By Mike McQuaide, Sustainable Newton Board Member
We celebrate Arbor Day in Georgia in February (on the 3rd Friday), when weather conditions are best for planting trees. This year, many communities are scaling back or canceling celebrations dues to COVID-19. So, we asked board member Mike McQuaide to reflect on his love of trees.
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had occasion to focus more clearly on the features of life they value the most. The adage “you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry” is certainly applicable at this moment in American history. Being with friends and family indoors, going into restaurants and stores, freely traveling to distant places, and the many dimensions of life are suspended to some extent right now. Many of us find it insightful to step back and consider more deeply the features of life that we have taken for granted --but now seem out of reach-- at least for the time being.
Broadening our appreciation of the world we take for granted can bring a renewed appreciation and desire to protect the natural world. The natural environment is complex and diverse; one visible aspect of the natural world are the trees around us. Arbor Day provides an opportunity to step back and consider the many benefits of trees in our shared communities. The most visibly obvious benefits being the aesthetic advantages of trees. On a subconscious level, trees can evoke our sense of beauty. Office workers with a view of trees are more productive than those in windowless workplaces. Seeing trees can reduce our blood pressure and help our muscles to relax.
By Maurice Carter, Sustainable Newton President
Extreme weather and widespread power outages in Texas are headline news everywhere this week. As of today, nearly three million customers remain without power, after record-breaking low temperatures and heavy snowfall struck the state. It's a dangerous situation, and many of us have friends and/or family directly impacted.
Emotions are frayed and lives remain at risk. As with any crisis, priority one is restoring power and tending to those in need. Lessons learned can wait until safety is restored.
But it's a sad reality we must also contend with disinformation about root causes and contributing factors to the energy portion of this crisis. Specifically, some clean energy naysayers see an opportunity to push a false narrative that these power outages were primarily caused by a wind power failure. This simply is not true.