Saturday, 13 February 2010 09:47

Winter Olympics' Sustainability Efforts: an Overview

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Behind the scenes at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) has worked on establishing and integrating 12 key sustainability efforts in the Winter Games. Along with raising awareness and encouraging carbon reductions from participants and viewers alike, they are the first Olympic Games to take an integrated approach to reducing and reporting their carbon footprint. VANOC has also incorporated LEED standards in venue design and construction, and focused on energy savings in transportation, food services, and waste management. VANOC has also managed to reduce its carbon footprint through supporting projects in Vancouver’s province, British Columbia. The 2010 Carbon Legacy Portfolio will source and support carbon offsets from BC-based clean technologies. These include biomass gasification systems for renewable heat and power production and high-efficiency commercial building heating systems. Additionally, the Organizing Committee  launched the 2010 Sustainability Stars program. The program recognizes projects by Games partners and sponsors that demonstrate positive and measurable social, economic and environmental impacts. You can visit this site to learn more about VANOC's efforts.

2 Days til Valentine's Day!

CarbonFree® Partner Barbara Thomas Wines has been providing America’s Pacific Northwest with some of the best locally grown wine around. More than that, they do it with the environment in mind. As a member of Oregon’s Carbon Neutral Challenge, Barbara Thomas Wines has completely offset its carbon footprint by investing in Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated reforestation projects. These projects plant native species in biodiverse regions. By planting trees now, we are taking immediate action to fight climate change. Jacki Bessler and Chuck Perasso have been growing their wines since 2005. Because of their commitment to the environment and their land, they have named Barbara Thomas Wines after their two children: Barbara and Thomas. As they say, “Our family believes that we are stewards, not owners, of our farm. It is our hope and our vision to protect and sustain this small patch of earth for many generations to come.” Keep an eye out for Barbara Thomas Wines in a local shop near you.
3 days til Valentine’s Day! All Green ThingsFor individuals who want to move towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, All Green Things provides practical products. In addition to the eco-friendly products they sell and reducing their carbon footprint in support of our carbon reduction projects, All Green Things has a great information center. It's a useful tool that can help you on the path to decreasing your carbon footprint. Their goal is to challenge their customers and supporters to embrace a green lifestyle, not only for yourself, but also for the environment. All Green Things has a goal to minimize its use of resources. They believe that consistent and deliberate action, however small, ultimately adds up to immense differences that reduce the negative effects on our environment. Also, currently All Green Things offers free shipping on orders of $75 or more; see their website for more details. Visit www.allgreenthings.com.
Beatties Logo pngCarbonfund.org partner Beatties School Uniforms excels at more than making great school uniforms. They’re leading the industry in greening their uniforms and reducing waste. Beatties has introduced an organic cotton line, starting with a selection of their golf shirts. These are all shipped in specialized containers designed to break down faster, reducing landfill waste. Additionally, they’ve redesigned their packaging, reducing its size by 25% since 2007. As product packaging continues to fill our landfills, this is an important step to fighting our garbage problems. As Carbonfund.org aficionados know, landfills create significant quantities of the greenhouse gas methane, which is about 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide in global warming. By cutting back on waste and investing in Carbonfund.org’s methane projects, Beatties School Uniforms is helping fight global warming as they dress North America’s students in high quality uniforms. Beatties is releasing their new line of 2010 uniforms now, check that out! Remember to cut back on your own carbon footprint!
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 17:42

Be My Valentine: Lather Skin Care

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4 days til Valentine's Day! This Valentine's Day, treat your skin right with Lather. Since their inception over ten years ago, they have strived to inspire a healthier, more radiant life. Lather takes a holistic approach to skin care and uses natural ingredients and essential oils. Also, Lather draws upon the benefits of aromatherapy. Their products not only care for the skin as well as the mind, but help educate the consumer. LatherAs their brand continues to grow, they take this vision to a higher level by seeking out opportunities to give back to the community, educate their customers, sustain the environment, and support endeavors that help others lead a more radiant life. That is just what they have done with Carbonfund.org, developing a unique promotion that helped reduce hundreds of metric tons of carbon dioxide! If you want to support a company that sources effective natural botanicals and never uses synthetic fragrances or colors, choose Lather. To learn more, please visit www.lather.com.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 14:07

Blizzards and Global Warming - A Meteorological View

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The Mid-Atlantic is yet again being blasted with snow. This current blizzard is going to add up to 16 inches to our standing snow pack of about 2-3 feet, likely making this the snowiest winter on record in the Washington, DC area (and Baltimore, and Wilmington.. you get the point). Federal government offices have been closed for several days. The mail is not going to be delivered. The bodega across the street is closed. And your devoted Carbonfund.org staff cannot make it into the office and need to work from home.

But there is a perception that is held by some that these extreme blizzards contradict evidence of global warming. While one cannot argue with anecdotal evidence it is inappropriate to try and explain global climate variations with weather events. The big difference is that weather is what happens now or this coming weekend, and climate is the long-term trends that take place over years and decades. With that said, there are experts out there that create a pretty sound logic for how global warming can actually make blizzards more common in winter. Dr. Jeff Masters with Weather Underground sums it up well:
...record-breaking snowstorms are not an indication that global warming is not occurring. In fact, we can expect there may be more heavy snowstorms in regions where it is cold enough to snow, due to the extra moisture global warming has added to the atmosphere--an extra 4% since 1970. Snow is not the same as cold, and we have to look at global temperatures, not snowfall, to evaluate whether global warming is occurring.
So there is actually a reasonable rationale for how global warming and blizzards can coexist. Please add your comment on this post.
Tuesday, 09 February 2010 19:18

Be My Valentine: Zarah Co.

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z25 days til Valentine's Day! Zarah Co. is a refreshingly creative jewelry and home decor company that cherishes art. They specialize in providing retailers high quality jewelry with an artistic background. They have four lines of jewelry that are dramatically different but all result from talent and unique styles from a select group of artists. Zarah Co. hasn't lost sight of its purpose - to delight you with adornments that are just plain fun to have! They pride themselves on quality design, production technique, and presentation. As a small business located in the rural town of Topanga, California, Zarah Co. provides jobs to their community and finds talented artists all across America to develop their beautiful designs. Their office is environmentally conscious and they use fluorescent lights and have an active recycling program. Zarah uses as little paper as possible and the paper they do use is either recycled or comes from sustainable sourcing. All of their jewelry cards are printed on recycled paper and their jewelry is made using recycled silver. They also offset all of their business emissions through Carbonfund.org's CarbonFree® Partner program! This Valentine's Day, show your special someone you care by choosing Zarah Co. Visit the retailers listed on the Zarah Co. website to find Zarah jewelry online.
While solar power chargers for cell phones or GPS devices are not new to techies, a new solar technology is now making recharging your phone as easy as grabbing your beach tote. G24 Innovations, the company that is licensing the technology, says that dye-sensitized cells will be used to provide power for various portable devices from e-book readers and cell phones to wireless sensors and keyboards. The solar cells will most likely be made into thin, flexible panels that will then be stitched into various consumer products such as e-book covers, tennis bags, backpacks, golf, shopping and beach bags. Individuals will then be able to plug their phones or music players into the bags using a USB cord. Solar panels on the bags will have 11 cells each, and wiring will attach the panel to a battery pack in the bag. The technology uses a photosensitive dye to start its energy production, similar to the way leaves use chlorophyll to begin photosynthesis. Currently, most photovoltaic cells are still based on silicon or related inorganic materials, not dyes. While the technology works best in direct sunlight (taking six to eight sunny hours outside for the panel to fuel the charger), the cells have even shown to generate voltage from moonlight.