Free National Park days announced!
This is one of my favorite New Economic Landscape traditions — viva la depression! — the announcement of no-fee days at our country’s fine National Parks.
The 2011 fee-free dates will be the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).
Green Drinks Boulder: November at Jill’s
As if we haven’t had enough to eat and drink this month, Green Drinks capped November off with another enjoyable round of sustainable gluttony. It was a blast.
I arrived at Jill’s early for my first Green Drinks, grabbed a seat at the bar, and immediately a loud voice behind me said, “You can’t sit there, that’s my seat!” Luckily Stu, who’s extremely tall, was joking. Later, when I asked how many solar panels there are in Boulder County, and Stu jokingly came up with 975,674, I realized he must often think on his feet, a skill that’s handy for selling things, which he does as a real estate agent, in lieu of his childhood dream to be an outdoor photographer and writer, which he also could have been joking about.
Next, I talked to Megan, who works for the City of Boulder’s newly dubbed Local Environmental Action Division, a mouthful, says Smartregs, a new ordinance requiring rental houses to lower energy consumption by 2018, is the most exciting green thing to hit Boulder. Let’s get through 2012 first…
After chatting wind-power with Ben from the Rocky Mountain Institute, I asked the guy next to me what he did. When he said, “I own this place,” I thought he meant the City of Boulder. Turns out he meant the St. Julien, which is basically the same thing. Besides the St. Julien, Richard also owns Benny, a german short-hair named for Jack Benny, who has a lot of energy.
That pretty much wraps up Green Drinks November. Lots of interesting, entrepreneurial folks gabbing and having a grand old time at Jill’s. If you missed it, you missed out!
Would you hop on the rec bus? The county wants to know.
Would you take a bus to the mountains to hike in the summer? A “recreation shuttle” that would connect Boulder with Hessie Trailhead and Brainard Lake is just one recommendation of a new mountain transit study released by Boulder County.
Other recommendations were more commuter oriented: a bus from Jamestown to Boulder, from Ward to Nederland and from Lyons to Longmont, among other things.
The county is asking for public input on the plan until Dec. 5. You can read it at the county’s Website and leave comments there, or learn more about the plan at DailyCamera.com.
Hall Ranch is about to get bigger (open space tax passes)
Hall Ranch is about to get bigger. The favorite hiking and biking destination southwest of Lyons will grow by 577 acres, the county commissioners decided Tuesday.
The property is just one of a bunch on the county’s wishlist — which until Tuesday, county staff weren’t sure they’d have the money to buy.
But it looks like voters have passed Issue 1B, a sales tax that will bring in more than $5 million a year for the next 20 years so the county can buy more land.
Wolverine woes: climate change threatens mysterious creature
Never seen a wolverine? You’re not alone. Wolverines are very, very, very hard to find. They’re shy, for one thing, and they’re loners. They can travel for hundreds of miles over a few weeks, and roam through some of the harshest alpine environments.
But it may soon become even harder to see one. If we don’t reduce carbon emissions, the spring snowpack where female wolverines build their dens to have their young will disappear by the middle of this century — and so will the baby wolverines (called kits).
A scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder did the study that showed these depressing results. Read more about it at DailyCamera.com.
Biking in cold weather: It’s that time of year!
Well, the winter has gone and dipped, so it’s time to remind you lovely people that we have plenty of tips for eco living on our resource pages — particularly for biking in the winter.
Get yourself in the habit and you’ll be all keyed up for next year’s Winter Bike to Work Day.
Finally, here’s a great and detailed video with tips on how to dress for winter biking — a major deterrent for some of us! Gotta strike the balance between arriving drenched in sweat and falling over dead on the ride, frozen solid into a bikecicle.
I found the video on the Meetup page for the Boulder & Denver Commuter Cyclists, who have an event next Monday.
Can GMO crops and organic farming live happily ever after?
Last year in Boulder County, the question of whether or not to allow genetically modified sugar beets to be grown on land owned by the county was hotly debated. Real hotly. (Like, hundreds of people showing up at public meetings that stretched until 2 a.m.)
So far, the county hasn’t decided what to do. In the meantime, staffers are working hard to even figure out what sustainable agriculture means. This weekend, in an effort to try and figure out just what the definition of “sustainable agriculture” is, the county hosted a community meeting, where a married couple from California took the stage.
An odd couple: she is a crop geneticist, and he’s an organic farmer. And rather than the either-or conversation that normally goes on about GMOs and organic farming, this couple — Pamela Ronald and Raoul Admanchak — say the two can go hand-in-hand.
True, the idea of growing genetically-modified sugar beets organically doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because sugar beets are genetically modified to resist certain herbicides. So, if you’re not using a weed killer, you can hardly care if your crops are resistant to it.
But in the bigger picture, the couple argue that the two things are not mutually exclusive. That’s because some GMO crops can be made to be resistant to drought — or flooding — and create higher yields, which could be key as the globe continues to warm and population continues to grow.
Read more about the local presentation by Adamchak and Ronald at www.dailycamera.com. Read about the couple’s book, “Tomorrow’s Table,” at Ronald’s blog, or check out a video of a presentation given by the two after the jump. Read more
Ted’s donates $2,000 to CRC
I don’t usually take much notice of the various donations and so on given in town — we’re fortunate enough to live in a place where that’s pretty common.
But in this case, I guess I was just a little surprised because it’s Ted’s Montana Grill, which has just arrived in town, donating to a name we have here on BGB pretty frequently: the Center for ReSource Conservation. The money was raised from beverage sales at the restaurant’s preview — so maybe Boulder’s livers should be co-signers on the check.
I’m not eating much meat right now, for environmental reasons, but if you’re a carnivore, it sounds like you could do worse than eating at Ted’s.
What the neighbors are up to
Here’s a bit of a surprise: In Wyoming, they’re protecting prairie dogs. OK, actually, they’re protecting black-footed ferrets, but black-footed ferrets find prairie dogs delicious, so the p-dogs are part of the bargain.
Two Utahns return home from Washington, D.C., to walk 350 miles in an attempt to raise support for climate legislation.
New Mexico has sort of joined a regional cap and trade agreement. But the people on the board that passed it are appointed by the governor — and the new boss is on record against a cap and trade agreement. Here’s an early LA Times primer on the Western Climate Initiative.
A permit for a coal mine on Navajo land has been revoked after a judge found the impact study to have been insufficient.
And EcoNewMexico.com’s author has just put together what sounds like a real honey of a home water conservation system.
Xcel franchise replacement tax passes easily, open space not so much
UPDATE: Well, isn’t this something? County issue 1B is now passing by a small margin.
Well, those who were doing coffeeshop prognosticatin’ appear to have been right: Boulder Issue 2B, which replaces the Xcel franchise fee with a tax, passed easily.
The measure will keep revenue from Xcel flowing into Boulder’s budget through 2015, giving the city time to study alternative sources of energy. Options could include taking municipal control of the city’s supply of electricity, or working with Xcel on a new franchise agreement that includes more renewable sources.
“This is a clear message to Xcel,” City Councilwoman Lisa Morzel said Tuesday night. “Are you going to partner with us or not?”
County issue 1B, which would fund open space purchases with a tax increase, appeared to fail late last night, but has pulled ahead by 465 votes.
If Issue 1B fails, it will be the second time in as many years. A similar open space tax initiative was voted down in 2009 with 52 percent of voters opposing the measure. That defeat marked the first time county voters had turned down a tax to support open space since 1989.
Longmont resident Dave Larison, a longtime opponent of open space taxes, said Tuesday night that he was pleased Issue 1B appeared to be failing.
“For two years in a row now, the voters have spoken against open space taxing and spending,” he said. “The voters have sent a loud message that they don’t want any more open space.”
Though Dave and I share a name, I’m not sure the rejection means that voters don’t want any more open space so much as it means that the voters are prioritizing their taxes and open space finished behind human services in that race. In any case, there’s your greenish election 2010 roundup. Quick and painless, right? Now go listen to your phone not ring at dinner time.
Turns out this one’s a ride!