Social ecology is an academic discipline that favors a democratic and communal approach to social, political and environmental problems.
Vermont has played a seminal role in the development of this somewhat obscure social science, thanks to the Institute for Social Ecology founded in Plainfield in 1974.
The institute started at Goddard College and operated out of Goddard's 90-acre Cate Farm, which had a brick farmhouse and a huge dairy barn that served as the institute’s lecture hall and fabrication workshop.
It had rained hard the night before – not what Southerners call a “toad strangler”, but hard enough to down the flowers, hard enough to leave standing puddles and revive our thirsty brook. The storm broke the humid heat that had made the last few days a misery, when any physical action seemed wrapped in a moist blanket. The rain itself seemed a gift from the gods, but morning brought another.
It’s that time of year when swimmers and boaters in Lake Champlain can enjoy water temperatures that have finally become bearable. And when they have to be concerned about blue green algae blooms.
Vermont Edition spoke with David Mears, commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, about the algae blooms occurring in Lake Champlain, and if we could see what’s happening in Lake Erie here.
This year, a fox the color of fire took up residence in the lower part of our overgrown garden. She built an enormous den and proceeded to play, feed, sleep, sunbathe, run, sit and nurse her pups at a prudent distance from the house. Ordinary days looking out the window in my office were turned into extraordinary days looking for and watching Mama Fox and her five pups. It turned out that the bathroom with the smallest window had the best view of the den, a mound of brown dirt hidden between the trees where color and movement signaled that the foxes were there.
For the past few weeks, the wood-fired McNeil Generating Station in Burlington has been using wood chips from Pinewood Manor in Essex Junction, a 7.4 mile drive away. But the wood from Pinewood Manor has been taking a longer route, traveling nearly 80 miles by truck and train before it can be burned at McNeil.
Berlin Pond is a familiar sight to motorists traveling on I-89 a few miles south of the Montpelier exit. For years the city of Montpelier has prohibited recreation on the pond, which supplies the city with its water and is located in neighboring Berlin.
Two years ago, after a legal challenge to Montpelier’s long-standing ban, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled the state, not the city, had regulatory power over the pond.
When you move into a new place, you might know you want the walls to be a different color, or the bookshelves to go in a certain place. But most of us don’t know where to start when it comes to designing the backyard. What kind of plants will attract birds to your backyard? Are there environmentally friendly design solutions that don't look terrible? Why should you spend a bunch of money on a deck if you can only use it a few months of the year?
Officials have been working for two years to figure out the source of a slow petroleum leak that’s repeatedly caused a sheen on the water flowing into Burlington’s waterfront wastewater treatment facility.
But so far, they’ve had very little luck.
The petroleum leak resulted in a smell or a visible sheen on top of the water at the facility, according to Gary Kessler, who oversees the compliance and enforcement division of the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“What I was told was that it’s a very low level, but it’s perceivable,” Kessler said.
A natural gas pipeline from Chittenden County to Addison County is going to cost $35 million more than the company building it had previously estimated. But state regulators knew about the cost overrun for months without disclosing the news publicly. And one consumer protection group says the Department of Public Service should have done more to defend ratepayers.
Vermont Gas Systems initially said it could extend its natural gas pipeline into the Middlebury area for about $86 million. The price tag was compelling enough to win regulatory approval.