New London Energy Committee Urges Dim the Lights

New London Energy Committee. Click on the logo for more information about NLEC.

The New London Energy Committee is urging area residents to dim the lights and lend support for Earth Hour at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27. “We urge you to join Town buildings, Colby-Sawyer College, area businesses and residents ‘in the dark!’”

Earth Hour involves local and global efforts.

Millions of Americans will turn out their lights for one hour in support of action on climate change and toward creating a cleaner, safer and more secure future. 2010 marks the third year of the event, which attracted more than 80 million participants in the U.S. last year and nearly a billion people around the world, as lights dimmed on such global icons as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Sydney’s Opera House, the Great Pyramids of Gaza and New York’s Empire State Building.

On March 27, many notable U.S. landmarks — Mount Rushmore, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, Sea World in Orlando, the strip in Las Vegas, New York’s Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Washington D.C.’s National Cathedral, California’s Santa Monica Pier and the Space Needle in Seattle — will turn off non-essential lighting for the hour.

Send Sunapee News Earth Hour info via Leave a Comment (below).

Related article: WWF’s Earth Hour Returns for 2010 in Largest Call for Action on Climate Change in History (prweb.com)

NOAA Awards $243,000 to Prepare Lake Sunapee Watershed for Climate Change/Population Growth

National Oceanic and Atmosferical Administrati...
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded Syntectic International, LLC of Portland, Oregon; Antioch University New England of Keene, New Hampshire; and the Lake Sunapee Protective Association of Sunapee, New Hampshire, and partners $243,000 to prepare the Lake Sunapee watershed for climate change and population growth.

The project partners hope to protect a vulnerable storm-water and drinking-water system and develop and disseminate practical and transferable information for safeguarding communities, as well as provide specific and reliable estimates of climate change impacts on the Lake Sunapee watershed. By developing a local-scale action protocol, the project team aims to maintain historic storm water risk levels for the Lake Sunapee watershed and other communities facing significant impacts from climate change and population growth.

Recent experience and scientific studies are clear. Storm patterns are worsening and it is no longer prudent to delay action. We will never have perfect science; however sufficient science is available now. This project will protect the community with adequately reliable, local-scale information to support informed decisions. – Latham Stack, CEO of Syntectic.

The interdisciplinary team includes lead investigator Latham Stack, CEO of Syntectic International; Michael Simpson, Jim Gruber, and Colin Lawson of Antioch University New England; Dr. Robert Roseen of the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center; Thomas Crosslin from Climate Techniques of Portland, Oregon; and Robert Wood of the Lake Sunapee Protective Association. Internationally recognized adaptation expert Joel Smith with Stratus Consulting in Boulder, Colorado will also be a team member. Five of the eight researchers are either Antioch New England alumni or faculty.

The project, funded by the Climate Program Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will focus on the lake Sunapee watershed area. This region, like many others, is experiencing an unusual and ongoing period of extreme or record rainfalls that significantly diverge from the historical climate pattern. Previous studies by the team in New England found that, as a result of already changed rainfall patterns, portions of existing drainage systems are currently undersized.

By encouraging the participation of local stakeholders, the project will empower citizens to choose adaptation plans that are best for their towns. For example, Low Impact Development methods can minimize runoff and significantly reduce the need for more expensive drainage system upgrades.

According to Michael Simpson, director of Antioch New England’s Resource Management and Conservation master’s program, “The availability of reliable and economical solutions can make the difference between returning to historical protection levels, or continuing to expose people and assets to worsening hazards.” Simpson explained that storm water engineers and planners have always needed to cope with uncertainty and change, and the construction of water systems designed using best-available knowledge has always proceeded in parallel with the development of theory. “The past was not as certain as we like to think, and problems posed by population growth and climate change are actually not that different from previous challenges,” said Simpson.

The project will be broadly transferable, according to Stack. The team hopes to catalyze similar work nationwide, reducing further loss of life and damage from worsening storms. By demonstrating a practical protocol for action, this study will provide urgently needed decision-support to leaders seeking to maintain historical protection levels in their communities.


Green Leaf Peeping

Photo © by Jeff Dean.

Image via Wikipedia

“It’s that time of year when every trip out the door provides a feast for your eyes. Tourism is in full swing and the roads are filled with visitors drinking it all in,” writes Michelle Veasey, manager of a program promoting sustainable practices for the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association.

Veasey, in a newsletter published by the NH Department of Environment Services, warns about climate change and its impact on our foliage season: “Species such as our state tree, the paper birch, as well as red and sugar maples, will not be able to survive in the projected warmer climate. Good enough reason to “green” our own leaf peeping trips, don’t you think?

The message encourages “green” leaf peeping. Consider your carbon footprint and use low-impact ways to take in the seasonal beauty. Save on gas, carpool with friends. Explore the local landscape. In short, drive less, enjoy the colors more.

Another way to help the environment is to support businesses committed to sustainable practices. The lodging and restaurant association program, on-line at  www.nhslrp.org, promotes eco-friendly enterprises. Seek them out.

As suggested by KC Wright, editor and publisher of Edible White Mountains, when dining out, “vote with your fork.”  Shop local food stands and farm markets and ask about farm-to-table menu choices. While taking in the local color, one can also help sustain home-grown businesses that produce and sell locally.

According tot he NH Foliage Tracker, the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area is coming into peak color.

Related websites:

Advisory Panel Works on Plan for NH State Parks

The AP reports: An advisory council continues to work on a master plan for New Hampshire’s state parks after an earlier draft raised concerns that the state was planning to get rid of a large chunk of property. Brought to you via Nashuatelegraph.com.

Lorie McClorey, the Sunacom.com columnist for Grantham, writes: “Make reservations to attend the symposium ‘Water… More important than oil?’ from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at the South Cove Activity Center. Sponsored by the Eastman Charitable Foundation, the program will address conserving water and land resources in Grantham, Springfield and Enfield. Participants will come from the conservation commissions in all three towns, the Eastman Lakes & Streams and SustainAbility committees, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Ausbon-Sargent Land Preservation Trust, the Nature Conservancy and the Upper Valley Land Trust.” Read more via Sunacom.com

The New Hampshire Energy and Climate Collaborative will hold a meeting on Thursday, October 8 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Local Government Center, 25 Triangle Park Drive, Concord. The public and media are welcome to attend the working meeting, which is a continuation of the Collaborative’s efforts to facilitate the implementation of the NH Climate Action Plan, which was released by Governor Lynch in March 2009.

The Collaborative is in the process of developing the support and resources necessary to carry out its long-term efforts, including the development of a speakers bureau organized in cooperation with Clean Air – Cool Planet, and an inventory of the efforts already underway to address energy and climate issues across the state.

Further information about the NH Climate Action Plan can be found at: www.des.nh.gov by clicking on Hot Topics. For more information about the Collaborative and the upcoming meeting, contact Chris Skoglund, Energy and Transportation Analyst for NH Dept. of Environmental Services, 603 271-7624 or Christopher.Skoglund@des.nh.gov.

While at the NH-DES website, one can see the 2009 Fall drawdown dates for lakes and ponds around the Granite State. For Lake Sunapee, a 3-foot drawdown “from full” is to start October 13. It takes place in Sunapee into the Sugar River.

Climate and Economy Prompts Push for Clean Energy Initiative

A bipartisan group of former presidential advisers, cabinet members, and senators, including former US Senator Warren Rudman from New Hampshire, has formed the Partnership for a Secure America, and last week issued a statement calling for prompt Congressional action on clean energy and climate. Locally, economic development proponent Patryc Wiggins, founder and president of the Guild Institute, of Guild (NH) applauded the effort.

“Policy leadership is key to steer both public and private investment in the coordination of assets, talents, and resources,” said Wiggins, who is working to fire up renewable energy projects in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Wiggins wants to link national, public policy initiatives with public interest projects here at home, development that dovetails with regional assets, from farms and forest resources to Precision Valley’s sophisticated, engineering and manufacturing base.

Wiggins, a former director of ECON (Economic Corporation of Newport), is a community organizer and advocate for sustainable development. She sees Precision Valley employers and employees innovating and producing the parts, products and systems for all renewable energy types, output needed for domestic and international markets.

“Family scale farming and forestry in Precision Valley [the region that runs along the Connecticut River] is also key to demonstrating local food production and best timber practices, all superior and sustainable land-use practices,” said Wiggins.

Wiggins recently met with Sullivan County Commissioners to discuss a gasification installation and farm and forest opportunities that could provide far-reaching economic and ecological benefits and serve as a model for statewide initiatives.

Pointing to on-going approaches at colleges in the area, Dartmouth, Antioch, Colby-Sawyer, UNH, Keene and UVM, Wiggins added, “Academia is key to create a network of research, case study, internship and other support for what must happen to allow the state to transition to a renewable energy infrastructure.”

The Partnership for a Secure America statement said:

Climate change is a national security issue. The longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to mitigate and respond to its impacts. U.S. leadership alone will not guarantee global cooperation. But if we fail to take action now, we will have little hope of influencing other countries to reduce their own contributions to climate change, or of forging a coordinated international response.

Here at home, we must cut our own carbon emissions, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and develop and deploy clean, renewable energy sources that will generate economic growth. We must also help less developed countries adapt to the realities and consequences of a drastically changed climate. Doing so now will help avoid humanitarian disasters and political instability in the future that could ultimately threaten the security of the U.S. and our allies. But most importantly, we must transcend the political issues that divide us — by party and by region — to devise a unified American strategy that can endure and succeed.

Climate Variability in New London and Vicinity

This is the third in a series of articles from the New London (NH) Energy Committee. This article is by NLEC member Bob Crane. Please share your comments below or email the committee by contacting Alice Sprickman. NLEC members are Frank Anzalone, Joan Cobb, Bob Crane, Jack Harrord (chairman), Mike Meller, Lansing Reed, David Sauerwein, Alice Sprickman and Mark Vernon.

The National Weather Service has posted long-duration digital records on the internet for the maximum and minimum daily temperatures, the daily snow accumulation, and the total daily precipitation equivalent (in inches, “) including melted snow and ice at more than 6 locations within 40-miles of New London.  The longest records, exceeding 112 years of observation, are for Hanover and Keene.  These data can be used to assess the natural variability of the climate in the New London region and perhaps to infer the possible effects of greenhouse gasses.

Current climate models that address problems of global warming predict upwards of a 5 to 10 ˚F increase in temperature and a 20% or greater increase in precipitation over the next century depending on the amounts of greenhouse gasses produced. These models also predict an increase in the variability of the climate.

First, what happened over the last century?  Continue reading

New London Comm. Gathers Data on Global Warming

Welcome to the first of a series of articles from the New London (NH) Energy Committee. This article is by NLEC member Bob Crane. Feed-back is welcome and invited. Please share your comments below or email Alice Sprickman. Members of the NL Energy Committee are: Chet Reynolds (chair) Mark Vernon (vice-chair), Frank Anzalone, John Clough, Bob Crane, Jack Harrod, Hardy Hasenfuss Steve Jesseman. Mike Meller, Fred Peterson and Alice Sprickman.

Climate Change in New London and Vicinity

Global warming has been in the news for years.  Does it affect New London?  How do we know? Mark Twain and others before him remarked that if you do not like the weather in New England, wait a minute and it will change.  In mid-January of this year we had a cold snap.  At our home in New London, the minimum recorded temperature was ten degrees below zero (-10 ˚F).  In Concord, the closest National Weather Service primary local climatological station, the minimum temperature was -24 ˚F.  Does a rare local event such as a cold snap or a heat wave tell us anything about global warming? Continue reading

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