AMC Boston Chapter

Conservation

Upcoming Conservation Events

 

Conservation Talking Points for AMC Leaders can be found here

 

What is the AMC Doing About Climate Change?

AMC is focusing a great deal of its research and conservation policy work on climate change, which poses significant threats to alpine ecosystems and outdoor recreation in our region. Changing climatic conditions can alter the timing and intensity of our fall foliage and impact snowfall and winter sports, both important contributors to the region’s economy and our way of life. The combustion of fossil fuels, which is the main human activity contributing to climate change, also contributes to air pollution, ground-level ozone and haze, which impact hiker health and the quality of the outdoor experience.

For more information and ways to help click on the link below.

AMC's Climate Change Website

May 17-21 National Bike to School and Work Week

Let’s see how many miles Worcester Chapter can log during National Bike to School and Work Week.  If you live too far from work, no excuse drive halfway then bike.  No shower at work? No excuse. Bike slow and you will not sweat.  Let’s all encourage our families and coworkers to get out there next week.  The more bike commuters = less cars on the road= cleaner air to breathe and clear water to drink.  Email me your weekly bike total to be entered into a drawing, conservation@amcworcester.org.

Asian Longhorned Beetle Threat

As most of you have probably heard, there is a serious threat to the Worcester County tree population from an introduced pest—the Asian Longhorned Beetle. A concerted effort is taking place to eradicate this problem, as the ramifications are very serious. To learn more, please visit this website and its various links. While AMC's headquarter's scientists are not involved in this process, they advise that it would behoove us in the Worcester Chapter to become aware of the problem, learn how to identify the beetle, and what to do if we locate any.

http://massnrc.org/pests/alb/

As they say, no action is not an option. The beetle infestation could cause "environmental effects such as the loss of trees and forested areas, and damage to maple syrup and lumber industries in Massachusetts." If it "jumps the border" into neighboring states, then stopping it will only become more difficult, and the effects on the environment and economy of New England could be devastating.

 

 

One part of AMC's mission is Conservation. Here are opportunities for you to influence the conservation process in our region. These opportunities are frequently hearings or "listening sessions", held by government agencies who are soliciting citizen input. Sometimes, they're just opportunities to take part in a clean up of a local river. This is your chance to make a difference!

Get on Worcester Chapter's Conservation Activists/Volunteers Mailing List!

Sign up to receive e-mail about the following items of interest:

  • Announcements of upcoming conservation events and last minute events not posted in Outdoors Magazine
  • Reminders of events as they draw near
  • Notifications of joint projects with other conservations groups such as Greater Worcester Land Trust, TTOR, MassLand Trust, OAR, SVT, SuAsCo, Wachusett Mountain Days, Blackstone Valley, and so on
  • Announcements of new AMC clubwide or chapter-wide conservation initiatives

Baby Steps in the Right Direction: Your Suggestions for Getting Greener

Stepping down dryer usage:
"I've found a few useful tips in the 'Living Green While $aving Green' section in the newsletter, but wasn't ready to give up my dryer just yet. Decided to share my baby steps to getting there - set dryer for 20 minutes; pull out and hang t-shirts and cotton items on shower rod; finish drying the rest on "less dry" setting. Worked great all winter! T-shirts aren't wrinkled, cotton shirts are easier to iron, if at all, and towels are fluffy. Now I have a wooden rack in the shower and leave fewer and fewer items in the dryer after those 20 minutes. Soon most everything will go directly on the line outside. Baby steps are getting me there. Thanks for the help."

~ Mike, Berlin, MA

Not ready for a hybrid this year?
Here's how I've been saving fuel:

  • Combining my errands into bunches and planning the least mileage route - imitating UPS by planning a route with fewest left turns (saves on idling time at lights and busy intersections).
  • Driving more smoothly instead of racing to a stoplight to just slam on the brakes - a friend suggested driving as if you have an uncooked egg under each pedal. The idea is to not break the eggs. This also requires taking turns/curves slowly and mindfully.
  • Keeping my car maintained in best driving condition - clean oil, proper tire pressure, only essentials in the vehicle to reduce weight, ski/bike/kayak racks on only when needed to avoid drag.
  • My goal is to add extra days between fill-ups. I used to fill up every week. I've added three more days to a tank on average. My goal is to stretch that to one fill per every two weeks. Takes perseverance.

~ Michelle, Mohawk Hudson chapter

Have your own Baby Step recommendation featured here by emailing Claude at conservation@amcworcester.org.

 

Recommended Reading List

Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds--Be Part of the Global Warming Solution! by David Gershon

Review excerpted from the Christian Science monitor: Mr. Gershon created a step-by-step program, à la Weight Watchers, designed to reduce a person's carbon footprint. Replete with checklists and illustrations, the user-friendly guide is a serious attempt at changing American energy-consumption behavior. Although representing 4.5 percent of the world's population, the United States contributes an estimated 25 percent of its greenhouse gases. The book guides participants through a month-long process of behavioral change. Each participant calculates his or her footprint - the average US household emits 55,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, the book says - and then browses a list of emissions-lowering actions. But the key to the program's success, say those who've participated, is in forming a support group. People have good intentions, says Gershon, but alone, they often lack the will to follow through. Like Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous, the formation of a group encourages follow-through by socially reinforcing the new, desired behavior.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (revised edition) by Richard Louv

Review excerpted from Scientific American: According to newspaper columnist and child advocate Richard Louv, boys and girls now live a "denatured childhood." He cites multiple causes for why children spend less time outdoors and why they have less access to nature: our growing addiction to electronic media, the relinquishment of green spaces to development, parents' exaggerated fears of natural and human predators, and the threat of lawsuits and vandalism that has prompted community officials to forbid access to their land. Drawing on personal experience and the perspectives of urban planners, educators, naturalists and psychologists, Louv links children's alienation from nature to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, stress, depression and anxiety disorders, not to mention childhood obesity. According to Louv, the replacement of open meadows, woods and wetlands by manicured lawns, golf courses and housing developments has led children away from the natural world. What little time they spend outside is on designer playgrounds or fenced yards and is structured, safe and isolating. Such antiseptic spaces provide little opportunity for exploration, imagination or peaceful contemplation.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

Review from School Library Journal: This book chronicles the year that Barbara Kingsolver, along with her husband and two daughters, made a commitment to become locavores–those who eat only locally grown foods. This first entailed a move away from their home in non-food-producing Tuscon to a family farm in Virginia, where they got right down to the business of growing and raising their own food and supporting local farmers. For teens who grew up on supermarket offerings, the notion not only of growing one's own produce but also of harvesting one's own poultry was as foreign as the concept that different foods relate to different seasons. While the volume begins as an environmental treatise–the oil consumption related to transporting foodstuffs around the world is enormous–it ends, as the year ends, in a celebration of the food that physically nourishes even as the recipes and the memories of cooks and gardeners past nourish our hearts and souls. Although the book maintains that eating well is not a class issue, discussions of heirloom breeds and making cheese at home may strike some as high-flown; however, those looking for healthful alternatives to processed foods will find inspiration to seek out farmers' markets and to learn to cook and enjoy seasonal foods.

50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth: Completely New and Updated for the 21st Century by The Earth Works Group (also available: 50 Simple Things Your Business Can Do to Save the Earth and 50 Simple Things Your Kids Can Do to Save the Earth)

Publisher comments from Powell's Books: The revolutionary 1990 bestseller, is back in a completely revised, updated edition... and it's just as innovative and groundbreaking as the original. The authors have teamed up with 50 of America's top environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, and Rainforest Action Network. Each group has chosen one issue and provided a simple, step-by-step program that will empower you and your family to become citizen activists in the fight to save the Earth.

Suggest books to add to the list by emailing Claude at conserves@amcworcester.org.

 

 

Monthly Energy Tip

Monthly Energy Tip
Myth: Buying organic food is the greenest way for me to eat.

Fact: It's not that simple. While organic food is light on the land to grow, you need to take into consideration where it was grown and how it got to your local market. If carbon use is your top concern, you're probably better off going with fruits, vegetables, meat, and milk produced closer to home. "Petroleum miles" usually make up most of the environmental impact of a single piece of food.

Energy Tip for the Month:
Go to localharvest.org to search by ZIP code and find the farmers' markets, greengrocers, and food co-ops closest to you. The website also offers a list of restaurants that use local and regional products for their cuisine. Best of all, you can talk to the farmers, grocers, and restaurant owners themselves to ask them if they are using sustainable farming techniques or supporting local farmers!

If you really want to get close to the farm, join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, which lets you buy shares in a farmer's annual harvest. In return, you get a box of produce every week for a season. Not only are you getting fresh, locally grown produce, you're also likely to be introduced to new fruits and vegetables you haven't tried before!

To find more energy tips, go to AMC's energy tip archive at:
www.outdoors.org/conservation/energy/energy-tips.cfm

 

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace means traveling and camping with care, deliberately planning, and guiding one's actions so as not to harm the environment or disturb others.

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

  1. Plan ahead and prepare. Know the terrain and any regulations applicable to the area you're planning to visit, and be prepared for extreme weather or other emergencies. This will enhance your enjoyment and ensure that you've chosen an appropriate destination. Small groups have less impact on resources--and on the enjoyment of other backcountry visitors -- than large ones.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces, which include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow. Good campsites are found, not made. Camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams, and focus activities on areas where vegetation is absent. In pristine areas, disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Pack it in, pack it out. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
  4. Leave what you find. Cultural or historic artifacts, as well as natural objects such as plants or rocks, should be left as found.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts. Cook on a stove. If a campfire is built, keep it small and use dead sticks found on the ground. Use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  6. Respect wildlife. View critters from a distance. Feeding wildlife alters their natural behavior.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors. Be courteous, respect the quality of other visitors' backcountry experience, and let the natural sounds of the forest prevail.

For more information about Leave No Trace principles, visit also http://www.lnt.org and become a "Viz Vol" Volunteer and Document Air Quality

 

Read all about the Visibility Volunteer Program

Give A Green Light to Green Energy Renewable Electricity Choice for Massachusetts Electric Customers

Have you ever huffed and puffed your way to a summit to find the view obscured by a haze of pollution? Did you know that in summer there are actually days when it is better for your health to stay indoors than to enjoy a strenuous hike? Did you ever wonder if there is something you can do about this? Your time has come. A lot of this pollution comes from emissions from electric power plants fueled by coal, oil, and natural gas. The results diminish our mountain views, negatively impact our farmland, forests, lakes and rivers, and contribute to rising asthma rates and even children's learning disabilities.

Now hear this! You can make a difference. Starting this fall, Massachusetts Electric customers can "Green Up" their electricity consumption for just a few pennies a day. The Center for Ecological Technology (CET), a community-based non-profit organization in western Massachusetts, is offering New England GreenStart through Massachusetts Electric's "GreenUp" program. Enjoy the advantages of reliable electricity while supporting the growth of environmentally responsible energy production in New England. AMC members earn referral dollars for their club and their chapter, which means your investment benefits the mountains, rivers, and streams of the Appalachian region in more ways than one.

Choosing New England GreenStart demonstrates that people will pay for cleaner, healthier electricity. Together, we will help build wind farms, solar powered buildings, and environmentally responsible hydropower facilities. So, find the notice in your September Massachusetts Electric bill. Look for information on "GreenUp", and choose New England GreenStart.

To find out more, visit: www.greenstart.net or call (800) 689-7957. Tell them you heard about it from AMC, and bring referral dollars to the work of your club and chapter.

Conservation Action Network

AMC's Conservation Action Network provides regular updates and action alerts on important conservation and policy issues in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. CAN allows you to get involved in AMC's conservation policy work on land protection, air quality, riverways and wind power by contacting policymakers or volunteering. Join the Conservation Action Network (CAN).



 

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