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Almanac Archive for April 14, 2021

The Conservation Almanac
      The Beach Clean-Up is Back!
            Climate Changing with the MV Museum
                  An Earth Day Lesson from the Shores of Greenland
The 29th Annual Earth Day Beach Clean-Up
Please join us this Saturday (April 17th) for the 29th annual Earth Day Beach Clean-Up. After careful consideration, we are happy to say that plans for this year’s event represent at least a partial return to normal. As usual, our wonderful volunteer leaders will be stationed at participating beaches with bags and gloves for trash collecting from 10 am to noon. (Also as usual, MVY Radio will be broadcasting the action from Eastville Beach.) So, if you are able, please go see them and check in – or, if you’d rather keep a little more distance, just BYOB and head straight to the beach and join in the fun!
In addition, throughout the month of April we will be repeating last year’s experiment in “joining together while working apart.” Pick your own time and place – beach, trail, roadside, or other public space – and share your stories, cool finds, and photos via email (or tag us on social media).

Unfortunately, we won't be able to have the traditional after-party this year. We will miss seeing all of your faces and sharing trashy treasure hunting stories, but it will still be great to have everyone out at the beaches, coming together to protect our shared Island environment.

Earth Day Pop-Up Photo Contest: Snap some pics of the coolest, grossest, or most unusual things you find on the beach. Then email us or post on Facebook/Instagram (tag @ vineyardconservation), and you could win one of the prizes!

A Planet-Sized "Thank You" to the Haulers

A huge part of pulling off this event every year is the need to move thousands of pounds of beach trash to its final destination. We are so grateful to the good folks at Bruno's, the MV Refuse District, and the DPWs in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Tisbury, who over the years have donated so much of their staff time and collection and hauling fees to the cause. 
This year, we are thrilled to add the Vineyard Transit Authority to that list of generous haulers. Pitching in to the clean-up effort in a very big way, the VTA will be hauling our most valuable resource – you! – for free. In fact, to celebrate Earth Day, the VTA is offering free rides to beaches and conservation properties the entire week of school vacation (April 17-23). Thank you! 

Earth Day Odds & Ends

To Clean the Ocean, Focus First on the Land
The litter-strewn coast of Greenland shown at right would appear to be a sad testament to the global impact of our waste
– a result of powerful ocean currents spitting out the debris of the masses onto far-flung shores. Yet, a recent study yielded a surprising result: almost all of that trash was of local origin. For a non-technical account on the methods used and the implications (including a 3-minute video), please see this in Arctic Today.    
These findings reinforce what we've known for some time: the best approach to cleaning up plastic pollution in the ocean is to prevent it from getting there in the first place. For more on why the physical power of the ocean justifies both pessimism regarding deep-sea clean-ups, as well as optimism for the impact of land based efforts (like this Saturday!), please check out the second item in a previous Earth Day Almanac.

MVC Hearing: Plastic Grass
Because no one can ever have enough discussion of why it is entirely sensible to place a massive carpet of plastic fibers outdoors, in the elements, for the express purpose of having athletes pummel it with a level of vigor that the existing fields have, to date, been unable to withstand, all on an ecologically-sensitive Island ringed by imperiled waters . . .

Tomorrow night (the 15th) at 7:00, the MV Commission holds yet another hearing on the proposal to construct new athletic facilities at the High School, including (the element that has garnered the most opposition) an artificial turf playing field. If you haven't yet spoken up at a hearing (please email Lucy to register), or submitted a comment via email, now is the time to do so. Frustrated snark aside, the installation of plastic fields always seemed dissonant against the backdrop of the Island's ongoing plastic waste reduction efforts (many led by students!), but in the week of the beach clean-up it feels even more so.

Changing, with MVC Climate Change Planner Liz Durkee

"We live on a fragile triangle of shifting sand and gravel, surrounded by the restless sea. The landscape of the Island has been reshaped, for twenty thousand years, by wind and moving water, and more recently by humans who have sought to alter it to serve human needs. Living on the Vineyard means balancing human needs and natural conditions, but what does that mean at a time when the human needs are growing more complex, the natural conditions more unpredictable, and the vulnerability of critical infrastructure more apparent."

For the next edition of the "One Island, Many Voices" series from the MV Museum, Research Librarian Bow Van Riper welcomes Liz Durkee, Climate Change Planner for the MV Commission – and from the sound of the above introduction it's going to be a good one. The virtual program is tomorrow afternoon (the 15th) from 4:00 - 5:30. Purchase tickets ($7, $5 for Museum members) at their website.

That looks like a jolly good trash picker!


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The Vineyard Conservation Society is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving the environment of Martha’s Vineyard through advocacy, education and the protection of the Island’s land and water.