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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Green Movement Trends

The green movement in North America is gaining momentum as more and more people become interested ecology, sustainability, alternative energy, and other subjects.

This list includes recent trends that are associated with the green movement:

alternative energy

- solar power
- wind power
- electric vehicles
- wood fuels

food

- organic foods
- farmer's markets
- community supported agriculture
- small scale farms
- homesteading
- home gardening
- hoop houses, greenhouses
- heirloom vegetables
- home canning
- vegetable fermentation
- heritage breed animals
- free range chickens, ducks, geese
- grass fed beef, pork, lamb
- locally sourced foods; bread, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs
- aquaculture
- small scale wineries
- craft brewing
- non GMO foods
- reduced food miles

recreation

- kayaking
- canoeing
- stand up paddleboarding (SUP)
- hiking
- eco-tours
- wildlife appreciation

arts and crafts

- repurposed wood
- hippie art
- organic materials, weaving

Monday, August 17, 2015

Signs of Autumn in North America



Autumn, also known as fall, is a favorite time of year for many people. In North America, there are dozens of signs that the Autumn season is approaching.

Many of the signs of Autumn are first seen by farmers, fishermen, hunters, hikers, and others that spend much of their time outdoors.

Plants provide some of the first signs that Autumn will soon be here. In August, a few scattered trees begin dropping leaves. Others may show touches of red, gold, or other hues. These early displays of color will soon by followed by an abundance of fall foliage.

Wildflowers usually provide clues about seasons. As Autumn approaches, some of North America's most familiar wildflowers begin blooming.

Agricultural crops also indicate North America's seasons. As the days grow shorter, crops such as corn and beans start to change color.

Birds often provide clues about the change of season. In many parts of North America, flocks of blackbirds appear in the sky overhead.

At first, the lines of birds are scattered and last only a few moments. Before long, the migration becomes an incredible sight, with noisy flocks occupying the sky from horizon to horizon.

Geese also announce the coming of Autumn. Resident geese become restless and begin taking short flights around sunset, honking loudly as they circle their summer territory.

Signs of Autumn can also be seen in the skies. As the air becomes drier, bluebird skies become common. At dawn, they may contain unique cloud formations known as mare's tails.

Periods of fair weather are sometimes broken by storms. Along the Atlantic Coast, the approach of Autumn is usually accompanied by powerful storms known as noreasters. Even more powerful are late-summer hurricanes, which lash coastal communities.

In much of North America, the summer season may end abruptly, not by a date marked on a calendar, but by the passing of a noreaster, hurricane, or other storm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Farmers Markets

North America is home to an incredible range of farmers markets. Vendors offer fresh fruits, vegetables, produce, herbs, flowers, garden plants, breads, jellies, jams, fresh eggs, dairy products, honey, poultry, rabbits, goats, sheep, lamb, seafood, and more. In addition to traditional produce, farmers markets may also offer arts and crafts, clothing, and other items.

Fall Foliage in North America (Atlantic Coast)

North America is famous for its beautiful fall foliage. Fall foliage colors can vary considerably from year to year, depending on Autumn temperatures, rainfall, storms, and a host of other factors.

During the Autumn season, trees release a chemical called phytochrome, which slows down chlorophyll production and allows the tree to go dormant. As green chlorophyll recedes from the leaves, other colors begin to show.

Leaf pigment is also influenced by the amount and acidity of tree sap. Strongly acidic sap tends to result in reds and other bright colors, while less acidic sap produces more yellows or softer tones.

Depending on locations, travelers can expect to see a variety of foliage colors during Autumn.

Along the Atlantic Coast of North America, brightly colored fall foliage can usually be found in places such as the Canadian Maritimes, the New England states, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland.

Fall Foliage Colors

Yellows

Ash, White
Basswood
Beech
Birch, Rive
Birch, Sweet
Buckeye, Ohio
Coffeetree, Kentucky
Cottonwood, Eastern
Elder, Box
Elm, American
Hazel Nut
Hickory, Mockernut
Hickory, Pignut
Hickory, Shagbark
Hickory, Shellbark
Hophornbeam, Eastern
Locust, Black
Locust, Honey
Maple, Silver
Oak, Chestnut
Pecan
Redbud, Eastern
Shad Bush
Tuliptree
Walnut, Black
Walnut, White
Willow, Black

Reds - Pinks - Oranges

Dogwood
Gum, Black
Oak, Northern Red
Oak, Pin
Oak, Scarlet
Oak, Southern Red
Oak, Swamp Chestnut
Sourwood
Sumac

Browns

Oak, Bur
Oak, Post
Oak, Shingle
Oak, Swamp White

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 Environmental Disasters


The following is a partial list of spills and other environmental incidents in North America during 2015.

January, 17, 2015

An oil spill occurred on the Yellowstone River near Glendive, Montana. The spill originated from Bridger Pipeline’s Poplar Pipeline system located about 9 river miles upstream of the City of Glendive.

February 2, 2015

A break in a stormwater pipe beneath an ash basin at the retired Dan River Steam Station in Eden caused a release of ash basin water and ash into the Dan River.

February 15th, 2015

A CSX train traveling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va., derailed in Fayette County, West Virginia, spilling Bakken crude oil into the Kanawha River.

May 19, 2015

A pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline failed near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, California. Officials estimated that more than 20,000 gallons of crude oil reached the Pacific Ocean.

July 15, 2015

Near Fort McMurray in Alberta Canada, approximately 5 million litres of bitumen oil, water, and sand were spilled.

August 5, 2015

Environmental Protection Agency workers were conducting an investigation of the Gold King Mine when loose material gave way, spilling approximately one three million gallons of mine water into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.

An Overview of North America

North America is one of the world's great continents.

Wikipedia defines North America as:

"North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea."