FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Indonesia will not approve any new coal-fired power stations on the heavily-populated island of Java as the country strives to reach its renewable energy development targets, the energy minister said on Thursday.“We will not approve any coal-fired power plants in Java, this island, any more,” Energy and Mineral resources minister Ignasius Jonan told a press conference.Java is home to about two thirds of Indonesia’s population of 250 million, but the island is also far better supplied with electricity than the rest of the archipelago, particularly eastern Indonesia.“We will push, very hard, in the near future that Java should build the renewables, as well as geothermal especially, as well as gas-fired power plants,” Jonan said, referring to gas power plants “at the well head.”Indonesia is committed to a target to increase the renewable portion of the energy mix to 23 percent by 2025 from about 12 percent at present, and expects to reach 18 percent in the next three years, Jonan said.More: No new coal power stations in Java, Indonesia energy minister says Indonesia Blocks Coal Expansions in Java
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享International Institute for Sustainable Development:One indication that the global transition towards low-carbon forms of energy is picking up speed is the decline in demand for coal, as renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly attractive for building new generation capacity and countries are making efforts to decommission existing coal-fired power plants. The governments of Canada, the UK and the Netherlands have announced commitments to further accelerate this trend.The governments of Canada and the UK have announced their intention to launch a ‘Global Alliance on Coal Phase-out.’ Under the Alliance, the two countries will aim to achieve “an accelerated phase-out of unabated coal-fired electricity as part of our domestic energy policies.” The partners commit to collaborate in achieving their respective domestic targets to phase out coal by 2025 in the UK and by 2030 in Canada. The Alliance will be officially launched during UNFCCC COP 23 in November and will be open for other countries with similar ambitions to join.In the Netherlands, the parties of a new coalition government have agreed to pass legislation “making it a legal obligation to shut down all coal-fired power plants in the country by 2030.” According to a commentary by the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the decision sends an important signal regarding the risks of investing in “old energy-production models.” The analysis states that the power plants that will be affected by the decision are among the world’s most efficient and have been commissioned only recently. According to the author, this means that utility companies across Europe will likely also reconsider investments in costly upgrades of existing coal-fired power plants to comply with tightened air quality regulations and focus on investments in renewables instead. The decision could therefore have impacts on the speed of coal-phase out in other European countries.More: Canada, UK and the Netherlands Commit to Accelerate Coal Phase-out On the Blogs: Canada, U.K., and Netherlands in Pact to Phase Out Coal
More momentum in corporate demand for renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Intelligence ($):Since 2013, nonutility companies have announced nearly 11,000 MW of power purchase agreements, or PPAs, for renewable energy, including 1,960 MW in 2018 as of April 12, according to Rocky Mountain Institute. And clean energy developers are seeing nonutility customers such as Microsoft as a significant source of demand.The renewable energy industry sees the trend maturing from companies procuring green energy for its data centers and other facilities to throughout their supply chain, said Andrew Slaughter, the director of Deloitte’s Center for Energy Solutions. For example, Apple Inc. has been getting its suppliers to commit to powering their production of Apple products solely with renewable energy as part of the tech giant’s sustainability goals. The room for demand growth combined with the renewable energy’s increasing efficiency will accelerate the trend’s momentum.“We’re in this kind of magic moment … where the desires of energy users in business is at a meeting place with the availability of solutions in terms of reducing costs of technology,” he said during an interview.Marlene Motyka, the leader of consulting firm Deloitte LP’s U.S. and global renewable energy operations, said the trend has become “a two-fold” story where companies are making decisions that are both economically and environmentally good.More ($): Renewables enjoy ‘magic moment’ from corporate purchases
Australian regulators see big benefits in Tesla’s big battery FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享ABC News:[Australian Prime Minister] Scott Morrison said it would be about as useful for the electricity system as the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour or the Big Prawn at Ballina in NSW.“By all means have the world’s biggest battery, have the world’s biggest banana, have the world’s biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country,” he mocked when the Tesla big battery in South Australia was commissioned. “But that is not solving the problem.”Yet no less an authority than the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) disagrees.“Its ability to respond very, very quickly to the different types of conditions that we see on the power system has been very encouraging for us,” AEMO’s executive general manager of operations Damien Sanford told the ABC.AEMO’s data shows that it can dispatch power far more rapidly and precisely than conventional thermal power stations and more swiftly and accurately than the market operator thought possible — while also pushing down prices.“We’ve been pleasantly surprised and would encourage more of this technology into the grid,” Mr. Sanford said. “This technology, as it becomes more common in the system, can actually contribute to a more secure and reliable system.”More: Tesla battery proves a leading source of dispatchable power, AEMO says
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CommonWealth Magazine:The Baker Administration is pushing ahead with plans to double the procurement of offshore wind power over the next several years, a move that will increase wind’s share of the state’s energy portfolio to 30 percent while locking Massachusetts into long-term contracts for nearly two thirds of its electricity.The announcement was another sign of just how bullish the state is on offshore wind, but it also highlighted some of the risks involved in negotiating 20-year contracts directly with electricity suppliers instead of relying on the region’s competitive wholesale electricity market. Right now, offshore wind appears to be a great fit in terms of price and environmental benefits. But if new technologies emerge in the near future driving down the price of solar or other emerging renewables, ratepayers could be stuck paying above-market prices for their power.Legislation approved on Beacon Hill in 2016 authorized the state’s utilities, acting on behalf of their ratepayers, to negotiate contracts for 1,600 megawatts of electricity. The first contract for 800 megawatts was awarded to Vineyard Wind last year and another 800-megawatt procurement is expected to be awarded by the end of this year. Under legislation approved last year, the state Department of Energy Resources was required to analyze the market for offshore wind and decide whether it made sense to double-down and procure another 1,600 megawatts.The report released on Friday concludes it makes sense to do procurements for the additional 1,600 megawatts in 2022, 2024, and again in 2026 if necessary. The report also recommends conducting a solicitation in 2020 to see if it would make sense to construct an independently built transmission line that would serve all of the new wind farms. Until now, wind farm operators have preferred to build their own individual transmission lines to shore, but state officials think there may be environmental benefits from minimizing the number of transmission lines as the industry expands.The state report portrays offshore wind as a very good deal for the state, providing renewable power at an attractive price point. The report said offshore wind farms, on an annual basis, operate at 50 percent of their capacity (meaning they generate half the electricity they are capable of generating because the wind isn’t always blowing ) and tend to reliably generate power during the winter months when natural gas for power plants can sometimes be in short supply.A chart in the report noted the Vineyard Wind contract price was 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017 dollars, slightly higher than the price of Quebec hydroelectricity being purchased in a separate procurement and double the price of electricity produced with natural gas. The offshore wind price was half the price of the state’s least-subsidized solar power option. The report estimated the contracts for an additional 1,600 megawatts of electricity will save the state’s ratepayers between $670 million and $1.27 billion over the life of the 20-year contracts.More: Mass. to double offshore wind procurements Massachusetts pushing ahead with plans for another 1,600MW of offshore wind capacity
Oh, what a year it has been.As I put the finishing touches on what will be my final blog entry of the year, I can’t help but look back at 2013 and marvel at what a great 12 months it has been for Trail Mix. I don’t have an exact count on how many tracks were featured on Trail Mix, but it had to be in the neighborhood of 300. What a long way Trail Mix has come since its origin and the goal of finding just 10 great tracks per month was a struggle.This year also saw the advent of the Trail Mix blog. I have been lucky enough to chat with some fantastic musicians, review great records, and give away a ton of tickets and albums.It’s been a good year. Thanks for paying attention.To wrap things up, I asked a bunch of my music minded friends to reflect on the year gone by and offer up their favorite albums of 2013. The selections are as eclectic as the tracks that show up on Trail Mix each month. If you haven’t heard some of these records, seek them out. These folks know music and there isn’t a bad selection in the bunch.See you in 2014.———————————————————————–Sometimes the unlikeliest of bedfellows can result in the most comfortable of listens. Elvis Costello is no stranger to collaboration, and his decision to team up with hip hop’s most valued, The Roots, on Wise Up Ghost just works. Never one to chide away from a musical change, Costello has dabbled in punk, country, singer/songwriter, jazz, acoustic, classical, and even trip-hop. This most recent foray into what can only be called a cross-pollination of Stax funk, street rock, and city soul is said to be Elvis’s last studio effort. Given how proficient and storied Costello’s recorded work has been, retirement would be a great loss to music. If it must happen, however, Wise Up Ghost is a hell of way to make an exit.— Charles Fontaine, Music Fan, Norton, VirginiaI’m not sure why Iron & Wine’s Ghost On Ghost is my favorite record of the year, but it’s the one album that I’ve probably listened to more this year than any other. That’s kind of unfair, though, as I got it back in the spring when it came out, so I’ve had more time to listen to it than other albums I’ve gotten since. Ghost On Ghost is, in my opinion, a perfect combination of songwriting, instrumentation, vibe, and sonic characteristic. Everything just lines up perfectly to create a complete listening experience.— Andy Gems, The Southern Café & Music Hall, Charlottesville, VirginiaI am not sure there’s really an easy answer as to why Jason Isbell’s Southeastern is my favorite record, but once I finally gave it a listen it took months before I could listen to anything else.— Emilee Warner, Warnerblaster, NYCPokey LaFarge’s Pokey LaFarge. Hands down. I first fell in love with the original four after hearing their NPR Tiny Desk Concert. The now six piece band has a sound that is fresh, original, entertaining, and downright groovy. Pokey’s lyrics are always on point and the energy the crew brings to the stage is unparalleled. I got the chance to meet the band and see them perform at the first Red Wing Roots Music Festival near Mt. Solon, Virginia. What an amazing group of down-to-earth artists with a true talent for creating a unique twist on a traditional style.— Jess Daddio, BRO, Charlottesville, VirginiaGregory Alan Isakov’s The Weatherman is an honest, heart melting, classic sounding record. Isakov flavors it with nostalgia in every nuance and note without the pretentiousness you’ll find in a modern day mainstream market overpopulated with an endless array of indie pop acts. Isakov is a songwriter and poet, a true craftsman of both arts, which is something I believe is dearly missed and forgotten by most songwriters today, and his work is living proof that the art of songwriting is very much alive and well.— Bryan Elijah Smith, Singer/Songwriter, Dayton, VirginiaI was madly in love with The Head & The Heart’s first record and never thought I could feel that way another, but then there was Let’s Be Still. Not quite love at first listen (I was stubborn), but the record grew on me and now I appear to be poly-album-amorous with The Head & The Heart.— Leah Woody, BRO, Charlottesville, VirginiaI can’t imagine anything more beautiful than the duet of old-time mountain, country hillbilly, and lost Lomax recording loveliness that is Pharis and Jason Romero’s Long Gone Out West Blues. Jason Romero’s banjo playing is unmatchable by nearly anyone alive (not in terms of speed, but in terms of subtlety and raw power when needed), his voice is commanding and entrancing, and Pharis is like a heavenly angel touching down in front of you. Together there is a raw chemistry that elevates the music.— Devon Leger, Hearth Music, Seattle, WashingtonBecause as much as I want to not like Vampire Weekend, they keep on pulling me in. Modern Vampires of the City is a smart pop masterpiece, every song both catchy and complex enough to keep growing on each listen. “Hannah Hunt” may be the best song the band has recorded, beautiful and opening deeper instead staying on one note. And how can you not like an album that has the lyric, “Your girl was in Berkeley with her Communist reader/Mine was entombed within boom box and Walkman/I was a hoarder but girl that was back then”? It became the soundtrack of our year – that album you want to put on so bad but try not to because you don’t want to wear it out. My cynical, English professor brother likes it. My six and nine year old kids sing along.— Douglas Schnitzspahn, Elevation Outdoors, Boulder, ColoradoDawes was like a gift from the rock gods. A band touted as the next big thing, just without the gimmicky packaging that so often comes attached to the groups that earn that label. It was with a timid hand that I hit play the first time I listened to the band’s third album, Stories Don’t End, fearing that the straight forward verse-chorus-bridge formula that had worked so well would be gone. What I found was an album that reveals the band staying true to its roots while expanding its range in a way that is hypnotizing at one moment and rambling down a mountain cliff the next. Dawes might never reach the level of superstardom, but I don’t think that’s their ultimate destination. Instead, making fantastic records like this is.— Brent Treash, Music Fan, Abingdon, VirginiaToad The Wet Sprocket, one of my all time favorite bands, reunited and released New Constellation, an album that is every bit as good as their 90s classics. It feels like they never went away. I never tire of listening to Toad, and now I have some new material to play over and over again.— Mike Farley, Michael J Media, Madison, Wisconsin Jason Isbell’s Southeastern actually changed the way I viewed Jason as a songwriter. From the first song, there was something very powerful that reached deep inside me. I was going through some of my own things this year and these songs just spoke to me; I could feel the pain he was going through when he wrote this record. This record is a great testament to Jason’s growth as a person and his triumph against his demons.— Micah Davidson, Blue Mountain Artists, Charlotte, North CarolinaI could drone on and on about how I was loudly predicting The Lone Bellow’s success a year before their eponymous debut album, but I will keep my taste-making ego in check. Not only is this album dripping with soul, soaring harmonies, and lyrics brimming with the full emotional spectrum, but their rocking-folksy-classic country sound is steeped with their Southern upbringing. Although the stylish trio now calls Brooklyn home, they hail from Georgia and Virginia. And those roots show. Do yourself a favor and listen to the whole album if you have not already.— Dusty Allison, BRO, Asheville, North CarolinaIf a band can pen a collection of songs that appeals to me, my wife, and both of my sons, that band is on to something. Bronze Radio Return did just that with Up, On & Over. For months, my family couldn’t leave this record alone. “Mister, Mister” became a regular early morning sing-along for my wife and Ben, my six year old, as they headed to school, and John Patrick, my 14 year old, dialed up “Further On” whenever he laid hands on the disc. Personally, I couldn’t get enough of “Rather Never Know” and “Thick and Thin,” two songs that ably demonstrate the varied sounds of this record. Up, On & Over is singer/songwriter subtlety and pop sensibility, banjo and keyboards, folk and rock, and it rides high amongst the many, many fine records I was lucky enough to hear this year.— Dave Stallard, BRO, Wise, Virginia
Dear Mountain Mama,I’m on the fence about running the Charleston Marathon. I’ve always wanted to run one, but I’m not sure if I have the time to train and still live a well-balanced life.What should I consider when deciding?Yours, Time-CrunchedDear Time-Crunched,Running a marathon is a big time commitment, training runs, eating right, and getting extra sleep, especially when the mileage increases, getting ready for 26.2 will take a big chunk of time. Start by finding a marathon training program appropriate for your lifestyle, expectations, and fitness level. Once you have a plan that maps out the frequency and distances of your weekly runs, sit down with a calendar and figure out when you’ll run. Will you set your alarm early to beat the dawn, pack a duffel bag to sneak out for lunch time trots, or use a headlamp for late night jogs? Ask yourself whether you have the time to train.After you’ve carefully mapped out your daily runs for the foreseeable future and taken pains to eat better and get eight hours of sleep, let go of the notion that your marathon training is going to go according to your plan. Perhaps the greatest fallacy of our times is the idea that we should aspire to live balanced lives – that we can control our days the way we do our checkbooks. Life isn’t a recipe – add two parts rest to one part running with a dash of speed workouts and voila, you have a perfect marathon. There will be sleepless nights. There will be muscle tweaks and pulls. There will be unanticipated work issues, intoxicating romances, sick children, social engagements, and family outings. There will be life.Like the night before my first long run. I had a plan. I’d confirmed the babysitter for 7 a.m. I set the alarm. I arranged friends to run with me. I picked out my running clothes. All systems a go.Except my soon-to-turn-three-year old wasn’t on board – at 3 a.m. he cried about bug bites. Three rounds of Twinkle Little Star, two applications of Benadryl, and one airplane band-aid later my little guy was fast asleep. But I wasn’t. Would my running friends each bring their dogs? Would their dogs get along? Would one of them get underfoot another runner that I’d planned to meet at the trailhead and get underfoot, resulting in said runner suing me and endangering my ability to pay for the preschool I’d yet to find to enroll my son next year?I paced the kitchen. I wasn’t even sleeping enough to run the very first Saturday on my schedule. I wondered how I’d ever be prepared enough to run the twenty-plus mile long runs. I was egotistical and bold and perhaps even crazy for thinking I could ever run a marathon in the first place.And then logic returned. The previous few nights I’d slept well and was relatively rested. I’d planned for the run and was ready. Besides, there was leeway in my schedule. I could cancel my plans to clean my house while my son napped that afternoon and instead catching up sleep.And so I caution you against planning your days down to the minute, running a marathon without letting go of other plans. Because when the unexpected happens, you’ll already be tapped out, with no room to rearrange, no give in your calendar. When nothing can give, something snaps. We miss one run and then another. Or train without sleeping or eating.Instead, let go of the idea that your days will be perfectly balanced. If you decide to run a marathon, by default you’ll be deciding not to do something else. For me, running Charleston means I’ll be living in a messy house and paddling less.Time-crunched, before committing to a marathon, consider what keeps you so busy right now and what obligations or activities you want to let go of in order to add mileage. Consult with your friends and significant other to see if they might be interested in joining you – that way running might encompass your social time. If nothing in your current schedule can give, you may want to take a pass this time around and wait until life settles down before tackling a marathon.Happy Trails,Mountain Mama
My third Sky Race of the year took me to the Franklin Mountains of El Paso, Texas. I woke up the morning of the race in my tent where I was very comfortable. Forcing myself to move forward and to begin my routine felt like a chore. The morning was quiet and peaceful. It was not until after I ate my Frosted Mini Wheats that I felt the winds begin to pick up. I had a couple minutes to spare before I needed to catch the shuttle to the start, so I took the time to really weigh my tent down to prevent it from blowing away. 30 minutes later, the wind went from, “Wow, it is a little breezy this morning”, to, “Oh my gosh this wind is pushing me, do you think they are going to postpone the race?”It felt like a dream or a chaotic scene in a movie when I jumped out of the windowless van and being completely confused as to where I was. Feeling the power of the wind blowing me over and the headlamps of the hundred of other runners all flashing in every direction. I was disoriented and cold. I found where I needed to place my drop bag and I stood in line for the bathrooms. If it was not for the race director Rob, guiding everyone to where the starting line was and counting down the minutes before the start, the start of this race would have been really crazy. I had three people in line ahead of me when Rob announced, “Three more minutes until the start!”I went into the race believing I could race alongside my biggest competitor, Jim Walmsley, who earlier that year was on pace to break the Western States 100 course record, but with 9 miles away from the finish, Jim made a wrong turn. Thus having the most epic 19th place finish in the history of the race. My strategy for competing against Jim was simple; do not let him go. I wanted to be in striking range all the way up to the summit of Mount Franklin.During the first 1.5 miles of the race, Jim flew past me. I tucked in behind him and fed myself positive thoughts as we cut through the high winds that were pushing against us. To be honest, I was not prepared from my training to keep the pace Jim decided to throw down. As a result, my legs were heavy for the third half of the race. The pace Jim set was his strategy of losing me. Eventually the pace mellowed out when he realized I was not going anywhere, at least for the first 10 miles. His descent was flawless over this rocky, brittle desert terrain. Jim’s technique was to me, reckless running.The pace we were going at on this poor footing trail was insane! I had never run this fast down hill before in my life. Regardless of how hard I was trying to keep up and still save some of my legs for he second half of the race, Jim still continued to pull away. As I watched Jim increase the gap between us, I learned of a totally new gear of descending hills. I saw what is possible, and I want to be able to run with such little effort and high faith in my footing down a mountain that technical as he was doing.Jim and I came to a point of the race after the second aid station when we went through the worse feeling any trail runner fears most. The flags we saw did not make sense to the layout of our course. Yes, we were going the wrong way. This is the worse feeling you can get as a trail runner, having the wisdom and courage to turn around and back track to see where you messed up. This mistake cost Jim and I just under a mile off of the course.We discovered where we made our mistake then began the climb up the correct trail towards Franklin Mountain. Jim and I could see two other runners making the same mistake we previously made and Jim yelled out to them saying they need to turn around. We yelled again together to get their attention so they could begin their chase after us. This mistake of stopping and turning around would happen to me one other time during this race, where I would have lost only two minutes, but added recovery, to my overall time.With 10 miles left in the race, and Jim long gone out of the picture, I felt heavy, tired and my stomach was upset. My symptoms may have been related to the lack of training, the heat of the day and from chasing Jim in the first portion of the race. But this is the sport in a nutshell; fighting through the challenges that come unexpectedly out of nowhere. I was now playing defense. Walking at some of the clearly run-able sections of the course and hoping that third place would not come around the corner and see me. I was hoping that I created enough of a gap between the other runners to be able to get away with this.I was not only fighting gravity to move forward but even the crazy winds. As I was pushing through the exposed flat sections of the last 10 miles of the course, the soft sand would tease me of my effort to find a solid foundation to push off from. If running through soft sand and being pushed back by the strong winds was not enough, even the vegetation in the desert got the memo from the race director to make the runners go through hell. Ducking and dodging the towering, flimsy, Ocotillo’s branches as they whip their thorns over the trail made out to be another obstacle for this race. As the trail rolled on, I was hoping to catch a visual of the finish line. After many turns, it finally appeared. Luckily, there were no other runners on my heels and I crossed the finish line happy to know I was the second place finisher, (or first loser).I later heard my time and I was shocked to hear I broke the old course record, along with Jim. We broke the course record even with the extra detour and 2,000 feet of gain compared to last years course. This race was a confident booster for me because I ran this Sky Race in under 5 hours. So despite losing to Jim by 20 minutes, I am holding on to the fact I finished well even feeling like shit for the last 10 miles and knowing that I can improve my fitness so much more.This confidence boost of knowing I am capable to run and compete with athletes like Jim, have lead me to wanting to train harder. After my final race on November 5th at the Trail Marathon Championships in Moab, UT, I am going to take a short time off and then switch my gears towards being faster on my runs with high attention towards recovering smart and eating well between my runs. My fire right now has been given a lot of fuel and I am ready to step up my game.This is going to be my new adopted training method. Run every run with a purpose. Be bold and intensify your runs followed after with a good night’s sleep, recovery food, and hydration in between runs. Go after challenges that seem impossible and learn from them. Become mentally strong through the challenging workouts you place yourself in. Train in the heat and start with a climb. Seek the windy and rainy days to get to the summits, not as the excuses. These intense efforts will build a foundation of toughness that you will be able to rely on during the tough times of an event. Mimic the courses you sign up to compete in by training on similar terrain and grade as often as you can. Feed yourself with positive thoughts. Besides, the most memorable runs are the ones where you are placed in uncomfortable conditions.Look at others for inspiration. I am looking at Jim’s style of descent as inspiration to helping me reach that level of running. How am I going to do this? The trick to be able to pull this off is to train at this high intensity and pace during training runs… Run recklessly fast while staying in control and relaxed and still have gas in the legs to turn over on the up hills and flats… I do not expect to get this down right away, I am sure this will take time. I know eventually that I will find a way to be able to run the way I saw Jim run.Being confident in a plan that will guide you to achieving your goals is the best way to reach them. Enjoy the journey of seeing the places and the people you meet along the way. This sport has blessed me personally with more than just running and staying in shape. It has given me a new outlook of the world and how I am able to put myself in it. I have options and I am in control over how I want to react in this place. I do not have to go with the flow, I can survive doing the things that give me joy. I am making a home in my passion and I invite others into my residency.The Hints and methods I mentioned above are what I will be focusing on as I continue to chase my dreams of fulfilling a career through the sport of Ultra Running. I hope these tips can find a way for helping you achieve your goals.My last Sky Race this year is in Flagstaff, AZ. I am currently leading the US Ultra Sky Series and I will be taking my energy and confidence into the Flagstaff Finale 55k Sky race, knowing what is possible. I will run my race the way I envision it, with life and passion.
IN THE ALLIGATOR RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, winter is a time of waiting. On the gravel roads that run between the canals and the dense impenetrable forest, biologists wait silently in the cold air for a glimpse of the dusky red canid who calls this small patch of land home. Far away, others are waiting as well—waiting for the release of new U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service management documents that will determine the red wolf’s future. In this placid wilderness—where the only sounds are those of the wind in the trees and the tapping of woodpeckers—it almost feels as though the world is on pause.But then the sound of a vehicle, or a gunshot, breaks that stillness, and brings back the unfortunate truth: the world is not waiting. Somewhere in those still and quiet woods live the last red wolves on the planet, and they continue to be hunted and killed.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has suspended all management and protection for red wolves as they prepare a final plan for the red wolf’s future. This freeze on active management has shackled some of the most dedicated red wolf biologists in the country, and red wolf mortality continues to climb, approaching a total extinction of the wild population. Currently, only around 25 red wolves remain.Big Bad Wolf?“Intrinsically, the wolf should be there. It’s an animal of North America, and they have just as much right to live on this planet,” says Greg Hamby, a resident of eastern North Carolina. It’s an issue he’s thought about a lot over his forty years in the area and as a business owner in the area.But the question of whether or not wolves belong here lies at the heart of the conflict. A small group of outspoken landowners feel that the red wolf’s presence interferes with hunting, and they want to see them removed. Others claim that red wolves interbreed too easily with coyotes and should not be considered a separate species.“I think wolves are one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet,” says Kim Wheeler, the Executive Director of the Red Wolf Coalition. “When I say ‘wolf,’ what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? It’s usually things like snarling and mean.” Many locals perpetuate these inaccurate caricatures of wolves as baby-eating villains. Wheeler wants to clear up these misconceptions. “There has never been a red wolf attack on a human being,” she says. “As a general rule, there’s no negative effect on agriculture. There are certainly big benefits to having red wolves on the landscape. It’s just getting people to see past some of the misconceptions.”Heather Clarkson, the Southeast Program Outreach Representative for Defenders of Wildlife, agrees that misconceptions play an unreasonably large role in anti-wolf sentiments. “It’s a prime example of simply a skewed mentality toward canids in general,” she says. “They have always been persecuted. When you think of predators, you think of things like livestock depredation and potential dangers to human life,” Clarkson says. “But red wolves—that’s just not really an element with them.”#WOLFPACKRecent polls show that North Carolinians overwhelmingly support protecting the endangered red wolf. A statewide poll conducted in 2016 showed that 80 percent believe that the Fish & Wildlife Service should take every effort to help the endangered red wolf recover and prevent its extinction.However, a few vocal hunters have outshouted everyone else. “There were only a couple individuals who started this anti-wolf movement,” says Wheeler. “They have certainly spread a lot of misconceptions and said a lot of unfair things about Fish and Wildlife.”“Those folks have controlled the narrative,” says Ben Prater, Southeast Director for Defenders of Wildlife. “But one of the biggest successes I feel that we’ve had was to show how a larger amount of local folks are fully supportive of the program.So how do those in favor of the red wolf’s protection speak up above the voices of the opposition? Shout louder.“This is a federal program. If you pay tax dollars, you’re invested in the program, and so therefore you have a say in what goes on,” says Wheeler.Hamby suggests another option for showing red wolves your support: Come and see them. “The visitors who come here drive this place, and that drives the economy of this area. To go on a kayak trip, to hear a wolf howl in the wild—it’s a pretty incredible experience. Look at Yellowstone, where people have that ability to enjoy these species in their native places. Eastern North Carolina could be a good example of that.”RED DAWN“You have thirty years of red wolf biology that’s been conducted here—thirty years of understanding how this animal lives on this landscape,” Wheeler says. “No matter what they decide in Washington, we know now that this animal can be recovered.”For some, winter is a time for waiting. But for those who want to play a role in the red wolf’s survival, it’s a time for action. It’s a time for calling representatives, talking with friends, and perhaps planning your own trip to Alligator River to hear the last red wolves howl.
BRO: What has been a highlight so far? Community Upshift’s goal is to take donated bicycles from the community members and restore them to good working condition. They then take the donated bikes and give them to people who need the bicycle for transportation to work. These folks are either self-identified and have heard about the program through word of mouth or have been referred by a local agency. Their goal is to “bring bikes to life” for the people of Roanoke, Virginia, by offering expert advice, bike mechanics, and gear to help riders reach their full biking potential. With their selection of food, beer, coffee, and even kombucha, Downshift has successfully created a great space to hang out and talk about bikes. Even though this bike/coffee shop offers a unique set of services, it focuses primarily on the community they’ve created. This especially shows through their Cranksgiving food drives and their uplifting program, Community Upshift. Ambruzs: As a business, it is important for us to give back to the community that does so much for us. We started the program immediately upon opening the shop as a way to help “bring bikes to life” which is part of our mission. As a bike shop downtown, we see folks trying their best to hold down a job but lack the proper resources in order to do so successfully. By helping them out with a form of reliable transportation, we knew we could make a difference. Ambruzs: One of the challenges is ensuring recipients have additional equipment that makes biking as transportation more possible. This includes a lock, helmet, and lights. We wish we could do more to provide these resources as well as the bike but it can be difficult for us. We encourage community members of the Roanoke region to contact us about any bikes they wish to donate. Ambruzs: We would love to work directly with agencies to identify community members in need as well as secure grants to fund additional components of the program such as the safety accessories and storage. Ambruzs: We have had donation recipients come back and give us a personal heartfelt thank you, and a report on how they are grateful for our donation. This is always a great feeling for us! BRO: What has been the biggest challenge? Photo courtesy of Stephen Ambruzs: 2018 Cranksgiving food drive where Downshift collected 1200 pounds of food and over $700 for two local shelters. If you love bikes, brews, yummy food, and a warm, collaborative community, Downshift Handcrafted Bikes and Brews is the place for you. BRO: What does the future look like? We asked the guy who started it all, Stephen Ambruzs, the owner of Downshift, some questions about how Community Upshift came to be. BRO: What inspired the idea? Learn more and get involved with Downshift’s Community Upshift here: https://www.downshiftbikes.com/community/ All photos courtesy of Downshift Owner Stephen Ambruzs.