Tag Archives: climate change

Spring in Woo’s inner-city💙💙💙💙🎵

S-p-r-i-n-g !🌷💐🌺🌹🌻🌼🐰

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Central Mass Kibble Connection dog and cat food give-away with Dorrie!🌻 – outside the Mustard Seed on Piedmont Street, every Wednesday🌷, 4 – 5 p.m pics: R.T.

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At the Mustard Seed soup kitchen with volunteer “Autumn” – free meals each day at 6 p.m. – for the needy and homeless.

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Alden Family gallery opening
At the Worcester Historical Museum Alden Family gallery – opening. photo:WHM

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Central Mass Kibble Connection dog and cat food give-away with Dorrie!🌻 – every Wednesday🌷, 4 – 5 p.m.💐

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Thank you, Dorrie!!!!

Let’s let spring keep springin’!:

Do you believe in climate change?

By Heather Moore

A recent report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believes that the climate is changing, mostly because of human activities, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back.

If you’re one of them, or if you’re concerned about pollution, water scarcity, food shortages or deforestation, then you really should go vegan. And Earth Day, April 22, is a fitting time to do so.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture adds 7.1 gigatons (that’s a lot) of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. And animal agriculture is the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide, which are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively.

So, if you really want to scale back carbon emissions—and curb other, more potent, greenhouse gases—then scale back your consumption of cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, pulled pork and other animal-based foods. Research shows that meat-eaters are responsible for around 2.5 times more dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day than vegans.

A recent Arizona State University study found that Buddhists in China offset roughly 40 million tons of greenhouse gases per year just by eating plant-based meals.

Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have calculated various ways to combat climate change and found that cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation and energy use alone isn’t enough. They concluded that curbing meat and dairy consumption is the key to bringing them down to safe levels.

Still proud of yourself for switching to LED light bulbs?

Well, you should be—but just don’t stop there. You can do more. Buying a hybrid car and installing solar panels might not be affordable for everyone, but anyone can prioritize vegan foods over meat, eggs and dairy products. Choosing bean burritos over beef is an easy—and effective—way to combat climate change.

Oh, you say that you’re one of the 12 percent who don’t believe in climate change?

Well, it’s a big world with plenty of other problems caused by animal agriculture that need to be addressed, too. Do you believe in pollution? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that nearly 70 percent of the nation’s lakes, ponds and reservoirs and more than half of its rivers and streams are too polluted for their intended use. The EPA places the blame largely on animal agriculture.

And speaking of water, it takes a whopping 850 gallons of water just to produce 8 ounces of beef but only 174 gallons to produce 8 ounces of soy burger.

And Food Tank reports that just 43 gallons of water can produce a whopping 16 ounces of dried beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils. Plus, the production of beans releases only 5 percent of the volume of greenhouse gases as beef production—if you’re worried about that kind of thing.

If you aren’t, well, did I mention that scientists at Florida International University say that the demand for meat is likely to cause more worldwide species extinctions than any other factor?

Or that researchers with the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna believe that the best way to meet the expected global food demand in the year 2050—without sacrificing any forests—is for everyone to go vegan?

Believing that our climate is changing isn’t the only reason to go vegan—there are billions of other living, breathing, feeling, mooing, oinking, clucking “reasons” as well.

But if you agree with the 70 percent of people who told Yale researchers that they do believe in climate change, then it’s only sensible for you to choose (and enjoy!) vegan meals on Earth Day and beyond.🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

Surviving the August heat wave

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Rosalie and her air conditioner – this a.m. … pic:R.T.
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By Edith Morgan

The grass is turning brown ahead of time, and my tomato plants, few as they are, have pretty much given up, drying up and drooping. We are trying to obey the City of Worcester’s water restrictions, watering after the sun has set and using a watering can where possible. Luckily, it rained steadily Wednesday night, so things are looking a bit more alive.

But now we face another several days of heat and humidity. But we are lucky: this old house stays cool even in the most extreme heat – the nine-foot ceilings trap the hot air above our heads, and the big old ceiling fan moves the air around enough to give us the illusion of wind!

This is a good time to relax and enjoy watching the Olympics, which will be going on into next week. Perhaps it is our imagination, but does it feel a little cooler to watch swimmers in that cool, clear water?!

At any rate, we are quite comfortably ensconced on our living room couch, watching the contests. And they are inspirational: There is a wonderful sense of the struggles and dedication displayed by the athletes, and we have been happy to see how many young people are watching and are inspired to put forth the supreme effort that our athletes are displaying.

What has impressed me especially are the behind-the-scenes stories – especially of the struggles that the champions undertook to reach the Olympics. Watching swimming and gymnastics and listening to the tremendous effort and persistence displayed by the winners can’t help but be inspiring to many of the young people watching. Hopefully, they feel that they too can achieve the kind of perfection the champions display!

Of course, it is not just determination that gets them there. So often there is the good fortune of being noticed by someone who not only recognizes special talent but nurtures it and puts a young person in touch with a coach, teacher or other form of help and inspiration.

Those of us who are teachers know how often we have spotted a special spark in one of our students and gone out of our way to encourage it, point it out to parents or others who can nurture it and pass the word. With the start of another school year just ahead, those who are still teaching have the opportunity once again to spot the hidden gifts in many of our students. But just finding it is not enough. There has to be that determination to learn, practice and, above all, persevere.

And so we sit here and enjoy the achievements of these young people, cheer them on, and marvel at what the human body can do with training and exercise.

One thing has struck me in particular: so many years ago, Olympics seemed to be pretty much dominated by men. But as I watched the gymnasts, the beach volleyball teams, the swimmers, the wrestlers and who knows what sports are still to come – amazing girls and women are winning gold medals, where several years ago they were not even in the running.

And, of course, the obvious ethnic mixes of the champions are evidence that real champions come in all colors and sizes!

China is leading the way on climate change, and the U.S. should be ashamed

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Rosalie’s kitchen table this a.m.: More corn please! pic:R.T.

By Jennifer Bates

China will soon surpass the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy.

And now it is poised to overtake this country by yet another metric: environmental protection.

In an unexpected development, China – known for its choking urban pollution and notorious Three Gorges Dam – has introduced new dietary guidelines that seek to cut its meat consumption in half.

If this sounds familiar, it might be because you remember similar guidelines proposed in the U.S. in 2015 — which were promptly rejected by officials on the grounds that dietary guidelines aren’t an “appropriate vehicle” for addressing sustainability concerns.

But what we eat is directly tied to the environment, and large-scale animal agriculture is destroying our planet. You probably know that this industry spews climate-changing greenhouse gases into the air, but animal agriculture’s adverse effects don’t end there. Because the industry relies on water-intensive crops and uses enormous amounts of water to clean out filthy enclosures, provide animals with drinking water and more, the average meat-eater indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day more than someone who just eats plant-based foods.

One pig produces as much fecal matter as 10 humans, and that waste has to go somewhere. Often, the toxic stew finds its way into our rivers and oceans, poisoning aquatic life. Meanwhile, countless acres of rainforest are cut down every day to create more grazing lands or to plant crops intended solely to feed farmed animals.

This industry is also hell on the animals raised for human consumption, who are violently abused and traumatized from birth to death. Male pigs and cattle are castrated without painkillers. Farmed fish are kept in crowded, filthy enclosures full of their own waste. And each year, nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are still alive and conscious when they’re immersed in the scalding-hot water of feather-removal tanks.

The average Chinese citizen consumes about 128 pounds of animal flesh each year. But the average American? Two hundred and sixty-four pounds, more than twice the amount of our Eastern competitors.

By cutting its meat consumption, China will spare billions of sentient beings a terrifying death. Cutting back on meat will also be a tremendous boon to public health, because it will reduce not only air pollution but also diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. China seems to understand what the U.S. refuses to acknowledge — that the health of our planet and the health of our citizens are irrevocably linked.

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol — the world’s first concerted effort to tackle climate change — with the argument that it was unfair to expect Western nations to curb emissions while exempting China. But now that China has fully signed on to the new Paris Agreement and has taken this important first step toward reducing its meat consumption, what’s holding back the U.S.?

It is a travesty that China acts while we sit on the sidelines refusing to address the most pressing issue of our time. Rather than bickering over “appropriate vehicles” while the planet melts and burns around us, we must respond. The only way to reclaim our status as world leader is by going beyond China’s measures.

First, the U.S. should drop federal subsidies for the animal-agriculture industry in favor of subsidies for plant-based foods. Next, we must lead on the development of in vitro meat, which generates 96 percent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and whose production requires up to 99 percent less land, 96 percent less water and 45 percent less energy than “traditional” meat. Finally, we must all do our part as Americans by curbing our crippling addiction to animal flesh.

Go vegan, and the health of our environment — not to mention our status as a world leader — will follow.

WSU parked in A.I. … Worcester State University students and faculty join fossil fuel divestment fund

The Worcester State University divestment team will start investing in the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund.

It will join 29 other universities across the country to ensure that donations go to investments that uphold the university’s core values rather than to the Worcester State Foundation’s current portfolio, which includes fossil fuel stocks.

“Students and faculty have worked since the spring of 2013 to persuade the
university’s president and foundation board that Worcester State must divest of its fossil fuels portfolio,” said Patricia Benjamin, associate professor in the Department of Earth, Environment and Physics. “The science is overwhelmingly on our side. We
must leave the oil in the ground and invest in wiser energy choices.”

The student-led divestment effort has included talks in classes, meetings
with university leaders, and a die-in at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting in March, said Ashley Seymour, a junior student divestment leader and biology major.

“One of the university’s core values is engaged citizenship,” Seymour said.
“WSU says it is preparing students to be active and informed citizens. It wants us to be involved in community service, the democratic process and environmental
sustainability efforts.”

The group’s divestment efforts yielded no results.

It will join the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund so those who want to support the university can do so
without violating their own moral principles.

Tax-deductible donated funds will be held in escrow in a socially responsible
investment account that does not invest in fossil fuels. These escrowed donations will be released to the Worcester State Foundation if it pledges, before the end of
2017, to divest from fossil fuels.

“The foundation must publicly announce that it has halted new investments
in the fossil fuel industry and present a plan to withdraw all existing investments in this sector within five years,” Benjamin said. “The Divestment Fund will then turn over the escrowed funds to Worcester State’s foundation.”

At the current rates of fossil fuel burning, the earth’s temperature could rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2050, which is 2 degrees Celsius warmer than an
internationally agreed-upon limit. The World Bank has called this amount of
warming “devastating.”

The WSU student-led divestment site is http://wsudivest.wix.com/fossilfree

For further information about the Multi-State Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund, see
www.divestfund.org.

Today! Clark U – climate change lecture!

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Naomi Klein

Award-winning journalist, author and climate activist Naomi Klein will offer the keynote for the upcoming Climate Change Teach-In at Clark University, at 7 p.m., TODAY, Feb. 26, in Daniels Theater at Atwood Hall!

The critically-acclaimed author of “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate” will speak as part of the President’s Lecture Series at Clark.

A live webcast of the event will be screened in Jefferson 320.

Admission at both locations is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

Klein’s talk precedes the University’s second annual Climate Change Teach-In to be held on March 23.

The Teach-In is a campus-wide event exploring the climate crisis and possible responses to it through a series of panels, presentations and dialogues.

Klein is the author of The New York Times #1 international bestseller “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” Her recent book, “This Changes Everything,” became an immediate bestseller, won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and was included on The New York Times list of 100 Notable Books of 2014. Klein is a member of the board of directors for 350.org, a global grassroots movement to address the climate crisis.

The questions raised in Klein’s work are central to A new Earth conversation (NEC), a campus-wide initiative convening the Clark community to examine the role of higher education in responding to the challenges of climate change and the systemic context through which it arose. Klein’s keynote address is part of a larger series of conversations, public events, faculty retreats and Councils sponsored by the NEC.

This event is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Clark University Student Council, the Department of International Development, Community and Environment, the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, the George Perkins Marsh Institute and the Debra I. and Jeffrey A. Geller Endowment, the Higgins School of Humanities, the Graduate School of Geography and A new Earth conversation.

Stopping climate change can begin at breakfast

By Craig Shapiro
 
Some 80 world leaders are meeting this month at the 21st annual Conference of Parties, the critical world climate change conference in Paris, in the hope of reaching a legally binding, universal agreement to curb carbon emissions and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
 
The goal is crucial and long overdue.
 
But it’s also in jeopardy. Concerns have already been raised that the summit will not meet its goal. Christiana Figueres, the United Nations (U.N.) climate chief, predicts that it will fall short of the 2-degree target, and there is heated disagreement over which countries among the more than 190 that will be represented should cut greenhouse-gas emissions the most and which ones should pay for it.
 
While diplomats bicker and compromise, the Earth suffers. But we don’t have to wait for them to agree—each of us can act right now to protect the environment, starting with our breakfast.

Simply eating food derived from plants instead of from animals is one of the most effective actions that we can take to limit climate change.
 
Raising and killing billions of cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens and other animals for food every year is responsible for a staggering 51 percent or more of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. It’s no wonder that the U.N. has said that a global shift toward vegan eating is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.
 
Making that shift has never been more urgent. Last month, the World Meteorological Organization reported that concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide, key greenhouse gases, appeared to be increasing rapidly and that average levels of carbon dioxide had risen 43 percent over pre-industrial levels. Researchers at Britain’s University of East Anglia followed with another ominous finding—the Earth’s average temperature has exceeded historic norms by 1.02 degrees Celsius.
 
According to a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Oxford, just by going vegan, we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that our diet contributes to climate change by up to 60 percent. Eating plant-based meals also helps prevent other kinds of environmental damage.
 

Eighty percent of agricultural land—nearly half the land mass of the contiguous United States—is used to raise animals for food and grow crops to feed them. Meat production wastes precious water, too: It takes more than 2,400 gallons to produce a pound of cow flesh, while producing a pound of whole-wheat flour requires only 180 gallons. Runoff from factory farms and livestock grazing pollutes our groundwater, lakes, rivers and oceans. Reducing our reliance on meat, eggs and dairy foods would free up land, water and other resources for growing food for hungry humans instead.
 
Eating vegan doesn’t just help the Earth. It has also been tied to lower rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and many other maladies. And of course, leaving animals off our plates prevents horrific cruelty.
 
Piglets raised for meat often have their tails cut off, the ends of their teeth broken off with pliers and notches cut out of their ears without any pain relief. Cows on dairy farms are repeatedly impregnated and their newborn calves are torn away from them almost immediately so that humans can take the milk that was meant for their calves. Turkeys and chickens are shackled upside down in slaughterhouses, have their throats cut and are plunged into scalding-hot water, often while still conscious.
 
Going vegan is eco-friendly, healthy and humane, but odds are that it won’t be one of the solutions discussed in Paris. That doesn’t matter, though, because climate change is everyone’s fight, and the bell is ringing.p

At Worcester State University! For all us animals …

Merchants of Doubt Poster

350MA – Central MA is co-hosting another Environmental Night at Worcester State University!

Tuesday, September 29

7 p.m.

Worcester State University

FREE public screening of Merchants of Doubt

Film Synopsis:

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin.

Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Hope to see you there!!!

Tomorrow! Be there!

TEACH-IN!

Clark University

950 Main St., Worcester

Campus-wide Teach-in on Climate Change!!!

All Day! Free! Open to all!!!

Thursday, March 26

Clark University will host a campus-wide Teach-in on Climate Change!

The Teach-in is aimed at increasing awareness of what is taking place in the unfolding climate crisis, and deepening honest conversations about and creative responses to it.

Keynote talks will be given by climate change scientist Susi Moser, Ph.D. ’97, and ecologist Christopher Uhl of Penn State. Nearly 60 teach-in sessions (led by Clark faculty and others), a campus-wide Council session, and an evening film festival also are planned. Both plenaries and selected sessions of both the teach-in and the Council will be livestreamed.

Teach-in sessions will be held concurrently in three periods over the course of the day, and will address one or more of the following questions:

What is the nature of the climate-change crisis?

What is happening to the biosphere of the Earth?

Why is this happening, and what do these changes mean for different human populations and for all life on Earth?

How do we wish to conduct ourselves in the face of danger, uncertainty, and a growing sense of urgency?

What future do we want, and how can we act to influence the future?

Following is the Schedule of events:

9-10 a.m.: Teach-in session 1 (What is happening with climate change?)

10:15-11:30 a.m.: Welcome by Clark University President David P. Angel, followed by Keynote by Susi Moser

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Council session (the community will address one question in small group meetings all over campus)

12:45-1:30 p.m.: Lunch break

1:45-2:45 p.m.: Teach-in session 2 (Why is it happening, and what does it mean?)

3-4:15 p.m.: Plenary with Christopher Uhl followed by a panel conversation with Moser and others. Tilton Hall, 2nd floor, Higgins University Center, 950 Main Street, Worcester

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Teach-in session 3 (What do we choose to be/do? How do we take action?)

5:30-6:45 p.m.: Dinner break

7-11 p.m.: Film Festival in Atwood Hall (950 Main Street, Worcester) and Razzo Hall (92 Downing Street, Worcester), featuring “Chasing Ice” and “The Age of Stupid,” along with several shorts

So cool! Clark University: campus-wide climate change teach-in!

Clark University

950 Main St., Worcester

Campus-wide Teach-in on Climate Change!!!

All Day! Free! Open to all!!!

Thursday, March 26

Clark University will host a campus-wide Teach-in on Climate Change on Thursday, March 26.

The Teach-in is aimed at increasing awareness of what is taking place in the unfolding climate crisis, and deepening honest conversations about and creative responses to it.

Keynote talks will be given by climate change scientist Susi Moser, Ph.D. ’97, and ecologist Christopher Uhl of Penn State. Nearly 60 teach-in sessions (led by Clark faculty and others), a campus-wide Council session, and an evening film festival also are planned. Both plenaries and selected sessions of both the teach-in and the Council will be livestreamed.

Teach-in sessions will be held concurrently in three periods over the course of the day, and will address one or more of the following questions:

What is the nature of the climate-change crisis?

What is happening to the biosphere of the Earth?

Why is this happening, and what do these changes mean for different human populations and for all life on Earth?

How do we wish to conduct ourselves in the face of danger, uncertainty, and a growing sense of urgency?

What future do we want, and how can we act to influence the future?

Following is the Schedule of events:

9-10 a.m.: Teach-in session 1 (What is happening with climate change?)

10:15-11:30 a.m.: Welcome by Clark University President David P. Angel, followed by Keynote by Susi Moser

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Council session (the community will address one question in small group meetings all over campus)

12:45-1:30 p.m.: Lunch break

1:45-2:45 p.m.: Teach-in session 2 (Why is it happening, and what does it mean?)

3-4:15 p.m.: Plenary with Christopher Uhl followed by a panel conversation with Moser and others.  Tilton Hall, 2nd floor, Higgins University Center, 950 Main Street, Worcester

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Teach-in session 3 (What do we choose to be/do? How do we take action?)

5:30-6:45 p.m.: Dinner break

7-11 p.m.: Film Festival in Atwood Hall (950 Main Street, Worcester) and Razzo Hall (92 Downing Street, Worcester), featuring “Chasing Ice” and “The Age of Stupid,” along with several shorts

 

Snow, climate change, green jobs and Governor Baker

By Gordon T. Davis

On February 9, 2015, the trains in Boston shut down at 7 p.m., and Governor Charles Baker was surprised and embarrassed. After all,  he ran for office on the platform of making government work, pointing out the weaknesses in his predecessor’s administration.

If nothing else,  government should be able to remove snow and make the trains run on time.

In response, Governor Baker shut down Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.

Governor Baker also ran on the platform of reducing the budgets of certain agencies and commissions, such as the MBTA.  During his press conference yesterday he implied that heads would roll because of the snow and train problems. I was hoping that Jon Keller of Channel 4 news would ask him whether he was rethinking the reduction in the State budget as the right way to get the trains to run better.

Was the gas tax referendum a mistake?

Ron Bouchard, a weatherman on Channel 7, said on air the historic amount of snow is due to climate change. He said that no one alive can remember these amounts of snow.

I wonder how much trouble he is in now because of his comments!

In many ways Bouchard has opened the door to a conversation that Governor Baker touched on. Boston being a city in which global companies are headquartered and operate is being shut down again by historic snow and cold that the State government cannot handle. Maybe it’s time to rethink priorities – or at least hire some consultants from Moscow or Oslo. These cities have trains that run in massive amounts of snow and the freezing cold.

Although I do not think that City Manager Augustus has any backbone when it comes to dealing with the Worcester Police Department’s record of lack of transparency, I do think he has some good ideas regarding green energy and jobs. Let us hope that this course of action is not too little too late and can be used as an example to State government. He has proposed solar power arrays at the Greenwood landfill and at Beaver Brook Park.  He has proposed LED lamps for street lighting. I think that solar arrays on the tops of the underutilized public garages would also help.

I once thought that the Winter of 2011 was a once in a life time event. I can see now that it was a new normal New England winter: relatively mild autumns but FEET of snow in the winter – snow accumulation that does not melt until April. This may be our climate for the rest of our lives. It will be common for the State to ban travel and people will not be able to get to work.  Students will be kept out of school for days. Although not on the minds of many politicians, these conditions are now the new normal and governments will have to adjust themselves.

Ron Bouchard let the cat out of the bag! Climate change or global warming will mean extreme winter weather. Extreme winter weather is upon us now and will likely get worse.

Governor Baker looked clueless at his press conference and his budget is a reflection of his cluelessness.

With each snow event this year, green energy, green jobs, extreme weather infrastructure and transportation will beat their way into our political consciousness.