Saturday, September 10, 2011

On My Radar 9.10.11

It’s been a busy month in New England with an earthquake (for which I was absent) and Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. I’ve been remiss in reporting a number of important pieces of news. Here are some of the items on my radar.

  • No one in the northeast is likely to describe this storm as “over-rated.” While it is true that downtown New Haven survived the storm with minor loss of tree limbs and without any power outages, this was the exception rather than the rule. The city as a whole lost 1,250 trees, storm damage was estimated at $13 million, and some sections were without power for nearly a week. Still, there were no homes or lives lost due to the storm. Such was not the case in the adjoining town of East Haven, where a number of houses washed into the sea. Coastal damage was severe — with extensive beach erosion and property damage statewide, due in part to the astronomical high tide which coincided with the storm’s arrival. So busy were we CT residents focusing on our own woes that it was not until the next day that we learned of the devastation in the Catskills and the state of Vermont

  • The wind turbine at Phoenix Press kept on turning through most of the storm. The turbine, which automatically shuts down for safety if the wind is more than 60 mph, only did so once over the weekend. Phoenix Press was able to put power back onto the grid during the storm, generating 2,500 kilowatts of power during Irene’s 48-hour visit — more than four times the amount generated normally.
  • The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop, sponsor of many local cycling events, was recently named one of the top 100 bike stores in the country by Bicycling Magazine.
  • Ecovative Design, LLC, a small company on which I reported on May 30 of last year, recently received the Dupont Diamond Award for its biodegradable mushroom packaging. Ecovative produces home-compostable and cost-competitive replacements for conventional packaging foams using mycelium, or "mushroom roots," as a self-assembling glue. In a June 13 press release the company announced an equity investment by 3M, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the DOEN Foundation. Ecovative's technology has broad applications beyond packaging including insulation, building products, automotive, and consumer goods. The company's Mushroom® packaging, EcoCradle™, is currently used by a number of Fortune 500 clients. Ecovative operates a pilot production facility in upstate New York, and plans to expand to new regional manufacturing facilities in the United States. Ecovative now has an online store featuring a variety of “fun stuff” made from mushroom mycelium, all very green, and some purported to make great wedding gifts. 

    NEWS from ALL OVER:
    • Gus Speth, former Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Justin Haaheim, lead organizer of Act New Haven, were among the over 1,252 arrested in Washington, DC in a two-week protest over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a 1700 hundred mile pipeline carrying the fossil fuel diluted bitumen that would run from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. 
    • The state of Connecticut passed a bill which will go into effect on October 1 requiring all businesses that generate over 104 tons of “source-separated organic material” (food scraps, food processing residue and more) annually to compost them.
    • In Sacramento, a measure that would have banned expanded polystyrene takeout packaging in California has been shelved without a vote in the state Assembly. Senate Bill 568, which passed the Senate in May and would have gone into effect statewide Jan. 1, 2016, would have applied to PS cups, bowls, trays, containers and clamshells. It would have been the first statewide ban on PS packaging in the U.S. The bill was placed in the inactive file Sept. 8, meaning it could surface again in 2012.
    • The Google Green Grocer program offers Googlers in Mountain View the opportunity to  order the same high-quality, sustainably sourced seafood, meat and eggs they already enjoy in Google cafes, while supporting local community fisheries and farms.

    NEWS from NEW HAVEN:
    • New Haven’s Apple Store is rising on Broadway.
    • I was deeply saddened to learn that Chris Sanseverino, former chef at Caseus and West Hills alum, died on September 2. Donations can be made to Slow Food CT in Chris’s name. See his obituary for details. 

    September 11
    Anniversary and Commemoration of 9|11
    New Haven’s bells, including the Yale Carillon and the one at United Church on the Green, will toll city-wide at 1 pm for precisely 1 minute.

    September 17
    Take back the 'value meal' by getting together with family, friends and neighbors for a slow food meal that costs no more than $5 per person.

    September 21
    Whole Foods in Milford will donate 5% of all sales to benefit New Haven’s Common Ground High School

    September 24
    Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisisAt the 350CT event people will come to the New Haven Green via bikes, on foot, carpools, mass transit, anything and everything BUT carbon-intensive travel, for a central celebration with tables, music speakers, art, and a bike-powered outdoor screening of the movie Wall-E! Awesome!

    I STILL need a reader in Mississippi. Someone must know someone there.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend and please come back soon.

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