January 2022 Newsletter

January 17, 2023

January 2023 Newsletter

Empowering Sustainable Communities

#SEEDSGoodNews

US D.O.E. Announce $8 Million in Agrivoltaics Research

The U.S. Department of Energy announced in December 2022 $8 million for six solar energy research projects to explore agrivoltaics, investigations aimed at identifying and cultivating new areas economic growth for farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry.  Part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050, the six research projects funded by this initiative aim specifically at enhancing and maximizing clean energy access and benefits in rural and agriculturally focused areas.

According to this report from the DOE, agrivoltaics is “the co-location of agricultural production and solar energy generation on the same land,” and currently in the U.S. “less than 2% of solar energy projects are considered co-located with crops or pollinator habitats.”  There is incredible potential for farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry to expand agrivoltaics, thus increasing both the environmental and economic benefits of clean, renewable energy.

“The Foundational Agrivoltaic Research for Megawatt Scale (FARMS) funding program seeks to develop replicable models for agrivoltaics that can provide new economic opportunities while potentially reducing land-use conflicts,” the report further explains.  The FARMS research projects, conducted by institutions and universities located in Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, Alaska, Arizona and Washington DC, are expected to help make “agrivoltaic practices across the country easier to adopt, lowering the cost, and maximizing benefits for farmers, rural communities, and the solar industry.”

Read the full announcement and report from the DOE here.  Learn more about agrivoltaics here.  Do you have experience with agrivoltaic practices in your area? Tell us about them so we can share the good news with our SEEDS community! Email us at newsletter@seedsgroup.net.

#SEEDSGoodNews

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!

SEEDS Recommends

GreenGov Council & Penn State Sustainability
Institute’s Sustainability Webinar Series 4
Continues in 2023

PA GreenGov Council and Penn State’s Sustainability Institute‘s fourth monthly webinar series continues in 2023, with events in January, February, March and April.

“All who are interested in expanding their knowledge of sustainability initiatives are invited to participate!” the GreenGov and PSSI partnership explained in a press release, “Our goal is to make this series a successful venture to support the commonwealth’s progress in uplifting and delivering on sustainability initiatives.”

The virtual series includes upcoming webinars on January 13, “Sustainability & Resilience in the Community, Part 2 – Food Systems;” February 10, “Water Resources & Resiliency;” March 17, “Water Justice, Community Health & Sustainable Communities;” and April 14, “Land Management Best Practices for Ecosystem Health and Pollinators.”
Read more about the series and the theme of each individual webinar here.  Prospective attendees are asked to sign-up by completing this survey and indicate each webinar you plan to join. The webinars will be hosted on Microsoft Teams and GreenGov will send a Teams calendar appointment to attendees for each webinar which they select within a few days after survey completion.  For any additional questions or comments you may have regarding registration or webinar content, please contact the GreenGov Council.

The two previous webinars from this series are available as archived videos online and can be found by following the links: October 14, 2022’s “Decent Work & Economic Growth” and November 10, 2022’s “Household Carbon Reduction, Part 2 – Building Sciences Connection.”

Have You Seen It?

Bill McKibben on “Brief but Spectacular

Bill McKibben recently appeared on the PBS Newshour segment “Brief but Spectacular” to talk about organizing towards impactful action on climate change through his group Third Act.  McKibben is an inspiring speaker, award winning author, and a founders of 350.org, one of the first global grassroots climate campaigns.

In this segment, McKibben explains his inspiration for forming Third Act, which focuses on organizing people over 60 years old, or those who are currently in the “third act” of their lives, with the aim of defending democracy and the environment through actionable work that targets Washington as well as Wall Street.

If you are not already familiar with Third Act, read more about the organization and the work they are doing here.  For more “Brief but Spectacular” segments, go here.

SEEDS Recommends

Webinar: Turning Lawns into Meadows

As we move into 2023, looking to the future sometimes means letting go of conventions of the past.  Here at SEEDS, we always look for ways enhance sustainable living, which is why we are excited about this webinar opportunity offered by Penn State Extension on Saturday, February 25.

“Turning Lawns Into Meadows will compare the effect of lawns and meadows on the environment. We will explain how meadows provide myriad ecological benefits–including ongoing sequestering of carbon and significantly increasing biological diversity.”

Hosted by Owen Wormser, the owner of Abound Design, this hour and a half online event will discuss the ecological value and environmental advantages of cultivating a meadow instead of manicured lawns, and offer attendees information, approaches, and strategies to create their own native, perennial meadow.  For more information about the event go here, and to register for it go here.

Local News

Microplastics Found in Pennsylvania’s Pristine Waterways

Our friends at Pike County Conservation District recently published the harrowing results of a local watershed microplastics study titled “Pennsylvania’s Pristine Waterways and Microplastics.”

“Two stream sites were sampled in Pike County, one on Vandermark Creek by its confluence with the Delaware River, and one in an unnamed tributary to Walker Lake Creek in a wooded, but commonly traveled area. After sending the samples to be analyzed, the result came back: both samples we collected revealed the presence of microplastics! The group at PennEnvironment analyzed samples from 50 sites across Pennsylvania and every waterway tested had some type of microplastics. Even streams in areas that are more secluded are showing the presence of microplastics. Though all the sites tested are designated as streams with excellent water quality, microplastics still found a way into the water.”

You can read a summary of the report at the Pike County Conservation District’s website or you can read the full report here.