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Sandy Kurtz

Cuba and Tennessee are about the same size and shape. I am just back from Camaguey, Cuba, a city of 321,000 in the island’s center. I went to compare our use of natural resources to that of a communist country. What about water, air, energy ... more

Apr 12, 2017 12:22 PM Shades of Green

Chattanooga was once known as the dirtiest city in America. The soot in our air caused one wit to say, “We like to see what we’re breathing.” Clearly, we have come a long way: Our air is clean. Dirty manufacturing is behind us. We have clean ... more

Apr 5, 2017 12:21 PM Cover Story

It’s a stressful time for those who care about the environment given happenings in Washington D.C. With approval of fossil fuel industry shill Scott Pruitt as head of EPA, there’s a concerted effort to gut the budget, throw out clean water and ... more

Mar 8, 2017 11:46 AM Shades of Green

Turtle toenail clippings, fish fin clips, and fish body receivers. These components of aquatic research and education move forward right here in Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI). Local scientists in their new ... more

Feb 8, 2017 11:19 AM Shades of Green

2016. What a year! For the environmentally minded, the election outcome brought great despair and concern about Earth’s future health. Will it mean runaway global climate change if the U.S. ignores the Paris Agreement? Will it mean ratcheting up ... more

Jan 11, 2017 11:08 AM Shades of Green

Well, it’s December, the holiday season! Amidst all the extra tasks, the shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping gifts, and entertaining plus special programs and party attendance, sooner or later you are justified in asking why. Good question ... more

Dec 7, 2016 11:56 AM Shades of Green

Thanksgiving is a time when we pause, however briefly, to feel grateful for the bountiful Earth, the sustenance it provides, and our continued existence. It’s a wonderful day especially for environmentally-minded folks as it reminds us of ... more

Nov 9, 2016 12:49 PM Shades of Green

In the October 2010 “Shades of Green” column, I wrote about how trees produce fall colors. I advised leaf peepers to emerge from air conditioning and enjoy autumn. Once again it’s time to appreciate the wondrous way in which deciduous trees ... more

Oct 5, 2016 11:04 AM Shades of Green

“Never before have people had to think about the well-being of the entire planet. We did not ask for this task, but it is the one being demanded of us.” —Sally McFague, eco-theologian and author, retired professor from Vanderbilt University ... more

Sep 7, 2016 1:01 PM Shades of Green

Did you hear there’s a fabulous Pokémon Go game you should play? Did you hear that Taylor Swift is feuding with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian? Did you hear that Watts Bar Nuclear Reactor #1 has been given permission to increase the amount ... more

Aug 10, 2016 11:56 AM Shades of Green

Do you remember the first picture you ever drew not counting wall scribbles? Chances are it was an outdoor scene with a stick figure, a square house and gable roof. The green grass bottom supported several “stems” and colorful U-shaped ... more

Jul 13, 2016 10:07 AM Shades of Green

We had arrived! Four small bags were affixed to a rope above us. Lizzie Diener, an avian field technician, removed one, and carefully opened it, retrieving a small bird. The tufted titmouse indignantly protested while being ... more

Jun 8, 2016 12:35 PM Shades of Green 1 Comments

Six legs, a pointed abdomen, and wings measuring up to ¾ inches in length and weighing .000088 ounces. Both males and females eat nectar for food, but the female sucks blood to supply protein for eggs. more

May 11, 2016 2:27 PM Shades of Green

Gardeners have been itching to get their hands in the soil since the first seed catalogs began arriving in the mail in February. People are mobbing garden centers to purchase young plants for home flower and vegetable ... more

Apr 27, 2016 2:28 PM , Cover Story

The Carpenters are drastically changing their way of living. Jonathan, Laura, Cypress (3), Darwin (5 months) and Jantzen, the dog (age unknown), have shed themselves of their home base in Jasper, Tennessee ... more

Apr 13, 2016 2:02 PM Shades of Green

It’s tree planting time! Chattanooga has been a Tree City every year since 1990. Since then we have planted lots of trees. Gene Hyde, our City Forester, has led that charge. He estimates that conservatively 6,250 trees ... more

Mar 9, 2016 12:10 PM Shades of Green

What if you wanted to live an active, healthy life for as long as possible? (Don’t we all?) What if, as you got older, you wanted to make a difference for life on earth? What if you felt action was urgently needed given ... more

Feb 10, 2016 12:50 PM Shades of Green

Future history students will have to memorize Dec. 12, 2015. That date marks the beginning of the era when essentially all the countries of the world began slowing the rate of climate change and easing its impacts. more

Jan 13, 2016 3:05 PM Shades of Green

Over the past two weeks I have learned a lot about environmental issues. There are the melting poles leading to sea rise, the endangered bird migrations, and the destruction of people’s homes. There’s more to it than just saving polar bears. more

Dec 11, 2015 10:51 AM , Shades of Green

The COP21 Global Climate Change agreement is almost in final form. The draft document has been released with several options and blanks still to be determined. more

Dec 10, 2015 9:49 AM Shades of Green

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