Is it time for a sustainable pet movement?

The world is rapidly approaching 7 billion people and the challenges of food supply, security, and sustainability will, along with climate change, be the defining issues of the 21st century. While the issues of the wealthiest nations revolve around the quality of our food, the environmental impact or our farming practices, and the value we place on a perceived degree of “naturalness”, the rest of the world is simply concerned with having enough to eat. What we chose to value in our society affects the rest of the world, and perhaps the most visible, and most dramatic difference between the developing and developed world is the ways in which we treat our pets.

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Donate to Bonehenge!

As part of our month of Sustainability and Science, we’re raising money to help complete Bonehenge. Bonehenge is the skeleton of a Sperm Whale that stranded on Cape Lookout several years ago. Over the last three years, Keith Rittmaster and an army of volunteers from the North Carolina Maritime Museum have been working to re-articulate the skeleton for a display at their Gallants Channel campus.

The protect is a shining example of outreach and community engagement. School groups tour the assembly facility regularly and get a first hand look at the process of reconstructing a full sized whale. Over the course of the project, several new discoveries about sperm whale physiology have been made, including the extreme degree of asymmetry that results in one side of the whale have fewer and smaller bones than the other.

During this month we will match all donations up to $250. There is a widget to your left to make donation through paypal. Even a couple of dollars goes a long way towards making this exhibit a reality.

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Republican House leaders abandon Pelosi’s “green the capitol” initiative

While I often disagreed with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, her “green the capitol” initiative was admirable. Serving local foods in the cafeteria and providing diners with compostable utensils and cups helped make the House of Representatives a model eco-friendly workplace. Now that Republicans have retaken the house, they have decided to abandon these policies.

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An Alaskan Lesson

The pig to clean the pipeline,

Every time I see the slogan “drill baby drill” appear as a response to recent rises in gas prices, I think back to the short time I lived in Alaska. Spanning the summer of 2007, my short adventure in Fairbanks left me with much to think about. One of the most surprising was the lessons learned from $5.30 gas prices – in a state that pays its residents dividends from its large oil production.

Long story short, Alaskan oil isn’t the cleanest – in fact, refineries in the U.S. don’t touch the stuff. Alaskan oil is thick and heavy, to the point where the pipeline has a special cleaning tool known as a pig to keep the oil flowing. Most of the oil is then shipped to relatively nearby markets in Japan and Korea, while oil in Alaska itself is either put through a more rigorous processing or shipped from elsewhere in the world. Read More

Winners of the 2011 Flat Grok Contest

Last month the Nicholas School of the Environment held its annual Green in 3 video competition. This year they asked participants to submit a 30 second clip that illuminates their personal sustainable practices. Six winner were selected. You may recognize some of you favorite Fry-entists (and their flock of now much larger chickens) among the winners. Enjoy.


Book Review: A year at Lazy Point

I adored Song for the Blue Ocean. The first time I read it was a formative moment in my development as a young marine biologist and conservationist. When I picked up Eye of the Albatross and, later, Voyage of the Turtle, I expected that same magic, but could not find it. Safina’s subsequent books were not bad. Both were evocative, beautifully written, and stirring tributes to the natural world. But their stories felt too familiar, like listening to a contemporary symphony built around a Bach fugue or watching a remake of a classic movie. So I approached The View from Lazy Point with the same expectations, as yet another supplement to Song for the Blue Ocean. I was mistaken.

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