More time to see Tango
Vinny Tango is a dear friend of mine. His artwork of Montclair over several years says it all about where his heart lies.
Montclair is most fortunate to have his artistic skill feature so much of the beauty and joy that is our town. The Montclair History Center, 110 Orange Road, has been featuring his art and this exhibition will be there through September. I urge anyone, young and elderly, to visit and enjoy all that Vinny has produced.
Hurricane Harvey and Climate Change
The southeast Texas coast has taken a beating that, until now, no one thought possible. Hurricane Harvey , the most destructive storm in memory, dropped as much as 60 inches of rain over the five days that it tortured the citizens of Texas. To climate scientists the storm was no surprise. Computer models have predicted that as the earth warms, correspondingly the oceans will warm, and warmer oceans mean more powerful hurricanes and increased precipitation from those hurricanes.
The water temperature in the Gulf of Mexico was 3 degrees warmer than normal before Harvey got going, and the additional warmth added to the storm’s ability to carry moisture and also to its ability to regenerate strength as it moved painfully slowly up the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
Climate change deniers will say that this storm was a bad coincidence. Those who have paid attention to the increase in greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, the resulting warming of the oceans, and the slow but undeniable rise in sea levels know better. We recognize that this is the beginning of what will be an increase in what might be called “crazy weather.” The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, worldwide, is more than 400 parts per million. The last time, many millions of years ago, that earth experienced that level of CO2 in the atmosphere, sea levels were more than 100 feet higher than they are today. The poles were roaming grounds for dinosaurs.
What we watched in Texas is going to be the future for many more places. The human suffering we watch with a mix of pity and horror is being felt in other places on the globe. We all want to do what we can to help the victims of this disaster in Texas and well we should. The question I want to ask is will we ever summon the will to address the causes that made what might have been a normal hurricane into a deluge of biblical proportions?
The rest of the world has recognized that climate change is largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The United States is pretty much the only country where that fact is up for debate. We have 5 percent of the world’s population and consume more than 20 percent of the world’s fossil fuels. And yet we possess the technologies to transition to renewable energy sources that would add nothing to greenhouse gas emissions.
The problem is political, not technological. There are presently more jobs in renewable energy than there are in fossil fuel extraction in the United States. When we decide to jump into renewable energy with both feet, the boost to our economy will be huge. Imagine locally sourced jobs rebuilding our electrical grid for a more decentralized and local production of energy, local jobs for providing solar and wind power projects, American manufacturers building solar panels and wind turbines. The economic possibilities are enormous. And our children will thank us for doing it. Or we can continue to ignore and deny the train coming down the tunnel towards us, and our children may curse our memory for being fools.
We have a choice. If you feel strongly about fighting climate change, let your state and national representatives know. Find out what the politicians you support think about fighting climate change. If you think we should have a national energy policy different from “drill baby drill,” urge them to put a price on carbon. Time is running out, and we have the power to change the future. But Washington and Trenton need to hear from us all.
Organic vegetable garden tour
On Saturday, Sept. 23, the Cornucopia Network of NJ will sponsor an organic vegetable garden tour including four gardens.
The Montclair Community Pre-K Garden Project at 49 Orange Road offers a self-guided tour. The MCPK gardens include raised bed learning and herb gardens, a rain barrel, a six-bed edible garden started entirely from seed by Pre-K students, a butterfly garden, three composting bins, a four-season garden, and the berry patch which features two varieties of raspberries and a grapevine. It will be available all day on Sept. 23 and parking is permitted along the driveway to the right of the Board of Education Building at 22 Valley Road.
The Pulaski Park Community Garden at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Howard (east of Broughton, north of Bay) in Bloomfield will be open from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Our 21 4‘ by 8‘ plots have been fully rented for our third season, and we started a waitlist for the next six plots which will soon be added. Regular get-togethers and workshops bring together the community in the garden; visit on Facebook openspacetrustfund.
Outside the Inness Annex on North Fullerton and Chestnut Street, Montclair High School has over 15 raised beds with a variety of vegetables, greens and experimental plant projects. The beds are used by biology and STEM students and are in full use year round with the summer help of Montclair Community Farms. Twelve of the beds were recently created as an Eagle Scout Project by a local troop. Vegetables and greens are used by the ninth-grade cafeteria and are also donated to Toni’s Kitchen and Human Needs Food Pantry. The beds and ongoing maintenance are funded and supported by DIGS (District Initiative for Gardening in Schools) and MFEE.
It is in a public place and therefore available all the time. While visiting the vegetable beds, notice the bird/butterfly habitat and various native habitat gardens the students have created all over Rand Park.
I raise most of my family’s vegetables year round in my back yard at 56 Gordonhurst Ave., with no poisons or power machinery. I will open my garden from 9 to 11 a.m. I’ve had several disappointments this year resulting in unprecedented empty space, but it still appears I will have home-grown vegetables for every dinner at home in the next year.