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Almanac Archive for March 29, 2016

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Quote of the Week
"The level of consumption that we identify with success is utterly unsustainable. We're gobbling up the world."
Author John Robbins
Calendar: Plastic Bags

Q&A and Info Session
Wednesday, March 30, 6:00 to 7:00 pm, Edgartown.
With support from Selectmen, Boards of Health, and Conservation Commissions, VCS has put an article on the 2016 Town Meeting warrants proposing a ban of single-use plastic checkout bags. Please join us at the new Edgartown Library for a presentation and Q&A session and learn more about why VCS believes this is an important action for our community to take, and have an opportunity to voice your questions or concerns.

Film: Bag It
Tuesday, April 5, 7:30 pm, Vineyard Haven.
A special event and free screening at the MV Film Center. See story at bottom right for details.
Conservation Calendar

Land Bank Walk

Sunday, April 3, 1:00 pm, Tisbury.
Land Bank staff lead a guided walk beginning at Tisbury Meadow and traveling on to Wapatequa Woods. The walk will be 1-2 hours, rain or shine, so dress for the weather. For directions, see Tisbury Meadow page at MV Land Bank or call (508) 627-7141.

Sustainable Book Club: The Sixth Extinction
Wednesday, April 6, 6:00 pm, Edgartown.
A reading group sponsored by Felix Neck and all six town libraries dedicated to discussing the connections between people and nature. This month's book is Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction (see NYT review). At the new Edgartown Library (next to the school). Free, call (508) 627-4850 for more info.

Fertilizer Applicator Certification
Saturday, April 9, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, OB.
As of January of 2015, there are restrictions on fertilizer use in all Island towns. ACE MV is offering a one-day course for farmers, landscapers, gardeners, and interested homeowners to get up-to-speed with the new rules. The course is $35 if being used for personal education, or $85 to become certified. (All professional applicators must be certified; homeowners are also required to follow the regulations, but do not need certification to use fertilizers.) At the MVRHS library, for more info and registration see ACE MV or call (508) 693-9222.
In Season Recipe
A Better Leftover Sandwich
Here's a simple leftover management suggestion following Easter weekend: toasted pitas with a fresh and spicy yogurt sauce. Lamb and chicken are the traditional meats here, but leftover turkey (though rather exotic) or even ham (if a little culturally inappropriate) are also at home in this healthier, more refreshing alternative to ordinary sliced bread and mustard or mayo.

  • 1 cup Mermaid Farm yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 4 whole scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Finely chop all ingredients except the yogurt, or if available, pulse in food processor (use the bulbs and greens of the onions). Then fold in the yogurt by hand, and if making up ahead of time, put in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend.

For sandwiches, cut pita in half, toast, and then fill with a large spoonful of the yogurt sauce. Then add sliced meat, shredded lettuce and/or sliced onions (even better: picked onions or, in a pinch, ordinary pickled cukes), and top with another spoon of the yogurt sauce.

Recipe adapted from BrooklynSupper.com
Local News

Waste Becomes Muse

A winning entry by Jamilyn Joseph of MVRHS (cropped: click for full size)
We are proud to present the 2016 Art of Conservation Gallery page  — all the winning works, accompanied by descriptions in the words of the artists. Also check out this slideshow featuring all the entries.

The 2016 edition of our annual high school art contest was all about ending waste. To ensure a healthy future for our island's land, water, and living things, we need to make responsible choices that reduce waste, and we need to convince others to do the same: reduce and recycle, to preserve and protect. Contestants were invited to express their thoughts on these questions through original works in any visual medium. We hope their creations will inspire everyone to make responsible choices — here at home, and across the planet.

VCS wishes to thank the MV Film Festival and Chilmark Library for hosting our awards presentation and opening show, the Mass. Cultural Council for a grant funding the prizes, and all the contestants, judges, and contest organizers who made it all happen —  thank you!

The Big Picture of the Plastic Bag Bylaw

Eighth graders from the Tisbury School help spread the word — and free bags  — on Main Street. (Photo by Liz Witham)

Every year, just on our Island, we dispose of millions of plastic bags. They take a variety of paths, but almost all eventually end up in the environment. There’s the relatively small portion we see as litter on roadsides and hanging from trees, and the presumably much larger amount that become noxious gases after being disposed of “properly” through incineration with the rest of our trash. An enormous number, though, find their way to the water, either in large pieces that threaten marine animals with choking and strangulation, or already broken down into the tiny bits that make up the plastic soup floating in the world’s oceans.
In pursuing a bylaw that would ban single-use plastic checkout bags, our goal all along has been twofold: 1) to promote reusable bags as part of a broader shift from a “disposable” mindset toward an ethic of sustainability, and 2) to reduce the amount of plastic bags that kill and injure wildlife, pollute our oceans, and compromise our recycling operations.
The text of the proposed bylaw was carefully drafted to move toward those goals while being legally solid, acceptable to the public, and practically achievable. That does mean there are compromises. For example, we do not want to simply replace disposable plastic bags with disposable paper bags (and we don’t believe that is what will happen), but here on our Island, the balance of environmental issues points to paper as the lesser of two evils.
The abundance and careless use of disposable plastic bags is an unmitigated environmental disaster. As Town Meeting dates draw closer (our local “Super Tuesday” is April 12, when all towns but Aquinnah and Chilmark vote), let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If we delay passage to “give everyone more time to prepare” or “find common-sense solutions,” or even to “make a stronger ban,” we are choosing to put millions of plastic bags into our environment. That’s the big picture.
A Night at the Movies: Bag It!

An average guy makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Little does he know that this simple decision will change his life completely. He comes to the conclusion that our consumptive use of plastic has finally caught up to us, and looks at what we can do about it. Today. Right now. (Copy from MV Film Society / IMDB)

Join VCS next Tuesday, April 5 at 7:30 for a free screening of the award-winning documentary Bag It at the MV Film Center (directions). The story of "everyman" Jeb Berrier, Bag It chronicles his quest to understand — and solve — the problems created by our dependence on disposable plastic bags. As a bonus, everyone in attendance will receive a free reusable bag from VCS! Special thanks to Richard Paradise and the MV Film Society for offering this free event.

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Copyright (C) 2016 *Vineyard Conservation Society* All rights reserved.

Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.