About a year and a half ago, Carbonfund.org became a virtual work environment, eliminating all business office space energy usage and employee commuting emissions. This move to a virtual work environment has proved successful from an operational standpoint and from an environmental commitment to reducing emissions wherever possible.
Carbonfund.org enjoys partnering with other businesses that maintain virtual work environments and endeavor to deliver their products and services in the most environmentally-responsible method. One such Carbonfree® partner, JazzEDge made the transition to online piano lessons and instructions over four years ago, as part of their commitment to maintaining an environmentally-sensitive business practice. By providing piano lessons online and through DVDs, JazzEDge provides students with instructional options that eliminate the carbon emissions caused by driving to and from lessons, and replaces printed sheet music with online options to view or print only those pages needed.
Carbonfund.org has helped JazzEDge augment its commitment to sustainable business operations through the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program. The annual support of Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air projects enables JazzEDge to achieve carbon neutrality in the rest of its operations.
“We understand the importance of protecting the environment, and how what we do today will affect our kids and our students’ lives. Carbonfund.org is a great catalyst to this effort because of all the tools they provide to assist you in your environmental commitment,” explains Willie Myette, JazzEDge President and Berklee College of Music graduate.
Carbonfund.org welcomes the opportunity to partner with JazzEDge. A business that strives to “reduce what you can” in daily operations, then neutralizes the remaining carbon emissions is a business that Carbonfund.org can get behind.
We’ve already examined and defined a carbon footprint, but have you ever heard of an ecological footprint? An ecological footprint compares human demands on nature with the Earth's ability to regenerate resources and provide services.
Ecological footprints are ever changing because of advances in technology and a three-year lag for the UN to collect and publish statistics. However, it is a standardized measure that begins by assessing the amount of biologically productive land and sea area necessary to supply the resources a human population uses. This is then contrasted with the planet’s ability to absorb associated waste and ecological capacity to regenerate. Think of it like how much of the Earth (or how many planet Earths) it would take to support humanity given an average lifestyle. In 2007, humanity's total ecological footprint was estimated at 1.5 planet Earths. This means humans are currently using ecological services 1.5 times quicker than Earth can renew them.
William Rees was the first academic to publish about an ecological footprint in 1992. He supervised the PhD dissertation of Mathis Wackernagel who outlined the concept and offered a calculation method. Rees penned the term ecological footprint in a more accessible manner than the original name of “appropriated carrying capacity” after a computer technician described Rees’ new computer as having a small footprint on the desk. Wackernagel and Rees published the book Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth in early 1996.
The implications are dire according to Rees who wrote in 2010, “…the average world citizen has an eco-footprint of about 2.7 global average hectares while there are only 2.1 global hectare of bioproductive land and water per capita on earth. This means that humanity has already overshot global biocapacity by 30% and now lives unsustainabily by depleting stocks of ‘natural capital’.”
We’re definitely overspending the planet’s resources. Just take a look at man-made global warming and climate change. We need to continue on the path to seeking a sustainable lifestyle, and do it on a global scale. All of us working together can reduce the amount of the earth’s resources that we consume. Start with yourself and get creative with how many ways you can save energy and recycle. What’s great about beginning with energy efficiency is that it can save you money too. Then there are cost effective ways to offset the rest such as by contributing to Carbonfund.org’s development of renewable energy technologies and carbon emissions reduction projects. The important thing is to get started right away.
Groundbreaking Fuel Economy Standards – Historic Progress to Limit Carbon Emissions and Tackle Climate ChangeWritten by Jessie
In what is easily the best environmental action in a generation, this week, the Obama Administration announced new CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for cars and light trucks (think minivans and sport utility vehicles). By 2025, these vehicles will be required to average 54.5 miles per gallon (MPG).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates CAFE standards and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measures vehicle fuel efficiency. An agreement in support of acceptable standards was made between the government, automakers and their unions, and environmental organizations.
The stage for these historic fuel economy standards was set by an energy law enacted in 2007 under President George W. Bush. Additionally, the 2009 federal bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler were tied to better fuel efficiency.
Fuel-efficient cars and trucks were the U.S. auto industry’s saving grace. It makes good sense on multiple levels to continue these efforts. For one, 570,000 new jobs can be created by 2030. Not to mention saving consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reducing U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. This also translates to strengthening national security by lessening the country’s dependence on foreign oil.
What about fighting man-made global warming? The new standards will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025. This reduces emissions by 6 billion metric tons, which is more than the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States in 2010. We thank President Obama for his leadership on combating climate change, pollution prevention and national security.
Starting in 2017, the standards will be phased in over the course of eight years. New fuel-saving technology is projected to increase the cost of new car or light truck by $3,000 on average. This means consumers will pay a little more when they buy the vehicle, about $50 more a month over a five-year loan, but they’ll more than make up for it at the pump with expected gas savings per vehicle between $7,000 - $8,000. And that is good for the environment and our wallets.
Undeniably, the vehicle fuel-efficiency standards represent an unbeatable combination of protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. They’re also the nation's single largest effort to combat climate-altering greenhouse gases, but we can’t stop building our carbon-reduction portfolios now. Wonderful news like this should push us to continuing to find more ways to reduce our carbon footprint, as individuals and a nation. Now let’s go invest in some renewable energy projects!
Carbonfund.org supports several carbon reduction and energy efficiency projects such as the Truck Stop Electrification system, a project that is supported in part by Clean Air Cab’s fleet emissions neutralization program.
Clean Air Cab is central Arizona’s first carbon-neutral taxicab fleet; they partner with Carbonfund.org to calculate and neutralize the carbon emissions generated by its fleet of Toyota Priuses.
"We chose Carbonfund.org because unlike most companies selling offsets, Carbonfund.org is a non-profit. Clean Air Cab believes in giving back and we are happy to support a non-profit organization," affirms Clean Air Cab founder, Steve Lopez.
The company started by selecting the Toyota Prius, a fuel efficient vehicle for its taxicab fleet. A Ford Crown Victoria, the “traditional” taxicab vehicle, produces two and half times the amount of CO2 per year compared to the 2010 Toyota Prius. But the Prius still creates carbon emissions, so each quarter Clean Air Cab checks its total fleet mileage with Carbonfund.org to ensure that it has secured a sufficient quantity of carbon credits to completely neutralize fleet emissions.
Clean Air Cab’s mission “to make it affordable and convenient for everyone to go green” is in lockstep with Carbonfund.org. We are happy to partner with an environmentally conscientious company that provides a carbon neutral transportation alternative to central Arizona communities.
Carbonfund.org is excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Cause.it to provide a simple way that mobile app users can share their favorite causes and earn points towards “cool stuff” along the way.
By sharing envirosearch.org on Cause.it, users will help Carbonfund.org plant trees and support clean air technologies. And as Cause.it users share envirosearch.org, they’ll be earning points to redeem through Cause.it for goods and services available in their own communities.
"We wanted to bring awareness to all of the great environmental initiatives that Carbonfund.org has going on and really liked the cause that envirosearch.org was out to support. We feel bringing increased awareness to efforts such as envirosearch.org truly helps technology change the world," emphasized Cause.it creator Gagan Dhillon.
Share envirosearch.org on Cause.it to spread the word and help plant more trees.
As part of its mission to comply with the principles of Ecotourism, which are to unite conservation, communities, and sustainable travel, Cascada Expediciones and its EcoCamp Patagonia have partnered with Carbonfund.org over the past four years to measure and neutralize unavoidable energy emissions from their operations in Chile, Patagonia, Argentina and Bolivia.
Carbonfund.org’s emissions calculations and offsetting program is comprehensive in measuring and monitoring all fuel consumption from any aspect of Cascada Expediciones’ tours and EcoCamp’s operations or transportation on location. Each traveler is encouraged to offset their round-trip commercial flight emissions as well. The resulting annual operational emissions are neutralized through Cascada Expediciones’ support of Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency, renewable energy and reforestation projects that are contributing to the development of clean air technologies and carbon reduction strategies around the world.
"On CO2 offsetting, we wanted to partner with a capable and reliable organization. That is why we chose Carbonfund.org," explains Yerko Ivelic, Founder, Owner and Director of Cascada Expediciones and EcoCamp Patagonia.
Cascada Expediciones has implemented many carbon reduction strategies at their facilities and within their tour operations. From simple steps such as providing shared transportation for guests, banning electrical appliances, and providing green hydro- or solar-powered electricity, to the unique energy-efficient and environmentally-compatible design of the EcoCamp domes, Cascada’s focus is on creating a fully sustainable Patagonian touring experience that creates the smallest carbon footprint possible.
In recognition of these carbon emissions reduction and neutralization practices, EcoCamp Patagonia has been nominated as a candidate to receive the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award for 2012. Carbonfund.org is happy to partner with Cascada Expediciones in helping the organization achieve its commitment to environmentally sustainable operations through the support of clean air and carbon reduction projects.
Just when we were about to succumb to the gloomy picture that is global climate change, a ray of hope breaks through the clouds. A technical report released this month by the U.S. Energy Information Agency calculated that energy related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about 98 percent of total CO2 emissions, for the first four months of 2012 decreased to around 1992 levels.
The dramatic decrease is attributed to a switch from dirtier burning coal to cleaner natural gas. Almost everyone in the energy and environmental industries believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.
Scientists didn’t predict the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. falling to its lowest level in 20 years in part because the decrease is not attributed to legislation limiting greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. The switch to natural gas was driven by the market.
The state of the economy, increasing efforts for energy efficiency and a growing utilization of renewable energy are certainly aspects that contribute to lowering U.S. carbon emissions. However, at the moment, the lion’s share is due to the current low price of natural gas. There has been an upsurge in shale gas drilling in the northeast, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, which has made natural gas more affordable than coal per unit of energy generated. Gas production is on the increase because of the modernization of the process of hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, where highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals are inserted to fracture shale rock which releases natural gas.
While natural gas is a cleaner-burning energy source than coal, it is not emission-free. There is still some carbon dioxide emitted and drilling can have environmental impacts such as contamination of ground water, air quality risks, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, and surface contamination from spills and flowback.
There are also concerns that the rise in use of natural gas could stall renewable energy efforts. The ultimate goal should still be a mix of increasing energy efficiency and clean energy with the balance kept to a minimum of natural gas.
So the upshot is that the U.S. energy picture is far from perfect, but the news concerning a drastic decline in U.S. carbon dioxide levels is welcome and positive because it reminds us that there is still time to turn around the fate of the planet’s climate.
It seems only fitting that a business that depends entirely on organic and natural herbs, flowers, and medicinal plants would maintain a strong commitment to environmentally responsible business practices. Carbonfree® Business Partner Mountain Rose Herbs sets a high standard in this regard and has made significant steps in following Carbonfund.org’s motto of “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t™” by lessening its energy consumption prior to neutralizing their remaining annual operational emissions with Carbonfund.org.
Mountain Rose Herbs’ primary facility was constructed with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and relies heavily on natural lighting. Energy demand was further reduced by making a complete lighting upgrade to energy-efficient bulbs in their principal facilities and installing Energy-Star rated heating and cooling systems. In addition, Mountain Rose Herbs upgraded all their computers to those with Gold Star ratings for energy conservation, minimal shipment packaging and elimination of environmentally-harmful materials as well as more energy-efficient flat screen monitors. Mountain Rose Herbs converted all electrical usage to their local Greenpower program to ensure that a significant portion of their electricity comes from wind and solar sources.
Despite all of these energy-saving measures and efficiency enhancements, Mountain Rose Herbs still generates a measurable annual carbon emissions footprint from its business operations. In order to neutralize these annual operational emissions, Mountain Rose Herbs has partnered with Carbonfund.org for the past four years to measure and offset these unavoidable emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s clean energy and carbon reduction projects.
"If we are to move past coal and look forward to a greener future that is full of alternative energy, then we must support the endeavors of Carbonfund.org, who are creating the infrastructure necessary to make it happen," states Shawn Donnille, Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs.
We applaud Carbonfree® Partner Mountain Rose Herbs for pursuing a meaningful commitment to environmentally-conscious business operations, measuring and neutralizing their annual carbon emissions, and supporting our clean air technology projects.