More than a couple of our past blog posts have covered how increasingly extreme weather is the product of climate change.  However, have you stopped to ask yourself what that really means?  How will climate change affect us and future generations?  What things that we currently enjoy will be unavailable to our children?

A recent article covers some things that global warming is likely to ruin for our kids; things such as coffee, chocolate, strawberries.  And the list isn’t limited to agricultural food items.  Say goodbye to blazing fast Wi-Fi.  Also your favorite vacation spot or even your home may be underwater in a few, short decades time.  The country you live in may disappear.  The article has some shocking images of Greenland melting away.

So what’s it going to take to help preserve the Earth as we know it?  Global carbon emissions need to be reduced 80% by 2050.  The U.S. has already pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by approximately 17%.  Eventually legislation will be enacted increasing the goal to a 30% reduction in 2025 and a 42% reduction in 2030, with the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 83% by 2050.

Do your part in reducing carbon emissions and getting us closer to meeting the goals outlined above.  Start by switching your Internet browser to www.envirosearch.org.  Your regular, daily Internet search activities will begin contributing to renewable energy, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects.  Then go to www.carbonfund.org for ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint and offset carbon emissions.  By working together, and each doing our part, we can change the fate of the planet.

Monday, 23 July 2012 15:18

Climate Change Unimportant Issue to Generation X

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A recently published study out of the University of Michigan examined Generation X’s views on climate change and found them to be largely unconcerned with the issue.

The Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY) releases a quarterly research report and has followed the same 4,000 people for 25 years.  Originally, in 1987, 5,900 students were selected from a national sample of 7th and 10th graders in 50 U.S. public school systems.

Generation X now comprises 32-52 year olds who are the most well-educated and scientifically savvy generation in U.S. history.  However, the LSAY shows dwindling interest in climate change as it is a complex and long-term issue.  The study compared responses from 2009 and 2011 and found that a scant two percent of those aged 37 to 40 follow climate change "very closely".  This was a 50 percent drop from 2009 results.  Over half said they follow climate change "not closely."  More than 40 percent say they have only a "moderate concern" about global warming.

The most disturbing part of the report points to a disregard for future generations.  Most do not see climate change as an immediate problem that requires their attention to address.  A large percentage, 66 percent, said they aren’t sure that global warming is happening.  About 10 percent even outright deny global warming is actually happening.

Why is Generation X disengaged, disinterested, or even openly disbelieving regarding climate change?  The answer is as multifaceted as global warming itself.  Disinterest in climate change is surely due in part to a massive and unprecedented disinformation campaign by oil and gas interests and conservative media outlets spanning more than a decade, even as the overwhelming scientific record points squarely to climate change.  Some experts theorize issue fatigue may be the cause when a problem is long-standing.  Others point to the complexity in understanding the underlying causes and potential solutions for climate change as a barrier to engagement with the issue.  Still another potential answer is the distraction by other timely public policy issues.  For example, interest in the economy experienced an upsurge following the Great Recession that began in 2008 to the detriment of environmental issues.

Whatever the reason, there is something every person in all generations can do to help save our planet.  One easy and fast way to protect the environment is to switch your Internet browser to www.envirosearch.org.  You'll be contributing to renewable energy, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects through you regular, daily Internet search activities.  Another simple step is to use an emissions calculator to determine your personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.  Then reduce your carbon footprint, plant a tree, or offset your carbon emissions.

Download and read the entire study here http://lsay.org/GenX-4.pdf.

Monday, 16 July 2012 21:32

Cherokee Announces 2012 Cherokee Challenge Winners

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An important aspect in the development of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency strategies, and environmental reclamation projects is the sharing of ideas and leveraging of successes for the benefit of the broader environment.  Carbonfund.org’s motto of “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t”™ emphasizes the need for our business partners and individual donors to first seek methods to reduce energy consumption, lower operational emissions and implement sustainable business practices.  Often, this requires leveraging the strategies and methodologies that have proven to be successful for other organizations. 

Most environmentally-conscious organizations foster an environment of sharing systems and expertise that will benefit other businesses and communities.  Carbonfund.org partner Cherokee Investment Partners is a good example of an organization actively leading the effort to identify start-up green tech enterprises and innovative concepts, and to help mentor and fund these fledgling businesses through its Cherokee Challenge program.  

The Cherokee Challenge is a “greentech accelerator” through which the team at Cherokee solicits applicants with the potential to become high impact environmental ventures, and then helps to fund and mentor these ventures.  This year’s “inaugural class” of three start-up ventures was announced last Thursday.

“The quality of the applications we received was encouraging,” said the Challenge’s JT Vaughn, “We appreciate not only the effort made by all the startups that applied, but the high impact ideas they’re advancing. In an ideal world, all business models would be environmentally net positive, not just less bad. We don’t live in that world now, but we are thrilled to be working with an inspiring group of entrepreneurs who share our business and environmental ideals.”

The three North Carolina startups to receive funding are LYF Shoes and JouleBug of Raleigh and Sanitation Creations of Carrboro.The three ventures will each receive capital investment seed funding, office space and back office support at Cherokee’s Raleigh, NC offices, and mentoring from an advisory committee of experienced investors and entrepreneurs assembled by Cherokee.  

As a Carbonfund.org partner, Cherokee has done its part to lead the way towards energy independence, by monitoring its own annual operational emissions, working to reduce those emissions, and taking steps to achieve carbon neutrality by investing in Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated renewable energy projects. 

Cherokee has invested in more than 70 companies, ranging from clean tech, energy efficiency, software and healthcare.  And Cherokee Funds has raised over $2 billion of private equity capital focused on remediating brownfields, and has restored more than 550 brownfield parcels around the world.  In addition, Cherokee Gives Back, the philanthropic arm of Cherokee Investment Partners, focuses on activities thatadvance global improvements to poverty and focus on environmental sustainability. 

We commend the team at Cherokee Investment Partners for creating this unique opportunity to support the innovations of the selected environmental entrepreneurs, and to help fight climate change and lead the transition to a stronger and more sustainable future.

It’s often said that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.  This certainly is true when it comes to actions to preserve our environment and fight the negative impacts of climate change.  Each of us doing what we can - on our own - will make a difference, but large community actions, organized sustainability efforts, and spreading the words and deeds through social media and our collective networks will bring about the greatest degree of positive environmental change and fastest transition to a cleaner energy future.

To this end, the Carbonfund.org Foundation is proud to announce the re-launch of a new and improved envirosearch.org, a free, Bing-powered search engine that enables anyone to help protect the environment simply through their everyday web searches. Envirosearch.org supports international conservation projects like reforestation efforts and wildlife preservation, and is currently supporting tree-planting programs in Haiti, India and the United States

Watch the video to learn more about envirosearch.org – this is cool!

Envirosearch.org proves once again that protecting our environment and doing the things we enjoy and need to do can go hand in hand,” said Eric Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org. “If there is just one simple thing everyone can do today to help our environment, making the switch to envirosearch.org is it.”

Like envirosearch.org and We’ll Plant FIVE Trees

It’s easy to make the switch – make www.envirosearch.org your new home page, or add envirosearch.org as your preferred search engine, and Like it on Facebook and we will plant five trees, up to 500,000 trees.

Let’s go viral:  Tell your family and friends about envirosearch.org, post it to your Facebook wall, tweet about it.  If you’re part of a larger community – at your workplace, in your town, as a member in an environmental organization, through your volunteer work or community service – spread the word there too.  Our collective actions will bring about the global environmental improvements critical to reversing the negative effects of climate change and help us move toward a ZeroCarbon™ world.        

Deforestation is a critical global issue, accounting for about twenty percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally as well as the destruction of habitats, soil erosion, loss of economic opportunities, and degradation of water quality. Envirosearch.org is one simple, free action anyone can take today to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Most communities, households and businesses are fully on board with the practice of recycling any and all items accepted by their local recycling centers.  In fact, in 2010, Americans recycled 63.5% of the paper products we used.  In the area of paper consumption, Americans are making progress in recovery and recycling of paper products, but how many of us are consciously purchasing recycled paper products, thus closing the paper recycling loop? 

CarbonFree® Business Partner GreenLine Paper Company helps businesses and individuals by providing direct access to a diverse line of recycled and tree-free business papers and office products.  Their goal is to help people close the recycling loop with 100% post-consumer recycled letterhead stationery and envelopes, filing supplies, toner cartridges, recycled plastic pens, disk media and even an earth-friendly correction fluid. 

Purchasing products made from recycled materials helps to support recycling efforts and to increase the availability of recycled products while reducing their costs.  This is the same theory that Carbonfund.org supports in advancing the development of energy efficiency projects and renewable energy sources, by funding those efforts with donations from our individual donors and business partners.

GreenLine Paper furthers this mission with an e-newsletter and a blog with tips and advice about reducing paper consumption and choosing recycled paper and office products.  And GreenLine Paper maintains a commitment to reducing its own operational emissions with Carbonfund.org.

"We are interested in doing our part to help offset carbon emissions. We have been an environmental paper and office products company since 1992 and strongly want to see positive efforts succeed to preserve our precious environment," asserts Stephen Baker, President of GreenLine Paper Company.

We’re pleased to partner with GreenLine Paper Company and to work with a like-minded business in pursuing daily choices that lower energy consumption and waste, while supporting the development of alternative energy sources and the protection of forestland through recycled product solutions.

The Earth is 70% covered by oceans, and stores about 90% of the planet’s heat.  This means that ocean warming translates into global warming.  Climate change deniers contend that global warming is not caused by greenhouse gas emissions, but rather by natural processes and variations.  However, a study released this week proves with 99% certainty that no more than 10% of the observed increase in ocean temperatures over the past 50 years could be accounted for by natural variation.

The Human-Induced Global Ocean Warming on Multidecadal Timescales study is the most comprehensive study ever performed on rising ocean temperatures, and authored by a team of American, Indian, Japanese, and Australian scientists.  According to the study, the planet’s oceans are warming at a rate of 0.20°F per decade, which affects global weather patterns leading to increasing weather extremes such as more heat waves, storms, and intense storms.  Furthermore, ocean warming affects the ocean ecology itself.  A few of the effects we’ve already begun to see are plankton reduction, melting sea ice, and coral die-off. 

The study unequivocally points to global warming as man-made.  Of course, this has been known, shown and settled for nearly twenty years by the IPCC and climate scientists around the world.  But the shift to ocean warming is significant due to its proportion of the Earth and its surface as well as because the vast majority of the people on Earth live very close to rising oceans.

Four or five years ago we shifted from the question of ‘is it happening’ to ‘what to do about it’.  Political and business interests have worked hard to shift this debate back again, but the real focus must remain on the numerous solutions to climate change and the dwindling timeline we have to reduce our global emissions 50-80% by mid century.

Download the full study at this link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n7/full/nclimate1553.html

 

This year, AAA is predicting record-high travel, up almost 5% over last year’s holiday weekend travel and possibly tying the high mark set in 2007.   As US Independence Day approaches, it’s a great time to re-evaluate what you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint and the greenhouse gas emissions you’re responsible for generating, harming our environment and contributing to climate change. 

If you live in California or the Seattle, Washington area, or are traveling there this week, you have the opportunity to declare your independence from the negative environmental impacts of fuel emissions from your vehicle.  CarbonFree® Partner Propel Fuels provides its customers with flex fuel and biodiesel choices, and with an innovative at-the-pump option to neutralize the carbon emissions from each gas tank fill-up at their Clean Mobility Centers.      

Propel Fuels’ unique CarbonOffset option is available right at the pump, and for $1 per fill-up, you can neutralize the driving emissions associated with your fuel purchase by directly funding clean air projects through Carbonfund.org, like the Truck Stop Electrification Project

In mid-May, Propel Fuels began opening its Clean Mobility Centers, redefining the average fueling experience with several key station features:

  • Renewable (Flex Fuel E85 and biodiesel) and conventional fuel choices
  • Carbon Offset options through Carbonfund.org for fuel purchases
  • Free air for tires for better MPGs
  • Free self-serve air and tools for bikes
  • Recycling at the pump

Propel’s Clean Fuel Points at its other stations offer renewable Flex Fuel E85 and biodiesel fuel, to help reduce carbon emissions with these cleaner fuel options.  And Propel offers its proprietary CleanDrive program, a simple, free way to track and report your CO2 emissions reductions as a result of the CarbonOffset program.  CleanDrive reporting is a fun way to share the positive impact of your fuel choices with family and friends across your network, and CleanDrive members receive exclusive promotions and are registered to win free Propel fuel and other prizes with every fill.

This week, Propel Fuels is sponsoring a Declare Your Independence photo contest that celebrates American-made fuels and their new CarbonOffset option.

So this Fourth of July, you don’t need a new car to have a smaller carbon footprint.  Declare your independence from foreign oil with Propel’s Flex Fuel E85 and biodiesel options, and reduce your holiday travel footprint by choosing the CarbonOffset option and helping our transition to a ZeroCarbon World™. 

 

 

Friday, 29 June 2012 15:30

What is a Carbon Footprint?

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Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support your activities. It is usually expressed in equivalent metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The average American is responsible for a whopping 50,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Some examples of your carbon footprint are:

  1. When your car’s engine burns fuel it creates CO2, the amount generated depends on its fuel consumption and the driving distance.
  2. Heating your house with oil, gas, or coal also generates CO2.  
  3. Even if you heat (or cool) your house with electricity, CO2 is emitted during the generation of electrical power, most of which comes from coal in the US.
  4. When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods creates CO2; again, the amount depends on where the foods and goods came from and how they were created.
  5. Traveling on a plane generates CO2 in the same ways a car does.
  6. Weddings even create CO2 emissions!  See this past post for more information about how to reduce your wedding’s environmental impact.
  7. Also consider all the indirect emissions you are in part responsible for: the roads we drive on, the schools our kids attend, the mall and grocery story, our shared military and city hall. It all adds up.

The bottom line is your carbon footprint is the sum of all carbon dioxide emissions that were generated by your activities in a given time period, typically one year.

The carbon footprint is a powerful tool in understanding your personal impact on global warming.  Most people are surprised by the amount of CO2 their activities create.  If you personally want to reduce your contribution to global warming, the calculation and monitoring of your carbon footprint is critical.

Carbonfund.org offers helpful calculators to estimate your carbon footprint.  Individuals can follow this link for more information.  http://www.carbonfund.org/individuals  There is also a calculator for businesses here

At Carbonfund.org, our motto is “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t.™”  Make a commitment to sustainable living; get started on reducing and offsetting your carbon footprint now!