Join the NC Conservation Network on the Take Action Tour to learn how a changing climate can impact North Carolina, hear about ways our decision-makers can address these problems, and discover ways you can help influence our leaders to make wise choices.
Click on the city below for more details on the tour:
For more information on the tour or to become a local partner, please email Veronica Butcher at veronica[at]ncconservationnetwork.org.
I'm sure most folks have heard by now that in a surprising turn of events, North Carolina's exceptional drought (and projected drought through the summer of 2008) seems to be easing up a bit on us. Hooray!
Mandatory restrictions are lightening up throughout the state, and more and more voluntary restrictions are taking their place. But what does this all mean?
I ran across a series of articles addressing the recent changes in the drought situation that I thought I'd pass along. The major points: water conservation methods should be observed at all times since water is a finite resource, water rates throughout the state may be increasing as the demand for water becomes higher and the quantity does not, and maybe it's time to look into using stormwater and/or wastewater for non-potable use.
- NC water users learn benefits of conservation (editorial)
- Some water limits loosened after rains: Officials warn that conservation efforts will still be necessary
- Asheville lifts water conservation measure
If you haven't already, take action to let your decision-makers know that North Carolina needs year-round wise water-management practices. And be sure to let us know (by commenting below) how the recent changes have affected your communities.
Remember that the deadline to register or change your party affiliation is this Friday, April 11. If you need to register for the first time or simply update your voter registration because you've moved, now is the time! Some good links for you:
- Download and print out the voter registration form for North Carolina: http://www.sboe.state.nc.us/content.aspx?id=48
- You must mail the voter registration form to your county board of elections: http://www.sboe.state.nc.us/content.aspx?id=13 by Friday April 11th.
- If you’re not sure on the status of your registration, check here: http://www.sboe.state.nc.us/VoterLookup.aspx?Feature=voterreg
[This blog entry has been cross posted from Toxic Free North Carolina's weblog, Fair Ground, where it was originally posted by Billie.]
I was already a big skeptic of biofuels before today. Using cropland to grow giant monocultures that are then burned as fuel instead of fed to people seems like a not-so-hot idea - think of the pesticides! More mono-cropping means more chemical pesticides and fertilizers that end up harming downwind and downstream communities and ecosystems. Yuck!
Today, I learned that two recent studies confirm that in addition to being a source of pesticide pollution, biofuels aren't actually preventing global warming either. Princeton University and The Marshall Fund published a study in the journal Science, and The Nature Conservancy has put out a study with similar conclusions.
From an article in The Washington Post on these findings:
"(...) As the study from the Nature Conservancy warns, 'converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia and the United States creates a 'biofuel carbon debt' by releasing 17 to 420 times more carbon dioxide than the fossil fuels they replace.' There are other negative effects. Massive amounts of water are needed to irrigate cornfields, setting up potential competition between farms and homes. The runoff of pesticides and nitrogen-based fertilizers used by farmers could lead to increased pollution and oxygen-depleted waterways. The natural gas used to make the fertilizer adds to the carbon deficit created by biofuels.
An essay in the May-June 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs by two professors from the University of Minnesota highlighted still another problem: The biofuels craze could starve people. "By putting pressure on global supplies of edible crops, the surge in ethanol production will translate into higher prices for both processed and staple foods around the world," they wrote. "If oil prices remain high -- which is likely -- the people most vulnerable to the price hikes brought on by the biofuel boom will be those in countries that both suffer food deficits and import petroleum."
Will someone please get the memo to decision makers in Washington who are pouring money into biofuels right now?? Eep!
On March 28 & 29, the NC Conservation Network will host our Annual Retreat—the perfect opportunity for those involved in the NC environmental community to catch up with one another.
As always, we have plenty of networking opportunities built into the event including breaks, a networking hour, meals, and our networking reception.
We also encourage our affiliates and new organizations to bring multiple individuals to the event. If you're interested in taking advantage of our 4 for 3 deal (where you can register 3 folks and bring a 4th for free), please email me.
Please plan on joining us at this great event! But, make sure you register now. Our Early Bird deadline is next Monday (2/18/08) evening and after that point our registration rates increase.
I look forward to seeing you on March 28 in Brown Summit!
Yesterday's The State of Things radio show featured a conversation regarding the proposed new Cliffside coal-burning power plant (click here for more details). The show featured Tom Williams, Environmental and Energy Efficiency spokesperson for Duke Energy and Jim Warren, Executive Director of the environmental and climate change non-profit (and NC Conservation Network affiliate) NC Waste Awareness & Reduction Network (NC WARN). You can download the broadcast here to hear more about the controversy.
Let us know what you think...about the show, about Duke Power's stance, and/or about your opinion on the Cliffside issue.
Many of you may recall one of Heather's blog posts last year stating that the NFL was going to make the 2007 Super Bowl carbon neutral. She then posed the thought that maybe in 2008, the event would go "zero waste."
Well, unfortunately, we're not quite there yet. However, the event is going to go carbon neutral again this year. From E! Magazine:
"Metro Phoenix’s largest power producer, Salt River Project, is supplying SRP EarthWise Energy renewable energy certificates to offset the Super Bowl (and its associated “NFL Experience” activities) with wind and solar power. Some Phoenix hotels will be offsetting their emissions in honor of the occasion, too. The NFL is also planting thousands of trees, enough to reforest more than 42 acres that were destroyed by in the 2002 Rodeo Chediski fire, the worst in Arizona’s history, in which over 400,000 acres were lost in the blaze."
And since the Super Bowl is such a huge event for football fans and non-football fans alike, we're talking about reaching a lot of people on the idea of
being environmental stewards. Dare I say the environment is moving more into the mainstream?
Yesterday’s Vancouver Sun has an article about a group of scientists who are petitioning the International Union of Geological Science to declare that, thanks to human activities, we’ve recently entered a new geological era. The scientists want to call the new era the “Anthropocene”, reflecting human (anthro-) impacts.
According to the article, the scientists will make their case in the February cover story of GSA Today. Marks of the new conditions include higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon and traces of radioactivity from atomic weapons testing.
I’m wondering if a layer of plastic bits across the sea-floor counts as a sign.
On the brighter side: looking for information on plastic in the oceans led me to this wonderful site at the Institute for Figuring. When you visit, don’t miss Inga Hamilton’s stunning jellyfish, part of the Chicago exhibition.
September 12, 2007 at 4:18pm, the News & Observer reports that the Legislative worm project has taken a wrong turn.
Personally, I'd like to commend the NC Legislature for being innovative in their green projects. The worm project was a pet project of Senator Basnight's to compost food scraps, rather than shipping them off to a compost company.
We learned this afternoon that sadly, the first round of worms didn't make it. Thankfully they'll be bringing in some more worms this week. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that the back-up hermaphrodites make it!
The drought has continued this week for all of North Carolina. It seems it's the only thing folks can talk about. Meteorologists are seeming overly optimistic lately in noting that weather action in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean could spin our way and hopefully give us just a few drops of rain in the eastern-most part of the state. The true optimism of this statement is noticed when you know that the predicted chance of rain is 30% for Sunday only in Raleigh.
But, for the rest of us, who aren't meteorologists nor optimists, we are faced with the reality that exists in NC currently: we're in a serious drought that may last for months.
So what? And, so what can I do?
First, the so what?:
Well, if there's no water, there's no life.
NC Conservation Network sent out an email last week listing some of the things homeowners can do to cut back on their water use. How many of those listed are you currently doing? Just this morning, I used three of those tricks: 1) I cut my shower time in half by turning off the water while shaving my legs; 2) I used the water from my rain barrel to water my plants; and 3) my toilet now has a plastic bottle lessening the amount of water we use to flush.
In addition to improving your water usage in your home, you should also take a look at any outdoor uses as well. Hopefully, you don't live in this Wake Forest neighborhood, and can implement some water-saving techniques.
The last thing I'd recommend is to keep talking about it. The more folks know about the drought and the more folks hear about easy water-saving tips, the more likely they are to be cognizant of their own water consumption. So, keep talking!