Bar Harbor bans cruise ships to save the environment! Plus, Vancouver bans natural gas In new home construction. San Francisco also bans natural gas In new construction, and meet Corina Newsome–”The Hood Naturalist”.
Bar Harbor Ixnays Cruise Ships, Vancouver Bans Natural Gas in New Homes, San Francisco Does Too, and Meet The Hood Naturalist!
BAR HARBOR BANS CRUISE SHIPS TO SAVE THE PLANET!
Loyal listener Bhavna Ambala Lozano hipped us to a recent blogpost from Royal Caribbean about Bar Harbor, Maine wanting to limit or ban cruise ships. We verified it from two other sources. This is true. In 2019, Bar Harbor, Maine conducted a “Cruise Tourism & Traffic Congestion” study. That study prompted the town council to ban cruises ships for all of 2020. Turns out, the pandemic and the CDC did heavy lifting for them.
Bar Harbor is not alone. In recent years, the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia and Venice, Italy have placed limits on the size of cruise ships allowed to call. Just this past April, activists in Juneau, Alaska, filed paperwork to limit cruise traffic to their port, where more than 1.2 million passengers disembarked in 2019. They say cruise tourism clogs streets, stresses infrastructure, and threatens delicate ecosystems.
And that’s why this matters to the rest of us. Cruise ship ports have discovered a noticeable lack of environmental and ecological damage during this pandemic year. And they’ve all surmised it’s due to the absence of cruise ship traffic and tourists. And they’ve decided limiting cruise ship incursions can be good for the environment and for the economy. On average cruise ship tourists spend about $72 per port visit. That’s compared to other regular tourists, who average $620/visit. People are discovering the cost to host cruise ships ain’t worth the pollution and environmental damage they bring.
A Florida International University study of surface water clarity in Key West reported an improvement while cruise ships have been shut down during the pandemic. In fact, last November, more than half of Key West voters approved referendums allowing the local government to restrict cruise ship size and number of daily passengers, which prompted two Florida state officials to introduce a bill that would undermine those policies. The bill passed the Senate in April 2021, but died due to the state’s likely constitutional inability to enforce it at a local level.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA BANS NATURAL GAS IN NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION
The City of North Vancouver City Council voted unanimously in favor of making changes to its Construction Regulation Bylaw, introducing a low carbon compliance pathway for new buildings, as part of the city’s BC Energy Step Code. Vancouver introduced British Columbia Energy Step Code Requirements for all new buildings in December 2017. It’s an incremental approach that local governments can use to encourage or require a level of energy efficiency in new buildings that goes above and beyond the usual building code requirements.
Speaking at the meeting, Mayor Linda Buchanan said when it comes to the climate crisis, the city had to take “bold, progressive action moving forward.” Half of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, on a community-wide basis, are attributed to building energy use, according to a staff report prepared for council. “These emissions are primarily due to space and water heating using natural gas heating systems,” the report states.
That’s why, beginning in mid-2021, the new regulation prohibits the installation of natural gas appliances and/or construction of natural gas piping in single-family homes, duplexes, coach homes and some townhouses, buildings under three stories. “Transitioning to electric and other low carbon heating systems represents a significant opportunity to reduce emissions from buildings and will be a critical strategy in achieving the city’s emissions reduction targets.”
SAN FRANCISCO BANS GAS IN NEW CONSTRUCTION
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban natural gas in new buildings, meaning that stoves, furnaces and water heaters will no longer burn gas for heat. The city cited cost savings, public health benefits and the urgent need to wind down greenhouse gas emissions to help curb the rapidly warming climate for the move.
“Natural gas is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco and poses major health and safety risks,” tweeted Rafael Mandelman, San Francisco’s District 8 supervisor and the author of the new ordinance. “All-electric construction in new buildings is a critical step toward a safer, healthier San Francisco and planet for future generations.”
Why this matters is burning natural gas not only emits the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, but the gas itself—methane— a super GHG, capable of warming the planet 87 times more than CO2 when leaked into the atmosphere.
San Francisco now joins a growing list of municipalities building momentum for switching to electricity in buildings. Berkeley, California, became the first U.S. city to pass a natural gas ban for new buildings and dozens of other cities across the state followed suit, including San Jose, Mountain View, Santa Rosa and Brisbane. In total, 39 California cities have adopted building codes—including bans—aimed at reducing the burning of methane and expanding electrification, according to a list compiled by the Sierra Club. A recent study out of the University of California, Berkeley found that switching to clean energy sources would inject $1.7 trillion into the U.S. economy over the next 15 years, and prevent up to 85,000 premature deaths by 2050.
MEET CORINA NEWSOME–”THE HOOD NATURALIST”
While researching environmental subject matter experts of color, I came across Corina Newsome, akaThe Hood Naturalist,Currently, Newsome is the Community Engagement Manager for Georgia Audubon and a biology Master’s student at Georgia Southern University. But she grew up in Philadelphia, PA. a place, in her own words, a heavily modified urban landscape.
“Heavily modified urban landscapes, have almost no observable wildlife. The wildlife species we may see while walking down the street are Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows, and European Starlings (if we’re lucky). But then there are some we might see inside: all manner of cockroaches, rats in the subway, and bedbugs in the furniture if we’re really unlucky. The only “wildlife” people tend to notice are the ones encROACHing on their space and comfort. In that context, interactions with wildlife are almost exclusively experienced and described as being associated with infestation, plague, and pestilence.”
So to counter the assumption that all naturalists grow up in rural or wilderness areas, Newsome runs a Twitter account and blog, “The Hood Naturalist”, to communicate science, advocate for environmental equality and promote diversity in biology and other scientific careers. The nickname “Hood Naturalist” reflects her upbringing in an urban environment.
Corina’s mission is to center the perspectives and leadership of historically marginalized communities in wildlife conservation, environmental education, and exploration of the natural world. In response to the racism faced by Black birder Christian Cooper in Central Park in 2020, Newsome co-organized Black Birders Week to celebrate Black birders. a weeklong series celebrating Black birders and Black nature enthusiasts on social media. Corina Newsome, Hood Naturalist and climate change hero.