Tuesday, 01 September 2009 11:03 Written by Ivan Chan
The Fulton Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) is the first CarbonFree® Green PTA in America. “We are very proud to join CarbonFree® Partner companies and organizations like Discovery Communications, Avis, Amtrak, 41pounds.org and others to help the environment, support energy independence, and help make the transition to a clean energy future possible,” states Fulton PTA President Brian Meshkin. “It is our hope that we will teach our kids and lead by example to encourage progress from the grassroots.” As a CarbonFree® Green PTA, Fulton offset its carbon footprint with a donation to Carbonfund.org, which calculated the carbon emissions from the building usage and attendee transportation to meetings and activities for the 2009-10 school year. Fulton’s donation supports Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon offset projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation which are reducing global warming emissions today. The PTA will also hold a fundraiser where members and friends can make their homes and cars CarbonFree® with 20 percent of the tax-deductible donations supporting the PTA’s environmental initiatives. Additionally, the Fulton Elementary PTA is reducing its paper and ink consumption by 50 percent, supporting its Environmental Committee’s Chesapeake Bay Day assembly and the school’s soil conservation garden at Fulton Elementary as multi-disciplinary learning experiences, and embarking on other environmental initiatives. The Green PTA Program involves: • Becoming a CarbonFree® PTA Partner by reducing, offsetting the carbon footprint of a PTA’s activities • Reducing paper and fossil fuel-based ink consumption through increased use of electronic mediums • Establishing an environmental or wellness PTA committee that promotes more environmentally conscious choices by families such as carpooling • Completing a Green School certification application in the PTA’s state (if available) • Incorporating environmental protection initiatives in PTA projects “With the great families, teachers and administrators at Fulton Elementary, we are pleased to lead the way and plant a seed here that will hopefully grow and flourish as other PTA’s join us,” said Meshkin.
- Host an online training session on social media tools
- Invite you to an email listserv where we can share articles, techniques, contacts, etc.
- Provide you with ongoing support and material to help you find your voice online
Monday, 31 August 2009 15:09 Written by Ivan Chan
Doyle Rice of USA Today reported that the Midwest will see the most temperature rise within decades from global warming. This according to analysis by The Nature Conservancy and two US universities of UN climate data. If greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue rising at their current rate, within the next 40 years avg. temperatures are expected to be five degrees higher across much of the US, with the greatest increases in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.
"The surprise was that the biggest changes were in the Heartland and the Great Plains," said Jonathan Hoekstra, director of the climate change program at The Nature Conservancy. So far, he said the western US has been the area that has seen the most warming."In many states across the country, the weather and landscapes could be nearly unrecognizable in 100 years," he added. By 2100, states such as Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota could see average temperature increases of more than 10 degrees.
The analysis was based on data from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was produced in conjunction with the University of Washington and the University of Southern Mississippi.Some impacts Midwesterners could see by 2100 include significant declines in the dairy industry because dairy cow productivity decreases above 77°F. Also, the US' $200 billion agriculture industry would face drier soil and shifting crop production patterns.
Los Angeles just launched a new program that is aimed at reducing water use. Their innovative approach gives a $1 rebate for every square foot of turf to people who replace their lawns with drought tolerant groundcovers or native plants that require a maximum of 15” of water per square foot per year. The program has already been implemented in Las Vegas where officials estimate they will save 7 billion gallons of water per year. I love this plan. There’s nothing more boring than a lawn, and if you’re unfortunate enough to have to care for one, you know how annoying it is to mow it. They also dirty up our water system with all the herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers people use to keep them pretty. And, according to the US EPA, gas mowers represent 5% of US air pollution and use 800 million gallons of gas per year. And, if you’ve ever been to the LA area, you know that’s not a place where lawns are supposed to grow. It’s hot and dry; all you should really see is chaparral and other drought-tolerant plants. From Sustainablegardeningblog.com:
With very few exceptions, California’s residential and commercial lawns are all “exotics”, coming from outside of North America. These turfs include Tall Fescue (Europe), Blue Grass (Europe), Bermuda Grass (Africa), Zoysia (Philippines), Seashore Paspalum (tropical Americas), and St. Augustine (West Indies, West Africa). All of these grasses come from areas with much higher rainfall than California. Of these, tall fescue is our most common landscape turfgrass state-wide, and this grass type is also one of the most water-requiring, using upwards of 40” to 50” of water per square foot per year.But should we all just get rid of our lawns? Maybe not. Lawns still provide an essential filtration service, cleaning rain water before it empties into reservoirs and groundwater sources. They also mitigate that hot summer heat generated by city streets and buildings. And there are still those suburbs that need their white picket fences and impeccably cut lawns. Certainly, some regions can easily grow grass without using enormous amounts of water and chemicals. Sustainablegardeningblog.com recommends using water-friendly turf, such as a native Carex or buffalograss. Researchers at UC Davis and Riverside have developed a type of buffalograss called ‘UC Verde’ that has been shown to get by on just 12” of water per year, resulting in 75% water savings over regular lawns. Check out the section on Lawn Reduction and Lawn Substitutes and The Great American Delawning Movement from Sustainable-gardening.com to read about how to create a lawn-free yard. Or if you have to keep your lawn, use a sustainable lawn maintenance company like Clean Air Lawn Care.
Friday, 28 August 2009 11:13 Written by Jason Fitzgerald
Last Friday, Kathie Lee and Hoda discussed personalized wine on their MSNBC show Kathie Lee & Hoda. Showcasing numerous festive wines including Cabernet and Pinot Grigio, the talk show hosts describe the customized labels that each bottle of wine can offer. The wine company is none other than Stoney Creek Wine Press, a proud CarbonFree shipping partner! For over a year, Stoney Creek Wine Press has been offsetting all of the shipping emissions associated with shipping their wine to their customers. Check out Stoney Creek Wine Press to get your own personalized wine today and view the video below!
Life is hard and filled with technology, people and all sorts of things that seem to all too often stress me out. That is why when I take a vacation the best thing for me, if I want to relax, is to get as far away from everything as possible. Camping is a great way to recharge your battery, vacation on the cheap, experience nature, and maintain a small carbon footprint. My favorite camping trip to date was when I piled some supplies in a canoe and paddled aimlessly through the Georgian Bay, looking for the perfect island to camp on. The waters were clear (and cold!) and the weather was perfect. All I needed on that trip to make me happy was some easy to make food, a cheap bottle of wine and some pieces of driftwood to make a fire. My carbon footprint was small, but my satisfaction was great. When traveling, much of your carbon footprint comes from getting you to and from your destination. So when picking your camping location, consider some place close enough to drive. Sites like trails.com provide a quick reference for camping locations near where you live. Also, consider supporting Carbonfund.org's CarbonFree® Partners, like Mountain Plus, when looking to gear up for your trip. Also, where ever you may roam, offset the car or flight emissions that got you there. This Labor Day, if you are looking for a real break from life, pack a tent and some food and make a b-line for the wilderness. Camping keeps your carbon footprint small, won't break the budget and it might be exactly what you need to recharge your battery.
With both our economy and our climate in crisis mode right now, the 'Cash for Clunkers' CARS program took aim at both reducing global warming emissions and spurring investment in America's manufacturers. The program came to a close on Monday and has been deemed 'wildly successful' by Dept. of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Dealers submitted 690,114 rebate claims totaling $2.88 billion dollars. 84% of people traded in their 'clunker' trucks for fuel efficient cars like Toyota Corrolla, Honda Civic and the Toyota Camry. The switch from older trucks to more efficient cars has resulted in a 58% improvement in MPG among the nearly 700,000 participants of the CARS program. That is going to save consumers a lot of gas and a lot of money! There are many benefits to a program like CARS that highlight what Americans may be able to expect from comprehensive climate legislation.
- Job Creation - by putting the right incentives in place that encourage greener technologies, jobs are created that can't be outsourced. Americans need to build the technology needed to meet our ambitious climate goals. The CARS program claims to have saved or created over 42,000 jobs and boosted economic growth for the third quarter of 2009 by 0.3-0.4 percentage points.
- Consumer Savings - though there is an upfront cost to cleaner technologies (those participating in the CARS program were only subsidized for part of the value of the new vehicle, the rest they had to spend out of pocket), savings will be reaped over the long run. An average vehicle's lifespan is about 13 years and 145,000 miles - so one vehicle traded in through the CARS program will use about 3,354 fewer gallons (and emit about 65,600 fewer pounds of CO2!) than their clunker predecessors over that lifetime. Assuming gas costs $3.00 over that lifespan, that is a savings of more than $10,000!
- Environmental Benefits - the benefits to the environment from reducing emissions, be it at the tailpipe or at a smokestack, are multifaceted. By reducing global warming pollutants, we are also improving local air quality (which improves human health), preventing the release of toxic materials that seep into our water and food (which also improves human health), and reducing the need to drill or mine for fossil fuel resources.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 14:10 Written by Ivan Chan
A number of senators are spending Congress' August recess viewing and speaking about the effects of global warming. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) visited Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park in Colorado on Monday and heard from park staff and scientists on the impacts of global warming. The AP's Kristen Wyatt reports that on Monday's tour the senators were shown, for example, dying pine trees infected by beetles spreading as temperatures warm in the Rocky Mountains. National Park Service Assoc. Director for Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Herbert Frost said climate change could be the most "far-reaching and consequential challenge in our history." McCain commented, "A common misperception is that this is a crisis that is down the road. Climate change is real. It's happening now." Alaska's Democratic Senator Mark Begich said today he'll host four other senators on a tour this weekend in his state. The senators are expected to see retreating glaciers, forests damaged by invasive species, and drying wetlands. They'll also visit the North Slope to see the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. The senators are Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who's chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Image Credit: AP/Ed Andrieski