One of New Jersey’s seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements in the annals of toxic dumping. A town that would rather have been known for its Little League World Series champions ended up making history for an entirely different reason: a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution.
For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town’s namesake river.
The story is told in Dan Fagin's book, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation - winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
Alan Weisman is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times best seller The World Without Us. In his new book, Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? the award-winning journalist traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were probably the most important questions on Earth--and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth's ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? Can we know which other species are essential to our survival? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth?
Project Native is a non-profit environmental education organization committed to growing native plants, maintaining a native butterfly house and wildlife sanctuary, and promoting stewardship of the local landscape.
For the past three years Project Native has hosted a successful day-long environmental film festival. This year, the festival will kick off Saturday, March 29th at 7pm at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington with a special screening of Revolution, an award-winning film by Rob Stewart, director of Sharkwater.
On Sunday, March 30th Project Native will once again host a full day of environmental films at the Triplex Cinema in Great Barrington. As in years past, the day will start at 10:00 am with a film for children and families.
Some scientists predict the sea will rise one and a half meters before 2100, but rapidly melting polar ice caps could make the real amount much higher. In the coming century, intensifying storms will batter our coasts, and droughts and heat events will be annual threats. All this will occur as population grows, and declining water resources desiccate agriculture. What will happen when the United States cannot provide food or fresh water for the overheated, overcrowded cities where 80 percent of Americans currently live?
In his new book, The Frackers, journalist Gregory Zuckerman tells us the back-story. Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissed as a waste of time.
By experimenting with hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale—a process now known as fracking—the wildcatters started a revolution. In just a few years, they looked to relieve America’s dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental controversy—and made and lost astonishing fortunes.
In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems—climate change, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity—there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face.
In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems.
Schwartz says Cows Save the Planet is a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy, a call to action, and an antidote to the despair that environmental news so often leaves us with.
Judy Wicks is an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker working to build a more compassionate, environmentally sustainable and locally based economy. Her memoir Good Morning, Beautiful Business: the Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer was published in March.
Tonight, at 5:00 pm, Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent will host “A Declaration of Interdependence,” a new speaker series celebrating local living economies in the Hudson Valley and Greater Berkshire Region. They will be honoring Judy and she will also be speaking at a Re>Think Local event on Wednesday at Noon at the Barn at Buttermilk Falls Inn in Milton.