Going green has become a passion for Betty Burton, the adult programming coordinator at the Vineyard Haven Library. When asked where her interest came from Ms. Burton laughed, saying, “I was a child of the 70s, first of all.” She started composting when her children were growing up. Now she and her family have given up meat in favor of living on locally-grown produce, including foods from her own backyard. “It’s very important to me. We have a very small house. We grow our own vegetables,” Ms. Burton said.
Now she is hoping to extend her passion to others through an educational lecture series on going green. Starting this Tuesday and continuing through November, the Vineyard Haven Library will feature lectures on various green topics including bike repair, winterizing your home, today’s energy reality and climatic disruption.
What was originally going to be a few lectures evolved into a broader program series, as members of the community approached Ms. Burton wanting to share their expertise. “It [the lecture series] just started coming together, and then we puffed it up,” Ms. Burton said.
It started when Ms. Burton decided to bring her aging aquamarine bike into Craig’s Bicycles for repair so she could start riding again. To her surprise, the shop’s owner Craig Hockmeyer got the bike up and running for $50. “He really loves to repair bikes because he sincerely believes in recycling,” said Ms. Burton. Wanting to learn basic bike maintenance as she got back into riding, Ms. Burton realized that bike maintenance would make a great topic for an evening lecture and asked Mr. Hockmeyer if he would speak at the library.
“For people who ride any distance at all, you need to know how to take care of a flat tire,” Ms. Burton said. During his lecture, called Easy as Riding a Bike — which will kick off the going green series on Tuesday — Mr. Hockmeyer will bring his own bike to the library to demonstrate how to do essential bicycle maintenance and repair.
Then energy expert and Tisbury board representative for the Cape Light Compact Peter Cabana asked to do a lecture series. Inspired by a carbon footprint workshop he attended at the library last fall, Mr. Cabana asked if could give a series of lectures called Today’s Energy Reality.
Mr. Cabana, an engineer who has been working with different kinds of energy for 30 years, will host lectures on coal, oil, natural gas, CO2 and emissions, and renewable resources.
“We can all learn information about it,” Ms. Burton said. She believes the Vineyard community will embrace Mr. Cabana’s lectures.
Ms. Burton also was approached by energy consultant and chair of the Tisbury Energy Committee Chris Fried, who asked if he could give a lecture about winterizing homes. On Oct. 21, Mr. Fried will host Bundle Up for the Cold: How to Winterize Your House, to teach people inexpensive, energy-saving improvements to help save on energy bills in the face of rising home heating costs this winter.
Ms. Burton asked the founder of the Woods Hole Research Center, Dr. George Woodwell, to speak as well. Dr. Woodwell’s lecture, Biophysics Enters Politics and a New World Emerges, will cover global warming; that completes the lectures. “Most of us have come to the conclusion that man has caused global warming, [now] what are we going to do about it?” Ms. Burton said.
The series will close with a viewing of the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? After the movie, Island resident Steve Solarazza will discuss how he converted his Chevy S-10 truck from gasoline into electric.
Ms. Burton: “I think this is an Island that has really grasped this whole idea of sustainability. There are a lot of people who are really involved in it, and I think they want to learn as much as they can.”
She hopes the lectures will teach people that there are many small things they can do to conserve. “I hope they take away something that can really help them help our planet.”