Tags Posts tagged with "Earth Day"

Earth Day

Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilwoman Jane Bonner joined members of the Relic team at Cedar Beach on Earth Day. Photo by Julianne Mosher

To celebrate Earth Day April 22, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced a new initiative that will keep local beaches clean.

Photo by Julianne Mosher

The elected officials gathered at Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai that morning to unveil its new beach cleanup baskets, in which the town has partnered with Long Island-based nonprofit Relic Sustainability.

The group, from Remsenburg on the South Shore, collaborated with the town due to Relic’s Coastal Collaborative project, which encompasses seven preexisting stations across Long Island. 

“Our goal is to collaborate the town, businesses and community members to collaborate in combating beach pollution that is a growing issue on the coast line of Long Island,” said Alex Kravitz, COO of Relic.

The stations give beachgoers the opportunity to take a basket on the beach, pick up trash and deposit it into a trash receptacle.

“What better way to celebrate Earth Day?” Romaine said. “The baskets are 100% recycled plastics. You pick one up, walk along the beach, pick up some garbage and put the baskets back. … We want this in all of our town beaches and we want to keep them clean.”

While Relic Sustainability has seven stations, Cedar Beach is the first in the Town of Brookhaven to utilize its concept. 

Aiden Kravitz, CEO of the nonprofit, said the goal is to reach even more beaches.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner with the Relic crew. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“By the end of the summer, we’re hoping to have a bigger partnership with the county with 40 to 50 stations,” he said. “The goal of the program is to help relieve the pressure of trash on the beaches by stimulating voluntary trash pickup from the community. We view the heart of the program as a collaborative between the town, ourselves, local businesses and the community members — everybody plays a role.”

Bonner said she was excited for the new initiative because of the “tremendous garbage problem, not only on Long Island, but in the United States.”

“I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than to launch a program that addresses the litter that plagues all of our beaches,” she said. “I encourage people who come to Cedar Beach to use one of the baskets and pick up litter before they leave for home. It’s something we can all do to advocate for a better environment.”

Relic also sells organic apparel that gives back to local waters. For every T-shirt sold, they plant five oysters back into Moriches Bay. 

The clothing items are available at relic-design.com.

The annual Goosehill Primary School Earth Day planting in Cold Spring Harbor was a great success! Parent volunteers came over the weekend to pre-dig holes for the students and set up planting areas. Each class took turns planting colorful geraniums, with shovels and watering cans in hand. It was a great way to celebrate Earth Day and make the school surroundings beautiful! 

Photo by Karen Spehler, Publicist, Cold Spring Harbor School District

Photo from the DA office

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini (D) and Suffolk County Water Authority Chairman Patrick G. Halpin announced at a press conference on April 22 the launch of a first-of-its-kind partnership to monitor Suffolk County’s groundwater and identify the source of any contaminants for the potential investigation and prosecution of polluters by the District Attorney’s Office.

“The short term goal here is to identify sources of pollution for potential investigation and criminal prosecution,” Sini said. “This sends a very important message that we will not tolerate bad actors contaminating our groundwater. The long term goal is to ensure that we leave our future generations what was left to us: the ability to turn on the faucet and drink that water with peace of mind.”

SCWA Chairman Patrick G. Halpin said the partnership will hopefully stop pollution in Long Island’s groundwater before it becomes an issue. 

“It is therefore a huge victory for SCWA ratepayers and a huge victory for Long Island’s environment,” he said.  

Photo from the DA office

The partnership is the latest initiative implemented by the DA’s office to combat environmental crimes in Suffolk County. The monitoring of groundwater for pollutants was highlighted by a landmark Special Grand Jury report issued by the Office in 2018, which concluded that protecting the environment of Suffolk County is of paramount importance in light of the fact that Long Island sits atop an aquifer, which is the sole source of drinking water for its residents.

Sini and Halpin announced that the District Attorney’s Office and SCWA will enter into a memorandum of understanding in which the SCWA will provide groundwater data at no cost to investigators in the District Attorney’s Office to assist with its investigation of environmental crimes.

SCWA will also map and model the flow of groundwater in Suffolk County to enable the District Attorney’s Office to identify and investigate sources of pollution.

 If the DA’s office becomes aware of a potential contamination site, the MOU allows for the SCWA to develop monitoring wells and conduct groundwater and soil testing to determine quality of groundwater and soil in that location. The SCWA will also analyze any groundwater samples collected by the District Attorney’s Office in the course of its investigations.

SCWA currently operates 241 pump stations with 593 active wells in its distribution system located throughout Suffolk County. The data that will be provided and analyzed through this partnership is generated in the SCWA’s state-of-the-art drinking water testing laboratory, which analyzes more than 75,000 samples per year for 400 different chemicals.

Photo from the DA office

Sini has made the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes a top priority of the Office. In 2018, he empaneled a Special Grand Jury to investigate these crimes, which resulted in the largest illegal dumping case in New York State history, known as “Operation Pay Dirt,” charging 30 individuals and 10 corporations in connection with a scheme to illegally dispose of solid waste and construction and demolition material at locations across Long Island.

During its second phase, the Special Grand Jury considered and made recommendations as to legislative, executive, and administrative action to address environmental crimes. In collaboration with State lawmakers, several of those recommendations were adopted and signed into law in December 2020.

 

Pixabay photo

By Michael Christodoulou

Michael Christodoulou
Michael Christodoulou

On April 22, we observe Earth Day, an occasion that has inspired millions of people over the decades to take steps to clean up our world. Of course, your physical surroundings are important, but you also operate in other “ecosystems” – social, cultural and political. And you’ll need to consider your investment environment, too. How can you improve it?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Avoid “toxic” investment strategies. The dangers of pollution helped drive the creation of Earth Day. As an investor, you also need to watch out for “toxins” – particularly in the form of unhealthy investment techniques. For example, chasing after “hot” stocks can burn you. In the first place, by the time you’ve heard of them, they may already be cooling off. Second, and probably more important, these hot stocks just may be wrong for the investment mix that’s appropriate for your needs. Another toxic investment strategy: trying to “time” the market by “buying low and selling high.” No one can really predict when market highs and lows will occur, and if you’re always jumping in and out of the investment world, you’ll likely waste time and effort – not to mention money. Instead of looking for today’s hottest stocks or guessing where the market is heading, try to create and follow a long-term investment strategy based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon.
  • Reduce waste.From an environmental standpoint, the less waste and garbage we produce, the better it is for our planet. As an investor, can you find “wasteful” elements in your portfolio? It’s possible that you own some investments that may be redundant – that is, they are virtually indistinguishable from others you may have. Also, some investments, due to their risk profile or performance, no longer may be suitable for your needs. In either case – redundancy or unsuitability – you might be better off selling the investments and using the proceeds to purchase others that can be more helpful.
  • Recycle wisely.Recycling is a major part of the environmental movement. At first, though, you might not think the concept of recycling could apply to investing. But consider this: If you own stocks or mutual funds, you may receive dividends, and, like many people, you may choose to automatically reinvest those dividends back into the stocks or funds. So, in a sense, you are indeed “recycling” your dividend payments to boost your ownership stakes – without expending additional resources. And, in fact, this can be quite an effective and efficient way to increase your wealth over time.
  • Plant some “trees.”Planting trees has always been a key activity among boosters of the environment – with the recognition that their efforts will take years, or even decades, to reach fruition. When you invest, you must sometimes start small. By purchasing a limited amount of an investment and nurturing it over the years by adding more shares, you may one day have achieved significant growth. (Keep in mind, though, that there are no guarantees – variable investments such as stocks can lose principal.)

By making these and other moves, you can create a healthy investment environment – one that can help you achieve your long-term goals.

Michael Christodoulou, ChFC®, AAMS®, CRPC®, CRPS® is a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones in Stony Brook. Member SIPC.

Reviewed by John Turner

Ecologists (scientists who study the interactions between wild things and their environment) many decades ago coined the term “keystone species.” The term is derived from the fact that like the keystone in the middle of the top of a doorway’s arch, being the stone which supports the entire arch, keystone species in natural communities have disproportional ecological importance in maintaining the stability and integrity of the communities in which they live. Lose a “keystone” species and the community or ecosystem is adversely changed.  

If we were to search the breadth and width of Long Island, might we find a keystone species? Doug Tallamy would certainly suggest oak trees as we learn in his recently released book, The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees.  

Author Doug Tallamy

Being important members of various types of forests, a dozen species of oak are native to Long Island including white oak; swamp white oak; black oak; red oak; scarlet oak (most common in the Pine Barrens); pin oak; the exceedingly rare willow oak; post oak (a coastal species); blackjack oak; chestnut oak found in rocky and gravelly soils; and scrub oak and dwarf chestnut oak, both common species forming an almost impenetrable thicket in the understory of the Pine Barrens.   

What might be the elements of the oaks’ “keystoneness”?  Well, there’s both their intact and fallen leaves, a resource for wildlife; those nuggets of nutrition called acorns; the nooks and crannies of the bark that provide hiding places for small moths and spiders; and the tree wood itself which, as it rots, forms cavities, creating roosting and nesting sites (think raccoons, woodpeckers, screech owls and chickadees). All of these attributes support wildlife, many species of wildlife. Not to mention, as Tallamy explains, the numerous “ecosystem services” oak trees and oak-dominated forests provide free of charge. 

As but a few examples we learn that the canopy of each mature oak tree intercepts about 3,000 gallons of water annually, preventing it from running off and causing erosion, thereby helping to protect streams and rivers. And there’s the locking away of carbon that oak trees do really well, as a means to combat climate change.    

Let’s take a closer look at an obvious attribute: acorns. This unique nut, high in fat, protein, and minerals is a vital food to more than just the obvious species like squirrels and chipmunks. These nuggets of nutrition sustain a surprisingly large variety of animals  including mice and voles, flying squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, opossum, grey fox, white-tailed deer, and black bear. 

As for birds, blue jays love them (and are thought to have been the main dispersal agent allowing for the oak forests of the northern United States to become reestablished after the glaciers scoured the continent) as do crows, some other songbirds, several species of ducks, turkeys, and woodpeckers, including the acorn woodpecker which really likes them.    

We learn from the book that several butterflies (as caterpillar larvae) and more than 70 moth species gain required nutrition by feeding on the fallen leaves of oaks.  Further, many insects seek protection in the fallen leaf layer that accumulates each autumn to overwinter safely (think of Mourning Cloak butterflies as one species that benefits), providing a rationale to leave your leaves in flower beds, beneath oak trees, and other parts of your yard.    

But it’s live oak leaves, Tallamy explains, where the value of oaks come into full focus. More than 500 species of butterflies and moths feed on oak leaves, including many geometrid caterpillars (or inchworms as we learned in our childhoods). Many hundred more other insect species eat oak leaves (or tap into the sap of oaks too), including leafhoppers, treehoppers, and cicadas, among others. These leaf-eating species, in turn, sustain many dozens of songbird species we love to watch — warblers, orioles, thrushes, wrens, chickadees, grosbeaks and more.    

This book is a logical and more specific extension of Tallamy’s decade long argument, laid out in detail in two previous works: Bringing Nature Back Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants and Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard.  

In these prior works he makes a compelling argument for eliminating the “biological deserts” we’ve created around our homes, due to regularly choosing non-native plants that don’t sustain local wildlife, and replacing them with native species that are part of the local food web. 

In “Oaks,” Tallamy backs up this recommendation with good science. For example, working with graduate students he found that non-native plants supported 75% less caterpillar biomass than native plants. Less caterpillars means less things that feed upon them, such as the aforementioned beloved songbirds.  Another graduate student determined that chickadees trying to raise young in a habitat with too many non-native species are 60% less likely to succeed due to the dearth of insects to feed their nestlings.  

Tallamy weaves a clear story documenting the ecological importance of oaks for wildlife while illustrating this significance through fascinating life history details of some of these many oak-dependent species. As with his other books, Tallamy’s latest publication provides strong motivation and rationale to “go native.” Perhaps most central to the thesis of the book is that he wants you to include oak trees as a key part of this effort! What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2021 than by planting an oak and watch as it sustains life for decades to come? 

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Author Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has taught insect-related courses for 40 years. The Nature of Oaks is available at Book Revue in Huntington and online at www.timberpress.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information on the author, visit www.bringingnaturehome.net.

Advocate for climate change to help save the planet

Climate change is an issue that impacts everyone, especially children. The impacts can be seen first-hand, as the planet warms, and human fingerprints are all over the consequences: bigger, stronger hurricanes; deadly heat waves; more intense downpours; and devastating wildfires.

In fact, 60% of Americans are concerned about climate change, according to a survey by the Potential Energy Coalition. For many moms, having a child is what made them start to care about climate change in the first place. Eighty-three percent of moms are concerned about climate change and want to do something about it.

“It’s hard to study climate change and aspects of climate change and be a mother because the data’s very real to you,” said Dr. Emily Fischer, atmospheric chemist and associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. “We need a massive shift in the way we produce energy within 10 years, the same time period I need to save and plan to send my daughter to college. We’re hoping moms will realize climate change impacts their children and that we have solutions, but we need to act relatively quickly.”

If you’re not sure where to begin, these ideas from the climate scientists at Science Moms can add up to create meaningful solutions.

Learn about climate change. Education is a powerful tool, so learning all you can about climate change is one of the best ways to get involved.

“Sorting through myriad information online can be daunting,” said Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, scientist and professor at Texas Tech University. “That’s why Science Moms was created. This nonpartisan group of leading climate scientists, who are also mothers, aims to break down climate change through simple, engaging content.”

Raise your voice. Leaders have the ability to truly take action on the scale needed to make lasting progress on this challenge, but they need to know that it’s a top priority of individuals. You can add your name to petitions and invite others to do the same, attend local meetings to voice your support for reducing carbon pollution and clean energy projects and meet with elected leaders to ensure they know you stand behind them. Of all the actions you can take, one of the most powerful is telling your representatives this is an issue you care about.

“By investing in a clean energy future and common-sense solutions that keep families and communities safe, government leaders have the ability to enact policies that escalate on a scale we could never achieve alone,” Hayhoe said. “They all need to know we stand behind their decisions to tackle this issue.”

Talk about it. In order to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change, fast action is needed. Share what you learn with your neighbors and other parents to help make everyone more aware of the issue. Also remember that environmental concerns aren’t just for adults. Oftentimes, concern for the climate comes from children. Talking with your kids about the importance of good stewardship and empowering them to make a difference can affect how the next generation approaches concerns like climate change and pollution.

Make climate-conscious choices. There are nearly countless examples of smaller actions you can take to adapt your own home and life. Options to consider include switching to electric cars, buying green electricity (now available in 24 states), putting solar panels on your roof, insulating your house or adding more plant-based foods to your diet.

Businesses are taking action: As part of an effort to positively impact environmental change, many consumers care about the effect their shopping decisions may have on the world around them. As a way to aid in that mission, ALDI, which has never offered single-use plastic shopping bags, is aiming to make 100 percent of its private-label product packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. See video below:

 

 

Volunteers clean up the Greenway Trail in Port Jefferson on April 17. Photo by Herb Mones

Volunteerism — to some degree — still exists. When it comes to Earth Day and protecting our environment, this is a wonderful thing.

Two weeks ago, on our editorial page, we mentioned the increase in roadside litter along our towns’ roads and the importance of keeping garbage off the streets. In that editorial, we made a small mention of the groups that volunteer to clean up in our areas, but they deserve more than a sentence or two.

With Earth Day celebrated April 22, residents may have seen people out this past weekend with bags, gloves and trash pickers along roads, in parks and on beaches collecting the garbage of others. 

On Saturday, the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Group hosted a cleanup in conjunction with Suffolk County at Larry’s Landing, and Three Village Community Trust members along with the Friends of the Greenway could be found along the Setauket-Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail.

Hometown Hope, a Port Jefferson nonprofit, gathered volunteers Sunday to clean up the beaches in the village. Dozens of people helped pick up trash along the four-and-a-half-mile shoreline. These are just a few of the cleanups that occur on our roads, trails and beaches throughout the year.

These volunteers deserve a standing ovation for helping to improve our environment and restoring a sense of pride to our communities. 

We would love to see cleanups like this happen more often throughout the year. While it’s the responsibility of individuals to treat the outdoors as they would their own living room or car, unfortunately many don’t follow this common-sense rule. 

Groups like the ones mentioned above have the ability to organize people and get things done and pick up where towns leave off — even though we would like to see highway departments out cleaning more, too.

Sadly, many organizations are in desperate need of volunteers. As more residents commute to the city or work two jobs, many civic associations, advocacy groups, nonprofits and even fire departments have seen a decrease in the number of people volunteering.

Yet so many groups just ask for a bit of time to help make our neighborhoods better places to live. One individual giving up an hour here and there to help others causes a ripple effect. It could influence many to do the same and create a wave of community engagement.

That wave is evident in these cleanups as not only a spot of land becomes cleaner but, in the long run, it helps our foliage and wildlife thrive and keeps our waterways clean.

So, thank you to all of you who took the time out of your busy weekends to make our little space on Earth a bit cleaner.

A biker enjoys a section of the Greenway Trail.

The Three Village Community Trust will host a cleanup of the Setauket and Port Jefferson Station Greenway Trail on Saturday, April 17 at 9 a.m. Meet up with Friends of the Greenway volunteers at trailheads at Limroy Lane in Setauket or Hallock Ave. and Main St. in Port Jefferson Station. For more information, please email [email protected].

SPRING GARDEN

Stony Brook Camera Club member Pam Botway snapped these gorgeous photos to share with our readers  in perfect timing with Earth Day. The East Setauket resident writes, “Here are some cheery photos of spring. Reminding people to look for the good or be part of the good, during these scary times.”