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Almanac Archive for June 20, 2017

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Quote of the Week

"As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris agreement for our people, our economy & future." --Bill Peduto, responding to Donald Trump's statement that in withdrawing the country from the Paris Climate Accord, he was representing the interests of "Pittsburgh, not Paris"
The Art of Conservation

Winners of the 2017 Art of Conservation, our annual high school art contest, have been announced. Two first prizes were awarded, both to sculptures: David Sweitzer's intricate origami pairing, and Grace Kenney's inspired "Attire," a castoff tire overlaid with a weaving of recycled fibers. Click either image above to see full size, and check out the rest of the art here!
Conservation Calendar

The Future of Bats

Tuesday, June 20, 6:30 pm, Edgartown.
A free presentation at the Edgartown Library on bats and their behavior, White Nose Syndrome, and the status of our bat populations and what you can do to help them. Luanne Johnson and Liz Baldwin of BiodiversityWorks will share their research on the Vineyard's population of Northern Long-eared bats, now threatened with extinction. For more info, call (508) 627-4221.

Workshop: Raising Chickens for Eggs or Meat
Saturday, June 24, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Tisbury.
Island Grown Initiative hosts two workshops to help anyone learn how to raise their own chickens. Egg-laying hens are the focus from 10 to noon, and a second session on meat chickens runs from 12:30 to 2. The workshops are free, but registration is required: call (508) 687-9062 or email. At the Farm Hub/Thimble Farm, for more info see website.

Book Talk: David Foster,
A Meeting of Land and Sea

Saturday, June 24, 7:00 pm, West Tisbury.
Tweed Roosevelt leads a discussion with David Foster about his work and new book, A Meeting of Land and Sea: Nature and the Future of Martha’s Vineyard. Free, at the West Tisbury Library, for more info call (508) 693-3366. 

Climate Impacts on Agriculture and Coastal Infrastructure
Thursday, June 29, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, West Tisbury.
Eric Walberg of Manomet Science Center gives a presentation on likely changes to weather patterns and extremes that have serious implications for our farming community, as well as how rising seas and increased coastal storms pose risks to the built coastal environment. At the Ag Hall, free, see press release for more info. 
Local News

VCS Annual Meeting Next Week!
Featuring "Naked DNA in My Water" 
Please join us Tuesday, June 27 at the West Tisbury Library for the Annual Meeting of the VCS Board & Membership. The meeting starts at 5:00 pm with refreshments on the lawn to the right of the main entrance, then we will move inside for the business portion at about 5:45.

This year's meeting will feature a very special treat, a presentation by Jesse Ausubel, Director of Rockefeller University’s Program for the Human Environment (and long-time VCS science advisor), on the potential for environmental DNA (aka eDNA, or "naked DNA") to radically transform the way we understand the wildlife in our water. Read on to learn more!

Have you ever wondered who else has been swimming in your favorite body of water? Thanks to a new sampling technique, the collection and analysis of environmental DNA, we can now narrow that question down to species -- without having to take a single fish out of the water.

Environmental DNA (eDNA), also known as loose, extracellular, or naked DNA, results from the break-up of cells. It is continually cast off, yet doesn't persist long before breaking down, so the recent presence of many aquatic organisms can be reliably detected by looking for these DNA fragments. Monitoring  eDNA could supplement -- or even someday supplant -- traditional sampling methods, many of which can be time-consuming, expensive, and destructive to the very wildlife we seek to better understand.

To learn more, see this piece in Smithsonian Magazine. Better yet, join us next week for Jesse Ausubel's presentation at the VCS annual meeting (details above) and see the results from samples taken this year from Look's Pond and Tisbury Great Pond!

Thanks to Jesse Ausubel for contributing content for this story
Global Issues Call for Global Perspective

Photo by Chesca Quinlan-Potter, MV Regional High School, for the 2017 Art of Conservation

"While we share our environmental problems with all the people of the world, our industrial might, which has made us the leader among nations in terms of material well-being, also gives us the responsibility of dealing with environmental problems first among the nations. We can be proud that our solutions and our performance will become the measure for others climbing the ladder of aspirations and difficulties; we can set our sights on a standard that will lift their expectations of what man can do."

In 1972, President Richard Nixon made his historic visit to China, an acknowledgement that in the modern world, all nations — even rivals and adversaries — are economically interconnected. That year he also wrote the passage above, noting that environmental problems are also shared across borders, placing environmental stewardship among the ideals that the United States should seek to promote through leadership on the global stage. 

Earlier this month, 45 years after Nixon argued that the environment was something we had a duty to take responsibility for, President Donald Trump, in withdrawing from the Paris climate accord characterized the agreement as more than anything else, a bad deal for America:

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States. The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement. They went wild. They were so happy.”

If we take his argument at face value, it raises the question of which of these presidents’ starkly contrasting views of the world, and America’s role in it, is more appropriate for the leader of the most powerful country on earth. 

In Mr. Trump’s zero-sum world, when someone wins, someone else loses. If the Paris agreement is good for the rest of the planet, it is by definition bad for the United States. That is why “they went wild” — not because of the potential to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, but because “they” got one over on the USA.

Read the rest of our commentary at the Vineyard Gazette, where the ideological spectrum of quotes from famous Americans is better rounded out with the addition of a ten-year-old anarchist.

Submit your conservation news to: almanac@vineyardconservation.org

Copyright (C) 2017 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.