Friday, 11 September 2009 17:33

Kneeboarding: Now Without Carbon

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The American Kneeboarding National Championships has gone CarbonFree® for the second year in a row.  In addition, they have taken our motto – Reduce What you Can, Offset What You Can’t to heart.  They’ve located all event activities within a half mile of each other to reduce travel and have strived to keep non-renewable resources out of the championships altogether. Next time you decide to go water skiing – follow the American Kneeboarding Association’s lead and offset your trip.
Friday, 11 September 2009 17:32

MoveGreen Certified by Green Business Program

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This week, the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara CMoveGreenounty announced that it has certified several local businesses, including CarbonFree® Partner MoveGreen, Inc.  The full article is published in the local edition of Noozhawk.com. The certification program offered by Green Business Program is completely voluntary and free.  It highlights businesses who go above and beyond mandated efficiency measures to curb waste and water use, increase recycling and efficiency, and promote eco-responsible purchasing.  Each business receives a checklist tailored to their industry of environmental objectives to meet the certification. MoveGreen is an environmentally friendly full service moving company.  All of their trucks run on biodiesel fuel that meets new EPA guidelines, they provide paperless quotes and invoicing, and they plant ten trees for every move.  In addition to these green initiatives, they are offsetting their annual emissions through the CarbonFree Partner program. With the addition of the Green Business Program certification, MoveGreen is well on their way to achieving their goal of transforming the moving industry from "old and outdated to new and sustainable."  Carbonfund.org congratulates MoveGreen on this new milestone and thanks them for their continued environmental achievements!
bkrvwA lot of people are extremely passionate about fighting climate change, reducing CO2 emissions and staving off a global catastrophe. And by “a lot”, I mean, well, maybe 10-20%. The fact is most people, on any issue, are rather agnostic, have a tacit support for something but certainly are not in the trenches fighting on a day-to-day basis. An overwhelming majority of people want health care reform, millions of people are against it, and yet it is big news when a hundred “passionate” people show up to a town hall meeting of a member of Congress. Enter Greg Craven and his book, What’s The Worst That Could Happen? A Rationale Response To The Climate Change Debate. Greg is a high school science teacher in Oregon who became an Internet sensation last year with a series of videos trying to engage the 60-80% of people in the middle on climate change. His videos have been viewed over 7 million times and his book is as entertaining. Greg does not talk much about climate science. Instead, he looks at the issue of should we do something or should we not from the perspective of risk assessment. Which is worse, taking action to stop climate change and later learning it was not happening, or not taking action and learning (too late) that it was? But the book is about much more than Pascal’s Wager. Greg uses the same ultra analytical approach to helping us decide which information in our information-laden world we should value more. Should we trust a pundit over a scientist, a scientific organization over a think tank, a government over a lobbying group? Where should each stand on our information value spectrum. What’s The Worst That Could Happen? is a surprisingly fresh, interesting, quick and entertaining read. Whether you’ve been in the trenches for a decade on the issue or are one of the 60-80% in the middle, Craven’s perspective and process are unassailably logical. He is the perfect antidote to any climate skeptic. Craven is passionate about being, well, dispassionate. He asks a thousand questions (Note: I have known Greg for twenty years and the book is as Greg is) of the reader without overwhelming the senses. He is serious and yet unbelievably self-deprecating. The book’s faux sticky notes on the pages of facts, humor and examples add to his unique style. Greg makes climate change, and the question of whether we should act on it, understandable to the average person much as Al Gore did a few years ago. What’s The Worst That Could Happen? is a great read. It will energize you to take action, the last pillar of the book. The climate change movement needed this book and Greg’s approach to problem-solving. At Carbonfund.org, we feel any work that helps explain the issue and urgency of climate change is critical and Greg has done just that.
Thursday, 10 September 2009 12:24

Galaxy Foods Launches New Veggie Cheese!

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veggie cheeseGalaxy Nutritional Foods is redefining cheese with the launch of its new and improved soy-based Veggie brand products.  As the leading provider of cheese alternatives, Galaxy is introducing its new and improved soy-based Veggie Slices which feature a better taste and higher quality ingredients.  The new Veggie, which debuts with a fresh look, can be found in the produce section of grocery stores nationwide in October. Providing an excellent source of calcium with no cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat, or lactose, Veggie boasts a simplified ingredient list that research demonstrates is preferable by five out of seven consumers.  The cheese alternative is available in slices, shreds, blocks, and a grated topping, with flavors including Cheddar, Pepper Jack, American, Swiss, Mozzarella, and more. Galaxy Nutritional Foods offsets its shipping emissions with Carbonfund.org.  Their unique program allows their customers to vote on project type, allowing Galaxy to support reforestation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy carbon offset projects.  To learn more about Galaxy Nutritional Foods and to vote on their offsets, visit Galaxy Foods.
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.