April Stools Day Saturday, April 8th @ 9AM

After a late winter storm forced the event to be postponed, April Stools day is back on!

When: Saturday, April 8th at 9 AM

Where: Williston Community Park (and other locations) in Williston. Meet at 9 AM for “doo-ty” at the picnic shelter near the skate park on the east side of Williston Central School.

Why: Pet poop that is not picked up sends nutrients and bacteria into our waterways, eventually contaminating Lake Champlain

How: Join a community effort to clean up parks, sidewalks and trails and protect our waters. Gloves, bags, pails, and hand sanitizer will be provided. Participants will receive a package of lake note cards (while supplies last) and be entered into a drawing for cash prizes.

Questions: Contact Lori Fisher 802.658.1414 for more information. Hosted by Sustainable Williston, Williston Recreation & Parks, and the Lake Champlain Committee.

Sustainable Williston Seed Starting Social this Sunday, April 9th from 2-4PM

What: Sustainable Williston is sponsoring a seed starting social.

When: Sunday, April 9th from 2-4 PM

Where: Under the gazebo on the town green.

What to Expect: Bring a pack of seeds to share (left overs from last year’s are fine) and a few clean pots if you have them (single serving yogurt containers work great).  We’ll provide soil and will have some extra pots on hand (and of course more seeds). April is a great time to plant sees that indicate they should be sowed 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. This includes winter squash, watermelon, and some types of flowers and herbs. Kids are welcome with their accompanying adult.

RSVP: Please RSVP at http://www.sustainablewilliston.org/c
ontact/
 so that we know how much soil to have on hand. If you forget to RSVP, just come anyway.

Meeting Williston’s Energy Needs into the Future

If we as a state and we as a town are going to get to 90% renewables by 2050 to counter global warming, we will have to address two main energy needs: our transportation methods and our building heating methods. Our vehicles will need to be electric and our homes will need to be electric and biomass. These are daunting challenges split into two components: the devices that we will use and the electric sources of our energy. The first part will be met by the ingenuity of our people and the market place filling our needs as climate change becomes more dire. The second part is something that we as a town can address. We can calculate the energy requirements of the town, now and for our future needs; identify the best sites for wind and solar, have a discussion and come to consensus on which sites meet our criteria the best, pre-permit them and figure out how to build them out (private venture; public/private or town owned). The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission has funds to help towns conduct studies of this nature and is something we should take advantage. Creating power in our town and state will keep about $850M in Vermont; help fight global warming; create local, well-paying jobs; make us a more resilient community and control energy prices going forward. I am suggesting that a group of SW members spearhead this effort to create this plan or form a Town Energy Committee to do this.

Feb Meeting Notes, and Next Meeting Scheduled for Wed 3/19

Sustainable Williston met February 19th at the Dorothy Alling Library in Williston. We had two special guests for this meeting. First, Zuhair Chaudhry, a CVU high school student and CVU Environmental Action Club member who has made great progress with carpooling spoke with us about CVU bus ridership. Our emphasis until now has been on helping successfully restart the late bus program while ensuring good ridership, but it has expanded now to consider the question of bus ridership at CVU in general. We’re still working on this issue; get in touch if you’re interested in being part of it or would like more information.

CVU

Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) Outreach Coordinator Michele Morris joined us to provide information and recommendations on the question of reducing plastic waste. Sustainable Williston members are hoping to help phase out dishes and to volunteer time to assist with recycling and composting at some local events. Michele had some intriguing additional ideas and important insights. We also discussed Vermont’s upcoming universal recycling program and ways Williston can encourage better recycling and composting for residents and businesses.

cswdlogo

Sustainable Williston member Marie-Claude Beaudette provided an update on our Birth Trees project, in which we’re partnering with the town and local business to (if all goes well) donate a tree to each Williston family into which a child is born or adopted. In its current form, it looks like the program will offer the option of either having the tree planted in a public place or given to the family to be planted at their home, though the details are still being worked out.

trees

We’ll discuss these and other projects and topics at our next meeting, Wednesday, March 19th at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, upstairs.

We’re also talking about having more informal get-togethers from time to time. If you’re interested in any of the above topics, in attending formal meetings, or in being in the loop for get-togethers, please use the contact form and ask to be added to our e-mail discussion and announcement list.

The High Environmental Cost of Plastic Bags

Here are some reasons for us all as residents, organizations, and businesses to consider reducing our use of plastic and plastic bags.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers: $4 billion)

  • Only 1%-3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
  • Industry figures show 90% of all grocery bags are plastic.
  • Plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which is a petroleum product, and their production contributes to air pollution and energy consumption.
  • It takes 1,000 years for polyethylene bags to break down.
  • The amount of petroleum used to make 1 plastic bag would drive a car about 11 meters.
  • Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade, breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil and waterways. They then enter the foodweb when animals accidently ingest them.
  • 86% of all known species of sea turtles have had reported problems of entanglement or ingestion of marine debris.
  • Approximately 1 billion seabirds and mammals die each year by ingesting plastic bags. These poor animals suffer a painful death. The plastic wraps around their intestines, or they choke to death.
  • Less than 5% of US shoppers use canvas, cotton, or mesh bags. Please change that number by choosing reusable bags when you shop.

plastic spoon