Friday, April 18, 2014

Recycling Saves Money. Recycling More Saves More Money.

fairhaven recyclingHere in Fairhaven, the town has to pay a company to collect trash and recycling. But while the town then has to pay $50 a ton to get rid of the trash, the company takes care of the recycling for free.

So what's the problem? Only 14% of the town recycles and many households still use those iconic, tiny blue bins. As Ariel Wittenberg reports, now Fairhaven is looking to invest in bigger recycling bins to encourage bigger savings:
Department of Public Works Superintendent Vincent Furtado said that his office recently came to an agreement with ABC Disposal to start using larger trash and recycling carts, much like those now being used in New Bedford.

Residents will be able to throw any recyclables, be they paper, plastic or something else, into the carts, which hold 96 gallons. The recycling carts are a third bigger than the 64-gallon trash carts, something Furtado said is meant to encourage more recycling in town.

"We will only pick up what fits in those containers," Furtado said. "The hope is that will make people think about what they put in each of them." [...]

"What's the difference between throwing a milk carton in one container or the other? Well, in one it costs the town money and in the other it won't," he said. "When the town saves money, the taxpayers save money."
Yes, recycling conserves precious resources like wood, metal, oil (plastic is made from petroleum), energy and water. Yes, recycling conserves space in our increasingly-crowded (and sometimes dangerous) landfills.

But even if you're some selfish jerk who doesn't care about any of that, recycle because it saves you money.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Raptormania: Snowy Owls vs. Osprey

With this winter's unusual flood of snowy owls, I'd been wondering if they'd stick around long enough to come into conflict with returning ospreys, which nest in many of the same spots the owls are using.

Sure enough, researcher with our local Manomet Center for Conservation Studies photographed this squabble between a snowy owl and an osprey at Angelica Point in Mattapoisett, home to several nesting pairs of osprey from April to October. The snowy owls literally can't take the heat, so they'll migrate north by May at the latest.

You can like the Manomet Center on Facebook and follow it on Twitter - or if you're feeling extra supportive, send them a small donation as a thank you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Years of Living Dangerously: Watch Climate Change Documentary's First Episode Free

A new documentary series on climate change called Years of Living Dangerously premieres Sunday night on Showtime. Watch the first full episode for free & like the series on Facebook:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pro-Wind Winning Streak Continues as Fairhaven Candidates Sweep

View from the topLocal wind energy is on a year-long winning streak at the ballot box in Massachusetts, extended on Monday by the re-elections of pro-wind Fairhaven Selectman Charlie Murphy and Board of Health Member Jeannine Lopes:
With 19 percent voter turnout, Murphy had 1,391 votes and Riley had 607 according to a preliminary count. In the Board of Health race, Lopes had 1,287 votes and challenger Louise Barteau had 740.
Local elections held in spring are designed to be low-turnout - they're exactly the elections anti-wind NIMBYs should win if their absurd health claims were finding even the least bit of traction. Instead, "Windwise" anti-wind energy activist Louise Barteau got only a third of the vote - again, in an election in which only the hardcore activist base of voters turned out.

It's the latest in a string of victories for local wind energy:
The wins of DeTerra and Lopes were no accident - Friends of Fairhaven Wind rallied the pro-clean energy majority to turn out to support them.

Local elected officials shouldn't be scared of anti-wind NIMBYs - they should build as much clean energy as they can, then when it's time for re-election, aggressively run on that record.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

NBC News Climate Change Special Airs Sunday Night (UPDATED)

UPDATE 4/8/14: A few quick reactions to Ann Curry's "Our Year of Extremes":
  • Localizing impacts: Curry presented climate change as a current and concern for our communities. While it covered far-away melting glaciers, it spent much more time on the climate change-fueled wildfires, droughts, floods and superstorms threatening our homes, businesses and special places. 
  • Solutions: Curry covered carbon-cutting options, which instantly made her special superior to CNN's. 
  • Somber format: It told the story of climate change linearly, focusing on climate change impacts for most of the special, then closing with a segment on climate solutions. Starting with 50 minutes of constant crisis was a bit depressing - mixing impacts and solutions throughout might've made the mood more hopeful.
  • Contrarian co-host: It was bad enough when Curry allowed a political scientist, the discredited climate contrarian Roger Pielke, Jr., to attack climate scientists. But Curry then went back to Pielke a second time, giving him a stand-alone slot as her ONLY non-scientist voice on climate solutions. Why didn't we get to hear from a strong climate action voice like Bill McKibben or Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse? 
  • Ads suck: Watching documentaries on network TV is the worst. Just as you're starting to get into the flow of the program, everything comes to a screeching halt for a three-minute commercial break. But then again, it's good to see so many advertisers willing to support this kind of public service content.
UPDATE 4/7/14: You can watch the full special on Comcast on Demand or at Here's a clip:
  On Sunday at 7pm ET, NBC will air special by Ann Curry titled Our Year of Extremes - Did Climate Change just Hit Home?

One thing to watch for: A recent CNN special on climate change completely failed to mention the industrial carbon pollution that's causing climate change.

Considering that climate science deniers already have a bizarrely unhealthy hatred for Ann Curry, she might as well give America the whole story.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Walter Cronkite Warned of Climate Change 34 Years Ago Today

Walter Cronkite introduced this report on climate change on April 3, 1980 and with the benefit of hindsight the only thing that seems inaccurate is the time-frame. While the reporter warns a climate crisis could be upon us in "50 to 70 years," just 34 years later a new IPCC report documents how we're already seeing rapid climate changes threatening our water & food supplies and worsening extreme weather.

Via Climate CrocksD.R. Tucker

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fairhaven Wind Turbines Make NIMBYs, Not Kids, Play Dumb

Local anti-wind turbine agitator and non-bird decapitator Louise Barteau is running for Fairhaven Board of Health against incumbent and wind turbine supporter Jeannine Lopes. An op-ed in support of Lopes by Fairhaven resident Mary Fortin in the local Standard-Times turns one of the more common "health" lies about wind turbines on its head:
None of these claims have any proof to support them. There are no lab results, no doctor's findings, no dental records that show proof of sleep disturbances, teeth falling out, excruciating, debilitating headaches or any other ailments that are being claimed. She claims that the turbines are impeding our children's sleep and their learning abilities, when in fact, Wood School, which is within 2,000 feet of the turbines, has shown an increase in MCAS scores since the turbines have been erected.
Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants are scientifically proven to hurt children's development.

If you live in Fairhaven, like Jeannine Lopes for Fairhaven Board of Health on Facebook and be sure to vote for her on April 7.