Bill Schlesinger's Blog

September 28, 2015- When we look at the other planets in our solar system, the light we see is sunlight reflected off their surface. So it is with the Moon. And, if we were on the Moon, the brightness of the Earth would be determined by reflected sunlight.

Now suppose, the Earth was veiled in a cloud of dust, say from a volcanic eruption, that increased the sunlight reflected to the Moon. The Earth would appear brighter, and outside, we’d find that the sunlight looked a little dimmer. These were probably the conditions after the massive eruption of Tambora in 1815, which produced a year without a summer in the Northern hemisphere. The Earth experienced a period of global dimming for several years. In snowed in New England in June and crop failures were widespread.

September 18--Dr. Annette Lanjouw is a globally respected primatologist who is helping conserve and protect threatened populations of great apes.  She was invited to the Cary Institute to speak about her work.  She works with the Arcus Foundation, perhaps the largest foundation funding ape conservation work globally. For 15 years, Annette was the Director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), a partnership to protect the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

She has carried on the important work of Dian Fossey in protecting the endangered gorilla in Africa, in dangerous and war-torn areas.  She also works to protect chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos and to restore their habitat in such areas such as Borneo where deforestation is rampant.

1173 Photo by Annette Lanjouw

by Carola Lott

Septembr 17: An alliance of environmental organizations and student groups will celebrate a National Day of Action on Saturday, October 2.  

Know Tomorrow is a student-led campaign to demand action on climate change. With over 50 colleges and dozens of non-profit and corporate partners Know Tomorrow’s mission is to empower the next generation to build a better future.

As an official partner of Know Tomorrow, Waterkeeper Alliance along with Cool Globes & The Climate Reality Project are calling upon citizens to join students, activists, politicians, environmental groups, and celebrities across the country who have taken the pledge to #ActOnClimate.

Follow these 3 steps to Know, Amplify, and Act:

1 POST, repost, and share #KnowTomorrow content;

2 CREATE new posts demanding action on climate change;

3 JOIN us on the National Day of Action, October 2nd, 2015!

Support #KnowTomorrow by following the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or by forwarding this email to help spread the word. 

Visit KnowTomorrow.org for a full list of participating campuses and more ways to become involved.


September 15, 2015- There is little waste in a natural ecosystem. When essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen are taken up by plants, they are returned to the soil when the plants die and decompose. What is eaten by

animals is later excreted or otherwise returned to the soil when they die. We call the internal cycling of nutrients in a forest, its biogeochemical cycle. In modern urban developments, the cycle is



Yard wastes, including grass clippings and fallen leaves, are now largely removed in plastic bags or sucked up in giant vacuum cleaners from roadside piles. Water that once percolated through the soil

carrying nutrients to plant roots is encouraged to run to the nearest drainage way and river. Meanwhile, we find that we must fertilize our lawns and gardens because of nitrogen deficiencies.


by Carola Lott

Sept 15: On Saturday, September 26, The Dutchess County Ducks Unlimited Chapter will hold its Great Swamp Shoot and Conservation Program at Tamarack Preserve in Millbrook. Proceeds from this fundraising event will support the work of Ducks Unlimited Inc., the national organization dedicated to wetlands conservation.

“We are pleased to host this year’s Great Swamp shoot,” said Tim Bontecou, President of Tamarack. “The Club’s objective is to allow the lands to remain undeveloped, furthering the use of agrarian and sporting use of the property.” Tamarack lands have been farmed, hunted and fished for nearly 80 years, and conservation easements are held by the Dutchess Land Conservancy.

Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson, will present the annual Conservation Award to Chris Wood, Chair of the Oblong Land Conservancy.  "Saving the Great Swamp requires vision, leadership, and a collaborative spirit,” Sullivan said.  “Chris Wood has shown all these qualities, and great progress in this vital cause is the result.  I'm honored to be joining others in celebrating his groundbreaking work."

September 14, 2015-

There is probably no word more overused in environmental vocabulary

than “sustainability.” Universities have sustainability officers. Fisheries biologists and foresters talk of maximum sustainable yields. Corporations tout sustainable development. Not far beneath the

surface, all of these folks are really interested in raising the impact, harvest or profit of their operation, with the best possible

public image.


Sustainability became vogue in 1987 with the publication of the Brundtland report—Our Common Future, defining sustainable development

as:"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising

the ability of future  generations to meet their own needs.”


From its inception, sustainability was human-centric, focusing attention on our ability to continue to supply Earth’s resources to humans now and in the future, even though many of those resources are