18 miles for Ron on Day 5!

(2nd in a series of posts on Ron Yoshida)


Yoshida 5

And yet he had strength for this reflection:

“The walk provides plenty of time to reflect and enjoy the environment, specifically gardens. I have come upon wonderful examples from highly manicured to seemingly very natural gardens. Common to all of them is the absence of grass lawns. Rather, gardens are filled with trees and perennials or are planted with seasonal vegetables and fruit trees, I have contended that grass lawns are one of humankind’s worst land uses – wasted person hours cutting grass and the overuse of pesticides and herbicides. Perhaps we can learn from these examples.”

Comments you EAC folks?

Ron’s photos are beautiful!

Follow along?


Climate watch: March 3

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Interesting day on the climate front —

CBS: 60 Minutes (March 3, 2019): Juliana v. the United States

“Of all the cases working their way through the federal court system none is more interesting or potentially more life changing than Juliana v. United States. To quote one federal judge, “This is no ordinary lawsuit.” It was filed back in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They say it’s causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. When the lawsuit began hardly anyone took it seriously, including the government’s lawyers, who have since watched the Supreme Court reject two of their motions to delay or dismiss the case. Four years in, it is still very much alive, in part because the plaintiffs have amassed a body of evidence that will surprise even the skeptics and have forced the government to admit that the crisis is real.”

“Your View by 15 Lehigh professors: We really do need to worry about climate change — and act.” Morning Call, March 3, 2019.

“Climate has been in the news, thanks to the release of several concerning reports, plus reactions to the proposed Green New Deal. Our Lehigh colleague in Economics, Tony O’Brien, recently published an opinion piece in these pages (Feb. 17) in which he claimed that climate-change impacts won’t be very bad, so there’s no need to go all-in on the Green New Deal, and that a nonideological view suggests a carbon tax is the far better approach. We’d actually agree that a carbon tax would be one important part of an effective climate policy, but what motivates us to write is concern over widespread misunderstandings of the earth system and how it pertains to people and society, misunderstandings that happen to be well illustrated in O’Brien’s column.”

Inslee for America

Gov. Jay Inslee has formally announced for the presidency with basically climate change his sole position. Click on his initial campaign video on the top page of his web site.

Let’s keep climate change and our Climate Action Plan on our radar.

It’s Monday, March 4, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

free marketers never acknowledge their own pie-in-the sky fantasy

Breena Holland is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. She is a past and current director of Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative.


It’s great to see the likes of Jonah Goldberg feeling threatened enough by the GND that they have to come out and try to stifle its momentum. Note that his comments do not at any point acknowledge the seriousness of the climate change problem and the importance of a radical reduction in emissions over the next decade. The GND may be an aspirational document, but there is real thinking behind it and real policy wonks starting to figure out what implementing it would entail. I find it outrageous that free marketers at the American Enterprise Institute never acknowledge their own pie-in-the sky fantasy that markets can solve environmental problems. They are the ones who are living in a fantasy world. Yes, government can always do better, and there are some social problems that markets can be left to fix. But climate change is not one of them. Conservatives in this country seem to be the only significant political group in all of the industrialized-democratic world who still think such problems can be solved without significant government intervention. There are no solutions in Goldberg’s article, no acknowledgement of the significance of the problem, and no references to support any of his claims. It’s no wonder 60 reps in the house have already jumped on board with AOC’s fantasy.


Require climate impacts on new developments and major renovations

See Kathy Fox’s “A question for prospective city council members”


I think climate impacts — and other sustainability impacts — should definitely be required for all planning & zoning submissions — for all new developments & major renovations. As a starting point, we could use the Sustainability Impact Assessment project completed by 5 students last summer.

Peter Crownfield

(Be sure to see Peter’s comments on the “Thinking green” and “Reducing carbon emissions” posts as well.)

Yes, use zoning and building codes to effect local changes


Kathy Fox hits the nail on the head with addressing these kinds of issues using zoning and building codes to effect local changes. Too bad city officials don’t.

Why not require solar panels on the roofs of buildings over a certain square footage? Why not require warehouses to then provide onsite rest parking for diesel fuel drinking semis? Why not use the solar energy created to allow those semis to plug in instead of running engines that pollute, while a driver rests? Why not up the ante on reconstruction and new construction with more environmentally friendly energy standards/requirements?

Yes, there is much that could be done to address environmental concerns, but it seems that election time rhetoric is the only time we hear about soon to be forgotten ideas, in the name of getting elected.

This is a practice and philosophy, not a campaign bullet point.

Dana Grubb

A question for prospective city council members

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council, and candidates for election)

Kathy Fox is a member of the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council, a co-chair of the Northampton County Council of Democratic Women’s Environmental Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bethlehem Food Co-op.  Kathy involves herself in positive organizations and activities that foster community, environmental awareness, education, and good health. 


Thank you for your continued interest in the issue of climate change.  While we dilly-dally on the federal level on workable solutions, here in Bethlehem we should also be concentrating on making changes in our community and in local government zoning and planning because this is where we have the most control.

Even before the next election, I want to see the current city council and mayor to step up their game.  Climate change is not only a world issue, it is a local issue.

I want to hear our six (so far) prospective city council members talk about their specific solutions to climate change on a city level.

Years ago I sent an e-mail to the council members and the mayor urging them to change the city ordinance/building codes to require more stringent energy efficiency rules than the 2009 Pennsylvania building code regulations.  I never heard that the city made any changes.

Last year, Pennsylvania updated their building code regulations, and now the city must comply with the updated codes.  However, the city still needs to increase the energy efficiency requirements on all new buildings and renovations to require some level of LEED certification.  You do not need a written Climate Action Plan to start changing our buildings codes and ordinances.  The longer we wait, the direr the consequences will be.

As for the last fact presented by Jonah Goldberg in your blog post regarding the decrease in emissions in 2017, it fails to mention that in 2018 U.S. emissions increased 3.4% — “a jarring increase that comes as scientists say the world needs to be aggressively cutting its emissions to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.”

See “U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked in 2018 — and it couldn’t happen at a worse time,” by Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis.

So prospective city council members, what changes in the existing City of Bethlehem zoning, planning, building codes, etc. are you willing to propose and support to more effectively battle climate change on a local level, and how quickly will you do this once you are elected?


Bethlehem Authority: a long history of superior forest stewardship

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Stephen Repasch is Executive Director of the Bethlehem Authority.

Gadfly should check out the web page of the Bethlehem Authority on the City’s website to learn about its role in the climate picture. I’ve excerpted a few lines below from the “Watershed Forest Management” section:

“Dating back to the purchase of the watershed properties, the Bethlehem Authority (Authority) and the City of Bethlehem have a long history of superior forest stewardship that is distinguished from most private land owners in the region. Through the efforts of long time City Forester, John Anspach, the watershed forests have been a model for proper forest management activities. Plantations of various indigenous species were developed and nurtured under Mr. Anspach’s guiding forestry principles. . . .

In 2011, following over a year of negotiations, the Authority entered into a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) that was part of TNC’s Working Woodland’s Program. TNC is an international private nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The outcome of this arrangement was the development of a comprehensive Forest Management Plan (FMP) that became Forest Stewardship Council or FSC® certified in 2012. FSC ® is the preeminent sustainable forest certification entity in the world today.

The FMP has the following overarching goals that will drive the management activities on the Authority properties:

· Preserve the high drinking water quality and quantity of the sources by maintaining or improving the capacity of the watershed to produce these values and maintaining or improving watershed security to insure the safety of the supply.
· Improve the capacity of the watershed and its properties to produce financial return that will better enable BA to protect and enhance the long term value of the asset. This includes sustainable timbering, potential renewable energy and monetizing ecosystem services (carbon, NRCS cost share, easements, leases etc.).
· Promote ecosystem health, diversity, and sustainable management of all resources through compliance with all federal, state, and municipal requirements, FSC standards of operation and other best management practices.
· Within constraints of other objectives, maintain or improve opportunities to allow the public active and passive recreational access to BA lands.

The FMP was developed to guide the management activities of the Authority properties in the Wild Creek and Tunkhannock Creek Watersheds. These properties are part of the Working Woodlands program of TNC, and, as a result, will be managed in accordance with the FSC® US 2010 National Standard as part of TNC’s group certificate. In addition, as part of Working Woodlands, these properties will be verified to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and provides carbon credits that are sold on the voluntary market to offset the carbon footprint of large companies. By sequestering carbon dioxide, through 2018 the Authority has received credits for revenue totaling over $946,000 from Chevy Corp. and Disney Corp. and has a commitment from Disney to buy carbon credits though 2022.

The vision for all properties within TNC’s Working Woodlands, is to restore and sustain high quality ecological values within economically productive forests. The Authority properties serve as the primary and secondary drinking water supply for over 116,000 customers, and as such have considerably high conservation value. In addition, the mesic till barrens community type of the Pocono Plateau, which dominates several thousand acres of Authority property, is home to rare and endangered species of plants, birds and insects and is considered to be the only natural community of its kind in the world.

The conservation easement provides that: the properties will be retained predominantly in their natural, scenic, and forested condition, free of additional forest fragmentation or additional development; any rare plants, animals, or plant communities will be protected; and any use that will significantly impair or interfere with the conservation values or interests of the Authority will be prevented. The easement will assure long-term, professional, independent third-party certified forest management of the property for the production, management and harvesting of economically valuable timber and related forest products while ensuring the conservation values are protected or enhanced. The easement also ensures the protection of forest and other natural resources and allows for the potential of economic return from the protection, management, maintenance, and improvement of ecosystem services provided by the property, including but not limited to the protection of water quality and quantity, carbon sequestration, and the protection of wetlands, rare species and natural communities.

The FMP will be periodically reviewed and updated to ensure that strategies to be undertaken are in compliance with TNC’s Compatible Human and Economic Use Activity Standard Operating Procedures (CHU SOP) and are in accordance with the Conservancy’s Group Certification program and the FSC® US National Standard.”