustainable seafood event and our fabulous Valentines event) and early warnings about our popular educational events. Membership is $50 and checks can be sent to P.O. Box 503 Weston M.A. 02493
  • Share your love for all things Aquatic. The New England Aquarium has ideas for even your most difficult to buy for-including sponsoring a Right Whale and a kiss from a seal! 
  • In keeping with our mission to ban single use plastic bags, we are delighted to give you lots of fun alternatives! So cool shopping bags that come in all sizes and colors. Here are just a few of our faves: From Madewell, a beautiful colorful tote bag, Simple Peace offers urban totes and stylish farmers market bags made out of hemp and canvas. There are an endless amount of colors to choose from at Baggu, and the iconic Anya Hindmarch “I am not a Plastic Bag” now only found on ebay.
  • Picture above : A glass reusable bottle from Life Factory, a stainless steel straw from WestElm and the UfO Siliko Lid-a handy silicon mat that helps you nixsay the plastic wrap. It seals, goes in the micowave, fridge and most importantly the dishwasher!

Our members are buying their friends gifts that reduce plastic use, like the Soda Stream, and on the heels of our reduce car emissions Roadside Assistance event, a membership to ZipCar!  We would love to hear what inspires you this year to give sustainable healthy gifts to your family and friends.

Happy Holidays from all of us at W2O!

 

 

 

Our friend, Susan Tamoney, reminded us that “Chasing Ice” the poignant movie about the diminishing glaciers in Greenland and Iceland by National Geographic Photographer James Balog is now here in Boston Theaters for a limited engagement.

Susan, an ocean lover and activist for OxfamAmerica, calls herself “an unapologetic optimist” hoping that with hard work we can ensure that our children and grandchildren inherit a beautiful world.  She calls this movie an urgent message about global warming and climate change and describes the film as “stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking-the images “give us a visual understanding of the effects of climate change and our warming planet.”

The movie is currently at Kendall Square

 

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.