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Almanac Archive for September 9, 2015

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Quote of the Week
"This is an old reactor, and like old people such as myself, it requires a lot of money and maintenance"
--Mary Lampert, director of Pilgrim Watch, an activist group opposed to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.(Quote from Boston Globe)
Conservation Calendar

Island Grown Story Time

Thursday, Sept. 10, 10
:30 to 11:00 am, West Tisbury.
Three guesses as to the Island Grown Initiative Harvest of the Month for September . . .
IGI's Nicole Cabot will share stories and a love of tomatoes during story time at the West Tisbury Library. Free and open to all ages.

Ecological Landscaping for the Home

Saturday, Sept. 12, 1:00 to 2:00 pm, West Tisbury.
Polly Hill hosts Michael Talbot of Talbot Ecological Land Care for a presentation on creating an ecologically sensitive home landscape. Learn how to transform your outdoor living spaces into reflections of the natural world, while attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife. $5 (free for PHA members), call (508) 693-9426 or see website for more info.

Guided Walk
Saturday, Sept. 19, 9:00 to 11:00 am, Edgartown.
Join Sheriff's Meadow Foundation for a free walk covering a variety of habitats all within a small area of Edgartown, including Ox Pond Meadow, Little Beach, and SMF's eponymous Sanctuary. The walk will begin at the trailhead for the Ed and Ruth Brooks Trail on Plantingfield Way. Parking is limited so people are encouraged to park in town and walk to the trailhead. More at website or call (508) 693-5207.

Wee Farmers at the FARM Institute
Saturdays, 9:30 to 11:00 am, Katama.
Visit animal friends and help with the fall harvest as the off-season Wee Farmers program resumes in September: For ages 2-5, $15 per session, must be accompanied by adult. For more info, call (508) 627-7007 or email.
In Season Recipe

Sun Dried Tomatoes
Last year at this time, we shared Island chef Chris Fischer's recipe for oven roasted tomatoes. While oven roasting is a great method for its reliability and simplicity, one reader did point out that running an oven for an hour, especially in September, is not the most sustainable approach. Point taken!

Possibly the best compromise between simplicity and energy usage would be a food dehydrator (one method here). But instead, let's try the traditional method and make the real thing: sun dried tomatoes. It's not actually difficult, just variable from batch to batch and day to day. Try it and see what happens!
Local News

Public Meeting Thursday: Local Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Plan

A room with a view: the new MV Hospital, built at a cost of $48 million, opened five years ago on a site known to be vulnerable to impacts of climate change. 
This Thursday (Sept. 10) at 6:00 pm, the Oak Bluffs Library will host an important public meeting relevant to all Islanders, not just Oak Bluffs residents. With Town funding, the O.B. Conservation Commission hired a consulting firm (Kleinfelder of Cambridge, Mass), who together with another consultant (Woods Hole Group) conducted a climate change vulnerability assessment and created an adaptation plan for the Town. Thursday’s meeting will include an overview of the mapping used to determine coastal vulnerabilities and a review of potential adaptation measures.
The time to plan for the impacts of climate change is now, and with so much shoreline and coastal infrastructure (and so little elevation) Oak Bluffs may be something of a bellwether for the rest of the Island. The results of the new study, which used computer models to map storm surge, flooding, and sea level rise predictions for the years 2030 and 2070, indicate that the most vulnerable sites in Oak Bluffs include the harbor, Sea View Avenue by Farm Pond, East Chop Drive by Crystal Lake, and Beach Road by the hospital.
All six towns will be forced to deal with the environmental impacts of climate change, such as increased shoreline erosion, drought, declining wetlands, and loss of biodiversity. The crucial task right now is to craft adaptation and mitigation strategies to address these changes that are not just practical and cost effective, but also ecologically sustainable and consistent with broader conservation values. A scientific vulnerability assessment and adaptation plan is a vital part of that process.

State News
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Thin Ice

A far cry from the quintessential image of a modern nuclear power plant, a drab brown building in Plymouth houses one of the nation's 3 least safe nuclear plants. (Photo by Steve Haines, Cape Cod Times)
With the recent news of the downgrade of its safety rating by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the much-maligned Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass. has finally justified its reputation among environmental activists as one of the worst-managed nuclear plants in the nation. The NRC maintains a list of performance rankings organized into several categories. After the recent downgrade (for repeated unplanned shutdowns and insufficient efforts to address their causes), Pilgrim now ranks in the bottom 3 of the nation’s 99 nuclear plants. Those three plants, all owned by the same company, Entergy, are the only occupants of the lowest meaningful NRC category. (There are no plants in the bottom category because that one requires immediate governmental closure.) Pilgrim will now face increased oversight and inspections that could result in a future forced closure.
There is an important debate to be had over the role of nuclear power in the transition to a lower carbon energy supply. Like hydroelectric, offshore wind, and natural gas (which merely emits less CO2 and noxious gases than coal and oil), nuclear power presents trade-offs for the environment, and some combination of these methods will be used in the transition. The troubles of the Pilgrim plant suggest that regardless of the type of energy source, the most immediate need is to fight for responsible management and oversight of industry to temper the omnipresent profit motive with sincere concern for public safety and the environment.
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Original content by Jeremy Houser unless otherwise noted.