As many drivers know, the price of gasoline has been steadily rising for some time now. Gas is now up to $2.74, up 1.4 cents from last night and $0.95 cents from this time last year. As gas prices inch closer and closer to $3 in time for the spring travel season (at least that is what some experts are predicting) the dialog over fuel consumption will likely increase. How can we do more with less, and why do we keep on running into these same problems? Energy shocks and oil crises are nothing new and come about cyclically. Gas prices go up and people start to drive less, interest in more efficient vehicles rises, and consumption goes down. This follows basic economic principles of supply and demand, although some have expressed strong concerns about speculation in markets. Nobody should be shocked to see gas prices inching back up. The US consumes nearly 20 million barrels of oil a day - causing us to put massive amounts of pressure on a finite resource. Moreover, even slight changes in supply can have ripple effects that cause prices of oil and gas to fluctuate dramatically. A viable solution is efficiency. It took the US a long time to address fuel efficiency as this chart shows. While Congress has taken action through improving fuel efficiency standards, the vehicles produced presently vary quite a degree in their fuel efficiency. Some vehicles have substantially better fuel efficiency. Technology exists to help, but it takes commitment by auto makers and consumers alike to make fuel efficient vehicles the norm rather than the exception. As gas prices rise this spring and you are paying more at the pump, think about the future and the most sustainable way to curb rising fuel prices. We must demand action from our nation's leaders to continue to improve fuel efficiency standards, while making fuel efficient vehicles- and choosing fuel efficient vehicles.
Monday, 11 January 2010 17:37

The Cable Show 2010 Goes CarbonFree®

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CableShow2010 logoThe Cable Show 2010, the cable telecommunications industry’s premier annual conference, has gone CarbonFree®.  In addition to being the place to be for technology companies and content providers to exhibit the latest they have to offer, The Cable Show may well be one of the greenest places to be in Los Angeles in May.  By working with Carbonfund.org, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has calculated their conference’s carbon footprint and instituted a program toward offsetting that footprint. NCTA is offsetting The Cable Show’s emissions from employee travel, hotel stays, meals and the LA Convention Center. By supporting Carbonfund.org’s high quality third-party validated carbon reduction projects, The Cable Show 2010 has become an environmental leader among conventions.  Further, exhibitors and attendees can contribute to offset the carbon footprint associated with their Cable Show participation.  Attendees will have option as they register for the event. The Cable Show 2010, May 11-13 in Los Angeles, CA, will bring together leaders from the entertainment, technology and media sectors for three days of engaging panel discussions, cutting-edge exhibit displays, special conferences and exclusive events.  Last year over 12,000 people attended.  Next year, will you be there? Want to learn more about CarbonFree® events? Click Here!

Green Edventures logoDo you worry about the impact your travel has on the environment and on local communities?  Do you enjoy learning about local customs and local environmental conditions when you travel?  When you take a trip with Green Edventures, they’ve got you covered.  Offering three educational adventures in the spring and summer of 2010, Green Edventures gives you the best of all worlds.  All three trips employ local guides, well versed in the local cultures and environmental problems.  Furthermore, these trips are carbon neutral through Green Edventures’ partnership with Carbonfund.org.

From frolicking with sea lions, snorkeling in a coral reef, and trekking breathtaking desert vistas in Mexico, to glacier hiking and sea kayaking in Alaska, Green Edventures provides options for different interests.  Green Edventures focuses on the three “e” values:  education, environment and empowerment to inspire people to become active environmental citizens.  On a green edventure, you learn from knowledgeable local guides about pressing environmental issues, like how climate change affects Alaska’s wilderness, overfishing in Baja California, and invasive plant species in Kenai Fjords National Park.

If you’re interested in attending a teacher-led Green Edventure, please visit their website at www.GreenEdventures.com.  The trips are filling up, so you'll want to sign up soon.

Saturday, 09 January 2010 13:08

New Year's Resolutions: Make 2010 Carbon Neutral

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img00002Please consider making 2010 a carbon neutral year. This could be your resolution that makes not only a positive impact on your life and those around you, but the lives of all by helping to fight global warming. It's a critical year-- will the US make good on its promises to take concerted action on global warming by passing strong climate legislation? Will the world take the Copenhagen UN Climate Conference to the next level by acting on stated goals? Individual action, whether by an individual, a group, family, or a business or organization matters more than ever to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Action also shows you support a clean energy future, and environmental sustainability in pursuing economic growth in our country and abroad. If you've never calculated your carbon footprint before, consider doing so today. It's easy. Learn how to reduce your carbon footprint and offset the rest to be carbon neutral today. By offsetting, you balance out the emissions you can't avoid by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency and/or reforestation. Carbonfund.org lets you choose the type of project to support. You can do all this at Carbonfund.org's website. Click here to get started. The average carbon footprint of an American is about 24 metric tons a year, or 50,000 pounds of CO2 a year! So take action today on your carbon footprint. A simple preset option that Carbonfund.org offers is ZeroCarbon™ to offset your carbon footprint in support of carbon reduction projects. The option is available for both individuals and families at Carbonfund.org's carbon calculator. If you're affiliated with or run a business, be sure to check out Carbonfund.org's business calculator and preset options. You can make 2010 a carbon neutral year. Get started today!
Friday, 08 January 2010 15:38

Textbook Rentals: Saving Money and Trees!

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Skoobit is a great alternative to buying textbooks for cash-strapped college students.  Instead of buying books you only use once to sell back at Skoobita fraction of their original price, why not rent them instead for a huge discount?  Skoobit has an enormous inventory of textbooks and other college-level books that will meet the needs of your classes.  There's no limit on the number of textbooks you can rent and you can hold onto them for the entire semester. Not only can renting used books be better for the environment, Skoobit offsets every shipment of books that it sends out to its customers with Carbonfund.org.  It's better for your wallet and better for the environment.  But what happens if you decide you want to keep a book during your rental?  No problem!  Skoobit gives you the option of purchasing the book if you feel it will benefit you in the future. This semester you could save hundreds of dollars and rent textbooks with Skoobit.  The environment, and your bank account, will thank you.  Don't forget to offset your travel back to campus!
Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:59

It's Cold Outside! Is Global Warming -Really- Over?

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Most people in the Northern Hemisphere are deep within the clutches of winter's cold. Washington, DC (where I live) received record levels of snow in December, and January has been cold enough to keep me indoors more than I care to admit. This same story is playing out all over the United States. With the cold - crops in the Southeast that are not accustomed to the cold are freezing, and the normally adept American heartland is coping with wind chills that are dipping well into negative figures. So what is the deal? Did we already solve the climate crisis with reductions and carbon offsets? Does this prove that global warming was never happening in the first place? Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is no. While your actions to reduce your carbon footprint today are immensely important, there is a lot more work to be done as the existence of cold weather does not disprove the existence of man-made global warming. Even in a warming world, there will still be winter and there will still be seasons. It is easy to forget those hot summer days when it is 10 degrees outside, but it doesn't mean that the summer wasn't hot. The easiest to understand write-up (that I found) about this cold winter is offered to us by the Christian Science Monitor Bright Green Blog. To paraphrase the three reasons why cold weather doesn't negate global warming (and I highly suggest going over to read the piece):
  1. It's not actually that cold - it is cold right now, but it is not like every place is setting record lows. Some might even say that winters like this are more like the winters we used to have; but due to a recent string of warmer than average winters this one just feels colder.
  2. Some places are really hot right now- Australia and New Zealand are currently in the midst of record heat waves, and Bulgaria is close to 72 degrees right now. The 2000s were the hottest decade on record, with the 1990s closely trailing. In fact, over the last ten years, the only continent to not experience warmer than average temperatures was North America.
  3. Nobody said it would never get cold again - Winter is supposed to be colder than Summer - and a cold streak is perfectly reasonable in winter. But with global warming, the incidence of record cold days to record warm days has shown a measurable and significant drop over the last 60 years.
There are other reasons for why this cold weather doesn't mean an end to global warming explained in the article that I do encourage you to read. My take on the weather is two fold:
  1. People have short-term memories - it is hard to remember the summer heat when you are bundled up, your toes are cold and your nose is running like a faucet.
  2. People confuse weather with climate - it is nearly impossible to link any single weather event to global warming - hot or cold, catastrophic or normal - there are just too many factors at play. So one cold streak doesn't disprove global warming just like one warm streak doesn't prove it. The best measures of the climate come from scientific analysis and from observing long term trends.
Remember this winter as you are judiciously using your furnace to stay warm that this doesn't mean that the climate has been saved. It is still our responsibility to fight global warming and to reduce what we can, and offset what we can't.
SAMSUNG1Samsung makes a broad range of consumer electronics, and at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2010), the world's largest consumer electronics trade show, the company has made a number of announcements. Introducing the world to its new products at its booth #11026, Samsung has also addressed the environmental impact of participating at the show by offsetting its presence at the show, including the booth, which is the largest at CES, transportation, and lodging. CES“We are proud to partner with Samsung and offset the company’s presence at ICES 2010,” said Eric Carlson, Carbonfund.org's president. “It’s one of the ways that Samsung is demonstrating initiative on protecting our environment, while helping to create awareness that everyone should Reduce What They Can, Offset What They Can’t™ to fight climate change today.” Samsung is offsetting in support of the Tensas River Nat'l Wildlife Refuge Reforestation Project. CES2Samsung's commitment to the environment is also expressed in its Plug-In To eCycling program, which promotes and fosters opportunities for consumers to donate or safely recycle their used electronics and replace them with new environmentally-friendly models. At the show, Samsung is unveiling its eco-design and energy efficient products including LED (light-emitting diode) TVs, 30" free-standing induction ranges and other products. TV3The company released a survey it conducted in November that found a full 45 percent of respondents say they’d be a lot more likely to purchase consumer electronics from a company that produces energy efficient products. While 74 percent of consumers feel it is their duty to save the planet for future generations, 60 percent also cite saving money as a leading reason for trying to be more environmentally conscious. Please visit www.carbonfund.org/business to learn more about how you can reduce and offset the carbon footprint of your business or event by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects in the US and abroad. You can also learn about Samsung's environmental commitment and programs at www.samsung.com/green. Images Courtesy of CNET/CBS Interactive, Engadget/AOL News
I never thought I would be writing about artificial grass being a better choice for the environment.  But there is clear research that if you live in a dry climate or somewhere that needs to conserve water, artificial grass like NewGrass can be the better choice for you. The artificial stuff needs no gas-powered lawnmowers or weedwackers and requires no fertilizer and water! That can equate to a lot of savings as some estimates put the water usage of real lawns upwards of 20,000 or more gallons of water a year! In fact, a study by Sweden's Stockholm University found that an hour's worth of mowing resulted in about the same amount of emissions as driving a car 93 miles. The carbon sequestration abilities of real grass is probably negated by the mowing and fertilizers used to maintain it. Fertilizers not only pollute waterways, but require a lot of energy to produce. NewGrassIn light of this information, it's important to take stock of your lawn care habits and the climate of your area.  If you tend to mow your lawn frequently, use fertilizer, water it daily, and think water conservation is important in your region, then perhaps NewGrass is right for your situation.  It's probably not only good for the climate, but it's an investment that will start saving you money in reduced maintenance and water costs. NewGrass is a company committed to providing an alternative when a real lawn is not viable. Moreover, their partnership with Carbonfund.org is offsetting the carbon emissions from their offices, travel, and employee commuting. Interested in learning more? To learn more, you can visit the NewGrass website.
rtlogoAs the U.S. Census Bureau today kicks off a three-month national road tour to raise awareness of the 2010 Census, Carbonfund.org is donating the carbon offsets for the Road Tour, supporting third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects worldwide. With 13 vehicles traveling to communities across America from January through March, the 2010 Census Road Tour provides an engaging, interactive experience to help the public understand the importance of participating in the April 1 Census. The Tour itself consists of a national vehicle and 12 regional vehicles that will traverse each of the 12 Census Bureau-identified regions.portraits Carbonfund.org calculated the 223 metric tons offset donation by calculating the 2010 Road Tour’s carbon footprint including the total distance to be traveled, combined with the number of vehicles and miles per gallon. The donated carbon offsets of the Road Tour will support third-party validated carbon reduction projects which are helping to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. You can do your part to reduce and offset your carbon footprint in the new year by visiting the Carbonfund.org website, www.carbonfund.org. To learn more about the Road Tour, please visit the 2010 Census page.
Friday, 01 January 2010 13:22

Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester

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Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester

Project Name:: Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester

Location: Chino Basin, California Project type: Waste-to-Energy Biodigester Standard: American Carbon Registry / Environmental Resources Trust’s Monitoring, Reporting & Verification Protocol Verification/Validation: Environmental Resources Trust

Environmental Benefits

  • Mitigates climate change
  • Waste management
  • Odor control and less localized air pollution
  • Reduction of local water pollution

Community Benefits

  • Locally sourced, renewable energy
  • Development of new technologies and additional jobs created

Project Description

Carbonfund.org supports the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester Project because it helps to reduce methane emissions and lessens the impact of global climate change. Biodigesters capture the methane generated by manure and transform it into a clean, renewable energy source. This particular biodigester collects manure from ten local dairy farms and is responsible for reducing more than 8,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions from the atmosphere every year, while also supporting local farmers and protecting the quality of the region’s groundwater.

From 2003 to 2009, the Chino Basin Dairy Farm Biodigester mitigated nearly 30,000 metric tons of CO2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leaders Program notes that more than two billion livestock exist in the US and account for 7% for anthropogenic methane emissions.

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