Monday, December 11, 2017

Mammal Monday -- reindeer!

I was thrilled to see a reindeer during my trip to Iceland this summer.  These sleigh-pulling wonders are fascinating animals -- did you know that only the females keep their antlers during the winter?  Check out these reindeer fun facts:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Meat-Free Friday -- Baked Potato Bar!

20140417173854This Friday’s meat-free dish is an easy one – a baked potato bar!  Just poke some holes in your potatoes and microwave until they’re soft.  Saute some peppers and onions in olive oil and some mushrooms in butter.  Put out some shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa (red AND green, of course), salt, pepper, and red pepper.  How about some hot sauce?  Serve with a side salad and enjoy!  Anything else you like to add to your potato?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Changes to our national monuments

This week, Interior Secretary Zinke proposed that the U.S. government change its management policy for 4 national monuments and six other protected land and marine areas.  The natural follow-up question to this proposal is, "Who gives a flying flit, or why should we care?" 

Let's take a look at the marine areas.  While many of us assume that these marine areas are simply "paper parks" without much impact on marine conservation, recent research suggests that these protection designations help to support marine biodiversity.  This biodiversity has real impacts, both environmentally and economically.  Check out this summary from Science Friday:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pipeline palooza!

This week and next, the VA Water Control Board is conducting its final review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which transport natural gas from WV through VA and into NC.  While many experts agree that natural gas can serve as a "bridge fuel" as we move our economy toward reliance on renewable energy sources, there is much disagreement about the need for these two pipelines, their safety, and the effects on ratepayer fees and development of renewable energy sources in Virginia.  It's always good to take a look at what both sides are saying, so here's the rundown:

First, let's take a look at the procedure that DEQ has used for review of the project, with regard to water resources.

Next, let's review Dominion Power's Atlantic Coast Pipeline Factbook -- the main arguments are that the pipeline provides cleaner energy and lower costs.

Finally we'll look at the information that is presented by citizen groups, namely that the building of natural gas pipelines through Virginia will stall development of renewable energy sources, endanger water resources (think possible spills), destroy private and public lands including the George Washington National Forest , and raise energy prices for Virginians.  Here are summaries from the Sierra Club, and Wild Virginia.

Where do I come down on this issue? Although I understand the need for "bridge fuels", I also feel that we need to keep our eye on the ball -- 100% renewable energy should be our goal.  We should not be investing in infrastructure that will delay implementation of that goal.  Additionally, I'm not convinced that Virginia needs these pipelines -- Dominion has already stated that the two new natural gas generating stations in southern VA can be serviced by existing pipelines for the foreseeable future.  Combine these concerns with the possible environmental impacts outlined in the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), and we have two projects that the VA Water Control Board should not approve.