Central Coast Outdoors, one of our CarbonFree® Small Business partners, is an adventure travel company based in San Luis Obispo County, California that provides outdoors tours on California’s Central Coast region, including Paso Robles wine country vacations. Their trips focus on kayaking, bicycling and hiking and they specialize in small group travel, although they have hosted large groups.

Central Coast Outdoors has a very complete environmental initiative that is highly impressive. They use a 2008 Toyota Prius for smaller trips that need vehicle support and estimate this will help to reduce their annual fuel consumption and carbon emissions by over 50%. Additionally, they have installed solar electric panels at their home/office. Combining the usage of solar panels with more energy efficient appliances, they anticipate being able to reduce 70-75% of their electrical use.

We are always thrilled to see a company following our organizations’ motto of “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t” and Central Coast Outdoors is an example of a company making a difference in their green efforts.

Friday, 24 July 2009 14:16

Saving Rainforests and the REDD Program

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deforestationAn article published in Mongabay goes deep into the international issues surrounding REDD, or "reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation," a program that seeks to make forests economically valuable as living entities. The shocking image to the right shows deforestation-induced erosion in Madagascar from October 2004. Without a plan to stop the deforestation of our world's forests, any global climate treaty would be avoiding dealing with the estimated 20-25% of global CO2 emissions. "The premise of REDD is straightforward: tropical forests store roughly 25 percent of the planet's terrestrial carbon, more than 300 billion tons. When forests are cut—their vegetation burned and timber converted into wood products—much of this carbon is released in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide." "The clearing of 50,000 square miles of tropical forest annually accounts for roughly 20 percent of global emissions from human activities—a share larger than all the world's planes, ships, cars, and trucks combined. In other words, despite the attention given to the fuel efficiency of cars and the number of flights taken by celebrities, parking all the world's jets and cars still wouldn't offset the annual emissions from global deforestation." Read the rest of this informative article here>>
Friday, 24 July 2009 13:47

Fighting Global Warming and Poverty

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the midst of a five-day visit to India has not been received warmly by her hosts as she broaches the subject of carbon emissions reductions. Clinton is urging India to reduce its emissions in accord with proposed action of the rest of the world to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of global warming-causing carbon dioxide emissions. Ms. Clinton asserts “no inherent contradiction between poverty eradication and moving towards a low-carbon economy,” a claim that some officials disagree on. “There is simply no case for the pressure that we, who have been among the lowest emissions per capita, face to actually reduce emissions,” Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister told Ms. Clinton. Here you have the paradox - how can we fight global warming without India's participation?  How can we get India to participate when they have more pressing issues at hand?  Is there an inherent contradiction between economic and social development and clean energy? There is no clear answer to these questions, hence the paradox. But there are real steps that we can take today the fight global warming and support local communities. Live Climate is an organization that fights poverty through the use of carbon financing. Their projects not only reduce emissions, but also bring electricity to remote communities or provide work to otherwise under-employed people. Also, there are clear areas of convergence where fighting global warming will certainly help improve the quality of life of the poor. Many type of renewable energy, for example, are highly probable and can be implemented in remote locations that wouldn't otherwise have power. And a fundamental principle of fighting global warming - improved energy efficiency - should help allow everyone to do more with less.
Apollo 11 840 years ago, man landed on the moon, but also landed the first solar panel on the moon as well. The Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package consisted of two solar panels, a communications system and some instruments to send data about the moon’s environment back to Earth. NASA’s space vehicles are heavily dependent on solar power and other energy sources as fossil fuels can be impractical solutions to fuel in a constrained environment. Moreover, this is why they are now leading the development of algae biofuels, which would allow astronauts to grow fuel on long trips by culturing algae. As NASA invented new technologies to meet the demands of its environment, they made essential leaps in clean technology development, including the solar "wings" that collect the sun's energy for use onboard the International Space Station. These advances were spurred on by President Kennedy through funding and our nation’s sense of competitiveness. It was done to meet a challenge, but it also transformed our school systems, advanced medical technology, satellites and telecommunications, and created jobs throughout the country and keeping the US ahead in the development of technology. The economic, social and technological advances from the space race permeate our society. Just as President Kennedy challenged us to maintain our technological competitiveness, President Obama has challenged us to stay ahead in clean energy tech. But unfortunately, the US is not winning the clean energy race. “China is 'winning' the race to develop clean energy, and the U.S. must put in place policies to promote alternative energy if it is to regain its footing,” mentioned in this article. Last week, Center for American Progress' Julian L. Wong testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on China’s clean energy industry. “The United States won the race to the moon, but we’re losing the race for a sustainable Earth.” In his testimony, he lays out a few facts about China's clean energy industry:
  • China’s efficiency programs alone will reduce over one billion tons of carbon dioxide per year starting 2010 compared to business-as-usual—equivalent to taking 200 million cars off the road.
  • China is now a leading innovator in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • China’s total wind energy capacity doubled in each of the past four years. This year it will surpass the U.S. as the largest installer of new wind capacity.
  • China is also the world’s largest supplier of solar panels, with 40 percent of the world’s market share. Of the world’s top ten solar companies by output, three are Chinese while just one is American.
Strong national policies that require efficiency gains, a high renewable energy standard and economic zones that support the manufacture of low carbon technologies have all contributed to China’s lead in the clean energy race. In order for the US to win the race to a sustainable future, we must pass strong legislation that funds clean energy and moves us away from fossil fuels. The measures in the climate bill that recently passed that House of Representatives would incentivize clean energy and help lead the way to regaining our lead in clean energy innovation. And, just as in the space race, this investment and this challenge will also create jobs throughout the country and spur investments that save consumers money. NASA’s innovations in energy was driven in part because of a constrained environment. They needed fuels that weren’t toxic. What we know now is that all environments are constrained—and to pollute in one area has massive global consequences. Clean energy makes sense for a spacecraft; it also makes sense for our homes and office buildings.
mojave_crows-funeral-coverCarbonfund.org, Planetwize, and Mojave are teaming up to bring you great music that will not only soothe your soul, but will also help out the planet. Planetwize is a music and media company that specializes in combining entertainment, sustainability, and technology. Through their Actiontrax music platform, Planetwize teams up with artists interested in releasing albums that support social or environmental projects. The Canadian band Mojave is releasing their latest album, Crow’s Funeral, through the Actiontrax platform and has chosen to support Carbonfund.org with a portion of the proceeds from the album’s sales.

“We work with bands and nonprofits that strive to have a true, positive impact on the world,” said Dan Porras, Founder and CEO of Planetwize. “We are very pleased to offer Mojave’s awesome new album to our users, and to make it easy for the band to support Carbonfund.org through our platform.” The commitment to the environment runs deep for the band. “I spent months trying to find the most environmentally friendly way to produce the CD,” Mojave’s Paul explained. As a result, Crow’s Funeral is packaged in FSC-certified paper, printed with soy ink, and sealed in biodegradable overwrap.

Carbonfund.org is thrilled to be partnering with both Planetwize and Mojave and are very appreciative of their support of our mission. You can preview tracks from Crow’s Funeral and download the album by clicking here. Starting next month, our friends to the North can catch up with Mojave on their fall tour by checking out their tour dates.

Carbonfund.org is thrilled to once again partner with the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) by offsetting their 2009 National Business Travel Association International Convention and Exposition held this year in San Diego from August 23-26. Carbonfund.org will retire over 100 metric tons of CO2 to offset the electricity usage of the San Diego Convention Center during the course of the four days that the 2009 Convention will be taking place. Convention attendees are also able to offset the emissions relating to their air travel by visiting the Convention’s special partner page on the Carbonfund.org website.

The NBTA’s commitment to greening their signature event goes well beyond offsetting, as they have incorporated several eco-friendly initiatives into this year’s Convention. The commitment to reducing their impact includes creating fewer printed materials and ensuring that these materials, such as the Convention Program & Exposition Guide, are printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks by a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified printer.

In selecting The San Diego Convention Center as the host of this year’s event, the NBTA made a very green choice for the Convention. The San Diego Convention Center has installed an energy efficient heating and cooling system, lighting, and kitchen upgrades that have resulted in savings of almost 3 million kWh annually. Recycling at the facility has diverted 24% of the total waste and a new food composting program will divert 260 tons of food annually. Leftover Convention items, such as surplus furniture and computers will be donated to local schools or social services. San Diego is also one of the "10 most walkable U.S. cities," which helps reduce the need for driving while in the area. The San Diego Convention Center is connected to several hotels with easy access to the San Diego Trolley and buses ? making it a great “green” host for the NBTA Convention.

We salute the NBTA for undertaking a comprehensive initiative to green the 2009 Convention. By reducing what they can, and offsetting what they can’t, the NBTA is demonstrating excellent leadership to its members and sponsors. If you are attending the 2009 NBTA Convention, please stop by and say hello to the Carbonfund.org team by visiting us at booth #1346!

Friday, 17 July 2009 20:58

Molecule Eats Carbon Dioxide

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A new and interesting development in the field of potential global warming solutions has arisen: a molecule that eats carbon dioxide has been found. A University of Maryland scientist doing research unrelated to global warming made the discovery as he noted that a newly created bowl-shaped molecule was collecting carbon dioxide that was present in the room. The implications of this discovery are potentially huge. This carbon 'scrubbing' molecule may be used in industrial processes to remove CO2 from smoke stacks, or it could potentially be used to simply remove CO2 from the atmosphere. One interesting implication of this discovery is that it demonstrates the power of science and innovation. A big reason that Carbonfund.org is a big supporter of global warming solutions is because that encourages innovation. Global warming is potentially the greatest crisis that has ever faced mankind, but with great crisis comes great opportunity. Who knows what will happen when we raise fuel standards -- maybe we will accidentally discover a way to make cars go significantly farther on a gallon of gas or discover an algae based biofuel that is cheap and clean. Or maybe there will be a break through in solar technology that enables us to turn every roof into a power generating machine. In short, who knows? If a scientist in Maryland can accidently discover a molecule that eats CO2, anything can happen. Although it's too early to determine the future outcomes of this. Let's continue to provide the motivation and impetus to act and innovate.
Thursday, 16 July 2009 17:46

Lots of Cheese and Even More Offsets!

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forever cheeseCarbonFree® Partner Forever Cheese specializes in providing the best of the Mediterranean, including fine cheeses, honey, olive oil, jam, nuts, and chocolate.  Located in Long Island City, NY, Forever Cheese's founder Michele Buster personally hand selects each artisan product directly from their suppliers in Italy, Spain, & Portugal.  Featuring such famous brands as Drunken Goat®, Naked Goat® and Italfine, Forever Cheese has also launched its own brand to unify its product line called Mitica®. In addition to offering the most unique and high quality specialty products from the Mediterranean area, Forever Cheese offsets its corporate and shipping emissions with Carbonfund.org.  Forever Cheese has gone above and beyond and offset more than its footprint due to their dedication to fighting climate change.  Their support is the equivalent to the CO2 offset from the electricity use of 139 homes for one year, the carbon sequestered by nearly 26,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years, or the CO2 emissions from over 113,000 gallons of gasoline consumed.  The majority of their donation supports domestic wind power, with solar being a close second. To learn more about Forever Cheese and their unique Mediterranean product offerings, please visit their website at Forever Cheese.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009 13:45

Language Fusion: Fluent in Sustainability

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Language Fusion is committed to providing outstanding language services in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. They have made a large effort to reduce their footprint by choosing an office space that is centrally located so their employees can get to the office by foot, bike or public transportation. They also recycle and reuse ink and toner, use paperless faxing and scanning, and even have a corporate bike that employees can use to go to lunch and run errands. A CarbonFree® Small Business Partner since 2008, Language Fusion provides rapid, on-demand, quality, affordable translation & interpretation services to corporate, medical, legal, non-profit, NGO and governmental organizations across the United States and Canada and offer services in over 150 different languages including American Sign. Through their partnership with us they are offsetting not only the carbon emissions associated with their business operations but also all of the emissions resulting from hundreds of their interpreters driving many miles a day in service of their clients. For more information, please visit them at www.languagefusion.us.

Global Basecamps, one of our CarbonFree® partners, helps travelers set up trips that both maximize their experience and minimize the environmental impact of their travels. They are also preparing to launch a great new initiative that will help their customers to continue to reduce their carbon footprint through recycling.

Recently, Global Basecamps joined the International Mountain Explorers Connection. IMEC works to ensure equitable treatment for porters and guides on trekking and climbing routes on three continents. Global Basecamps also works closely with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program to help ensure that proper gear, wages and sleeping conditions are met by tour companies working on the mountain. As a part of this program, Global Basecamps will be working with their clients to recycle their used trekking gear with the Porters Alliance. You can read more about Global Basecamp’s involvement with IMEC and the Porter’s Assitance Project by clicking here. We commend Global Basecamps for their commitment to sustainability and to reducing what they can!