Saturday, July 26, 2008

A no-lead law for loons

Globe Editorial

A no-lead law for loons

(Derrick Z. Jackson/Globe Staff)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + July 26, 2008

THE CALL of the loon was particularly haunting this month against a sad backdrop. Biologists in New Hampshire discovered four loons dead from lead poisoning. The deaths were disturbing for many reasons. One is that the summer is only half over and one more lead-killed loon will exceed the annual average for the state. Another is that the loons came from four different bodies of water - an indication that the lead problem is widespread. Still another was that two loons died from tackle the state banned eight years ago: lead sinkers or jigs one inch or smaller. Worst of all, the other two loons died from lead jigs larger than an inch, jigs exempted from the ban on the premise they were too big for loons to ingest.

It is another call to get the lead out of lakes and streams.

New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York have all banned the sale or use of small lead tackle. Massachusetts currently bans lead on its primary loon nesting waters of the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs. This spring, the state Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Antonioni of Leominster that would give wildlife officials the power to issue a statewide ban on small lead tackle. The bill awaits action in the House.

Lead restrictions have been met with some resistance from angler industry lobbyists, as the metal remains popular for its cheap cost, density, and malleability. But more and more nontoxic gear is becoming available. In fact, one of the "best-of-show" products at this month's international sports-fishing trade convention in Las Vegas was a stone sinker. That would be perfect for loons - if they have to ingest a lost sinker at all - since a primary way they take in lead sinkers is with the pebbles their beaks scoop up from lake bottoms to help digest fish.

Industry complaints about lead bans have to be weighed against the fact that the call of the loon cannot be taken for granted, with about 4,000 birds in Maine, 528 in New Hampshire, and only a few dozen in Massachusetts. Massachusetts should enact a statewide ban on lead, so the call of the loon is merely beautiful, not haunting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


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Friday, July 18, 2008

Save Energy -- Make Cold Brewed Coffee

Cold-Brewed Coffee Extract
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 pound good quality coffee, ground for drip
2 1/2 quarts cool tap water

In a minimum 3-quart pitcher or jar, combine the coffee and water. Let stand for 12 hours. Strain the coffee through a regular kitchen strainer into a 2-quart jar or pitcher. After the bulk of the coffee Place the strainer over a bowl for a few hours to get every last drop.

I find that tastes vary about the strength of coffee. For instance, a guest the other night who was familiar with coffee extract requested her iced coffee be made with nothing but the extract, ice, milk and sugar. I needed a shot of water in mine. For morning coffee, however, I found that three parts water to one part extract, as the manufacturer of Suzanne’s gadget suggests, was too weak for me. I preferred two parts.

For Iced Coffee
Stir together equal parts of the coffee extract and cold tap water (or bottled water). Pour over ice. Add sugar and milk to taste.

For Hot Coffee
Use one part coffee extract to 2 to 3 parts just-boiled water.

Cold Brewed Coffee Using a French Press


  • French press (my Bodum one holds about 3 cups, I think)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 2 cups water


  1. Pour the coffee in the press and then add the water. On my unit the water and coffee comes right up to where the plunger would start. Depending on how strong your coffee is you may want a little more or less water.
  2. Stir the coffee with a wooden spoon of chopstick. You want to make sure all of the coffee grounds are wet. Wait, about two minutes and stir again. Some of the grounds should now settle to the bottom instead of all floating at the top.
  3. Wait 12 hours. I have seen other recipes that say it should be good after 4 hours. I have also other recommendations that after 15 hours or so, you start to extract some of the bitter flavors from the coffee. I usually aim for over night.
  4. Press down slowly on the plunger. Pour out the concentrate into an airtight container. You might want to avoid pouring the very last part, it might be a little murky.
  5. To make coffee either add cold water, milk or hot water. The ratio used depends on how strong you want your cup to be. I usually do about 1/4 or 1/6 concentrate and the rest milk. Experiment and see what tastes best.
  6. _________________

New Orleans Cold Drip Coffee
Scaled down from a Blue Bottle Coffee Company recipe, as appeared in the New York Times Magazine

Makes 1 1/2 cups coffee concentrate

1/5 pound dark roast coffee and chicory, medium ground (about 1 cup)
2 cups cold water

1. Put coffee in a nonreactive container, like a stainless-steel bowl. Add 1/4 cup water, stirring gently to wet the grounds, then add remaining water, agitating the grounds as little as possible. Cover and let steep at room temperature for 12 hours.

2. Strain coffee concentrate through a medium sieve, then again through a fine-mesh sieve.

3. To make iced coffee, fill a glass with ice, add ¼ cup coffee concentrate and 3/4 to 1 cup milk, then stir. To make cafĂ© au lait, warm 3/4 to 1 cup milk in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into a mug and add ¼ cup coffee concentrate. (Concentrate will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Would You Pay 1000 Times More For Gasoline If It Came In A Bottle?

Posted: 08 Jul 2008 From: We All Live Downstream, A Blog by John DeCock, President of Clean Water Action

If you’re looking for a place to trim your budget in order to afford gasoline, you might start by cutting out bottled water. In most cases, the water you buy is the same as what comes out of your tap. When it’s bottled, you pay anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 times the price of tap water.

Modern municipal water systems comprise a mind boggling and tremendously successful public works project costing in the trillions and delivering a basic necessity of life for an amount of money so small that most people think of water as being delivered to their home for free. Although we still need to work hard to protect our water sources and ensure that our water infrastructure is in good shape, most American cities have water that is equal to or better than a given bottle.

In June of 2007, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom took forward-thinking action on this issue to reduce waste and cut down greenhouse gas emissions. He also saved the city about $500,000 per year. Mayor Newsom instituted a ban on the purchase of bottled water for use by the city. On June 23rd, the US Conference of Mayors voted to endorse this idea. In a non-binding resolution the mayors agreed to encourage bans similar to the ones in place in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and about 60 other cities. Mayor Newsom and 17 other big cities mayors led this effort against opposition from industry groups such as the American Beverage Association.

In commenting on the resolution, Newsom said “Cities are sending the wrong message about the quality of public water when we spend taxpayer dollars on water in disposable containers from a private corporation.”

According to the Pacific Institute, we used 17 million barrels of oil to manufacture bottles for water in 2006. That figure doesn’t come close to representing the full cost in oil. Transportation to point of sale and beyond is not included. The bottling process produced 2.5 million tons of CO2. It takes three liters of water to manufacture a one liter bottle of water. Not to mention the environmental impact of the plastic that is not recycled after all that bottled water is consumed.

And there is a cost to our water resources for all of this bottling. Some major corporations have a big financial interest in exploiting our ecosystems to feed the demand for bottled water that they create.

In Michigan the Nestle Corporation’s water pumping operations triggered an ongoing seven-year-long battle over control of the state’s waters when it started a bottling operation in rural Mecosta County. Local residents took the company to court in 2001. The local court ordered Nestle to stop pumping and diverting waters from Sanctuary Springs, but subsequent legal appeals ended with Nestle being granted permission to withdraw up to 250 gallons per minute despite the fact that pumping was impairing a nearby stream, lake and wetlands. The Michigan Supreme Court majority, in a decision that overturned 30 years of settled law, ruled that federal law superseded the Michigan Environmental Protection Act and greatly reduced the ability of citizens to sue to enforce the state’s environmental laws.

NestlĂ©’s political muscle was further flexed in a deal that exempted most bottled water exports from the proposed Great Lakes Compact agreement which bans water diversions from the Great Lakes, a win reinforced in 2006 when Michigan’s elected officials put the diversion loophole into state law. Clean Water Action helped lead the way in winning new protections against the impacts of bottled water withdrawals in legislation expected to be signed by the Governor this month, but the diversion loophole remains.

Is there ever a circumstance in which bottled water makes sense? Of course there is, but every day routine use in most places do not require that we waste money, generate trash and burn oil to get an overpriced consumer product that is as close as your kitchen sink.

Routinely using bottled water for your drinking water is like buying alkaline batteries to power your refrigerator. It is insanely inefficient. You can take action to change this irrational consumer habit by switching to tap water in safe, refillable bottle. You can also contact your mayor’s office and public utilities commission and tell them you want them to adopt the ban on buying bottled water with taxpayer funds.

So this summer, stay healthy and hydrated, but BYOB to the beach, the gym or in the lunches you pack for day camp. Cut down on waste, damage to watershed, CO2 emissions and save money in the process. Isn’t it great to know you can do so much good for the environment, save money and stay healthy all at the same time? All that, and you don’t need to carry those heavy cases of water around anymore!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


North American Pollinators Program Campaign (NAPPC) is working to educate the public about pollinators and how we can better protect them. For more information on NAPPC, contact and for schools, contact
Photo taken at Sandy Island, Week 7 2008 on the ball field.