Thursday, 10 September 2009 12:15

Now it's Your Turn to Talk

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Here at Carbonfund.org we like to hear what our donors have to say. It helps us in the office keep perspective on why we’re doing what we’re doing. And our donors come from a broad range of perspectives. Some were concerned about climate change’s negative impacts and wanted to do the right thing. Others felt guilty about their pollution and chose to support our high quality projects as a way to offset their activities. Still others were spurred by our partners’ actions, donating after seeing Amtrak, Dell, or JetBlue’s actions to fight climate change. Take a look at a selection of comments we received this week. Maybe next week, we’ll highlight your comment! “Admittedly, I'm being selfish to fly around as much as I do. Your group gives me a means to balance my negative actions with positive actions.” “I feel very strongly that we as individuals should try and offset our carbon footprint. I work for an environmental consulting company and take pride in what I can do to help our environment.” “I was given the option when buying my Amtrak ticket. I'd like life on earth to continue longer.” “I work for the American Geophysical Union (www.agu.org) which publishes much of the climate change research. I think it's important that we walk the talk.” “My brother wanted carbon offsets for his birthday present.” “Polar Bears etc.” “The wedding offset is a great idea!” “We at NMD, Inc feel it is very important to leave a legacy for future generations.” “We've reduced our footprint significantly with public transit, but long distance travel is still an energy drain. Glad to know we have the option of “off-setting” where we are unable to eliminate our carbon footprint.”
Thursday, 10 September 2009 10:27

Mountain Storm, West Virginia – a tale of two energies

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turbine mt stormOver Labor Day weekend I, like many, decided to flee the city to enjoy my peace in the woods. A short drive from Washington, DC to Mountain Storm, West Virginia, I found a cabin at a lovely little campsite at Abram’s Creek (the site is personally recommended: sustainable, eco-friendly and amazing staff). I went hiking, built fires, whittled sticks, went swimming, enjoyed the sounds of nature, watched the night sky and generally speaking charged my battery with the beauty and bounty of nature. But the story that I bring home with me has to do with power – renewable vs. conventional and old vs. new. Mountain Storm, West Virginia is home to Dominion Power’s largest coal fired power plant. The first units of this 1,600 megawatt power plant were built in 1965 and are currently responsible for about 12.5 million tons of CO2; 3,139 tons of smog forming sulfur dioxides; 22,464 tons of nitrous oxides; and over 340 lbs of mercury every year. This power plant is a behemoth both in size and in emissions that looms large over this area of West Virginia. The dual billowing smokestacks of the plant represent a few jobs for local workers, but is a living sign of environmental destruction as well. Directly adjacent to the coal fired power plant is a sight to behold for clean energy advocates such as myself – wind turbines as far as the eye can see. The NedPower Mountain Storm wind energy project has erected 132 two megawatt wind turbines that generate 264 megawatts of clean energy. I have never seen this many turbines before in my life, and watching them spin and breathe new life into our energy grid gave me so much hope for a clean energy future. These turbines make sense in a place like Mountain Storm. There is land available on the cheap (sometimes ‘reclaimed land’ which has been used for surface, or mountain top removal mining), workers that are experienced in industrial construction, ideal conditions for generating wind power, and existing transmissions lines from the coal power plant to get the energy to the power hungry cities of the east coast. Located at the nexus of where the coal plant and the turbines meet is the Mountain Storm Lake – a dammed river that Dominion Power uses to cool the coal generators. This Lake is a center for recreation and is constantly at bath temperature due to the coal plant.

mt storm coal

Sitting by this unnaturally warm Lake (which is apparently fine to swim in - I wonder about regular exposure to things like mercury that may be falling from the smoke stacks or leeching from the GIANT piles of coal that were less than 1,000 feet away) one cannot help but think of the past and the future. Coal and renewable energy. Poverty and jobs. Destruction and health. What relics of our past do we want to embrace and which ones do we want to see slowly fade away?

The balance exists now, and places like Mountain Storm are living examples of how one location can embody nearly every facet of energy debates that are being had in Washington now. Personally, I want to see more turbines, and less coal. There are more jobs to be had in wind these days than in coal, and that is news that I think we can all embrace.
Tuesday, 08 September 2009 15:23

Buy A Fleece, Plant Five Trees With Moosejaw!

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Carbonfund.org is excited to partner with Moosejaw for a great promotion that is running this week only. moosejawIf you buy any North Face Recycled Fleece Jacket from Moosejaw this week, our good friends over there are going to make a donation that will result in the planting of  FIVE trees. However, you do have to make sure to use a special code when buying yourself that cozy new Recycled Fleece Jacket. Be sure to enter code 515 when making your purchase and Moosejaw will make a donation to Carbonfund.org. It's September and the cool air of autumn is going to be here before you know it, so go ahead and pick up a new (RECYCLED!) North Face Fleece from Moosejaw and help make sure more trees get planted!
With the healthcare debate in full swing, the climate change debate is on the back burner. But work on legislation and getting it passed in the Senate continues. Politics Daily Columnist Jill Lawrence interviewed former Sen. John Warner, who had some interesting remarks. As for the status of legislation in the Senate, he said, "The leadership of the Senate, primarily [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, made a very wise decision at this time. All the committees that have a part of the jurisdiction are putting in their own recommendations for legislation. Therefore six committees are now preparing a bill to be submitted to Senator Reid the last week or so in September." Warner, who had co-sponsored an earlier bill while in the Senate, also referred to the loss of white pine forest in the western US from climate change. "I went to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, to give a speech... I was just absolutely heartbroken. The old forest, the white pine forest in which I worked [as a Forest Service firefighter], was absolutely gone, devastated, standing there dead from the bark beetle. I said to the forest ranger." As the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Warner's concerns about global warming includes national security. He cites the example of Somalia, where prolonged drought conditions further destabilized the country, already experiencing political and economic instability. "Where you have fragile nations... a serious climactic problem will come along, with a shortage of food or water, and often those governments are toppled... This political instability and weakness is given the final tilt by a problem associated with climactic change." You can read more of the interview here.
Carbonfund.org is proud to offset the Leaders of the Ethosphere Institute Forum (LEIF), sponsored by Enclave Rising, the Enclave Rising Foundation, and The Ethosphere Institute, a sustainability advocacy initiative comprised of thought-leaders across multiple disciplines in both the public and private sectors. LEIF Forum logoLEIF’s mission is to generate awareness about the importance of a sustainable future by assembling select members from the sustainable business community. In addition, LEIF aims to support sustainable development, hospitality, tourism, education, housing, and infrastructure initiatives while promoting sustainable best practices within multiple industries on an international scale. LEIF will convene professionals and thought-leaders from a multitude of backgrounds, industries, and interests to create a universal definition of sustainability and to define the parameters of genuine sustainability. Kim Slicklein, CEO and founder of Enclave Rising and organizer of LEIF notes, “Enclave Rising has created a truly unique event that will convene top thought-leaders in sustainability and we are pleased to have the support of Carbonfund.org, the leading nonprofit organization in carbon offsets. Carbonfund.org will offset the LEIF 2009 event so as to mitigate all travel and energy consumption utilized during the event. Carbonfund.org recognizes the importance of their role as part of this ground-breaking sustainability initiative that will drive change and transformation around the world.” Distinct from traditional conferences, LEIF will convene approximately 100 top thought-leaders and industry-wide experts to create a Think Tank. The LEIF Think Tank will establish and shape a collective vision and action plan for a sustainable future. Speakers and Participants Include: Paul Hawken Environmentalist, Entrepreneur, Journalist and Author, Natural Capital Institute Erika Harms Executive Director for Sustainable Development, United Nations Foundation Mike Italiano President & CEO, Founder / Director / CEO Board, US Green Building Council Director, Sustainable Furniture Council CEO, Capital Markets Partnership Tim Cole Chair Elect, USGBC Board of Directors; Director of Environmental Initiatives and Product Development, Forbo Flooring Systems Michela O’Connor Abrams President & Publisher, Dwell Lewis P. Jones Managing Director, JP Morgan Craig Zurawski Executive Director, Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments; President Braun & Zurawski, Inc. For more information and to register go to www.enclaverising.com/leif.
Friday, 04 September 2009 12:28

Monolith Festival at Red Rocks Goes CarbonFree®

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monolith festival Next weekend, on September 12th and 13th, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre will be hosting the Monolith Festival, presented by one of our partners, Esurance. Carbonfund.org is excited to be taking part in this festival by offsetting the event. In addition to being a CarbonFree® event, Monolith Festival is keeping things green with the Third Annual Reforestation Project. The Reforestation Project will be taking place on Wednesday, September 9th at the Townview Plaza Community at 1699 Hooker Street in Denver to help plant trees in this developing urban community. Esurance is also working to retrofit and environmentally standardize homes in this area. Monolith Festival also happens to feature one of the best lineups a music lover could come across this year, featuring over 50 bands including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Of Montreal, Phoenix, and Passion Pit. If you are heading out to Red Rocks to attend the Monolith Festival, you can offset your travel on the special page for Festival attendees. And you can buy tickets to the Monolith Festival by clicking here.
Thursday, 03 September 2009 10:46

Top Stories - August is a time to reflect and reboot

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The last month of summer is always a time to devotedly enjoy the last days of freedom and sun. While many of us in the office went on vacation, our work to stop global warming never stopped! Check out these the top blog posts from the month of August. 1. @Carbonfundorg reaches 1000 followers! Tweet Tweet! Carbonfund.org’s twitter mosaic is all the rage. In August, we passed a big milestone and reached 1000 followers, and we posted this awesome mosaic of all our friends. We’re shooting to reach 2,500 in September, so please follow us and YOU can be a part of this work of art!

2. Molecule Eats Carbon Dioxide From the world of the weird and wonderful, Maryland scientists recently discovered a molecule that “eats” carbon dioxide. Will this be the solution that helps us avert catastrophic climate change? 3. Tips for College Students to Keep it Green and Keep Some Cash School is back! While parents relish their new-found freedom, their kids are off to school and helping us keep it green—and for a good reason. They’re the ones that will feel the effects of this global warming mess our parents made. 4. YouRenew.com Makes Splash with Giant iPhone 3GS yourenewIf you’re like me and you have iphone envy, you might have found a dandy man this month. Carbonfund.org partner, Rich Littlehale, Co-founder of YouRenew.com dressed up in a giant Iphone in Manhattan this month to try to get people to recycle their old phones. Hot! 5. Energy Efficiency & Our Economy Want an extra $1.2 trillion in your pocket? How about 23% reductions in global warming emissions by 2020? A new report shows us how to get there through efficiency alone—now doesn’t that just sound smart? 6. ‘Cash For Clunkers’ Car Rebate System Begins It’s not just here at Carbonfund.org where “Clunker” became the logophile’s latest lust. Nearly 700,000 cars were traded in through this program, saving consumers’ money, stimulating the economy and reducing pollution for old and inefficient vehicles. Don’t forget to check out our recap of the program here: http://www.carbonfund.org/blog/global-warming/carbon-reduced-economy-stimulated-cars/ 7. Protect Your Skin this August with EcoStinger Hot summer sun can’t fight Carbonfree Partner Ecostinger. They make sun protective clothing for all your outdoor clothing needs! And you’ll get a discount for being a Carbonfund.org supporter... 8. Rising Food Prices from Global Warming a Serious Threat to Urban Poor The moral imperative to solve global warming is no more clear than when you’re looking at impacts to the urban poor. Heat waves, droughts and extreme weather will affect agricultural production and will raise food prices, putting an extreme burden on those who are already struggling to survive at under $1 a day.
Benton Consulting GroupBenton Consulting Group has been offsetting its emissions with Carbonfund.org for the past two years.  As a 1% For the Planet member, their donations for carbon offsets are the equivalent to the CO2 emissions from over 21,000 gallons of gasoline consumed or the carbon sequestered by nearly 5,500 tree seedlings grown for ten years!  Today we congratulate Benton Consulting group for their commitment to offsetting their carbon footprint and being a two year CarbonFree Partner with Carbonfund.org. In addition to their offsetting, Benton Consulting Group focuses on productivity consulting.  Their productivity system and methodology produces measurable increases in individual and organizational performance and satisfaction by altering how people think about, approach, and manage their work.  They have helped organizations such as Boeing and Microsoft increase conversions, reduce meeting times, and recover numerous hours per day. So what does this mean for the environment?  Let's take one example: their systems helped reduce time spent on email and the number of messages in their inbox.  According to a report by McAfee and ICF, the average carbon footprint of one email is .3 grams of CO2.  A year's worth of email at a typical medium-sized business can use a whopping 50,000 kWh.  Benton Consulting Group is not only saving businesses time, money, and sanity, but they're helping reduce our energy need.  Learn more at Benton Consulting Group.
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 17:36

Eat Green with Metropolitan Food Service

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MFS LogoMetropolitan Food Service is a family owned and operated food service management company based in Long Island, NY.  They provide Colleges and Universities in the local area with customized dining, vending, and catering services that meet their needs.  Their goal is to inspire and fuel the minds of their customers with fresh, nutritious, creative meals with a focus on convenience, affordability, and sustainability.  As a CarbonFree Partner, MFS offsets its corporate footprint in addition to implementing a wide range of environmental initiatives including:
  • Local, vegan, and organic snack items for the On the Go Healthy Vending Program
  • Local produce and meat
  • Biodegradable and sustainable packaging
  • Recycling of their waste cooking oil
  • Reduced bottled water use
  • Sustainable cleaning products and methodologies.
Additionally, any food that is not purchased is donated. If you're a college student, professor, or administrator in the New York area, who's supplying your dining hall food?  Consider making the switch to Metropolitan Food Service for locally produced food from an environmentally conscious company.
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 15:06

Coloradans Recognized for Work on Renewable Energy

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The Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) awarded its 2009 Larson-Notari Award for distinguished service and contributions to the field of renewable energy and its 2008 Volunteer of the Year Award. CRES, based in Golden, Colo., is a nonprofit organization working to increase awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of renewables and energy efficiency. logoWinner of the Larson-Notari Award is Carol Tombari, Manager of Stakeholder Relations at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. At NREL, she works on electric utility and economic development issues. Prior to this, she was president of Mountain Energy Consultation, specializing in pubilc policy and programs on renewables, efficiency and the environmental impact of energy use. She has also led three delegations of state energy officials to China to discuss policies to facilitate the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. CRES' 2008 Volunteer of the Year is Jerry Stevenson, Co-Chair of CRES' 2008 Colorado Renewable Energy Conference. Stevenson was recognized for his energy and dedication to the event; he volunteered while working as an engineer for the US Forest Service. The next Colorado Renewable Energy Conference is slated for June 18-20, 2010 in Montrose, Colo.