April 2023 Newsletter

April 23, 2023
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April 2023 Newsletter

Empowering Sustainable Communities


As Millions of Solar Panels Age Out, Recyclers Hope to Cash In
from YaleEnvironment360

The boon of renewable energy infrastructure in the US and abroad is an exciting enough story for #SEEDSGoodNews, but such an abundance of creation and installation of solar panels does beg the question: where do they go at the end of their lifespan?  This article from YaleEnvironment360, published at the Yale School of the Environment, discusses the emerging business of solar panel recycling, an important endeavor aimed at reducing the number of solar panels that end up in landfill at the end of their 25 to 30 year lifespan.

The article explains that “roughly 90 percent of panels in the U.S. that have lost their efficiency due to age, or that are defective, end up in landfills because that option costs a fraction of recycling them.”  This inevitability causes more harm than just taking up space, as these panels pose a danger of leaking toxins into the environment.

As demand for solar panels is expected to grow more and more, attention to the process of collecting and refurbishing the panels is more than a good business opportunity, it is an important component of a larger, sustainable cycle of responsible energy production.

Any time we use the earth’s resources, there is a near certainty there will be impacts. For instance, using minerals in solar panels and car batteries means that they had to be mined from somewhere, often in countries who exploit or do not have safeguards for their workers. SEEDS is committed to environmental justice and equity, so that is why we are sharing this story.


Do you have any #SEEDSGoodNews stories to share with the SEEDS community? Send them to us at  newsletter@seedsgroup.net or tag us on social media!  They can be local stories from your community, or stories from around the world–anything to celebrate and spread the word about the progress of energy efficiency, renewable energy or sustainable living wherever you hear about it!

by Members of SEEDS Energy Circle

Thoughts on the Transition to Electric Vehicles

“I’ve done plenty of polluting in my day, starting with a model A pick-up truck using leaded gasoline, no less. After a long line of cars and trucks over many decades, I finally have a vehicle that is not only all-electric, but is charged by my own solar panels. I am fortunate that I can afford to have solar panels. Not everyone has a place or the money to install them. That is why we should push for Pennsylvania to adopt community solar so that everyone can benefit from solar.” –Pete Snyder

“Almost ten years ago I had a local contractor install a rooftop solar panel system on my house and those panels are tied into the grid, thus I became a producer of electricity instead of just a consumer. A few years later I added a heat pump heating and air conditioning system along with some insulation projects and I replaced all of my light bulbs with LEDs. Last year I placed a deposit on an EV and I am looking forward to owning my first fully electric vehicle. I have absolutely no regrets and of course I feel great about all of those smart investments. But at the end of the day, there is also another reward for me that goes well beyond the financial benefits and doing the right thing. There is a sense of inner joy and peace of mind that I get knowing I’m doing something that is right for the world.” –Dave Falvo

“There are impacts from just about everything humans do: if you drill a water well, it takes equipment, fuel, and materials that had to be manufactured and transported to the site. If you buy solar panels or an electric car, the same issues apply including added use of rare earth minerals. So, do we just stop doing everything? That is unrealistic. We need to choose the least harmful path. As long as we can meaningfully recycle materials involved with electric cars and solar panels, the move to electric vehicles far outweighs the use of fossil fuel vehicles and power generation.” –Katharine Dodge

“I understand peoples’ worries about a transition to EVs.  However, most of our driving takes place within cities and over short distances.  For this reason, the shift to EVs can be painless for most of us.  As infrastructure develops, and battery storage improves, we will lose our fear of long-distance travel as well.  Given the amount of government support the fossil fuel and the petroleum auto industries have received, we should welcome initiatives which support alternative power (and especially in the transportation sector).  Already 10% of cars sold globally are electric.  The USA is achieving just half that level.  It’s time to move forward.” –Daniel Berg

“The long-term permanence of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere is a challenge that our children are inheriting. Personal vehicles are a large contributor to this problem. An effort to help our family reduce our carbon footprint was to purchase a used 2017 electric car when we needed a “new” car. It works very well for our day-to-day needs. With some planning, we have also been able to travel (with this EV car), from the Poconos to Maryland and from the Poconos to Boston (in February!). The planned expansion of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the faster charging rates of newer cars will make these types of trips even easier to do.” – Maria Cohen

“My first electric car was a 2013 FORD CMax plug-in hybrid, and I loved it. I averaged 65-68 miles per gallon over the 8 years I had the car. My gasoline costs were nominal, since I could do most of my commuting on the electric battery which provided 25-28 miles per charge. At night, I’d plug in to a regular 110 volt outlet and charge the battery for the next day. It took me about 6-7 hours to fully charge. My best estimate for the electric costs was approximately $28 per month. Since I did not have solar panels to generate the electricity I needed for the additional demand of the car, I switched my electric generation company to a renewable source. I used the PUC’s PAPowerswitch website to shop for the company that was the best fit for me. Ford stopped making the CMax, otherwise I would have purchased another. A fuel-efficient car helps minimize the negative impact rising fuel costs have had on our household budget, as well as reducing my carbon footprint.” –Jocelyn Cramer

“As a 76 year-old baby boomer, I must apologize to younger generations. We dropped the ball! Fifty years of missed opportunities for a sustainable way of life. We need to join and support the younger generations to achieve this goal. Now, having invested in a 12 Kw solar array, Andrea and I are in the process of switching from fossil fuels  to sustainable  electricity for all our energy needs including an electric vehicle. SEEDS has played a major role in this process.” –Chuck Heyn

Editor’s note: Every contributor for this article except for one is either a baby boomer or the generation following. That one exception is pre-boomer! Can you guess which one?

Do you have an idea for a #SEEDSBlog post? if you have experience, expertise or research in an area relevant to sustainable energy, living, education and or outreach, email us at newsletter@seedsgroup.net and share your idea!

Upcoming Event

Ramps U-Pick Fundraiser for SEEDS

Delaware Valley Ramps in Equinunk, PA  invites guests to their second annual Ramps U-Pick Event, a guided harvest of a bounty of ramps.  If you purchase your tickets using the link provided in this story, part of the proceeds will support our programs at SEEDS!  For more information, and to purchase tickets to benefit SEEDS, use this link: https://ramps-u-pick.eventbrite.com/?aff=SEEDS.

Ramps have traditionally been seen as the first green sign of spring.  They are highly valued for culinary purposes because their unique taste, described as a cross between garlic and onions, can be used to flavor a variety of dishes, whether cooked, sautéed, grilled, in stews or soups, or raw, pickled or tossed in salads. Ramps are a regional delicacy.

Delaware Valley Ramps of Equinunk, PA has been harvesting sustainably on their property for 16 years with sales to restaurants and wholesalers in the Upper Delaware River Watershed and New York City.

At their Ramps-U-Pick event you will have the opportunity to learn more about the plant, its management, sustainability, and harvesting. You can pick up to 3 lbs. of ramps per adult for your own non-commercial use. Tools and support will be provided on site. Delaware Valley Ramps will provide recipes for some of their favorite dishes for you to cook at home. The event will also feature tastes of some dishes such as ramp hummus, pickled ramps, and ramp quiche for participants to sample.

Individual tickets are available, as well as family tickets for two adults and up to three children under 18 years of age. Up to eight individual tickets and one family ticket are available for each session.

For more information about Delaware Valley Ramps, their commitment to sustainability, and or this specific event, please see their website at www.delawarevalleyramps.com their Facebook page.

Call for Volunteers
Upcoming Event

This Earth Day, Join the Pick Up The Poconos Event and
Help Pick Up the Lackawaxen River

See this message from Lackawaxen River Trails inviting volunteers to join their one day effort to remove litter and debris from the Lackawaxen River on April 22, 2023:

It’s spring! And with the melted snow and rising river waters we want to get out there and pick up as much of the unsightly litter we find all around the riverbanks in several spots from Honesdale to Hawley and beyond.

If you are looking for a way to get involved with the care and maintenance of our river trails and land trails, this is the perfect way to learn what it takes to help out. Several locations will host the spring cleanup in parks, along trails and other locations throughout the Pick Up the Poconos event Saturday, April 22nd.

All we need is you (and your family/friends) to sign up. Select which location where you prefer to volunteer (Honesdale, Hawley, Lake Wallenpaupack).

Honesdale Borough is even hosting a joint cleanup event in its parks with the Honesdale Parks & Recreation and the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

All the materials you need will be provided (gloves, vests, bags).

Show up before 9:30 so we can split up and clean up.

There are a lot of amazing things happening along the Lackawaxen this year and in future years, and it’s our job to go out there and keep it looking natural.

Please consider signing up or sharing this information with others so we get a big turnout on Earth Day 2023.

Upcoming Event

Only 40 logs are available, so register quickly by calling (570) 253-0930 or emailing ttochydlowski@waynecountypa.gov.

Global News

Recent Press Release from the Union of Concerned Scientists
Increases Urgency of Already Dire Message

SEEDS Outreach Circle, after discussions with SEEDS members and Board members, is including in this month’s newsletter a recent press release, published March 20, 2023, from the Union of Concerned Scientists, in its entirety.  Please see the original post containing the press release here.  For more information about the Union of Concerned Scientists, see their website.

Latest IPCC Climate Report Bleak, Giving Up Not an Option

Statements by Dr. Kristina Dahl, principal climate, and Dr. Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and policy director for the Climate and Energy Program

After a meeting of world scientists and governments in Interlaken, Switzerland, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a major new climate report that is the culmination of the organization’s sixth assessment cycle. The Synthesis Report is accompanied by a Summary for Policymakers that was approved and adopted by world governments. These reports synthesize the findings from thousands of pages of IPCC reports released over the past five years. They highlight the realities of the climate crisis today, the dangers of global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and the solutions available to limit climate change and its harms.

Below is a statement by Dr. Kristina Dahl, principal climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“It’s been almost 33 years since the first IPCC report was issued. Instead of triggering a global wakeup call to policymakers around the world, global emissions have only increased since then—by a whopping 54 percent. That’s in no small part due to the fossil fuel industry’s deep-pocketed opposition to climate action at any level and its unfettered access to elected officials. As a result, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less will, at this point, be exceedingly difficult. But now is not the time—nor will it ever be the time—to throw in the towel. There is simply too much at stake.

“While there will be changes that we can’t prevent, such as the loss of a certain amount of land to sea level rise, there are many impacts we can and must still limit by quickly and steeply reducing emissions. To secure the livable future that children around the world deserve, we must double down, clear-eyed about the challenges ahead, ratchet up pressure on governments, and break the power of the fossil fuel industry.”

Below is a statement by Dr. Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and policy director for the Climate and Energy Program at UCS.

“Today’s report underscores that we do have many solutions to drive a transformative shift from a polluting, fossil fuel-based energy system to a clean and healthier one, and that scaled-up investments in climate resilience are also vital to address impacts that are now unavoidable. Yet these commonsense, urgently needed steps are not being taken by governments at the speed and scale required.

“The terrible human toll and economic costs of the climate crisis are mounting around the world. Communities in the United States are grappling with flooding, heatwaves, drought and intensified hurricanes; people in Pakistan are still reeling from devastating floods last year; and millions of people in the Horn of Africa are on the verge of famine. This latest IPCC report makes clear that these kinds of dangers will worsen as the climate warms, with people living in poverty bearing the brunt.

“Inaction from policymakers—especially those in richer nations—and the underhanded tactics of fossil fuel companies are the main obstacles to the bold and necessary climate action the world desperately needs. Their unconscionable failures now put us at grave risk of surpassing a 1.5-degree global temperature increase, beyond which science shows untenable and irreversible climate impacts will mount.

“It is clear that current emissions-reduction pledges and the actions taken by countries so far are grossly insufficient. It’s past time to sharply phase down fossil fuels and transition to clean energy. Furthermore, richer nations must step up to take responsibility for funding emissions reductions and climate adaptation measures in low-income countries to avoid deepening the inequitable toll from climate change.”

If you are not a member of SEEDS, please consider joining us today!
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