Wednesday, 24 November 2010 10:47
When you spend most of your time swimming, biking and running, you tend to be more conscious of the energy being consumed when you're just sitting in a car or plane. For the 2010 Keuka Lake Triathlon, race coordinator Score This!!! organized to have the athletes reduce the carbon footprint of the race by offsetting travel in support of Carbonfund.org's carbon reduction projects around the world. Nearly 600 athletes gathered at Keuka Lake to participate in the five events—the short triathlon, intermediate triathlon, aquabike, the duathlon and kids' triathlon—and participants offset 51,562 miles worth of travel. Score This!!! officiates dozens of races each year. Learn more about how you can reduce your event's carbon footprint here.
Thursday, 31 March 2011 16:19
The following story is reposted from a JetBlue article about the company's sustainability practices. As part of JetBlue’s Green initiative, we have partnered with Carbonfund.org since 2008 to help offset our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. JetBlue’s fleet is among the most fuel-efficient in the industry, but air travel still makes an impact on the environment. Eric Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org stated, ”JetBlue’s Green program is a leading light in the aviation industry, proving that what’s good for the environment is also good for business. In making their employees’ business travel carbon neutral and offering the option to their customers, JetBlue is sending a message to their customers, employees and shareholders that sustainability is a crucial role in the 21st century business model.” To help offset this carbon impact and balance the carbon dioxide emissions, we are proud to support three projects that help offset CO2 emissions in the communities we serve. Through the Carbonfund.org program, JetBlue supports:
- The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge Re-forestation Project in Louisiana, once covered in dense forests, now supports 22% of its original forested acres due to the use of land conversion for agriculture. This project is helping restore the native bottomland forests in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley region of Northeastern Louisiana. Forestry projects are beneficial for the community, as well as the ecosystems they support, and also sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- The Capricorn Ridge Wind Project in Texas began commercial operation in 2007. This project produces enough renewable energy to power approximately 220,000 homes while also employing a staff of 40 and providing an economic stimulus to landowners. The American Wind Energy Association notes that wind energy could provide 20% of the United States' electricity, and that Texas is currently the largest supplier of wind energy in the United States followed by Iowa, California, Washington and Oregon.
- The New York State Landfill Methane Project collects waste and destroys landfill methane gas. The destruction of methane is important in the fight against global climate change, because methane is approximately 23% more efficient as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The serious climate change concerns are that as the frozen tundra of areas such as Siberia and Northern Canada begin to melt, an enormous amount of methane, which was previously trapped in the permafrost, will be released into our atmosphere.
Thursday, 09 December 2010 12:36
Each year Americans produce four million tons of garbage from gift wrap and shopping bags alone, according to the waste watchers at Use Less Stuff. Reduce your landfill impact this holiday season by checking out these alternative ways to wrap gifts. 1. Seeded paper: Give two gifts in one by wrapping presents with seeded paper. Bloomin' Flower Cards makes a gift wrap from 100% recycled paper infused with wildflower seeds like Black-Eyed Susans and Forget-Me-Nots. Just take the wrapping outside, dig a shallow hole, drop the paper, cover with soil and water periodically. Flowers will burst from the site in 4-8 weeks. 2. Post-consumer wrapping paper: If sleek and smooth wrapping paper is more your style, there's no reason not to use a recycled brand. EndoPrint makes prints on 100% post-consumer waste paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. All ink is soy-based and non-toxic and, to top it off, completely chlorine-free. The company also supports wind power production. They have some really neat designs like candy cane snowflakes or deco orange pods. 3. Reused materials: Because you go straight to your GPS navigator for directions anyway, use old paper maps to make your gift stand out in intricately designed paper. If there aren't any maps lying around, used bookstores usually have diverse collection of metro, street and world maps. 4. Recycled bows: Some people save and horde gift bows for reuse, but if the bow coffers are low this year you don't have to run to the store to refill. Crafty how-to blog How About Orange takes you through four easy steps to make your own out of glossy magazine pages. 5. Fabric wrapping: Rather than trying to save and smooth out crumpled paper for next year, invest in a set of reusable fabric bags. There are a number of vendors who sell pre-made bags or fabrics cut to match different sized boxes, or you can watch this great video to learn how to use your own fabrics to wrap gifts in the Japanese Furoshiki style. Having trouble viewing the video? Please click here.
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 14:02
[caption id="attachment_6797" align="alignleft" width="275" caption="Bearded seal - the federal government has nominated two species of seals as threatened"][/caption] The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed ringed seals in the Arctic Basin and North Atlantic and bearded seals in the Pacific Ocean be protected under the Endangered Species Act. There would be four subspecies of ringed seals and two of bearded seals listed. Both seals depend on ice, or ice floes, as a hunting platform for fish, as well as a place to give birth to their pups. Yet these floes are melting and are expected to continue to melt. "It's a clear indication that climate change is happening and it's affecting habitat," said NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service's Julie Speegle. Bearded seals eat small prey found along the ocean floor, like squid and clams, so relocating from sea ice to land would endanger their ability to maintain an adequate food supply. Ringed seals are the primary prey for polar bears and dig hiding holes in the ice to escape. The Endangered Species Act had been signed into law in 1973 to shelter species in danger of extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation." NOAA climate models were used to predict future diminishing ice loss conditions. The government agency has a year to finalize its decision on designating the seals as a threatened species, which would require government agencies to take steps to increase the sea mammals' population and ensure that federal and commercial businesses, like gas, oil and shipping, don't further affect their habitat.
Thursday, 21 April 2011 11:49
Half of the trees cut commercially around the world are used to make paper products that oftentimes get discarded immediately. Paper use has actually increased in the digital age despite all of the e-alternatives. If you really need to print something, here are several tips and small adjustments from Harvard students that make a difference over time.
- Double-side it! Set your default to print double-sided with this Windows or Mac guide.
- Challenge your office to benchmark paper usage and reduce by 10%. (Track via the paper count option on your printer.)
- Reduce your printing margins to .75.
- Don’t forget to look for blank pages and only print graphics "as-needed".
- Print multiple images per sheet for PowerPoint slides or drafts.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 12:00
You could easily be spending $2,000 a year on sandwiches and salads if you buy your lunch every day. Would you ever consciously write that into your annual budget? It's remarkable how often doing it the "green way" saves you some green, too. Between the plastic tableware, napkins, condiment packets and clamshell containers, a takeout lunch often contains more trash than food. Reusable containers and recyclable aluminum wrap beat Styrofoam boxes any day - just be sure to steer clear of garbage trap of brown bags and plastic wraps. I love this Brown Bag Brigade (cute name, minus the brown bag of course) for lunch-packing tips, including ideas like DIY bento box or a "Cubanesque" sandwich of turkey, ham and Swiss on pressed French bread. Being the lazy environmentalist I am, I'm partial to the list of lunches en masse, like making a big batch of homemade chicken nuggets and eating them throughout the week. Feeling empowered? Bring waste-free lunches to your kids schools, too. Learn how this California school reduced their waste by 35% with a few goal sheets and parent outreach.
Friday, 22 April 2011 14:30
Those college acceptance letters are still trickling in and many high school seniors are mentally checked out. With all of the big changes and exciting opportunities right around the corner in college, it's hard to know where to start. The first real step is usually moving into your dorm cell. With all of the newness and change, it's nice to bring a bit of home with you - like that environmental savvy your momma raised you with. Just because you have a new life doesn't mean there isn't room for old good habits. Here's how to bring your green routine to the dorm room:
- Make someone else’s garbage your treasure. Browse Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for futons, desks, chairs, etc. instead of spending a fortune buying new furniture.
- Sharing is caring. Do you and your roommate really need separate mini-refrigerators and TVs?
- Think organic. Consider 100 percent organic cotton or bamboo linens and bedding.
- Take charge. Use power strips to easily manage your appliances and unplug whatever you aren’t currently using.
- Turn off the lights and all appliances when you’re not in the room. Encourage dorm-mates to do so in lounges or other dorm common areas too.
- Choose energy-efficient products such as CFL/fluorescent lightbulbs and Energy Star rated appliances.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle. It will cost less than $15, and some cafes give a discount when you use a reusable bottle for drinks.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:00
Every year in the United States, 147 million gallons of gasoline evaporate due to loose, damaged or missing caps. That's enough to fill the tanks of almost eight million sedans, according to the National Resources Defense Council. For what you're paying for gas these days, it's worth it to make sure you're not letting it disappear into thin air. While you're at it, save on gasoline and the environmental impact it has when combusted into our atmosphere by picking up a few of these efficiency tips:
- Maintenance - Keep your car tuned up and running efficiently.
- More Maintenance - Replace your air, oil and fuel filters according to schedule.
- Tires - Keep your tires properly inflated (just this can save 400-700 pounds of CO2 per year).
- Drive better - Studies have shown up to 30% of the difference in miles per gallon (MPG) is due to driving habits alone. You could save more than a ton of CO2 per year by: - Accelerating slowly and smoothly - Driving the speed limit - Maintaining a steady speed - Anticipating your stops and starts
- Make your next vehicle a fuel-efficient one - Check out EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide for info on miles per gallon as well as EPA SmartWay® certified vehicles, meeting rigorous air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions standards.
- Household fuel efficiency - If your household has two cars and one is used mostly for commuting, make the commuting car a real gas sipper if you can’t for both.
Monday, 18 April 2011 12:02
We know many Carbonfund.org supporters celebrate the earth 365 days a year, but this Friday the 22nd our friends and neighbors are joining in the national observance of Earth Day. This week we'll be sharing a tip each day to suggest some new ways and green ideas to help incorporate sustainable practices into our day-to-day routine. Tonight is the first night of Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the exodus from Egypt. As you set up your seders, here are some tips to make it a green evening:
- You were expecting us to tell you to wash your dishes rather than throw away disposables, right? Well, Passover is all about asking questions, so we're going to throw some variables your way instead. GreenResearch has an interesting article looking at energy impact. For example, the energy involved in manufacturing a glass cup and washing it 15 times is the same as manufacturing 15 paper cups. Click here to see how glass stacks up against disposables according to their research.
- Should Elijah's cup runneth over, it's always best to be runneth-ing with sustainable wines. Pair your matzah and brisket with a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon from Benziger Family Wines. Their vineyards are tended with Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods, and they deliver in all 50 states.
Thursday, 11 November 2010 14:04
Construction was one of the hardest hit industries during the economic recession the last few years, but the pinch was significantly less for green contractors. In fact, four out of the five top-ranked green contractors actually saw an 11.3% increase in business. Between 2008 and 2009, Engineering News-Record's Top 400 Contractors saw revenue drop by 14.1% and the Top 100 Green Contractors, firms that bring in the largest revenues from LEED and other certified projects, fared about the same. But looking at the top 10 of those green contractors, their business only saw a dip of 2.8%. These numbers seem to indicate that when money is tight, consumers feel it makes more sense to stretch your dollar with a top firm that specializes in LEED certified projects, which saves money on a continuous basis in the future via energy savings and water efficiency. LEED certified buildings also stand out for their CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resource and sensitivity to their impacts. Learn more about ways to save money while reducing your environmental impact at Carbonfund.org's Save Energy, Reduce Carbon Emissions page.