Environmental

Environmental Chair 2021-2022: Mary Wilding.
The Environmental Committee updates members each month on important topics such as plastic pollution, climate change, local and national environmental issues, seismic testing and other issues related to our environment. The committee goes to great lengths to raise members awareness of threats to the environment as well as stewardship opportunities. Volunteers are solicited year round for local clean-up projects that keep our island safe and beautiful.  The projects provide environmental information at community events and participate in a variety of projects including outreach on state mandates, banning straws except on request and distributing painted clam shells with a nautical theme with an environmental message. 

Noteworthy Recycling News September 2021

Clean aluminum foil is now recyclable.

We can now throw aluminum foil that is clean into our single stream recycling bins for pickup. This new addition also includes clean foil take-out containers and pans.  We can also now recycle chipboard used in containers for cereal boxes, baking mixes, pasta, toilet paper and paper towel rolls etc.  In addition, you should leave bottle caps on #1, #2, and #5 plastic or glass containers.

If you would like a visual representation, Just click on the link:  http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/SolidWaste/frmRegContentSW.aspx?ID=e74c1d05-011a-4c24-b481-0fd7cab6c1f0

Buddy Bench Project September 2021

Members of the Environmental Committee ,with chair Mary Wilding seated, with their collection of lids and caps for the “Buddy Bench” project.

Garden Club members have been collecting lids and caps for some time. Eight  very large bags containing lids and caps will be kept out of the landfill and instead will be used for a student recycling project. Third to sixth grade students at the Frog Pond Road Elementary School  will sort the lids and caps which will then be used to create a Buddy Bench that will provide seating on their playground. Teachers Cindy Anderson and Trina Reigelman arranged this project to show students that useful items can be made from plastics that would ordinarily  flood  the landfills. The lesson that together, we can make a difference is such a critical one.

Barnegat Bay Day  July 2021

On July 7, 2021, Barnegat Bay Day at the Long Beach Island Foundation was held as the restrictions of Covid were lifted.  Representing the our garden club, the Environmental and Birds & Wildlife Committees provided a variety of activities for children.

Photos: Gillian Rozicer/Michele Farias

It was the first opportunity for Kathy Gronostajski and Gillian Rozicer to use the Activity Sheets created by Tracey Cameron of engaging pictures to be colored, along with mazes and word puzzles. Each page featured an environmental theme.  As the spotted lantern fly continues to be a concern in Ocean County, committee members emphasized the importance of spotting and reporting information. A colorful lantern fly tattoo was offered to the children. Tracy Houtsma provided information about the need to reuse, refuse and reduce our use of plastic. The committee handed out stickers proclaiming “I AM the Solution to Plastic Pollution.” Bonnie Brodman rendered information on monarchs and milkweed. Barbara Reynolds showed the children how to upcycle nature calendars to create origami butterflies . Along with JoAnne McKee and Cindy McGrath, six Garden Club members participated.   

Painted Shells Appear on Long Beach Island

On June 14, 2021 Environmental Committee members and other members met in Mary Wilding’s garage for a clam painting workshop.  In October 2020, we painted nautical themes on large clam shells, adding  environmental protection messages such as “Save Our Seas”, “There is No Planet B”, “Leave Only Footprints”, “Keep our Seas Plastic Free” etc.  The shells were scattered on LBI and also on the mainland.  It was our intent  to bring a little sunshine to residents and visitors. Community  response was extremely positive.

Photos: Mary Wilding

The shells are located at  Sunset Park, Harvey Cedars, entrance to the Maritime Trail at Barnegat Light State Park with an invitation to “Please Add Your Own Shell”,  Edith Duff Gwinn Garden and the Garden at the Beach  Haven Library.  They are also being spread in neighborhoods across LBI and in mainland communities.  One member, Judy Simpson, helped paint the clam shells and took the activity back to her community where a group created their own shells to enhance their neighborhood.  This year we expanded our effort. Thanks to Doris McKee and her daughter, Pam, who decoupaged clam shells with turtles, planet images, recycling motifs along with environmental reminders, and their creations have been added to the painted ones. We invite you all to paint a shell and join our effort to not only bring a smile to whoever sees it, and reminds us to do our part to protect our exceptionally beautiful environment.  See if you can spot any of the shells.

Beach Sweep October 2020

 

Clean Ocean Action Fall Beach Sweep was held at 60 locations in New Jersey on Saturday, October 24, 2020 with a few changes to meet Covid protocols.  Volunteers were asked to review and follow COVID-19 protocols and each individual registered for the event.  Leslie Karvan, Judy and Marc Lipman, Doris McKee, JoAnne McKee, Jeanette Michelson, Ginny Scarlatelli and Mary Wilding all wore masks and maintained social distancing.  It was very gratifying to find much less debris on the beach in Loveladies. The greatest number of items continued to fall into the “plastics” category.   A rather large aluminum and plastic item that we think was a large circular fan blade roof vent unit and the small Angelina Ballerina plastic figure were unusual finds.  For the October 23, 2021, Clean Ocean Action Annual Fall Beach Sweep, Gillian Rozicer again recruited her neighbors in North Beach to collect litter.  Other individual members also collected on beaches  and bays near their.  All of us can reduce the impact on the marine ecosystem by collecting debris whenever we find it.  Click on photos to enlarge.

Photos:Jeannette Michelson

 Reducing Plastic Pollution

In September 2018, Senator Bob Smith, Chair of the N.J. Senate Environmental Committee, introduced the strongest statewide ban on plastic products in our nation. Senator Linda R. Greenstein co-sponsored the bill (S2776).  This bill not only bans most single-use plastic bags, but also includes single-use carryout paper bags and polystyrene foam food products and limits single-use plastic straws.   The bill was signed into law on November 4, 2020 with a grace period of 18 months, or until May 4, 2022 with the exception of plastic straws.  Beginning November 4, 2021, food service businesses can only provide a single-use plastic straw to a customer upon request by the customer.  (NJ Department of Environment Protection) Long Beach Island and the mainland committee members visited about 60 restaurants and food service businesses open on LBI off-season and open year round on the mainland to provide a copy of the regulation and an information sheet about the 500 Million straws used DAILY in our country and the impact on marine seabirds and animals.  Many establishments were not aware of the new regulation but the majority were appreciative of receiving the information.  It is a win-win as there is a cost-savings as well as a positive environment benefit.  It was so positive to find there were some establishments who have a switched to paper or compostable straws and are already providing eco-friendly single-use products.

Continuing to advocate for actions to reduce plastic pollution is a primary goal of the Environmental Committee.  The volume of single-use items is staggering. Collins Dictionary made “single-use” the word of the year!  As individuals, it is important for each of us to do our part in reducing our plastic consumption by using alternative materials, considering the necessity of each purchase, following expanded guidelines for recycling and helping to keep others informed.  The committee makes an effort to share information about producers who are making efforts to institute and follow more environmentally positive practices. We can choose who to support.   Beyond the local and state level, there is legislation pending on a national level, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021, which is designed to address the escalating flood of plastic products and to change waste and recycling management in the U.S.  Providing information and advocating for this act is a current effort.

As a reminder:

We can take our reusable bags for a variety of purchases.  The major grocery chains have customers use their own bags and to pack them on the counter because the cashiers are not allowed to pack them.  Sanitizing the reusable bags should be done as usual.

Mary Wilding and Kyle Gronostajski, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Living Ocean, as The Bag Monster

Industrialization of Our Oceans

I am delighted to tell you H.R. 1146, the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act was passed and restored protection to the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain from the impact on the environment of oil and gas drilling.

Two additional bills were introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives regarding offshore drilling.  H.R. 205:  Protecting & Securing Florida’s Coastline Act of 2019, passed in the 116th Congress (2019-2020) but has not been re-introduced in the new Congress.  H.R. 1941:  Coastal & Marine Economies Protection Act, to protect the nation’s offshore waters to new drilling, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the eastern Gulf of Mexico near Florida and also protect 50 National Coastal Parks passed in the House of Representatives on 9/11/2019 as well as in the 116th congress.  It also has not been reintroduced in the new Congress.  While the bills have not passed, there are current efforts to push for a ban on offshore oil and gas leasing off the East Coast and other areas in the federal budget request that is being debated right now in the US Congress.  Stay tuned on these two bills.

Industrialization of our ocean is taking place off the coast of New Jersey with the construction of wind turbines.  In 2015, NJ’s Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Management sold leases for roughly 160,000 acres from Ocean City north to Atlantic City and in 2018 an additional lease for 183,000 acres was sold for the area from Atlantic City to Barnegat Light.  Construction is expected to begin in 2023. Currently there is a proposed sale for an additional nearly 800,000 acres of offshore wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off the New York/New Jersey coast.

The need to switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources is an ongoing goal in New Jersey with one of the most ambitious national goals of 35% of energy sold to be from renewable resources by 2025 and 50% by 2035.  Wind power addresses that goal, but at the same time there is currently concern about expanding the area to be industrialized without having adequate information regarding the impact on the marine environment.  Efforts continue to advocate for comprehensive, coordinated studies to provide guidance.

Action Items

The Green New Deal

“Green New Deal has been presented in the House and Senate and its policies would address climate change and inequity and could accomplish three things: 1)Tackle the climate crisis and toxic pollution,  2)Create good, high-paying jobs  and 3)Fight racial, economic and gender inequity.  Sierra Club has five big ideas for a Green New Deal, explaining how it could revitalize our infrastructure, retrofit our buildings, revive clean manufacturing, and restore our ecosystems. If you would like to review their article and consider asking our members of Congress to support resolutions calling for a Green New Deal, click on the following website to learn more. (https://www.sierraclub.org/articles/2019/01/five-big-ideas-for-green-new-deal) If you want to add your support there will also be a website listed you can access (https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0140538&id=7010Z000001qreEQAQ&data=ce8ea67170db396344d2de2322b1521cc9132dc6a4a23395b11c488c1e419a7aff8e347b1259c2d8ddafa895f257de84&utm_medium=email&utm_source=sierraclub&utm_campaign=internationalclimate.”

NEW JERSEY DRAFT ENERGY  MASTER PLAN

New Jersey is one of only 5 states that will require 50% of its electricity to come from renewable sources, such as solar power,  and offshore wind power by 2030.  On June 10, 2019 “the State of New Jersey released the Draft 2019 Energy Master Plan (EMP), which provides an initial blueprint for the total conversion of New Jersey’s energy profile to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, as directed by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 28. The plan defines clean energy as carbon-neutral electricity generation and maximum electrification of the transportation and building sectors to meet or exceed the Global Warming Response Act greenhouse emissions reductions of 80 percent relative to 2006 levels by 2050. The Draft Energy Master Plan is a comprehensive roadmap toward achieving our goal of a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050,” said Governor Murphy. “The strategies set forth in this draft plan will foster economic growth by creating thousands of jobs in New Jersey’s energy, building, and transportation sectors. Today’s draft plan is a critical step forward in reducing the effects of climate change and securing our state’s clean energy future for the benefit of all New Jerseyans and for generations to come.”  Seven strategies are outlined in the draft to put the plan into action.  Seehttps://www.insidernj.com/press-release/state-new-jersey-unveils-draft-2019-energy-master-plan/.
Efforts to support the movement toward renewable resources and away from fossil fuels, has included giving our members information about  programs that require the electric utility company to obtain 50 to 100% of their  power supply from renewable energy resources.  Some members have also requested local and state representatives to focus on increasing renewable energy and not supporting investments in the infrastructure and provision of fossil fuels.

SPOTTED LANTERNFLY – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Spotted Lantern Fly
* A new, invasive flying insect that is already a threat to nurseries and gardens in Pennsylvania and in Warren and Hunterdon counties, and is now present in Camden, Gloucester and Burlington NJ counties.
*  Spectacularly beautiful, but harmful to grapes, apple, cherry and peach trees and 70 ornamentals including lilac, maple and dogwood.
*  Harms plants by sucking and destroying sap at all its life stages.
*  Removing eggs from bark and other surfaces by scraping is the most effective preventative known at this time.  Wrapping tree trunks with sticky tape or netting and removing dead lanternflies is also helpful.
* Please check the website to see the lanternfly in each life stage:  
*  If you see the lanternfly, take a photo and send it to photographtolanternfly@njaes.rutgers.edu.