Tag Archives: environment

Music 🎵🇺🇸 to our ears!

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Congressman Jim McGovern

From Jim’s office:

McGovern: Republican EPA Bill is a Giveaway to Corporate Polluters

McGovern Slams GOP for Putting Profits Ahead of Public Health

Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern led debate for House Democrats on the House floor against the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, a bill from House Republicans that limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, and would lead to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests.

Below are excerpts of today’s remarks:

HOUSE GOP IGNORES REAL ISSUES

“Today we are considering a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent the EPA from protecting public health and the environment. This bill was brought [up] in an emergency meeting last night. I think the American people have a pretty good idea of what is and what isn’t an emergency.

“We have no shortage of actual emergencies that we should be dealing with – a devastating opioid epidemic, crumbling roads and bridges, mounting evidence of Russian meddling in our election, and people being killed every day due to gun violence, not to mention Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the residual health effects of toxically-polluted water. These are just a few examples of actual emergencies that Congress is doing nothing to address.”

“As we learned last week, the American people are paying attention to what we do here. They are smart enough to know what an emergency is. And this bill isn’t addressing an emergency. it’s creating one!”

GOP BILL ATTACKS SCIENCE, HELPS POLLUTERS

“The Science Advisory Board at the EPA provides a way for the agency to use sound, independent, and objective scientific data to help make their decisions. “This bill limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, leading to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests. Are these really the people we want making decisions about the health of our kids and the policies that should be protecting our environment?

“There’s nothing scientific about corruption and that’s exactly what this bill will open the door to.

“This bill is about allowing the Republicans’ big corporate cronies a direct route to the decision-makers at the EPA. It’s about disrupting the EPA’s ability to fairly enforce the rules, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect our health. It’s about undermining scientific fact with political cronyism.

“Americans can’t afford to have the EPA run by people who live in a fantasy land where facts and science don’t matter. Our environment and the health of our families is too important. This bill defies logic, it defies reason. It will hurt the people who sent us here and it will help polluters. Republicans are putting corporate greed ahead of public health and the American people will be the ones who will suffer. Americans deserve better. We should be fighting for them.”

FIRST GRADE SCIENCE LESSON FOR GOP

“Let me tell my Republican friends what I tell first graders that I visit back in my district in Massachusetts. Science is important. It’s a big deal.

“Scientists tell us things that are really important, like climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, something my Republican friends continually deny. They tell us that polluted air can give children asthma. They tell us that lead in children’s drinking water causes learning problems. They tell us pesticide exposure can cause cancer. These are important things.

“You know, the first graders I speak to, they get it. They understand the importance of science. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues in this chamber do not. I would bet that those first graders understand the importance that it is scientists that sit on scientific advisory boards and not corporate cronies.”

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech:

“ I rise in strong opposition to this rule and the underlying legislation. This is the 23rd closed rule of this short new Congress. Both Democrats and Republicans have been denied the opportunity to amend nearly 60 percent of the legislation that has been brought to the Floor through the Rules Committee. This effort by Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership to halt a fair and open debate in the People’s House is outrageous. We’re supposed to be a deliberative body – where both parties get to deliberate. These Putin-esque rules – that shut down all debate – need to stop. This isn’t the Kremlin.

“I think Representative Rooney – a Republican – said it best last week. Quote, “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,’

“Well, today we are considering a piece of legislation that seeks to prevent the EPA from protecting public health and the environment. Not exactly positive. This bill was brought to the Rules Committee in an emergency meeting last night. Let me emphasize that – an emergency meeting.

“I think the American people have a pretty good idea of what is and what isn’t an emergency. A tree falls on your house? That’s an emergency. Your rose bush needs pruning? Not an emergency. Timmy fell down a well? That’s an emergency. Timmy might stub his toe? Not an emergency. On April 28th, the government will run out of money. That’s an emergency, even if it is self-inflicted by the Republicans.

“And we have no shortage of other ACTUAL emergencies that we should be dealing with – a devastating opioid epidemic, crumbling roads and bridges, mounting evidence of Russian meddling in our election, and people being killed every day due to gun violence, not to mention Flint, Michigan is still dealing with the residual health effects of toxically-polluted water. These are just a few examples of actual emergencies that Congress is doing NOTHING to address.

“Instead, the underlying bill — the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act — was brought to the Rules Committee and to the House floor as emergency legislation. As we learned last week, the American people are paying attention to what we do here. They are smart enough to know what an emergency is. And this bill isn’t addressing an emergency. it’s creating one!

“The Science Advisory Board at the EPA provides a way for the agency to use sound, independent, and objective scientific data to help make their decisions. Science, you may have heard of it. It’s kind of a big deal.

“But this bill won’t help the EPA to include more scientists in their decisions – it will force them to include people with potential financial conflicts of interest on the Science Advisory Board, so long as they disclose them. Do we really want people on our advisory boards if they could profit from a decision they are about to make? There’s nothing scientific about corruption and that’s exactly what this bill will open the door to.

“This bill also limits the participation of scientific experts at the EPA, leading to a disproportionate representation of big business and corporate special interests. Are these really the people we want making decisions about the health of our kids and the policies that should be protecting our environment? Is that what we want?

“So what is this bill really about? It’s about allowing the Republican’s big corporate cronies a direct route to the decision-makers at the EPA. It’s about disrupting the EPA’s ability to fairly enforce the rules, hold corporate polluters accountable, and protect our health. It’s about undermining scientific fact with political cronyism. Maybe things have changed lately – it’s been a while since my last science class – but I’m pretty sure there’s no step in the scientific method that says “consult corporate cronies.”

“The truth is that this Republican majority wants the EPA to base their decisions on fiction, not fact. Americans can’t afford to have the EPA run by people who live in a fantasy land where facts and science don’t matter. Our environment and the health of our families is too important. This law is going to have real life consequences. It will undermine science, hurt the environment, and help polluters.

“We need to allow the EPA to make decisions based on fact. We need to ensure the EPA is always free from financial conflicts – not making decisions based on panels filled with industry insiders like the ones this bill would create.

“This bill defies logic, it defies reason, and it defies sanity. It will hurt the people who sent us here and it will help polluters. Republicans are putting corporate greed ahead of public health and the American people will be the ones who will suffer. Americans deserve better. We should be fighting for them.

“Let me tell my Republican friends what I tell first graders that I visit back in my district in Massachusetts when I go to visit their schools. I usually begin by telling them that science is important. It’s a big deal. And it’s such a big deal that all our schools teach it. And if you do your homework, and you study hard, and you pay attention, you might grow up someday to become a scientist.

“Scientists are people who dedicate their lives to protect the health and well-being of all over the world. And they dedicate their lives to protect our planet. Scientists tell us things that are really important, like climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, something my Republican friends continually deny. They tell us that polluted air can give children asthma. They tell us that lead in children’s drinking water causes learning problems. They tell us pesticide exposure can cause cancer. These are important things.

“And we all learned in school, thanks to science, that the Earth orbits around the sun. That gravity causes this pen to fall when I drop it. That plants turn sunshine into energy. That dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago.

“You know, the first graders I speak to, they get it. They understand the importance of science. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues in this chamber do not. I would bet that those first graders understand the importance that it is scientists that sit on scientific advisory boards and not corporate cronies.”

*******

Worcester, watered-down

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Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has been front and center vis-a-vis environmental issues, energy conservation and green building in Worcester.      photo submitted

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Rose’s bathroom sink runneth over.     pic: R.T.

By Gordon Davis

Worcester has experienced a shortfall of rain for four of five years, ending in 2016. It looks like the shortfall will continue. Although this could be an anomaly, it could also be a pattern. It might be the beginning of a new normal where 38 inches of rain per year is all we get.

As Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has shown us by standing in the dry ground exposed by low water, Worcester reservoirs are less than half-filled after the five-year shortfall. The intakes for the reservoirs are now above the water level and cannot draw in water.

The City of Worcester has taken some emergency measures, such as buying water from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) that runs the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs. It pays the MWRA $1.7 million per month for the water. The money comes from the City’s general funds. This expenditure will be made for the foreseeable future.

This money is needed elsewhere, such as the public schools.

The City of Worcester has also instituted water use restrictions that have helped to mitigate the shortfall. However, even with the restrictions, the level of water in the reservoirs have not risen above 50 percent.

First of all, let me say that water is a human right. We deserve clean drinking water for no other reason than we are people. The people in Flint, Michigan, are the victims of human rights violations. Throughout the world denial of water could be used as a weapon or a means of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Secondarily, water is an asset for a region. Like affordable energy, water is vital for a prosperous community. There have been examples of civilizations that cease to exist due to the drought conditions brought on by climate change. The Akkadian Empire, Khmer Empire and the Puebloan Culture are historical examples.

Of course, I am not saying that New England or even Worcester is facing imminent demise. I am suggesting some thought should go into the possibility that 38 inches of rain a year is the new average for the region.

The Worcester City Council has wasted its time and resources on nice but less vital issues such as dog parks and mounted patrols. There should a report from the City Manager on the short-term and long-term effects of the drought on Worcester and how the City plans to respond to it.

As we have seen, the reservoirs of the City will have to be redesigned. This is because 38 inches of rain will not keep them filled. Water use will have to be increasingly recycled. Roof water and runoff should be increasingly harvested …

This issue is actually a state or regional and federal issue.

The redesign and improvements to reservoirs is beyond the budgets of all cities and towns in Massachusetts.

As the federal government has become involved in the improvement of infrastructure like roads and bridges, it will likely have to become involved in the infrastructure of dams and reservoirs of water-short areas.

With the Trump presidency, water infrastructure improvement is unlikely to occur. This is especially true, as both the state voters and our Republican governor voted against the president-elect.

The Green Rainbow Party Convention: 5-21-16

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Gordon Davis, center, at a Green Rainbow workshop; it was one of several held during the political party’s recent convention.

For the “Third Party,” Neither Trump Nor Clinton

By Gordon Davis

The Green Rainbow Party of Massachusetts held its annual convention May 21 in Worcester.

The Green Rainbow Party of Massachusetts is the official state affiliate of the Green Party US. The national Green Party has made unofficial overtures to Senator Bernie Sanders to form a left-of-center third party should he not win the Democratic nomination.

There was some discussion of how the Reds (Green for Republican) and the Blues (Democrats) were breaking up, similarly to what happed to the Whigs before President Lincoln. I do not think this is the election of the third party. It might, however, be soon.

Jill Stein of Lexington is the favorite daughter of the Green Rainbows. All of its delegates seemingly are committed to Dr. Stein for the national convention of the Greens in Houston, TX, in August. The national Green Party platform included basic income for all regardless of work status, single payer health insurance similar to Medicare,  universal good free public education from kindergarten through college, and replacement of fossil fuels by renewable fuels.
 
The Green Rainbow convention also endorsed the candidacy of Charlene DiCalogero, running for state rep in Worcester’s 14th District and Danny Factor, vying for state rep in Worcester’s 12th District.

There were two informational speakers at the convention:

The first was Jonathan Simon who talked about electric vote counting. He pointed out statistical anomalies between the hand counted ballots and electronically counted ballots. The software for the electronic counters is proprietary, and no election commission anywhere can review the software. Even in Massachusetts the Secretary of State does not allow a comparison of hand counted ballots to the quantity of votes counted electronically.

The second speaker was Mary Lawrence who spoke on animal rights. She made an interesting observation. Ms. Lawrence said when farm animals are treated badly, the workers on those farms are also treated badly. This bad treatment eventually finds its way into society.
      
The Green Rainbow Party adopted a support resolution for BlackLives Matter during its 2015 convention. This was well ahead of the Democratic and Republican parties. As a part of this convention, the Green Rainbows organized a workshop on racism and BlackLives Matter.  The workshop leader was scheduled to be Julius Jones, who confronted Secretary Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire last year. Unfortunately, he had to cancel.

Something of a crisis was handled well by the convention coordinator, David Spanagel. He recruited Darlene Elias, a leader of the BlackLives Matter civil rights movement in Holyoke. A local activist from Worcester assisted her.  The discussion was energized and focused on how to interrupt offense behavior. Merelice, a town representative, from Brookline spoke of her efforts to fight racism at City Hall. 

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Merelice, standing, discussed efforts to eliminate racism in her town.

Other workshops included a discussion of the fight against the gas pipelines through Massachusetts and a workshop on global climate change.

The upcoming presidential election will be a test for the Greens nationally. The party may grow as more people express their disgust for candidate Donald Trump and their mistrust of candidate Hillary Clinton. Regardless, the Green Rainbows seem on the verge of a break-through on several local levels.

Nature! Fun!

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Flower photos by Chef Joey!

May Programs Offered by
Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook
Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

414 Massasoit Rd.

bmbrook@massaudubon.org www.massaudubon.org

Advance registration is required for most programs.

Programs are held at Broad Meadow Brook unless otherwise indicated.

Volunteer Day at Broad Meadow Brook
5/4/2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Fee: Free
Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment. Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers. Together with Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, fill bird feeders, tend the gardens, and distribute program information. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision required. Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury. For more information, call 508-753-6087..

Nature of Massachusetts: Spring in the Berkshires

5/5/2016, 5/12/2016, 5/19/2016 and 5/26/20116, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Fee: $80 Members, $100 Nonmembers
Description: The Berkshires Hosts special flora and fauna uncommon to the rest of the state, and bird migration occurs in some unique and beautiful locations Every Thursday learn about the ecology of spring species and watch the Berkshires and Taconics come alive this season. Weekend trips are part of the class. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

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Friday Morning Birds

5/6/2016, 7:00 AM-9:00 AM
Fee: Free for Adult Members, $5 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Enjoy a leisurely birding experience and help document the sanctuary birds over the season. This walk helps us confirm which birds are migrating and which are year-round residents. We’ll explore different corners of the sanctuary each time … you never know what we will find. Birders of all levels are invited. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Saturday-Morning Bird Walk for Adults

5/7/2016, 7:00 AM-9:30 AM
Fee: Free for Adult Members, $5 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Explore the sanctuary grounds in search of birds during this program for casual and novice birders alike. Come discover the immense variety of birdlife that exists at this large urban sanctuary. We’ll teach you the basics of birding and bird identification during an easy-to-moderate walk along the trails. Bring binoculars and field guidesor borrow ours. Dress in layers for changeable weather. Wear sturdy shoes for the trails. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

First Saturday of the Month Volunteer Days at Broad Meadow Brook

5/7/2016, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Fee: Free
Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment. Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers. Together with Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, fill bird feeders, tend the gardens, and distribute program information. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision required. Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury. For more information, call 508-753-6087..

Spring Wildflowers at Broad Meadow Brook

5/7/2016, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Fee: $6 Adult Members, $8 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Spring ephemerals will be making their debut at this time of year. Woodland wildflowers peep out side-by-side with fern fiddleheads and the delicate greens of the trees and shrubs as they leaf out. We’ll look for dwarf ginseng, golden ragwort, and just maybe an early lady’s slipper on our gentle walk along the trails. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

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Volunteer Day at Broad Meadow Brook

5/11/2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fee: Free
Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment. Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers. Together with Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, fill bird feeders, tend the gardens, and distribute program information. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision required. Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury. For more information, call 508-753-6087.

Nature Adventures for 5-7 Year Olds

5/12/2016, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Fee: $8 Child Members, $12 Child Nonmembers.
Description: Join us for a hands-on nature program designed especially for five, six, and seven year olds. Each month we’ll focus on a new nature topic. We’ll explore our nature topic indoors using investigations, crafts, and activities, and outdoors in Broad Meadow Brook’s beautiful 400-acre wildlife sanctuary. These classes will provide in-depth learning in a supportive social environment. (Homeschool classes for 8-16 year olds meet at the same time.) For ages 5 to 7. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Homeschool Programs at Broad Meadow Brook – Adaptations

5/12/2016, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Fee: $8 Child Members, $12 Child Nonmembers.
Description: How do animals and plants survive in various habitats? We’ll look at a variety of species that live on our sanctuary and see how their special adaptations help them to survive. We will get the chance to explore some adaptations using common tools familiar to humans and take a hike on the trails to search for evidence of adaptations. Broad Meadow Brook’s homeschool programs offer a friendly, cooperative learning environment for people of all ages! Our homeschool programs are designed for the homeschooling family. Parents are welcome to attend, or students may stay on their own if a medical form is on file with the sanctuary. Advance registration is required. At the end of all programs, students will receive follow-up information and activities so the learning can continue at home. We look forward to learning with you! For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Friday Morning Birds

5/13/2016, 7:00 AM-9:00 AM
Fee: Free for Adult Members, $5 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Enjoy a leisurely birding experience and help document the sanctuary birds over the season. This weekly walk helps us confirm which birds are migrating and which are year-round residents. We’ll explore different corners of the sanctuary each week … you never know what we will find. Birders of all levels are invited. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Birdwatching at Mount Auburn Cemetery

5/15/2016, 7:00 AM-12:00 PM
Fee: $25 Adult Members, $32 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a national historic landmark and has been a mecca for birds and birdwatchers since it was founded in 1831. May is Mount Auburn’s glory month, with an impressive variety of spring migrants that rest and feed at the cemetery, en route to breeding grounds in the forests of northern New England and Canada. Meet at Broad Meadow Brook at 6:45 am to ride in the van or meet at 8:00 am at Mount Auburn Cemetery. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Volunteer Day at Broad Meadow Brook

5/18/2016, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Fee: Free
Description: Help care for the sanctuary and enjoy a few hours of fresh air, fun and fulfillment. Come once or every week and become part of our growing group of sanctuary volunteers. Together with Mass Audubon staff, put up signs and markers, look for wildlife tracks, pick up branches, fill bird feeders, tend the gardens, and distribute program information. Some tasks may require heavy lifting. Ability to work without supervision required. Carpentry skills welcome. Nature lovers appreciated. Sponsored by Wheelabrator Millbury. For more information, call 508-753-6087..

Third Week Wonders Preschool Series: Yucky Worms

5/18/2016, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Fee: $3 Child Members, $4 Child Nonmembers, Adults Free
Description: If you are between the ages of 3 and 5, bring your favorite adult for a thematic hour of a story, an activity, and a naturalist-led walk. Choose from the third Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday of each month. Be prepared to go outside. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Third Week Wonders Preschool Series: Yucky Worms

5/19/2016, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Fee: $3 Child Members, $4 Child Nonmembers, Adults Free
Description: If you are between the ages of 3 and 5, bring your favorite adult for a thematic hour of a story, an activity, and a naturalist-led walk. Choose from the third Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday of each month. Be prepared to go outside. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Friday Morning Birds

5/20/2016, 7:00 AM-9:00 AM
Fee: Free for Adult Members, $5 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Enjoy a leisurely birding experience and help document the sanctuary birds over the season. This weekly walk helps us confirm which birds are migrating and which are year-round residents. We’ll explore different corners of the sanctuary each week … you never know what we will find. Birders of all levels are invited. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Third Week Wonders Preschool Series: Yucky Worms

5/21/2016, 10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Fee: $3 Child Members, $4 Child Nonmembers, Adults Free
Description: If you are between the ages of 3 and 5, bring your favorite adult for a thematic hour of a story, an activity, and a naturalist-led walk. Choose from the third Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday of each month. Be prepared to go outside. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

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Connecting with Nature: Identification and Uses of Local Plants – Five Class Sessions

5/22/2016, 6/26/2016. 7/24/2016, 8/21/2016 and 9/18/2016, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
Fee: $45 Adult Members, $55 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Our 2,000 local plant species range widely in seasonality, preferred habitat, and beauty of physical form. Many also hold surprises and secrets to discover – delicious edibles, useful parts for crafts, striking fragrances, and importance in human history and culture. This series will explore these and other plant connections and offer hands-on recognition and practical experience getting closer to our green world. As an example, we might collect sweet vernal grass in May, make wild strawberry tea in June, explore the multi-use cattail in July, identify our many blackberry species in August, and make fruit leather from invasive autumn olive in September. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Connecting with Nature: Identification and Uses of Local Plants

5/22/2016, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
Fee: $10 Adult Members, $13 Adult Nonmembers
Description: Our 2,000 local plant species range widely in seasonality, preferred habitat, and beauty of physical form. Many also hold surprises and secrets to discover – delicious edibles, useful parts for crafts, striking fragrances, and importance in human history and culture. This series will explore these and other plant connections and offer hands-on recognition and practical experience getting closer to our green world. As an example, we might collect sweet vernal grass in May, make wild strawberry tea in June, explore the multi-use cattail in July, identify our many blackberry species in August, and make fruit leather from invasive autumn olive in September. Sign up for one class at a time, or select the “Five Class Sessions” option for a discounted rate. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Yoga at the Sanctuary

5/22/2016, 6/26/2016. 7/24/2016, 4:30 PM-5:30 PM
Fee per class: $15 Members, $17 Nonmembers
Register for all 3 classes and save! Fee for all 3 classes: $37 Members, $45 Nonmembers
Description: Yoga is a beautiful way to connect to your inner refuge. In this class, you will be encouraged to discover what each pose feels like from the inside, allowing you to just be as you are. The first half of the class will be about bringing stability and strength to a pose; the second half will be about stretching and relaxing into the pose. Come experience yoga surrounded by the serenity of nature. This class is for all levels. Beginners are welcome. Sign up for one class at a time, or select the “All 3 Classes” option for a discounted rate. Shari Solomon, owner of Cocoa Plum Yoga, has been teaching in the Boston area since 2012 and practicing since 1978. For more information on Cocoa Plum, visit www.cocoaplumyoga.com. For ages 16 and older. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

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Flower Mandalas for Meditation, Healing, and Coloring!
5/22/2016, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Fee: Free for Mass Audubon members, $5.00 Nonmembers
Description: Join us for a presentation by internationally acclaimed photographer David J. Bookbinder, who will discuss his award-winning flower mandalas. David will read from his book, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation, and discuss the meditative and healing aspects of nature, mandala making, and coloring. At 7:30 pm, the program concludes, and David’s photo exhibit “Flower Mandalas” officially opens with refreshments and celebrating. David will have copies of his new book, 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief, available for purchase and signing, with sample coloring book pages for attendees. For ages 16 and older. For more information and to register, call 508-753-6087.

Cook out! … At one of the scores of EARTH DAY Worcester clean up events this Saturday!

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Lovely!! pic: Chef Joey

Earth Day Cleanups in Worcester!!!

It’s all happening this Saturday, April 9

Here is Peggy’s Clean up event of Main South’s Castle Park!

Saturday, April 9

9 am – 11:30 am

Come Help make Castle Park Beautiful!

Trash bags and gloves provided!

Meet at the Picnic Tables next to the playground (Ely Street entrance)

Cookout to follow!

Contact Peggy with questions: (508) 363-4911 or peggymiddaugh@gmail.com

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.

Environmental awareness at Worcester State University

Bidder70Poster9.28.15 copy

350MA – Central Mass is co-hosting a free showing of Bidder 70 followed by a Q&A with Tim DeChrstopher – Bidder 70 himself!

Bidder 70 centers on an extraordinary, ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability.

In 2008, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher committed an act which would redefine patriotism in our time, igniting a spirit of civil disobedience in the name of climate justice.

Follow Tim, Bidder 70, from college student to incarcerated felon.

Redefine justice for yourself. Choose your side.

www.bidder70film.com

Wild things! The best Christmas gifts!

By Michelle Kretzer

Most of us share our homes with animals, so we know that they provide us with companionship, teach us how to love unconditionally and help us enjoy the outdoors and get more exercise. But wild animals also quietly provide us with many other benefits that we rarely notice. As we count our blessings this holiday season, let’s pause to consider the other species who share our planet and the many ways that they make our lives better.

Oysters, clams and mussels clean up the ocean. As these industrious little bivalves suck in ocean water to feed on bacteria and phytoplankton, they also ingest pollutants and other harmful chemicals and send the filtered water back into the sea.

Dolphins are do-gooders. Pods of wild dolphins are a breathtaking sight ― and they can also be a lifesaving one. There have been dozens of reports of humans and dogs who were rescued from drowning by dolphins. Scientists believe that since dolphins are smart, altruistic animals, they can recognize when other species are in danger and will work to save them.

Beavers are dam handy. By helping to regulate waterways with their dams, busy beavers help prevent floods and droughts and lessen the damage done by forest fires.

You’d be nuts not to respect squirrels. Trees and plants can rely on squirrels to help them reproduce. As squirrels bury nuts and seeds to stockpile for winter, they sometimes forget where some of them are buried. Thus, the nuts and seeds germinate, growing new trees and plants and sustaining a healthy ecosystem.

Sharks deserve a fair shake. Their strong immune system allows them to eat weak, old and sick fish, which prevents disease from spreading among sea life and also keeps the oceans healthy.

Ants have contributed to aviation and made flying more pleasant. Have you been on a flight that offered open seating? Thank ants. To determine the most efficient way to get all passengers on board, one airline studied highly organized ant colonies, which demonstrated the ant equivalent of open seating.

Birds are talented recyclers. They repurpose our trash, especially items such as string and paperclips, as they build their nests. Male bowerbirds in Australia are particularly fond of picking up pieces of brightly colored plastic to build their “bowers,” arched walkways that are beautifully decorated in order to attract females.

Wild horses protect the plains. Their digestive tract can’t break down seeds, so when they eat plants and then continue to roam, they deposit whole seeds on the ground in their feces. Later, the seeds germinate and keep plant populations strong. Wild horses also help other animals survive the winter. When water sources freeze, horses break the ice with their hooves, providing smaller animals with the opportunity to drink.

Bats deserve a big pat on the back. Little brown bats can eat more than 600 mosquitoes in one hour. And if that’s not enough to make bats your favorite animal, consider this: Bats also pollinate Agave tequilana, the plant that gives us tequila.

Moles win the garden club award. Many gardeners value skunks, raccoons, moles and other animals because the small holes that they dig in lawns and gardens when in search of grubs aerate the soil. These animals also eat the grubs who would otherwise prey on a gardener’s plants.

Animals improve our lives every day in countless important but little-known ways. Perhaps it’s time that we repaid them simply by letting them live undisturbed and free.

Go, President Obama, go!!!

From The New York Times.   (I’ve made a sentence fragment bold.)    – R.T.

Obama, Down but Not Out, Presses Ahead 

By PETER BAKER and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS

WASHINGTON — President Obama emerged from last week’s midterm election rejected by voters, hobbled politically and doomed to a final two years in office suffering from early lame-duck syndrome. That, at least, was the consensus in both parties. No one seems to have told Mr. Obama.

In the 10 days since “we got beat,” as he put it, by Republicans who captured the Senate and bolstered control over the House, Mr. Obama has flexed his muscles on immigration, climate change and the Internet, demonstrating that he still aspires to enact sweeping policies that could help define his legacy. …

To read entire story, CLICK HERE

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President Obama to Announce $3 Billion U.S. Contribution to Climate Change Fund

By CORAL DAVENPORT and MARK LANDLER

NOVEMBER 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama will soon announce that the United States will contribute $3 billion to a new international fund intended to help the world’s poorest countries address the effects of climate change, according to a senior administration official.

Mr. Obama is expected to make the announcement at a summit meeting of the Group of 20 industrial powers this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, on the heels of his landmark announcement this week that the United States and China will jointly commit to curbing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. …

To read entire story CLICK HERE 

Give green and live green this holiday season

Nature Conservancy’s Top 7 Tips for a Sustainable Holiday

Boston – With ever-earlier holiday sales ratcheting up the noise, it’s easy to lose the meaning of the holiday season. But a simple celebration and green giving with family and friends is good for the Earth, your wallet and your blood pressure. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, the Winter Solstice or Thanksgivukkah, make sure that Mother Nature is an honored guest at your holiday table:

  1. Choose a real, locally grown Christmas tree—real trees are better for the planet than fakes. And recycle your tree after the holidays—most local communities collect trees to create mulch for spring planting and reduce the risk of introducing harmful forest pests.
  2. Give a gift membership to an organization that works on environmental issues that are important to your friends and family.
  3. Give the gift of nature and get outside! Schedule a trip to a special place near your home, or start a new tradition of a moonlit holiday walk to burn off all those treats.
  4. Deck the halls with LEDs! Switching out your tree lights can reduce your holiday display’s energy use by 80 percent according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  5. Does your holiday dinner travel farther than your guests? Buy local and eat seasonal goodies to reduce the carbon footprint of your celebration, and consider giving a farm share to keep your family and friends eating well all year.
  6. Regift. Seriously. Celebrate with friends by hosting a cookie or clothing swap, or find that person for whom your unwanted gift is truly a treasure.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.massachusetts