Thursday, December 29, 2011

On My Radar 12.29.11

Recent News. Happenings. Discoveries…Here are some of the items on my radar.

The ethanol subsidies have come to an end. You can read more about the history of ethanol support and the long road to its final demise in many sources. Here is a particularly good summary by John Voelcker for GreenCarReports posted at TPMIdeaLab. 

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has posted an interactive map which leaves no doubt that this was a year of extreme weather events across the US. The bold copy above the graphic announces:  In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken by extreme events that struck communities in the US. The summary for my state of Connecticut lists the following events: “Record-breaking heat in 5 counties and a total of 13 broken heat records; Record-breaking rainfall in 3 counties and a total of 8 broken rainfall records; Record-breaking snow in 6 counties and a total of 12 broken snowfall records; Multi-million dollar losses from extreme flooding and hurricane damage; 3 billion dollars in damage from October snowstorm; Snowiest January on record.” [I remember that month very well.] Visit the site to check out the graphic and also to read more about the NDRC’s view that extreme weather and climate change are directly related.

In late November, a report by author Elizabeth Grossman in Yale Environment 360 warned that the acidification of the world’s oceans from an excess of CO2 has already begun. Author Carl Zimmer had issued a similar warning in February 2010. 

For the last few days, it was widely reported in a number of blogs that McDonald’s had pulled out of Bolivia. Today’s Marketplace Morning Report confirmed this story. Here is part of the exchange between Marketplace’s Adriene Hill and Reuter journalist Monica Machicao in Bolivia: “Hill: …Tell me, why did these McDonald's in Bolivia close? Machicao: There are a number of hypotheses. One of those — people prefer local food rather than McDonald's. It's the fact that it's more cheap; and in fact, it's really more tasty. Hill: So the local food is actually cheaper than McDonald's fast food? Machicao: Absolutely. Local food can even cost a third of McDonald's.” The same report also stated that Wendy’s was returning to Japan with a premium menu after a two year absence.You can read the rest of the transcript here

Gray whales are arriving early and in record numbers off the coast of Southern California. Check out the photos here

Frank Criscuolo, a beloved figure from the downtown New Haven restaurant scene, died unexpectedly at home on December 14, at the age of 62. Husband of Claire Criscuolo, Claire and Frank were co-owner and proprietors of the 35-year-old vegetarian restaurant Claire’s Corner Copia and Basta Trattoria (for ominvores) next door. He will be greatly missed. You can read his obituary at the New Haven Independent.

The number of owner/members in the Elm City Market continues to grow. When the store opened its doors on November 2, membership was at 750. There were 1200 members when the store’s site was last updated.

The new Connecticut chapter of Slow Food USA, Slow Food Shoreline, has held a number of events including happy hours and a food-centric art gallery tour. Read more about them at their new website.

With its roll-out in the Hill neighborhood in mid-December, the new brown toters for trash have now been distributed in every neighborhood and single-stream recycling in the large blue toters (formerly used for trash) is the rule of the day. You can read about more about the nuts and bolts of the program at the City site and reports of the program’s successes and challenges at the New Haven Independent

During a recent tour of New Haven specialty shops, I was happy to learn that many socks are made in Vermont. Idiom featured colorful non-matching socks from Solmate Socks from Vermont's Sock Lady. At J. Crew I learned that all their socks were sourced from Vermont. After checking out the company websitemy guess is that they come from Cabot Hosiery Mills. Chances are if you bought “Made in the USA” socks from L. L. Bean, Orivs, or Bass, they came from Cabot. The mill also makes its own private brands, Cabot & Sons Vermont and Darn Tough Vermont.

January 1
11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Lighthouse Park, New Haven
New Haven First Day Winter Festival featuring the 
Polar Plunge for Parks and Community Gardens
You can dive in and collect pledges, or sponsor a hardy soul if you don’t want to take the plunge yourself. Your choice. Either way it sounds like a good time. Check out for more info.

January 4th
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Pint Night
Co-sponsored by Trailblazer and Box 63 
in the Broadway District of New Haven
Also in support of the New Haven Land Trust. 
More details here.

On December 8 I briefly left my comfort zone and gave a talk based on some of my blog discoveries. Finding Your Own Way to Greenness: Tips and Tools for Greening Up Your Holidays was part of the Sustainable Quadrangle speakers series at the Yale Divinity School. Notes to what I discussed that day are posted here

On Thursday, January 5th, aspiring Master Gardeners in New Haven County begin their studies at Edgerton Park. I am one of the new students in this intensive course which is part of the University of Connecticut Cooperative Exension System. I guarantee you will be kept abreast of my progress and discoveries over the next four months. Wish me luck!

Meatless Monday posts will return on January 2, after a one-week break.

Happy New Year. I hope you will visit often in 2012. I like to think that together we can make a difference!

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