How and why to recycle your Christmas tree for coastal restoration

When you take down your Christmas tree on Jan. 6 — the day we transition from red and green to purple, green and gold — set it aside. It can be turned into a gift to Louisiana’s fragile coastline. The city’s solid waste contractors will be collecting the trees for recycling between Jan. 10 and Jan.

Tulane University to study water quality in Louisiana following Hurricane Ida

From Tulane University

The National Science Foundation has awarded a Tulane University researcher a RAPID grant to study how pollutants from flooding caused by Hurricane Ida may have affected groundwater and water systems in south Louisiana. Louisiana and other coastal states face hazards like superstorms and hurricanes that can expose groundwater and water systems to chemical or microbial contaminants that may have serious implications for human health. Samendra Sherchan, associate professor of environmental health sciences at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, will lead a team collecting water samples at more than 150 sites in Houma, LaPlace, Slidell and other areas at different time intervals during the next six months to gain a better understanding of the impacts of extreme flooding on water quality and the mobilization of contaminants in coastal groundwater systems. Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Port Fourchon on Aug. 29, bringing coastal storm surges, heavy rainfall and catastrophic flooding to many rural areas in southern Louisiana. “Such large-scale flooding has the potential to transport chemical agents and microbial pathogens and contaminate groundwater,” Sherchan said.

Tulane scientist to lead research project on sustainability of Gulf of Mexico ecosystem

From Tulane University

Ehab Meselhe, a professor in the Tulane Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering, has received a $125,000 grant to plan the creation of an online forecasting tool to help scientists, ecologists and engineers evaluate how freshwater diversion and other coastal restorations projects may impact marine mammals, shorebirds, barrier islands and fisheries from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Meselhe received one of 20 planning grants totaling $2.3 million for a project that aims to develop a management and forecast system directly accessible to resource managers through a web-based dashboard. “It’s a preliminary step toward the development of urgently needed management tools for natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico,” Meselhe said. “It was very competitive, and I am so excited to receive one of these planning grants.”

The grant from the NOAA Restore Science Program aims to fund research that reduces the uncertainty around the management of natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico region. “The team of resource managers and researchers that Dr. Meselhe has assembled will work together to develop a publicly accessible river management and forecast system to explore the tradeoffs between different restoration strategies in the lower Mississippi River as well as examine how to optimize river inflows to reach restoration targets,” said Julien Lartigue, director of the Science Program.

Irish Channel residents work to combat noxious fumes, NOLA.com reports

Irish Channel residents joined forces with residents of Jefferson Parish’s west bank to rid themselves of a noxious smell that has been wafting through their neighborhoods and into their homes for the past two years, Halle Parker reports on NOLA.com, prompting 850 complaints with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ identified a west bank bulk liquid storage complex known as BWC Harvey as a possible culprit and has installed an air monitor on Tchoupitoulas Street. The citizens group, backed by the New Orleans City Council, is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Gov. John Bel Edwards to suspend BWC Harvey’s pollution permit for review.

Central City thrift store and sewing school provide remedies for the ‘high cost of cheap fashion’

Listening to the radio while driving nine years ago, Alison Parker heard a segment about the book “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth Cline, and it opened her eyes to the problem of waste and pollution in the fashion and clothing business. 

“I knew I could no longer sit on the sidelines and do nothing,” Parker said. Eventually, it lead her to found ricRACK, a nonprofit organization its website describes as “combining creative skill building with environmental responsibility.” 

Everything that ricRACK does, Parker said, in some way combats the waste prevalent in the fashion industry, which is estimated be the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply and pollutes the oceans with micro plastics. What’s more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year. And when this happens, the dyes and chemicals from the fabrics leach into the ground water and release greenhouse gasses. 

To promote the productive recycling of clothes, ricRACK has opened a thrift store in Central City that sells donated clothes as well as those that have been used in films and TV shows, and sponsors a variety of sewing classes. Parker herself worked in the costume department for Cirque du Soleil for five years and then as a costume designer for theater and films, so she has those connections.

Audubon Zoo is recycling strands of holiday lights to aid wildlife

New Orleanians will be dragging their Christmas trees to the curb for coastal restoration after Jan. 6. but what all those strands of lights? Most holiday lights are not bio-degradable — and they are dangerous to animals that can get tangled in the strands. You can make a positive impact on the natural world by recycling your lights and keeping them out of the landfill.

Sarah Broom on ‘The Yellow House,’ marginalized communities and climate change

By Emily Carmichael, Uptown Messenger

Writer Sarah Broom is from New Orleans, but not the part of New Orleans where she spoke on Tuesday (Feb. 4), the famed, oak-lined streets of Uptown. She’s from a yellow house on Wilson Avenue in New Orleans East. Her experience in that house — and what it says about New Orleans, the United States, and our relationship to our environment — is the subject of her debut book “The Yellow House: A Memoir.” It won the 2019 National Book Award for nonfiction. Broom was interviewed in Woldenberg Art Center on Tulane University’s Uptown campus by Atlantic staff writer Van Newkirk, another potent investigator of place and environment.

How to get your Christmas tree recycled

Twelfth Night is the official end of the Christmas season, as well as the beginning of the Carnival season. So it’s time to take down the Christmas trees. If you want your tree to be recycled, here’s what you need to do:

• Remove all ornaments, tinsel, lights and the tree stand. • Place the tree at the location of your regular garbage collection before 5 a.m. on your second regularly scheduled second collection day. That’s either Thursday, Jan.

City skipping trash pickup on Christmas, but adding makeup day for recycling

There will be no curbside trash or recycling collection on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. Curbside trash collection will resume on the next regularly scheduled collection day. If you have Wednesday and Saturday garbage pickup, your trash will be picked up Saturday as scheduled. For areas with Wednesday recycling collection, Metro Disposal and Richard’s Disposal will conduct special collection days after Christmas (for all those cardboard boxes and wrapping paper). Metro Disposal will collect recycling on Thursday, Dec.