Student groups on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus are stepping it up this Earth Day to put on a whole week long series of events that all are welcome to attend!
Later today, the Morehead Planetarium will put on “Our Vanishing Skies” and will then be leading a lighting tour and sky watch at the giant sundial all beginning at 7:30pm!
Don’t miss the official Earth Day speaker and president of Environmental Defense, Fred Krupp, who will be speaking on Wednesday at 7pm in Carroll Auditorium at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication!!
On Thursday, we’ll get a variety of perspectives on climate change from an interdisciplinary panel on global warming hosted by the UNC Focus the Nation effort with speakers ranging from the head of the Carolina Environmental Program, Dr. Douglas Crawford-Brown to former Sierra Club president, Dr. Robbie Cox! Come join us in Manning 209 at 7pm.
Events will culminate to an Earth Week Fair on Friday from 10am to 2pm when dozens of campus and community groups and businesses will be tabling on Polk Place with information and interactive activities about the environment! The rain location for this event is the Multipurpose Room in the Frank Porter Graham Student Union - Room #1505.
Finally – Saturday and Sunday is the annual Piedmont Farm Tour!!
All events on campus are free and open to the public and a campus map can be found here!
What are your plans for this year’s Earth Day? Please share any events that others may want to attend!
Lots of Earth Day events going down in Charlotte this weekend and beyond! Check out the details below.
- Wildstock Festival 2007, April 14, Concord
This concert and outdoor festival launches the WildStock labeling campaign, which benefits the state’s Wildlife Diversity programs. WildStock is a unique partnership opportunity that allows North Carolina merchants and their customers to help the state’s nongame and endangered species through sales and purchases.
- CPCC Earth Day Celebrations, April 10-24, Charlotte
The CPCC Earth Day Celebration is a collaborative effort between College programs and community organizations dedicated to protecting the environment through education and community engagement. On Wednesday April 18 and Thursday April 19 they will show Kilowatt Ours, with our own Veronica Butcher as a special guest!
- Earth Day Charlotte, April 21, Charlotte
A fun-filled day of exhibits at Ray's Splash Planet. If you're interested in volunteering for a few hours, please contact Veronica at veronica[at]ncconservationnetwork.org.
I found out about an interesting event going on this weekend in Raleigh at the Southern Ideal Home Show. It's a tour hosted by Toyota called "Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience." According to the media advisory (pdf):
The hands-on exhibit is designed to provide consumers with the opportunity to experience automotive hybrid technology.
Highway to the Future: Mobile Hybrid Experience is a mobile museum designed to provide attendees with interactive ways to learn about alternative fuels, simple ways to help the environment and Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
Check out the website for more information about the event happening this Friday through Sunday.
Also this weekend in Raleigh is the Neuse River Foundation's Spring Clean Up on Saturday, April 14! To date, 776 volunteers have removed more than 53,000 lbs of trash and debris from the river, all access points to the river and along river greenways. This is a tremendous community event--so consider coming out to help clean up the Neuse!
And of course the Global Warming Rally is also this Saturday in Raleigh (it's a busy weekend!) Come rally for a national day of action on global warming. Create a smart energy future - join faith, environmental, justice, and student activists as we take proactive steps to stop global warming and protect our treasured places and people.
As we're approaching Earth Day, I'm sure there are lots of other events going on in other parts of the state. Feel free to send any announcements to blog[at]ncconservationnetwork.org and I'll try to post about them.
This week the Triangle will get to hear from Tyrone Hayes, a biologist and herpetologist of UC Berkeley, on his experience with frog populations as an indicator for cancer risks from contaminated water sources. He’ll be speaking at NC Central University on Thursday thanks to a collaborative effort between the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences at NC Central and PESTed. He will also be speaking on the UNC Chapel Hill campus on Wednesday.
In an online bio, Hayes explains that he is currently assessing the affects in frogs that have been exposed to the world’s most common herbicide and contaminant of ground and surface water: Atrazine. According to Scorecard: The Pollution Information Website, Atrazine is a potential carcinogen. Hayes is interested in effective public policies that address environmental and social concerns and is in particular
concerned about the adverse impacts of Atrazine on endangered species and on racial/ethnic minorities. Prostate and breast cancer are two of the top causes of death in Americans age 25-40, but in particular Black and Hispanic Americans are several times more likely to die from these diseases.
His experience in biology, environmental justice, and the environmental impacts of pesticides should provide for a fascinating lecture. Be sure to attend and let us know how it goes!
PS. Check out your county’s pollution profile in English or in Spanish!
Starting this past Wednesday and continuing through tomorrow (Saturday), the National Latino Congreso is holding an extremely significant conference in Los Angeles. Why is it so significant? For many reasons...one reason is that it's the first comprehensive gathering of Latinos in almost 30 years! Another reason why the event is particularly significant is that the agenda includes an entire day to address environmental issues. According to a September 1 article by Inside EPA:
[...] a Los Angeles Latino leader says the environment is becoming a growing issue in the [Latino] community for a number of reasons. "We live in cities so brownfields are an issue, overcrowding, the aging industrial complex, these dramatically affect public health. . . . I hope the congress comes up with a vision of Latino politics for the next generation with a heavy emphasis on environment, community health and stewardship of wild lands."
Included on the agenda of environmental issues are climate change, environmental health (pdf), air and water quality issues, environmental justice, and much more. I am thrilled to see Latino leaders taking such an active part in environmental issues. As the Latino population grows in the United States (and in North Carolina in particular) it is becoming more and more important for this segment of the population to become involved in environmental issues...not only because Latinos (like many non-Latinos) need to be educated on sustainability issues to ensure public health, but also because their support has the potential to play a huge part in future fights on a slew of environmental issues, often directly impacting the thousands upon thousands of Latinos living in areas of low economic prosperity, where, unfortunately, landfills and other environmental hazards often seem to pop up.
As a person who's active in North Carolina's Latino community, I'd like to know what others are thinking about these topics. Are environmental issues important to Latinos in our state? If not, should they be? Is enough being done to educate and incorporate the environmentally-related needs of Latinos statewide and nationwide? If not, who should be taking the lead on this?
This past Monday, I had the privilege of seeing a screening of a fabulous documentary on energy consumption in the southeast United States. This film, Kilowatt Ours: A Plan to Re-energize America, delved into the often hard-to-hear facts on just how much energy people (and industry) consume on a daily basis. Jeff Barrie, filmmaker, leads the viewer on an intriguing journey to discover where our energy sources are coming from, what the environmental implications of energy usage are, who are the people most involved and affected by energy consumption, and finally ways that people and businesses have gone the extra mile to be more energy efficient. Chock-full of interviews, statistics, and examples on how to make your home or business more energy efficient and more reliant on clean energy sources (namely wind and solar power), Kilowatt Ours is a touching documentary that left me feeling impowered (dare I say "energized?") to take control of my own energy consumption.
This week, the NC Conservation Network has teamed up with Kilowatt Ours and several other organizations to sponsor a free statewide screening tour. Already over 700 people in Wilmington, Fayetteville, and Raleigh have attended and had the opportunity to view the film, participate in a questions-and-answers session with Jeff Barrie, and enjoy an Energy Expo with displays of energy-related products, information on sustainable living and clean energy options. There are three more stops left on the tour--so don't miss out! Click on the links below to RSVP to attend a screening in your area...or get your own copy of the DVD.
If other folks have attended one of the screenings or have simply seen the film, we'd love to hear what you think!
There's a rare spectacle in today's News & Observer. For those of you who read it often, did you notice it?
Count 'em! There are three stories about the environment on the front page of the News & Observer today. And, two more on the front page of the City & State section.
We wish that all of these articles read "Victory for NC's environment and public health!" but as we all know there is much more work to do. So, while not all of these stories report good news, they do all bring attention to the issue of NC's environment.
From the News & Observer's front page:
From the News & Observer's City & State section:
Or in this case Nano Nano - only there are no aliens in large eggs coming to study Earthlings. Instead ‘Earthlings’ are doing the studying as well as creating in the field of nanotechnology. So what the heck is nanotechnology anyway? Well according to the folks at the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology:
"Nanotechnology is the engineering of tiny machines—the projected ability to build things from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, highly advanced products.”
“The plan: double federal funding of research in basic areas like nanotechnology, supercomputing and alternative energy…”
Should we be paying attention? It seems so. Nanotechnology has the tremendous ability to impact the environment in both good and bad ways. According to blogger Joel Makower's recent post 'Can Nanotechnology Be Green?'
“When it comes to the environment, nanotechnology is no small matter.”
Proponents of nanotechnology tout benefits for the environment such as improving solar energy and not only saving but cleaning huge amounts of water. There is even talk of it ‘revolutionizing the Forest Products industry.' However, there are still concerns around possible implications to public health.
At the University of Minnesota research is being done around the ethical and health concerns. They have just released a new report urging coordinated and integrated oversight of nanotechnology.
"For example, some nanoparticles have the rare ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which can assist the medical field by delivering drugs to the brain; however, those same capabilities can pose greater risk if toxic particles are inhaled. In environmental applications, the penetration capabilities of nanoparticles could lead to unwanted contamination of our resources if not used properly."
Final thought--Treehugger.com recently interviewed Harvard University Professor George Whitesides, an expert in the field, on this topic. Here is a tidbit of what he had to say:
"A person may be able to ignore developments in nanotechnology for a while. But eventually, it seems, practically any field you may be paying attention to is in some way impacted by developments on the nano level.”
So what say you? Does the thought of tiny machines floating around concern you? Is it just a bunch of hype?
Personally, the thought of walking down the street and inhaling a tiny machine into my body (on top of all the toxins we are exposed to everyday) makes me very concerned. I may have to steal Mork's egg and move to Ork!
Last week news outlets around the world covered the story of 'Nemo' - the endangered right whale tangled in over 400 feet of rope. Nemo's rescue efforts began two weeks ago off the coast of Georgia and continued into the waters off of Florida. By Monday the rescue efforts were focused 50 miles NE of Cape Hatteras with the NC Coast Guard leading rescue efforts. According to news reports:
"Representatives from four agencies, including 45 members of the U.S. Coast Guard, joined forces for an operation that took the crew on a 150-mile chase over waters of the Atlantic."
Unfortunately rescue efforts failed when the endangered right whale broke free of tracking devices and headed further out into the ocean. At this point we can only hope that the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network will spot the whale before it is too late.
Given the amount of time, money, and compassion given to protect Nemo last week: Why is the U.S. Navy proposing to build an underwater sonar training range that could kill or maim whales, dolphins, and fish in shallow water off the coast of North Carolina?
An article in today's Raleigh News & Observer states:
"The Navy says it expects only mild disturbance to some whales and hardly any effect on fish or sea turtles."
Please take a moment today to insist that the Navy not jeopardize the health of whales, dolphins, and our marine ecosystems in the name of protection.
Between articles in the newspaper and browning oaks in the downtown parks (before the leaves turned color and fell because of autumn), it’s been hard to miss that central North Carolina is in a severe drought. But, wanting to see for myself what our reservoir looked like, yesterday I drove out to Falls Lake to walk around. It is low.
This seems like a great time for canoeists and kayakers to explore, with few motorboats in the upstream half of the lake. I didn’t see much wildlife – one huge heron, and a lonely coot. Most of the lake upstream of the I-85 causeway is dry, a few channels winding across a large mud plain. I walked from the boat put-in at Olive Grove Church Road. This picture is taken looking back up an arm of the lake towards the north.
Falls Lake was created by a dam across the Neuse at the bottom of the fall line, and it has two pretty different sections. The upper half, where the river originally ran through Piedmont hills, is broad and shallow. In this drought, it’s mostly mud, with a little sand and a scattering of grey stumps.
Under the downstream half, lying to the southeast, the Neuse ran through a deeper valley, cutting down to the coastal plain. This section of the lake is narrower, but deeper, and provides the water storage that Wake County is counting on to see us through the drought. The place where I walked is near the bottom of the upper half, I think. The receding waters have uncovered less trash than I expected – perhaps thoughtful visitors have already helped with a cleanup – but there are enough plastic bait containers and beer bottles that next time I visit, I think I’ll bring along a trash bag to carry some out. Meanwhile, I’ll be doing what I can to reduce my water use at home – with the lake this low, we’d all better conserve.