Environment

A look at the natural world around us.

Virginians Critical of Wood-Burning Energy

Apr 6, 2016
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This week, a delegation from England is touring Virginia and North Carolina, learning more about wood from area forests being used to fuel power plants in the UK.  The European Union considers wood to be a sustainable energy source and gives countries credit for using it instead of coal, but critics here in Virginia say that’s a big mistake.  

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This part of the nation has long been a hub for pork.  The world’s largest producer, Smithfield, is based in the Commonwealth, and there are as many pigs as people in North Carolina.

In fact, you can trace the history of ham and bacon back to the 1600’s, when settlers arrived from England, but raising pigs in the 21st century is a whole new game.

When Americans think about pig farming, they might think fondly of the children’s classic Charlotte’s web - a tale told on film by the beloved animator Hannah Barbera.

Smithfield is the world’s largest producer of pork in the world – a Virginia-based company with farms and packing plants in the U.S., Poland, Romania along with joint ventures in Mexico. Each year the firm raises 16 million animals, and it buys another 14 million from independent farmers to supply the world with bacon, ham and other products made from pigs. 

For many families, ham is part of a holiday tradition.  The nation’s largest producer – Smithfield – is based in Virginia, and this state is home to more than a quarter of a million pigs.  This story is the first in a five-part series looking at the impact of a growing industry on the environment, on the animals and on public health.

https://swvawildlifecenter.org/

Most owls are nocturnal and we're lucky to see them. We usually hear them.
That's the great horned owl with a "Who! Who!" we associate with owls. But these are the other owls in Virginia.

(owl sounds)

That was the Barn, Eastern Screech, and Barred Owl.  According to Sabrina Garvin, Executive Director of Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, those four raptors are not only majestic but vital:

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