Carbon Fee and Dividend Resolution

Update:  On March 9, the Carlisle Borough Council passed a resolution proposed by Dickinson College students that calls for the U.S. Congress to limit climate change by exploring a national carbon fee and dividend.
Support the carbon fee and dividend resolution at the Borough of Carlisle Council meeting on March 9.
CAB supports the initiative taken by Dickinson College students urging the Borough of Carlisle to adopt a resolution to urge Congress to address climate change and explore a carbon fee and dividend policy.  While there are many ways to reduce carbon pollution and protect the public health, the carbon fee and dividend policy is a promising solution.  The resolution does not impose any cost to the Borough and is directed toward our Congressional representatives.
The full resolution can be found here.

You may contact Borough Council through its Secretary,  Joyce Stone, at jstone@carlislepa.org 

You may also attend the Borough Council meeting on March 9, 2017, at 7 pm to show your support.

Clean Air Board Community Meeting March 2, 7 pm

We will discuss two topics:

The future of rural Cumberland County. The Cumberland Conservation Collaborative is planning a forum on the forces and factors that will shape the future of rural Cumberland County.  CAB  will participate in this forum.  Share your concerns.

Carbon Fees and Dividend Policy.  Natalie McNeil, Dickinson College student, will explain a proposal that she is presenting to the Carlisle Borough Council.

Join us at the Second Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle. March 2, 7-8pm.  The meeting room is the chapel (on your right side as you enter). Garland Drive is just south of Exit 45, Interstate 81 in Carlisle.

Trees, Clean Air, and Quality of Life

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by Tami Biddle, Clean Air Board member

The trees around us perform many functions; some of these are well-known and appreciated, others less so.  Trees add beauty to our environment.  Tree-lined streets, because they are a delight to the eye, add value to neighborhoods.  But those trees are doing more than creating pleasurable scenes for residents.  They are helping to clean the air, they are reducing temperatures created by paved surfaces, and they are assisting in the reduction of human stress.

Cleaning the Air

In an exchange of gases, trees take in carbon dioxide, convert it to food, and release oxygen into the air.  The exchange occurs through pores on the surface of leaves, or stomata.  But stomata can also take in gaseous pollutants from the air, including ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide.  Leaves can trap particulates as well.  Spines or hairs on a leaf’s surface can trap pollutants.  Some leaves have waxy surfaces that work the same way.  Naturally, larger groupings of trees can have the most significant effect on the environment.   Pollution bearing winds passing through a tree canopy lose speed and some of their pollution load.  But smaller collections of trees, including woodland glens, roadside parks—even trees along highways—can aid in improving local air quality.

Cooling the Air

Trees can also aid the environment by cooling air.  California Forest Service researchers found that trees in parking lots could lower air temperature by up to three degrees. Those few degrees can reduce temperatures on the surface of cars, and inside the cabins of cars.  Most importantly, gas tank temperatures can be lowered by up to seven degrees.  Fewer hydrocarbon emissions result from gas that evaporates out of tanks and hoses with reduced temperatures. Paved spaces without trees create high temperatures, increasing pollutant emissions and, therefore, the formation of smog and ozone.

For trees to have a net positive effect on energy usage in buildings, proper placement is key. Well-placed trees can lower temperatures in buildings by shading them.  But poorly placed trees can increase energy needs by shading in the winter or blocking summer breezes. With proper placement, trees can create significant energy savings. Homeowners and building owners see a reduced energy bill, and the entire local community benefits from lowered energy demand and usage. When energy demand decreases, pollutant emissions from the power plants supplying  energy also decreases, and this helps improve air quality.  It is also important to select long-lived trees so that minimal energy expenditure is required for planting and removal. And low maintenance trees are essential in urban environments so that the energy cost of tending them with motorized vehicles or tools (watering, trimming, etc) does not outweigh their positive environmental effects.

Reducing Stress and Violence

Research from a number of different universities has made a strong case for the stress-reducing effect of trees.  A research team led by Dr Bin Jiang at the University of Illinois subjected 158 volunteers to mildly stressful scenarios.  Afterwards the volunteers used a VR headset to view one of a selection of six-minute 360-degree videos featuring urban areas with variable amounts of visible tree canopy coverage.  The participants’ stress levels were measured by physiological tests and by questionnaires; the results revealed a positive, linear association between the density of trees and recovery from stress. The study is one of many demonstrating positive psychological benefits from natural landscapes. Researchers at Glasgow University found that being around trees and grass lowered brain stress levels in humans.  Similarly, a study done in Edinburgh, Scotland used lightweight, portable electroencephalograms to measure the brain patterns of volunteers while they were outside in different environments. In tree-barren urban settings, participants were more aroused and frustrated than they were in parklike settings, where their brain activity patterns became calmer and more meditative.

Studies in three American cities—Portland, Baltimore, and Philadelphia – indicated that well-placed trees can help people feel less stressed, safer, and more committed to the care of their local environments. In Philadelphia, a 2011 study found a substantial reduction in crime, including a 7 percent to 8 percent decrease in gun assaults across most of the city—as the result of a program to clean up vacant lots and plant trees on them.  The study in Baltimore provided the strongest connection yet between trees and crime.  Comparing neighborhoods that were otherwise similar in density and income level, it revealed that the ones with more trees had significantly lower crime rates.  While the researchers did not claim causation, they did claim a strong association that was not explained by other socioeconomic and housing factors.  Across the entire area of study, neighborhoods with 10 percent more tree canopy were shown to have nearly 12 percent less crime than comparable neighborhoods.

In the past, trees and vegetation have sometimes been implicated in crime because it was thought they provided hiding spaces for criminals. This prompted some urban planners to eschew them.  The result, though, was barren urban space devoid of the calming effect of trees and plants — and devoid of the lower temperatures and community-bonding opportunities provided by summertime shade.  Tree-lined neighborhoods reduce stress and encourage local pride.  The shade they offer entices people outside, and being outside encourages people to build social relationships that, of themselves, can aid in crime reduction.

Sources:

Boult, Adam, “Being Around Trees Makes You Less Stressed – Study,” The Daily Telegraph (London), 6 May 2016

Conniff, Richard. “Trees Shed Bad Rap as Accessories to Crime” Environment, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 2012. http://environment.yale.edu/envy/stories/trees-shed-bad-wrap-as-accessories-to-crime

Downing, Adam, “Air: What’s a Tree Got to Do With It?” 2 September 2011, at http://www.ecology.com/2011/09/02/air-and-trees/

Forrest, Sharita, “Watching 3-D Videos of Trees Helps People Recover from Stress, Researchers Say” 21 Oct 2014, at https://news.illinois.edu/blog/view/6367/204489

How Trees Help Clean the Air, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 412 (December 1977)

Nowak, David J., The Effects of Urban Trees on Air Quality, USDA Forest Service, Syracuse, NY (2002)  http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/units/urban/local-resources/downloads/Tree_Air_Qual.pdf

Reynolds, Gretchen, “Easing Brain Fatigue with a Walk in the Park,” The New York Times, 27 March 2013

 

 

Keeping bees and other pollinators safe and happy

Rusty patched bumble beeSource: US Fish and Wildlife Service Fact Sheet

On Feb. 2, 7 pm, the Clean Air Board is hosting a program on examining the threats to our bee population and the ways to enhance our gardens and grounds to attract pollinators.   Dawn Toutkaldjian a bee keeper from PennApic (Pennsylvania Apiculture) will talk about the environmental threats to our bee population and how to reduce those threats.  Ann Markley from the Penn-Cumberland Garden Club will discuss how to reshape our gardens and grounds to make them pollinator-friendly.

Join us at the Second Presbyterian Church in Carlisle, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle.  Feb. 2, 7-8pm.  The meeting room is the chapel (on your right side as you enter). Garland Drive is just south of Exit 45, Interstate 81 in Carlisle.

Clean Air Board meeting Jan. 5

The Clean Air Board will be meeting Jan. 5, 7 pm at the Second Presbyterian Church in Carlisle.   Join us to discuss new development around Carlisle and the steps municipalities can take to ensure a healthy quality of life.

The Second Presbyterian Church is located at 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA  17013.

 

Breathe less … or ban cars: cities have radically different responses to pollution

When thick smog recently hit, Londoners were advised to avoid exercise, while Parisians got free public transport. Which is the best solution?

When a thick cloud of air pollution settled in over London last week, experts warned those with health problems to avoid strenuous exercise. The advice to Londoners essentially boiled down to this: breathe less.

Meanwhile, as Paris suffered a similar pollution episode – its worst in a decade – officials swung into action, waiving charges for public transport and restricting the number of cars allowed on roads, alternately barring those with odd and even license plates.

At the same time Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo joined officials from Madrid, Athens and Mexico City in announcing plans to get all diesel vehicles off the roads by 2025. Diesel is highly polluting, emitting far greater amounts of dangerous nitrogen dioxide and tiny pollution particles than petrol, and can cause cancer to heart attacks.

Read more … The Guardian

Paris Air Pollution

Paris bans cars for second day running as pollution chokes city

From the Guardian, Dec. 7, 2016

Vehicles with odd-number plates were banned on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, it was the even numbers’ turn

Grey Paris: the Eiffel Tower in the smog.
Grey Paris: the Eiffel Tower in the smog. Photograph: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Paris authorities restricted traffic in the city for a second day after a “lid of pollution” sealed the capital, causing concern over public health.

Photographs showed a grey veil of dirty air trapped over the city, masking the horizon and, at times, landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. Experts said it was the longest most intense spike in pollution for at least 10 years and was expected to continue for at least another day if not longer.

Read more: The Guardian