Tag Archives: Connecticut

Adapting in Place – New Haven

(I’m planning to attend Friday night!)

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Filed under Food, Gardening, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sustainable Living

Local Challenge, Events and Resources

Last week, in my review of Food, Inc. I stated:

No longer can we complacently fill our reusable bags with healthy foods and ignore the policies that allow and promote industrial agribusiness, cruelty to animals, contaminated food, poor conditions for workers, and take away our right to free speech, to the detriment of the health of our citizens, small farmers, and the environment.

Since then, I have been following politics, contacting my representatives to make my opinions known, and even spent an afternoon watching C-SPAN and the debate about HR2749, a bill that I wrote a few tweets about.  In an effort to get more people involved in farm issues, I’ve decided to share a challenge, events, and few links that I’ve found to be helpful.  They’re specific to Connecticut, but I encourage you to seek out similar resources in your own state.

ct_grown_local_flavor

For those of you who are Connecticut residents, chech out the first official CT Grown Challenge as part of National Farmer’s Market Week!  From August 2-8, challenge yourself and your family to eat at least one CT grown item each day.  You’ll support local farmers and eat healthy, delicious, fresh food.  If you don’t live in CT, many states will be running similar “Eat Local” challenges.  I’ll participate, will you?

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s annual Plant Science Day will take place on August 5, from 10-4, at Lockwood Farm in Hamden.  You can see the Centennial Farm award presentation (which my family received a while back), listen to speakers on various agricultural and home-gardening topics, and explore the farm and experiments. 

The Potato and Corn Festival will take place in my town from August 7-9.  There’s an agricultural tent and farmer’s market run by the town’s agricultural commission, a cow chip raffle, crafts, entertainment, and of course, baked potatoes and corn.

In addition to the fun challenge and events, here are some links that you may find useful.  Some are specific to CT while others are nationwide.

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Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

This Fine Piece of Water: Reflections Part II

Reflections Part I can be read here.

Adriaen Block and the First Explorers

            I can’t help but state that I found this part the least interesting of the book so far, and I kind of see it as pointless to learn about who explored the Sound.  I guess my apathy comes from the fact that the explorers didn’t discover the Sound, since the Native Americans had been living there sustainably for many years.  I do, however see the value in learning about how they navigated and how they mapped different areas.  Overall, I am sympathetic to the Native Americans in that the explorers came in, bringing deadly diseases with them, and exploited the natural resources of the area, especially beavers.  It’s amazing to me that a population could be reduced so quickly, and the prime example is when Block complained that some of the Native Americans would only take what beavers they needed, and no more.  That is the definition of sustainability, scoffed at by the explorers.  The explorers also tricked the Native Americans into selling their land, when they thought they were only selling the rights to use the land.  “They had no notion of private property; ownership of land… would have been as incomprehensible as ownership of the wind or clouds.”  And so, by exploiting resources and Native Americans, the explorers decimated the populations of beaver and people alike.

 

The American Mediterranean

            I found this chapter to be interesting because it discussed the trade routes throughout all of the different towns I am familiar with.  I believe that because these are towns I know, my interest was held where otherwise I would be disinterested.  I enjoyed reading Yale President Timothy Dwight’s recounts of travels, and I appreciated learning about the sealing and whaling industries that operated out of the Sound.  As someone who does really care to learn about history, I was interested to learn about the effect that the Embargo Act of 1807 had on the shipping industry in the Sound, and how that shaped the self-sufficiency of each town.

 

The Industrial Age

            This chapter summarized the rise of industry in Connecticut.  It was interesting to see how the Embargo Act contributed to the growth of Connecticut manufacturing, and how people like Eli Whitney, the Porter brothers and Aaron Benedict contributed to the industry.  As industry boomed, so did the population, especially in cities.  This of course contributed to wastes, both industrial and biological, and pollution of the rivers upon which the cities and mills were built rose.  The description of the need for sewage treatment was an interesting one, and the government’s pattern of investigating a problem but failing to follow through with appropriate solutions was evident in the recognition of the need for treating wastes, but the failure to appropriately do so.

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Filed under Review, Sustainable Living

Clean Energy Options

On March 10, my 27th birthday, I decided to give a gift to myself and my planet by signing up for the Connecticut Clean Energy Options program.  In this program, Ed and I are able to specify if we would like our electricity to come from clean options, and for a fee, we are able to make sure that the amount of electricity we use is put into the grid from clean sources.  Does the clean energy come directly to our house? No, that’s not possible with the way that our electric company, United Illuminating, is set up.  But what does happen is that 100% of the same amount of energy produced for our household electricity comes from clean options. 

After a two month processing period, we just received our first electric bill in which we’re paying the extra fee for this clean energy.  Why would someone want to pay extra for clean energy?  Well, first let me say that this is a way of voting with our dollars.  Ed and I are making the statement that clean energy is worth a little more to us.  And also let me add that the fee is not that much.  For 100% of our electricity to come from clean options, we pay a fee of $.011 per kilowatt hour.  Last month, we used 555kwh of electricity.  That means our bill goes up $6.11.  That’s a very small price to pay for clean energy, especially when you consider that we did not have to pay for installation of solar panels or a wind turbine.  That’s $6.11 well spent.  However, if you can’t swing that, you can sign up for the 50% option, in which only 50% of your energy used is clean.  The cost would then go to only $3.06 per month.  Who can’t afford that, when you look at the impact you make and how easy it is.  More information can be found on the FAQ page of the CT Clean Energy Options website.

So let’s talk clean energy.  Where does it come from?  There are two options, which are outlined on the CT Clean Energy Options website.  We chose to go with Community Energy Company, because the cost is $.011 as opposed to $.015 with the other company, Sterling Planet.  By chosing this company, 50% of the electricity we use comes from Wind power, and 50% comes from Small Scale Hydroelectric power.

So what kind of impact on the environment are we making? Well, on the CT Clean Energy Options website, you can use the calculator to find out.  So I tried it with our numbers.  I entered 555 kwh as our average monthly usage, although I’m not sure if that’s really the average.  But that’s what it was last month.  If we multiply that times 12, and assume it came from traditional energy sources, the result would be 5834 pounds of Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.  I know you can’t picture that, so here’s a comparison.  5834 pounds of Carbon dioxide is the same as:

  • Burning 302 gallons of gasoline, or
  • Driving 0.6 cars for 1 year, or
  • Importing 6 barrels of oil, or
  • Cutting 2 acres of forest.

So, by signing up and requiring our electric company to produce the same amount of electricity we use from clean sources, we are saving 5834 pounds of Carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Traditional Sources of Energy for Electricity in my area

Community Energy Sources of Energy for Electricity

The other great part of signing up for this program is that participating towns are eligable to receive a free solar energy system for every 100 households that sign up for the 100% option. (The 50% option counts as half a household.)  This system can be installed on a town building or a school.  Some of our neighboring towns have already received their panels.  You can check to see if your CT town participates by clicking here.  I was disappointed to learn that my town does not participate, but I’ll be looking into changing that.

So, are you ready to enroll? If you live in CT, grab your latest electric bill and click here to sign up!

If you live in a different state, click here to see if Clean Energy Options are available!

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